John Gyllenhammer, Orange District 6 City Council Candidate, 2022 Election Questionnaire – Orange County Register

Ahead of the November election, The Orange County Register has compiled a list of questions to ask the candidates you wish to represent. The full questionnaire is below, with answers edited for grammar and punctuation only.

MORE: Read all candidate responses in our Voter Guide

Surname: John Edmund Gyllenhammer

Current job title: regional director


Official: no

Other political offices held: N / A

City where you live: orange

Campaign website or social media:

How can the city best meet the demand and mandate for more housing, including at lower prices, while maintaining the quality of life for existing neighborhoods and residents?

Cities must constantly look for ways to grow while maintaining open spaces and parks that provide recreation and opportunities to relax/enjoy nature. Private property owners have an opportunity to rethink zoning to bring additional living space into areas that may not previously have had it. This conversation must take place and should involve all residents to discuss any concerns. Agreement should be reached to best understand what impacts might occur in these areas. Areas that are reserved and already eligible should be brought into the community in a manner that addresses concerns and builders have minimal setbacks to begin development. In Orange, open spaces should be preserved as parks, and open spaces are limited and necessary for community health.

What better way can the city do to fund and address aging roads, water and sanitation systems and prepare for future infrastructure needs?

The need for infrastructure will continue to entail financial obligations for the city in the future. We should continue to look for areas and avenues to enable growth that leads to higher tax revenues. It’s important to a healthy economy and city to ensure we plan to grow, modernize appropriately to generate more trade, and allow for construction. As we see what this healthy growth looks like, it is imperative that an effective conversation takes place with residents to discuss the implications of this growth, explore ways to preserve the feel of an area and ensure any concerns are addressed are listened to/addressed. Revenue growth and excess investment would be the main focus on how we continue to meet future financial commitments. We should also continue to invest in maintenance routines to ensure the longevity of our infrastructure as this will help minimize the total cost over the life of a project.

How should the city balance paying down debt, such as pension liabilities, and building up reserves while meeting the needs of residents? Should a solution be finding new revenue, cutting the budget, or something else entirely?

The City of Orange has taken steps to ensure pension liabilities and future financial commitments are accounted for. The city used its strong credit rating to purchase a taxable, low-interest pension obligation bond in 2021. This bond will help ensure that future debt obligations are addressed and that the city can reinvest this money to ensure a higher rate of return for city dwellers. In addition, we should continue to establish policies that encourage the growth and development of small businesses in the city. Thoughtful development and a business-friendly environment will ensure stronger future revenue growth. From a cost perspective, I would work to ensure that the funds are used efficiently and prioritized. I would not support a tax increase for Orange residents.

What do you think is your city’s greatest need and how would you address it?

Ensuring public safety is always the greatest need of a community. Homelessness is on the rise and personal/property crime enforcement is a priority. I would continue to support our amazing Orange Police Department and help provide these dedicated officers with resources to continue doing their jobs well. I would focus my engagement on the current way the city is addressing the homeless crisis (in service/support and enforcement) and seek to improve and further expand the strategy to address and reduce the city’s overall homeless population. I will strive to include the broad group of Orange residents who genuinely care about their communities and are focused on promoting community service opportunities who are going through Orange Citizen’s Police Academy and trying to get involved in community-based safety programs. Our fire department also needs support to do their job well. East Orange has seen a series of major fires that have burned down the hillsides east of the city, threatening and destroying homes. The Fire Service is an integral part of providing safety and home protection to Orange residents and I will endeavor to engage the department to ensure they have the resources needed to continue to do their jobs well.

Why would you make a good leader and how would you represent your city’s diverse communities?

I am a retail and operations manager who has managed large organizations for the last 15 years. I have led these organizations to consistent, profitable growth and built engaged and growing teams. I think I’m a great leader; first because I have the humility and responsibility to learn from my mistakes, second because I have the resilience to remain consistent when faced with challenges and I have the confidence to take risks and stand up for a position I believe in. I prioritize the well-being of those I work with, I look for opportunities to acknowledge the positive influence of others, and I challenge those around me to work hard to achieve their goals. I try to build trust, serve others, and speak the truth directly as I see it. Finally, I’m a leader capable of articulating a clear vision, driving results, and engaging teams to deliver by my side. I believe that every human being is infinitely valuable and deserves respect. I believe that we all need to surround ourselves with others who have different opinions, and in doing so we will ultimately see the different perspectives that fuel personal growth and lead to better decisions. I will engage and involve everyone in my city. John Gyllenhammer, Orange District 6 City Council Candidate, 2022 Election Questionnaire – Orange County Register

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