Pilgrim Talks: Teresa Smith, candidate for Mayor of Orange

Teresa SmithTeresa Smith for Orange Mayor

Teresa “Tita” Smith

Orange City Council Member

We will be discussing public safety, clean water, safe neighborhoods & strong infrastructure. fiscally conservative policies and is absolutely responsible with our tax dollars; Because Smith enhances Orange by supporting business, maintaining property values and high quality housing; Because Smith celebrates Orange through our parks and open space, libraries, community events and civic organizations.

It has been my humble privilege to have been elected twice to the Orange City Council and have served for 7.5 years! I am in my last term allowed, and the next option is to run for MAYOR. I welcome that challenge,

1.) to continue to protect Orange ensuring the Public Safety of all;

2.) to maintain our infrastructure of clean water and safe streets, and

3.) to protect our many businesses and encourage their growth.

That used to be enough to say.

But now, with our nation’s tough economic times, fiscal responsibility must be the starting point. I am a leader in Orange who is a fiscal conservative, and I have the record to prove it. It has been a tough job for our Council over these past 4 years as we have worked together, along with a great staff, to manage a $10 million dollar budget deficit each year. We have balanced the budget.

And we have not lost that “essence of Orange” I mean that in spite of an economic downturn, we have a bustling Old Towne Plaza District with new businesses and even a new Farmers Market! We have worked to transform the struggling Block of Orange into an outlet destination. We have managed to retain several big businesses in Orange to enhance our sales tax base and property values have held up pretty well. We have frozen staff vacancies and crafted a “leaner” staff to serve the many needs of our residents.

These are the decisions I have been involved with…to serve our residents with less money available. We’ve done that! We figured out a way to stay on track, and open our first City Gymnasium…the Sports Center at Grijalva Park. We have kept our three Libraries open, and maintained our signature community events…3rd of July, Tree Lighting, Concerts in the Park. It has taken some “fancy financial footwork”, but I have been committed to making sure that we continue to “be the Orange we love”… even in hard times. Crime in Orange dropped 27% last year. No small feat, considering budget restraints.

I initiated and worked to pass a “Party Ordinance” in Orange, not just in Old Towne, to ensure neighborhood safety, especially at night and on weekends. Shout out to Chapman University for their work and support. The ordinance has been amazingly effective. Retaining and enhancing open space has long been a priority for me. I am so pleased to have been part of the design committee for this gem, Pitcher Park, for garnering the Orange County dollars that have allowed us to build nearly six miles of biking and walking trails from near here to east Orange! I am in the conversation in Orange Park Acres to address open space issues there. I am currently working with the Assistance League Orange Blossoms to open another little “pocket park” in Old Towne. Stay tuned!

And I do consider it both an open space and infrastructure maintenance accomplishment that just 5 months ago, in February we were able to quiet the train horns at 16 train crossings Orange. This was a project that Mayor Carolyn Cavecche and I worked on for 7 years! A good Mayor needs to collaborate and bring a community together. I have served on the City Schools Committee with OUSD officials and Trustees for 6 years. I think we all delight in our partnership that brought new life to Fred Kelly Field, …Shout Out to Stu Livingstone…with the Community Foundation of Orange’s support. With the School District, we have tackled graffiti, ensured safe street crossings at schools and, most recently, worked to reduce gangs through the GRIP program. (Gang Reduction and Intervention Program ) where our Police Chief and Officers work with teachers and parents to keep kids out of gangs. I have to admit, my favorite part of the City Council job is working with community leaders…all intent on a better Orange.

On the Council, we get invited to so many events by the Chamber of Commerce, churches, non-profit groups, scout troops, businesses, families, sports teams…Orange is so vibrant and alive!! It is such a wonderful place to live , to work, to raise a family for generations! I welcome the next opportunity, with your support, to take on the role of Mayor of Orange! Why bother? Because this is our hometown…I am a 7th generation native Californian descended form the Dominguez family who received a land grant from Spain in 1784. Our family celebrates 5 generations in Orange! 5 generations later, we’re still here, and I delight in now having our own grandchildren growing up in Orange. I guess you might say we are invested in Orange…and we are here for the long haul, not just passing through. I have learned what love of God, Family and Country means from this guy right over here…my Dad, Gene Smith…Class of 1943 Orange Union High School. We are a community based on families and faith in God and making sure our neighbors are well and safe today.

And I want to assure you, I am not on my way to County Supervisor…not that’s there is anything wrong with that, Bill Steiner, and I will not be running for California Assembly, My commitment is to Orange…my hometown, our hometown…my heart belongs to Orange and I will continue to work tirelessly – to protect Orange by ensuring public safety, clean water, safe neighborhoods and strong infrastructure; – to be fiscally conservative and absolutely responsible with your tax dollars; – to enhance Orange by supporting business, maintaining property values and high quality housing (encouraging commerce to thrive) – to celebrate Orange through our parks and open space, libraries, community events and civic organizations I thank you for your support! Let us work together to both safeguard and celebrate the sweet, sweet Orange we so love, respect and cherish.

For more information about Tita Smit visit: www.titasmith.com

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