Avelino Valencia: I Am Not About the Limelight



Avelino Valencia stands in his Anaheim Neighborhood.

Christian Reyes, Author

Avelino Valencia is a candidate for Anaheim City Council in District four. He is running against Annemarie-Randle Trejo, Julie Brunette, and Jeanine A. Robbins. Election Day for Anaheim’s City Council will be on November 3, 2020.  He told AE News that he is ready to focus on major issues that Anaheim faces now.

Born and raised in Anaheim, CA, Avelino Valencia attended local schools, such as South Junior High School and Katella High School. Growing up in Anaheim allowed him to develop a perspective of the city. He was very involved within his community, playing little league baseball at Boysen Park. His involvement in sports later took him to play Division-I football at San Jose State.
A son of Mexican-immigrant parents, he was the first person in his family to go to college. “School was a challenge to me. It did not come easy to me,” he says. Mr. Valencia attended Fullerton College, transferred to San Jose State, and later on received a Masters in public management from John Hopkins University, one of the nation’s most prestigious universities.
On the topic of our city’s issues, Mr. Valencia believes that our community’s key issue is public health. “Making sure that our residents are safe and healthy is a main priority.” He states that this is something that he is very much focused on. “The second issue that has been communicated with me is public safety. Whether that’s residents feeling comfortable walking down the street or families being able to go to the park and hang out or have a picnic.” Mr. Valencia states he is looking forward to working towards improving public safety in communities.

“I am committed towards working on developing a public health commissioner for the city of Anaheim,” Valencia says. “The city of Anaheim does not have a foundation at the city that actually incorporates public health into the policy and the resources and the services that the city provides.” He believes the commission will focus on the immediate need, making sure that they develop a plan to keep the economy back on track and the city’s residents safe, even for the long term.

Another change he wants to see is public safety. He wants to see a clear improvement surrounding the safety of the city. “We want to make sure that public safety officers are doing the duties they are assigned to do. If it’s the police, we want them to be fighting crime. For some time now, they’ve been given the responsibility of social service providers. They are well aware that they do not have the training to respond to these calls, including mental health abuse calls, domestic abuse calls. If we are able to shift that responsibility and provide qualified professionals to take off those calls, it will be beneficial.”

Avelino Valencia also wants to create a pipeline program for young Anaheim men and women to become police officers in Anaheim’s city. He believes that police officers should come from the community to connect to the residents and have some stake in protecting the community.

The third issue Avelino Valencia believes is affecting our city is the homeless crisis/housing components. He wants to figure out a way to provide housing across the spectrum by encouraging and developing more affordable housing. “Rent is increasing because we don’t have enough housing,” he says. Valencia believes that the city should also provide supportive services to help individuals reach what they’re trying to achieve along with housing.
“I’ve worked in Watts, Compton, South Central LA, some of the most impoverished communities. One of the things that stood out to me the most was that it was a great remedy (referring to the housing or projects) in the short term, but never really helped the community receive a stepping stone towards their future goals,” he explains.

On the topic of jobs, he was endorsed by the Orange County Labor Federation and firmly believes in workers’ rights. “By developing new projects, we’re going to provide short term jobs for construction, which are strong paying jobs. We are also going to be able to provide sustainable jobs down the line once the projects are developed,” he says.

City Council candidate Avelino Valencia believes the six-million dollars that were given to the tourist district was premature. “I agree with making sure that we are marketing our most valuable revenue stream in the city, but I believe it was premature in the time of COVID. I want to see the resources coming out of this city to be invested into providing rental assistance, testing sites, mortgages, PPE equipment, etc.”

On Anaheim’s topic of selling the Angel Stadium, Mr. Valencia would have liked to see more community input throughout the deal. “Components that I questioned were the amount of affordable housing that was going to be provided within the deal, and also why the city refunded the buyer for those housing units. Within my experience working in the state legislature, I have never seen that before.” He hopes that the projections of revenue provided based upon the information provided are accurate. “It should provide revenue streams down the line for the next generation of Anaheimers,” he says.

When it comes to the city’s handling of the Nobel COVID-19, Avelino Valencia believes the city should increase the outreach effort of information circulated into the communities about available resources. “We need to mitigate this storm and make sure that we’re able to get past it. I firmly believe once a vaccine is created and we’re able to get back to the swing of things, there will be better days ahead,” he says.

Around Anaheim, many problems are surrounding our communities and neighborhoods. “In my first year, at least within District 4, I am committed to having community neighborhood meetings at every park once we are past the pandemic,” Avelino Valencia says. He also states that this will create equity in every single neighborhood in Anaheim. He wants to make sure he’s actually talking to these communities about what change they want to see in their community.

He also thinks something that would benefit residents across the board is increasing our youth services and programs and increasing our senior community. “As Latinos, they are near and dear to our hearts, and unfortunately, our city has somewhat put them on the wayside.”

Election Day for City Council is on November 3. Avelino Valencia is going up against Jeanine Robbins, Annemarie-Trejo, and Julie Brunette, but what separates him from these candidates?

“I think it’s a combination of my personal, professional, and academic experiences. Understanding how the city has impacted and impacts our residents at different stages of life is crucial. That’s just one component of it thought,” he says.

Mr. Valencia also cites his understanding of how government works as an advantage. “With my eight years of legislative experience as a policy writer, I thoroughly understand what it takes to develop an effective policy. I’m not about the limelight. I’m more of a policy guy, a collaborator, a team builder, and I have the energy to do that,” he states. “Studying political science and achieving a master’s degree in public management from John Hopkins University has equipped me to get an academic understanding of what will be effective into improving the quality of life here for the long term,” Valencia says that he will make sure that the short and long term effects of these policies are panned out before they implement them.

Mr. Valencia has been criticized for receiving “dirty money” by other candidates running for the city council. He explains, “The money I have received is completely disclosed on the city websites. As of today, I have personally received $106,000 for my campaign, which has been raised through friends and family. Labor groups have been overwhelmingly supportive as well. The service industry too. They have all contributed heavily to my campaign. It is also some business groups who have contributed.”

“When it comes to outside entities providing funding and support of my candidacy, I have no control over that. It is illegal for me to intervene with any outside entity regarding any involvement that they have in this race. The mailpieces, the outreach, and my volunteers, all the disclosure, has to by law say that it’s coming from Valencia for Anaheim City Council 2020. Everything else, I have no control or say over. I did not ask for that help. That’s due to the Supreme Court president’s decisions and the Citizens United case.”

Avelino Valencia’s message to the city of Anaheim is, “I would like the residents of Anaheim to know that I am dedicating the next four years of my life to improving the quality of life for our residents. I will be selfless in those endeavors; I will put the residents’ needs first. I will make sure to treat others and carry myself in a manner that will establish a culture of collaboration and positivity in city hall that will benefit the residents long-term.”