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“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.

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CHA Hit paid by Tait Family TrustAnaheim Insider here.

If you could spend $49,750 on anything in your community, what would you spend it on? Just to make it a little easier, here are a few options of what that kind of money buys you in Anaheim:

A. Annual tuition for 199 low income kids to attend the Anaheim Boys and Girls Clubs after school programs.

B. One week of tuition for 239 toddlers to attend preschool at the Anaheim YMCA.

C. Underwrite 497 Anaheim kids living in violent families to attend Youth Violence Prevention Programs at the Orange County Family Justice Center.

D. Pay for 829 Anaheim at-risk youth to attend the 24-week Cops 4 Kids Junior Cadet Program.

E. Fund a malicious mail campaign against your (conservative Republican) council colleagues.

It appears Mayor Tom Tait, who has spent his entire first term of office espousing a platform of “kindness,” prefers option E. 

As this FPPC filing shows, the Tait Family Trust is funding $49,750 in campaign attack mail aimed at Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman, his two Republican colleagues. And the hits are just getting started with a hit piece dredging up their votes on GardenWalk from nearly two years ago.

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Unite Here protestorsThe campaign for by-district council elections has received another big union check: UNITE-HERE Local 11 contributed $25,000 to the Committee for District Elections, which is the “Yes on Measure L” campaign. 

Who does UNITE-HERE Local 11 represent? Hotel workers (and food service employees). Of what does Anaheim have thousands? Non-unionized hotel workers that UNITE-HERE not only wants, but needs as members. 

The only hotels in the Anaheim resort area with unionized workers are the Anaheim Hilton and the Disney properties.  

UNITE-HERE wants to change that.  It’s 501(c)4 satellite group, OCCORD, has been fighting the GardenWalk Hotel economic assistance agreement in court. By an amazing coincidence, OCCORD is being represented by Cory Briggs, the same left-wing ambulance chaser who is co-plaintiff with CATER against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion.

[OCCORD is housed in office next to UNITE-HERE, in a building owned by UNITE-HERE, and receives a $5,000 check from UNITE-HERE every month]. 

OCCORD doesn’t object to the city’s TOT subsidy for the GardenWalk project. What they (or rather, UNITE-HERE) want is for the GardenWalk owners to allow UNITE-HERE to unionize their employees. If the GardenWalk investors agreed to that, OCCORD’s lawsuit would go away. In the meantime, the OCCORD/UNITE-HERE strategy is to wear the GardenWalk investors with drawn-out litigation and force them to choose between agreeing to be unionized or giving up the project. 

Bu that is a laborious, expensive approach to unionizing hotel workers. It would be better for UNITE-HERE to have a left-leaning, Democrat-majority on the Anaheim City Council that made it clear to hotel developers that approval of their new or expanded projects hinged on having unionized workers or agreeing to “card check neutrality” as a condition of approval (in addition to incorporating similar demands into the conditions).

Since the at-large council election system has proven a barrier to electing more than one Democrat to the city council, UNITE-HERE and other left-wing constituencies want to replace it with by-district elections, which would structurally tilt council elections toward a Democratic majority. It’s no accident that nearly 92% of UNITE-HERE political contributions go to Democrats.

Orange County Republicans should consider that the pillar of Democratic power in Nevada are the unions representing hotel and casino workers.  Imagine how the political landscape in Orange County would be altered if the Left succeeds in passing Measure L and opening the door to unionizing the estimated 8,000 hotel workers in the Anaheim resort area. That’s a lot of union dues revenue available to fund the election of Democratic candidates.  

UNITE-HERE Local 11 needs members. Or rather, it needs the revenue from member dues. It also represents Aramark employees, and lost members when the Anaheim Ducks decided to get rid of Aramark and bring its food service operations in house.  UNITE-HERE lobbied the Anaheim City Council to require the Ducks to staff their in-house food service operation with UNITE-HERE members. They even pushed for the council to ask the Ducks to allow UNITE-HERE to organize their food service workers via card check. 

Since the four of the five members of the Anaheim City Council are Republicans, UNITE-HERE’s demands were rebuffed. Does anyone think that would have been the case if a Democratic majority were in control?

This is what is at stake in the battle over by-district election in Anaheim. It’s not the naive (and cynical) malarkey about “neighbors electing neighbors” or better city services (neither of which by-district elections would deliver). This is the opening salvo in a political campaign to shift Anaheim and Orange County to the Left. 

Convention CenterAnaheim topped a list of most sought-after event destinations, according to a story in the Orange County Business Journal:

Anaheim and Newport Beach were among the most-sought U.S. cities for events in the past year, according to a list released by a McLean, Va.-based online database of meetings venues.

Anaheim was up seven spots to No. 25 and Newport Beach came in at No. 49, up one notch, Cvent Inc. said.

Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando were the top three cities, based on data from the Cvent Supplier Network database.

San Diego was No. 5, besting both New York City and Washington, D.C.

You can read the entire article here.

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

convention center image

 

Expansion of Convention Center Approved

Win-Win for Anaheim

Creating New Jobs & New Revenue for City Neighborhoods

Last night, my council colleagues and I approved a financing plan for the 7th expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center since it was built in 1967, creating thousands of new skilled jobs and generating millions in new economic activity for the City. Hundreds of supporters filled the council chambers expressing strong, vocal support for the expansion.

The expansion will be 100% privately financed with funding made available by a 2% increase in the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) that Anaheim and Garden Grove hotels in the designated resort area self assessed themselves in 2010, establishing the Anaheim Tourism Improvement District (ATID).

This expansion is estimated to create 1,860 jobs during construction and 2,043 new jobs supported annually. As well as bring in 14 new conventions and trade shows, 160,000 attendees and 450,000 attendee days. And for Anaheim taxpayers, the expansion creates a total net city benefit of $577.3 million over the next 30 years for city services. This expansion is a huge win-win for Anaheim!

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kris Murray at 7-22 mtgI don’t think any one doubted the outcome of last night’s meeting, but it was still heartening late last night when the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to approve the bonds to finance the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilmembers Gail Eastman, Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman all voted yes, while Mayor Tom Tait voted no.

There was a huge turnout in support of approving the Convention Center bonds. Owners and operators of small and large businesses; union representatives; residents; single-moms; and hard-working folks in general asked the council, one after the other, to approve the bonds and get the Convention Center expansion moving forward.

The council majority spoke vigorously its support for the expansion and its opposition to the obstructionism of opponents. Kris Murray delivered impassioned oration drawing upon the examples of her predecessors and the plain requirements of the future.

“The fact is we have an opportunity in time. This is the seventh expansion. This isn’t 1960. This isn’t whether we get into the convention center business. that decision was made – thank God! Because our city is so far ahead of the curve financially from other cities – not just in the county, but around the state. In the Register today, two cities in orange County, Stanton and Placentia — Stanton tonight is considering a sales tax on their residence because they are cutting services because they can’t make ends meet; and so is Placentia. We have cities across the state filing for bankruptcy.  But Anaheim, courtesy of our Resort District, our stadium, the economic engines of this city – the Convention Center being a hallmark component of that – we aren’t in that position.  We are balancing our budget, reinvesting in police and fire, we are reinvesting in parks, and libraries, and roads, and potholes, and graffiti abatement. We are doing everything for neighborhoods because we have a thriving economy.
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This came over the transom earlier today from SOAR – Support Our Anaheim Resort:

SOARPAC_CelebSommeliers_FINALFINAL.105633

It’s a good event with good people for a good cause. You can RSVP to Jill@SOARanaheim.com.

2_medEditorials like the one this morning opposing the Anaheim Convention Center expansion cause me to wonder if the editorial page staff at the OC Register has any understanding or institutional knowledge of Orange County government and politics.

The editorial opines:

But the taxpayer shouldn’t be on the hook if that 2 percent tax doesn’t meet its projections, especially with municipal governments creeping more and more into territories outside the fundamental scope of government and into places they simply don’t belong. The convention center industry is certainly one of those places.

A better solution: cities should stay out of the convention center business or any of the other landlording niches that local governments, in Anaheim and elsewhere, have carved out for themselves. In these cases, it is preferable to let the private sector take the lead.

News flash for the OCR: the City of Anaheim is already in the convention center business, and has been for 47 years. The editorial’s opinion that the city shouldn’t get into the convention center business would have been far more timely in the 1966 – but it’s a little late for that in 2014.

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The OC Register published an article a couple of days ago reporting that – no surprise – that the top-performing stores in various franchises are located by Disneyland:

The Cold Stone Creamery outside Disneyland’s gates, at roughly 600 square feet, is smaller than most of the chain’s locations.

But don’t let that deceive you.

As many as 400 customers, including many tourists, come through each day during the summer. That’s enough to make the shop one of the top 10 performers among all Cold Stone franchises in the U.S.

In fact, the half-mile or so of South Harbor Boulevard leading up to Disneyland, laden with hotels and kid-friendly eateries, houses some of the top-performing stores for several national chains.

Those high achievers tend to be accessible, all-American brands that benefit greatly from their proximity to the Disney crowds – and the fact that tourists, many of whom are families on budgets, want decently priced food and goods, especially after an expensive day at the theme parks.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Cory Briggs.

Cory Briggs.

Cory Briggs, via his Inland Oversight Committee, has joined with the recently-formed CATER in suing to stop the city council-approved expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. The lawsuit will cost Anaheim money, quite possibly millions in community benefits, and certainly delay and possibly squash construction jobs for people who need them. But what’s all that balanced against the demands of a fistful of gadflies?

Briggs, as always, claims he is serving the “public interest.” But what about the interests of his clients – one of which is UNITE-HERE Local 11?

For years, UNITE-HERE has paid Briggs’ law firm for “representational activities.” UNITE-HERE is in the membership business. The more members UNITE-HERE has, the more revenue from member dues. Employees of Aramark, the sports and entertainment services company, are UNITE-HERE members. Aramark provides food service and meeting-planning services for the Anaheim Convention Center. An expanded Anaheim Convention Center booking more and bigger conventions and conferences means more members for UNITE-HERE — which could use it after Aramark lost its food service contracts with the Angels and the Honda Center last year.

So while Briggs is collecting a (modest) paycheck from UNITE-HERE Local 11, he is working with CATER to torpedo the convention center expansion that will generate more members and revenues for UNITE-HERE Local 11 – a lawsuit which certainly isn’t in its interest. Perhaps the potential payout from the lawsuit is more than the $44,746 UNITE-HERE has paid Briggs Law Corporation since 2009.

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

In his May 16 letter to the City of Anaheim, Greg Diamond of Brea – the “government accountability attorney” who represents his buddies from CATER – explains the secretive group’s lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion “largely follows the reasoning sent to the City Council prior to its vote by Cory Briggs, Counsel for our Co-Plaintiff…” 

That’s helpful because CATER, self-proclaimed champions of transparency that they are, haven’t released their lawsuit to the public for whom they claim to be fighting. So if the public wants to have some inkling of the grounds on which CATER is driving up the cost of a Convention Center expansion they profess to support, they’ll have find their way to Diamond’s May 15 post on Orange Juice Blog. That’s a tall order since very few Anaheim residents have ever heard of Orange Juice Blog (lucky devils). Transparency in action – CATER-style!

In the sentence quoted above, Diamond pontificates about Brigg’s communication to the City Council, which he says “the City Council chose to ignore in approving the bonds without a legally mandated vote of the electorate.”

Diamond is talking about an e-mail Briggs sent to the Anaheim City Council. And when did councilmembers receive this warning they “chose to ignore”? At 3:06 p.m. on March 11 – a few minutes after the council convened for its workshop on the Convention Center expansion, prior to going straight into regular session.

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Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Cory Briggs is at it again in Anaheim. The left-wing enviro-litigator from San Diego wants the Anaheim City Council to take his word that last week’s vote authorizing the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center was illegal, per typically breathless, uncritical disclosure on the local fever swamp blog.

This is the same Cory Briggs who alleged, on behalf of the radical activist group OCCORD, that city councilmembers who voted last year to approve the GardenWalk economic assistance agreement were guilty of violating conflict-of-interest laws. Briggs called on the state Attorney General and the Orange County District Attorney to prosecute those four councilmembers. Briggs was blowing hot air back then (as was subsequently shown). It was a request for prosecution by Briggs that – per the OCCORD press release — was “a required legal step before the filing of a private lawsuit.” Despite his utter certitude that conflict-of-interest laws had been violated, Briggs never (to my knowledge) filed a lawsuit – not surprising given the flimsiness of the allegation.

Color me unimpressed by Cory Briggs’ latest allegation.

Heywood Sanders

Heywood Sanders

Who is Heywood Sanders?

He occupied a starring role as one of two experts in the Voice of OC extremely skeptical coverage of the Anaheim Convention Center expansion; and it was largely on Sanders’ views that Mayor Tom Tait based his opposition to the proposed expansion project.

It’s quickly apparent from a Google search that Sanders, a professor of public administration at the University of Texas’ San Antonio campus, is on a one-man crusade against municipal convention centers, flying all over the country to testify at city council meetings against plans to build or expand convention centers.

He carved out a voice-in-the-wilderness niche for himself with the publication of this Brookings Institution white paper in 2005, and it appears he’s never met a convention center proposal he didn’t dislike. Sanders’ contention then and now is that the convention center industry is overbuilt – and his views have fueled the critical coverage in the Voice of OC (“EXPERTS: ANAHEIM’S CONVENTION GAMBLE SURE TO FAIL”).

Sanders makes some valid points, but they are far more germane to attempts by smaller cities to jump-start a convention business in their communities. In his 2005 study, Sanders admits as much:

Read the rest of this entry »

Voice of OC logoReading the two Voice of OC articles (here and here) that are very critical of the proposed Anaheim Convention Center expansion, it’s hard to miss repeated claims that “experts say” this and “experts say” that – and these “experts” have a uniformly negative attitude toward the expansion. The headline of the first article goes so far as to shout “Experts: Anaheim’s Convention Center Gamble Sure to Fail.” Now, that’s an astonishing thing to say: astonishingly ignorant, that is. Look out a window at the Resort area: yep, all this investing in the Convention Center has been a failed gamble, alright, and continuing such investment is doomed to failure.

Now, the repeated reference to the plural “experts” would lead the average reader to conclude this is a consensus opinion among convention industry experts. But is there? Who knows. The “experts” the Voice of OC points to consists of two guys. Unless they are America’s only existing experts on the convention business, two guys are hardly a consensus. Are we to believe there are no convention industry experts who hold a contrary opinion?

When it comes to the Convention Center expansion (and the Angels negotiations, as well), professional studies have been lambasted as generalities that aren’t specifically based on Anaheim’s situation. And yet, these two experts whom critics are relying have based their skepticism on generalities and not the specifics of Anaheim’s situation. One can’t have it both ways.

Anaheim RV villageThe OC Register reports that Disneyland has purchased the 11-acre Anaheim RV Village, with plans to convert it into a 1,400-space employee parking lot to accommodate increased demand for parking stemming from increased attendance at its parks:

The plot holds 293 trailer and camping spots aimed at Disney tourists, as well as an auto-repair facility, according to documents.

The new parking lot would replace spots in an employee lot off of Katella Avenue, which would be converted into visitor parking and be adjacent to the Toy Story lot.

Brown said the addition is needed because of the increase in attendance since the June 2012 unveiling of Disney California Adventure’s expansion that included immediately popular Cars Land. California Adventure had a 23 percent jump in attendance last year, up to 7.8 million, according to an industry report. Next door, Disneyland attracted 16 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

A significant but overlooked on last week’s Anaheim City Council agenda was a report on the distribution of core city services throughout Anaheim.

I say significant because a core contention of the left-wing coalition pushing for single-member council districts is that East Anaheim receives a disproportionate share of city services and amenities, and that the Flatlands — especially Latino areas — are getting short-changed. This imbalance was the major underlying factor for the “unrest” in July 2012 (along with “racist cops” running around “murdering” innocent Latino males minding there own business in stolen cars or playing look-out for illegal gun deals, to listen to Genevieve Huizar, Donna Acevedo and their apologists).

Single-member council districts will magically remedy solve alleged imbalance, according to advocates of thus carving up the city. This was the mantra parroted month after month, over and over and over again by OCCORDites, UNITE-HERE members and pother assorted of this coalition at meetings of the Citizens Advisory Committee and City Council. These folks adhere to the strange theory that severing any ballot-box accountability between all councilmembers (save one) and voters in a particular council district will somehow make those councilmembers more responsive to the needs of that district. [Hey, I’m just presenting their thinking; I don’t claim it makes sense.]

The report prepared by city staff cuts the leg out from under that “the flatlands are short-changed” myth. If anything, it shows the opposite is true — an inconvenient reality for the pro-single member council districts side.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray’s most recent e-newsletter sums up the report’s findings:

Anaheim has emerged from a lasting recession with a stronger, sustainable economic climate due to years of innovative planning and significant private sector investments that enabled the City to hit the ground running as the state and national economies recovered. This past fiscal year, the City Council adopted a balanced budget, restored city cash reserves, and invested in core city services across all neighborhoods. The financial health of our city is a direct reflection of the strength of Anaheim’s business climate and economic growth. The nexus is clear – a strong economy grows city revenue that is reinvested into our communities. This is great news for all of Anaheim!

At last night’s council meeting, City staff presented a report on the allocation of core services to each of Anaheim’s Neighborhood Council Districts: West, Central, South, and East. The report included day-to-day costs of services such as police and fire protection, library programs, and street and park maintenance; as well as investments being made by the City’s Capital Improvement Program into community amenities and infrastructure such as parks, libraries, and community centers.

The report found that the proportion of each neighborhood’s costs are closely related to the size of its population and that investments being made through the Capital Improvement Program demonstrate a true commitment to our most distressed neighborhoods of West and Central Anaheim.

I hope you will take a moment to review the charts and graphs below that illustrate the distribution of city resources within our community.

Core Services Funded by the General Fund for FY 2013/2014

Summary Results of the Report

Summary results table

 Total Net Cost by Neighborhood

total net cost by neighborhood

Per Capita Net Cost by Neighborhood

Per capita cost by neighborhood

Capital Improvement Projects by Neighborhood

In addition to the programs and services covered by the General Fund, investments are being made into improving community amenities and building new neighborhood facilities in our city. Oftentimes these capital improvement projects have one-time costs and are funded by restrictive grants and developer fees – not the General Fund. Therefore it is important to also consider these investments being made through the City’s Capital Improvement Program when considering the distribution of resources into our city’s neighborhoods.

Investments in Community Amenities from 2005-2012

Investments in amenities

 Investments Anticipated over the Next Five Years

anticipated investments

Note: While the report included all areas of the City, it did exclude services provided to the Resort in an effort to avoid distorting analysis of the services provided to residents of the South neighborhood. The report also excluded projects and programs funded by outside restricted funds and special assessments.

The charts and graphs above have been pulled directly from the Budgeted Costs for Core Services by Neighborhood report prepared by the City of Anaheim Finance Department. To read the full report, click here.

Best regards,

Kris Murray
Council Member
City of Anaheim

I have no illusions any of this information will matter to those for whom the campaign for single-member council districts is about trying to elect liberal Democrats to the Anaheim City Council to push for liberal policies that are being stymied by the present Republican majority.

As the home of Disneyland, Anaheim is ground zero for tens of thousand of Disney fans on a daily basis. That population will spike by 45,000 this weekend as the D23 Expo comes to the Anaheim Convention Center.

From the OC Register:

It’s the third biennial D23 Expo, the official Disney fan club’s get-together, at the Anaheim Convention Center, running today through Sunday.

“As we grow, this is probably the biggest and best year yet,” said Steven Clark, the head of D23.

Actors Billy Crystal and John Goodman will accept awards. Disney Channel stars from “Teen Beach Movie” and “Shake it Up” will appear. Tim Gunn, a “Project Runway” host, will do story time for children.

In the past, actor Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance. Officials one year announced that the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland would be updated.

This year?

Maybe Tom Hanks, playing Walt Disney in an upcoming movie, will show up. Or a new “Star Wars” attraction will be announced.

“There are always a few surprises that we don’t announce,” Clark said. “We have a pretty good track record from the past.”

There will be panel discussions and displays, too.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Saturday is sold out, but tickets for today and Sunday are still available.

 

Is this what passes for news nowadays?

Today, the Voice of OC reports that Disneyland has had input into the development of the Anaheim Rapid Connection system. Wow, what a shock. Public agencies (the smart ones, at least) always consult with and seek input from the public — which includes businesses — when developing transportation projects.  Yet, the Voice of OC and squeaky wheels like Cynthia Ward attempt to create the perception that doing so is suspect — at least when it comes to Disney.

Suppose the City of Anaheim and OCTA developed a transit system for the Anaheim Resort without any input from Disney, the largest single business in the resort? Suppose they broke ground and began construction without ever meeting with Disney and asking “Hey, you guys have 58 years of experience and loads of data on traffic patterns and resort visitor attitudes and habits. What do you think about having ARC stop at Disney Way.” Would anyone consider that intelligent planning?

[Maybe Cynthia Ward, whose published attitude is that the city can and should build some bare-bones system and Resort visitors should just suck it up and ride.]

Transportation projects are improved by seeking the input of impacted business and residents. Although the Anaheim Resort area is more than just Disneyland, it exists because of Disneyland. Millions of people come there every year, spending enormous sums of money and creating and sustaining thousands of jobs, because of Disneyland.

The usual Anaheim suspects have been demanding that Disney pay for the system. I expect that sort of talk from leftists like Jose Moreno, who have never met a corporation whose wealth they didn’t want to re-distribute. Indeed, Moreno and his cohorts want the city to impose a head tax on entry into Disneyland, Angel Stadium, the Honda Center (and likely growing list of attractions) fund their program for increased city spending.

Disney-phobia’s Warping Effect On Reason and Logic
But it is strange to hear self-identified conservatives echoing a leftist policy theme. Conservatives routinely — and rightly — blame much of the high-cost of housing on exactions and fees imposed on builders to “mitigate” the impact of more live bodies moving into an area. Want to build homes on your property? Then you’ll have to donate land for parks, pay to build streets, etc.; after all that infrastructure benefits the developer’s customers.

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comic-con-cosplay-jpgThe OC Register ran an editorial on Monday lending its support for the huge and influential Comic-Con re-locating from his its San Diego birthplace to Anaheim:

Simply put, the convention, now a marketing bonanza for science-fiction and fantasy films, TV shows, video games and other pop-culture media, looks forward to an unknown future, it has grown too large for the venue it has called home since nearly its inception and if the organizers wish to grow any further they will have to spread out to larger accommodations or hang up their capes in Southern California.

It is the same predicament Comic-Con faced in 2010 when the event had to cap attendance at 130,000 because of the limited space the 550,000-square-foot San Diego Convention Center could offer. But a last-minute offer from downtown San Diego hoteliers to provide 300,000 square feet of free space and a multiyear, more than $300,000 a year, convention center discount was enough to lock in the organizers until 2016, as reported by the U-T San Diego.

But, as the Coastal Commission drags its feet on a proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center over concerns of rising sea levels, the nonprofit Comic-Con International clearly has to keep other options open if organizers wish to grow and maintain the ties to its Southern California origin story.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Resort Transportation’s “Angels Express” bus is popular with fans of the team, according to this Orange County Register article:

More than 3,700 baseball fans have boarded the Angels Express bus for roundtrips so far this season, according to the head of Anaheim Resort Transportation.

The free shuttle launched service for the first time in April, offering roundtrip rides from Downtown Disney, the Convention Center and the GardenWalk mall to the ballpark every Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the Angels are in town.

The weekend service will be offered again next year; it’s unclear whether it will become daily.

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