Mayor Dan Slater
Mayor Dan Slater

Mayor Dan Slater

The bedridden woman Dan Slater went to visit once a week in the early 1980s had difficulty speaking, but the smile on her face remains vivid in his memories.  Slater and his college buddies visited the 90-year-old woman and numerous others at an Orange convalescent home because some of the residents did not have visitors all year.

It’s one of many examples of how Slater treats others with respect—an approach he applies to life, his work as a longtime real estate broker, and now as the new mayor of Orange.

“I want to apply this philosophy to City Hall and treat the entire community with respect like they should be treated,” Slater says.

Slater was sworn in as mayor in December, returning to city government after 20 years.  He previously served as a city council member from 1994 to 2002, helping to preserve the historic district and improve the city as a whole.  Slater decided to run for mayor in 2022 to address homelessness in the city.

A third-generation Orange resident, Slater’s family members have lived in the city since the 1880s.  After graduating from Orange Lutheran High School, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton in 1985.  Slater has served as a member of the Orange Rotary Club, president of the Old Towne Preservation Association and president of the Orange Chamber of Commerce, among other organizations.  He lives in Old Towne in a 1923 California bungalow that he restored.

Slater had already started working as a real estate agent by the time he was at Cal State and sold his second house on his last day of college.  He is the broker/owner for Orange Realty, Inc.—the oldest real estate firm in the city.  Slater is known for embracing the customer-service model to gain loyal clients.

“A large part of my success in real estate is due to customer service and how you serve customers,” he says.  “If you always treat customers like you would want to be treated, they will want to use your services again.”

Longtime friend and former real estate law paralegal Gillian DeGraff, who helped with Slater’s mayoral campaign, has seen his approach firsthand.

“Dan is good-natured and friendly and always takes the time to really listen to what people have to say,” she says.  “These qualities are what people really respect.”

His service extends beyond his professional and government role.  DeGraff says he helps clean up trash on the 55 Freeway once per month and has taken homeless children Christmas shopping in his service with the rotary club.

Since December, the mayor has been developing a plan to address homelessness in the city by establishing a temporary shelter.  It’s a resource that is needed because currently a homeless person has to go to neighboring Buena Park or Placentia to find a bed, and often those facilities are full with a waiting list.

“We’re doing the best we can with our resources, but the critical missing link is a temporary shelter where we can provide beds to anyone who is on the street,” Slater says.  He and other city officials are currently looking for a location for a 60-bed facility in Orange.

To improve customer service for residents, Slater and the rest of the council approved the addition of a second council meeting per month.  The change went into effect in March.

And to boost public transparency, Slater created a new “Meet with the Mayor” program to offer residents a chance to schedule appointments with him and share their concerns.

Slater sees a bright future for Orange, given its location and unique neighborhoods.  “People who grew up here stay here, and I think that says a lot about our community,” he says. “People truly love our city.”

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Mayor Slater offers 30 minute "Meet the Mayor" conversations, every Wednesday and Thursday, between 5 - 7 pm, to discuss issues that are important for the city.  To schedule an appointment, please contact Senior Executive Assistant Corrina Rivas at [email protected] or 714-744-2219.

Article Published in the
Mar / Apr 23 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
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