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IMG_8079The OC Register has published a round-up article on the three local ballot measure before Anaheim voters this Tuesday: Measures C, D and E.

Measure D would change the mayoral term from four year to two years; the global limit on eight consecutive years as mayor would remain unchanged.

The article quotes the three mayoral candidates views on Measure D:

Mayor Tom Tait:

“If a two-year term makes sense for the mayor, shouldn’t it also apply to council members who serve four-year terms? A four-year term allows time for a mayor to set goals and implement a vision. If a mayor were required to run every two years, a significant amount of time would be spent on running for re-election, rather than on the job of running the city. Due to the great expense of running for office in Anaheim, passing measure D would further empower special interests.”

Councilwoman Lucille Kring:

“If you have a mayor who is out of step with the will of the electorate, and people are upset about it, then it would make sense to have a two-year mayor. Four years can be a long time for some people, and sometimes the person holding the gavel is not a leader. If they’re doing a good job, then they will be elected. If not, then the people will have an opportunity to elect someone who will move the city forward.”

Former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway:

“The mayoral race is extremely expensive, because you’re running for the highest office in a large city, so people need to start raising money a year before the election. If a mayor’s term is only two years, then they will consistently spend their time raising funds rather than concentrating on their work for the people in this city. Plus, you can’t accomplish very much in two years, because there are projects and policies that could span an entire four years.”

The arguments advanced by Tait and Galloway are, in my opinion and with all due respect, flawed and don’t match up with reality.

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The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC has published its voter’s guide for the June primary: 

ACC voter guide for June 2014

Various Charter Amendments
Shall the Charter be amended to: modernize and remove outdated language to reflect changes in the City and law; authorize financial documents’ availability in electronic format; update matters regarding boards/commissions; allow setting City Manager compensation by agreement, resolution or ordinance; authorize methods for selling municipal property; permit City Council to delegate Treasurer’s appointment/removal to City Manager; allow Treasurer and Finance Director to be the same person upon Council approval?

Measure C makes several modifications to the City Charter. These modifications are designed to streamline our local government, create additional financial safeguards, close potential loopholes, and increase transparency at City Hall.

For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure C.

Change to Term of Office – Mayor
Shall Anaheim City Charter Sections 500 and 504 be amended to change the term of office of the Mayor from four years to two years, and to clarify how “eight years of service” is determined for the purpose of calculating term limits for someone serving as Mayor by also amending Section 503.5?

Measure D is a simple and straightforward measure:
• Changes Anaheim Mayor term to two years
• Increases accountability by requiring the Mayor to face voters every two years
• Limits Mayor to eight years in office
• This is the same as every other City in Orange County with a Directly-Elected Mayor
• Allows voters to reaffirm a good Mayor or more quickly remove a bad Mayor
• Strengthens Anaheim’s Term Limit Law
• Keeps Mayors focused on our priorities – keeping Anaheim safe bringing jobs to our city, and improving neighborhoods
For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure D.

Safe and Sane Fireworks
Shall Anaheim Municipal Code Section 6.40.030, which prohibits (bans) the retail sale, possession or use of safe and sane fireworks in the City of Anaheim except pursuant to a public display permit issued by the Fire Chief, be repealed and the City Council granted the authority to regulate safe and sane fireworks?

We support Measure E because it:
• Restores Anaheim traditions by allowing Anaheim residents to participate in a long-standing holiday tradition of celebrating our freedom
• Supports Anaheim’s Community by allowing the legal sale of Safe and Sane fireworks by charitable organizations that get to keep a large portion of the profits
• Is safe for the community by allowing residents to purchase fireworks specifically authorized by the state government
• Provides major benefits to Anaheim by not forcing residents to celebrate the Fourth of July in neighboring cities
• Received unanimous support by Anaheim City Council
• Allows City Council to continue to restrict fireworks from areas (such as Anaheim Hills) where Fire Chief recommends
For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure E.

Anaheim Insider here.

10 days ago or so, Mayor Tom Tait recorded a robocall to voters, in which he attacked Measure D as being backed by “outside special interests.”

The robocall was an independent expenditure from the Mayor’s re-election campaign committee, and therefore triggered a requirement that IE expenditure report his campaign is mandated to file must also include all donors who have given his campaign more than $100 since 2014.

An examination of this report shows that 93% of the campaign money Tait has raised this year for his re-election are from outside of Anaheim. Isn’t it disingenuous to attack Measure D as a tool of “outside special  interests” with a robocall paid for by outside special interests, some of whom have contracts with the City of Anaheim?

Anaheim voters have received a second mail piece asking them to vote “yes” on Measure D, which would change the term for Anaheim mayors from four to two years, while limiting him or her to four consecutive two-year terms – preserving the current limit of eight consecutive years as mayor:


Here’s the official argument in favor of Measure D, and the official argument against.

If approved by the voters in June, Measure D would be into effect immediately, meaning all the mayoral candidates would be running for a two-year term in November, instead of a four-year term.

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packing district grand oepningThe grand opening of the Anaheim Packing District is this Saturday, May 31 from noon to 10:00 p.m.

After what seems like an interminable wait, the public will finally get to see the old citrus packing house enjoy what the OC Register calls “a culinary walkabout, inspired by Old World food markets, in the heart of the city’s historic downtown.”

The excitement about this example of adaptive reuse of a historical property makes one a bit melancholy to think of how vibrant downtown Anaheim would probably be today if the old downtown hadn’t been redeveloped out of existence in the 1970s.

The Packing District Facebook page has a lot of great photos of the interior space and some of the eateries like Georgia’s Restaurant and bars like The Blind Rabbit speakeasy.

The Anaheim Packing District is a public-private partnership between Lab Holding (developers of The Lab and the Camp in Costa Mesa) and the City of Anaheim, and its development was subsidized with taxpayer money. To my knowledge, the city isn’t getting a “fair return” for using tax dollars to make this project pencil out, such as a percentage of Lab Holding’s revenues from the enterprise. But something tells me there’ll be plenty of critics of such “taxpayer giveaways” on hand to bask in the glow grand opening and enjoy what this cool new venue has to offer.

ward no fireworks for youAnaheim Insider here.

The irascible Cynthia Ward, along with Tait camp follower Brian Chuchua, makes up CATER, the non-profit that sues the city to obstruct policies that Mayor Tom Tait object to. Fresh from driving up the cost to Anaheim taxpayers of the Anaheim Convention Center Expansion, now Ward is waging class warfare against Measure E, which would bring legalized fireworks back to Anaheim after a quarter-century absence.

Ward sent out an e-mail today against Measure E. In her typically over-the-top style, Ward wages class warfare against fireworks, trying to paint the election as Hills elitists v. the salt of the Earth flatlands folk. She actually infers passage of measure will turn Independence Day into “Elitists Day!”

Ward makes it clear she opposes legalizing safe-and-sane fireworks, which she calls “carcinogen bombs.” For conservatives in Orange County, legalizing fireworks has long been an issue where rhetoric is supposed to meet the road. All the Fullerton libertarian-conservatives types Ward is super chummy with were rightly gong-ho to legalize them in 2012. However, the conservative principles Ward pretends to champion melt away because fireworks once a year bother her dogs, which she cites in her e-mail as the top reason for her hostility to Measure E.

The self-anointed “Truth-Teller” twists the truth into a pretzel:

“Steven Albert Chavez Lodge announces he will be using the sale of carcinogen bombs in the flatlands to backfill his inability to raise money for the Anaheim Hills fireworks displays, in an area not subject to the impacts of the fireworks his group will be dumping into OUR neighborhoods.”

In Ward’s convoluted mind, Measure E is a sinister conspiracy of Anaheim Hills elitists to gull flatlands rubes into funding the Anaheim Hills 4th of July fireworks show by buying boxes of safe and sane fireworks from greedy community groups. She gets all that by twisting beyond recognition a couple of quotes from a mail piece targeting Hills voterswho have a more heightened sensitivity to brush fires. that makes sense because there is a lot more brush in the Hills than the flatlands.

Real vote of confidence from Ward in her fellow flatlanders, thinking we’ll burn West Anaheim down the minute we light off a “Jumbo Purple Rain.”

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mailmanThe highest profile measure on the Anaheim ballot this June is Measure D, which would shift the mayor’s term from four years to two years; the mayor would still be limited to eight consecutive years in office, however.

Thus far, the battle has been confined to the ubiquitous slate mailers. The Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 campaign purchased space on some slates for “No on D” while the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC purchased slates for “Yes on D.” Looking at the slates that have been landing in mailboxes, the “Yes” side seems to be on more slates – but it’s hard to quantify the impact and it’s probably a wash on that front.

The “No on D” campaign reports taking in $1,975 in two donations: $975 from Mayor Tait, and $1,000 from James Vanderbilt – the AUHSD trustee who is Tait’s candidate for council this November and who has quickly become the mayor’s Man Friday. $349 was spent on a robocall that went out about 10 days ago, and $1,042 on signs. The latter is enough to have COGS print them but not enough to have COGS puts them up. “No on D” will have to rely on volunteers to put up sing, which would explain why you hardly see any of them.

The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC has already sent out a mailer that hit this weekend:

first yes on d mailer


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Anaheim Insider here.

Karina Onofre

Karina Onofre

A few people have sent me an unusual press release from the campaign of Karina Onofre, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Karina Onofre running for the 74th Assembly District. She’s created a task force to bring the LA Clippers professional basketball team to Orange County. AD 74 runs along the coast from Huntington Beach to Laguna Beach, extending inland to take in Costa Mesa and Irvine below the I-5 freeway.

According to her campaign press release, Onofre’s “Orange County Clippers Task Force” are: Donald Craig, attorney and President of Orange County NAACP; Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait; Joyce Hall, Orange County Food Bank community activist; Lou Rossetti, Executive Director of Apartment Association of Orange County and former District Director for Congressman John Campbell; Jeff Shanton, Orange County business owner and Lakers fan; Katherine Daigle, community activist and former candidate for Irvine Mayor; Jeff Belle, sports attorney and African American political advocate; S. Deacon Alexander, President of L.A. Black Panther Association and former Green Party candidate for Governor; Max Trueblood, airline analyst and twenty-two year Clippers fan; Efrain Nuno, business owner and founding member of ADELSA (Asociacion de Empresarios Latinos de Santa Ana); Edgar Sebastian, Telemundo reporter, founder of InterAmericana sports league and small business restaurant owner.

Onofre doesn’t says where in Orange County (which she refers to as “our hometown”) she wants to locate the team, but Anaheim – although it lies outside of AD74 – would seem to be the natural location, being the only Orange County city with an NBA-ready arena.

On her Facebook page, Onofre says bringing the Clippers here “will give Orange County our very own NBA team, stimulate our local economy, create hundreds of new jobs, and enhance our quality of lives for generations to come!”

Onofre’s cheerleading makes Mayor Tait’s inclusion seem odd, since he and his supporters have been hostile to the idea that having a professional sports team stimulates the local economy, creates hundreds of news jobs and enhances quality of life for generations. At least, that’s how their attitude toward the professional baseball team that’s been in Anaheim for half-a-century.

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The OC Register reports Anaheim came in 6th on Expo magazine’s Top 10 list of places to host a trade show:

Anaheim may rank as the sixth-best city to host trade shows in the country now. But 10 years ago, the city wouldn’t have even made the top 10 list.

Expo Magazine ranked the top 10 cities for its April edition by surveying 126 trade show managers about their preferred destinations. Anaheim tied for sixth place, alongside Philadelphia. Las Vegas ranked first, while Phoenix was second.

But the magazine went a step further by taking a look back, asking how those managers would have responded in 2004. Anaheim wasn’t listed. Still, Las Vegas was on top, even a decade ago.

A lot has happened in 10 years around the Anaheim Convention Center, which is the largest on the West Coast with about 1 million square feet. While Disney California Adventure opened across the street in 2001, the theme park didn’t really take off until a $1 billion makeover was completed in 2012 with the debut of Cars Land.

In January 2013, the Convention Center stretched its gathering space outdoors with the Grand Plaza, where concerts are held and attendants hang out.

Next up is a 200,000-square-foot expansion, which the City Council approved in March. Also, at least 14 new hotel projects are underway in the area.

You can read the rest here.

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Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

From the Orange County Breeze:

The California Apartment Association – South Coast hosted “The Inaugural CAA South Coast Charity Gala Benefitting the Rapid Rehousing Initiative” last night at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The gala raised funds to support the Orange County United Way’s Rapid Rehousing Initiative, which helps homeless families find stable, permanent housing in the apartment community.

The gala also honored Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray for her efforts to ensure that families have access to safe housing throughout the city. Under her leadership, the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved a safe housing ordinance, which protected the rights of property owners without increasing fees on business owners in Anaheim. Mayor Pro Tem Murray received the CAA-South Coast’s first annual CAA-SC Housing Champion Award for her efforts and leadership in Anaheim.

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Orwellian WardWhich Anaheim politico had this to say about single-member council districts?:

“Do we want to create a lot of special-interest districts and become like Los Angeles or Chicago? You’re going to have people saying, ‘Hey, you got a substation, I want a park for my area.’  Districts will create pork, just like Washington, but on a smaller scale.”

No-prize for the first correct guess.

UPDATED 5/22/14: and the correct answer is….Cynthia Ward!

That’s right – the same Cynthia Ward who now thinks that Anaheim needs single-member council districts, was saying exactly the opposite in late 2012.

“But how can this be?” you may ask. After all, Cynthia champions by-district elections.

But should we really be surprised? After all, one of the few constants about Mrs. Ward is the inconstancy of her opinions, which have a shelf live of 6-18 months. As changeable as her opinions are, she holds each of them with absolute certainty — even when they are diametrically opposed to her previous stance, which was also held with absolute certainty.

Anaheim Insider here.

Mayor Tom Tait paid for a robocall a few days ago, urging Anaheim voters to oppose Measure D, which would amend the city charter so the mayor serves a maximum of four consecutive two-year terms, rather than the present two consecutive four-year terms. If adopted by Anaheim voters, it would go into effect immediately and Tait, Lucille Kring and Lorri Galloway would be running for a four- rather than two-year term in November.

Mayor Tait attacks Measure D as Trojan Horse for “outsider special interests,” which is a unique argument considering the lead signer of the “yes” argument is a life-long resident of Anaheim, and the other signer is a longstanding community leader in west Anaheim. Compounding the irony is the fact that Anaheim voters are being warned against “outside special interests” by a robocall being auto-dialed from Merced…300 miles away.

The June primary is 13 days away – time for a status check on the voting in Anaheim.

There are three charter amendments on the June ballot: Measure C (technical charter cleanups), D (two-year mayoral terms) and E (legalizing safe-and-sane fireworks). There’s no campaign for C; voter contact on either side of the D question is thus far limited to sate cards and an anti-D robocall from Tom Tait; virtually all voter contact on E has been from the “Yes” side, although a “No on E” mailer reportedly hit today.

Our rockin’ Orange County Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley, has a website that’s chock-full of data  that’s updated on a daily basis (I believe). Currently, there are 123,091 registered voters in Anaheim:

Anaheim voter reg 5-21-14

Democrats have a slight edge, but given lower turnout among that’s party’s voters, Republicans have a practical advantage. [Side-note: this is why the Left is hell-bent on carving the city into single-member council districts based on racial/ethnic criteria. Anaheim is the largest city in California with a Republican-majority city council. While that reality is seemingly lost on the much of the leadership of the OC GOP, Democrats are keenly aware of it – and are doing something about it. If Anaheim does move to single-member council districts, look for the city council to move to a Democratic majority within a couple of election cycles.]

A little more than half of Anaheim voters – 64,350 cast vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots:

Read the rest of this entry »

The campaign to bring safe-and-sane fireworks back to Anaheim continues, as the “Yes on Measure E” campaign has dropped two more pieces of mail.

This piece landed in mailboxes late last week:


A fourth mailer targeting Anaheim Hills voters hit mailboxes this week:

Read the rest of this entry »

A group of more than 20 Anaheim business leaders are signing on to an open letter to the Angels, pledging their support for the team and appealing to owner Arte Moreno to keep the Angels in Anaheim. The letter, which will be published as a full-page newspaper ad, was organized by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. The OC Register published a story yesterday about the business leaders’ appeal:

The letter, written by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and obtained Tuesday by the Register before it was sent to Moreno, asked the team to push for the same bargaining framework that was approved as a “starting point” when negotiations for a new lease at Angel Stadium began last September.

As bargaining dragged on, the team has since reached out to Tustin officials and the developers of the Great Park in Irvine to discuss possibly building a new stadium in those areas.

“The Angels are Anaheim’s team, which we gratefully and willingly share with all of Orange County and the rest of the Southland,” stated a draft of the letter circulated to the local business leaders.

“That is why we are so troubled by the breakdown in negotiations between the city and the Angels which has compelled you to look at other cities in Orange County and relocate the team,” the letter continued. “We want you to know that the destructive politics of City Hall that have driven you to this point do not reflect the will of the Anaheim community.”

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Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

In his May 16 letter to the City of Anaheim, Greg Diamond of Brea – the “government accountability attorney” who represents his buddies from CATER – explains the secretive group’s lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion “largely follows the reasoning sent to the City Council prior to its vote by Cory Briggs, Counsel for our Co-Plaintiff…” 

That’s helpful because CATER, self-proclaimed champions of transparency that they are, haven’t released their lawsuit to the public for whom they claim to be fighting. So if the public wants to have some inkling of the grounds on which CATER is driving up the cost of a Convention Center expansion they profess to support, they’ll have find their way to Diamond’s May 15 post on Orange Juice Blog. That’s a tall order since very few Anaheim residents have ever heard of Orange Juice Blog (lucky devils). Transparency in action – CATER-style!

In the sentence quoted above, Diamond pontificates about Brigg’s communication to the City Council, which he says “the City Council chose to ignore in approving the bonds without a legally mandated vote of the electorate.”

Diamond is talking about an e-mail Briggs sent to the Anaheim City Council. And when did councilmembers receive this warning they “chose to ignore”? At 3:06 p.m. on March 11 – a few minutes after the council convened for its workshop on the Convention Center expansion, prior to going straight into regular session.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Insider here.

Let’s begin  with the self-evident: stopping the Anaheim Convention Center expansion makes it harder (if not impossible) for Anaheim to compete-for and retain top tier conventions. Without the conventions, Anaheim hotels go unfilled. When the hotels are empty, local restaurants and tourism-dependent business suffer and close.

So then why does CATER seem so insistent on shutting this project down? They parade a list of obscure reasons but as far as I can tell it boils down to this: a small group of people without any background in public finance, public administration or with any credentials qualifying them as experts on multi-million dollar finance deals decided they didn’t like it.

Why don’t they like it? I suppose we should ask Mayor Tait or his handler. It seems this is just another part of the apparent War on Tourism launched in the last year or so.

Convention Center expansion: No.
Luxury Hotels: No.
Transportation projects for Anaheim: No.
Negotiations with the Angels: No.

Disneyland and the Ducks remain the only targets they haven’t attacked…yet. How long before that changes?

Complementing the preceding chorus of “Noes,” I have yet to see any action from the Mayor and CATER in support of Anaheim’s tourism industry or expanding Anaheim’s most critical source of general fund financing.

Why would these folks oppose Anaheim’s most important industry? Why would they try to hamstring expansion? Why would they seemingly take every step possible to hamper the expansion of Anaheim’s tax base? To undermine the city’s ability to provide services for residents?

Theories are welcome, because logic doesn’t apply.

Tony-Rackauckas-8According to a Lucille Kring for Mayor campaign e-mail that came over the transom this afternoon, OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will be headlining a May 29 fundraiser for Kring’s mayoral campaign.

The honorary hosts of the event are Assemblyman Don Wagner; Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray; Anaheim Councilmember Gail Eastman; Honorable Frank and Sally Feldhaus  

On the host committee are George Adams; Leon Alexander; Todd Ament; Tony Bruno; Sherry and Mitch Caldwell; Kerry Condon; Linda and Alden Esping; Jeff Farano; Joseph Karaki; Dennis Kuhl; Chris Maya; Ross McCune; Peter Mitchell; Linda Newby; Bill O’Connell; Keith Olesen; James Ramirez; Paul Sanford; Sir Bruno Serato; Esther Wallace.

The hours of the event are the standard 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the standard Thursday evening on May 29 at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Click here for the contribution form and RSVP information.

The choice of guest speaker makes it pretty clear Kring’s campaign plans to make public safety a key issue of differentiation between herself and Mayor Tom Tait. The anti-police agitators who regular attend city council meetings to denounce Anaheim police officers as racist murders have also been vocal supporters of the mayor’s. Since that view of the police is diametrically opposed to how the vast majority of Anaheim voters see their police officers, it’s not exactly going out on a limb to guess Kring’s campaign or a supportive IE committee) will draw that contrast in the mail. 

From Bloomberg News:

Citigroup Inc. terminated a deal to purchase $265 million of revenue bonds from Anaheim,California, after opponents sued over plans to expand the city’s convention center, a city spokeswoman said.

Citigroup was the lead underwriter on the bonds offered March 24, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bonds were rated AA- by Standard & Poor’s, according to a disclosure document. The deal was set to close May 14.

A local group that calls itself the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility filed the suit May 12, alleging that the public financing authority wasn’t allowed to offer the debt because California lawmakers dissolved redevelopment agencies, one of which was a member of the financing authority.

“Unfortunately, the originally targeted investors were not willing to accept the litigation risk and chose not to proceed even though the city, the city attorney and bond counsel were of the opinion that such litigation would not likely succeed,” Anaheim spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz said by e-mail.

Scott Helfman, a spokesman for Citigroup, declined to comment on the termination.

The city council in March approved the funding and plans to build a 200,000-square-foot expansion of the convention center, which is less than two miles south of the city’s star attraction, Disneyland.

Proceeds from a 2 percent hotel room tax were to pay for the bonds.

Ruiz said city officials are trying to determine if they can move forward with the project.

“It is unfortunate that a few local activists, in contradiction to the overwhelming community support shown at the council meeting where the bonds were authorized, have taken legal action against this project,” she said.

Ms. Ruiz is exactly right, although I’m sure Cynthia Ward and her little band of mystery members are pleased with themselves.

Ward, Brian Chuchua and their consigliere from Brea have cost Anaheim jobs. They have also cost the city money for parks, a new fire station and other civic improvements because the cost of the next financing deal will escalate. Bully for them.

Amazing how a group that bills itself as supporting “economic responsibility” in reality does everything in its power to undermine the city’s economic development efforts, fueled by an irrational hostility toward the council majority.


Lucille Kring

Lucille Kring

Councilwoman Lucille Kring is organizing an event to honor members of the Armed Forces who have died in the service of our Republic:

The City of Anaheim Warfront to the Homefront

National Candle Lighting Memorial for all Fallen U.S. Military Service Members.

Please join Anaheim Council Woman Lucille Kring on Armed Forces Day May 17, 2014

Honoring our U.S. Military men and women is a priority for the City of Anaheim, and this year the City will participate in the National Candle Lighting Memorial on Saturday, May 17. The candle lighting will take place from 1-2 p.m. at the Anaheim Veterans Monument located at the corner of Anaheim Blvd. and Broadway. All are welcome to attend anytime during the hour to pay respects to all fallen military members. A brief program will take place at 1:30 p.m.

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