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Whittier mayor recaps State of the City remarks

WHITTIER — Yesterday, the Whittier Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual State of the City, but this year it looked a bit different…it was all virtual!


I want to share with you some of what I discussed.


Although this is a challenging time in our community, I want to emphasize that Whittier’s on the Move. We have not, and will not, allow COVID-19 to keep us from connecting with one another and enjoying our friendships and what we have together in Whittier.


Although we’re wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and having to do some things differently, the people of Whittier have continued to work together, adapt in the face of adversity, and get back to business.


If you haven’t seen a neighbor or regular acquaintance, take the time to reach out by text, email, telephone or safely, in person.  Let people know we care! That’s the Whittier way.


I am concerned that many people have become fearful and afraid to step out of their residence.  Of course, if you are physically infirm, it is prudent and good to stay at home. But if we properly mask and distance, there is no reason why we can’t enjoy all the friendships, all the good things we have in Whittier.


Thank you to all of YOU for your commitment to doing just that, and I can assure you that City staff is busy looking for new and innovative ways to continue providing you with safe, engaging opportunities and activities in the months ahead.


As most of you know, my priorities for the coming year remain Public Safety, Economic Development & Jobs, and staying true to Whittier’s values:


Public Safety


Thank you to our police – I’m proud of the strides we’ve made to support and staff the Department this year. We will not defund; we will defend the Whittier Police Department.


Due to the increase in population at The Groves, we’ll likely need to look at adding fire service to our area as well.  We need to start this discussion. And Proposition 20, Keep California Safe, is on the November ballot. More on that to come…


Economic Development/Jobs


Part of our annual economic development strategy will again focus on the City’s partnership with PIH Health and potential expansion opportunities. We’ll continue to look to create jobs in the bio tech, medical R&D, and healthcare industries in the hospital area.


I would like to see a “People Mover” in the near future that would tie Whittier’s lifestyle centers and job hubs together, making shopping, dining, entertainment and work locations more accessible to residents and visitors alike. The Gold Line will also tie into the People Mover and is a critical win for Whittier and transit-oriented housing development opportunities-We need to keep moving the Gold Line forward.


And as always, we will continue supporting businesses and restaurants in Uptown Whittier, shaping it as a destination attraction and working collaboratively with the Uptown Association and the Uptown Improvement Association to enhance the area. This includes our Greenleaf Promenade and outdoor dine & shop program – we’ll be discussing how this works after the fall season at the first Council meeting in October. 


We know this has been a lifeline for many and we are glad that the community has embraced it, even amidst public health restrictions.


Whittier Values


As a City, we are also committed to furthering the values our community holds dear: respect, responsibility, and caring for others.  I am proud of our Council, our staff, our many volunteers and The Salvation Army on the tremendous amount of time and effort that has gone into opening a temporary emergency shelter at the Senior Center. 


Coordinating housing for Whitter’s residents is a top priority and our ability to provide shelter beds, meals, and support services to those in need is something to be celebrated. We will continue to look for opportunities to assist those experiencing homelessness in our community as we near the opening of a more comprehensive Navigation Center on Pickering early next year.


And in a final call to action, I encourage each of us to support the mission of our local non-profit organizations and faith communities which is to be of support and service to our people.


These groups are doing the tireless work of caring for and supporting our most vulnerable residents and I appreciate their ongoing contributions to our community-this is who we are, this is what makes Whittier, Whittier…Whittier, Whittier…

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