ANAHEIM: History was made in Southern California when Harry Sidhu was inaugurated as the mayor of Disneyland city, Anaheim. He is now the first Indian American to claim the seat in the tenth most populous city of California. The inaugural event took place at River Arena next to Anaheim City Hall, which was filled to capacity. Sidhu was joined on stage by Orange County Superior Court Judge Megan Wagner with his wife Gin, son Rohan and Sikh priest Jaswant Singh Jiera of the Riverside Gurdwara-Sikh Temple Riverside.
A statement issued by Sidhu's office said he took the oath on the Guru Granth Sahib scripture. Also present at the inaugural ceremony were Sidhu's family members and hundreds of longtime Indian American community supporters who upon completion of the oath administration shouted “Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!” The 61 year old dedicated his service as mayor 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 the United States almost 50 years ago. He opened his inaugural speech by announcing “Anaheim is open for business!”
“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 'City of the American Dream',” he said. The first Sikh mayor also added, “ 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 – we can make Anaheim the City of the American Dream.”
Sidhu also addressed homelessness, and said, “Homelessness is both a humanitarian and civic crisis. Our streets and parks were never meant to be places for people to live, and we have seen the toll 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.”
Sidhu called a Special Council Meeting within 48 hours of his inauguration, during which the City Council approved moving forward with an interim emergency homeless shelter to help people out of homelessness during the critical winter months. It is expected to come online by the end of December and operate for up to 90 days.