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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.

Anaheim Insider here.

Karina Onofre

Karina Onofre

A few people have sent me an unusual press release from the campaign of Karina Onofre, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Karina Onofre running for the 74th Assembly District. She’s created a task force to bring the LA Clippers professional basketball team to Orange County. AD 74 runs along the coast from Huntington Beach to Laguna Beach, extending inland to take in Costa Mesa and Irvine below the I-5 freeway.

According to her campaign press release, Onofre’s “Orange County Clippers Task Force” are: Donald Craig, attorney and President of Orange County NAACP; Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait; Joyce Hall, Orange County Food Bank community activist; Lou Rossetti, Executive Director of Apartment Association of Orange County and former District Director for Congressman John Campbell; Jeff Shanton, Orange County business owner and Lakers fan; Katherine Daigle, community activist and former candidate for Irvine Mayor; Jeff Belle, sports attorney and African American political advocate; S. Deacon Alexander, President of L.A. Black Panther Association and former Green Party candidate for Governor; Max Trueblood, airline analyst and twenty-two year Clippers fan; Efrain Nuno, business owner and founding member of ADELSA (Asociacion de Empresarios Latinos de Santa Ana); Edgar Sebastian, Telemundo reporter, founder of InterAmericana sports league and small business restaurant owner.

Onofre doesn’t says where in Orange County (which she refers to as “our hometown”) she wants to locate the team, but Anaheim – although it lies outside of AD74 – would seem to be the natural location, being the only Orange County city with an NBA-ready arena.

On her Facebook page, Onofre says bringing the Clippers here “will give Orange County our very own NBA team, stimulate our local economy, create hundreds of new jobs, and enhance our quality of lives for generations to come!”

Onofre’s cheerleading makes Mayor Tait’s inclusion seem odd, since he and his supporters have been hostile to the idea that having a professional sports team stimulates the local economy, creates hundreds of news jobs and enhances quality of life for generations. At least, that’s how their attitude toward the professional baseball team that’s been in Anaheim for half-a-century.

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UNITE-HERE is 0 for 2 in its litigation against Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), which runs The Honda Center, over AAM’s decision last year against renewing its contract with Aramark and bring food service in-house. A press release from AAM came over the transom yesterday afternoon announcing “the Orange County Superior Court’s ruling on Friday granting a demurrer without leave to amend on the matter of Gonzalez vs. AAM.”

Translation: AAM wins, UNITE-HERE loses.

More from the AAM release:

“We are extremely pleased by the court’s decision today,” said AAM General Counsel Bernard Schneider. “Throughout this process we’ve remained confident that our actions were permissible under the law and in the best interest of the millions of guests we serve, as well as those who serve our guests. Today’s ruling certainly validates that assertion and brings to a successful end all litigation asserted by the union and former Aramark employees as a result of the termination of the Aramark concession agreement.”

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This came over the transom yesterday from The Honda Center:

Bloom Energy, Honda Center and the Anaheim Ducks team up for a perfect power play

December 11, 2013 – Anaheim, Calif. – Anaheim Arena Management, LLC, the management company for Honda Center, held a celebratory event marking the completion of its Bloom Energy fuel cell project today. The fuel cell generates power through a clean and efficient electrochemical process, providing more than half of the power required by the sports and entertainment venue each year. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait as well as the entire Anaheim City Council attended the event along with representatives from Honda Center, Bank of America, Bloom Energy, the Anaheim Ducks and the NHL.

and the NHL.
(L to R) Tom Ricks, Chief Investment Officer for Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli; John Reuter, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Bloom Energy; Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks Assistant Coach; Michael Schulman, Anaheim Ducks CEO; Susan and Henry Samueli, Anaheim Ducks Owners; Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait; Tim Ryan, Honda Center CEO; Allen Staff, Orange County Market President, Bank of America; Omar Mitchell, Director of Sustainability, National Hockey League

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The OC Register published this article a few days ago on the changes taking place at The Honda Center in the area of food service and concessions:

The largest improvement project to hit Honda Center in 20 years includes a top-to-bottom overhaul of the arena’s food operations – a makeover that spans everything from new popcorn to rustic communal meals at a members-only dining club.

“We’re turning over a new leaf,” said Joseph “Jo Jo” Doyle, the arena’s new executive chef.  

Doyle, hired from Churchill Downs in Kentucky, is among more than 700 new employees brought on to replace Aramark – a hospitality company believed to have missed the mark with fans when it came to food and service. Aramark was recently dismissed by Angel Stadium.

By bringing the food division in-house, Honda Center CEO Tim Ryan said, the arena is poised to become a world-class facility fit for hosting an NBA team – a longtime goal of Henry and Susan Samueli, who own the company that manages the arena. A key part of the $20 million expansion is the 530-seat Grand Terrace – a members-only restaurant that boasts an expansive balcony with two outdoor bars flanked by fire pits.

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Anaheim Insider here.

Here’s a thought.  What if Mayor Tom Tait had put as much energy and drive and fight into securing a deal to bring the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim that he’s now putting into blowing up a deal to keep the Angels in Anaheim?

We’d probably getting ready for the Anaheim Royals to start their second NBA season at the Honda Center.

Judge Frederick Horn’s has granted of UNITE-HERE’s request for temporary restraining order against the Honda Center. However, it is still questionable whether the militant union’s lawsuit will ultimately succeed, given that dubious constitutionality of how the relevant state labor code section was enacted. It was last-minute, non-budgetary amendment that slipped into a budget trailer bill.

Loren Kaye, president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, published a Fox and Hounds Daily column on this issue on June 20. It worth reading the full column, but I’ll excerpt the most directly relevant portions here:

The Constitution forbids it. A unanimous Supreme Court slapped their hands. But when it comes to loading up budget bills with extraneous goodies, the Legislature just can’t resist. Bowing to the demands of their allies in organized labor, the Legislature inserted into a budget trailer bill (Section 48 of Assembly Bill 76) substantive language designed to force a successor employer that provides food and beverage services at the Honda Center in Anaheim to hire the prior contractor’s employees. This mandate has no bearing on the state budget or any state operations. (It’s also lousy policy, but that’s a debate for another day.)

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I posted earlier today about militant union UNITE-HERE Local 11’s lawsuit seeking to force Anaheim Arena Management, operators of the Honda Center, to hire its members.

According to the Voice of OC, a OC Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order forcing AAM to put several hundred UNITE-HERE members on the payroll.

Click here to read the TRO. I find it interesting that UNITE-HERE was seeking not only to force AAM to hire its members, but to get rid of non-union food service workers hired since Aramark was released as the food and beverage service vendor. The TRO written by the union order says AAM is “restrained and enjoined from (a) hiring, continuing to employ or scheduling for work any food and beverage service employees to perform work at the Honda Center without first offering employment to, retaining and scheduling for work the individuals who were employed by Aramark Sports and Entertainmment LLC…].

The judge struck “continuing to employ” from the TRO. Still, UNITE-HERE sought to kick those new, non-union hires into the unemployment line to make room for its members on the payroll.

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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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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I just employed the “question mark headline”, which is a tactic that is especially common in online media (especially blogs) to level an allegation (often at the behest of a pressure group) without having to actually prove the allegation. It’s a variant on that epitome of the loaded question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

It was on display this week in the headline of the latest Voice of OC story on the Honda Center:

“Is Honda Center Defying Law on Retaining Employees?”

What the VOC has done here is take an accusation made by UNITE-HERE Local 11 second-in-command Ada Briceno and turn it into the headline — therefore giving readers the idea that this may well be true and placing on the Honda Center the burden of guilt to prove they are not violating the law (leaving aside the arbitrary, tyrannical nature of the law).

The VOC did the same thing on May 16, again in response to allegations from UNITE-HERE Local 11 (and the OC Labor Federation), publishing a story headlined:

“Honda Center Layoffs Could Mean Tax Credits For Company” [emphasis added]

Notice the escape hatch phrase “could mean” – which achieves the same effect as writing it “Will Honda Center Layoffs Mean Tax Credits for Company?”

As it turns out, that charge from UNITE-HERE and the OCLF was totally false. One would think that would engender a certain skepticism by the Voice of OC regarding incendiary claims from UNITE-HERE. But as this week’s article makes clear, one would be wrong.

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This came over the transom from The Honda Center:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AAM hiring chart

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Fidel Castro thinks retention is muy bueno.

Fidel Castro thinks retention is muy bueno.

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

There has been much hair-pulling and garment-rending from UNITE-HERE Local 11 and its allies over Anaheim Arena Management’s decision to let Aramark go and bring Honda Center food service in-house. Union predictions of Dickensian misery for its UNITE-HERE members who are Honda Center food service workers are heard at any available public hearing in Anaheim and reverberate in the Voice of OC echo chamber.

The reality is all of it has little to do with reality. According to multiple sources, more than 3,000 people have applied for food service positions at The Honda Center, and everyone who applies is offered the chance to interview. It’s interesting that reportedly only about half the applicants have accepted interviews offers — which tells me half the people who applied did so in order to mark it on their unemployment benefit forms. Apparently, around 250 people have been hired thus far for full-time positions.

The most intriguing thing I have heard (again, from multiple sources) is that only about half of the Aramark workers represented by UNITE-HERE have actually applied for jobs.  Kind of takes the wind out of UNITE-HERE’s howling when the members they say are being kicked to the curb. Local 11 has even asked for their members to be given preference in hiring — which is hard to do when they aren’t even applying to continue working at the Honda Center.

It’s worth considering that the Aramark employees who received lay-off notices are the ones whose “primary” work location is The Honda Center. They could also be working at Angel Stadium or the Convention Center. All of this gives lie to the union hollering that they are being tossed out of work.

The real concern of UNITE-HERE Local 11 is loss of membership. In addition to dues from Aramark employees’ paychecks,  it’s my understanding Local 11 receives somewhere between $3 and $4 per hour per employee, which helps finance Local 11’s health plan. The loss of that revenue puts a serious crimp in Local 11’s ability to finance its health care plan.

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When a union attempts to organize a work-place, it needs to get a specified percentage of targeted workers (I believe it is 30%) to petition for a unionizing vote, which is conducted by secret ballot.

Allowing workers to vote their preference in secret, free from harassment and intimidation, has become an obstacle to workplace organizing, so a top priority of the union movement is replacing the secret ballot with the “card-check” system.

Card-check does away with the secret ballot. Instead, union organizers go to work on employees to sign cards stating they want to be represented by the union. Once a majority of workers have been, This is done publicly, in full view of their co-workers and union organizers.  Union organizers know exactly who does and who doesn’t support unionization, making workers vulnerable to harassment and intimidation. Anyone who doesn’t think that would happen should attend an Anaheim City Council meeting packed with UNITE-HERE members.

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Tefere Gebre of the OC Labor Federation

Tefere Gebre of the OC Labor Federation

Apparently, something doesn’t even have to be true to become the subject of media coverage.

Today, the Voice of OC published a story headlined:

“Honda Center Layoffs Could Mean Tax Credits for Company.”

What follows is an entire article claiming that when Anaheim Arena Management hires some 500 food-and-beverage workers as part of bringing that service in-house, it could, maybe, possibly apply for Enterprise Zone tax credits. The VOC even quotes an outraged Ada Briseno, vice-honcho of UNITE-HERE Local 11 (which represents the Aramark workers currently providing food-and-beverage service at The Honda Center):

The workers’ union on Wednesday called the move “absolutely shameful.”

“Make no mistake, this is an attempt by Anaheim Arena Management to undercut workers’ rights, reduce wages and cut benefits,” said Ada Briseno, secretary-treasurer of Unite Here Local 11. “And because the Honda Center is in an enterprise zone, they will receive millions in tax breaks for firing the workers and hiring replacements. It is corporate welfare at its worst, and taxpayers will foot the bill.”

Here’s the problem: what Ms. Briseno’s is saying is totally, completely false. Anaheim Arena Management has never had any intention of applying for Enterprise Zone tax credits and have issued a statement to that effect:

Anaheim Arena Management Will Not Apply for Enterprise Zone Credits

ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 16, 2013) – The Chairman of Anaheim Arena Management, Michael Schulman, released the following statement today, clarifying that the company will not seek tax credits under the State of California’s Enterprise Zone program and hopes and expects many employees working for the expiring food service contractor at Honda Center will apply for positions with the in-house food service operations.

“To make the record perfectly clear, our decision to take food service in-house was based solely on our relentless pursuit of giving our customers the very best entertainment experience possible. It had nothing to do with California Enterprise Zone tax credits, which we never had any intention of utilizing.”

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This also came over the transom, from The Honda Center:


Julie Margolin Named Director of Food & Beverage Services
ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 14, 2013) – The Honda Center announced today its plan for hiring more than 500 workers to become part of an industry-leading sports and entertainment organization. Interested parties are urged to go online to to apply for a position and schedule an interview. Thousands of applicants are anticipated and appointments will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning immediately.

“After 20 great years of event hospitality, we’re elevating the Honda Center food and beverage program to an even higher level,” said Tim Ryan, President of Honda Center. “Fans should look forward to a new standard of guest service and our new employees can look forward to a dynamic work environment. We’re thrilled to be making these improvements and there couldn’t be a more exciting time to join the Honda Center Team!”

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Guaranteed works for Cuba!

Guaranteed jobs…it works for Cuba!

Thus far, UNITE-HERE Local 11 has been trying to spin their dispute with Anaheim Arena Management into an issue of whether their members will continue working at The Honda Center when AAM takes over food service operations from Aramark on July 1.

Judging by the media coverage, the spinning is working. This Voice of OC article from last week is a good example:

Labor unions are increasing pressure on Honda Center management amid concerns that more than 400 workers who serve food and drinks at the Anaheim arena could soon lose their jobs.

Arena management will take control of food service in July, and it isn’t ruling out layoffs.

And by corollary, they haven’t ruled them in, either.

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