Anaheim Councilmember Kris Murray Responds To Tom Tait
Posted by OC Insider on November 6, 2012
In her e-newsletter yesterday, Anaheim Councilmember Kris Murray published this response to the op-ed by Mayor Tom Tait published in yesterday’s Orange County Register (it was very, very unusual for the OC Register to provide space for a campaign endorsement op-ed the day before an election):
In an op-ed to bolster his endorsed candidates, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait irresponsibly compares investment in Anaheim’s resort district to the failed Solyndra solar power deal and says that such investment amounts to “sweetheart deals” and pandering to “special interests.” Does it really need to be said again that forward looking economic investment is is what makes Anaheim unique among cities. Or that our city’s 60-year, mutually beneficial partnership with Orange County’s largest employer is not a special interest?
The truth is that public-private partnerships with the resort district have allowed Anaheim to balance the budget with cash reserves at a time when other cities are bankrupt. Investment in parks, libraries and gang reduction programs are being made at a time when other cities are contracting out basic services they can no longer afford to provide. Mayor Tait’s claim that the Garden Walk economic assistance program is a $158 million give-away is false. In fact, the city’s data is very clear that the action taken by the council earlier this year to amend a long-standing program for $40 million in additional tax reduction was designed to secure a $300 million, four-star hotel development. The Garden Walk hotels will actually raise $187 million over 20 years in new revenue to the city’s general fund – funding that will support police, fire, parks, libraries without raising taxes on our residents or businesses. I encourage Anaheim residents to learn more about the city’s long-standing economic assistance programs on the city’s web page at http://www.anaheim.net/articlenew2222.asp?id=1520.
It’s been said that the OC Register is staunchly Libertarian, supposedly pro-business and supportive of sound fiscal policies, but their attacks on the resorts and on council policy are now becoming a pattern. When I attempted to rebut anti-business language in another recent editorial, I was given 250 words buried a week later under the day’s letters. The placement of a nearly full page op-ed, the day before the election, is clearly an orchestrated effort by the Register’s editorial staff to take aim at Anaheim’s business community – and completes an unprecedented campaign by the Register to impact the outcome of Anaheim’s elections for the mayor’s endorsed candidates. In his op-ed, Mayor Tait claims to be a “free market guy.” Why then are the business community, the resort district, the Anaheim Chamber, OC Tax, Orange County Business Council, community leaders, and many more, endorsing the two opponents facing Mayor Tait’s candidates? Why is the mayor endorsing a candidate who is a vocal supporter of gate taxes at Disneyland, Honda Center and Angels Stadium? I think it’s time that balanced reporting is done on the impacts of Anaheim’s stadium and resort districts – not just in our city, but countywide.
In Anaheim, we’re focusing on improving our community, torn apart not by special interests but by those who support change ushered in with violence and hatred. Politicians who support these anti-Anaheim voices aren’t pragmatic and independent. They’re desperate.