Ashleigh provided pro bono legal services to local veterans to help them resolve minor criminal offenses that would have otherwise contributed to higher unemployment and homelessness for those who had served our country. Knowing the root causes of homelessness, how to prevent them, and how to treat them is a key component of fixing the problem.
Sadly, politicians failed to address the problems of homelessness and it’s become a crisis. Determined to be part of the answer, a year and a half ago Ashleigh began walking the riverbed with non-profit groups and talking with homeless residents about the services they need and how our city and region can provide them. Now, she’s part of the United Way’s End Homelessness OC leadership team and working on solutions.
Anaheim officials’ recent actions to fix homelessness are encouraging, but too many people are still living in cars, streets, and alleys. Ashleigh will coordinate regionally with the county and service providers to ensure that all cities are doing their fair share—not just Anaheim. She will work with our neighborhoods to identify locations for permanent supportive housing that can provide the services needed to get people back on their feet, such as job placement and training, mental health care, and drug treatment programs.
Ashleigh will also make sure our public safety officers and agencies have the resources to prevent homeless encampments from proliferating in our city, and advocate for additional mental health counselors and social workers.
The Area Median Income (AMI) for a family of four in Orange County is $87,450 and the median price for a home in Anaheim is nearly $600,000. So there is little surprise housing affordability is quickly becoming the biggest obstacle for working families in Anaheim to reach the middle class.
New development must include affordable housing so that workers in our city, including our Anaheim teachers and public safety personnel, can afford to live here with their families. Ashleigh will also prioritize smaller, less expensive “starter” housing units that encourage graduates of our local colleges to choose Anaheim as the place to live, shop, create a business, and help our city thrive.
As Mayor, she will work to streamline the permitting process for community-approved housing development that reserves at least 50% of the units for affordable housing and will aggressively pursue new state resources to help put more of Anaheim’s working families into homes and rental units they can afford.
Ashleigh is a former federal prosecutor with a 100% conviction rate. She partnered closely with law enforcement officers to get illegal weapons off our streets and put pedophiles and sex traffickers behind bars.
Having family in the Anaheim Police Department, Ashleigh learned early on the risks officers take to keep our community safe. She will work with our first-responders to ensure they have the resources to improve emergency response times, stop the increased break-ins, conduct more community policing, and keep criminals out of our neighborhoods. Ashleigh will also make it quicker and easier for residents to report suspicious activity, graffiti, vandalism, and nuisance trash dumping.
She will promote programs in our schools, after-school programs, and community events that give our police officers more real time interaction with students and parents about everyone’s role in keeping Anaheim safe, as well as public safety career opportunities in our city.
Our Anaheim firefighters and paramedics also need more resources to protect our neighborhoods. Ashleigh supports increasing first-responder staffing to pre-recession levels and adding more critical care units to free up full engine responses for large scale emergencies like the Canyon fire.
Jobs and our Local Economy
People are struggling to make it in today’s economy and wages remain stagnant. Anaheim needs to be a city that can create sustainable good-paying jobs that keep pace with the rising costs of living in Orange County.
Ashleigh will be a booster for attracting new business and jobs by capitalizing on our existing infrastructure of corporate, entertainment, tech, boutique and independently owned businesses that give Anaheim that small-town feel with world class quality. She will also promote the economic benefits of our customer-owned utilities and coordinate city departments to create a one-stop shop for new businesses to speed up the permitting process to open their doors quicker.
As chair of the Anaheim Community Services Board, Ashleigh strongly supported the Youth Employment Services (YES) to help students entering the workforce build up their skills to qualify for better paying jobs. She has continued fighting for city programs that empower young people with internships and work experience that help grow their skill sets and help Anaheim businesses succeed.
Accountability for Subsidies
There are more than 30,000 workers at Disneyland, but the Disney Corporation—which continues to receive millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, pays these workers an average of only $13.36 an hour. More alarming, 73% of their workers state they cannot even afford basic living expenses. Ashleigh believes the Disney Corporation and other businesses directly receiving Anaheim taxpayer subsidies should be held accountable by the city to respect their staff with livable wages and benefits so workers can keep up with rising costs.
As Anaheim’s largest employer, the Disney Corporation also has the financial resources to do more to create stronger middle-class pathways for our youth. Ashleigh will call on Disney to improve their corporate citizenship and help fund programs, such as Anaheim’s Innovative Mentoring Experience (AIME) that assists local students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, to help them prepare for college and good-paying careers by providing internships that improve writing, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. Ashleigh will also advocate for Disney to create a talent pipeline for Anaheim students and career-changing adults to qualify for the multitude of jobs within the theme park.
The most recent actions by Disney to hit the reset button on the controversial tax subsidies are encouraging and will hopefully allow us to begin pursuing transparent and beneficial partnerships with Disney that help improve our neighborhoods, create good jobs, and grow our local economy.
Education and Recreation
As a mother of three and a Girl Scouts troop leader, Ashleigh understands that our city planning has to ensure every child in Anaheim has access to the highest quality education, recreational, and after-school programs. She’ll fight to make sure all neighborhoods get their fair share of services.
As a former chair of the Anaheim Community Services Board and OC Fair Board, Ashleigh fought to improve our parks and will continue to push for more sports fields, micro-sports and dog parks, increase hours for lighting organized sports events, and set up additional mobile art and library programs. She’ll also partner with our school districts to open up facilities after school for residents to access pools and recreation facilities.
Curbing traffic and parking congestion
Ashleigh knows firsthand that our neighborhoods get the improvements they need when residents have a stronger voice at city hall. She helped lead the effort to improve sidewalk safety along Nohl Canyon Road and fought for more speeding enforcement near schools by putting the pressure on elected officials. She’ll continue to be our neighborhood and public safety advocate as Mayor.
Ashleigh also has the leadership experience to build the coalitions necessary to decrease traffic and parking congestion. By connecting entertainment corridors with public shuttles we can move workers, tourists, and Anaheim residents to the resort district, downtown, breweries, restaurants and other locations more quickly while reducing traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods. Ashleigh will also work to revamp parking in the city by evaluating the effectiveness of our permit parking programs, parking restrictions, diagonal parking, and one-way streets.
Safeguarding our Environment
We can all lead by example and do our part to reverse global warming. When Anaheim began offering programs encouraging residents to move toward solar energy and drought tolerant landscaping, Ashleigh was an early adopter. As Mayor, she will work to give residents more incentives and resources to decrease our carbon footprint.
Ashleigh will partner with our neighborhoods to revive open spaces, create greenbelts and community gardens, put more shade trees and drought tolerant landscaping in our parks, and ensure new mixed-use development meets the highest environmental standards and traffic reduction goals. Ashleigh will also coordinate with our regional elected officials and water boards to reach conservation targets and protect our groundwater from contamination.
Embracing our Diversity, Arts, and Culture
The arts are a defining characteristic of Anaheim’s unique communities and cultures. Ashleigh has been a booster for the arts for decades by helping to raise funds for arts scholarships, public art installations, the Muzeo, Chance Theater and the neighboring South Coast Repertory.
Anaheim’s diversity and creativity also make our city more vibrant and more appealing for new businesses. As Mayor, Ashleigh will partner with our schools and the Muzeo to increase arts programs throughout Anaheim’s neighborhoods and promote local theater, artists, and galleries as part of our economic growth plan.