Voters to decide future of OC’s leadership, housing, education

Hosted by

Election workers verify ballots at the Orange County Registrar of Voters during a media tour showing security for the November 8, 2022 election, in Santa Ana, California, U.S., November 1, 2022. Photo by Mike Blake/REUTERS.

Anaheim’s previous mayor, Harry Sidhu, resigned in May after the FBI revealed it’s investigating his involvement in the sale of Angel Stadium, so four candidates are vying to fill the vacant seat. The four hopefuls couldn’t be more different: Former prosecutor Ashleigh Aitken, nonprofit CEO Lorri Galloway, water systems operator Dick Lopez, and business owner Trevor O’Neil.

“For all of them, it's really a question of what's going to be the future of Anaheim. Is it going to be some place that's … more equitable? Or is it a place where it's a playground for the rest of the world, then the City of Anaheim gets some of the trickle of those billions of dollars that taxpayers pay every year?” says Gustavo Arellano, a columnist for the LA Times.

Also in Costa Mesa, Measure K is a repudiation of Measure Y, which voters approved six years ago to put any big development before a vote, he explains. Measure K’s supporters say it would possibly lead to the construction of more housing, but opponents say not so fast. 

“The Costa Mesa City Council's majority Democrat and a pretty progressive majority at that. So they're not trying to pull it completely back. But they're saying, ‘Look, this is complete NIMBYism, we cannot afford that as a modern city. We need more apartments to be able to house everyone.’ … So some of these projects [are] still going to be up for a public hearing, but [don’t] have to go up for a public vote.”

And in Placentia-Yorba Linda, the school board earlier this year banned critical race theory from being taught. Two board members who voted against the ban are now facing challengers. 

“You have people who are more conservative, who believe that wokeism has gone too far … that children should not be learning about sex education or gender, period. They're really making concerted efforts to take over these boards.” 

He adds that Orange County school boards have been a political battleground for decades. He references a 1960s attempt to ban a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. in schools, when board members thought he was a communist. 

“Now in this case, it's a mishmash of everything from the conservative movement. A lot of people are afraid that if they get into office, that you're not going to be able to learn ethnic studies anymore, or say much of anything other than reading, writing and arithmetic.”