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This came over the transom from the City of Anaheim:

NEARLY 100 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PROJECTS PLANNED FOR ANAHEIM THIS FISCAL YEAR

ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 21, 2014) – Anaheim residents can look forward to nearly 100 capital improvement projects for 2014/15. As part of the City of Anaheim’s $1.6 billion approved budget for this fiscal year, the City is committed to the community and improving its neighborhoods and infrastructure.

Capital improvements projects include:

• Anaheim Convention Center
• Community and Economic Development
• Electric
• Libraries
• Parks
• Sewer and Storm Drains
• Streets
• Transit
• Water

Highlights include:

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la-me-ln-mayor-picks-new-dwp-boss-20140130-002

Courtesy of the LA Times

This was unexpected. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is recommending Anaheim City Manager Marcie Edwards to be the next General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Edwards has accepted, although she must be confirmed (or rejected) by the Los Angeles City Council, which could take a month.

Edwards was appointed interim city manager in May of 2013, and become the permanent city manager two months later on July 2. Prior to that, she has been general manager of the Anaheim Public Utilities since 2001, and served simultaneously as assistant city manager from 2009 to 2011 under then-City Manager Tom Wood. She came to Anaheim from the DWP.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray had this to say:

“It is always hard to lose a great talent like Marcie Edwards. But at the same time I am incredibly proud that she is being recognized for this historic appointment. It affirms that Anaheim is led by the best and the brightest and that our City Council was right to entrust the management of our city to a professional of her caliber.

“Her leadership stabilized the city at a critical time and should she be confirmed for this appointment, I am confident the city has a strong bench of successors and department heads to carry on her hard work in Anaheim.”

I’m sure some might spin this as Edwards looking to bail out of Anaheim city government’s fractured politics, but the reality is that for someone of her background, this is a historic opportunity and she’d be crazy to pass up the chance to run the LA DWP. She’ll be the first woman general manager of the largest municipal utility in the country and get to follow in the footsteps of William Mulholland.

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Anaheim Insider here.

Conservative talk radio host John Phillips was on his AM790 colleague Doug Mcintyre’s this morning discussing the Angels negotiations framework (Mayor Tait and his backers have misled the public the impression this is the deal, and not negotiation starting points):

John Phillips is a conservative, small government, free-market guy, and he can’t exactly be tagged as standing to benefit from the outcome of the negotiations. He sees is the big picture: this is the framework for a deal that can keep the Angels in town (much more important than Tait & Co. seem to realize), have them pay for the huge stadium improvement tab, and put fallow city owned land to economic use that will create jobs and tax revenue for the city.

It’s too bad the mayor and his small faction of critics can’t see the forest because of a couple of trees (which may not even be in the final deal).

Ryan Cantor has penned an excellent blog post about the prospect of the Orange County Water District leasing its Ball Road Basin property to Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) for the construction of a major power plant next to Anaheim businesses and residential neighborhoods. The OCWD Board of Directors is set to vote at its meeting on Monday, December 9 (it starts at 5:30 p.m.).

Ryan raises some interesting questions, including the wisdom of situating youth soccer fields next to a power plant – which is what CPV is proposing with its “Orange County Energy Park.”

An excerpt from Ryan’s post:

The [Anaheim] Chamber [of Commerce] has it right . . . on this one  This proposed plant is a poor fit for this site and the OCWD has no business entertaining a long-term land deal without issuing an RFP.  Considering Anaheim has made it known that they’re willing to purchase the property outright, turning down a large chunk of capital now to improve our water infrastructure in favor of structured lease payments seems a bit . . . wait for it . . . shocking.  Accepting this lease amounts to nothing more than burdening Anaheim residents with a tax.  It’s their neighborhood that will pay the price of hosting this plant, yet those same neighborhoods receive nothing . . . NOTHING in return for their public investment.  While it’s great to hear that OCWD customers in Lake Forest will see a rate cut as a result of this project, it isn’t right that park starved Anaheim residents get to pay more of their time and space to make that happen.

I sympathize with the aesthetic objections or even concerns with emissions from the power plant stacks, but what I’m most perplexed with is why no one is discussing the safety implications of storing massive ammonia tanks in a rather dense urban environment.  A thousand feet isn’t exactly a lot of space for an accidental vapor cloud to travel.

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The ACLU is demanding the city turn over a trove of documents, voice-mails e-mails, and text messages – both official and personal — from a small army of current and former councilmembers, staff, city commission appointees and private citizens, often pertaining to circumstances, events or issues not even tangentially related to “racially-polarized voting.”

It’s sort of like litigation carpet bombing, and it done in support of the racially-driven lawsuit the ACLU is arguing on behalf of lead plaintiff and Anaheim City School District Governing Board member Jose Moreno – the goal of which is to impose on Anaheim citizens a single-member council district system for which they have not asked.

ACLU letter photoClick on the image to see the October 4 letter to City Attorney Michael Houston.

The letter from ACLU attorney Bardis Vakili claims:

“The documents identified herein are relevant to a central issue in the case – the lack of accountability of Anaheim’s city council to Anaheim’s Latino community, resulting from the continued maintenance of an at-large system after being advised that the system dilutes the vote of the Latino community.”

Like I said, from the perspective of the plaintiffs and the ACLU, this is all about the color of a person’s skin.

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Anaheim Veterans Day

The City of Anaheim will be honoring our veterans in a Veterans Day ceremony on November 9 on the Downtown Community Center Lawn, adjacent to City Hall. The annual celebration on our military veterans is being chaired by Councilwoman Lucille Kring, reprising her tradition of chairing the event since her initial election to city council in 1998.

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Some thoughts on the ongoing debate over Anaheim’s recently adopted anti-camping ordinance.

For starters, it was good to see the City Council unanimity on the matter. This really isn’t a complicated issue: there is a homeless encampment in La Palma Park which has a deleterious effect on the life of neighboring residents and is effectively denying the use of a public park to the public.

Opponents of the ordinance criticize it by asking where the city proposes that the homeless campers go? The underlying assumption is that by squatting in a city park, homeless individuals thereby obligate the city to provide them with someplace else to live. That is a poor precedent to set.

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Victor LaFontaineUPDATED: I’ve added a video clip of Mr. LaFontaine’s remarks at the end of the post.

I’m glad the Anaheim City Council acted with unanimity to enact the anti-camping ordinance. I was impressed by the testimony from the many residents who live near the park, who addressed the council last night. They spoke with plain and direct eloquence about their plight and without invective, and their comments cut through the fog of misplaced complaints about “criminalizing homelessness.”

One speaker, a Mr. Victor LaFontaine, was particularly effective, and I’d like to share what he had to say:

Dear Mayor and councilmembers:

My name is Victor LaFontaine. I’m an Anaheim resident and a property owner since August of 2008. I also work here in the city of Anaheim. I’m here to endorse the ordinance to ban camping at all hours in city parks. I live on Clementine Street directly across from La Palma Park.

As you already know, the camping of homeless people at La Palma Park has become quite the eyesore. I see it every morning at 6:00 a.m. when I go to work, and I see them camping till past 10:30 every night.

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A year ago, I published a post advocating the Anaheim City Council adopt something similar to Costa Mesa’s COIN (Civic Openness in Negotiations Ordinance) ordinance.  Tomorrow night, the Fullerton City Council will begin discussing whether or not to adopt its own version of COIN.

This is a discussion the Anaheim City Council should consider having, as well.

The staff report for the Fullerton council provides a good run-down of what Costa Mesa’s COIN ordinance entails:

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So I’m watching this PBS SoCal program in which Rick Reiff is interviewing producer/reporter David Nazar about the William Fitzgerald anti-Semitic/homophobic rant incident, and I’m startled when Nazar’s narrative really twists the truth as if it were a pretzel:

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On the Anaheim City Council’s agenda on September 24 was some good news amidst all the usual unpleasantness: the creation of Miraloma Park and Community Center. The city had its eye on a commercial property for some time, and moved to purchase it when it became available. According to the staff report, amenities will include:

Miraloma Park and Community Center in the City of Anaheim consisting of re-purpose the existing 4,312-square-foot building to create a Silver-level, LEED-certified community center with a multi-purpose room, classrooms, counseling offices, a kitchen, restrooms, a computer center, and a lounge. The project will also include a perimeter loop trail, a sloping skate plaza, an outdoor classroom plaza, a picnic and BBQ area, a multi-court/events plaza, an interactive water feature, a variety of play areas, native gardens, a vertical garden wall, storm/bio swales, solar canopies and a parking area.

miraloma

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lorri_galloway_smallAnaheim Insider here.

Back in August, I reported that Lorri Galloway was plotting to run against Tom Tait for Mayor next year.

Last week, I blogged that at a union send-off party for OC Labor Fed firebrand Tefere Gebre, Galloway was telling others of her plans to challenge Tait.

Gabriel San Roman is following on our heels with this post on the OC Weekly about sources telling him the same thing.

Nobody should be shocked by this. Most of the lefties will probably thank Tom Tait for all his help and then support Galloway.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Lucille Kring is gearing up for a mayoral run. It’s a safe run for her since it is the middle of her first term.

Senator Lou Correa continues to feed rumors that he’ll move to Anaheim and run for Mayor, mainly be playing coy and not denying he’ll run.

Also, the Charter Review Commission has already made a provisional recommendation to return to two-year terms for mayor. If that goes on the June 2014 ballot and is approved, the candidates will be battling over a two year, not a four year, term. Lou Correa might find that an attractive way to bridge the two year gap between the end of his Senate term and running for the Board of Supervisors.

Rick Reiff hosted Mayor Tom Tait and Councilwoman Kris Murray on his “SoCal Insider” program (which airs on PBS SoCal) this week:

SoCal Insider tait murray

Among other things here, the claim is made that the council majority took away the mayor’s power to place items on the council agenda. That’s just false. The mayor has the same ability as anyone else to agendize items: during council communications.

Lost in all the hair-pulling and garment-rending over this issue, amidst all the absurd claims that the mayor’s office is being stifled, is this inconvenient truth: the mayor’s office has only had the power to agendize items in between council meetings since spring of 2012 – when the council approved it. Keep in mind that was in the wake of the GardenWalk vote when Murray, Gail Eastman and Harry Sidhu were being vilified by the OCEA, OCCORD and the backers of the “Take Back Anaheim” initiative that Mayor Tait was strongly supporting.

Neither Curt Pringle nor Tom Daly had this power during their tenures as mayor. Mayor Tait himself has said he has rarely used this power. At some point, it might occur to some journalist somewhere to ask the obvious question: how is the newly-minted, rarely-used prerogative critical to the functioning of Anaheim city government? But who am I to point out the obvious questions?

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Mayor Tom Tait

Mayor Tom Tait

Mayor Tom Tait posted this comment on his Facebook page, condemning William Fitzgerald’s rant at Monday’s special council meeting and explaining what he believes he can and cannot do about it as mayor:

This past Monday, a special meeting of the Anaheim City Council was held, and an Anaheim resident, who regularly attends council meetings and regularly makes offensive comments, came forward and made statements that were particularly egregious as they were both anti-Semitic and bigoted, and directed toward my council colleague, Jordan Brandman. 

I’ve had some time to stew on this terrible experience and I want to make it clear to anyone who was in City Hall Monday morning, and to all of the people who live, work, shop or play here in the City of Anaheim that we believe that all people are created equal, and that we soundly reject hate-mongering, anti-Semitism, and bigotry wherever it should rear its ugly head. 

For years this individual has repeatedly attacked the council and me in a vicious and untruthful manner. My council colleagues and I sat stunned during his rant, because we recognize that the courts have found that censoring such comments would violate First Amendment rights to free speech. However, his comments on Monday set a new low even for him. I used the limited powers that are allowed to me as Mayor to attempt to bring forth some sense of civility from his comments. I have been told by our city attorney that I cannot legally stop him from saying such hateful things, but I can call it what it is, morally reprehensible.

 

Anaheim Insider here.

At one point during last week’s City Council meeting, Kris Murray mentioned that Mayor Tait was going around the city and giving presentations to civic groups from misleading PowerPoint presentation on the Angels negotiations. Tait said he wasn’t, which was true only to the extent that his blow-up-the-Angels-negotiations tour was just getting warmed up; he had already provided the Rotary Club and Los Amigos with an earful of misinformation and was hitting more neighborhood groups later that week.

Several hours after a Renew West Anaheim activist told the council she was thinking of moving out of Anaheim because the council majority keeps disagreeing with Tait, the Mayor spoke to Renew West Anaheim. He even had Jose Moreno (the same guy suing the city) in tow. He called the negotiation MOU the greatest giveaway in Anaheim’s history, calling it the worst deal with a sports team approved by any city in the country. Never mind that nothing has been given away. Never mind that an agreement hasn’t even been negotiated. As we are seeing, Mayor Tait isn’t one to let facts get in the way of spin. It’s amazing how Anaheim’s Mayor is running around the city misinforming and misleading Anaheim’s citizens about such a critical issue, needlessly getting his constituents wound up with phony facts.

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OC Superior Court Judge Franz Miller was scheduled to hear City of Anaheim arguments on the Moreno V. Anaheim case being litigated by the ACLU, but all was continued to October 17 at 9:00 a.m.:

Moreno v Anaheim motion continued

Which leads us to a question to be posed yet again shortly: why hasn’t Jose Moreno, in his capacity as a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education, made any attempt to shift elections there from at-large to by-district?

 

William Denis Fitzgerald claims to be a disabled veteran, and his behavior strongly indicates his disability is not physical in nature.

At yesterday’s special council meeting, he was first in  during public comments to blast Councilman Jordan Brandman’s propsed modification of the process for councilmembers to place items on the council agenda [you’d have thought he had proposed abolishing the First Amendment, judging from the apoplexy of Mayor Tait’s supporters, one of whom claimed God was against the proposal. More on all that foolishness tomorrow]

Fitzgerald is routinely vile in his comments, but he managed to burrow even lower than ever yesterday:

Amazing. Not only did Fitzgerald engage in unvarnished anti-Semitism, he even blamed the Holocaust on “evil Jews” and capped it off with a homophobic slur.

Fitzgerald, by the way, is one of those opinion leaders to whom Orange Juice Blogger Greg Diamond enlists to transmit his viscous blog posts.  For his part at yesterday’s council meeting, Diamond performed a hand puppet show narrated by Donna Acevedo. I kid you not. Maybe next time he’ll come dressed as a mime and do that trapped-in-an-invisible-box thing as a metaphor for the council majority trying to “box in” the Mayor.

Year of Kindness logoMayor Tom Tait has declared 2013 the Year of Kindness in Anaheim – not that one would know it from the public comments during this morning’s special council meeting.

A group of the mayor’s supporters showed up this morning to oppose Councilman Brandman’s proposal that the mayor or a councilmember have the support of at least one colleague in order to place items on the council agenda (this would eliminate the mayor’s ability to unilaterally agendize items at any time). Nothing wrong with that.

First, and worst, was noisome gadfly William Denis Fitzgerald, who had this to say:

99% of the Jewish people are good, hard-working individuals who practice their faith. Unfortunately, less than 1% are greedy, scheming, malicious Jews like Jordan Brandman – and some say, like the Jewish leadership of the Disney corporation, whose money got Brandman elected.

It was the Jordan Brandman-type of evil jews that led to the harted of all jews in Germany and the Holocaust. let us hope that never again will people confuse the action of a few, evil, anti-American Jews like Jordan Brandman with the Jewish population as a whole.

Fitzgerald concluded with a truly vicious slur against Brandman. Spewing anti-Semitism, blaming the Holocaust on the Jews, and then spitting out a nasty epithet – Fitzgerald reached a new low this morning, which I didn’t think was possible.

I wish Mayor Tait dished out something far stronger than his mild admonishment of Fitzgerald, which was more along the lines of how to better “express” himself. although he did tell Fitzgerald he had “crossed the line” with the personal slur against Brandman.

I think it is interesting that the people in the chamber vocalized greater disapproval when the four councilmembers explained their reasons than they directed at Fitzgerald’s bigotry.

At this point, it bears mentioning that Fitzgerald is part of the Orange Juice Blog’s information transmission belt. Perennial council candidate Brian Chuchua – another cog in that clunky machine —
recently posted this on the Facebook page of the Anaheim Canyon Community Coalitions:

Chuchua posting e-mails on Anaheim Canyon Comm Coaltion FB page

It’s an e-mail from Orange Juice blogger Greg Diamond of the City of Brea, asking the like-minded to disseminate one of his unreadable, interminable screeds. You’ll note William Denis Fitzgerald there on the distribution list, along other squeaky wheels, mud-slingers and attention-seekers like Cynthia Ward, Jason Young, Larry Larsen and Amin David. Nice company.

Speaking of Amin David, he spoke a few minutes after Fitzgerald:

On this beautiful fresh morning we come here to ask questions as to why this time has been agendized for 8:00 a.m. today. It’s very strange. But certain things come from despicable people such as Jordan Brandman. He wants to stifle you, Mr. Mayor, from putting items on the agenda that need clarity, that need debate, that need public input. And he wants to stifle you from doing that.

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Recommended to our readers: this column by Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Shaikin on the negotiation framework agreed to by the City of Anaheim and the Angels. Shaikin is able to see the big picture and how a deal based on this framework will keep the Angels in Anaheim for decades to come, take the taxpayers off the hook for $130-150 million in stadium renovations (or even lead to a new, privately-funded and built stadium), and the development and economic activation of a city-owned property that has languished under city ownership.

Here’s Shaikin’s column:

As the Anaheim City Council voted Tuesday to enter formal lease negotiations with the Angels, a consultant representing the city said owner Arte Moreno has emphasized he has the means to move the team elsewhere.

By a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Tom Tait in opposition, the City Council voted to allow the Angels to opt out of their current stadium lease as late as 2019, rather than the current date of 2016.

“The owner of the Angels has made clear in our discussions he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium,” said city consultant Charles Black, president of CB Urban Development in San Diego.

Black also told the council the Angels could move to Irvine, Irwindale or “at least half a dozen potential sites” in downtown Los Angeles.

After the meeting, Black said Moreno had not mentioned specific alternative sites in the talks with Anaheim.

Angels President John Carpino declined to comment when asked whether team officials had held discussions with other cities.

The council vote authorizes negotiations based on deal points that include the team calling itself the Los Angeles Angels and dropping the “of Anaheim” suffix.

The Angels also would extend their lease through 2036 — and possibly as long as 2057 — in exchange for development rights to the parking lots around the stadium.

The stadium needs $130 million to $150 million in capital improvements over the next 20 years, according to a city report. That estimate accounts solely for infrastructure — electrical maintenance and upgrades, concrete repairs, waterproofing and such—– at the stadium.

The Angels would pay all of that cost and would pay above and beyond for any improvements that would generate additional revenue for the team, for example, more luxury seating.

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While the Chicken Little brigade runs around with their collective hair on fire about the Anaheim City Council’s approval of the MOUs outlining the Angels negotiation framework and extending the Angels’ opt-out date, clearer heads with eyes for the bigger picture understand this is a pathway to a win-win for all involved.

My friend Dan Chmielewski over at TheLIberalOC.com is one of those, and yesterday he published this very perceptive and rational post on the subject:

I’ve seen my share of typos regarding the Los Angeles “Angles” of Anaheim online and on Facebook that my choice of words in the headline is deliberate.  As a baseball fan, I think we all need to take a breath here for a minute on the negotiations between the city of Anaheim and the Angels.  Now exhale.

First off, the only reason that particular part of Anaheim (where the stadium is off the 57 freeway) is valuable (among the most valuable land in the County if not the nation…please) is because of a certain tenant, namely the Angels.  Should they move, the value of that land simply drops.  And with it, that valuable real estate becomes a big empty parking lot for most of the year.  The Forum in Inglewood was valuable real estate too until the Lakers and Kings left.  When was the last time you were there?  And Staples is such a nice facility.

By giving Angels owner Arte Moreno the rights to the land surrounding Anaheim Stadium, the city council has effectively given him his new stadium location from which a new stadium can replace the aging Angels Stadium, relieve Anaheim of $130 to $150 million in renovation costs while creating a lot of union and non-union construction jobs.  The city can then get out of the business of managing a stadium and start paying more attention to parks, business development and public safety.  Consider how Yankee Stadium and Tropicana Field were constructed in the Bronx and in Houston alongside the Yankees and Astros previous baseball homes and you have an idea how a new Angels Stadium can rise quickly in the shadow of their aging park.

Arte’s big ticket free agents show he’s willing to spend money to create a winner. And while the result on the field isn’t what Angels fans want, you can’t fault the owner for going after the elite free agents (my opinion: time for a new manager).

I’ve read the out of breath posts in the Orange Juice Blog and in Save Anaheim; Leave it to Irvine’s Bill Shankin at the LA Times to summarize what the negotiations mean from the perspective of the Angels. From the story:

You can read the rest of Dan’s post here.

Critics of the MOUs can’t get past the $1 rent negotiation point to see the bigger of how a final deal can benefit Anaheim and the Angels (who, contrary to the claims of the usual suspects, have very definite options for re-locating out of Anaheim) and bring greater and long-lasting vitality to that part of Anaheim.

 

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