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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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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:

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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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Logic? Consistency? Those are for lesser beings.

Logic? Consistency? Those are for lesser beings.

Let me say right off the bat that I’m not according Jason Young undeserved credibility, but it is worth highlighting a comment he made on the Voice of OC yesterday while tangling with Anaheim Blog contributor Anaheimocrat — if only because Jason’s cognitive dissonance is held in such high esteem by the crowd that opposes the GardenWalk agreement while simultaneously wanting to put it on the ballot.

First, Jason tosses out this assertion:

“The majority votes on the original agreement, the public outcry is overwhelming negative against the deal (over 15,000 signatures gathered to oppose TOT giveaways), and a judge throws it out.

The people have spoken and yet Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Jordan Brandman  will try and ram this deal through again?”

When it is pointed out to him that the people actually did speak by electing the pro-GW candidate and rejecting the ant-GW candidates, Young quickly contradicted himself:

“The people don’t know what is going.”

So, which is it? There is no reason to grant any gravity to the signatures gathered by Take Back Anaheim’s union-funded circulators if, as Jason Young says, they were gulled from “people [who] don’t know what is going on.”

And how can “the people speak” on GardenWalk if, as Young asserts, they are don’t know what is going on? How can you there be an overwhelming outcry from an ignorant public?

This painful cognitive dissonance isn’t confined to Jason Young’s rantings, but runs through the commentary and pronouncements of anti-GardenWalk activists.

Jason and his admirers can’t have it both ways.

I had high hopes for the Voice of OC when it launched a couple of years ago, but its coverage of Anaheim in general and GardenWalk in particular has been very biased. The Voice is almost a surrogate for the agenda of people and organizations like Dr. Jose Moreno, OCCORD and Los Amigos.

Take, for example, this paragraph from today’s Voice story on GardenWalk:

“The City Council first granted the subsidy to O’Connell’s partnership, GardenWalk Hotel I, in January 2012. The 3-2 vote revealed a spit on both the City Council and in the community, with neighborhood activists and good-government advocates pitted against a group of construction trade unions and influential business lobbyists closely linked to O’Connell.”

So if anyone who opposes this project is a benevolent “neighborhood activist” and a “good-government advocate,” but supporters are “construction trade unionists” and “influential business lobbyists.”

How incredibly biased and inaccurate. How unfair to individuals like myself who support this project, and aren’t unionists or “iinfluential business lobbyists,” but think the facts show GardenWalk to be a good deal for Anaheim.

The agreement with GardeWalk is good government. It is sound, forward-thinking economic development policy. It will make possible the development of a four-star hotel that will create thousands of jobs, strengthen the Resort Area’s competitive position as a tourist and convention destination, and will increase the city’s long-term TOT revenues.

The city is putting no cash into this deal. The 80% share comes from TOT revenues that don’t currently exist and will only come into existence if the project is built. There is no “giveaway.”

It is particularly disappointing to watch the vilification of Bill O’Connell, a wonderful man who has been a pillar of the Anaheim community for many years. This man, who has given back to the community for many years, is being publicly attacked and torn don by people and groups who are takers and constantly trying to extract “community benefits” from business and government.

There are many of us in the city who have no direct stake in this project but want the City Council to re-affirm its support and move the city forward on a path of continued economic growth and development.

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