A Tragic Death Illuminates a City Transformation – District Elections.




Monday, December 04, 2017

“A search was underway Monday for a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian in Anaheim.
Police said the driver ran down a woman near La Palma Avenue and Whittier Street around 5 p.m. Sunday and continued eastbound on La Palma.
The 62-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Her identity was not released.
Anaheim police said the suspect was driving a silver sedan or small SUV with possible front-end damage.
Anyone with information was urged to call the Anaheim Police Department at 714-765-1900″

“It finally happened…. I want to go to the meeting they are having at city hall tomorrow. It’s at 5:00 so I have to see if can get the time off. I’ve been wanting to go and start a petition to get a crosswalk in the middle of that street gap from St. College and Sunkist. 3 of our dogs have been hit… street racing always happening… and people drive like it’s a freeway down that area. So sad… I also want to say something about the lightning.  Did you see the lighting they put on Rio Vista like towards the freeway wall. It’s all lit up now.”

I received this e-mail on Monday, December 4th from a friend who lives in a street where a fatal accident had occurred on Sunday. As the message describes, my friend and her neighbors had been expecting a tragedy to happen sooner or later in their section of the road. The accident convinced her to speak up, to reach out to the city authorities. As she was not sure whether she would attend the city council meeting, I forwarded her message to the council member representing our district, Mr Faessel, requesting his assistance. He immediately responded, contacting the City Executive Team, including the City Manager, Police Chief, Public Works, Traffic Director and the Public Utility Team.

The neighbor was able to attend the city council meeting, spoke up and met one of the council-member’s aides and Mayor Tait introduced her to a couple of city departments officials. By Thursday December 7th, LED lights were installed and the crosswalk process started. She can’t thank our council-member enough for the actions taken.

The combination of a neighbor’s determination to do something, the availability of LED lights due to the upgrading of streets lighting and the accessibility to the city departments made possible a prompt resolution. In the past, similar situations were not efficiently addressed and one of the main reason was that council members and top city managers were not approachable or willing to get genuinely involved. The most visible example in my area is the deteriorating neighborhood’s strip mall. Now that we have a council member representing the district, there is a serious commitment to address it.

Council districts are transforming our city. The interaction between residents and council members who live in our districts is producing much more tangible results. It is promoting a better civic atmosphere, especially when we appreciate the efforts of the council members to address the neighborhoods’ issues. I still have reservations about Mr Faessel’s stand on city politics but he has gained my respect on the personal level.

The person killed in the accident, which triggered the combination of factors improving the lightning of a street, has not been identified yet. Neighbors presume that the woman was homeless. I hope that the Homeless Policy Working Group’s proposals are another step of the city’s transformation into a City of Kindness.

About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/