It isn't enough that Disney and their minions at SOAR, OCTAX, OCBC, and The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce pushed thru the GIVEAWAY of $158 million in future tax revenue to build 2 luxury hotels at the GardenWalk Ghost Town. Hotels that were, and I believe still are, slated to be operated and branded as Disney properties.
To jog your memory, read this portion of a City of Anaheim staff report and then watch SOAR aka Disney members vocally supporting the $158 million giveaway:
Now Disney wants Anaheim and federal/state tax dollars to fund a ridiculous rail system to shuttle its guests between ARTIC, their future 4 star Disney branded and operated GardenWalk hotels, and the Anaheim Convention Center.
Disney's business model is absolutely genius. Here's how, I believe, they pulled off the $158 million GardenWalk Hotel deal:
Step 1: Mayor Curt Pringle begins subsidizing hotel development under his administration. GardenWalk Hotel developer and Pringle pal Bill O'Connell applies for the subsidy. The City of Anaheim hires Keyser Marston and Assoc. to determine how much subsidy is needed. O'Connell receives a $40 million subsidy and Disney gets on board to operate and brand the hotels once built. GardenWalk fails and goes bankrupt before the hotels are built.
Step 2: Disney spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2010 to elect a puppet council consisting of Eastman, Murray, and Tait. All backed by Disney, SOAR, OCBC, OCTAX, and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately for them, Tom Tait can't be bought but that's no problem cause they still have Sidhu when it comes to voting to increase the subsidy.
Step 3: O'Connell comes back to the council (with Pringle now his paid lobbyist) and asks for an increase of $118 million (80% of the TOT for 15 years) due to the current market conditions. Without any study whatsoever to determine if this amount is reasonable (as they had done in 2009), Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu vote to giveaway $158 million in future tax revenue. Mayor Tom Tait, Lorri Galloway, and our current City Manager and former finance director Bob Wigenroth OPPOSE the plan. Subsequently a lawsuit is filed against the City of Anaheim and a drive to allow voters to approve future subsidies is set in motion.
Step 4: The Anaheim City Clerk gives incorrect information to the group trying to get a ballot measure passed to allow voters to approve future subsidies. Signature drive fails. Mayor Tait brings forward a motion to put ballot initiative on the ballot and it is voted down by the Disney majority. Murray, Eastman, and Sidhu claim it's all about jobs when the reality is there is no agreement that calls for anyone local to be hired, to pay prevailing wages, or hire union labor. In addition there is no community benefit (ie. parks, affordable housing, etc. .) like there was for LA Live in downtown LA (which was heavily subsidized). LA residents received the following community benefits in relation to the LA LIVE Project:
$1,000,000 for the creation or improvement of parks and recreational facilities.
$25,000 per year for a term of five years for the creation of a residential parking permit program.
An agreement to comply with the city’s living wage ordinance and to make all reasonable efforts to reach the goal of ensuring that 70% of the jobs created by the project pay a living wage.
An agreement to give priority hiring to persons displaced by the project and to low income individuals residing within three miles of the project.
Job training programs to be coordinated with community groups.
$100,000 in seed money for a first source (i.e. local) hiring program.
A requirement that 20% of the residential units in the project be affordable.
$650,000 in interest-free loans to non-profit housing developers for the creation of additional affordable housing.
An agreement to cooperate with the coalition to establish an advisory committee to assist with the implementation and enforcement of the agreement.
Step 5: The heavily Disney funded groups (OCBC, SOAR, OCTAX, Chamber of Commerce) work to elect new puppets to replace Galloway and Sidhu. Choosing to run Jordan Brandman and Steve " Chavez" Lodge. Apparently they didn't vet Lodge cause it turns out he was found liable for using excessive force against a jaywalker and cost the City of Santa Ana hundreds of the thousand of dollars. Documents from the case, obtained by our sources, show that the federal judge called Lodge a liar.
Then we have Jordan Brandman who:
a. Vocally supported the giveaway of $158 million in future tax revenue at two city council meetings.
b. Takes credit for Oxford Academy for which he had nothing to do with.
c. Is being investigated by the DA for wrongdoing at AUHSD.
d. Opposed the Let the People vote initiative that would have put future giveaway decisions in the hands of Anaheim voters.
e. Supported by SOAR, OCBC, OCTAX, and The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. The four entities that could care less about our community and who's sole purpose is to line their own pocketbooks.
Step 6 (the future): Brandman gets elected, cause we all know Lodge is toast, and continues the master plans of Eastman/Murray/Pringle/Disney. Which would include:
1. Expanding the Anaheim Convention Center by using the nonexistent additional TOT revenue that they gave away to the GardenWalk Hotel developer for 15 years.
2. Pushing forward Disney's taxpayer funded rail system to shuttle their guests. to their new GardenWalk Hotels and theme parks.
3. Use the failed ARCTIC transportation hubs massive parking garage to house Disney's 3rd gate parking lot. Why build it themselves when they can have one built on someone else's dime and reap all the benefits?
4. Grant more and more extensions to the GardenWalk hotel developer and maybe even approve a larger more outrageous TOT subsidy. Cause we all know it's really about jobs not corporate welfare to the elite of OC.
Mr. Pringle, do you realize that I would never have created this blog, spent money promoting candidates and opposing yours, spoken out at council meetings, commented on articles online, distributed lawn signs, filed public records requests, etc. . if you and your council majority simply took care of the basics:
1. A pro-active code enforcement department to keep property owners accountable for maintaining their properties. I shouldn't have to call the city to come out and force my neighbors to simply mow their lawn, paint their house, pick-up trash, etc. . .
2. A graffiti abatement program staffed by full time employees not the part time folks we have working on it now. A full time problem needs a full time staff. Funny how I never see graffiti in the Disneyland Resort area.
3. Curbing the swap meets that take place on my neighbors lawns on a weekly basis. Garage sales are for getting rid of unwanted junk once a year not to supplement ones income.
4. Limiting the amount of ice cream trucks who annoy me and my neighbors on a daily basis. We are up to 4 right now. One plays Christmas music year round. :(
5. Cleaning up our parks, expanding library hours, replacing retired police office etc. . .
It's all about balance really. All of Anaheim needs to be supported not just the Anaheim resort. That's where you made your biggest mistake Mr. Pringle.