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Peter Grant becomes second-longest-serving manager of the City of Cypress (updated)

On July 14, 2014, then City Clerk Denise Basham swore in new Cypress City Manager Peter Grant.

Cypress City Clerk Denise Basham swears in new Cypress City Manager Peter Grant on July 14, 2014. Photo by C.E.H. Wiedel.
Cypress City Clerk Denise Basham swears in new Cypress City Manager Peter Grant on July 14, 2014. Photo by C.E.H. Wiedel.

On July 14, 2022, Peter Grant becomes the second-longest-serving manager in the City’s history. Only Darrell Essex, who oversaw the growth of the City from 4,000 residents to 46,000 residents, served longer — for 34 years beginning in 1962. The former Texaco Chestnut Park on Ball Road, built on land donated by Texaco, was renamed Darrell Essex Park in his honor. Mr. Essex passed away on April 17, 2019.

The patchwork of business park specific plans that he put together to entice large businesses to the only city in Orange County with no direct freeway access is now being updated in a project initiated by Mr. Grant and overseen by Cypress Planning Director Alicia Velasco.

Because of a conservative fiscal policy maintained by the Cypress City Council and managed by Mr. Grant and his staff, the City of Cypress weathered the economic and political turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic in a sturdy fashion, enabling the City to extend support to residents and businesses in need of help through both existing programs and innovative new programs designed and implemented by City Staff.

Two new parks have been built during Mr. Grant’s tenure: Mackay Park on Walker Street north of Lincoln Avenue and Lexington Park on the southeast corner of Cerritos Avenue and Lexington Drive. Additionally, a major renovation of the City’s oldest park, Cypress Arnold Park, is currently underway. A preliminary design was approved on July 11, 2022.

A long-anticipated remodeling of the police department facility was completed, with the renewed facility open for public tours during a revived Police Open House earlier this year.

Peter Grant’s thoughts on the milestone (update)

When asked for his throughts on reaching this significant milestone in the City’s history and his personal career, Mr. Grant replied:

It’s hard to put into words what serving as Cypress City Manager for the last eight years has meant to me. I’m enormously proud of the City team. The people who serve Cypress motivate me to come to work and do my part to ensure this is a great place to live, work and play.

The City has accomplished some remarkable things since 2014. When I think about the biggest or most important achievements, the first thing that comes to mind is how special it is to see the City’s hard work reflected back by the community. Recently that’s been seeing families enjoy Salute to America, Cypress Girls Softball players cheering when the City Council approved the Arnold Cypress Park redesign, and helping a family displaced by a fire rebuild their home.

While government moves at the speed of democracy, we’ve gotten a lot done in eight years:

  • We’ve built and invested in facilities. Mackay and Lexington parks are the first new parks in Cypress since the 1990s. We found creative ways to upgrade the Senior Center, modernize the Police station and re-imagine Arnold Cypress Park.
  • We’ve increased services to the community while shrinking our workforce by about 15%.
  • We’ve won awards for our financial management practices, strengthened the City’s reserves, addressed pension liabilities, and established best practice fiscal policies.
  • Back-to-back community surveys (2018 and 2022) have praised the job we do delivering resident services.
  • We’ve strengthened relationships with the business community, supported our businesses through the pandemic, and vitalized the Katella Avenue corridor. Shea’s The Square Cypress mixed-used center (just west of Costco) is a project the City started working on in 2008 and next year it’ll be home to Trader Joe’s!
  • We’ve made Cypress safer, by bringing back the Police department open house, adding a dedicated School Resource Police Officer, and forming a regional partnership to address homelessness.
  • Our Public Engagement Plan, redesigned website, Cypress Central app, and The Progress newsletter have connected us with residents more frequently than ever before.

But my vote for the most significant contribution I’ve made to Cypress is working with the City Council to embrace strategic planning. Our twice a year strategic planning workshops ensure we step back from day-to-day operations and ask where Cypress is headed and what our priorities should be.

I’m honored to have earned the City Council’s confidence and my recent contract extension. I’m inspired by the people I work with. My family and I are committed and engaged in Cypress (Owen will be third grader in Cypress School District next school year) and I’m looking forward to ensuring Cypress continues to succeed!

Community survey

A new community survey commissioned by the City and released in May showed high levels of satisfaction with the City. Conducted by True North Research of Encinitas, the survey collected responses from 707 randomly selected residents and has a margin of error of ±3.7%. It follows up on a similar community survey conducted by the same company in 2018. A conclusion from the new survey:

Perhaps the best indicator of a well-managed city is that when offered an open-ended opportunity to suggest one change the City could make to improve the quality of life in Cypress, close to one-third (32%) of respondents could not think of a change they desired or stated flatly that no changes are needed — everything is fine. These were the two most frequently mentioned responses to the question!

Some demographic information from the survey:

Selected demographics 2022 2018
Ethnicity (QD7)    
Af Amer/Black 4.3 2.7
Asian American 33.9 26.4
Caucasian / White 38.3 37.6
Latino / Hispanic 18.5 18.6
Mixed or other 3.4 7.1
Prefer not to answer 1.6 7.6
Survey Language (QD7)    
English 90.4 87.3
Spanish 3.6 7.2
Korean 5.9 5.6
Highlights from the 2022 Cypress Community Survey, conducted by True North Research, Inc.
Highlights from the 2022 Cypress Community Survey, conducted by True North Research, Inc.

6 Comments

  1. If you read this article without paying attention, you would think that Peter Grant is the only person in Cypress city government that is doing anything.

  2. Does Cypress pay you for this progoganda? This is insane. Peter Grant is self serving and extended his contract from two to four years the first time. And now he’s giving himself more money, on a contract he wrote, with an NDA stating nobody can say a bad thing about him when he’s fired.

    Which for the sake of my beautiful community, he will be.

    1. Author

      KS,

      Thank you for reading Orange County Breeze, and for taking the time to comment on this article.

      To answer your question: no, the City of Cypress does not pay Orange County Breeze. Since “propaganda” implies misinformation in support of a wicked cause, the staff of Orange County Breeze requests that you list specific examples of non-factual misinformation in this article, so that we may publish a correction as warranted. We try not to support wicked causes.

      Your comment about the new contract recently approved by the Cypress City Council with Mr. Grant does not apply to this article, since the article does not mention the contract.

      Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze.

      Shelley Henderson
      editor, Orange County Breeze

      1. You try not to support “wicked causes”?

        What does that mean, exactly?

        You gave Grant an entire article to tout how advanced and high functioning his tenure is.

        And I could go on about how aggressively statistically unreliable the survey is. I could post articles from actual journalists that have been doing their due diligence. But for now, just note that this ain’t journalism. Thisnis propaganda.

        1. Author

          KS,

          You accused Orange County Breeze of publishing “propaganda.” The word is used to label examples of communication in support of something. The person applying that label generally disapproves of either the something or the communication supporting that something, or both. The something would be a wicked cause in the judgement of the person who disapproves of supporting it. A piece of communication supporting that wicked cause must be nonfactual or misleading.

          Specifically, you seem to judge Peter Grant as so wicked a person that he can have no positive accomplishments as described in the article, reducing the article to worthless propaganda, easily dismissed.

          I asked for specific examples of non-factual misinformation from the article, so that we here at Orange County Breeze may correct ourselves. You responded only by asserting that the community survey is “aggressively statistically unreliable” without offering specifics. Please give specifics on how the community survey is unreliable, and we will address the specifics. We will not accept the bare assertion of unreliability as proof.

          Further, are any of the accomplishments described in the article falsely claimed? If so, which ones? And what is your proof of the falsehood?

          Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze, and for taking the time to comment on this article.

          Shelley Henderson
          editor, Orange County Breeze

  3. Congratulations Peter Grant!

Comments are closed.