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July 11, 2007

Comments

Anaheim H.O.M.E.

It is interesting that the mailer falsely states that an out-of-town (Irvine) developer is using dirty tricks. According to theme park trade magazines, Disneyland has an estimated 80% profit margin which it sends out-of-county to the Disney headquarters in Burbank.

The problem is that Disneyland creates much of this huge profit margin by paying near minimum wages to thousands of Orange County residents. They also exploit illegal immigrants living in Orange County by using sub-contractors (We have the names of many).

As a result, these Disneyland workers become a burden on taxpayers.

Since Disneyland refuses to give up their profit margins and pay reasonable livable wages, it is suggested that an admission tax would help offset the load on us current taxpayers.

Jim

Be Afraid! This is the real slogan of Suncal and their paid mouthpieces, "The Coalition to Protect and Defend Anaheim" and "We Are Anaheim" and of course this Blog is paid by Suncal, as he freely admits, to perpepuate this fear. As any good political consultant will tell you that the best way to win an election is to make you "afraid". With the probability that there will be two issues on the Anaheim Ballot, Suncal is going to do their best to make you afraid by using such slogans as "Stop the Disney Takeover" and "Disney Petition Deceptions Exposed". Any prudent person should realize that Suncal stands to make millions of dollars by flipping the land as they did at River Bend in the City of Orange and then leave town.

Now they are starting to pull out every trick in the book to make you think that the Anaheim Resort is a burden to Anaheim, to make you think that you are being lied to and that you are being deceived by Disney and all of the Business of the Anaheim Resort that contribute more revenue to our city than any other entity. The whole issue really boils down to smoke and mirrors by Suncal. Their goal is to distract you by making you afraid and to tell you that you are being misled and lied to by your neighbors and the businesses of the Anaheim Resort Zone. For example, their paid consultant, Diane Singer, happened to quote our police chief by stating that our police force is reduced by nine sworn officers due to the "Disney Contract". She conveniently left out the fact that Disney pays for those nine officers. If Disney did not pay for those nine officers they would have to be paid for by our city taxes.

Suncal wants the city to do a study of the economic impact of the Anaheim Resort, which is like asking the fox to guard the chicken coup. They also have been quoting income percentages on resort revenues from a city study at the end of which the author says that in fact, they have no real idea if any of their figures are valid and does suggest that an outside firm study the economic impact of the resort zone on our city. How about if both sides approach Chapman University to do a Study? This local university is known for its economic studies of Orange County and will give us an unbiased economic report that would give us all a better idea of the impact of the Anaheim Resort Zone on our city.

But again, a study is just another distraction from the real issue at hand which is to allow housing in an area that is not conducive to housing. Suncal will continue to do everything they can to scare you and to make you afraid. The only thing that we should be afraid of is Suncal and their paid consultants whom I can guarantee will be running for city council at the next council election so that they can in fact take over our city so housing will go where ever Suncal wants. BE AFRAID!

One Who Knows

Jubal is running for Anaheim City Council?

I don't think so.

Pete W

I live on the western edge of the Resort. While I was a passholder of Disneyland, I no longer am because it's too expensive. However, I stand behind SOAR.

1.) The resort generates 50% of the city's tax revenue.
2.) Eminent domain can't be declared on residents in Anaheim. Whether by Disneyland or someone else, the land should be developed for tourism and leave the door open for Disneyland to expand.

If Disneyland hadn't bailed Anaheim out in the '90s, Anaheim would be bankrupt and we would be living in AnaSlime. The resort redevelopment and freeway expansion was the greatest thing that ever happened for Anaheim.

In a free market we have the choice to choose where we work and what we do. Disneyland doesn't exploit. They pay what the market demands. Disney employs organized labor and they're fully capable of striking. Minimum wage, especially California's ridiculous "living wage", is more than appropriate for guest service; it's a low skill position, I know because I put in five years at Knott's Berry Farm.

just..asking??

Matt,

Enough already! I know you have a paid consulting job to do but hasn't this gone on long enough?

It's reached a point that your "conservative" readers/bloggers are calling for "living wages" for Disney workers. Isn't this what you and others lamented when Irvine enacted such a practice?

I don't have a problem with you making a buck from SunCal, God knows they can afford it, but your positions are so transparent. Why don't you just tell us how much you make per post instead of telling us that you are paid consultant for SunCal. And by the way, just what are you paid for? Is it these posts? Reporting back to SunCal? Or are you actually helping to set the strategy that SunCal has been employing? Hope it's not the latter, I had more respect for you than that...

Jubal

A couple of things, Just Asking...Anonymously.

First, if you're going to insult me instead of using that thing in your skull called a brain to actually put together an argument -- at least put your name to it.

Secondly -- what have I said that is untrue? Attacking me for being a consultant isn't intellectual laziness -- it's intellectually comatose.

Come back when you actually have something substantive to say.

Jubal

Pete W.

You know, you and every other Disney apologist tosses that "50%" number like its Holy Scripture. Do you even know where it comes from? Because nobody else does -- including Disney/SOAR. Not that it stops them from repeating it. Tell a lie often enough and there'll be enough gullible souls who'll believe it and repeat it.

Speaking of a free market...the taxpayers built that gargantuan parking structure for Disney...not to mention other taxpayer goodies. How's that the free market?

Biff

Give it a rest, Matt -- the SunCal mailers are equally hyperbolic and certainly don't shirk when it comes to heaping on the scare language. Funny how we never see any SunCal mailers posted here for perusal, despite the fact that you work for the team and ordinarily love sharing political junk mail ...

Tell a lie often enough and there'll be enough gullible souls who'll believe it and repeat it.

Yeah, like the SunCal folks who got Lori Galloway to believe that this is an affordable housing issue -- what a sucker!

ocwatcher

How come Disney doesn't mind housing in its park on the other coast:

Celebration, Florida is a census-designated place and an unincorporated master-planned community in Osceola County in the U.S. state of Florida, near Walt Disney World Resort. It was developed by The Walt Disney Company.

Celebration is connected directly to the Walt Disney World parks and resorts by World Drive; the north end of World Drive begins near the Magic Kingdom and its south end connects to Celebration Boulevard, allowing Celebration residents and guests to drive to Disney property without having to use any busy thoroughfares. With the rising population, Disney has divested most of its control over Celebration in the years since it founded the town, although several Disney business units occupy the town's office buildings. Recently, some residents have petitioned for incorporation of the town under state law. A ballot measure could go before voters in September 2007. This has become a major controversy in the community as many residents feel uninformed about the issues, especially those concerning the cost of living.


Traffic's the number one complaint in So. Cal., even here. We cause traffic by creating high-job demands without nearby housing opportunities. Disney should stick to doing what it does, and let city planners do their jobs, creating balanced communities.

Jon Fleischman

A couple of comments:

1) Jubal, keep posting away on this issue. I know that I have written on it as well. I know that Curt Pringle and others can post on this site. Of course, it is important to disclose personal involvement, which Matt does. But this is a great forum for discussion.

2) We should have seen this coming. Disney's SOAR plan represents ballot-box zoning at its worst. And the predictable (and unfortunately understandable) counter plan that is just as bad. It would subject Disney to exactly what they want to subject to their neighbors. The reality is that now we have a pair of measures that should be rejected.

Sifting through the arguments here, what we have is a situation where Anaheim politicians going back into the '90's with the reign of Democrat Tom Daly have put into place restrictions on property rights owners near Disneyland, when they never should have done that.

Taking someone's private property through eminent domain for commercial ventures is a terrible abuse. Second to that would be entering into agreements that perform a 'taking' on the reasonable use of a property owner to built - gasp - condominiums near Disneyland. Frankly, if I were the Mouse, I would scale back this whole mess, and move on. This battle hardly seems worth it.

(Disclosure: I am a Disneyland annual passholder.)

Jeff Flint

Jon:

How is Sun-Cal's response "understandable"?

Quoting from Matt above:

Disney is mobilizing its troops to ask the Anaheim City Council to simply rescind the April 24 zoning vote rather than -- as Disney has been telling Anaheim voters is their right -- actually putting it on the ballot.

Consistency? Logic? Honesty? Disney doesn't need them. After all, they think Anaheim is their city -- everyone else just lives there.

Yet, after Matt has railed against Disney/SOAR for their initiative, his client files the very same thing. Consistency? Logic?

Matt also goes after Disney for asking the City Council to just rescind the prior action, despite the fact that this is expressly called for in the Election Code.

Yet Sun-Cal's spokesperson on their measure doesn't think they should even have to go collect signatures, like SOARdid. She thinks the "little guy", i.e., Sun-Cal, should just have their competing measure placed on the ballot with no signatures.

Logic? Consistency?

Hmmm?

(Full disclosure: I have no client in this. Despite what you think, I really don't.)

colony rabble

The whole thing is getting so sad, and the mud flinging has barely begun. I desperately hope Council will reverse themselves, if only to save us from the expense and nastiness of an election. The only positive thing to come out of this mess is watching community leaders come together to take a stand in defense of the Resort area that generates a substantial portion of our income base. I have seen leaders from west Anaheim to the hills and canyons, and everywhere in between, come together for discussion. People who normally will not speak to each other are sitting down to talk. Without question, they are all in support of the Resort, and they are all livid with the Council members who have shafted us. I do not agree with the claim that 50% of our income comes from the resort. Unlike SunCal, I actually think it is going to be more. Take all of the numbers, not just the TOT tax, but the residual spending that comes out of the Resort, and we are going to see major numbers generated by the mouse. We are a company town, and I just thank God that our company is a squeaky clean family friendly Magic Kingdom good for a trip with my kids, or date night with the hubby (not that I can afford a pass at those prices). Heck, we could be dependent on a belching coal mill that gave nothing back to the community. Bob no longer cares about our community, Lorri never did care, beyond the donations she can extract, so I see neither of them backing off of this insanity. But I really hope that Lucille has the class to save us from more of the backbiting that is taking over this campaign. Reversing the vote, given the number of people who have signed the SOAR petitions, is the right thing to do. As far as SunCal wanting an initiative, get off your butts, and get out there and gather the signatures. If an Irvine developer can get our Council to waste taxpayer time and money with an Initiative that calls an election in order for Disney to use land they were already voter approved to use through the General Plan, then a recall election will follow. I’m tired, I do not want to see any more of this collateral damage to my city. It is time for City Council to admit to having made a bad decision, and it is time for SunCal to go back to Irvine and find their next victim. I do not want to have to devote months to defending the Resort. I have a life. But I will put the time and energy into it, the Resort is worth fighting for, and at this point SunCal has my hackles up. Quit insulting the intelligence of Anaheim’s voters, and quit wasting our time and money on special elections whose only winner is a developer looking to make a buck by flipping a rezoned property and then going home to South County. Enough already.

Jubal

A few things:

1) Exactly how will rescinding the April 24 zoning ordinance save taxpayers money? Disney is pushing ahead with their SOAR initiative with the intention of forcing a special election. So Disney's claim that rescinding the zoning overlay will save taxpayers money is bunk.

2) We doesn't relish the prospect of ballot-box zoning. But since Disney is going to put a ballot-box zoning initiative before Anaheim voters, then voters should have the opportunity to opt for a an initiative that applies to ALL Resort District property owners -- including Disney.

3) Disney asked voters to sign their referendum so they could vote on the zoning overlay. Their mail and statements from public spokesmen all centered on "Protect Your Right To Vote." Now Disney flip-flops and wants break that promise they made to those who signed their referendum petition -- saying, in effect, they lied about "Protecting Your Right To Vote."

Karl Rove

Mickey Mouse lied????? My grandchildren are heart broken....

In all seriousness though, I still believe that Walt Disney would be rolling over in his grave if he was witnessing what this has turned in to.

just..asking

Jubal/Matt/any other names you post under,

If annonymity is an issue simply require authentication. Attacking a blogger for asking questions on this issue is bogus.

Unlike other posts where we are freely exchanging differing opinions on issues, in this case SunCal and, by business relationship, you are a problem. You are forced to defend your client just as a good lawyer would defend a murder suspect. That is understood, I can muster the brainpower to understand this fact of life.

colony rabble states the issues very well and seems to reflect most citizen/voters thoughts (based on signature gathering success). SunCal seems to be looking for headlines or shortcuts to getting a competing initiative on the ballot. Let them jump the same hoops/costs that Disney and SOAR were required to navigate. Isn't that the OC way?

The Anaheim council has the authority and should do the right thing and re-consider the impact and total cost to the community and reverse their earlier zoning decision. This reversal is understandable and would re-instate the unanimous decision to deny that the Development Commission had forwarded to the Council.

And by the way, I don't need to know who the bloggers are by name. I read blogs to be informed and sometimes share information. There are many informed and entertaining bloggers who frequent, do you require their personal information? Or is this a rant you throw out when someone doesn't agree with you?

If and when disclosure is necessary, I make it. I am not paid by or have any relationship to any of the parties in this issue. But I have spoken to enough leaders of other cities who express disbelief at this council's willingness to risk the most successful sales tax inducing zoning action in the history of Orange County!

Jubal

If and when disclosure is necessary, I make it.

Just...Asking: I make disclosure ad nauseum. Your previous post was just another in the long train of ad hominem attacks launched by Disney-philes who don't like that I post anything on this subject.

Again, if all you want to do is just personally rag on me or someone else, then put your name to it.

If you are going to discuss policy/government/politics, by all means do it with your pen name.

colony rabble states the issues very well and seems to reflect most citizen/voters thoughts (based on signature gathering success).

Based on 14,000 valid signatures out of 134,000 Anaheim voters?

Unlike other posts where we are freely exchanging differing opinions on issues, in this case SunCal and, by business relationship, you are a problem.

We are freely exchanging differing opinions here. No one who comments on this blog on this issue is more upfront about where hes' coming from than I am. I don't delete pro-Disney, anti-SunCal comments. So, sorry, chum -- I am not the problem.

What drives you and other Disney apologists nuts is that I'm not part of the Mickey Mouse brigade on this one. If I agreed with Disney's perspective and were hired as a Disney consultant, I wouldn't hear a peep about this "problem" from any of you.

But hey -- you can always start your own blog and argue with empty cyberspace.

just..asking

Ok here's policy and politics.

Disney is following the rules established within the City of Anaheim. They along with SOAR gathered more than enough signatures in less time than was alloted them by statute. If you would like to raise the qualifing threshold of signatures so be it, but as it stands today Disney did its job well.

SunCal on the other hand floats an idea and tries to make the Council and residents do the hard work and bear the costs for them. Thats not an assessment of a Disney apologist, thats one who wants to see everybody play by the same rules.

And, by the way I have never personally "ragged" on you! I don't know you, I wouldn't know you if you walked right past me. I have commented on your statements regarding what Disney officials have said in trying to raise fears in residents. No material put out by SOAR has ever raised the spectre that your comments have in regards to fearing low or moderate income families. If seeing the truth and not just following the blind is being a Disney apologist, then I'll disclose that I do fall in to the category.

Jose Moreno

I live in Anaheim and this is getting so ridicules. In fact its beyond that Angels "of Anaheim" name change fiasco. But, clearly this case differs because Suncal is not my neighbor.

Yes, there should be no argument that this issue’s origin lie outside the city.

This whole thing started when a non-Anaheim city business Suncal wanted "a pass" to build housing in a housing restricted area. Unfortunately, a very small minority of clueless and un-appreciating Anaheim residents, , including a few council-members feel that Disneyland is a selfish neighbor. I think it’s referred to Nimby- mouse.

But who really believes that Disneyland doesn’t want more prospective customers living in the city of Anaheim. Yeah, that a good business practice… have prospective customers live farther from your business. Come on that’s Business 101 stuff.

Then, there is the argument that Disneyland is against housing or even affordable housing.

New housing is flourishing in central Anaheim, more then other central OC cities, and if its housing related and outside the resort district, Disneyland doesn’t give a hoot.

Is it not obvious that with a majority of Anaheim residents and many resort businesses signing on with Anaheim Soar that it’s not about discrimination or the issue with affordable housing. In fact, Anaheim is the only central Orange County city that is committed to affordable housing as cited in a recent OC Register story.

Now, Anaheim Home and it's mouthpiece councilwomen "commandant" LoRe-Calloway wants "a pass" in the referendum process.

I can’t wait till this issue is over because many of the outsiders will go back to there own city.

Then it will be my good neighbor Disneyland and I enjoying life in the heart that pumps the County of Orange, the city of Anaheim.

just...shaking my head

Who is this Just...asking person? The best he can do is blast Jubal for being a consultant (at least he tells us!), and he talks like he's either a local elected official or a local government staffer.

So what a surprise his idea of good government is whatever maximizes tax revenue.

Abe Froman

What I find instructive is none of Disney defenders have address Jubal's original point: Disney asked Anaheim voters to sign the petition to "protect your right to vote" and saying how crucial it is for Anaheim residents to vote on this issue.

But once Disney had enough signatures to qualify the referendum, they ask the Anaheim City Council NOT to place it before the voters.

You don't have to be pro-SunCal to see this is an exceptionally cynical and dishonest maneuver.

Disney made its bed, and the Anaheim City Council should make them sleep in it.

Jose

There you go again…

Abe,

I’m guessing that SOAR is hoping some enlightened council-members foresee the election results and correct their previous error. Considering the cost of a city-wide election, I welcome a reconsideration from the council.

Then there is nothing "cynical" about requesting the council reconsider this issue before the Anaheim voters are forced to correct their error.

This is a case where representative-democracy has failed us and we our forced to implement or threaten to implement direct-democracy.

When the city council can’t do its work, the people will.

And the people will support Disney despite what the Suncal corporation tries to sell to Anaheim voters.

“Disneyland has broken promises” or is against “private property rights” so don’t support the Disneyland corporation is some of the propaganda that is hitting the mailboxes this week.

Yeah, who really expects Anaheim voters would believe those statements and forget everything Disneyland has done for Anaheim and Orange County.

The "Broken Promise" mail piece is a terrible attempt to sell the idea that Disneyland is a bad neighbor.

That's like some visitor from another country telling me that my sweet-loving dear old Grandmother is the big bad wolf. Not going to happen.

colony rabble

Now children, let’s play nice together. We have to remember that this is Jubal’s party. Matt hosts the website and can say anything he wants on it, I appreciate he is fair enough to not delete pro-Disney posts. Thanks for giving us this forum for discussion.

Matt, you say 14,000 valid signatures out of 134,000 Anaheim voters is a negligible number. That is over 10% return in less than 30 days. Add in the additional signatures on the Initiative ballot and you have over 20,000 residents voicing their opposition to changes in the Resort. In contrast, SunCal was touting a MUCH lower number of rescission cards as being the will of the people, and those were never proven to be valid, registered voters, nor were the signatures collected by Anaheim residents, as SOAR was required. I would say that SOAR does represent a good snapshot of the Anaheim voter, far more accurately than SunCal’s position.

Matt, in your July 11 post you ask<
You know, you and every other Disney apologist tosses that "50%" number like its Holy Scripture. Do you even know where it comes from? Because nobody else does -- including Disney/SOAR. Not that it stops them from repeating it. Tell a lie often enough and there'll be enough gullible souls who'll believe it and repeat it.
Well now, CB Richard Ellis, a reputable firm, has nailed those numbers, and your client is still whining.

Rescinding the April 24 zoning simply corrects one of the mistakes made by our City Council. The Initiative still allows Anaheim voters to register a voice in future development, including Disney development, as long as it defies the Resort plan already in place through the General Plan. I favor the push to rescind the vote, because my neighbors are talking recall of the three who shafted us. Bob is being termed out, I would love to see Lorri gone under any circumstances, but at one time my neighbors and I had voted for and campaigned for Lucille, and I would like to see her take this opportunity to redeem herself with those who had supported her, and avoid being included in the recall. Residents from all of the neighborhoods are grabbing torches and pitchforks in anticipation of storming the castle; the only thing left at this point is finding a camera that still shoots grainy black and white film to record this for play on Elvira reruns on late night TV.

Unfortunately, the Orange County Building Industry Association is reportedly throwing a fundraiser for Lucille Kring on Thursday, two days after she rules on this at City Council Tuesday. If she sticks by her decision to change the zoning in favor of a developer known to be her personal friend, and then accepts donations from developers two days later, I fear nothing will save her from a recall. This is at the point where the issues extend far beyond the Resort, and beyond that one mobile home park.

As far as the mobile home park, owner Dudley Frank sent a letter, paid for by SunCal, claiming Disney is trying to take his private property rights. But the courts ruled years ago that zoning is not a taking. And I understand that Dudley Frank ASKED to be included in the Resort zoning. SunCal cites a report by the City that claims the parcel would not be developed for decades, but there are several buyers in back up position on that parcel, should SunCal’s option run out. The reality is not that Mr. Frank cannot develop his land in a profitable manner; it is that he makes more if he can change the zoning from something he had agreed to previously!

As far as “What Would Walt Do?” (now there’s a t-shirt and a bumper sticker) I think Mr. Disney would be THRILLED at this. The greatest disappointment to him was seeing the incompatible, tacky development that sprung up around his beloved park. That is why he took such great pains to buy up everything in Florida around the new park, he had learned his lesson in Anaheim. The community of Celebration is cited by many planning professionals as one of the best master planned developments in the world, we should WISH that had happened here in Anaheim. Instead we got a hodge podge of tacky motels. Does anyone remember what the Resort was like before Disney began “controlling” it all? It was Hell on earth! Drug addicts and hookers lived in the seedy motel rooms, our tourism was bottoming out because families from Iowa did not want to bring their kids to see our blight. Police services were stretched to the limit answering calls in the area. Now, the area is cleaned up, Resort income has been proven by CB Richard Ellis (not exactly a fly by night bean counting op) to provide OVER the 50% income cited by SOAR mailers. And those cops that Elfend says are a drain? Disney PAYS FOR THEM in a special fee! In contrast, we have activists whining that the Police officers were pulled from our school campuses, but the schools do not pay for them. In other districts, schools pay for the campus-based officers they use, Anaheim district does not. So the same activists that write in to the papers about the drain on city services by Disney (who pays for their cops) gripe about losing officers that the schools do not pay for.

You want a real drain on the economy? Let Frank Elfend put full time residents into an area not compatible with that type of development. Who pays for the school, parks, medical centers, grocery stores, that those people will need? Because that stuff is not there now! I do not see SunCal offering to mitigate that burden to the taxpayers.

In the interest of the disclosure y’all have been bickering about, we all have to put in our e-mail addys to post, Matt knows who we are. But for the record, I receive no income from Disney or SOAR, my family does not even have annual passes (although we think about it when bonuses come in) I volunteer as a member of the Exec Committee for SOAR, so rather than make money on Disney I actually lose income by volunteering to protect the Resort rather than putting the hours into my consulting firm. That’s because unlike many of the voices heard on this issue, I am from Anaheim, I was born here, I work here, I own a home here, and I raise my kids here. And the long-term benefit to the residents gained through the Resort is more important to me than the short-term benefit of a developer’s profit. So I am in this for the long haul. Thanks for playing.

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