Orange County Register | January 3, 2017 –
Steve Faessel knows he’s the unknown on a divided City Council.
Faessel, 66, who was elected to represent District 5 in the city’s new district-based system, says he is the middle man who hopes to bring the two sides together.
“I’m a centrist,” he said during a recent one-hour, one-on-one interview at Applebee’s. “I’m hoping to find consensus. I’d like to bring the people and ideas together.”
Faessel is the “Anaheim kid” on the council. At times during the lunch he nearly choked up talking about his love for the city.
Faessel was born and raised here. He attended the former St. Boniface Catholic School with the children of the Ganahl Lumber family and Carl’s Jr. founder and restaurant owner Carl Karcher. He married his wife, Susan, at St. Boniface Catholic Church. While his older brothers and sisters moved away, he took care of his mother after their father died in the 1970s. He bought a home and worked at Ace Hardware for more than 50 years and taught electrical code for 41 years. He’s been an active member of the community, having sat on several local group boards.
Though he was criticized heavily for the hefty financial support he received from Disneyland and the business community during the election, Faessel said people shouldn’t judge him by those donations. His goal is to “work with the business side and work with the civic side. But I am always neighborhoods first.”
Here are a few more questions the Bulletin asked him:
Q. How was your first City Council meeting? What are your goals on the council?
A. You saw my colleague, Denise Barnes, bring up the state of parks in District 1. To me, it’s more important to me to look at all of the city’s parks, and not just parks, but the whole community services system. It’s been 27 years since we’ve had a strategic plan. It’s well over due. That is something by looking big picture all the parks, in all of the districts.
Q. The Angels baseball team is in your district. What are your thoughts on the the city’s on-going negotiations with team owner Arte Moreno?
A. (As a new member of the council, Faessel has not been briefed on the situation yet but said he has followed the negotiations in the news). I want to keep the Angels in Anaheim. You could put that in bold letters. But with a significant income stream to the city. Now that needs to be determined how that works. Angels baseball has been synonymous with the city for 50 years. It’s a significant city asset. It brings attention to the community in positive ways.
Q. The Platinum Triangle is also in your district. What do you see the Platinum Triangle growing into?
A. Much more (like) the LT Global project. I sat on the general plan advisory committee (2000 – 2004), from which the Platinum Triangle arrived. It was going to be entertainment, business, mixed use, apartments, condos, excitement, energy and then what happened? The recession hit. And so we now have mid-rise stacked housing up and down Katella. We need to (pump) it up a little. To me, the LT Project is the model I would like to see move forward and that means if Mr. Moreno wants to move forward or do something similar on (the Angels’) properties, then I’m all for it. I want the Angels to stay and I want the city to have significant annual income.
Q. Who Steve Faessel is? What are your hobbies?
A. I love to read. Most of my material is having to do with infrastructure. I’m an infrastructure geek. Anything having to do with statewide water issues and statewide water policies. It’s very complicated. I look at the water on the table. We could have pumped it, but even there it could have come as close as 242 miles or as far away as 600 miles.
Q. When you have friends coming in from out of town, where’s your favorite place to take them?
A. Anaheim White House. If (owner) Bruno (Serato) is there, I always try to find Bruno and ask him to tell them his story about his outreach for the kids. And that usually results in a large tip or donation. Several years ago, I hosted a group of people from General Electric. They wanted to go to Newport Beach, but I told them, ‘No I’ll take you to a special place.’ I took them to the White House and General Electric later made a donation to Caterina’s Club (the restaurant’s charitable foundation).
Q. You’re the Anaheim Kid. When you look back at your life, are you surprised that you’re now here sitting on the City Council?
A. I am where I’m supposed to be … That sounds sort of cornball and I don’t mean it to be. This town means a great deal to me. I was born here, raised here, never left. I’ve raised my family here, received my first job here, was educated here, married here. It’s given me a lot and I need to give back.