You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2014.

Elevating substandard school performance is not easy. Ironically, factors that least affect student achievement (e.g., tests, technology, money spent) are the factors most often debated. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to implement the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, yet neither scores in reading nor mathematics improved significantly during the years that followed. Long-term improvement in student performance has never resulted from spending more money, as I previously pointed out (Glenn, 2014).

Researcher John Hattie at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has identified factors that matter as far as student achievement is concerned (and factors that don’t matter). Regardless of the structure of schools or classes, almost without exception, the presence or use of any factor is positively related to school progress. In other words, if students have a pulse, they learn—regardless of school type, teaching methods, online or
on-campus instruction, and scores of other factors.

Analyzing data collected from 250,000 students, Hattie (2009) used effect size* to measure the influence of almost 200 factors, completing more than 800 meta-analyses. When including all factors, he found an average (mean) effect size of 0.4. Overall, students improved academically regardless of the activity, condition, or instruction; whether they attended small classes, multigrade classes, or single-gender classes; whether grouped based upon age or ability; whether schools used a year-round schedule or the traditional two-semester schedule—or whether enrolled in a public, private, or charter school.

Two factors were found that negatively affected student achievement: retention (–0.16) and student mobility (–0.34). In other words, the majority of students who repeated a grade fell further behind as did students whose families relocated excessively.

Following are selected factors Hattie examined and the corresponding effect size for each factor. The effect size of each of the factors below is less than the effect size of scores of other factors; in other words, many other factors influence student achievement significantly more than any of these factors (click figure to enlarge):



If these factors do not influence student performance, which factors do? Hattie’s principal finding: More than any other factor, teachers matter. Teacher feedback (.73) and teacher-student relationships (.72), for example, are examples of large effect sizes, factors that significantly influence student achievement.

Hattie (2009) stated: “When students were asked about their best teachers, the common attributes were teachers who built relationships with students, teachers who helped students to have different and better strategies or processes to learn the subject, and teachers who demonstrated a willingness to explain material and help students with their work” (p. 108). It is worth noting that researchers have found that students do not associate their best teachers with factors such as requiring students to meet standards, complete homework assignments, pass skills tests, record satisfactory annual yearly progress, or value high course grades.


Cohen, J. (1977). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New York: Routledge.

Glenn, H. (2014). Common Core: Another stairway to nowhere. See

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

—Hugh Glenn

*Effect size is used to quantify a (standardized) difference between groups. A large effect size of 1.0 (standard deviation) represents approximately one year of growth on a school achievement test. A small effect size (0.2 or 1/5 standard deviation) has been found for charter schools. 

For an explanation of effect size, see

futureA friend alerted me that missing from yesterday’s post on implementing Measure L was a discussion of how many council seats will be on the ballot in 2016.

The answer is: four. Councilmembers Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman will be running for re-election in yet-to-be drawn council districts, and two new, open seats will be on the ballot.

According to the text of the Measure L charter amendment, once the four winners are sworn, they will cast lots to decide which serves only a two-year term and runs again in 2018:

Notwithstanding the term of office specified in the first paragraph of this Section 500, at the City Council meeting where these four members are sworn in, the City Council shall select by casting of lots one member elected at the November 2016 general election to hold office for a term of two years and until his or her successor qualifies; the remaining three members shall serve for a term of four years and until their successors qualify.

This is done so that going forward, there will always be three council seats on the ballot every two years. So, it is possible that either Councilmember Brandman or Kring will have to run a third time in 2018 (but for another two-year term). It begs the question of why the amendment didn’t limit the lot casting to the winners of the two newly-created council district seats.

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to SimAnaheim - it's six cities in one!

Welcome to SimAnaheim – it’s six cities in one!

Now that Measure L has been approved by Anaheim voters, how will it be implemented? The settlement agreement between the city and the ACLU spells out the steps that have to take place:

First, the city council must adopt a resolution establishing the process for drawing “councilmanic” districts. [NOTE: council districts would have been drawn regardless of the Measure L outcome, since the city council voted last year to move to from-district council elections beginning in 2016.]

The next step is the appointment of an advisory committee to “assist in the development of district maps to recommend for adoption.” The advisory committee is to consist of three retired judges who live and are registered to vote in Anaheim. If the city is unable to find three such judges willing to serve, then the council will appoint an advisory Committee of up to nine registered Anaheim voters who “shall be broadly representative…of the demographics, geographic, socio-economic and other communities of interest” in Anaheim (you can bet OCCORD is working up an applicant pool). There’s a recipe of racial bean-counting and contention over whether or not someone is “really” Latino or whatever. Perhaps the Moreno v. Anaheim plaintiffs could volunteer examine the birth certificates and research the ancestry of advisory committee applicants. What was that Martin Luther King Jr. said about being judged by the “content of our character” and not “the color of our skin”? And since state law essentially considers something so fundamental as gender to be “self-assigned,” why shouldn’t race or ethnicity – which is far more malleable – be self-assigned, as well? 

But I digress.

Here’s an interesting proviso in the settlement agreement: advisory committee members will be required to file a written declaration that they will not run for city council in 2016 or 2018 – “in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest” and to make sure the recommended district lines are “free of any personal goals or desires of its individual members to run for a seat on the City Council.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Leftist council candidate Jose F. Moreno finished a distant fourth place last week, despite the generous financial assistance of rich San Francisco Bay Area progressives. The newly-minted Democrat and Tom Tait ally declined to seek re-election to the Anaheim City School District Board off Education to make a run for the Anaheim City Council, and was the the de facto second member of the Tait Slate following Doug Pettibone’s lightning implosion. There was some speculation Moreno might make it by virtue of being the sole Democrat on the ballot with a credible campaign, combined with the $100,000 Tait Family/Ahmanson IE against Kris Murray and Gail Eastman. Moreno’s campaigned on more-or-less the same campaign themes as Tait and James Vanderbilt, but he was a left-wing proponent of color-conscious politics running in a Republican year when Anaheim’s voting electorate leaned Republican.

While Moreno’s defeat was a tactical defeat for the Left in Anaheim, passage of Measure L was a strategic victory and the most consequential result of last week’s election – not just for Anaheim, but for Orange County. The Yes on L and M campaign’s mail and ground game, funded by more than $350,000 from outside union and progressive political interests – and with support from the Tait Family Trust and Howard Ahmanson IE campaign — won a campaign based on promises of responsive government, better streets, trimmed tree and pledges of a better, brighter future for all God’s children. It reminded me of Measure W – the campaign that promised Orange Countians a huge, fabulous, world-class Orange County Great Park at no cost to taxpayers. The promises of the Measure L campaign carry the same value.

Measure L won by 37 points, but its companion initiative, Measure M, only passed by 8 points – even though the official “Yes” campaign urged voters to approve both measures.

Measures L and M results 11-10-14

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray - the top vote=getter.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray – the top vote=getter.

What to make of Tuesday’s election?

Mayor Tom Tait was elected to a second term, Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray was the top vote-getter for council, and Councilwoman Gail Eastman has apparently been narrowly edged out by James Vanderbilt, a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education whom Tait recruited at the beginning of the year to run for city council. All had sufficient resources to communicate their messages to Anaheim voters, and independent expenditures were well-funded and plentiful. [NOTE: Eastman has generally been losing ground in the daily tallies since Election Day, although today she gained 99 votes – leaving her 269 votes down. A lot of Anaheim ballots were counted today – 9,513. There are only 38,591 uncounted ballots left county-wide. A huge percentage of those would have to be from Anaheim for Eastman to be able to catch Vanderbilt.

Do the results bear out Tait’s claim to the Voice of OC that voters are “tired of tired of city leaders steering public resources to expensive projects and subsidies for the resort area and major businesses, while paying little attention to underserved neighborhoods.”

No. That’s spin.

For the moment, let’s put aside the underlying falseness of the mayor’s claim, which is part and parcel of a sustained campaign of distortion aimed at dismantling Anaheim’s traditional economic development vision. If Tait’s analysis were true, then Kris Murray would have been defeated. She has been the most vocal advocate of the public-private partnership approach to economic development. Defeating her was Team Tait’s top priority and she was subjected her a merciless, mendacious pounding from both Tait /Vanderbilt campaign proper and a $100,000 IE campaign funded by the Tait Family Trust and Howard Ahmanson via the California Homeowners Association (CHA) independent expenditure committee. 

Team Tait clubbed Murray with the same themes Tait sounded in the above even more so than Eastman. Yet, Murray was the top vote-getter and received a higher percentage of the vote than four years ago. Jordan Brandman was hit with the same attacks two years ago, and he was the top vote-getter. Jose Moreno ran on much the same platform as Tait, and he finished as distant fourth place. The mayor’s interpretation of the election results is a stretch too far.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

This came over the transom today from Councilwoman Lucille Kring:

To My Dear Friends,


A great big thank you for all your support for my campaign for Mayor. We all knew it would be a huge mountain to climb but we gave it all we could. The results were disappointing, but I’m still on council and we still have the majority.


I believe Measure L to support single member district elections and had $400,000 from around the country funding it had a great deal to do with the outcome.  The Mayor and I were on opposite sides of this issue.  And it won overwhelmingly.


I will never forget all the wonderful Anaheim residents I met during the 5 1/2 months I walked precincts. They were warm, caring and loved the city.  Many offered me water, soda or just come in and cool off.  Some weekends the temperature was over 100 degrees.


Read the rest of this entry »

ARTIC lit upThe City of Anaheim has announced it is bringing some pretty cool dining and drinking destinations for the soon-to-open Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) station:

ARTIC® Signs Unique Dining and Retail Tenants for Southern California’s Premier Transit Hub; Grand Opening Celebration on December 13

ANAHEIM, CA – November 4, 2014 – The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) announced today the latest group of dining and retail tenants to join the premier transportation hub in Southern California. Inside the 67,000 square-foot, LEED Platinum designed structure, ARTIC offers a unique variety of transit, dining, retail and entertainment options. All are invited to meet the tenants at the ‘Explore ARTIC Grand Opening Celebration’ on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

“ARTIC will be the ultimate destination for transit, dining and entertainment and we’re thrilled to offer such one-of-a-kind concepts to our future guests,” says Natalie Meeks, Director of Public Works for the City of Anaheim. “The selection of dining and retail tenants truly adds to the vibrant, engaging experience that ARTIC brings to the community.”

The newly signed tenants will make use of the approximately 12,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space available on the ground and second level of ARTIC, in addition to indoor kiosk locations.

“By combining exceptional dining, quick serve options and retail experiences in a centrally located transit hub, we are giving Southern Californians the perfect place to convene with coworkers, family or friends and to start or finish a trip,” says Xavier Colombi, Leasing Director at Lincoln Property Company for ARTIC. “Now you can have a delicious meal or snack and relax before going to a meeting, concert or weekend getaway.”

ARTIC Tenants (

Read the rest of this entry »

The OC Registrar of Voters counted 14,765 additional ballots today and updated the vote total at 5:00 p.m.:

11-5-14 election results update

Tom Tait and Kris Murray remain locks for re-election, and Tait Slate candidate James Vanderbilt still appears headed toward being sworn in as an Anaheim City Council member in a month. Councilwoman Gail Eastman picked up 40 votes and narrowed Vanderbilt’s lead from 297 to 257 votes. 14,765 ballots were counted today, and the combined mayoral vote increased by 420 – meaning 2.8% of those were from Anaheim. A number of those voters either bullet voted for council or left that part blank, since the combined council vote total increased by 748. ,

There are still 135,540 uncounted ballots remaining countywide. We have no way of knowing what cities those are from – although I’ve heard insider speculation they’re disproportionately from the SD34 and AD65 – but let’s suppose for the sake of discussion that the 2.8 percentage holds and 3,795 of the remaining uncounted ballots are from Anaheim. It’s still very unlikely Eastman will be able make up the 257 vote deficit.

Anaheim voter turnout was shockingly low compared to 2010, when 61,237 ballots were cast in the mayoral contest versus only 33,243 (so far) in this election. While Tait’s percentage of the vote was virtually the same both years — 54.4% in 2010 versus 54.1% this year — his only received slightly more than half as many votes: 17,968 compared to 33,340 in 2010. 

This was reflected in the council votes. Kris Murray finished second in 2010 with 17,81 votes, and was the top vote-getter this year with 12,332 votes. Not as dramatic a drop as in the mayoral race, but still significant.

The vote totals the ballot measure tracked the mayoral totals; 32,889 cast in the Measure L contest. Think about that: Anaheim has 345,000 residents and 126,024 registered voters – and 6.5% of the city’s population (22,455) just decided the size of and method for electing the city council that will govern the other 93.5%. When turnout is that low, it’s more like a polling sample than an election.

A lot of the turnout difference can probably be attributed to the lack of competitive races at the top of the ballot, as opposed to 2010 when Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown were squaring off. 

The OC Registrar of Voters has posted the first round of results:

first round


Mayor Tom Tait looks to be headed toward re-election, as does Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray, and Councilwoman Gail Eastman in a dogfight with Tait vassal James Vadnerbilt.  It doesn’t look like leftist Democrat Jose F. Moreno will be “making history” (as he would put it) this year.

The Left did win a strategic victory with the apparent passage of Measure L, thanks to a coalition of unions, rich progressives from San Francisco, and Tom Tait – opening the door to an eventual Democratic majority on the Anaheim City Council. Maybe the OC GOP will give him Local Elected Official of the Year again for those efforts.

Measure M, which expands the council to six members, is also passing, albeit by a narrower margin.

measures first round

“Election season often brings out the ugliest in people. Negative attack ads and misrepresentations have become commonplace” (Orange County Register, 2014). No greater misrepresentations have been made toward opponents during this election than ones by Tom Tait, Anaheim’s mayor. Tait has indirectly accused two council members running for re-election, Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, of (a) betraying the public trust, asserting that each collected $500,000+ in campaign contributions from special interest groups, and (b) misrepresenting their voting for a subsidy to build a four-star hotel in Anaheim.

I use the word indirectly because the mailed campaign ad originated from California Homeowners Association (2014) in Willows, CA (500 miles north of Anaheim via I-5), an organization describing itself as “support[ing] fiscally responsible candidates for public office.” Ironically, this same special interest group, a PAC, has funneled $100,000 into the “attack Eastman & Murray–re-elect Tait campaign.”

False accusations. Eastman and Murray have not betrayed the pubic trust and each has not collected $500,000+ in campaign contributions—accusations by Tait for which no evidence has been presented.

Gross misrepresentation. It is common practice for cities to offer incentives to developers to build large hotels and sports stadiums. Cities contribute to a project because they want to collect millions of dollars from hotel taxes and sales taxes. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014). If the Anaheim Convention Center fails to increase its space, major conventions will meet elsewhere, as will conventions with increasing participants who previously met in Anaheim. Some organizations will meet elsewhere if Anaheim lacks sufficient rooms in first-rate hotels, ones that fulfill the needs of conventioneers (and more affluent families visiting the Disney Resort). These four-star hotels will be built eventually—in Anaheim or in a city nearly (e.g., Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove).

Gross misrepresentation. It is common practice for cities to offer incentives to developers to build large hotels and sports stadiums. Cities contribute to a project because they want to collect millions of dollars from hotel taxes and sales taxes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Former state Sen. Gloria Romero devotes herself to championing charter schools and helping parents utilize the Parent Trigger Law (which she authored) to create better educational opportunities for their children. She has lately been helping parents at Palm Lane Elementary School, in the Anaheim City School District, who want to use the Parent Trigger Law to convert Palm Lane to charter status.

ACSD Trustee Jose Moreno is an avowed opponent of charter schools: shortly after declaring his council candidacy this summer, he wrote to members of the Democratic Party of Orange County to assure them he not opposed the formation of charter schools (other than the one sponsored by a friend of Mayor Tait’s), but he wishes the state legislature had never allowed charter schools in the first place.

This Sunday, a robocall recorded by Sen. Romero went out, asking voters not to cast their ballots for either Moreno or his ACSD Board colleagues and council running mate, James Vanderbilt:

Read the rest of this entry »

We’re near the finish line for the Anaheim elections. On the council side of things, the real choice before Anaheim voters is between re-electing Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman, or replacing them with two members of Anaheim City School District Board of Education: James Vanderbilt and Jose F. Moreno. Vanderbilt is a Republican and Moreno is a left-wing Democrat, and together they constitute the Tait Slate.

True, Mayor Tait hasn’t formally endorsed Moreno as he has Vanderbilt, but that is a mere pretense at this point. Tait has told Republican leaders he is supporting Moreno. It’s apparent from Tait campaign Facebook page posts feature Tait with Moreno and speak of “James Vanderbilt, Jose F. Moreno and myself” that no effort is really being made to keep support for the left-wing Moreno on the down-low anymore:

Tait me and jose FB post 11-2-14

Tait promoting Moreno on campaign FB


In a joint mailer from the jointly-run Tait and Vanderbilt campaigns, the mayor says to voters:

Read the rest of this entry »

Jose F. Moreno, the leftist academic running for Anaheim City Council with the backing of rich San Francisco progressives, militant unions, local radical and Mayor Tom Tait, talks a lot about focusing on “neighborhoods” and representing of all Anaheim.

Judging by this photo from his Facebook page, it looks like he’s running to represent only part of Anaheim and is ignoring neighborhoods in the Hills area:

Moreno GOTV 11-3-14

The pushpins represent targets of the Moreno campaign’s efforts (that’s Moreno campaign field coordinator Jesse Rivero in the photo). Notice the complete absence of pushpins in Anaheim Hills. Last time anyone checked, that’s also part of Anaheim.

As he is the face of the by-district council elections campaign, this photo is unwitting visual testimony of a central criticism of by-district elections: councilmembers won’t much care about those parts of the city that can’t vote for or against them.


The Orange County Register editorial board is advocating a “No” vote on Measure L, which would carve up Anaheim into a by-district system for electing the city council:

Come 2016, Anaheim voters will select their City Council candidates on the basis of residency districts – candidates will need to reside in a geographic district, but they will face voters citywide. This council-approved compromise combines the local loyalty of a district-resident candidate with entire electorate’s expectation that council members to legislate on behalf of all Anaheim.

Measure L on the Nov. 4 ballot seeks to disrupt this arrangement, and, thus, the Register encourages a No vote.

Measure L would localize special interests in the city, freeing candidates from having to make their case to the whole of Anaheim. The measure would change council elections to a “by district” arrangement where candidates must not only live in their district, but be elected solely by the residents of their district.

With one candidate per district, Anaheim residents would be left with only the mayor as their sole at-large representative. This level of disunity seems undesirable for California’s 10th-largest city – the most populous in the county.

It is a worry of the Register that such a system leads to a Balkanizing of the city, where council members only look inward at the needs of their districts rather than the whole city. This can lead to a level of dysfunction that has been seen in a number of cities with district elections – including the bankrupt city of San Bernardino.

You can read the rest of the editorial here.

This is a welcome editorial and the OC Register is, of course, correct to recommend a “no” vote. At the same time, one can’t help but be curious why the editorial board waited until the day before the election to publish its position in Measure L, which has greater long-term consequences in terms of Orange County policy and politics than anything else on the ballot in OC. The editorial board found its voice on Measure N – which decided whether or not to continue a utility rate transfers into the general fund – two weeks ago.  Yet, the editorial board waited to publish its opposition to Measure L when its position when it would have the least influence on voters. 

On the bright side, the editorial does lead with a critical piece of information of which most Anaheim voters (in my opinion) are not aware: if Measure L loses, Anaheim will still have district elections, but not the by-district elections – which reduce voter representation on the city council – advocated by the out-of-town left-wing coalition behind Measure L. Instead, council candidate will have to live in and run from geographic districts, but they will be voted on by all Anaheim voters. This balances geographic representation without reducing citizen representation on the council and ensuring councilmembers remain accountable to all voters.

However, for that to happen, voters will have to reject Measure L.

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

This came over the transom from the Lucille Kring for mayor campaign:

Anaheim Doesn’t Need A Conflicted Mayor

Dear Matthew,  

Yesterday’s Orange County Register made the following comment about Mayor Tom Tait: 

“If a bully pulpit never transforms or shapes law, it’s merely an impotent podium.”

I couldn’t agree more. 

Sadly, that is exactly what Anaheim has in Tom Tait. As mayor, when he does cast a vote, he is often a lone vote against public policy decisions affecting our city without reason or sound alternatives. No for the sake of no will not move Anaheim forward. We have challenges and opportunity but it will take vision to get us there – I believe I have that vision. 

That’s why I’m proud to have the support of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Anaheim’s law enforcement community, who all agree: Anaheim needs a new mayor. As a councilwoman, I’ve fought to aide struggling neighborhoods and create economic development. I’ve also been a strong advocate for public safety. Each one a critical issue facing Anaheim’s next mayor. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Cynthia Ward Measure L flip-flop


Anaheim voters received a “Yes on L and M” mailer on Friday with a photograph Anaheim gadfly Cynthia Ward and her husband on the front along with the words “We Love Anaheim. That’s why we’re supporting Measures L & M.”

Ms. Ward’s loves Anaheim so much that she has filed expensive lawsuits against it twice in the last year: for example, to stop the much-needed expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Yes on L Cynthia Ward flip-flop mailer 10-31-14_Page_2


Leaving aside this strange demonstration of affection, Ward’s stance on by-district council elections is exactly the opposite of what she told the OC Register in 2012:

Cynthia Ward, 46 and a lifelong resident of Anaheim, is not one of [those supporting by-district elections].

“Do we want to create a lot of special-interest districts and become like Los Angeles or Chicago?” she asked. “You’re going to have people saying, ‘Hey, you got a substation, I want a park for my area.’ “

“Districts will create pork,” she added. “Just like Washington, but on a smaller scale.”

Ward was actually correct in 2012. Since Ward executive this stark, dramatic flip-flop in 2013, it took her less than a year to do a 180-degree turn on by-district elections – going from believing they will be horrible for Anaheim to saying the way to show one’s love for Anaheim is to support by-district elections. It doubtless makes it easier for her to be a fervent acolyte and apologist for everything Mayor Tait says and does. Otherwise, it would be difficult to tell voters he is the greatest force for good in Anaheim while simultaneously saying he’s trying to turn Anaheim into special-interest porkfest like Los Angeles.  

This mailer was sent by the “Yes on L” campaign, which is entirely funded by unions and left-wing political interests committed to “building progressive political infrastructure” in California. These out-of-town special interests love Anaheim so much they want to re-structure its council elections and turn it into a Democratic bastion. This makes Ward’s lending herself to this cause especially ironic, since Ward is the executive vice president of the Anaheim Republican Assembly and continually inveighs (along with Measure L’s GOP front man, Mayor Tait) against the influence of outside special interests on Anaheim government and politics. Then again, consistency and constancy have never been her strong suits.

My morning cup of Newman’s Special Blend (extra bold) suddenly tasted bitter after reading the editorial on the front page of the Opinion section of Sunday’s Orange County Register (OCR). The meaning of biased and sometimes unwarranted criticism was clear: kudos to Tom Tait, Anaheim’s mayor; boos to Curt Pringle, the city’s former mayor. picket

The editorial began, “Election season often brings out the ugliest in people [and in editorials]. Negative attack ads and misrepresentations have become commonplace. . . . Local politics are often the nastiest of all. . . . Some of the most deceptive campaign efforts, misinformation and negativity this election cycle are coming from two of the county’s largest and most prominent cities: Anaheim and Irvine.“ To these distinguished sources of misinformation and negativity, I nominate the addition of the Orange County Register.

The OCR’s editorial board accuses Pringle of “running a shameful smear campaign against Mayor Tom Tait,” who is applauded for opposing the “alarmingly lucrative deals lobbied for by Pringle” [and his allies]. He is criticized for supporting a tax incentive to build a new hotel in Anaheim near Disneyland and the convention center.

In fact, more hotels are needed in Anaheim to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors and conventioneers. To fulfill the needs of larger organizations and associations, the convention center must grow to ensure that Anaheim is selected as the convention city instead of groups choosing cities with larger convention centers and enough hotel rooms to house participants. Building hotels and adding space to a convention center is part of economic growth. If Anaheim wants tax revenues and sales taxes from future conventions, it must add convention center space and build hotels.

Read the rest of this entry »

This week, the Orange County Register (OCR, 2014) endorsed the re-election of Tom Tait as Anaheim’s mayor, calling him the “best [candidate] to lead the city.” Examining the rationale presented in its endorsement, however, I found little to justify the paper’s support.

The OCR cited Tait’s quelling anger and potential violence following riots during 2012 and supporting citizens’ oversight of the city’s police department.

t8The paper applauded Tait’s “dissenting voice,” a council member who consistently votes no “on numerous issues.” It cited Tait as the only council member to oppose a tax incentive to build a hotel near Disneyland and the city’s convention center.

Voting to approve a tax incentive to developers is not unusual, so voting no is not necessarily a virtue. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014).

Whether to offer a tax incentive depends on several factors; for example, (a) the need for a hotel that satisfies current convention needs and its potential to attract larger future conventions, (b) the return on investment that taxpayers would receive by building a hotel, and, most important, (c) whether not offering an incentive means not building a hotel and losing tax revenues. Tait’s vote seems like a no vote without consideration of positive aspects of providing a tax incentive.

Yes, Tait talks about transparency (endlessly), but the OCR did not cite any evidence of increased governmental transparency in Anaheim since he has been mayor. Transparency was confused with Tait’s rigidity and public comments that torpedoed the city’s negotiations with the Angels. And there is a difference between publicly discussing unfunded pension liabilities and solving this problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



%d bloggers like this: