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moreno child care entitlementOn his campaign website, Jose F. Moreno says he will protect the city’s “fiscal stability.” 

Creating a new city-funded entitlement program isn’t how one normally goes about doing that.

Yesterday, the Voice of OC published an article in which Moreno calls for city government to provide subsidized child-care to Anaheim residents – or at least  assume he would limit it to residents. Considering the leftist Moreno’s enthusiasm for massive wealth redistribution and denunciations of profit as a “filthy word,” it’s best not to assume common sense is at work.

In an interview with Voice of OC, he said “working poverty” is the most dire issue facing neighborhoods and talked about shifting the focus of government subsidies from hotels and light-rail to things like child day-care for families.

Let’s put this in perspective. The GardenWalk agreement will rebate a maximum of $158 million back to hotel owners over 20 years (only after the hotel opens for business) but generate an estimated $450 million in TOT revenue to the city – and Moreno thinks that is an irresponsible “giveaway.”  But creating an open-ended entitlement program funded by the city is fiscally responsible? 

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tait massive spending

Anaheim Insider here.

Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek published an article yesterday on Disney campaign spending, accompanied by indignation and astonishment from Team Tait, their stocks in trade.

Elmahrek also managed to ignore the topic of the Tait/Ahmanson negative campaign blitz altogether.

Tait advisor John Lewis told the Orange County Register that Disneyland is keenly interested in making sure the city’s proposed streetcar project stays on track. The light-rail system would deposit riders at the park’s front gate.

Lewis isn’t an unbiased source, and Elmahrek shows no skepticism toward his claim about Disney’s “keen interest.” On the flipside, streetcar supporters express frustration at Disney’s neutrality on the issue.  

Elmharek writes about ARC “deposit[ing] riders at the parks’ front gate” as if that is insidious. Where does he suggest riders be deposited? At the Katella/Harbor intersection? That’s like complaining that Measure M funding to improve the I-5 “deposits more motorists at Disney’s doorstep.”

Lewis also contends that the Disney spending is done in coordination with unions, major hoteliers and other big businesses in the city in a bid to control the city council. He questioned whether any business in the country has spent as much as Disney has on a city council race.

A strange complaint when you consider that Team Tait has been coordinating with unions, rich Bay Area progressives and OC lefties in their allied bid to control Anaheim city government.

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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.

A Voice of OC story published this morning regarding news that Angels owner Arte Moreno had met with the City of Tustin about possibly moving his team to that fine city is basically a platform for Mayor Tom Tait to say “I told you so” (as the story headline says):

News that Angels owner Arte Moreno has reached out to Tustin leaders regarding a possible move did not surprise Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait in the least.

In fact, Tait said the inevitability of such hardball tactics from the billionaire team owner is exactly why he urged his City Council colleagues last year not to agree to extend the negotiating window on a new stadium lease, something they did anyway.

“To even be able to threaten leaving is only possible because the council majority unilaterally extended the time where they allowed the Angels to leave the existing lease to 2019 from 2016,” Tait said. “If they did nothing, then practically the Angels couldn’t go anywhere. And as I said when they voted on that, if the Angels do leave, you can trace it back to this vote.”

That’s one way to look at it, but by no means the definitive way or even the correct.

Critics of the MOU extending the opt-out date to 2019 claim leaving it at 2016 put the Angels over a barrel and the city in the negotiating driver seat. What leaving the opt-out date at 2016 would have done is increased the pressure on the Angels to make a decision quickly – and that decision could have easily been to exercise the opt-out clause, in which case the city would have found itself with a big, empty, fifty-year old stadium on its hands.

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bacon_kevin_l

Kevin Bacon must be connected somehow!

Several days ago, PBS “SoCal Insider” host Rick Reiff used the term “gutter politics” to refer to what he perceived (wrongly, in my opinion) as attempts to link Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait with gadfly William Fitzgerald’s now infamous anti-Semitic rant. PBS SoCal’s David Nazar went on an even more offbase on-air bender on the same topic.

Yesterday, the Voice of OC – PBS SoCal’s media partner — published a story explicitly attempting to link Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman with a scandal to which they have no connection whatsoever.

Will Rick Reiff and David Nazar similarly denounce as “gutter journalism”  this actual attempt to manufacture a link between an elected official (in this case, two) and a dishonorable act – in this case from their station’s online media partner? Is anyone going to hold their breath for that to happen?

Adam Elmahrek’s post is headlined “The Calderon FBI Investigation’s Connections To OC” tortuously attempts to draw a connection to Kris Murray and Jordan.

You see, the FBI is investigation involving Sen. Ron Calderon, his brother Tom and the Central Basin Municipal Water District in LA County. on August 5, the FBI served the district with a subpoena that. According to the Los Angeles Times:

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Last week, John Phillips, a talk radio host on KABC AM 790, had PBS SoCal CEO KOCE Mel Rogers on his program. The topic:  PBS SoCal’s (aka KOCE-TV) news partnership with the Voice of OC, an outlet that receives almost all of its funding from public employee unions and Democratic politicians.

PBS SoCal’s “Real Orange” news show relies heavily on the Voice of OC for coverage of orange County government and politics, and broadcasts a regular feature with Norberto Santana, the editor-in-chief of the Voice.

Phillips confronted Rogers with the facts about the Voice: that its existence depends on funding from the Orange County Employees Association and Democratic politicians, and that it’s board of directors is dominated by liberals and Democratic partisans.

Here’s a link to the podcast of the interview. Instead of dealing with those facts, Mel Rogers keeps falling back on the same response, claiming the Voice provides fair, reliable investigative journalism:

“I’m concerned that viewers get fair, solid investigative journalism. Up to this point, we’ve never found an instance where Voice of OC has not given us that. And the day they do, we won’t have a relationship with them.”

Whether or not he meant to, Rogers spelled out a termination clause for SoCal PBS’s partnership with the Voice.

Anaheim Insider here.

KABC-AM conservative talk radio show host John Phillips blasted the Voice of OC this morning for its role in the smear campaign against Carl Demaio, the libertarian gay Republican running for Congress in San Diego.

Phillips was spurred by this post on the FlashReport for Republican activist and consultant Charles Moran, who also asked the question of why KOCE, the Southern California PBS affiliate, has allowed its news coverage to be co-opted by the Voice, which is dependent on the Orange County Employees Association funding for its existence:

To those of us active in Republican politics, we have seen many attacks, some even as hateful as these. But what was really surprising about this smear campaign was the fact that is was strangely connected to PBS. Yes, you read correctly – the same folks that bring us Sesame Street. According to a PBS affiliate’s website in Orange County (PBS SoCal), PBS entered into a “partnership” with the Voice of OC whereby PBS would receive its “investigative news” from the Voice of OC.

At this point, it is important to note that the Voice of OC is not a newspaper nor is it a magazine. The fact is that that the Voice of OC is merely website whereby they describe themselves as a “Non-Profit Investigative News Agency.”

So just who is this so-called investigative news agency that was PBS partners with for their news coverage, and more importantly who funds them? Well to find the answer, one only needs to review their federal tax returns – and so I did.

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John Leos' biggest fan.

John Leos’ biggest fan.

Anaheim Insider here.Voice of OC logo

It’s no secret the Voice of OC got its start with very generous funding from the Orange County Employees Association. What many of us didn’t know was how dependent the Voice of OC still is on OCEA funding, which is in turn funded by government employee dues automatically deducted from their paychecks.

According to this press release from Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s state Senate campaign, the Voice gets 63% of its funding from the county employees union.

Sixty. Three. Percent.

Here’s the breakdown from the press release:

TOTAL FUNDS RECEIVED (report from latest 2 year period) : $797,040

Orange County Employees Association
$499,500     63%

California Endowment                                                                          
$121,012     15%

Wylie Aitken (Former Chair Democratic Foundation of OC)    
$85,000     10%

United Food & Commercial Workers                                                
$25,000     3%

Former Democratic Senator Joe Dunn                                            
$14,635   2%

*Major Democrat Donors:                                                                  
 $30,000   4%

Unnamed small donors                                                                        
$21,956    3%

*(donors to: Act Blue, DCCC, Barbara Boxer, Beth Krom for Congress, Alan Lowenthal for Congress, Loretta Sanchez for Congress).

The Voice is totally dependent on the OCEA to meet payroll, pay its rent, fund benefits, and other expenses. When you think about that, the Voice’s outrage campaign against Freedom Communications deal with Anaheim to broker naming rights for ARTIC is comical. How does the Voice question the ability of a Freedom Communications subsidiary (the OC Register) to cover Anaheim government impartially, when it is reporting on county and city governments whose employees are represented by the funding source that keeps the Voice of OC’s lights on? We’re expected to believe Freedom’s deal comprises the OC Register’s Anaheim coverage, but the Voice’s dependence on OCEA has no effect on its coverage?

Think about it another way. At the same time that it was spending $600,000 last year trying to elect John Leos to the Anaheim City Council, we now know the OCEA was also giving hundreds of thousands to the Voice of OC; and the Voice was reporting obsessively about Disney’s spending on behalf of candidates opposed by OCEA, while giving much less attention to OCEA’s campaign activity.

All of which goes to the point of Nguyen’s press release:

Unfortunately, Janet’s efforts to reform CalOptima and outreach to the community have been mischaracterized by the Voice of OC  blog whose only interest is to further their own political agenda through an organized smear campaign.

Some have asked why this Blog has taken such an interest in a smear campaign against Janet Nguyen?

The answer should be obvious. Just follow the money. A check of the Voice of OC’s most recent IRS filings shows that nearly all of their funds come from labor unions and Democrat donors. A full 63% comes from a single public employee union – OCEA.  The remainder from Democrat/liberal donors or groups. These entities all have a huge stake in making sure State Senate Dems keep their 2/3rds super majority.

AMEA Negotiations Coming Up; Watch Voice Of OC Reporting On Anaheim
The Anaheim Municipal Employees Association is an affiliate of the OCEA. It’s contract negotiations begin later this month, and its current contract expires January 3.

The Voice has already hit Lucille Kring with a below the belt piece accusing her of trading votes for campaign contributions (without any evidence). Will we see a continuation of past pattern of targeting City Hall in hopes of freezing and demoralizing it during negotiations. I hope not. But keep an eye on the kind of stories the Voice writes about Anaheim in the coming months.

keep calmReading the media coverage of the MOUs regarding the Angels lease negotiations (not to mention the over-the-top reactions from certain gadflies), I am struck by the amount of misleading and false information.

The Name Change Scare
Take the Voice of OC, for example. It’s article initially bore the inflammatory headline, “Angels May Drop Anaheim from Team Name.” Where did that claim come from? Section 5 of the stadium lease MOU:

“Team Name: ABLP has absolute control and exclusive rights concerning its team name.”

It says nothing about what the Angels plan to do with that right if it is included in the final agreement, so a headline reading “Angels May Not Drop Anaheim From Team Name” would be just as accurate.

And since the Angels have already, in effect, dropped Anaheim from the team name and prevailed over the city’s legal challenges to hat action, granting that right to the Angels isn’t much of a concession.

The VOC of OC has since dialed back the inflammatory factor and changed the headline to “Angels Could Drop Anaheim Name In Proposed Lease.”

Angels Getting All Tax Revenue From Stadium District Development? Nope.
Then there is this misleadingly-worded paragraph from the same article:

The land lease outline being considered next week could allow team owners to keep all tax revenue, such as hotel room taxes and sales tax generated from developing the area.

Here’s what the MU actually says:

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Insider here.

Did you see the Orange County Register article about how the Orange County Employees Association shuffled political funding through various PACs in order to disguise who was paying the campaign mailers? Among other things, OCEA gave a PAC called California Citizens for Fair Government $75,000 in start-up donations, and provided 81% of the PACs funding during its three-year lifespan:

[OCEA General Counsel Don Drozd] said he checked with the treasurer of the OCEA PAC that funded CCFG and confirmed that OCEA had nothing to do with creating CCFG or deciding how CCFG should spend its money.

That’s pretty hard spin to swallow: “Here’s $75,000 of our members’ dues money. We don’t care what you do with it.”

One of the commenters on the OC Register story reacted this way:

Drozd and Bernadino have a firm grip on every decision OCEA makes. For him to say he didn’t recall the specifics, then specifically deny any strings were attached, is not credible. The proverbial hand in the cookie jar.

The story reminded me of one Adam Elmahrek wrote near the end of the Anaheim city council elections last year called “Disney’s Latest Adventure: Local Campaign Attack Ads.” In it, Elmahrek pointed to Disney’s participation in political committees that paid for campaign mailers advocating for and against Anaheim council candidates and unfavorably compared it to the OCEA’s above-board approach:

Labor unions have also spent big, nearly matching the business establishment dollar-for-dollar in their support of former labor leader John Leos. The difference is following the labor money is relatively easy, while keeping track of Disney’s spending is a bit like riding a roller coaster in the dark [emphasis mine].

Martin Wisckol and Morgan Cook of the OC Register sure made a hash of that claim.

It’s not like Voice of OC can’t analyze campaign reports. Elmahrek spent a lot of time doing that for the above article and for another one called “Disney’s Hidden Hand  In The Anaheim City Council Race.” It seems it’s the hidden hand of its major funder, the OCEA, that escapes the Voice’s notice. [Although the Voice did take advantage of the opportunity to say “See! We’ll criticize the OCEA!” by printing a summary of the OC Register’s article.]

Anaheim Insider here.

Adam Elmahrek’s hit piece…excuse me, article…on Lucille Kring was forwarded to me earlier today. Not to put too fine a point on it, but what a shoddy piece of…journalism.

It’s a long article, but here’s the gist: Elmahrek claims Kring changed her position on four issues in response to campaign contributions.  He offer no proof. Even the liberal “watchdog” types the Voice always calls for quotes to support their slant scoff at Elmahrek’s allegations.

Elmahrek does dredge up Cory Briggs, a liberal environmental ambulance-chaser from San Diego to echo his allegations and chirp that Kring should hire a lawyer. Briggs is the same guy brought in by OCCORD to ask the AG and the DA to prosecute Kring and the other three councilmembers on trumped-up conflict-of-interest charges.

If Elmahrek is truly interested in writing about flip-flopping Anaheim politicians, how about Mayor Tom Tait (I realize that is ridiculous since Tait has blanket immunity from the Voice)? How about the story of how the mayor’s broken promises to council candidate Steve Lodge helped break his candidacy, a story now well-known in Anaheim political circles?

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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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Marcie Edwards

Marcie Edwards

The uncertainty over exactly who was managing city government was dispelled on Tuesday when the City Council, which would be Bob Wingenroth’s last as City Manager. The council confirmed Anaheim Public Utilities General Manager Marcie Edwards would henceforth take the reins as Interim City Manager.

Edwards, a veteran of Anaheim city government, will not seek the permanent city manager position. To that end, the city council has hired Ralph Anderson & Associates to conduct the CM candidate search.

Edwards will be in the city manager’s chair when the City Council meets on May 14 to once again consider the GardenWalk Hotels agreement. Earlier this week, the Voice of OC made this claim:

At one point when it seemed as if Wingenroth might be out the door, last night’s council meeting agenda included a vote on the highly controversial $158-million subsidy for two local hoteliers. However, after it became clear that Wingenroth would be at the meeting, the item was pulled from the agenda.[emphasis added]

No source quoted, no evidence provided for that claim — which is not surprising considering it isn’t true. Whether or not Wingenroth would be at the April 30 meeting had nothing to do with re-scheduling the GardenWalk agreement, the fate of which does not hinge on the presence or absence of Bob Wingenroth.

I suppose the VOC’s claim is true in the same sense that it is true after it become clear Wingenroth would be at the April 30 meeting, the sun set and night fell on Anaheim – although a causal relationship would be hard to prove.

Earlier this week, a commenter posted a link to this April 2, 2013 article from UnionWatch.com. It should serve as a wake up call to conservatives and those who occupy the sensible center that the drive for single-member council districts in Anaheim is not an isolated event, but part of a broader campaign for the unions and their left-wing political allies to expand their political influence in local government.

They are looking to make Anaheim their beachhead in Orange County. If Anaheim goes, next on the target list will be Orange, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Westminster, Garden Grove, etc. Those Republicans in Anaheim and Orange County who either support single-member council districts or yawn at the prospect of them really need to wake up and smell the left-wing coffee. And those Vichy-types who want to run up the white flag because they’ve swallowed the propaganda that the ACLU lawsuit is unbeatable…well, they need to get spine-up and fight.

Here’s the article – it is a must-read:

Unions Will Control Mid-Sized Cities with California Voting Rights Act

by Kevin Dayton

Unions firmly control the political agenda in California’s largest cities, but civic leaders and citizens in some of the state’s smaller cities are still resisting the union political machine.

Some of these cities, with populations from 100,000 to 250,000, include Escondido, Oceanside, Murrieta, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Clovis, Elk Grove, and Roseville. These are cities where a dominant faction of elected and appointed officials generally puts a priority on efficiently providing basic services at a reasonable cost to their citizens.

Not surprisingly, city councils in some of these cities have attempted to enact home-rule charters or have exercised rights under their home-rule charters to free themselves from costly state mandates. This greatly agitates unions, which have long worked to attain their unchecked control of the agenda at the capitol.

Union officials want California’s cities to submit fully to state laws regarding collective bargaining for public employees and government-mandated wage rates (“prevailing wages”) for construction contractors. As reported in www.UnionWatch.org throughout 2012, public employee unions and construction trade unions spent huge amounts of money to convince voters in some of these cities to reject proposed charters.

Obviously unions don’t want to spend $1 million in dozens of cities every two years to defeat proposed charters, as they did in Costa Mesa before the November 2012 election. And soon they won’t have to spend any more money.

Unions are now implementing a tactic to alter political control of these smaller cities. It is likely to succeed in turning almost every California city with a population of 100,000 or more from fiscal responsibility to “progressive” governance based on theories of social justice.

Unions and their attorneys are masters at exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to attain unrelated economic objectives that benefit unions. And now unions are using the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (Election Code Section 14025 et seq.) as a tool to ensure the adoption of union-backed public policies at local governments.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.

tait portraitVivian PhamReading Matt Cunningham’s coverage of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee process ought to be an eye-opener for anyone concerned about the future of our city. It has put all other media coverage combined to shame.

Sad to say, it has largely been hijacked by a confederacy of highly-organized and well-funded liberal pressure groups with direct representation on the CAC, courtesy of Mayor Tom Tait and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.

Take a look at the CAC Chair, Vivian Pham. When Tom Tait appointed her, she had only lived in Anaheim for two years, according to voter records sent to me.

Two years! Anaheim is more than a century-and-a-half old. The CAC is making recommendations to the City Council about how our city will be governed for the next century. And the Mayor appoints a new arrival with no understanding of the history, culture or political landscape of Anaheim? Shouldn’t that make Cynthia Ward go into “tilt” mode?

Pham is a liberal Democrat who, in her day job as a “community development officer” for Wells Fargo Bank, has shoveled almost one hundred thousand dollars into the coffers of OCCORD, the group leading the lobbying effort targeting the CAC.

Conflict, anyone?

Read the rest of this entry »

Guaranteed jobs...it 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last night the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to approve a new, two-year contract with the Anaheim Police Association that ends a practice that increased pension benefits, and starts new hires at a less generous defined-benefit retirement. Mayor Tom Tait voted against approval.

From the Voice of OC:

Under the contract, the pension formula for new members of the Anaheim Police Association is 2.7 @ 57, which means that upon turning 57 an officer can receive a pension equal to 2.7 percent of their salary for each year served. 

This means that after 30 years of service, officers can retire with 81 percent of their final salary. Current members of the Anaheim force are covered by a 3 @ 50 formula that allows them to collect up to 90 percent of their salaries after 30 years of service.

According to Anaheim Human Resources Director Kristine Ridge, the agreement saves approximately $1.6 million over the term of the contract, mostly by eliminating the “pers-on-pers” benefit by which the city paid the employees’ 9 percent contribution to the state’s public employees retirement system, then reported it as part of employees’ salaries.

With this benefit in place, the pension calculation of a retiring officer earning $100,000 would be based on $109,000.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some of my Republican friends argue with me over my support for the GardenWalk project TOT rebate, pointing out that it isn’t free market economics and that government shouldn’t subsidize a business enterprise.

My response is that they’re right, but Anaheim isn’t working in a free market. I recognize that state government has gone too far on the regulation and taxation of business activity, and Anaheim itself is bordered by a city that has no compunctions about luring four-star hotels with not only TOT rebates, but free land.

Last week, the Garden Grove City Council unanimously voted to give a luxury hotel developer five-acres of city-owned land on Harbor Boulevard , adjacent to the Resort District. The council also voted to rebate back to the developer millions in TOT generated by the project for up to 20 years.

At the same meeting, the council unanimously approved a water park resort-and-hotel project, with the city putting up the land and issuing $42 million in revenue bonds to finance it.

Where was the outrage from Adam Elmahrek of the Voice of OC, or the OC Register editorial writers?

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When you boil it down, the ACLU’s attempt to litigate the City of Anaheim into replacing the at-large system of electing the city council with single-member council districts is really about race; specifically classifying citizens on the basis of their race and designing a system of representation that is based on race.

The ACLU alleges the current system violates the California Voting Rights Act, disenfranchises Latinos and demands increasing the number of Latinos on the council via single-member council districts.

It is clear to anyone who has been paying attention tat the left-wing coalition pushing single-member districts views the world through race-colored glasses. The internal logic of this thinking inevitably leads us to away from the “content of our character” ideal articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr., pushing us backward to absurd spectacle of an increasingly inter-racial society arguing over what someone’s “real” ethnicity is.

And the mangling of color-blindness was on display in these paragraphs from the Voice of OC’s story on yesterday’s decision by Judge Franz Miller to delay hearing the lawsuit until July:

The city challenges the validity of the lawsuit in court documents, arguing that members of minority groups have consistently been elected to the City Council. According to the city, 10 seats have been up for election since 2002, with seven of those seats filled by either “Asian” or “Hispanic” council members.

One of those council members is former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who is Spanish and Filipina, a mix that ACLU attorney Robert Ruben said doesn’t meet the criteria for Latina under the Voting Rights Act.

What a sad, infuriating spectacle. But not an unexpected one. When racial bean-counting is the coin of the realm for acquiring political power and “representation,” should we be surprised when such argument breaks out over whether or not someone is really Latino (or Asian or whichever ethnicity is deemed in need of increased “representation)? If single-member council districts become a reality in Anaheim, we can expect more of such demeaning spats.

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Wondering what kind of anti-business policies single-member council districts would make more likely in Anaheim? Look no further than UNITE-HERE Local 11’s lobbying of the City of Anaheim to adopt a “retention” policy a la that paragon of mismanagement and ill-governance, Los Angeles.

To illustrate how “retention” works, I’ll excerpt from Los Angeles International Airport’s retention policy, which imposes these requirements on LAX contractors:

  • Contractor agrees to offer to employ and retain for a 90-day period the employees who worked for at least 12 months for the terminated contractor/subcontractors earning less than $15.00 per hour.
  • Contractor agrees to not discharge without cause the employees retained during the 90-day period.
  • Contractor agrees to perform a written performance evaluation of each employee retained at the end of the 90-day period.

[LAX packages their retention policy with a “Living Wage” ordinance: in LAX’s case, contractors were required, as of July 1, 20102, to pay their employees at least $10.70 an hour, along with a minimum health benefit hourly rate of $4.67 per hour (up from $1.70 per hour when the mandate was imposed in 2010).  Plus, the “Living Wage” has to be increased every year. If the contractor doesn’t provide health benefits, then the minimum health benefit hourly rate must be added to their pay – spiking the “Living Wage (in this case) to $15.37 per hour.]

UNITE-HERE is meeting with Anaheim city officials to press their case for imposing a retention policy on Anaheim contractors.

Read the rest of this entry »

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