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Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait: From sweetheart deals to pragmatic leadership for Anaheim

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 5, 2012

Anaheim Mayor Tom TaitSome of you might have seen the op-ed in the OC Register on Sunday by Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, but for those of you who missed it…

Tuesday’s election gives Anaheim voters an opportunity to bring independent voices and a fresh perspective to City Hall. It’s time to shift from a city council torn apart by sweetheart deals and special interests towards a cohesive, pragmatic council that is working together on behalf of all Anaheim residents.

Let me tell you why this is important and who can help me put Anaheim on a better path.

For the past year, our City Council has been dragged down by a debate over how best to spend taxpayer monies. The debate boils down to this: Whether we should safeguard limited city funds for traditional municipal services, such as public safety and civic upkeep, or whether we should give one hotel owner a $158 million taxpayer subsidy under the guise of economic development.

I’m a free-market guy who believes that government’s primary role in economic development is to provide greater freedom – through reduced regulation and ensuring a level playing field for all.

But much like the federal government’s “investment” in the solar energy company, Solyndra, this hotel deal is a gift of taxpayer dollars to just one business. It is political favoritism that benefits one company at the expense of all others. We can do better.

With Tuesday’s election, the voters have the opportunity to elect two people who also recognize that government needs to be fair, and who will work on behalf of all the people. That is why I have endorsed Lucille Kring and John Leos for City Council.

Anaheim is arguably the core of Orange County. We are the destination spot for millions of tourists each year. Those of us who are lucky enough to call Anaheim our home enjoy a diverse array of entertainment and cultural attractions that rival those of any large city. We have beautiful parks, good schools and kind neighborhoods.

But we also have a few problems that need our attention. We’ve addressed some of the issues around pension reform but more must be done. This summer’s protests that arose from the officer-involved shootings point out that even as we work to protect public safety, we need to unify Anaheim and ensure that prosperity and opportunity exist for all segments of our community. And we can create more jobs by continuing to help businesses get up and running faster, by cutting unnecessary job-killing regulations and ensuring that all businesses are treated equally.

Lucille Kring is an experienced public servant who, as the Register described “has a much-needed independent streak.” As a former business owner and city council member, she will bring knowledge and experience to the fiscal issues we are facing. She believes that government needs to be fair and transparent, which is something today’s voters are seeking.

John Leos will do a great job representing the people of Anaheim. After growing up in Anaheim, John and his wife, Shelly, have chosen to raise their family here. Like me, he is concerned about the feeling people have that their city government is not being run by the people, for the people. His public safety experience, his experience with the Anaheim public school system and his service in the U.S. Marine Corps will give the Anaheim City Council a new, independent voice and perspective.

Those of us who live in Anaheim are blessed. We have a beautiful, diverse city that offers something for everyone. However, there is work that needs to be done to bolster our economy, strengthen the city’s fiscal footing and open up our city’s election process to all segments of the community. I am hopeful that the Anaheim voters will send Lucille Kring and John Leos to City Hall to help me accomplish these important tasks.

25 Responses to “Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait: From sweetheart deals to pragmatic leadership for Anaheim”

  1. Thank God for Mayor Tom Tait.

  2. Allen Wilson said

    Mayor Tait tells it like it is. Wondering How the Pringle loyalists are going to spin this one? Comparing the $158 Million sweetheart hotel tax break to Solyndra is the truth and it must hurts!

    • Allen, you don’t have to support the GardenWalk deal to know that 1) the Solyndra comparison is, respectfully, absurd and 2) the notion of the “$158 million giveaway” is also a mischaracterization, not to mention a logical impossibility — no matter how many times Cynthia Ward and Jason Young say it.

      Are you honestly more alarmed by a single hotel deal than by the record-shattering amounts of money being spent by the OCEA and other government unions to elect an OCEA activist to the council of a city whose largest employee union is affiliated with the OCEA? Or is concern about government union influence yesterday’s fad in GOP circles?

      • Matt it is a $158 million giveaway. Those hotels will collect TOT, send it to the city, and the city will turn around and give that money away. Are you telling me Bill O’Connell and Ajesh Patel can’t leverage their own properties to build these hotels using their own money?

  3. Cynthia Ward said

    Murray already sent out a web rant, calling the Mayor “irresponsible” and whining that she does not get the same column exposure from the Register. Perhaps that is because A) her philosophy is entirely opposite that of the Register and they are in no way obligated to print the propaganda of a big government lackey and B) Mayor Tait is the Mayor, Council member Murray is not. (Although I understand the forces of evil plan to work on that come 2014. Good luck.)

    The fact is, Anaheim has a directly elected Mayor, someone the people chose as our leader, as our spokesperson, not Kris Murray. She does not get that. She sees them all as equal-actually I think she sees herself as smarter and is resentful at having to defer to a Mayor she feels is beneath her. Murray needs to wise up, quick. Win or lose today, Kris Murray and her handlers have burned significant bridges. One term Council member would be generous, she will be lucky if she is not recalled before ’14. I also predict some changes at Disney. And perhaps the Chamber. Even if they get their third vote to maintain that block that allows Murray to bully others from the dais, they have exposed themselves with blatant money grabbing, and folks are aware. Boy are they aware. People who have not spoken to each other in years are pulling together now. My enemies (and they are many) are calling asking what they can do. Murray and her posse have no clue what they have started. The people of Anaheim are aware and angry, and the election outcome may make a difference in how her selfish schemes are implemented, but it will not change the commitment of Anaheim’s neighborhood leaders to start watching her like hawks.

    Win or lose that side has seen the beginning of the end.

  4. Mayor Tait is the only current city council member that Anaheim residents can trust. Kris Murray is a liar.

    • Jason: if you want to see a liar, then take a look in the mirror. That is harsh, but true. For example, you’ve been claiming Disney is going to manage the GardenWalk hotels. Which is not true. You’ve claimed the GardenWalk TOT rebate will benefit Disney. Again, untrue.

      Even your execrable habit of calling Kris Murray a liar, is untrue — making you the real liar.

      Jason, there must be a way for you to make your point without making things up.

      • Matt, show me where Disney has come out and said they don’t plan to operate and brand those hotels? To the contrary, they have always planned to do so (this info comes direct from the City of Anaheim’s website):

        http://www.anaheim.net/images/articles/1520/May%2026%202009%20ECONOMIC%20ASSISTANCE%20AGREEMENT-%20GARDENWALK%20HOTEL%20DEVELOPMENT.pdf

        Go to http://www.saveanaheim.com and look at the videos we have posted of Kris Murray lying and manipulating the truth. You can call me a liar all you want Matt but I have actual proof that Kris Murray is a liar.

        • Matthew Cunningham said

          THAT is your proof? A 2009 staff report saying “The Owner is currently negotiating with the Walt Disnney Company (Operator) to manage and operate the hotels under its brand.”?

          Notice it doesn’t say “had signed an agreement with…” It pointed out ongoing negoations at the time.

          Guess what? That didn’t work out. Disney isn’t involved.

          And if Disney had purchased the hotels, they wuldn’t have recevied a dime of TOT money (see the document to which you’re linking).

          You relying on that document as evidence is like someone pointing to the S.A.L.T. treaty as evidence the USSR still exists.

          • Show me where Disney has come out and said they don’t plan to brand and operate those hotels? Or should I take your word for it?

            • I’ve noticed that your M.O. Is to make a claim, usually accusing to object of your wrath of some sort of legal, ethical or political wrong-doing, and then demand that they proves themselves innocent of your charges.

              Here again, you are demanding to have a negative disproved. It’s no different than employing the old “When did you stop beating your wife?” tactic.

              • Matt – Your arguments hold not water. You claim Disney isn’t involved so prove it?

                • Matthew Cunningham said

                  Huh? My arguments? I pointed out the truth: that document you link to does not support your claims. And remember, you are the one making claims. The burden is on you to prove them.

                  That’s another thing I have noticed about your bloggin style: making flat assertions without backing them up. You simply state your opinion as a fact, and then challenge anyone who disagrees to prove you wrong.

  5. Matt, while Disney claims they are no longer interested, the City Attorney still left them listed in the most recent amended agreement. And while it appears on the surface that Disney is forbidden to assume the subsidy, the cancellation has to be triggered by Anaheim. All it takes is 3 Council members unwilling to cancel the deal and they pocket the subsidy. Until I see a real deal on the table listing someone else, I will continue to watch this one like a hawk. Why won ‘t O’Connell name his investor? His insistence on secrecy just fuels the rumors of insider deals.

    • That’s a lot of speculation, “maybes” and assumptions on your part, Cynthia. Consultancy theories aren’t proof. Given how vehemently you were (wrongly) insisting that Kris Murray was running Citizens for Anaheim, I don’t place much faith in your assertions here.

      • Matt – Kris was a part of that PAC up until recently.

        • Matthew Cunningham said

          Jason, from what I can determine, she was listed once on a campaign form as a chair, in 2009. More than three years ago. Before she was even a council candidate. That’s it. Hardly consonant with the claim repeatedly made by you and Cynthia that Kris runs Citizens for Anaheim.

          But those, unfortunately, are the most effective falsehoods: lies with a grain of truth mixed in.

  6. Cynthia Ward said

    Matt, this from the FPPC regarding Amended 410 forms:

    “So long as the Form 410 on file contains all the required information noted above, an amended
    statement need only include the committee name, identification number, if assigned, and completed
    verification along with the new information requiring an amendment.  It is not necessary to resubmit a
    fully completed form.  For example, if a committee is only changing the treasurer’s address, the
    amendment will be accepted so long as on Page 1 the new address is provided along with the
    committee name, identification number and completed verification. ”

    In short, information is kept on file and considered current until an Amendment changes the information. If spaces are left blank the FPPC refers back to the information in the last report made for that piece of information. Leaving an officer off the filing does not mean they are gone, they remain in place until a new officer is named. Kris Murray was listed as Chair in 2009, as you confirmed, and the FPPC assumes that information remains intact, until a change is reported. In that case Kris Murray appears to have been Chair from 2009 when she was first listed, until 2012 when a new Chair was named and the Amended 410 was submitted.

    Check with the FPPC for yourself. And while you are at it, ask them about the penalties for donating professional services for which one is customarily paid. Is your new found attention to Anaheim an in kind donation from you to a candidate?Or is your professional service an independent expenditure? Sooner or later one of those disclosures needs to be filed. And it goes without saying that it should be disclosed in your articles. Once upon a time you used to do that.

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      Cynthia, that is a very bureacractic interpretation from a newbie posing as some sort of expert. Someone being listed at some point like that on the form is not necessarily a reflection of ongoing involvement. It can mean, and often does, that no one updated the info. You and Jason latch onto this and wave it around like you’ve gotten a hold of a smoking gun, when it is nothing of the kind.

      And what I am doing is engaging in free speech, and am unmoved by sarcasm from you (not exactly Ms. Transparency of 2012) or Jason Young, whose writing style and depth of intellectual expression would have been right at home in the old Soviet Union’s “Pravda.”

      • Matt – you are a piece of work. You go from protecting a priest who allowed sexual abuse to run rampant in the church to being paid to pretend to give %#%#$ about Anaheim. I’m done engaging you and your kind. Best of luck on your Anaheim Blog. Too bad nobody is paying attention but the idiots that are driving Anaheim into the ground.

        • Matthew Cunningham said

          And your parting shot is a gross misrepresentation of what happened; just parroting what one of OC’s masters of misrepresentation has written. Par for the course, Jason.

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