You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

Sometime next month, the Anaheim City Council will consider setting aside a portion of the Transient Occupancy tax (TOT) to fund a neighborhood improvement fund. Mayor Tom Tait asked staff in December that this idea be part of 2013 budget discussions.

Councilwoman Lucille Kring campaigned on diverting 1% of TOT revenues into neighborhood youth and social programs.

Mayor Tait’s proposal is more focused on the physical aspects of neighborhood improvement, in addition to intensifying community policing. According to this December 26 story from the OC Register:

Tait wants a neighborhood-improvement fund established that could use some tax revenues to upgrade neighborhoods through additional graffiti removal, street repaving and increased community policing.

 Several council members have called for a similar idea. Tait suggested that the improvement fund be included in discussions about the city’s 2013-14 budget. 

I know the residents of West Anaheim have specifically called for more attention to issues that they uniquely face in maintaining a better quality of life,” Tait said. “And there are other neighborhoods that – with a little more attention – can provide a safer, more livable environment for the residents.”

These are all good, legitimate and necessary responsibilities of local government. My question – or concern, really – is about creating a special fund with a dedicated revenue source.

These are needs that can be identified and budgeted for in the ordinary course of establishing city spending priorities. If a street that needs re-paving gets it, does it matter whether or not the money comes from a special Neighborhood Improvement  Fund with its very own TOT set-aside?

The danger of setting aside a set portion of TOT revenue for a special fund is it immediately acquires the qualities of an entitlement, with its own set of attached interests who will take a proprietary interest in the revenue , continually pushing for increasing the percentage or fighting any downward adjustment.
This kind of set-aside budgeting looks gimmicky, has a poor track record and tends to distort municipal budgeting and unduly tie the hands of future councils facing different priorities.

Putting more city resources into neighborhood improvements of the sort described above is all to the good, but the council would be better advised to do so through ordinary budgeting rather than revenue set-asides and special funds. These are ordinary city government responsibilities that are best met through ordinary methods.

Hhmm. What wild goose chase shall I send city staff on today?

Hhmm. What wild goose chase shall I send city staff on today?

Since the beginning of August of this year, local gadfly Jason Young has been plastering the Anaheim City Clerk’s office with public record act requests. As of December 13, 2012, Young had submitted 22 requests between August 1 and November 30.

Of course, it is the public’s right to request public documents, and I’m not suggesting Mr. Young is doing anything wrong. But his public record requests do provide something of a window into his mind.

Jason Young’s blizzard of requests are generally wide-ranging fishing expeditions involving the half-dozen hobgoblins who populate his cramped, distorted political universe. Many are just redundant. He even submitted one about me. You really get a feel for Mr. Young’s uber-conspiratorial view of Anaheim politics and government.

Here is one of my favorites, submitted by Mr. Young on September 19, 2012 (I removed a couple of names of people who aren’t public figures):

“I’d like copies of any correspondence between Jordan Brandman and Curt Pringle, Larry Lake, Bill O’Connell, Anna Piercy, _______, Lucy Dunn, Reed Royalty, _____ and anyone associated with the unions that support the GardenWalk Hotel development.”

“..anyone associated with the unions…”? Would you like some fries with that indiscriminate dragnet, Mr. Young? Does he think incoming correspondence is checked against a matrix of known union associates and tagged “union supporter”?

Judging from the neurotic content of Mr. Young’s blog, about the only thing he has accomplished with this blizzard of PRA request is to waste the city’s time and money chasing ghosts for him. Perhaps Mr. Young can submit a PRA request for total staff time (and the equivalent cost) consumed by his PRA requests — that would actually be something worth finding out.

December 13 meeting of Anahem Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections.

December 13 meeting of Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections.

I’d like to share this excerpt from a comment on the Orange Juice Blog (scroll down to the bottom of the post) by Anaheim activist Ricardo Toro. He writes about his experience during public comments at last week’s meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections:

“I followed stating that as a latino I feel that the city council composition does not adequately represent latinos, and that the new council should consider saving taxpayer money by settiling the lawsuit.

The latinos members of the commision present at that moment jumped on me, that latinos have been represented, recently by Ms Galloway. Later I found that they are the ones appointed by Ms Eastman. The other latino who came late to the meeting was also against districting; he is the one appointed by Ms Murray. Overall the majority of this commission is not pro-district, reflecting the political vision of the council members who appointed them.”

Reading Mr. Toro’s claim that he was “jumped on” made me wonder if we attended the same meeting. At the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting I attended, there was indeed a Ricardo Toro who expressed those sentiments during public comments – but no committee member “jumped on” him.

What did happen was committee member Gloria Ma’ae calmly and respectfully disagreed with Mr. Toro’s contention that in the absence of a councilmember of his ethnicity, he was not represented on the city council.

Here is what Ms. Ma’ae said:

“As a Latina, I feel very fortunate that we have had plenty of representation, such as Bob Hernandez, [Richard] Chavez, Lorri Galloway. The Bobs were just the prior council to this current council, and, also, as far as the districting, there are many possibilities from what I’m hearing in these meetings – I am learning a lot about what our options are, and we haven’t even heard them all, yet. 

So I would like to ask you to have some patience, and keep an open mind, and wait to hear what the experts and the two speakers that we’re going to have today from Vista and Modesto, and see what their input is, and see what we might be able to come up with, what kind of recommendation we can make that’s in the best interest of all, not just the Latino community, for everyone. There are many different cultures in this city, and personally,  I want too be represented as an individual, as a human being, as a resident – not just as a Latina.”

Yeah – she really jumped all over him.

You can watch her comments for yourself on the video of the committee meeting, starting at the 19:23 mark. Not only did Ms. Ma’ae NOT “jump” on Mr. Toro, but she expressed totally mainstream views for more in synch with the vast majority of Anaheim residents than Mr. Toro’s racially-tinged viewpoint.

Mr. Toro complained on Orange Juice that the committee is not pro-district. Well, they aren’t supposed to be biased in favor of any particular system. That’s kind of the point of the exercise.

This process makes clear that core supporters of the ACLU litigation view the world through race-colored glasses: only a Latino can represent a Latino, a view that is more consonant with the structure of the parliament of apartheid South Africa than representative government in the United States.

La Palma Chicken Pie Shop medium

Yo quiero neon signs.

I would direct your attention to this Eric Carpenter article on the La Palma Chicken Pie Shop that was posted on OCRegister.com yeserday:

For the record, it’s officially called the La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, at 928 N. Euclid St. And, based on conversations over the years, it’s safe to say that people are attracted by the pie shop as much by the retro dining experience as they are by the food. It’s been said that it’s a lot like stepping back in time to have dinner at your grandfolks’ place.

The place is also known – as the name would suggest – for the flaky, crusted pies, filled with steaming chunks of fresh chicken, carrots, onions and celery.

I dropped in unannounced on a recent afternoon and was greeted at the door by co-owner Antje Hasselbarth. She and her husband, Otto, have owned and operated the place since 1972.

You can read the rest of the article here.

I love the La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, inside and out.  I’m a fan of retro and post-war neon and Googie architecture (although I’m not sure if the Chicken Pie shop sign is, strictly speaking, Googie). I went to high school a few blocks from there at Servite in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s amazing how much the intersection of Euclid and La Palma still looks the way it did back then, and the iconic Chicken Pie Shop is like an architectural anchor to a different era. I haven’t been by in the evening for a while, so I don’t know if that wonderfully kitschy neon sign has been restored to its former glowing glory. Even so, Eric Carpenter’s article reminds me it’s time for a lunch visit.

Can you find the diversity in this photo?

Can you find the diversity in this photo?

Chris Nguyen published a new post at OC Political that contains interesting lessons for the City of Anaheim, which is being sued by the ACLU and three litigants (who simultaneously shed crocodile tears about how much their lawsuit is costing taxpayers).

Nguyen asks whether Santa Ana might also be a target for a California Voting Rights Acts lawsuit. In Santa Ana, the seven councilmembers are elected to represent the district in which they reside, but they are voted on at-large.

The ethnically-homogeneous Santa Ana City Council is entirely Hispanic — it’s funny how that lack of diversity seems to bother none of the folks who are so agitated about Anaheim — despite the city’s significant number of Asian voters. Nguyen writes:

Santa Ana’s Asian population is highly concentrated in the western portion of the City.

In the redistricting plan adopted at the beginning of 2012, Ward 6′s border with Ward 3 moved south, and increased the Ward 3 Asian population by 16%. The relatively square Ward 4 became much more rectangular by yielding most of its western territory to Ward 6 and picking up the southeastern portion of Ward 6. This increased the Ward 4 Asian population by a whopping 209%. However, these changes decreased the Ward 6 Asian population by 27%.

Prior to the 2012 redistricting, 46% of all Santa Ana Asians resided in Ward 6, 24% lived in Ward 3, and just 5% in Ward 4. With the new districts, just 33% live in Ward 6, 27% live in Ward 3, and 17% live in Ward 4.

Ward 6 is represented by Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinajero; Ward 3 by newly-elected Councilwoman Angelica Amezcua; and Ward 4 by Councilman David Benavides.

At last weeks meeting of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Commission on Elections, an attorney who was very involved in Modesto’s experience with CVRA litigation and move to council districts shared an interesting and relevant fact. When the city moved from an at-large system to a district-system, one of the new districts was a “majority-minority” district; i.e. a majority of voters were members of “protected classes.”

Rather than follow the underlying theory behind CVRA — that under such circumstances,voters will vote their skin color — this district elected a very conservative, white, NRA-supporting senior citizen.

All of this should be precautionary to those who are pushing Anaheim to cave in and enact council districts right now. Governance is a serious issue, and I am amazed at the rashness of calls to jam through council districts poste haste.

craig-hunterAnaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter posted this on his Facebook page this morning:

Today is my final day at APD… 34 years of great times.

In leaving, I think about the cops on the street who do a tough and constantly challenging job…. Some have been in patrol for most of their careers…. In the heat and the cold and the rain. In the foot chases and fights, in sometimes gross unmentionable conditions. Cops who are not here merely to make a living. They are here to help the community live in a more sane world. In the end, they enrich the lives of many, sometimes never knowing how much.

Policing is a career of surprises and changes, unplanned pit stops and unfathomable road blocks. It’s crazy how some people will smile in your face, lie to you, or try to use you …then get mad when you get wise and stop letting them. Forget about the people who want to second guess a lot of what we do. I think one of the most frustrating but also challenging parts of my job has been to see how far we have come as a profession in my 34+ years, but yet how we continue to adjust to new demands for accountability, transparency and service delivery. I’m very proud of where we are here in Anaheim.

I got to know Craig back in 2008 when he sought appointment as Orange County Sheriff following Mike Carona’s arrest and resignation, and was impressed by him. We came to be friends, and I supported his 2010 candidacy for Sheriff. He always made himself available for questions or picking about law enforcement. And I just realized this is starting to read like a eulogy.

Good luck to Craig – I’m sure the future hold many possibilities!

One mantra of opponents of the GardenWalk agreement is that there was no way they could have known the Anaheim City Council might actually vote on the agreement back at its January 24, 2012 meeting, and that’s why none of them showed up to speak. I’ll present the language of that agenda item and the reader can decide for his or herself whether that is true:

“Discussion to consider an amendment to an existing economic assistance agreement and provide direction to staff to develop an agreement with the developer (GardenWalk Hotel Project).”

Granted, opponents won a ruling that the language of the agenda item wasn’t quite in compliance with the Brown Act (although I believe a different judge could have made a different decision).

Be that as it may — back to the “we couldn’t have known” lament. An OC Register editorial this Sunday echoed that complaint and the new mythology surrounding it that the manner in which GardenWalk was agendized was a sort of parliamentary procedural Pearl Harbor:

“Indeed, there is little doubt that, had Anaheim residents been properly advised that the council planned to conclude its discussion of the contract with an actual up-or-down vote, the council meeting would have overflowed with opponents of the extremely generous tax break to Mr. O’Connell.”

Interestingly, it was clear to the OC Register reporter who wrote this January 24 story about the then-upcoming council meeting that a vote could take place:

The City Council is set Tuesday night (tonight) to consider the request from hotel developers at the Anaheim GardenWalk mall, where 866 four-star rooms would be constructed across the street from Disney property.

If the council approves the proposal, hotels would break ground by May 2013 and rooms would open at the end of 2015.

“Council is set tonight to consider the request…”; “If the council approves the proposal…”  This isn’t a project proponent, but a neutral observer reporter, and she didn’t have any trouble understanding a vote could take place.  It looks like the only ones asleep at the switch were opponents.

The December 16 OC Register editorial also opined:

“Now we have no problem with business “incentives” – including tax breaks – provided that the economic return exceeds the cost to taxpayers and, equally important, that the public is fully informed of the proposed incentives and has ample opportunity to make its feeling known for or against.”

It should be fairly manifest by now that the “sneak attack” narrative is a false one floated by flat-footed Garden Walk opponents. And the January 24 OC Register article reports this on the agreement:

The city would provide no money up front to the hotels, but it would give back hotel-bed taxes that would be collected after the rooms open. Hotels would receive 80 percent of the hotel bed taxes — a source that makes up the biggest chunk of the city’s budget.

“When guests pay their bills, they pay what is called an occupancy or bed tax. Such taxes are common in cities. In Anaheim, that tax is 15 percent of the room rate.

The city stands to make more money by providing the help. The project could generate $20 million annually in tax funds, according to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.”

That would seem to satisfy the condition laid down in the OC Register editorial.

Naturally, supporters, critics and other observers of the GardenWalk controversy will debate and disagree on these particulars.  Even the OC Register is reporting against itself on this issue.

PackingDistrictLogoIt doesn’t get the headlines  but one of the most anticipated additions to the Anaheim scene is the opening of the Anaheim Packing District in downtown Anaheim this spring, as the OC Register writes about today.

It’s a public-private partnership between The Lab Holding LLC and the City of Anaheim that promises a true revitalization of downtown. The old downtown Anaheim was torn down and redeveloped back in the 1970s, back when it was still considered smart urban development to replace cool old buildings with glass-and-steel boxes.

Fortunately, the old packing house and environs were left standing, and under the experienced hands at The Lab Holding, could form the foundation of a real night-life in downtown Anaheim.  It’s worth noting this project is a legacy of the era of Mayor Curt Pringle, which certain disgruntled elements are fond of deploring as a terrible dark age.

It did occur to me that taxpayer dollars have been spent on this project, essentially subsidizing a developer. Shouldn’t the “Take Back Anaheim” coalition be demanding this project be placed before the voters for their approval, since they believe city council government incompetent to make spending decisions absent recourse to the voters (unless, of course, the developer has been shaken down for sufficient goodies).

Obviously, that would be ridiculous — which is the point.

The OC Register published an editorial on Sunday abut the court decision on the Garden Walk project, and impending city council re-vote on the agreement.

Like other recent OCR editorials about Anaheim, this is a puzzling one. It’s not surprising the libertarian OC Register is opposing the agreement, but there are some claims made that aren’t staked to reality – regardless of one’s position on the agreement.

Take, for example, the headline: “A Backroom, Sweetheart Deal.” Even on an opinion page, shouldn’t the editorial present some evidence– any evidence — to support the “backroom” claim?

There was nothing secretive about the agreement — which was actually amending an existing agreement.  The original agreement was discussed and voted upon in public, where anyone who cared to could comment. Notwithstanding the inflammatory “backroom” claim — or even the court ruling – the latest iteration of the GardenWalk agreement was also publicly discussed and voted at a January 24, 2012 Anaheim City Council meeting.

So, again I would ask the OC Register – what “backroom”?

There was also this gem from the editorial:

“Indeed, there is little doubt that, had Anaheim residents been properly advised that the council planned to conclude its discussion of the contract with an actual up-or-down vote, the council meeting would have overflowed with opponents of the extremely generous tax break to Mr. O’Connell.”

First, it was no secret the GardenWalk agreement was on the agenda — specifically, Item 23:

“Discussion to consider an amendment to an existing economic assistance agreement and provide direction to staff to develop an agreement with the developer (GardenWalk Hotel Project).”

Note the presence of the verb “to consider” — which means “to think carefully about, especially in order to make a decision.”  In other word, a vote was a very distinct possibility.

That the organized opponents of the agreement – predominantly various constituencies of the Left — were not at the council meeting was on them. It was no secret the agreement was making it’s way through the city; and if it is an egregious as opponents claims, shouldn’t they ave mobilized for the January 24 council meeting to make their voices heard? Even if it was not certain a vote would take place?

Much of politics is about showing up. GardenWalk proponents were organized and on the ball. Opponents were asleep as the switch. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Also, if there really was deep public opposition to the GardenWalk deal, why did the “Take Back Anaheim” initiative – which would mandate a city-wide vote on any agreement with a hotel developer involving a TOT revenue split — sputter and fail once the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) stopped funding the signature-gathering? That’s a strong indication there was no grassroots support for the initiative.

The OC Register concludes the editorial thusly:

“Put the entire matter before Anaheim voters next summer and let them decide whether the city will get a fair return on the incentives it has proffered the hotel developer.”

When did the OC Register editorial board become a proponent of not only ballot-box budgeting, but embracing direct democracy, one of the great pillars of the Progressivism?

“Take Back Anaheim” is not a taxpayer-protection measure; it places no limitation on the Transient Occupancy Tax – it only carves out a voter-approval requirement for a very particular use of TOT revenue. If the city wanted to do a TOT-split with an ice-skating rink in the Resort Area – no voter approval. TOT-split with a hotelier – voter approval required.

In calling for putting the GardenWalk agreement on the ballot, the writer of the editorial appears to have forgotten that Anaheim voters just had the chance to sound off on it last month. It was called the city council election — and the Garden Walk agreement was a prominently discussed issue.

GardenWalk agreement supporter Jordan Brandman was hit hard on the issue with negative mailers from the OCEA, the Republican Party of Orange County and other quarters. He was the top vote getter.

John Leos — the OC Register’s endorsed candidate – ran as a very vocal opponent of the GardenWalk agreement. And despite $400,000 in government union spending and the endorsement of the OC Register, he finished a weak third.

In light of the above facts, perhaps the OC Register can explain why the Anaheim City Council should call a special election and palm its governing responsibilities off onto the voters who just elected a GardenWalk proponent and defeated a GardenWalk opponent?

The City of Anaheim has launched a “concierge program” aimed at heling business get through the city regulatory process in a even speedier, more streamlined manner.

The new intiative is an outgrowth of the Regulatory Relief Task Force that was launched in early 2011 by Mayor Tom Tait — and is itself is the philosophical offspring of the freedom-friendly revolution that took City Hall by storm in 2003 under then-Mayor Curt Pringle and then-Councilmembers Tom Tait and Richard Chavez.

The concierges act as project managers who charged with ensuring timely action on permits and resolving any issues that are slowing down the approval process. From the OC Register:

“That streamlining should lower the cost of meeting regulatory requirements, decrease the time to comply with them, increase the certainty about what the requirements are, and provide an advocate within the city to drive their project through.

The duty of the concierge is to bring transparency to the project – one of the three main goals of the task force. It aims to inform the public of all necessary information regarding the time it will take for all the paperwork to be approved and how much it will cost.

“There are two parts of the program. The first is to make you aware of all the regulatory information you are going to have to do, and secondly, to be the advocate for (the application process) internally,” said Thomas Turk, chair of the task force and associate professor of management at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics.

Turk gave an example of how the regulatory barriers would affect a standard fast-food stall that would make $1.5 million in sales a year. The business owner who buys the land for a small shop but is waiting on approval from the city to open loses an average of $2,700 a day in profits, and is not paying wages to workers or generating sales tax revenue to the city.

The task force plans streamlining the fee structure to simplify estimations for project costs as well as speeding it up. Currently, the city charges by hour in the process of starting a business, which includes the fee structure, inspection, and reviewing plans.”

As obvious as it is to most of us, the concept of “time is money” is often lost on staff in many municipalities. Gearing city government toward doing everything possible to make business successful is an area where Anaheim has been a leader, and it is heartening to see that leadership deepen.

The uniform support this program – and the Regulatory Reform Task Force overall – has received from the Anaheim City Council also highlights how maddening, counter-productive and philosophically unnatural are the recent divisions on the council. GardenWalk is not a philosophical hill to die on, and it is amazing how it has become so in a city governed by a council governed by a conservative outlook.

scott-baugh-and-amezcua

Scott Baugh and Los Amigos member Al Amezcua.

A few days ago, the OC Register published a story about Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh speaking to Los Amigos of Orange County, which meets weekly at the JaegerHaus in Anaheim.The surrounding context is the urgent need for the Republican Party to increase its share of the Latino vote, which went overwhelmingly Democratic this year (and as it does, in general). Los Amigos invited Scott to speak, and being a gracious man who is always willing to present the Republican case, Scott accepted.

The OC Register article recounts how one Los Amigos members took umbrage that Scott Baugh would even dare to speak to Los Amigos — never mind Los Amigos invited him.

And members trotted out ancient history like the 1988 poll guards incident and Proposition 187 from 1994 (never mind that 187 was not a Republican initiative and that it passed with the votes of Democrats and independents – and was put over the top when Chicano activists led mobs of high school and college students through the streets of Los Angeles waving Mexican flags — it’s much simpler just to blame the GOP).

The GOP needs to reach out to Latinos — not Latino pressure groups like Los Amigos, who will never, ever help the GOP improve its standing among Hispanic voters. Los Amigos’s leadership shares a world view frozen in the permafrost of late 1960s/early 1970s Chicano radicalism, and its message to Hispanics will always be “The Republican Party is racist and doesn’t care about you. It only cares about rich people making money at your expense.”

I agree on the urgency of Hispanic outreach and the necessity of re-building the party’s image among Latino voters. I have advocated for a change in the party’s tone and message for years, and this is a project that will take years. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am certain that engaging groups like Los Amigos is a waste of time.

Opponents of the GardenWalk agreement — the 15-year, 80-20 Transient Occupancy Tax revenue split with the project’s developers — are doing a victory dance over yesterday’s Superior Court decision. And that’s to be expected. But it’s important to be clear about what this decision is, and what it isn’t. Let’s take the latter, first. The court was not making a judgment on the merits of the agreement. Indeed, the agreement was really beside the point — it could have been about garage sales or ice cream vendors. The ruling really came down to the language of the January 24, 2012 council agenda item regarding the GardenWalk project:

“Discussion to consider an amendment to an existing economic assistance agreement and provide direction to staff to develop an agreement with the developer (GardenWalk Hotel Project).”

Given that language, I believe another judge could have reasonably decided the other way and upheld the vote (admittedly, I haven’t seen the decision, so I may have to revise that belief). It seems very clear to me from the phrase “discussion to consider” that it is was very possible to council would vote on the matter than evening; after all, “to consider” means “to think carefully about, especially in order to make a decision.” However, that’s now a moot point (unless the city appeals the decision).

This decision is also an opportunity to revisit the oft-repeated complaint by GardenWalk opponents that they were “denied the opportunity” to speak at the January 24 council meeting because they did not know there would be a vote that evening.

That’s a tough one to swallow, for several reasons. For starters, it’s not like OCCORD, Los Amigos or any other similar pressure group only show to speak at Anaheim City Council when there is definitely going to be a vote on an issue they care about. On the contrary.

Secondly, the amended GardenWalk agreement had been working its way through the city for months – it didn’t suddenly burst from obscurity. And it is important to remember it is an amended agreement — a TOT split was already in place.

Let’s face it: OCCORD, Los Amigos and other elements of what became the “Take Back Anaheim” coalition were asleep at the switch. The GardenWalk agreement was on the agenda. It was clear from the language that a vote might very well take place, and veteran council watchers like the above groups should have known that.

I’m sure we’ll now have plenty of opportunities to re-hash and re-hear the arguments for and against the project in the weeks ahead.

A tentative Superior Court ruling handed down today means the controversial TOT-split agreement with the GardenWalk project is going to be coming back to the Anaheim City Council for what is essentially a re-vote.

Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) had been suing the project in court on various grounds, and it’s my understanding the court had been ruling against OCCORD…until now.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page on OCCourts.org:

Pet., OCCO, Petition for Writ of Mandate   —   Granted; The notice given of the Development contract fails to substantially comply with the Brown Act by only stating that the Counsel would discuss and consider the existing economic assistance contract and failing to state that it would authorize execution of the agreement.  As such the Board’s action is void.

The Writ is to issue.

The ruling is essentially a technical and procedural one, rather than a judicial decision on the GardenWalk agreement itself.

The upshot: the agreement will have to be brought back before the Anaheim City Council, and the matter voted on all over again. At least this way, the anti-GardenWalk crowd won’t be able to complain they didn’t know a vote was going to take place. And they’ll have another chance to reiterate the phony claim it is a “$158 million giveaway” — which is quite a feat given that the project, and the revenues it would generate, doesn’t happen without the TOT split. Perhaps the Take Back Anaheim crowd will, at the same time, explain how to transform lead into gold — something equally impossible as the :”giveaway” claim.

It’s difficult to imagine a different outcome from the vote taken in early 2012. Two of the three pro-GardenWalk agreement votes are still on the council — Gail Eastman and Kris Murray — and they have been joined by another pro-GardenWalk vote, Jordan Brandman. Given that Brandman was on the receiving end of several hit pieces attacking him for that support and still emerged as the top-vote getter, there is every reason to believe he will continue to be a strong supporter.

Mayor Tom Tait will presumably remain in opposition. I don’t recall where Lucille Kring was at the time. Kring had opposed the subsequent “Take Back Anaheim” ballot-box budgeting initiative before she changed her position to support it, so it’s plausible to speculate she will oppose the TOT-split.

The Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement holds its third meeting next Thursday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m.

The location is the Trident Education Center at Gilbert High School, 18000 W. Ball Road (the intersection of Ball/Euclid).

No agenda as of yet.

You can click here to see video of the first two meetings. It’s interesting to note that most of the speakers at these meetings are opposed to council districts. If there is some latent, silent groundswell of support for moving to a council-district system, it certainly isn’t evident from these meetings.

Jordan Brandman and Lucille Kring will be sworn in this coming Tuesday, December 11 as the two newest members of the Anaheim City Council. This will be Kring’s third non-consecutive term, which I would wager is a first in Anaheim history.

The oath of office ceremony will take place at the Downtown Community Center — 250 E. Center Street — at 5:00 p.m., with a reception to follow.

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