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On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved a one-yea pilot program, proposed by Councilman Jordan Brandman, to provide translation services for Spanish-speakers addressing the city council. When a someone wishes to address the council in Spanish, councilmembers will do headphones, like at the United Nations.

Cost isn’t really an issue; the program will cost only $5,000 because a city staffer will be used rather than an outside vendor (depriving the OCEA/AMEA of an opportunity to rail against outsourcing).

From my perspective, this is an instance of good intentions gone awry. In an admittedly small way, this is an example of government retarding assimilation and lessening the incentive for immigrants to learn English. It creates one more instance in which an immigrant resident does not need command of the English language in order to participate in society, which ultimately is not doing them any favor.

There is no anti-Latino sentiment in my opinion, because I do not have an anti-Latino or nativist bone in my body. I have always been strongly pro-immigration. I think it is good for America. I think the best solution to illegal immigration are simple and liberalized immigration laws permit a much freer flow of labor and talent across our borders. I support some form of the Dream Act and think common sense and sound public policy call for reforms that open a pathway to legal residency (and ultimately citizenship) for the millions who are here illegally.

But the flip-side of a liberalized immigration policy is promoting assimilation into American civic culture — and that entails acquiring fluency in English.

Councilwoman Lucille Kring stated that in her experience, relatively few people have used a translator (and if anyone who wants o use one ought to be free to bring one). However, the city shouldn’t proactively supply one.

In all likelihood, the new translation service will not be frequently utilized — and if so, this will be a largely symbolic action. But symbolism is important, and the underlying good intentions aside, the symbolism here is on the wrong kind.

anaheim_angelsWord has been spreading in OC political circles about comments Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait made a couple of weeks ago at a meeting with the Orange County Business Council’s executive board.

One subject that came up was negotiations with Angels. The opt-out for the Angels is in 2017, and the team would have to tell the city by 2016 if they are leaving.

According to sources who were present, Tait let it be known he would be willing to let the Angels leave rather than spend even a dime of taxpayer money to keep the team in Anaheim. The mayor also said that in his opinion, the Angels didn’t bring a lot of value to Anaheim.

Fortunately for those who want the Angels to stay in Anaheim, the other four members of the City Council don’t think it would do Anaheim taxpayers any favors to have a city-owned baseball stadium sit empty without a baseball team. They very much want to keep the baseball franchise that has called Anaheim home for 48 years.

Things are never dull in Anaheim.

Liberty, anyone?

Liberty, anyone?

Like the county’s TIN CUP ordinance, the city’s campaign ordinance allows the city council to increase the campaign contribution limit in January of odd-numbered years, to account for increases in the Consumer Price Index.

In practice, that translates into $100 increase every two years. On Tuesday, the Council will bump the limit from $1,800 to $1,900.

For many years, the contribution limit in Anaheim and at the county level was stuck at$1,000 per person. Then along came Chris Norby to the Board Supervisors. Norby pointed out that TIN CUP permitted a biennial cost-of-living increase, which the Board had never done. Norby pushed the Board of Supes to overcome its fear of Shirley Grindle and approve such an increase. Now it has become routine at the county and cities like Anaheim with campaign ordinances modeled on TIN CUP.

Now, the freedom-friendliest thing to do would be to abolish campaign contribution limits altogether. Campaign contributions are a form of political speech that ought not be abridged. And it is time for even the most die-hard advocates of “campaign reform” to finally admit that contribution limits is a reform that has been tried — and tried and tried and tried and tried — and failed to accomplish anything but advantage incumbents and make elections less competitive.

Just think: if campaign contributions were eliminated, the OCEA could just dumpy $400,000 directly into his campaign account rather than running an “independent” expenditure campaign. Leos’ consultant — the brother of immediate past OCEA President Robert Gibson — would sure make a lot more money, and he could hardly do worse than the OCEA’s standard consultant.

Here’s hoping someone makes a motion for increasing free speech and more competitive elections in Anaheim.

oc-register-logoI’d like to share some more thoughts about last week’s OC Register editorial, especially the worrying about “hastily” putting the GardenWalk agreement on the agenda and concern that “other interested parties deserve more notice.”

The GardenWalk agreement isn’t exactly being rushed back to the City Council. The judge’s decision voiding the council’s January 2012 approval came out on December 10. One month later, developer Bill O’Connell, Sr. notified the city he would the agreement to be placed on the January 29 council agenda. The agreement is not on tomorrow’s agenda, as it turns out.

The Register’s concern is misplaced. Anyone tuned into to Anaheim politics knows the anti-GardenWalk forces like OCCORD and Los Amigos have been busy organizing for some time now in anticipation of another council vote on the agreement. It’s well-known among insiders that Mayor Tait has on several occasions said the anti-GardenWalk people will be out in force.  The Register’s worrying about project opponents having a chance to speak shows how out of touch the editorial writers are with Anaheim politics.

And it is hard not to notice the editorial board only seems concerned that opponents of the agreement have the opportunity to have their say. The convention wisdom in Anaheim political circles is that Brian Calle, the editorial page director, is good friends with Mayor Tait and is using the Register editorial page to support the mayor’s political agenda. That would at least explains why the libertarian paper went all-in in support the support the OCEA’s candidate for city council, John Leos.

Rendering of GardenWalk hotels.

Rendering of GardenWalk hotels.

I read a little editorial on the GardenWalk hotel project in this morning, which was interesting in several ways.

The paper re-stated its opposition to the subsidy agreement, which the paper says local developer Bill O’Connell would like to have on the January 29 council agenda. The editorial even urges pushing back the hearing date to give opponents more time to organize!

In case any Register editorial writers read this blog, I’d like to remind them of their own criteria from their their December 16 editorial:

  • Business incentives are permissible if the economic return exceeds the cost to taxpayers
  • The public is fully informed of these incentives and has ample opportunity express their opinions on them.

I re-phrased these criteria somewhat, but they are practically word-for-word from the editorial. They are the OC Register’s criteria, not mine.

I have supported this agreement from the beginning as something that will generate job, economic growth and increased city revenues in the long-run. Even those who oppose subsidies or “picking winners and losers”  on principle can admit that the economic return of the GardenWalk agreement exceeds the cost to taxpayers. I’d go further and argue there is no cost to taxpayers because if this agreement isn’t approved, the GardenWalk project dies and there won’t be any TOT revenue to share. If it is approved, the GardenWalk TOT being shared is revenue that hadn’t been going into city coffers and so nothing is being “taken.” Furthermore, a permanent, long-term stream of additional TOT revenue will be established.

So, the GardenWalk agreement satisfies the OC Register’s first criterion. As for the second, so serious person can say the public hasn’t been fully informed about the agreement. It has been heavily covered in the media for a year. The county employee union funded an anti-GardenWalk referendum led by Councilmember Lorri Galloway and Mayor Tom Tait, and it was one of the leading issues in the city council election. Any Anaheim resident who hasn’t paid attention to GardenWalk issue yet, never will.

The OC Register laid down clear criteria for what makes for permissible city business incentives. Objectively speaking, the Garden Walk agreement meets those criteria. It remains to be seen whether the OC Register editorial board will adhere to its own criteria.

Another part of the editorial caught my eye:

Mr. O’Connell would like the matter considered again at the Council’s Jan. 29 meeting, Mayor Tom Tait told us.

It’s disappointing that the Mayor is leaking to media about an applicant before his project is even agendized and the public notified about it. Mayor Tait has been a strong opponent of the project, but what kind of message does this send to anyone seeking city approval of a project? If the mayor or a councilmember don’t like you project, he or she will leak it to the media in order to poison the well and kill your project before you’ve had the opportunity for a fair public hearing? I’m sure that wasn’t Mayor Tait’s intent, but intended or not, that is the effect.

Intelligent people can and should be able to disagree on this issue in a spirit of good will, and if the City Council does approve the GardenWalk agreement (again), I hope opponents will allow the city to move and not continue dividing us.

Remember the notorious incident last July that took place on Anaheim’s gang-ridden Anna Drive when Anaheim police jousted with residents in the wake of the shooting of fleeing gang member Manuel Diaz?

As if we could forget.

Well, eight residents of Anna Drive have filed claims against Anaheim citing, according to the OC Register, “physical injuries, emotional trauma, violations of constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure and other damages.”

The claimants want the city to cut them each a check for $500,000. For those not doing the math, that is $4 million tax dollars. There goes the Neighborhood Improvement Fund (what percentage of annual TOT revenue is $4 million?)!

This isn’t surprising. After all, we live in a litigious society, and suing the police is a cottage industry. The Anna Drive incident represents an opportunity for some to cash in and get out of Anna Drive, and with sympathetic media coverage to boot.

Yes, I am commenting on the claims on after seeing only the spare description in the OC Register article. At the same time, let us recall that when police arrived in force following the shooting in order to secure the crime scene — and remember that what prompted the initial police intervention was a gang-conducted sale of illegal guns — a number of residents responded by bringing their young children and babies out to watch the fun. Not exactly behavior you would find in a handbook on responsible parenting.

Then there was the throwing of rocks and bottles at police.

The attorney representing the claimants claims her clients were not among the misbehavers. I don’t know whether that is true. It may be. What is clear to me is the police were operating in a confusing, chaotic and dangerous situation made more confusing, chaotic and dangerous by the bellicosity of a number of Anna Drive residents.

In my opinion, the police were trying to do their job, which is protecting the lives, liberty and property of Anaheim residents – including those of Anna Drive, which is beset by criminal gangs. These claims are more properly lodged against the gangs terrorizing Anna Drive, but the reality is gang members’ response would – unlike the city’s — would be lethal.

That is the reality we should bear in mind as this claim-soon-to-be-lawsuit moves along.

Anyone looking for modern examples of yellow journalism will find a stunning example of it in this Al-Jazeera “”Faultlines” news report on Anaheim’s recent civil unrest, which aired in December 2012.

It is crystal clear the Al-Jazeera reporter set out, from the get-go, to establish an agenda driven narrative: the Anaheim police are racists who target Mexicans. The reporter barely acknowledges there is a gang problem, and even then blames police law enforcement tactics.

In the opening seconds of the segment, the Al-Jazeera reporter blames the police for the July riot. incredibly, in the eyes of this reporter, it wasn’t the rioters and looters who turned downtown Anaheim into a “war zone,” but the police officers who were trying to protect the lives and property of residents and store owners.

It’s almost laughable to watch the video and see a local rapper (echoed by some police critics) saying it is totally unreasonable for police to approach them as if they are gang members just because they dress like gang bangers, shave their heads like gang bangers and are tatted up like gang bangers while hanging out in gang neighborhoods — but are shocked and offended that some riot police were wearing military-style utility uniforms.

In other words, looking like a gang banger in a gang area signifies nothing, but riot police wearing fatigues is a threat to freedom. Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Al-Jazeera reporting and the community-organizer Left.

I came across this video in yesterday’s Voice of OC story, which emulated the Al-Jazeera segment’s sensationalism:

In video aired by Al Jazeera, cadres of officers in military fatigues are seen brandishing assault rifles while hitched to sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. 

This sentence refers to the 20 minute mark in the Al-Jazeera segment, showing footage of a post-riot demonstration.  The Voice of OC’s claim that the police were “brandishing” is not only inflammatory, but plain wrong. Words have meanings, which are easily found in dictionaries.

The phrase “brandishing assault rifles” conjures images usually associated with thuggish fighters for Third World strongmen, or Islamist terrorists.

Allow me to illuminate, for the VOC, the meaning of “brandish”:

“to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly”

Now, here is what the Voice describes as “brandishing assault weapons”:

Al-Jazeera vidcap

Do you see any police shaking or waving their weapons in a menacing fashion? Neither do I.

Now,  here s what “brandishing and assault rifle” looks like:

Example 1 of brandishing assault rifles.

Example 1 of brandishing assault rifles.

Example 2 of brandishing assault rifles.

Example 2 of brandishing assault rifles.

Some readers may think this a small point. I don’t. As I said, words have set meanings. This VOC description of Anaheim police comportment was grossly inaccurate and unfair. Media outlets owe it to their readers to use the language accurately and truthfully. Informing ought to take precedence over inflaming.  Coverage of these events becomes part of the ongoing dynamic.

On a final note, glaringly absent from the Al-Jazeera report is any condemnation of the rioters or expressions of sympathy and support for their victims by the ridiculous rapper Scandalousz by the ACLU bleeding heart or any other excuse makers. To listen to these individuals, Anaheim doesn’t have a gang problem, but a police problem.

Diane Singer

Diane Singer

Last night, the Anaheim City Council appointed Diane Quezada-Singer to fill the Anaheim Public Utilities Board vacancy created by Jordan Brandman’s election to the Anaheim City Council.

Singer lives in Anaheim Hills and is an elected trustee of the Orange Unified School District, representing Area 1.  She briefly explored running for the Anaheim City Council in 2008 before deciding against it.

Three individuals were nominated at last night’s council meeting from a list of 10 applicants. Mayor Tom Tait nominated John Leos, Councilwoman Lucille Kring nominated AB Abdulrahman, and Councilwoman Kris Murray nominated Singer.

Leos received the vote of Tait, while the other four councilmembers abstained. Abdulrahman received the votes of Kring and another councilmember (I’m not sure who) with three abstentions.

Singer received the votes of Murray, Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman and Councilman Jordan Brandman, with Kring and Tait abstaining. Afterward, Singer’s appointment was made unanimous.

I have known Diane for several years. She is smart and passionate about her city and I’m certain she will make an excellent member of the Public Utilities Board.

Protestors haranguing Anaheim policeman.

Protestors haranguing Anaheim policeman.

Since when are the police, and not gangs, the problem?

There is something unreal about the coverage and hubbub surrounding the issue of oversight of the Anaheim Police Department. This unreality is evident in this this Voice of OC account of an exchange between Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and left-wing agitator Duane Roberts:

The debate in Anaheim about police conduct has become so contentious that at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting Police Chief John Welter publicly accused a former council candidate of spreading “ @#!*% lies” during the public comments portion of the meeting.

A clearly angry Welter confronted Duane Roberts, a frequent critic of the Police Department on OrangeJuice Blog, in the crowded council chambers lobby and told Roberts to speak with the chief before maligning him at council meetings.

“Do I get a chance to refute all the @#!*% lies you say at council? No,” Welter said.

That the police chief would publicly berate a resident and insist that the chief be allowed to vet the criticism before it goes public raised concerns among some about a possible chilling effect on residents who witnessed the confrontation.

Really? Really? Who are these “some” who are “concerned…about a possible chilling effect” because the Chief Welter would like to some lefty agitator to confirm an allegation against before broadcasting it in public, before the city council. How is that unreasonable?

And where in this did Chief Welter insist on being “allowed to vet the criticism before it goes public?” What he did – according to this article – was ask a single individual (who I gather – I may be wrong- has a habit of making such accusations) to ask his target if the accusation is true: “Hey Chief, is it true that you did this or did that?” Oh boy, that sure is an intimidating and chilling exercise.

The article continues:

West Anaheim resident Art Castillo, who was present during the exchange, called Welter’s tirade “intimidation” toward residents who want to make public their grievances about the police department.

Welter is “not listening to the people who are the victims,” Castillo said.

Oh brother. By victims, are we talking about those Anaheim residents who are terrorized and preyed upon by gang members? Or “victims” such as Joel Acevedo, who fired at police and was shot in response?

The central question amidst all this sturm und drang ought to be which poses a threat to the lives, liberty and property of Anaheim residents? The police or gang members? The answer is an easy one (I can guarantee you it is exactly that for the average Anaheim resident), and subsequent policy and political decisions should flow from that answer.

Convention CenterThe OC Register ran an article the other day headlined, “Big Conventions Mean Big Bucks For OC.”

The illustrative focus is the big NAMM convention that comes to the Anaheim Convention Center each year:

?An estimated 95,000 visitors – equivalent to a city the size of Mission Viejo – will descend on Anaheim for the three-day private music industry meeting.

While NAMM gets a lot of attention because of its size and star power, the gathering is just one of the big events at the Anaheim Convention Center that attract thousands of visitors to Orange County every year.

The top five shows bring a combined 285,000 people to Anaheim and inject an estimated $226 million into the economy. That is more than 45 percent of the estimated $494 million spent by all Anaheim convention visitors last year.”

This is useful to keep in mind as the city looks ahead to expanding the Convention Center. The question isn’t whether or not the city should be in the convention business. That’s like getting ready to deliver a baby and asking whether it was a good idea to get pregnant.

The real question is how to ensure the Convention Center remains an attractive destination in the very competitive convention and conference industry. Anaheim is always trying to lure big conventions from other cities — think of efforts to woo Comicon from San Diego. By the same token, other cities are trying to lure events like NAMM away from Anaheim. Other destination cities are not standing still. Inertia is a recipe for becoming less competitive, for losing business to other cities, and diminishing the value of the investment the city as already made in the Convention Center — not to mention the Resort Area itself — with real-world consequences for the pocketbooks of those whose livelihood is connected to the Resort Area, and on the city’s ability to maintain needed services.

Logic? Consistency? Those are for lesser beings.

Logic? Consistency? Those are for lesser beings.

Let me say right off the bat that I’m not according Jason Young undeserved credibility, but it is worth highlighting a comment he made on the Voice of OC yesterday while tangling with Anaheim Blog contributor Anaheimocrat — if only because Jason’s cognitive dissonance is held in such high esteem by the crowd that opposes the GardenWalk agreement while simultaneously wanting to put it on the ballot.

First, Jason tosses out this assertion:

“The majority votes on the original agreement, the public outcry is overwhelming negative against the deal (over 15,000 signatures gathered to oppose TOT giveaways), and a judge throws it out.

The people have spoken and yet Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Jordan Brandman  will try and ram this deal through again?”

When it is pointed out to him that the people actually did speak by electing the pro-GW candidate and rejecting the ant-GW candidates, Young quickly contradicted himself:

“The people don’t know what is going.”

So, which is it? There is no reason to grant any gravity to the signatures gathered by Take Back Anaheim’s union-funded circulators if, as Jason Young says, they were gulled from “people [who] don’t know what is going on.”

And how can “the people speak” on GardenWalk if, as Young asserts, they are don’t know what is going on? How can you there be an overwhelming outcry from an ignorant public?

This painful cognitive dissonance isn’t confined to Jason Young’s rantings, but runs through the commentary and pronouncements of anti-GardenWalk activists.

Jason and his admirers can’t have it both ways.

I had high hopes for the Voice of OC when it launched a couple of years ago, but its coverage of Anaheim in general and GardenWalk in particular has been very biased. The Voice is almost a surrogate for the agenda of people and organizations like Dr. Jose Moreno, OCCORD and Los Amigos.

Take, for example, this paragraph from today’s Voice story on GardenWalk:

“The City Council first granted the subsidy to O’Connell’s partnership, GardenWalk Hotel I, in January 2012. The 3-2 vote revealed a spit on both the City Council and in the community, with neighborhood activists and good-government advocates pitted against a group of construction trade unions and influential business lobbyists closely linked to O’Connell.”

So if anyone who opposes this project is a benevolent “neighborhood activist” and a “good-government advocate,” but supporters are “construction trade unionists” and “influential business lobbyists.”

How incredibly biased and inaccurate. How unfair to individuals like myself who support this project, and aren’t unionists or “iinfluential business lobbyists,” but think the facts show GardenWalk to be a good deal for Anaheim.

The agreement with GardeWalk is good government. It is sound, forward-thinking economic development policy. It will make possible the development of a four-star hotel that will create thousands of jobs, strengthen the Resort Area’s competitive position as a tourist and convention destination, and will increase the city’s long-term TOT revenues.

The city is putting no cash into this deal. The 80% share comes from TOT revenues that don’t currently exist and will only come into existence if the project is built. There is no “giveaway.”

It is particularly disappointing to watch the vilification of Bill O’Connell, a wonderful man who has been a pillar of the Anaheim community for many years. This man, who has given back to the community for many years, is being publicly attacked and torn don by people and groups who are takers and constantly trying to extract “community benefits” from business and government.

There are many of us in the city who have no direct stake in this project but want the City Council to re-affirm its support and move the city forward on a path of continued economic growth and development.

Chuchua

Jordan Brandman’s election to the Anaheim City Council created a vacancy on the Anaheim Public Utilities Board, which is charged with “making recommendations to the City Council concerning the operation of electric, water and other public utilities under the management of the Public Utilities Department.”

On the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting is filling this vacancy from a list of ten applicants. They include:

John Leos, twice unsuccessful candidate for Anaheim City Council in 2010 and 2012, despite massive outlays of campaign funds by the Orange County Employees Association.

Brian Chuchua, also a twice unsuccessful candidate for Anaheim City Council in 2010 and 2012, but with comparatively far less massive outlays of campaign funds from his own pocket.

Also applying is Jose Moreno – not Jose F. Moreno, liberal Anaheim school trustee and litigant against the City of Anaheim, but Jose L. Moreno, who was the Republican un-candidate in the 69th Assembly District race won by former Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly.

Robert Nelson, another unsuccessful 2010 council candidate, has also tossed his hat into the ring for consideration.

You can read the full list of applicants here.

This is not an inconsequential appointment — not simply because Anaheim’s is a major municipal utility, but because the bodies such as planning commission and the utility board are launching ads for future councilmembers. Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman both went from the Public Utility Board to the City Council. Tom Tait and Gail Eastman both graduated from the Planning Commission to the council.

Photo courtesy of the Orange County Register

Photo courtesy of the Orange County Register

The OC Register reports the Anaheim Police Department has raided a suspected brothel operating out of an apartment near La Palma Avenue and Euclid Street:

The officers, sitting in cars near the residence, were waiting for confirmation of this claim. An undercover officer was inside the apartment with a wire, impersonating a customer.

When word came that a 33-year-old woman had agreed to sell sex, the officers swarmed in with guns drawn. It looked relatively tidy inside for a suspected brothel. Flowers had been placed on the kitchen counter.

You can read the rest of the article here.

This is neighborhood improvement in action.

The OC Register has published New Year resolutions from the two newest members of the Anaheim City Council, Jordan Brandman and Lucille Kring:

Jordan BrandmanHere’s Brandman’s (who was the top vote-getter in November’s election):

A time of reflection and new beginnings

Each new year brings forth a time of reflection and new beginnings filled with hope and opportunity. As I begin my term of service on the council, I am thankful for the trust placed in me to provide independent leadership and respectful understanding of the issues facing our city.

The “can-do” spirit is alive and well in Anaheim. Our city can be first in property values, first in public safety, first in business activity, first in infrastructure investment and first in schools.

It is my resolve to lead with clear priorities, including: creating jobs, fighting crime and eliminating gangs; maintaining world-class police and fire departments; and ensuring neighborhoods, schools, parks and libraries are safe and well-maintained.

Working together, we can make Anaheim an even better place to live, work and raise a family – with each coming new year.

lucille kringAnd here is Kring’s (now beginning her third non-consecutive term):

I resolve to make residents first priority

For many, the new year marks the start of a second chance, an opportunity to have your slate wiped clean, a chance to make plans that lead to new goals. As we prepare to enter 2013, I appreciate this opportunity to set some goals for the new year.

I resolve to remember that the residents of Anaheim are my first priority, and my job is to always consider them in every action I take as a council member. They are our city’s greatest asset. I resolve to stay connected with the people of Anaheim, to listen to what they have to say about their city and their desires, hopes and dreams for their community.

I will strive to work cooperatively with the mayor and my fellow council members, and I’m looking forward to working with City Manager Bob Wingenroth, as well as city staff and our police and fire chiefs, to allocate our city’s resources to most effectively serve our residents and businesses.

During my campaign, I walked neighborhoods and was struck by residents in every part of the city telling me about nighttime gang- and drug-related activities in our parks. I will work aggressively with police and neighbors to solve this problem and take back our parks. In years past, we had flashlight walks in some of our parks that proved to be very successful in ridding our parks of this element. We must renew this effective tool of police officers and residents working together.

I resolve to seek opportunities that bring new jobs to Anaheim while also working to improve the quality of life for Anaheim residents.

To improve neighborhoods, I’m advocating that a portion of city hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (“bed tax”) revenue be earmarked specifically for neighborhood revitalization and maintenance.

I want to wish all residents of Anaheim a very happy, healthy, prosperous and especially a peaceful 2013. I am looking forward to working with all of you for the next four years to create a better Anaheim!

Like the New Year resolutions from Mayor Tom Tait and Councilmember Kris Murray, these are basically in line with promises and positions previously enunciated by Brandman and Kring.

Councilmember Kring re-commits herself to earmarking a specific percentage of TOT revenue for neighborhood revitalization.  As I posted a few days ago, I agree with providing the funding necessary to repair and improve the quality of life of Anaheim neighborhoods, with special emphasis on those areas with a special need for it. That’s what local government is supposed to do.

I do think it is a mistake to earmark a specific percentage of a specific revenue stream for that purpose. Good intentions and sloganeering notwithstanding, it will acquire the patina of an entitlement and will have a distorting effect on future budgeting. At some point in future, the problems necessitating this special fund will be addressed (again, that is the point); once the problem it was created to solve is solved, will the Council then dissolve this earmark in order to shift the funds to other purposes? Good luck with that when, over the years, organized groupings have arrived at a proprietary attitude toward those funds.

The end is what is important here, not the means. The point is to make the improvements, rather enact a “see what we’re doing for you” special fund.

The OC Register published New Year’s resolutions from Mayor Tom Tait and Councilwoman Kris Murray the other day.

tait portraitHere’s Mayor Tait’s:

On this issue, I tend to procrastinate a bit and often never even get around to making a New Year’s resolution until mid-January. But this year, I, like many people, hope to celebrate the gift of life by eating healthier, exercising more and generally taking better care of myself throughout 2013.

When I think about my New Year’s resolution for the city of Anaheim, my goal is not much different than my personal goal: create a healthier Anaheim.

I like to think about creating a strong immune system for the city so that we have the inner strength to defeat any trouble that may come our way – either manmade or a natural disaster.

There is a role for each and every one of us in creating a healthier Anaheim. Young or old, we all can be kinder, watch out for our friends and neighbors, lend a hand when it is needed, attend a neighborhood meeting when invited, organize a bake sale for the local school … the list goes on.

You can read the rest here.

KrisMurray1And here is Councilwoman Murray’s:

It has been such an honor to serve the residents of Anaheim this past year and my sincerest wish is for all of us to enjoy a safe and prosperous new year. My resolutions for 2013 focus on what I hope to accomplish on behalf of my fellow citizens.

Public safety: The safety of our residents is paramount to the entire council. That is why I have resolved to advocate for the restoration of pre-recession Police and Fire staffing and champion new, comprehensive gang prevention programs to protect our neighborhoods.

Blight Eradication & Code Enforcement: I began working with city staff on this issue in 2012 to aggressively address blight in Anaheim, particularly in our most fragile neighborhoods. In 2013, I resolve to support the innovative new Code Enforcement program that City Staff will roll out this spring.

You can read the rest of her’s here.

In both cases, essentially pledging to carry forward with policies and approaches that have been characteristic of their campaigns and tenure in office thus far.

Photo

New Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier

A new release from the Disneyland resort came over the transom about an hour ago, announcing some leadership changes.

Key Leadership Changes Announced at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Michael Colglazier named new Disneyland Resort president  

Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs today announced key leadership changes across one of the world’s leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences to better position the organization for growth. Effective Feb. 1, Meg Crofton will fully assume her global role as president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France — a position she has held since July 2011 — while concurrently serving as president of Walt Disney World. With Meg’s transition complete, George A. Kalogridis is named president of the Walt Disney World Resort, and Michael Colglazier is named president of the Disneyland Resort. Both Kalogridis’ and Colglazier’s roles also are effective Feb. 1.

“With all that we currently have in flight across our resort destinations in the U.S. and France, the time is right to move forward with this leadership transition,” said Staggs.  “This group of Disney veterans has the knowledge and expertise needed to continue delivering on our legacy of creating unforgettable experiences that our guests have come to know and expect.”

Colglazier brings longtime, multifaceted Disney experience to Anaheim

Colglazier’s Disney career spans more than two decades across several areas of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including Operations, Global Development, Disney Photo Imaging, Operations Strategy and Technology and Strategic Planning. For the last several years, Colglazier has served as head of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, where he has been instrumental in the planning and development of an Avatar-themed land. In prior leadership positions, he oversaw the creation and growth of Disney’s PhotoPass program and helped re-energize Innoventions at both Disneyland and Epcot through strategic partnerships.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Disneyland Resort and serve as a steward of both its heritage and its continued growth,” said Colglazier. “I am excited to work with the resort’s 25,000 Cast Members as we continue to carry out Walt Disney’s legacy of creating lasting memories for our guests, and I look forward to partnering with Anaheim and Orange County’s community and business leaders to ensure the continued economic vitality of our community and region. My family is just as excited as I am – and we all look forward to becoming part of the Disneyland family and Orange County community.”

Kalogridis Returns to Central Florida

George A. Kalogridis, who has served as Disneyland Resort president since 2009, is no stranger to Central Florida. Not only did he graduate from the University of Central Florida, but he began his four-decade career with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in 1971 as a busboy at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Since that time, he’s held numerous roles at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Resort Paris.

“It has been a true privilege to serve as president of the Disneyland Resort and to lead the team that successfully opened one of the largest expansions in the resort’s history,” said Kalogridis.  “I’m incredibly proud of all that we’ve accomplished during my tenure and know Michael and the Disneyland team will continue to build on the resort’s success and legacy for years to come.”   “I am excited to return to my roots and have the opportunity to lead our talented Walt Disney World Resort Cast. Throughout my 40-plus-year tenure, Disney has given me amazing opportunities to prepare me for this next chapter in my career. I look forward to again working with my Florida-based colleagues and reconnecting with Orlando’s community and business leaders,” added Kalogridis. Added Staggs, “I wish George and Michael the best of luck in their new roles. They both bring a wealth of operational expertise, leadership and passion to these roles, which will contribute to the success of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.”

Welcome to Anaheim!

Welcome to Anaheim!

The OC Register reports that Anaheim Police Officer Dan Hurtado has been cleared in the March 2012 shooting of a gang member:

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has cleared an Anaheim police officer who shot and killed a 21-year-old gang member after the man ignored commands to stop and pointed a shotgun at the patrolman, an investigative letter released Tuesday said.

Officer Dan Hurtado was aware of a witness standing nearby and also believed her to be in harm’s way before he fired three shots from a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, he told district attorney investigators.

Should anyone be surprised Officer Hurtado was cleared? He was doing his job. A known gang member pulls a gun, refuses order to stand down, and gets shot.

What never fails to astonish me is the complaints about “police brutality” and “excessive force” that inevitably follow incidents like this — as if the police, and not the gangs, are the problem. These complaints are usually propounded by “community activists,” and those left-libertarians who think the greatest threat to freedom are the police – but are far more understanding of, and even sympathetic to, rioting as a “reaction” to law enforcement activity.

We live in a society founded on the idea of ordered liberty. Gangs undermine ordered liberty. By  relentlessly cracking down on gangs and gang activity, the police are fulfilling one of the most basic functions of local government: ensuring the safety of the citizenry and thereby protecting their liberty.

A few momths ago, aninal rights activists and then-Councilwoman Lorri Galloway mounted an energetic push enact an “exotic animal” ban that would have barred Ringling Bros. and any other circus from Anaheim (and as an unintended consequence, it would have banned the Angels’ “Rally Monkey,” as well). Among other rationales, circus ban supporters cited allegations of abuse of the elephants and other circus animals.

Well, a few days ago, one of the animal rights groups that has been harassing Ringling Bros.  — the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — agreed to pay the circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit. From the Associated Press:

The New York-based animal rights group was one of several involved in a  lawsuit filed in 2000 against the circus’ owner, Feld Entertainment Inc.,  claiming elephants were abused. Courts later found that the animal rights  activists had paid a former Ringling barn helper involved in the lawsuit at  least $190,000, making him “essentially a paid plaintiff” who lacked  credibility.

Two courts agreed the former barn helper, Tom Rider, wasn’t credible and  didn’t have a right to sue.

This only settles litigation with the ASPCA, and Feld Entertainment will continue its legal actions – including litigation abuse and racketeering claims — vis-a-vis its other tormenters from the animal rights realm: the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved.

This is helpful to keep in mind should any future councilmember decide to mount an anti-circus jihad.

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