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I’ve learned that Councilman Jordan Brandman has appointed Ernesto Medrano to the Charter Review Committee.

Medrano is the political director of Teamsters Local 952 (the Orange County local) and a flatlands resident.

Brandman’s first appointee was former Mayor Curt Pringle to the CRC, but Pringle later withdrew earlier this week.

[Apologies for the brevity of the post. I’m typing on an iPhone.]

Curt Pringle

Curt Pringle

Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle has contacted Councilman Jordan Brandman to let him know he has decided to decline Brandman’s appointment of him to the Charter Review Committee, citing time and business commitments.

That’s a shame, because Curt would have been a true asset to the CRC, given his experience as mayor, knowledge of the charter and past experience in amending it, not mention sound judgment and intelligence.

The Voice of OC was quick to manifest its Pringle-obsession with this article, which veered quickly into its pet topics of claiming members of this temporary, advisory committee should be required to complete financial disclosure forms. This is a feeble argument for a proposal that is a not-even-thinly-veiled political ploy directed at Curt Pringle; more on why it is a bad and arbitrary idea later.

The article also wrings its figurative hands that no Latinos were among the five CRC appointees (while failing to note that only 6 of the 36 applicants were Latinos. ore “representation” requires that individuals step up and “represent.”)

Daly FreidenrichThe OC Taxpayers Association has its general membership meeting this afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin.

The guests are Assemblyman Tom Daly and OC Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Freidenrich.

In light of today’s events in the Assembly, some questions from those in attendance are in order.

Tom Daly

Tom Daly

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Don Wagner

Don Wagner

The Assembly is voting on AB 93, which would gut the California Enterprise Zone program — including Anaheim’s and Santa Ana’s Enterprise Zones. The Assembly GOP Caucus asked for a recess and the vote hasn’t been completed — standing now at 49 “yes” votes. 54 votes are needed to pass the bill and kill the Anaheim and Santa Ana EZs.

Assemblyman Tom Daly – the former Anaheim mayor who represents Santa Ana and much of Anaheim — has surprisingly cast a “yes” vote to gut the two EZs in his district. Still getting my head around that one.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who also represents part of Anaheim, hasn’t voted yet.

Assemblyman Don Wagner, who represents Anaheim Hills, voted “no.” Kudos to Don to standing up for private sector job creation.

If Quirk-Silva votes “no” and Daly switches his vote to “no,” then this job-killer bill will die. This is a bright line vote, and will say much about commitment to real economic growth.

UPDATE: The Assembly is back from recess. Sharon Quirk-Silva has voted “yes” on AB 93 – i.e., in favor of killing the Anaheim Enterprise Zone. That brings it to 50 of the 54 votes necessary to pass.

AB 93 passed the Senate yesterday on a 39-0 vote – Senator Lou Correa among the “yes” votes.

UPDATE: AB 93 hit the necessary 54 votes to pass. Unbelievably, several members of the GOP Caucus joined the Democrats.

GOP Assemblymembers Curt Hagman, Marie Waldron, Jeff Gorrell and Katcho Achadjian voted with the Democrats to kill the Enterprise Zone program. Hagman and Waldron switched from “no” to “yes” votes!

By putting up their “yes” votes, these Republicans allowed three Assembly Democrats take a pass on casting an anti-business vote. Effectively, those Assembly Republicans cast anti-business votes so those Democrats wouldn’t have to! How are Republicans supposed to have any hope of taking out Democrats when they can’t master the basics like forcing Democrats to cast bad votes?

This came over the transom from The Honda Center:

The Arena’s Newest Division Aims To Provide ‘A Great Experience’ To Guests and Staff

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 27, 2013) – Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), the management company of Honda Center in Anaheim, has announced that they have officially transitioned the food & beverage operations of the venue in-house.  

“We are thrilled to launch this new division of our organization, and are confident we can take our food & beverage service to new heights,” said Tim Ryan, President and CEO of Honda Center. “Our guests expect a world-class entertainment experience when visiting our venue and improving our food and beverage services will go a long way toward meeting that goal.”

Julie Margolin joined the Honda Center team this May as the arena’s Director of Food & Beverage. Margolin will oversee the operation of the venue’s concessions, premium and suite service, as well as The Grand Terrace, a 15,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor entertainment space slated to open this fall. The transition includes the introduction of a number of new concession items and concepts, along with roaming concession sales at select events. Additionally, the venue recently announced that a full-service Wolfgang Puck restaurant will open on the main level of the arena later this year. In order to support the new operation, AAM has finalized the hiring of more than 700 new food & beverage employees.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medical marijuana advocate Jason Thompson

Medical marijuana advocate Jason Thompson

It looks like a medical marijuana initiative may be coming to Anaheim next year.

A new city political committee was filed with the Anaheim City Clerk on June 12 called “Anaheim Safe Access,” which describes its purpose as being “to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of cannabis to all Anaheim patients in medical need.”

The treasurer is Jason Ryan Thompson, a Riverside-based attorney and owner of Thompson Advocacy – which counts medical marijuana dispensaries among its clientele. The principal officer is a Richard Baker of Anaheim. I’ve e-mailed and left a voice-mail for Mr. Thompson for additional information on the committee’s plans, and I’ll report back on what he tells me.Medical marijuana advocate Jason Thompson

In May of this year this California Supreme Court ruled that municipalities had the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. As Councilwoman Kris Murray wrote in her May e-newsletter:

This ruling is a significant victory for Anaheim, as the City has been working for years to ban dispensaries from operating within our community.  

As background, in 2007, the City adopted Ordinance No. 6067, which banned the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Anaheim. Soon thereafter, the City was sued in an attempt to overturn the ordinance and that litigation continues. In 2011, the City Council approved a moratorium to prevent new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening while we continued to work through the courts on the existing litigation and that moratorium expired in January of this year. This moratorium was passed in the wake of numerous dispensaries opening within Anaheim neighborhoods.

The state Supreme Court clears the way for the City of Anaheim to move ahead with a permanent ban on pot dispensaries.

My guess is formation of this “Anaheim Safe Access” political committee is the first step in qualifying a ballot initiative allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in Anaheim.


Stay tuned.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray held a re-election kick-off fundraiser yesterday evening at the Diamond Club at Angel Stadium. The event was attended by 175 people ( a mixture of community and business leaders, her three council colleagues, former Mayor Curt Pringle and a variety of others) and raised at least $90,000.

That is a huge amount to raise at a single political event in Orange County, even more so when you consider it is for an election that is about a year-and-a-half away. Murray has held together her victorious 2010 coalition, which if anything is now stronger and broader.

To put the blow-out success of this fund-raiser in perspective: during her first (and winning) city council run, Kris Murray raised a total of $114,000 for all of 2010. Yesterday, she raised 78% of that in a single night. With a few days left in the reporting period, she could possibly break the $100,000 mark – and that still leaves 15 fund-raising months between now and November 2014.

There are two council seats up in November 2014, held by Kris Murray and Gail Eastman. For all the howling from the peanut gallery and the media focus on the demands of vocal, organized factions (of which part of the leadership hails from outside Anaheim), Murray and Eastman are strongly positioned to be re-elected. Despite the claims of some gadflies to speak for “the people of Anaheim,” their divisive, class- and race-based rhetoric is not appealing to the great majority of Anaheim’s citizens. When the rubber meets the road next summer and fall, Kris Murray and Gail Eastman will be able to communicate a record that will lead Anaheim voters to reward them with a second term.

Ben FranklinThe constitutional order of limited government established by the Founders was so enduring in large part because it was grounded in an unsparing, unromantic understanding of human nature and a realization that it doesn’t change with the passage of time (in stark contrast to the dangerous progressive belief that humanity is malleable). That is why their insights remain just as applicable and relevant more than two centuries later.

This truth is vividly illustrated in a speech given in 1787 by Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention. it is truly prophetic and dwells on the same human passions animating the state government’s frightening coercion of  Anaheim Arena Management and its gutting of the Enterprise Zones in Anaheim and 39 other California cities:

And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation, for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people. 

Read the rest of this entry »

When government is only limited by the appetites and goodwill of those who run it, there are really no limits at all.

Veteran political reporter Dan Morain, now an opinion columnist for the Sacramento Bee, has published a column calling out the Legislature’s tyrannical targeting of the Honda Center, done so at the behest of the militant UNITE-HERE union. Some excerpts:

The California Legislature has decreed that it is within its rights to approve legislation that specifically targets one particular business.

No matter your political persuasion, this ought to be of concern.

The business in question is the Honda Center, the arena in Anaheim where the Ducks hockey team plays. Orange County billionaire Henry Samueli, a regular donor to Republican politicians and an occasional donor to Democrats, owns the National Hockey League franchise and operates the arena.

Earlier this year, Samueli decided to replace Aramark, a Philadelphia-based conglomerate that provided food service at the area, with an in-house concession operation. That’s his right, or ought to be.

The issue surfaced in May when Assemblyman Tom Daly, a Democrat and former Anaheim mayor, tried to block the Honda Center from hiring workers to replace Aramark employees and collecting state enterprise-zone tax credits for the new hires. Read the rest of this entry »

This came over the transom earlier from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce:

Action Alert!

Anaheim Enterprise Zone is Being Threatened…

Some Senate Democrats have struck a deal with Governor Jerry Brown to abolish Enterprise Zones and replace them with a plan full of empty promises. Today, the Senate Budget Committee is expected to meet and adopt Assembly Bill 93 – the Governor’s May Budget Revise plan that guts Enterprise Zones as we know them. The full Senate is meeting today at 4 p.m. to hear the sweeping change.

Your voice must be heard TODAY!

Please click the above link to send your letter of opposition to your representatives by 3:30 p.m.

We need to flood our representative’s inbox so we are urging you to take action now or risk losing one of Anaheim’s key tools for creating, attracting and retaining jobs.

Todd Ament
President & CEO
Anaheim Chamber of Commerce

Conservative blogger Jon Fleischman also weighed in on this issue on his blog:

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Art Association logoThe 50th Anaheim Art Association‘s gallery runs this week through Saturday, at the GardenWalk  in — where else? — Anaheim.

The gallery hours are Noon-8:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.

From the OC Register:

The Anaheim Art Association will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the annual gallery, which runs through Saturday. A reception and award ceremony cap off the event at 3 p.m. Saturday. Prizes span from brunch at the Anaheim White House Restaurant, gift certificates to Leon’s Picture Framing, Art Supply Warehouse and the Enlarger, as well as a $200 best-of-show award.

Every year, new and retired local artists submit works in mediums such as painting, photography and mixed media. The gallery, in Suite 155 next to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, usually features about 100 works of art.

Earlier this morning, the OCTA Board of Directors voted to continue its decision on approving the Anaheim City Council’s approval of the streetcar option as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the Anaheim Rapid Connection system.

Several directors had concerns and questions they wanted more time to have answered. I’ll have more later.

Some are calling for slapping on members of the newly forming Charter Review Committee (CRC) the requirement to file a Form 700. For the uninitiated, the Form 700 is a financial disclosure formed that an elected officials and certain classes of appointed officials – such as planning commissioners — must complete on an annual basis.

In reality, this proposed requirement is being aimed at a single individual, former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle; if he had not been appointed by Councilman Jordan Brandman, I don’t think anyone can seriously claim the Form 700 requirement would be proposed for a temporary committee with only advisory powers. It has no say over city spending or the awarding of city contracts.

There are a number of reasons why this requirement is a bad idea for a committee like the CRC, but the e-mail below from venomous council gadfly William Fitzgerald, head of the one-man “organization” Anaheim HOME, vividly illustrates one of them. Fitzgerald sent this e-mail to Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek and then forwarded it a number of others:

Read the rest of this entry »

Karl Marx Honda CenterThe following press release came over the transom from Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), providing further proof that all the howling from UNITE-HERE Local 11, OCCORD, the OC Labor Federation (and those they’ve duped like Cynthia Ward) over AAM bringing food service in house is a lot of hooey:

New Division of the Organization has Increased Food & Beverage Jobs at Honda Center by 34%

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 24, 2013) – Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), the management company of Honda Center in Anaheim, has released statistics associated with transitioning the food and beverage portion of its business in-house. The numbers reflect a 34% increase in the number of food and beverage positions at the venue and a net gain of 191 jobs. The information was made public to clarify unfounded and misleading statistics which have been presented by others as factual.

Total Positions
AAM’s new food and beverage operations at Honda Center will employ 756 part-time workers. Aramark’s stated number of Honda Center-based employees is 565. The additional positions are being added to improve the quality and speed of customer service and to staff the all-new Grand Terrace.

Wage Comparison
– Out of 35 like-for-like positions, approximately 83% of the positions have a higher, hourly starting wage.
– The average percentage increase in the hourly rates overall is 4%.

AAM hiring chart

Read the rest of this entry »

Fidel Castro thinks retention is muy bueno.

Fidel Castro thinks retention is muy bueno.

UNITE-HERE Local 11, which represents Aramark food service workers at the Honda Center, has been pushing to impose a Los Angeles-style “retention” ordinance on Anaheim Arena Management (AAM).

A retention ordinance requires that when a city changes contractors, the new contractor has to pay the old contractors employees for a period of time — usually 90 days — and provide other benefits. Obviously, this is a significant barrier to outsourcing city services.

UNITE-HERE Local 11 is desperate to avoid the loss of members (i.e. revenue) that will result from AAM bringing food service in-house (in an effort to provide better food service to its customers) — as well as the additional $3.50  to $4.00 per hour/per employee the union receives for its expensive  health care plan overhead. Their protests are about the union’s bottom line, not the supposed loss of jobs to UNITE-HERE members who work at the Honda Center — only about half of whom have applied for jobs under the new arrangement.

Enter the liberals who are running the asylum known as the California Legislature. According to the OC Register, they are trying to impose a retention policy on Honda Center:

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Insider here.

According to the Voice of OC, Jose Solorio is very concerned there are too many white people on Anaheim’s Charter Review Committee. The Orange County Register reports that Mayor Tom Tait is alarmed at former Mayor Curt Pringle’s appointment. Tait even wants Pringle to filed a disclosure form so he can see who Pringle’s clients are.

What about Mayor Tait’s appointee, Tom Dunn? No information on him in either article.  But a few minutes with Google reveals that Tom Dunn is E. Thomas Dunn, a criminal defense attorney who served on the 1999 Charter Review Committee.

Dunn is white, which will worry Solorio.

He’s also the E. Thomas Dunn who was [art of the defense team for Greg Haidl during the gang-rape trial of the son of the late OC Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, one of former Sheriff Mike Carona’s cronies.

The younger Haidl and two friends were tried for gang-raping an unconscious 16-year old girl. Haidl and his friends even videotaped themselves doing this. Dunn claimed the girl was a willing participant:

During a Jan. 22 hearing, E. Thomas Dunn Jr.—a former deputy DA hired by the Haidl defense team—asserted not only that the alleged victim was conscious during the sex, but also that the initial part of the tape shows her giving a blowjob. “It’s pretty hard to commit fellatio when you’re unconscious,” Dunn told Briseño. He also portrayed Haidl as nothing more than a bystander. “It wasn’t Mr. Haidl having intercourse [on the DVD],” Dunn said.

For months, prosecutor Brian Gurwitz has watched defense lawyers attack the motives and techniques of his office and police detectives. His responses have largely been legalistic until now. Dunn’s assertions about the alleged victim’s consciousness coupled with Cavallo’s description of his client as “this little boy” who is “innocent” and “did not rape anyone” left him outraged.

On Jan. 27, Gurwitz—who is adamant the girl was unconscious when she was assaulted—won Briseño’s permission to address his concerns in open court. The 10-year deputy DA acknowledged that the video did not catch Haidl having intercourse, but he argued what it does show is worse. “Mr. Cavallo says his client is not guilty, and Mr. Dunn all but indicated the victim deserved [to be raped],” Gurwitz said. “The defense has also suggested that this ‘little boy’ Gregory Haidl somehow is deserving of juvenile-court treatment because he’s merely an aider and an abettor in this case.

In this February 3, 2004 Los Angeles Times article, Dunn claims that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas was out to get his client. Haidl was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Insider here. The word on the insider street is that Anaheim’s search for a new city manager (being conducted by retired Anaheim City Manager Dave Morgan) has been narrowed down to three candidates, all of whom are currently city managers in other cities (and one of them here in Orange County).

Stay tuned.

MRH-SmIn other news…yesterday, Interim City Attorney Michael Houston was selected for the permanent City Attorney post. Now all that remains is the final negotiations.

Congratulations to Mike, who is an excellent choice for the position. He is smart, savvy, ethical and quick, and will serve the people of Anaheim and all members of the City Council with equal ardor.

Last night, Mayor Tom Tait and the members of the city council named five of the seven members of the Charter Review Committee (CRC). Each has one appointee to the CRC; those five will then name the remaining two -at-large members from the current pool of  applicants. Here are the appointees:

Mayor Tom Tait: Tom Dunn

Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman: Keith Oleson

Councilmember Kris Murray: Craig Farrow

Councilmember Jordan Brandman: Curt Pringle

Councilmember Lucille Kring: Amanda Edinger

Brandman iterated that he wanted the CRC to take up “general governance in addition to a line-by-line review of the entire charter…particular council administration responsibilities, there needs to be some updating of the charter.” He also stated he’d like the CRC to look at refining term limits, referencing some “glitches” (possibly a reference to how Anaheim’s term limits prohibits a councilmember from running for mayor in the middle of his or her second term). Brandman also expressed a desire for the CRC to look at standardizing city boards and commissions, and wants to take council districts off the table for the CRC, since the council is already dealing with that issue.

Kring disagreed with the last point and said she’d like council districts and council structure to remain within the CRC’s purview.

Mayor Tait asked to have the resolution creating the CRC brought back at the next council meeting to add a provision requiring CRC members to fill out a Form 700. Since the CRC is an advisory body of temporary duration, members are not required to completed these invasive forms. I don’t believe there is any reason to require it because the CRC is, as stated, advisory and temporary. It has no authority over the expenditure of funds, awarding of contracts, imposition of regulations, etc. The city council can take or leave its recommendations as it chooses.

No Form 700 filing requirement was imposed on members of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee, and its charge was just as serious and central to the nature of Anaheim city government. So why the CRC and not the CAC? That’s a recommendation that should be politely rejected.

Is there anything that the “two Anaheims” crowd will not transmogrify into a racial issue? After reading yesterday’s Voice of OC story on the budgeted funds to renovate the Anaheim Tennis Center, it would seem the answer is “No.”

According to the Voice of OC, there is “outrage” in Anaheim that the proposed city budget includes $6.4 million for improvements to the Anaheim Tennis Center, which is adjacent to Boysen Park in the flatlands of central Anaheim.

Why the outrage over the city investing money into improving a city-owned recreation center in the flatlands? Haven’t the city’s left-wing activist elements been alleging that Anaheim Hills gets all the goodies and the Flatlands get zip?

Little Peoples Park

Little Peoples Park

The “outrage” is that the budget doesn’t (according to the article) funding for Little People’s Park, a 1-acre playground near downtown. And now that the Anaheim Left has revived Little People’s Park as an icon of alleged Latino repression (due to a rock-throwing incident with the Anaheim police in 1978), what we have now is an attempt to turn Tennis Center funding into a racial issue.

The article claims Latinos are “outraged,” and quotes two Latino activists to prove it.

There’s the underlying assumption in the article — spoken and unspoken — and that tennis is a white person’s game, and not for Latinos. Isn’t that an example of racial stereotyping?

“I don’t know anybody that plays tennis,” said Marisol Ramirez, a 21-year-old resident of west Anaheim. 

Well, that settles it. Yank the funding!

council district unicornRamirez continues:

“If they would have approved district elections, then we would have a better sense of our priorities in each of the districts.”

The Voice of OC article fails to mention that Ramirez is on the Board of Directors of OCCORD, which is leading the political push for single-member council districts along with its parent organization UNITE-HERE Local 11. So it’s not exactly surprising Ms. Ramirez would use this invented controversy as an opportunity to pitch OCCORD’s pet political project.

It’s not until the 15th paragraph of the article that we come across this rather important bit of information: the funding for these renovations can’t be spent on Little People’s Park:

[City of Anaheim spokesperson Ruth Ruiz] said funding for the tennis center improvements and those for Ponderosa Park come from the Platinum Triangle development and are to be specifically used for improvements that are geographically close to the Platinum Triangle.

“These funds cannot be shifted to projects outside the sphere of the Platinum Triangle development area,” Ruiz wrote in an email to Voice of OC. “As with a lot of projects in the CIP [capital improvements program] their inclusion in the CIP is not an automatic guarantee those projects will be built in a certain budget year.”

Since the article is ostensibly about funding for Tennis Center improvements, shouldn’t that key information be front-loaded for readers, rather than buried?

How many Anaheim residents use the Tennis Center? What’s the socio-economic demographic? To what extent is it utilized by youth tennis players or schools?

Those are good questions — and the article provides no answers. In fact, the only people not quoted in the article are people who use the Anaheim Tennis Center.

The Anaheim Tennis Center isn’t entitled to this funding. How much money, if any, the city should spend renovating it is a legitimate policy question and open for debate. However, that debate should be based on need and available resources. Race and ethnicity should have no place in it, because the city should seek to serve all of its citizens without regard to their race, ethnic or social status. The Mayor and City Council should steer clear of basing budgeting decisions on ethnic considerations or racial politics.

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