OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘GardenWalk Hotel’

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.

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , , | 25 Comments »

OCEA Robocall Targets Anaheim Council’s Murray, Eastman, and Sidhu – Again

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 28, 2012

OCEA had a Sunday, February 12 robocall and a Saturday, February 11 mailer targeting Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu.  The Anaheim Chamber dropped a Saturday, February 18 mailer defending the three Councilmembers.

Essentially, these robocalls and mailers are the result of a 3-2 Anaheim City Council (Mayor Tom Tait and Mayor Pro Tem Lorri Galloway dissenting) for a $158 million tax plan favoring GardenWalk Hotel I, LCC on January 24.  How the plan works in a nutshell is that GardenWalk Hotel I, LCC will retain 80% of the Transient Occupancy Tax money from the GardenWalk Hotel for the next 15 years.  (The Transient Occupancy Tax is known colloquially as the hotel bed tax.)  My post here explains the controversy.

Well, yesterday at 2:58 PM, the OCEA launched another robocall targetting Murray, Eastman, and Sidhu.  Read the transcript below or click to play:

Hello, I’m Larry Larsen, your Anaheim neighbor and local businessman.

If you want to tell Anaheim Councilmembers Murray, Eastman, and Sidhu it’s wrong to give wealthy corporate developers 158 million tax dollars while they cut public safety, libraries, and parks, now’s your chance: join us at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Tell them to give Anaheim citizens the right to vote and stop the giveaway.  Demand your vote!  Tell them to put it on the ballot.

Join me and our neighbors tomorrow: Tuesday, 4:30 PM, Anaheim City Hall, 200 South Anaheim Boulevard.

Paid for by Orange County Employees Association (714) 835-3355 HeartofAnaheim.com

This is the same Larry Larsen who did the last robocall.

It looks like Anaheim’s going to be embroiled in this $158 million controversy for the rest of this election year.

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

OCEA Robocall Targeting Anaheim Council’s Murray, Eastman, and Sidhu

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 13, 2012

Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu

At 5:16 PM yesterday, either my father, sister, or both received this robocall from the OCEA targeting Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu.  Click here to listen to the robocall or read the transcript below:

Hello, I’m Larry Larsen, your Anaheim neighbor and local businessman.

City Council Members Murray, Eastman, and Sidhu just voted to give away 158 million of our tax dollars to a hotel developer and campaign donor, instead of funding public safety, libraries, and parks.

Tell them they’re wrong.  Join us at KABC Channel 7’s town hall meeting tomorrow, Monday, 6 PM at St. Anthony’s Church, 1450 East La Palma Avenue.

Paid for by the Orange County Employees Association (714) 835-3355 HeartofAnaheim.com

Essentially, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 for a $158 million tax incentive for GardenWalk Hotel I, LCC on January 24.  How the plan works in a nutshell is that GardenWalk Hotel I, LCC will retain 80% of the Transient Occupancy Tax money from the GardenWalk Hotel for the next 15 years.  (The Transient Occupancy Tax is known colloquially as the hotel bed tax.)

Some opponents dislike the plan on the basis that it unfairly discriminates against other hotel operators in Anaheim who do not get the same tax incentive.  Other opponents dislike the plan on the basis that the $158 million could be spent on city government functions.  Some proponents of the plan argue that it will bring jobs to the city.  Other proponents argue that it will bring increased sales tax revenue and ensure future hotel bed tax revenue once the 15 years expires.

Mayor Tom Tait and Mayor Pro Tem Lorri Galloway voted against the plan while Councilmembers Eastman, Murray, and Sidhu voted for the plan.  Here is the City of Anaheim’s staff report, which recommended the Council oppose the tax incentive plan; Eastman, Murray, and Sidhu bucked the staff recommendation.  Here is the actual text of the new agreement between the City of Anaheim and GardenWalk Hotel I, LLC.

In 2004, OCEA made contributions to Galloway ($500 before the election and $500 after the election) and Sidhu ($500 after the election).  In 2005, OCEA made a $500 contribution to Galloway.  In 2008, OCEA made contributions to both Galloway and Sidhu’s re-election campaigns; they also made IEs on behalf of Galloway ($10,124.28) and Sidhu ($17,999.64).  In 2010, OCEA made contributions to Galloway’s Supervisorial campaign and to John Leos‘s City Council campaign; they also made IEs on behalf of Leos’s City Council campaign ($198,044.31) and against Shawn Nelson‘s Supervisorial campaign ($317,190.60; implicitly aiding Galloway and Sidhu’s Supervisorial campaigns).  Leos is running for Council in 2012.

Here is a January 24 OC Register article previewing the vote on the tax incentive plan.  Here’s a January 25 Voice of OC article describing the council vote.  Here’s a February 7 OC Register editorial arguing: “We don’t make a habit of begrudging lawmakers for cutting taxes, in most cases we welcome it, but only in instances where it is applied fairly – across the board. By approving a tax benefit that only applies to select hotels, the city puts other hotels at a competitive disadvantage. It’s political favoritism with severe economic consequences.”

I’m assuming the narrator of the robocall is the same Larry Larsen of Anaheim Hills who’s quoted in this January 31 OC Register article about the plan.

The robocall showed up on my father’s answering machine from what his caller ID deemed an “out of area” phone number.  My sister is in the Peace Corps in Africa, so the phone number on her voter registration is the same as my father’s.  Both of them are registered as “No Party Preference” (or “Decline-to-State” in the pre-Prop 14 parlance).  They each voted in 3 of the last 5 elections (2 generals and a special for my sister; 2 generals and a primary for my father).

Fellow OC Political Editor Chris Emami informs me he also received the phone call but did not get a recording.  I’m glad my father never answers his phone.  Emami also received a mailer similar to this phone call.

Not sure if I’m getting missed or intentionally outside their phone universe.  I’ve been registered as a Republican since I’ve been 18 and have voted 5 of the last 5 elections.  (Actually, it’s way more than 5 of 5, as I’ve voted in every single primary, general, special, and recall election since I turned 18, but I’m not going to sit down and count how many elections that’s been.)

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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