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The sanctions slapped on Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling by the NBA almost certainly mean the end of his ownership of the team. The racist ranting of one man may do more to deliver a professional basketball to Anaheim than the city’s vain pursuit of the Sacramento Kings in 2011 and 2012.

Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli is already approved to own an NBA team. He has already invested in making The Honda Center an NBA-ready arena. It’s my understanding AEG, which runs the Staples Center, would not be sad to see the Clippers, and that they could probably make more money on concerts than they do on Clippers home games.

It makes perfect sense. The city ought to be aggressively pursuing this opportunity. If it does, hopefully it will be done in a more coherent fashion than its recent dealings with the Angels.

The OC Register has stories here and here on this possibility.

The Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR) PAC is holding a “Beer & Bundts” fundraiser this Thursday, May 1 at the Anaheim Brewery in downtown:

SOAR PAC fundraiser 5-1

 

While the time span (5:30-7:30 p.m.) is standard, the theme definitely is not and promises to be a cool event.

You can RSVP by contacting Jill Kanzler at jill@soaranaheim.com.

 

The cajuly 4 fireworks patrioticmpaign to return safe-and-sane fireworks to Anaheim is getting organized. On the June ballot will be Measure E, a product of the Charter Review Commission that would legalize safe-and-sane fireworks, which were banned by Anaheim voters back in 1986 by a vote of 56%.

The “Committee for a Safe 4th of July – Yes on Measure E” was formed on April 22. The same day, American Promotional Events West dba TNT Fireworks deposited $40,000 into the campaign account.

As far as I can determine,m there is no organized (or even disorganized) opposition to Measure E. And that is a good thing, because there is no good reason that safe-and-sane fireworks should not be used legally in Anaheim to celebrate our liberty and independence. Even the warring factions in and around City Hall are united in their support for Measure E (I’m assuming CATER hasn’t found some legal technicality to hang a complaint upon).

Some prominent supporters of legalizing safe-and-sane fireworks are also prominent opponents of Measure D (two-year mayoral terms) – which is interesting because one of the arguments they make against Measure D is it should be defeated because the voters already decided the issue back in 1992 and it would be wrong to re-visit the issue. At the same time, they support re-visiting the issue of fireworks, even though the voters already spoke on that issue in 1986.

Anaheim Blog today received a copy of this letter sent by Convention, Sports & Leisure to Councilwoman Lucille Kring, in which the firm rejected “conflict of interest” claims being fanned by some local gadflies and picked activists opposed, and reported on by the Voice of OC.

This story was “broken” by a VOC commenter, “Anaheimer” (aka Kevin Hogan, part gadfly Cynthia Ward’s claque). The conjured “conflict” was the claim that CSL parent company Legends Entertainment was selected as Angels Baseball’s new food service contractor because the CSL report arrived at the unremarkable conclusion that the Angels have a positive economic impact on the city.

The key part of the Voice of OC article casting doubt on CSL’s assertion of its independence from Legend’s food service business:

Yet filings with the state of Texas, where CS&L is based, indicate that the consulting and hospitality firms have the same top executives.

The Legends website lists Dan Smith as “President, Hospitality,” a position he has apparently held since at least 2012. However, on a 2013 filing with the Texas Secretary of State, Smith is listed as president of CS&L.

Additionally, Texas filings show three other executives for CS&L also serving as executives at Legends Hospitality LLC. They include David Checkett, David Hammer and Marty Greenspun.

Despite these filings, the parent company’s letter claims that “Legends management nor staff have involvement in the day-to-day operations of CSL or have any influence on projects in which CSL provides advisory services.”

The letter from CSL directly addresses this part of the VOC story:

Dear Council Member Kring:

We have followed some of the recent reports attempting to cast a false light on CSL, Legends and our recent work for the City of Anaheim. As we have stated in the past, CSL and the various operations of Legends, are run as completely separate divisions, including our customers in the Legends Hospitality line of business. Any discussion with the Angels regarding Legends Hospitality’s food and beverage services took place completely independently of the CSL work for the City. As such, we categorically deny any implied wrongdoing between the two.

Furthermore, no Legends Hospitality management or staff had any input or knowledge whatsoever of the work performed by CSL on behalf of the City, and no CSL management personnel working on this project for the City, or any other CSL project, were at any time involved any Legends Hospitality negotiations or other related discussions with the Angels. Additionally, we feel that it is important to note that Dan Smith is not an officer of CSL nor has he ever served as President of CSL, nor has he had any interaction whatsoever with the analyses conducted by CSL for any project it conducts, including our work for the City of Anaheim.

During the original CSL acquisition process, officers of Legends various divisions, including Legends Hospitality, of which Mr. Smith is, were used in the CSL company tax filings. This formality is in the process of being adjusted to reflect CSL’s actual responsibilities and leadership structure. Bill Rhoda was serving as president of CSL prior to and after the date of the acquisition. Mr. Rhoda has over 20 years of professional sports experience, including analysis of economic impact in markets throughout the country.

That didn’t seem very difficult to clear up. The Voice of OC article was published on April 24. The letter to Kring from CSL is dated April 25. Although the VOC article states that “Legends spokesman Eric Gelfand declined to comment,” I have no idea how much time Gelfand was given to provide a comment. Since CSL is an independent subsidiary of Legends, I’m guessing Gelfand declined to comment because he didn’t have the facts readily at hand.  It would seem allotting just a little more time to ascertaining the truth of the matter could have led to a more complete and factual story.

Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Shaikin has a column that, I think, fairly and accurately sums up why negotiations between the City and Anaheim and the Angels are stalled:

You’re the mayor. A guy walks into City Hall and offers to spend half a billion bucks to revitalize property owned by the city, at no cost to the city. What do you say?

If you’re Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, you call it a taxpayer giveaway.

This is not a knock at Tait. This is a tip of the cap toward a mayor who has been so incredibly successful in framing the debate surrounding the Angels’ stadium lease negotiations that the process has ground to a dead halt.

It has been six months since the Anaheim City Council voted to approve the framework of a deal designed to keep the Angels in town for the long term, and to determine how to cover the estimated $150 million needed to keep Angel Stadium up and running for the long term.
The Angels first asked the city for cash. The city, properly, said no.

So the two sides agreed the Angels would cover that $150 million and, in exchange, would lease the land surrounding the stadium — the parking lots — for $1 per year. If the Angels successfully developed the land, they could make back that money, and maybe more.

In Anaheim, the mayor has one vote on the City Council. Tait was outvoted, 4-1, but he has publicly objected to proceeding with the deal ever since.

It is not so much that Tait is the voice of the opposition. It is that Tait is the only voice.

Shaikin goes on:

Read the rest of this entry »

The OC Register reports that the city is purchasing a 3.073 acre parcel (between Harbor Blvd. and Anaheim Blvd. near the 91 freeway) from Karcher Partners LLC for $3 million, in order to build a regional, year-round emergency homeless shelter.

City officials confirmed Tuesday that they are working toward building a regional, year-round emergency homeless shelter on a vacant portion of property that once served as the home base of the Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain.

While not a done deal, Anaheim city officials are working with their counterparts in neighboring Fullerton to bring a shelter to a 3-acre parcel bounded by Harbor and Anaheim boulevards, the 91 freeway and Carl Karcher Way. Until Tuesday afternoon, the City Council had kept quiet on why the property was purchased this month for $3 million. The shelter would be operated by Orange County.

A decision by the council could come by summer, said Kristine Ridge, an interim assistant city manager.

“I think the time is now,” Anaheim Mayor Tait said shortly after Tuesday’s City Council workshop on homelessness issues.

If that is the case, why was there no mention of building a year-round, regional homeless shelter when the mayor and city council voted on March 25 to purchase the property? Here it is – Item 21 on the consent calendar for the March 25, 2014 council meeting.

If the city bought the property with the intention of building a year-round homeless shelter, it’s interesting that no mention was made of that fact in the staff report or any other accompanying document. And given the repeated lectures on “more transparency is always better” when it comes to police oversight or Angels negotiations or most everything else, why was this matter so opaque?

There’s nothing improper with the city purchasing an available parcel for which it can see one or more potential uses. But it seems clear that the city had a very particular use in mind for these three acres, located very close to La Palma Park – the epicenter of complaints from residents about a homeless get city crowding them out of the intended and proper use of the park. It stands to reason those residents would like some advance notice that the reason the city is purchasing the property is to build a year-round homeless shelter.

And where is CATER on this? Fighting for transparency – especially with the use of taxpayer money — is supposedly their raison d’etre; shining the sunlight of transparency and letting the chips fall where they may? There’s no need here for them to rummage through the legal haystack for a needle upon which to base a lawsuit. At the every least, it’s three known members could engage in well-practiced thundering from the podium during public comments, or filing a blizzard of PRA requests. That is, if CATER is a bona fidepublic interest organization and not just another political interest group pursuing a distinct political agenda.

This came over the transom yesterday from Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This upcoming Tuesday, April 29th, from 3:30 – 7:30 pm, the City of Anaheim in partnership with Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, State Senator Bob Huff, State Senator Lou Correa, Assemblyman Tom Daly, OneOC, Anaheim/Orange County Visitors and Convention Bureau (AOCVCB) and S.O.A.R, is hosting the Anaheim/Orange County Volunteer Fair at the Anaheim Convention Center Grand Plaza (800 West Katella, Anaheim).

The Anaheim/Orange County Volunteer Fair will bring together the non-profit community, elementary and high school students, college students, faith-based organizations and the general public to offer volunteer information and opportunities to serve.
Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been out of town and returned to read this article in the Voice of OC: “Conflict Questions Cloud Report on Angels’ Impact.”

The “conflict questions” pertain to the fact that Conventions, Sports & Leisure, the consulting firm that prepared a report for the city on the positive economic benefits of having the Angels in Anaheim, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Legends Hospitality, which Angels Baseball recently hired to replace Aramark as its food service contractor.

Few terms are bandied about with more frequency and less understanding than “conflict of interest.” More often than not, it is used just to muddy the water by partisans who want to suggest a policy or person they oppose isn’t on the up-and-up.

The usual claque of Angels negotiations critics are seizing on this to make the claim the CSL study concluded that the Angels are a net benefit to Anaheim so that Legends would get the food service contract.

How are we supposed to take this sort of half-baked thinking seriously? We’re supposed to seriously consider the crack-pot idea that the Angels awarded their food service contract not because Legends would do a better job than Aramark of providing a positive experience for Angels fans – but in order secure a report that, in essence, arrived at the uncontroversial conclusion that the Angels are good for the city.

Even the critics of the Angels negotiations takes pains to say they want the Angels to say – a stance they presumably would not take if they believed the team to be a drain on the city.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Voice of OC published an article today on CATER: Concerned Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility. The headline reads “Residents Fight Stadium, Convention Center Deals.”

I have a question: who are these “residents”?

The article mentions two CATER members: Cynthia Ward and Greg Diamond. Only Ward lives in Anaheim; Diamond is a resident of Brea. The article repeatedly references “residents” in the plural, the average reader is led to believe CATER has more than one Anaheim resident as a member. However, there is only one known CATER member who lives in Anaheim. Maybe there are more; maybe it’s a Potemkin group.

Notably absent was any inquiry or curiosity about who is footing CATER’s legal bills.

The Orange County Labor Federation voted yesterday to give the Democratic Party of OC a choice: remove Greg Diamond as Vice Chair or kiss it’s support good-bye.

Such a removal of support would be crippling to the DPOC.

Diamond’s opposition to a range of jobs-generating projects was cited. Diamond – resident of Brea but a fixture at Anaheim City Council meetings – is also the lawyer for fellow gadfly Cynthia Ward’s CATER group, which basically annoys the city with complaints and lawsuits. Diamond’s and CATER’s opposition to the Anaheim Convention Center was apparently the last straw.

Dan Chmielweski has more over at TheLiberalOC.com.

Like her or lump her, agree or disagree with her, Lorri Galloway is nothing if not an energetic candidate.

Next week, she is holding a “show up rally” for her mayoral campaign:

galloway 4-24 rally

 

The special guest speaker will be Jose Solorio, Rancho Santiago Community College District trustee and candidate for the 34th Senate District (which includes much of west Anaheim).

Anaheim Insider here.

I recently criticized agitator Cynthia Ward’s FPPC complaint against Kris Murray as nonsense. Ward claims Murray violated the FPPC’s mass mailing rule because she’s featured in an Anaheim Chamber of Commerce mailer. I’ll let her faulty reasoning speak for itself:

The complaint is nearly done formatting, let’s see, do I have it all?

Chamber accepts public funds. Check.
Tangible item. Check.
Mailed to at least 200 addresses. Check.
Public official name and/or photo included. Check.
Official participated in the mail piece. Check.

That about does it.

Ward is guilty of a double standard, because Mayor Tom Tait is all over the Chamber of Commerce invites to the annual State of the City event. If Ward really believes in Murray is in violation of the mass-mailing rule, then she must also file a complaint against Tait. Otherwise, it’s simply a case of the mayor’s biggest cheerleader harassing one of his critics (which we all know is really the case).

Read the rest of this entry »

The day after the radical non-profit OCCORD formed the Committee for District Elections to fight for single-member council districts, allied individuals formed the “Committee Against Measure D.”

Measure D is the charter amendment on the June ballot that would change the mayoral term from four to two years.

The principal officer is Anaheim City School District Board of Education member James Vanderbilt; he is also running for city council on Mayor Tom Tait’s slate and signed the ballot arguments against Measure D. The treasurer is Helen Myers, a friend of Cynthia Ward, treasurer of a political action committee formed last year by Ward, and was treasurer of millionaire developer Tony Bushala’s Fullerton Recall PAC.

In my earlier post ruminating oOCCORD Logon the possibility of the OCEA playing sugar-daddy to the single-member council districts ballot initiative campaign, I mentioned OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) as a leader of the left-wing coalition in that side of the issue.

And it appears OCCORD will indeed be taking a leading role in the campaign. On March 25, paperwork was filed with the Anaheim City Clerk creating the “Committee for District Elections, sponsored by One Anaheim” – with an address in Garden Grove, 92843. While the street address is redacted from the Form 410, its safe say this committee is a creature of OCCORD – which is also in Garden Grove 92843. Plus the committee treasurer is Susan Hecht, who is OCCORD’s development and operations manager.

“One Anaheim” is identified as a “social welfare organization,” meaning it is (presumably) a 501(c)(4), which are allowed to engage in partisan political campaigns (as a secondary activity). They also are not subject to limits on their lobbying activity and are not required to publicly disclose their donors. I haven’t yet found any documentation on “One Anaheim,” but it’s a safe bet it is also an OCCORD political project.

It’s also ironic that the campaign to carve Anaheim into several, more politically bite-size pieces has taken the name “One Anaheim.”

As some long-time readers know, OCCORD, in its own words:

“is a leader in the emerging movement to reclaim Orange County, California, from the extreme laissez-faire policies and entrenched anti-immigrant sentiment that have long dominated our region.”

Yes, to to the folks at OCCORD, our highly-regulated economy here in Southern California is an example of “laissez-faire” economics – which tells you just how radical they are. Can someone tell me again how bringing single-member council districts to Anaheim is NOT a political project of the Left?

On March 22, the left-wing coalition backing single-member council districts in Anaheim kicked off its campaign to win their approval by Anaheim voters this November. 501(c)(3) groups like OCCORD can actively advocate for a ballot measure within limits on “lobbying” activity. Per the BolderAdvocacy website (published by the left-wing Alliance for Justice):

Under Section 501(h), the overall limit on lobbying starts as high as 20% of those expenditures for small charities and diminishes to a smaller percentage of the expenditures for larger organizations, with a maximum cap of $1,000,000 on an organization’s annual lobbying expenditures. In addition to this overall limit, the 501(h) test imposes a limit on grassroots lobbying, calculated as one-quarter of the overall lobbying limit. For example, a 501(c)(3) that has made the 501(h) election, with an annual budget of $500,000, would have an overall lobbying limit of $100,000 and a grassroots lobbying limit of $25,000.

OCCORD’s annual budget has historically been somewhat over half-a-million dollars, so the above is a solid guide to how much of its budget the left-wing advocacy group can devote to this ballot measure.

Convincing Anaheim voters to re-structure how they elect their city council will take a considerable amount of persuasive voter communication – especially since there is no grass-roots groundswell demanding single-member council districts.  In other words, the pro-council districts coalition needs a benefactor(s) to bankroll its campaign.

Who will do it?

One possibility would be the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), which definitely has the resources and presumably the interest in replacing at-large council elections with a single-member districts system.

Read the rest of this entry »

Supervisor Janet Nguyen

Supervisor Janet Nguyen

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has endorsed Supervisor Janet Nguyen for the 34th Senate District (which includes a large portion of west Anaheim).

This is from the Janet Nguyen for Senate press release:

Today Janet Nguyen announced receiving the endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) for her campaign for Senate. The HJTA is California’s largest taxpayer protection organization and was instrumental in passing California’s historic property tax law Prop 13.

“Janet Nguyen has our support because she is committed to defending taxpayers and preserving Proposition 13 against liberal attacks in the Legislature,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal.

Nguyen’s Democrat opponent, former Assemblyman Jose Solorio, voted to dismantle Proposition 13 and enact a “split roll” while he was in the Assembly. Supervisor Nguyen is a strong supporter of Prop. 13 which eliminates dramatic rises in taxes for property owners across California. Having the endorsement of the HJTA is key in the election for the 34th Senate District as tax increases are likely to be one of the top issues in the election.

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Continuing our series of posts (here, here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

We urge you to Vote Yes on Measure D to bring greater accountability to the Mayor’s office and strengthen Anaheim’s term limits law.

Common sense says a two-year term brings greater responsiveness to the Mayor’s office. Yes on Measure D does that.

An effective Mayor should have no problem seeking voter approval every two years. Longer terms don’t make for better leaders. Good mayors can accomplish a lot in two years, while a bad mayor will accomplish nothing in four years.

Read the rest of this entry »

From Eric Carpenter’s “Ask Mr. Anaheim” column in the Orange County Register:

 Q. A friend recently told me that the Anaheim Convention Center is about to get bigger again. I grew up around here and have always liked the shape of the arena there on Katella, but it seems underused now. Where is there room left for it to grow, and is it worth the cost?
– Jeff Buck, Anaheim

A. Your friend told you correctly, Jeff. The Convention Center is about to grow again.

The City Council last month approved the $180 million expansion, which is expected to begin later this year and could be completed by 2016. The 200,000-square-foot glass building will face Katella Avenue, next to the space-inspired dome that you mentioned, which has been there since 1967.

I see your point, Jeff, that the arena may seem like it isn’t used quite as much, especially since it used to be a concert hot spot in the 1960s and ’70s, hosting the likes of Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin.

Now big-name artists are much more likely to travel east on Katella to book the nearby Honda Center.

But the Convention Center, of course, is now much more than the arena. In fact, it has undergone six previous expansions and is one of the premiere event spaces on the West Coast. City and tourism officials want to ensure it remains that way.

You can read the rest here.

Anaheim Insider here.

Last week, I dismissed Cynthia Ward’s threat to file an FPPC complaint against Kris Murray. Ward is president of secretive non-profit she created called CATER. She alleges Murray violated the FPPC’s mass mailing regulation when the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce sent out an e-mail informing members about a Murray campaign fundraiser. Ward reacted by saying her complaint was “a reality not a threat” and presenting the reasoning for her complaint against Murray:

“Chamber accepts public funds. Check. Tangible item. Check. Mailed to at least 200 addresses. Check. Public official name and/or photo included. Check. Official participated in the mail piece. Check.”

Ward’s reasoning is faulty and will get bounced by the FPPC. But if Ward really believes what she is saying, then she should also file a complaint against Mayor Tom Tait because of all the invitations the Chamber sent out promoting the Anaheim State of the City event “featuring Mayor Tom Tait.” It meets everything on Ward’s checklist.

If Ward is consistent and really motivated by concern for holding elected officials accountable to the law, then she’ll file an (equally without merit) FPPC complaint against the Mayor, as well. She won’t do that, of course, which will expose her motivation motive as purely political: she’s trying to damage Kris Murray politically. Ward hopes to force Murray to spend campaign funds fighting an FPPC complaint, like she did with her lawsuit against council candidate Steve Chavez Lodge. She lost that case, on balance, but bled Lodge’s campaign of money that would have gone to campaign mail.

In this case, it’s a false hope. Neither Kris Murray nor Tom Tait nor the Chamber have done anything wrong. There is no violation and Ward’s complaint will go nowhere.

Continuing our series of posts (here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

Vote “NO” on Measure D.

An overwhelming majority, over 70% of Anaheim, has already decided the mayor should have four years to speak for the people.

So who’s wasting our time with a question to which we already know the answer?

Special interests.

Why?

Their best argument is that two years is how they do things in the fine cities of Orange and Irvine. They say it increases accountability.

Read the rest of this entry »

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