Anaheim, CA â€“ History was made on Tuesday, December 4, when Harry S. Sidhu, P.E. was sworn in as the first Sikh Indian American Mayor of the City of Anaheim â€“ the tenth most populous city in California.
The inaugural event took place at River Arena next to Anaheim City Hall which was filled to capacity. He took the oath of office placing his hands on the revered Guru Granth Sahib held by Sikh priest Jaswant Singh Jiera of the Riverside Gurdwara - Sikh Temple Riverside.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Megan Wagner administered the oath in the presence of Sidhuâ€™s wife Gin and son Rohan. His daughter Sohina was unable to attend due to graduate studies at the Yale School of Drama in Connecticut.
Mayor Sidhuâ€™s immediate and extended family members and community at large attended the event. His supporters recited the Sikh slogan of victory and exultation, â€˜Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!â€™
Mayor Sidhu dedicated his service to the memory of his beloved mother-in-law, Manjeet Kaur, who recently passed away, and thanked his parents for the gift they gave to their children in bringing them to America almost 50 years ago to ensure that they would have a bright future filled with opportunity.
He opened his inaugural speech by announcing â€˜Anaheim is open for business!.â€™ â€˜I immigrated to this great country 44 years ago from India, with little more to my name than the hopes and dreams I brought with me. To now be sworn into office as the 46th Mayor of this large, vibrant city is proof the American Dream is alive and well in Anaheim. As your Mayor, it will be my mission to enact policies to ensure that Anaheim is the â€˜City of the American Dream,â€™ said Sidhu.
â€˜In Anaheim, the doors of opportunity will always be open for everyone to participate in the American Dream! Funding the investments our neighborhoods need and deserve depends on a rising tide of economic growth and tax revenues. By using the revenues generated by these assets and applying them into putting our residents and neighborhoods first â€“ we can make Anaheim the City of the American Dream.â€™
As his first order of business as Mayor Sidhu called a Special Council Meeting within 48 hours of his inauguration, on Thursday, December 6, during which Anaheimâ€™s City Council approved moving forward with an interim emergency homeless shelter to help people out of homelessness during the critical winter months and address growing impacts on the cityâ€™s parks and neighborhoods. It is expected to come online by the end of December and operate for up to 90 days, closing once two planned temporary shelters open in January and February. The interim emergency shelter is the result of a public-private partnership to benefit neighborhoods and the homeless between Anaheim and Visit Anaheim Cares, the nonprofit arm of Visit Anaheim, which promotes tourism and represents the cityâ€™s visitor industry.
â€˜Homelessness is both a humanitarian and civic crisis,â€™ Mayor Sidhu said. â€˜Our streets and parks were never meant to be places for people to live, and we have seen the toll it has taken on our residents, businesses and neighborhoods. At the same time, we have the urgent need to help those living in homelessness with the cold and wet weather of winter upon us.â€™
Sidhu was elected to the City Council in 2004 with the highest votes among 13 candidates.
He represents a true rags to riches story. Arrived in the
"We arrived in
He worked with several companies before staring his own business. At one time he operated 28 fast food outlets.
Siddhu earlier said he did not start his public life expecting any position. "It all began with helping school soccer team and school charity program. Then I worked for other organizations like the historical society," he said.
It brought recognition from others. "I have a natural tendency to get along well with the people. Helping other people is in my blood." He also tried to solve local problems, and help older people, which made him popular.
So he thought of public office and contested in 2000 unsuccessfully. Yet he was the fourth among the 11 candidates.
He said he chose to live in
He says his political philosophy is a simple one. "Individual opportunity and a healthy environment help foster individual achievement. I have seen this with my own life, and others around me. I believe that less government is better."
His wife Gin helps him in the business. His father Karnail Singh Gyani is a writer and poet.
He said politics has not affected his business as he has made sound investments.For more information visit www.anaheim.net and www.harrysidhu.com