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July 14, 2007

Comments

Lam Pho

I agree, it is about property rights. Unfortunately, it is not just Anaheim but many other cities as well. The mentality of city staff often is that making money for "the city" is the best way to serve the city. They think what is best for "the city" is best for the residents; which is not necessarily so.

Anaheim H.O.M.E.

The recent Disney study implying that building more hotels would measurable increase TOT revenues for the city of Anaheim is a complete falsehood.

Anaheim hotels with occupancy rates averaging about 80% have ample capacity. Increasing the visitors to Anaheim who use hotel rooms are needed to increase the tax revenue, not more hotel rooms.

I would guess that the Anaheim residents who are supporting Disneyland and are not being paid to do so, have never been to college.

Lucy Dunn

Jon,

Protecting private property rights is very important--no one knows more about that than I do from my past development experiences! But even I must concede that no property owner is entitled to build anything they want on their property.

Our communities take the time to create long range general plans--a road map for good planning and development--with extensive public input, hearings, expert advice and ultimately a vote of elected councilmembers, so that the residents and businesses of a city will be put on notice as to what they think constitutes good planning for their city. Where future homes should go, where businesses should go, where parks should go--a blueprint folks can rely upon it for their own individual and business planning.

General plans have to mean something, to stand for something, particularly in a time when future demographic changes, population growth and jobs growth are able to be predicted with some reasonable certainty. And, at least at first blush, Anaheim's planning and implementation of that plan seems to be working as indicated in OCBC's recently released Workforce Housing Scorecard 2007 Inaugural Edition.

After a year's research, academic peer review, using data developed by each of OC's cities, Anaheim comes out as a county leader in workforce housing production to meet its jobs generation and will likely continue to do so, based upon future trends. If only other OC cities could be as forward-thinking! The report can be found at www.ocbc.org.

It is troubling to me that it is so hard to get adequate housing built in OC--especially when each city's general plan lays out where it should go--when we've lost almost 15% of OC's 25 to 34 year olds in the last five years, citing the inability to find a home to start their families as a top issue. They're not just moving inland, but out of state to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin.

We risk becoming a county of aging boomers with ever-increasing traffic congestion for the young who will be forced to travel to "service" us and a county brain drain of well-educated talent to fill solid high-paying jobs. I firmly believe that to solve this, we must agree to make our long range general plans "stick" and be implemented, consistent with their approvals. Good planning has to mean something.

Anaheim should stay the course--it's working for them. Keep the resort district as planned; put housing where their long range plan says it should go.

colony rabble

Since when is upzoning a “reasonable use” of property? Dudley Frank can keep his mobile home park; nobody is threatening to take that away. Or he can develop a profitable hotel, for which there are buyers in back-up position to do just that. Instead, he wants to change the zoning to create the highest density housing project in Orange County, and cries foul when we do not want him to do that to us? This is not East Germany, nobody forced the landowners in the area to create the Resort Specific Plan. That was done as a collaborative effort to clean up and enhance the Resort to the significant financial benefit of those landowners who now enjoy a substantial increase in property values. Had Dudley Frank not consented to (and some say requested) the zoning from mobile home park to hotel, he still would not be allowed to develop the proposed units under the old zoning designation. Not a taking.

If the developer and the three council members are really so concerned with developing affordable housing, how about looking at the existing conditions in the city? Anaheim is second only to Santa Ana in affordable rental units, and we are already adding more than anyone else in the region. But the older units are deteriorated, contributing to a lower quality of life for those Resort employees Frank Elfend and Lorri Galloway claim they want to help. How about buying up some of those aging buildings already zoned for multi-family residential, with services in place? Tear those down and put in something decent. Heck, I know many of us would show up at PC to promote density bonuses (within reason) to make something like that profitable. Oh, but SunCal does not make AS MUCH profit with something like that, so those ideas are off the table. SunCal does not give a rat’s patoot about Dudley Frank’s property rights, or about Anaheim’s workforce housing issues. SunCal wants to change the zoning to flip the property for big bucks, leaving the residents of Anaheim holding the bag while they return to Irvine to select the next victim. We sent them packing when they wanted to put in a casino, and we will send them packing for wanting to develop the high-density housing project (or slum of tomorrow) that they are trying now.

It’s not just absentee landlords who have property rights. The tax paying, voting residents of Anaheim have property rights too, and we have the right to not pay for services to support SunCal’s folly of a residential project in an area with no infrastructure to serve those new residents. Frankly, I’d rather collect tax money from tourists who pay for my Police and Fire services. Try again.

Anaheim HOME
Glad to see our local University system has implemented Charm School as a degree requirement......college, is that the place where they teach you to complain about an amusement park that was there long before your house was built? I'm afaird I must plead ignorance there. Let's stick to the facts and leave the mudslinging to the consultants.

Diane Singer

First and foremost this is not about housing. Further, this is not about Sun Cal or really about Disney, per se. This is about big business, really big business trying to run a small city by controlling property owners' rights.

Disney is a global media company. Not unlike big tobacco, big oil or big insurance, Disney is a for-profit enterprise. They care about their bottom line and will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Sun Cal is just a developer, they could be any business or property owner. They are just trying to do something in Anaheim that Disney doesn't like.

It is the intersection of these two issues that called for the question: who is running Anaheim. Is it Disney or is it our City Council?

Anaheim residents elected our City Council to make certain decisions. Like it or not, sometimes elected bodies return decisions that don't please all of the people all of the time. This is one of those times and the disgruntled party is Disney. They need to get over it.

Like a spoiled child, spoiled I might add from years of coddling by previous city councils, Disney is having a tantrum. They are throwing their toys and threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue. Anaheim, like an exhausted, indulgent parent, has had enough. Our City Council made a decision and they need to stick with it. The child, Disney, will get used to it. One day they will grow up and realize that they have had it pretty good - $500M bonds, $100M parking structures, no consequences for failed third gate projects, first dibs on police and fire service, and a Chamber who is obviously acting like an over-protective grandparent.

Anaheim residents are sick and tired of sweetheart deals that leave taxpayers holding the bag for sports teams and giant media companies who fail to keep their promises, written and unwritten. You can bet the NFL, the Platinum Triangle builders, and any other BIG business with sights on Anaheim is watching very carefully. They want the sweetheart deal, they want to run the city, they want control, and why not, Anaheim gave away the store for years. Those days are over and I am proud that our City Council had the guts to make the hard decision.

Flowerszzz

Where were all these "property" rights fighters when the original deal was struck to make this area a resort area? This deal was struck MANY years ago, and Disney paid much $ towards affordable housing, improving the area and the streets, etc.

I have to ask....why in the hell would anyone want to have a home that close to Disney anyway? All they will be doing in a years time is bitching about traffic, noise.....and what else would they expect living in a resort area?

Property rights issue eh.....ok I want to tear down my house in the middle of a housing tract and build a taco stand....based on this logic should I be able to do that? My area is zoned residential....but should I not be able to do what I want on my own property then?

the..brain

Lucy Dunn is a rockstar!

With her background in OC politics from Huntingon Beach, State office on housing, and now as Director of OC Business Council she speaks/blogs with knowledge.

If this property/area was zoned for commercial purpose without the special district designation, I'm sure she would be fighting for Mr. Dudley and SunCal's rights. There however is a long standing agreement entered into by the City and business many years ago. It has proven successful in acheiving its goals to the benefit of business/residents/ and yes the City.

You should not break what is working. Before the majority of the Council decided to reject the Planning Commissions unanimous decision to deny the variance, no opportunity for this type of project existed. No property rights were violated, Mr. Dudley knew and knows quite well the restrictions to owning parcels within the resortzone. Nobody chased his mobile home park away. Mr Dudley is just trying to make the best deal po$$ible, understandable. But, let the voters have the final say, its their city. They will pick between a partner who has been involved with Anaheim for over 50 years or a Developer who is trying to change the rules, at City expense, in their favor.

Jon Fleischman

Lucy, the key here is what defines "reasonable" use of someone's property in the context of what else is around their property. We are finding more and more often that people would like to live in urban centers, increasing the demand for housing there. Again, perhaps placing a nuclear plant a couple of blocks from the Magic Kingdom wouldn't be cool (and still not allowed under DeVore's Power statewide initiative) -- but condos? There are some in my home town of Irvine who are unhappy with condos going up in areas primary zoned for business, yet the rights of the owners of those properties to build condos is being respected. The shame rights should be respected in Anaheim.

Clearly Tom Daly negotiated a bad deal with The Mouse if it was done by performing a 'taking' on the reasonable development rights of local property owners.

Lucy Dunn

Jon, absolutely right, but "reasonable" in this context is that Anaheim's people and elected officials developed and chose a reasonable long range plan for their city that did not include this particular site for housing. There are lots and lots of other sites in Anaheim available for housing, planned for housing, consistent with the city's long range general plan. Sadly, SunCal didn't pick one of those sites to propose its project. My point, of course, is if we're going to ask for the public's time to develop these plans, let's be respectful of that time and energy and implement them. Take them seriously because good planning matters now more than ever.

By the way, if I recall correctly, Irvine's general plan is one of the best examples of a community that developed a long range master plan over 30 years ago that has been implemented with very few major changes to it. They are both jobs-rich and also very highly ranked in OCBC's Workforce Housing Scorecard.

colony rabble

The brain is right. Lucy Dunn is a rock star. Lady, you are welcome in Anaheim any day of the week.

Pete W

Because homeowners' rights should be protected, I'm in favor of prohibiting homes from being built in the resort district. The property should be used to contribute to the resort, whether is be a hotel, entertainment venue, or another theme park. If Disney and the rest of resort had not renovated and rehabilitated the neighborhood, Anaheim would be another slum.

Jubal

Where were all these "property" rights fighters when the original deal was struck to make this area a resort area? This deal was struck MANY years ago, and Disney paid much $ towards affordable housing, improving the area and the streets, etc.

Some resort district property owners were more aware than others of what was going on, and acted to protect their property rights.

Lost in the current mythology about the Resort District is that property owners there had their parcels down-zoned: they accepted caps on the number of hotel units they could build on their properties where no caps had previously existed.

They accepted Disney promise of the WestCot theme park that would lead to the construction of some 8,000 hotel rooms, etc.

The Hotel Circle owner saw what was happening and lobbied to exempt his property from the hotel room caps.

Funny how Disney and their allies never talk about raising the hotel room caps as a means of increasing hotel room capacity in the resort district -- they seem to think the only solution is to build a hotel on Dudley Frank's property.

And it was the city that paid for the improvement with a $500 million bond -- which the people didn't get to vote on. It was taxpayers who paid for the enormous parking structure Disney uses.

Disney is very practiced oat spooking and manipulating Anaheim government into advantageous deals for itself. Remember the Anaheim Stadium deal?

Jubal

Colony rabble:

I don't know who you are, but I can say you are way off-the-mark in your characterization of SunCal as some kind of marauder. I have worked with them for several years, most recently on a residential development in Orange in the middle of an established neighborhood. They went the extra mile to be listen to the concerns of impacted residents and to be sensitive to the impacts of the project. After SunCal entitled and prepared the site for home building, the homebuilders who came in -- including a certain giant homebuilder that enjoys golden status in Anaheim -- have shrugged off the impacts of their activities on residents, in stark contrast to SunCal's previous efforts.

So don't give me this "SunCal doesn't care" routine, because I have seen up close that is not the case.

colony rabble

I do not know SunCal up close and personal, but based on reputation, I see folks who reputedly had Hellyer, a stand up guy who was good for the City, tossed from PC, tried to start a casino in Anaheim, tried to get us to trade the TOT tax on Peacock Suites for a flat fee where we would not break even, and is now monkeying with the Resort district, in a deal that has my community talking about recalling the three council members that support the development. Correct me if I am wrong (as you surely will) but this IS the same company that news reports claim was fined for polluting San Timoteo Creek, was sued for the collapse at Pacific Point, pushed Roddy and Pierce to the breaking point with a discount deal when they were trying to make good on the development, and built a golf course on publicly owned land (oops?) Oh yeah, and graded a Norco ridgeline despite promising not to. So what DOES a marauder look like, Matt?

Jubal

Colony rabble:

I don't know anything about the things you cited. I can only speak from my experience working with them, and they have been a very progressive company, in the best sense of that word.

I also know, from up close experience, that Disney's street campaign against SunCal has been one of veiled appeals to prejudice -- not exactly in keeping with Disney's image, is it?

colony rabble

“Runoff crackdowns prod homebuilders” (Press-Enterprise, April 12, 2006)
“Orange County Developer Ordered to Shore Up Slide Area” (Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2002)
“Low Bidder is Back in Land Fight” (Contra Costa Times, August 20, 2004)
“Norco objects to project” (Press-Enterprise, March 19, 2004)
“Anaheim Council Delays Decision on Time Share Resort” (Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1995)
Source: “City's Races: Gaming at Stake?” (The Orange County Register, October 22, 1998)
“Anaheim Council Sacks Hellyer Over Perceived Conflict” (Los Angeles Times, August 19, 1992)

Basic info, easily found. You spend an awful lot of your time defending folks you don’t seem to know very well. There’s more if you want it. I did not want to clog the blog. In the meantime, CBRE just confirmed the 50% numbers, so Disney is in fact living up to their image, as you put it. Oddly enough, so is SunCal.

Jubal

Colony rabble:

You might try reading CBRE's report. Disney has been claiming the Resort District generates 50% of city revenues. The CBRE report says its 43%. And when you exclude debt service payments for the district improvement bonds, that figure drops to 35%.

But maybe we ought to wait for a report from a firm that is not a Disney vendor.

In the meantime, you might want to look into what Disney promised the city back when it was negotiating the Resort District -- and what it actually delivered.

ColonyRabbleRouser

Colony Rabble is

Cynthia Ward

. She's a preservationist. That crowd's hostile to property rights because they get in the way of telling other people what to do with their property.

No surprise, then, she's such a big fan of Disney.

Anaheimrabblerouser

How about answering the question below.

So what DOES a marauder look like, Matt?

re:Colonyrabblerouser

Colonyrabblerouser,

Do you even think that Matt's own home town, the city of Orange has no preservationist. Try going to the council and telling the so called property rights supporters, some Matt knows well, that you want to demolish your house in old town Orange.

Absolutely not.

Yes, then I guess you could say this crowd is hostile to property rights because they get in the way of telling other people what to do with their property.

What's the difference? If your going to demand property owners do what they want on their property in another city, you might want to fight for the end to preservationist policies that siginficant limit property rights in your own city.(or at least not support someone who support preservationist policies)

Jose Moreno

Wow...great closing Colony Rabble .

I just got back from the Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart in Los Angeles and was not surprised that this thread ended the way it did.

I tired and sleeping but I'll try to add my two cents.

Come to think of it, maybe Homer Simpson is in charge of these Pro-Suncal mail pieces.

The "broken promises" mail piece talks about three different issues, breaking their promise, deceiving the public and violating private property rights.

There are many problems with this piece. First the promises are dated and gained little publicity when they occurred. Honestly, how has the first issue made any negative impact in the lives of Anaheim residents. “Westcot” or a scaled down version of “California Adventure” promises not met. How did that impact Jeff Morris’s life? That’s right, zilch, zip, and nada.

Heck, Disneyland probably generates 21% indirectly to the city of Garden Grove with all those siphoning hotels,restaurants and stores. But who can we believe when both sides have vastly different numbers. How about a recent study cited in the OC Register that found I believe 50% tax revenue generated by the resort district.


While Anaheim voters will easily discredit the first two issues as bogus or worthless, the chances that they will consider reading the third issue, private property rights, are slim or none. Conclusion: Bad mailer.

In fact, Colony rabble comments concerning how Dudly Frank requested to be included in the resort district(or gave no opposition to be included) and the rock star Lucy Dunn comments about “reasonable use” make more sense than Dudley Frank’s claim, “the Disney Corporation wants to dictate what can be built on my family’s land”

Note: I would not have even opened the Frank Dudley letter had I not remembered his name while reading this blog yesterday. I actually thought Frank’s letter was on of those Car sales pitch. The Dudley mail piece assumes that I either open junk mail or know who Dudley Frank is and the second mail piece assumes that I don’t know about the specific issues concerning Disney Corporation issues (i.e. broken promises, deception, or private property issues) Which is it? That I know the players but don’t know the particulars.

Nevertheless, for myself it’s more about economics. When an reasonable Anaheim voters reads that every other city in central Orange County has raised this or that fee(GG water fee increase 80%)(SA proposing increasing fees) and Anaheim has not yet followed suit, they will support Disney.

There is an understanding or perception that a significant tax burden is being paid by Disney or the resort district that centers around Disney. The “We are Anaheim and we’re speaking out” doesn’t make me sad because my memories about the Magic Kingdom are happy.

Question for Diane Singer?

I’m sure you already know this but every kid in the area of this issue gets bussed to a school on the other side of the freeway, some get bussed to other schools in central Anaheim.

Havee your tried visiting the only local park in this area and seen how many people are utilizing the park on any day of the week.

There’s is actually more than enough housing in this area and enough families and adding more would put more of a drain on public services and public accommodations. I believe Anaheim as cited by pro-housing and pro-affordable housing experts filled it’s commitment in this area. But wait, you’re the expert and you live in the area so you know all this. Right!

colony rabble

Sorry, I did not think I was trying to hide who I was. Yes, ColonyRabble is Cynthia Ward, Architectural Historian. I never say something I am not willing to put my name on. And yes, I believe in preserving our historic built environment. Oddly enough, I also work for developers who tear down older structures in the name of “progress”, because I recognize that preservation is balanced with financial responsibility and civil liberty. That means that I greatly favor incentives like the State’s Mills Act program (Anaheim is ranked third in the State) to encourage private property owners to restore and maintain their heritage properties, voluntarily. I also advocate relocation of historic structures, if they can be rehabbed for resale as a profitable endeavor. It is all a matter of balance. Matt has always known who I am, despite saying he did not, because we all have to plug in our e-mail addys to log on to the blog, and my name is clearly spelled out there. In fairness, I know what Matt looks like, but he would not know me, a friend pointed you out at Starbucks last week, but did not introduce us. “ColonyRabbleRouser” could have found a better weblink, though. Try the story by Theo Douglas in OC Weekly, there’s even a photo, so the world would know where I live. (Note: SOAR lawn signs on the porch today, help yourselves.)

Now that we have intros out of the way, let’s get back to facts. Disney did not build Westcott, and the whole thing eventually became California Adventure (a park I do not really like, I much prefer the original park). Now, show one single development, just ONE, that did not have substantial changes because it did not “pencil out”. That’s not a broken promise, it is just good business planning. You telling me that SunCal has never backed out of something because after crunching the numbers it would have made no sense? Heck, according to today’s Register, it looks like Frank Elfend may be doing that now. Page 7 of Local says he has asked for a delay in the Council’s ruling, after calling a meeting with Disney over the weekend to hammer out a deal. The editorial page follows that, where the Register says they believe the zoning in the Resort has worked and should be left alone. Funny how Jubal posts all kinds of Register links, but not any today.

colony rabble

And as long as I am on my “really should be getting ready for work rant”, let me say that assuming that a preservationist is automatically anti-property rights is about as closed minded as assuming that anyone who uses a pseudonym on a public blog has something to hide, and is therefore a pedophile lurking for prey. Pretty arrogant. My connection to this issue is not that Disney and preservationists are both trying to control other people’s property. The reality is that before being blessed enough to live, work, and play in the Colony District, I was one of those Resort employees, living in a total dump apartment around the block from a Magic Kingdom I could not afford to take my kid to, waiting tables for grumpy tourists who forgot that tipping extends beyond their local diner in Des Moines. Back then I could not have rented a room in the home I now own (OK the bank owns) That place is a hellhole for parents trying to raise kids, it makes no sense to put housing in there, even closer to the freeway and the park than I was. That drew me to this argument. Then when I saw the BS excuses my own elected officials used to justify the decision, I was hooked. I do not buy it, it makes no sense to me. I expected nothing better from Lorri, she has never made sense to me. I was truly shocked at Bob, I thought he had more upstairs than that. Lucille was the real mind blower. To decide on this, when her only reasoning was that she had “prayed about” and “agonized over” this issue was odd. Now, with a developer’s group throwing her a fundraiser on Thursday, it is starting to make sense. Was Lucille praying about this issue on the same day she was praying about retiring all that campaign debt? I know without question God provides, he does it for me every day, I guess He came through for Lucille. Prayer works.

So before we go pinning stereotypes on each other, run a Google search on me. (There is a Cynthia Ward, an author in New York that gets in there, so try Cynthia Ward Anaheim) you will not find a single case of my advocating a forced position on someone else’s land use. I support long term planning because it works. I support incentive programs to encourage people to do things with their property to the benefit of the community that the property influences or affects. I despise architecture Nazis. I hated seeing an old house being beaten senseless by halfway house tenants and an absentee landlord, so Richard and I bought it and restored it. (OK the inside is still not great, but the outside just got an Anaheim Beautiful Award) I put my time, talent, and treasure where my mouth is. I do not want Dudley Frank to lose out on his property, I want him to sell it for a reasonable profit to a hotel in back-up position behind SunCal to built a tourist related business, as he agreed to do when he signed on to the Resort.

The only connection I see between preservation and the Resort, is that someday we will establish a heritage tourism partnership between the hotels and the three existing historic districts in Anaheim. We could easily keep a tourist busy for an entire day, touring vintage neighborhoods, exploring the new Muzeo, maybe a scheduled high tea in a heritage home….which means the tourist would stay in their Anaheim hotel room for one more night, racking up more TOT tax, rather than moving on to use their Priority Club points at the Pasadena Westin after the Gamble House tour. Other than that, there is no conspiracy, no like-mindedness between this preservationist and Disney for “colonyrabblerouser” to search for. Sorry to disappoint you. And now, I am off to earn a living, by the sweat of my brow, not off the back of taxpayers. By the way, who are YOU?

Jubal

So what DOES a marauder look like, Matt?

Nowadays in Anaheim, the marauder has the initials M.M. and wears red shorts with two big buttons.

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