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.)