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August 16, 2007

Comments

Karl Rove

Looks like Forde and Mollrich have hooked up with a real cash cow this time. They will certainly be able to retire after this one.

Meddlesome Nobody

I can just imagine the Disney Machine fighting SunCal's other projects elsewhere . . . who can out spend & outlast the other?

Pixie Dust

Meddlesome Nobody is right. I can also imagine the Disney Machine pour money into council races in Anaheim and elsewhere. It doesn't take much money in some local races to turn the tide one way or the other. The next few election cycles should be very interesting.

David Michael

This post got me interested, so I went to Anaheim.net and looked in the City Clerk records for the Form 460 for the Committee to Defend and Protect Anaheim for the April thru June period.

http://209.234.149.20/weblink7/DocView.aspx?id=85374

SunCal has donated over $400,000 to CDPA

And SOAR has had to gather over 50,000 signatures for their two measures, while CDPA hasn't had those expenses. Plus while SOAR has over $200,000 in the bank (after taking in account its debts), CDPA is about $100,000 in debt.

Now CDPA/SunCal is trying to get the initiative they favor (Voters need to approve "Strawberry Field" Zoning changes) without the time or expense that SOAR had to by getting the City Council to waive the requirement.

What will this do, save SunCal up to $500,000 which would normally be needed to pay petition circulators. Money they can spend instead on campaigning on the ballot measures.

And of course, SOAR had a lot of extra expenses due to the fact that CDPA/SunCal persuaded the City Council to "codify" the Zoning Change that the city council approved. This required the SOAR petition gatherers to carry around the entire Anaheim Municipal Code when getting signatures, and since the code is about the size of a large phone book, pretty much prevented petitions to be mailed to registered voters and door to door campaigning. How much extra money did Disney have to donate to SOAR to cover the more expensive way of gathering signatures, and paying for those copies of the Municipal Code to be printed?

I am all for CDPA/SunCal being allowed to propose their "Strawberry Field" Initiative, but not with the City Council waiver. They should have to go through the same time and expense as SOAR had to do to gather signatures on its two measures.

And who knows, CDPA might not even be able to get 10% of the Anaheim registered voters to sign the petition. But if they do, then it should be placed on the ballot, as the citizens requested it. If they can't get the 10%, then it should stay off the ballot.

d'Anconia

Jubal could you clarify some of these observations David just made?

Cmon Matt

Dude - you've only charged these guys $7,500 - while guys like Jones are making off like bandits.

Matt, you need to raise your rates man!

David Michael

And also maybe a comment about the $110,000 SunCal (SCC) paid to Progressive Campaigns, Inc. for signature gathering and blocking and withdrawal of the SOAR referendum to place the Zoning Change on the ballot (the one current in front of the City Council)

Also the fact (as of June 30th) that CDPA owed this website (Red County Online) $4,875.

Morley Safer

Yeah, "David Michael" is just some reader who just finds this interesting. Do you work for Disney? Or one of the Disney consultants?

At least Jubal discloses his involvement.

David Michael

I have no ties with either The Walt Disney Company, SOAR or any Disney consultants. I do provide pictures and occasional articles to a few Disney-related websites, which are also not owned or have any ties to the Walt Disney Company.

You can find my work at MiceAge.com and MousePlanet.com currently.

And yes, until I read the original post, I have never bothered to check for campaign statements in regards to this issue. But since Jubal brought up the SOAR Form 460, I thought it would be interesting to see what the other side, CDPA raised and spent its money on.

Jubal

David Michael:

And your point is....?

You agree Disney spent a huge amount of money on paid circulators.

Then you complain that your side had to provide potential referendum signatories with documentation about what you guys want them to referend.

You guys opened the ballot-box zoning door, and now you're complaining about what's walking through?

It's not a "waiver" for a City Council to place an initiative on the ballot. That's a red herring. City councils do it all the time. Disney spent half-a-million because they don't have the support of a majority of the elected representatives of the voters of Anaheim, not because they admire the initiative petition process.

David Michael

First off, I am a Theme Park fan and casual reporter, and have disagreed with Disney MANY times.

I have attended City Council meetings regarding this matter in person and watching on the webcast.

I really don't have a side, though if I was a registered voter of the city of Anaheim, I think at present, I would vote to keep the Resort Area for commercial uses. (I am a registered voter in Tustin).

But one point that keeps coming up when I follow this issue is how SunCal is getting preferential treatment in regards to this issue.

From the fact that the initial zoning changes and environmental reports were paid for by the city, instead of the normal route, which is the fact the developer pays. Also, in the majority of cases, the developer is required to submit a definite plan to the zoning commission. As I understand it, no actual plan has been submitted by SunCal for the project.

Then the codifying of the actual zoning change, this is NOT the normal procedure, but a rare exception, and was done by the three city councilpersons specifically to make it harder to circulate the referendum petitions. I know of no other reason why it was done. Maybe someone can educate me on another reason why it was done.

And now, the "Strawberry Field" Initiative should be placed on the ballot by the City Council. For what reason is this initiative necessary or benefits the city of Anaheim?

To me, it just seems like "spite" since SOAR was successful in getting enough signatures for its measures.

Currently the "Strawberry Field" is zoned for parking and farming, and if Disney, the land owners, want to build something, they would have to approach the zoning commission and submit its plan for developing the land, and request approval for the changes. And if the City Council wants to, could review the zoning commission decision. The same as any other project in the area.

Why does the "Strawberry Field" need a special rule?

And as for majorities, what does the majority of the CITIZENS (Registered voters) of Anaheim support?

Jubal

And also maybe a comment about the $110,000 SunCal (SCC) paid to Progressive Campaigns, Inc. for signature gathering and blocking and withdrawal of the SOAR referendum to place the Zoning Change on the ballot (the one current in front of the City Council)

"Blocking"? You certainly have the Disney spin down well. Th "signature blocking" spin is from Disney/SOAR's "protect your right to vote!" Phase I.

Protect Anaheim hired Progressive Campaigns to ask Anaheim residents to sign a petition thanking Councilmembers Hernandez, Galloway and Kring for standing up to Disney. They were stationed at the same locations as Disney circulators.

Subsequently, our circulators would also provide potential referendum signatories with countervailing facts to what the Disney circulators were saying, and ask those who had already signed to sign a rescission card. Most Americans would consider that to be free speech and discussion -- but apparently Disney sees the presentation of a different view to be "blocking."

Also the fact (as of June 30th) that CDPA owed this website (Red County Online) $4,875.

Protect Anaheim hasn't paid for the blogad, yet.

Biff

"Blocking"? You certainly have the Disney spin down well. Th "signature blocking" spin is from Disney/SOAR's "protect your right to vote!" Phase I.

Um, actually, that's how SunCal lists a series of payments on their own Form 460 (p. 6): "Payment to PCI Consultants, Inc. for signature gathering and blocking/withdrawal".

David Michael

As Biff pointed out, the term Blocking was used on the CDPA Form 460, and is why I used the specific word.

And you mentioned Protect Anaheim, I presume that Protect Anaheim is just another name for CDPA, since it is on the CDPA Form 460 (that never mentioned Project Anaheim to my knowledge) that the debt to Red County is mentioned.

colony rabble

So why is it that whenever someone has a well-researched, reasoned, intelligent viewpoint, you accuse them of working for the Mouse? Has it ever occurred to you that the unwashed masses might actually do our own legwork? Heck, it is even conceivable that not only do we not take info from Disney, they could possibly be getting info from those of us willing to go look for it.

When SunCal cannot argue the case on its own merits, they begin attacking the messengers.

colony rabble

And yes, it was blocking, Matt. How many times were the Police called out because SunCal’s goon squads were physically blocking off petitioners tables, intimidating signature gatherers? That is why the expenses were so high, volunteers were willing to go out to collect signatures, but not comfortable about going alone with those thugs out there. In comparison, show me how many Anaheim residents were on the streets collecting signatures for SunCal. They were overwhelmingly paid petitioners, because locals DO NOT SUPPORT messing with the Resort!

Jubal

So why is it that whenever someone has a well-researched, reasoned, intelligent viewpoint, you accuse them of working for the Mouse?

I didn't accuse anyone of "working for the Mouse." I was a bit over-combative with David Michael, and for that he has my apology.

When SunCal cannot argue the case on its own merits, they begin attacking the messengers.

Actually, Cynthia, that's been a staple tactic of the Disney/SOAR side, a la the "evil out-of-town developer" attacks.

Heck, it is even conceivable that not only do we not take info from Disney, they could possibly be getting info from those of us willing to go look for it.

Cynthia, I know for a fact Disney/SOAR provides you guys with research and talking points. I'm not saying you don't also do any of your own info gathering, but the stuff you were throwing out here last month about SunCal, for example, was straight out of a package prepared by SOAR.

colony rabble

Wow. My compadres will tell you that nobody ever puts words in this stubborn chick's mouth, certainly not the Mouse. And I am rather offended that you assume they fed me the info from Hoover’s. I posted that to your blog before SOAR printed it.

So…if an Irvine based developer is not an “out of town developer” then who is?

Matt, you used your home address? That was brave. Nice place. Nearly 2,000 square feet at OC prices? You must be very good at blog hosting. I’m impressed.

Jubal

Cynthia, Cynthia, Cynthia.

Take a breath.

Yes. I like my 40-year old house. We bought it 10 years ago before the market started moving again. Lucky timing.

And that has exactly what to do with anything?

As for the SunCal info, do I need to show you the e-mail from the SOAR consultant, of which you were one of the recipients, to which the SunCal research was attached? And which was sent out prior to you posting it on this blog?

So…if an Irvine based developer is not an “out of town developer” then who is? Maybe a Lake Buena Vista, Florida-based developer?

colony rabble

Disney was in Anaheim before they were in Florida, and they certainly are not seen by locals as "outsiders".

As far as e-mails, I frequently get stuff back in cycles, but I will never convince you that Anaheim residents have not all been brainwashed by a giant corporation. We will have to agree to disagree on that one.

Let's go back to your original post, which is what was up for discussion before we got distracted by the idea that all Disney fans are lobomized robots unable to check public records for their own info. You sure push hard on the issue of what Disney has spent, as if that somehow negates the fact that local residents overwhelmingly support the Resort. Look at who has supported SOAR, they/we are all heavily involved in our little pocket neighborhoods. And we are all grateful to Disney for backing us, or we would have been squashed by the spending power of SunCal. But we would have fought without Disney. Can you honestly say that the CPDA would really be fighting so hard without SunCal?

Jim Leonard

Hi Matt!
I won't rehash all of the prior comments as the reason why SOAR had to spend so much money was only because of Suncal. You really need to get off the issue that this is about Disney. This is a simple case of a developer trying to put housing in an area where it simply does not belong.
I don't know if you read my last post on the Liberal OC, but I did the math to show that over at Riverbend, Suncal got 12 units per acre approved there and that is very intensive land use. I spoke to Councilman Mark Murphy from Orange at length about Suncal and they did a great job at Riverbend. I have no issue with Suncal nor the two companies that they flipped the Del Rio development to build.
But the issue at hand is, do we want 77 units per acre of residential housing in the Anaheim Resort? I know you discounted that total, but I would be happy to do the math again for you using a very conservative figure of 25% of land being used for infrastructure. I came out with 76 units, but the planning commision says that they approved 77 units per acre.

I don't want that area to become another Buena Park where the city allowed housing to be built next to Knotts Berry Farm and when they expanded their rides, the surrounding area was constantly complaining about the noise, traffic and all of these neat rides looking down into their backyards. (Got to wonder what they were doing in their backyards)

This land should be used for the expansion of the resort. Our city is 68 square miles in size. We have plenty of space to put housing of all kinds. If you go to the City of Orange Website you will see their mission statement on affordable housing. Also, not one unit of affordable housing was included in the Del Rio/River Bend Project. Why is that? Oh excuse me, you did say you lived nearby, so maybe that was the reason :) Also, over 10,000 units have been approved for the Platinum Triangle. Not one is affordable. Lori Galloway said "that no one wants affordable housing in their neighborhood" I guess her solution was to put in the Anaheim Resort and hope that no one would notice.

Disclaimer: I do not nor have I ever worked for Disney nor have I ever worked in the Anaheim Resort. I do have one family member that does work in the resort. I receive no compensation except from Social Security. Jubal/aka Matt C does receive compensation from Suncal as he is honest enough to disclose. Maybe we should all start our posts with a disclaimer rather than putting them at the end :)

Jubal

I have no issue with Suncal nor the two companies that they flipped the Del Rio development to build.

Jim:

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of SunCal and the Del Rio development. SunCal is primarily a developer, not homebuilder.

You use the word "flip" as if SunCal swooped in, bought the property and quickly re-sold it like some individual speculator quickly buying and selling houses.

SunCal entitled the site and made it ready for the merchant builder to build the actual houses. That means putting in the infrastructure, etc -- which was no small task considering the absolutely gigantic hole that had to be filled in.

And they did not "rip off" Orange taxpayers, as you alleged in a comment on a different blog.

Also, not one unit of affordable housing was included in the Del Rio/River Bend Project.

That's incorrect, Jim. Several of the attached homes were to be sold as affordable homes.

You really need to get off the issue that this is about Disney.

That would be what they call "ignoring reality." This is very much about Disney, Jim. Disney has donated $1.6 million so far in an effort to gain de facto control of the Resort District, because that would be the practical result of passing the SOAR initiative. No resort district property owner could obtain any kind of zoning adjustment without going through a very expensive citywide election. That gives Disney veto power over other resort district property owners because the Mouse's deep pockets would fund a killer "no" campaign.

And you are comfortable with sealing the current Resort District in concrete FOREVER -- because that is what you are advocating. Not just stopping a single residential project, but freezing the current resort district zoning in place in perpetuity -- regardless of how circumstances change. And the only way any resort district property owner will be able to get any change at all is by asking Disney's permission.

But if you're comfortable with giving that much power over Anaheim to a single corporation, that's your decision.

Jim Leonard

Gee, I'm sure glad that you cleared up that Suncal is not a builder. I would not have figured that one out in say 55 years? The key word in Del Rio about the affordable homes is "were", so you tell me where they are? When I went over there to talk to the salesman there he thought that they might have a few units at $450,000. I guess by the standards here in the OC that is affordable.

We can all follow the dollars game, but you keep skirting the issue that housing simply does not belong in the resort zone.

Going back to River Bend. Are you telling me Suncal filled in that hole? I think not.
As I said before, I have nothing against that development. Flip simply means that they did what a devoper does. They got the zoning, etc and sold the development off to Centex and Lennar. As you stated and confirmed by Council Murphy, the community strongly supported the development.

In the case of Anaheim, the community does not support the project and lets put this to a vote. We all know that three of council members are being influenced by Suncal, but I'll leave that to another time.

Personally, I would trust Disney long before I would trust anything that Suncal has to spin and belive me, I have seen Suncal and our council spin a lot in the last few months.

You talked about change in the resort. Hey this is not the Roman Empire. Nothing lasts forever. In a hundred years none of us will around.

Jubal

Jim:

You keep making inaccurate statements about the Del Rio project. You're the one who raised the topic in the first place, so don't accuse me of "skirting the issue."

You're basing your information on a conversation with a Riverbend salesman? Jim, nothing against those guys but they don't know anything about the project and its history -- they just sell houses.

The development agreement provided for an affordable housing component, but I don't remember the exact number.

Who filled the hole, Jim? The Dump Truck Fairy?

The community strongly supported the project BECAUSE SunCal engaged the community and developed a project that responded to community concerns. Previous attempts bu others to develop the same site went nowhere in the face of opposition from the same community. We had people who were officers in a grass roots group that fought those attempts supporting SunCal's plan.

Jim, do you really want to keep arguing with me over a project about which you know virtually nothing, and on which I worked for more than three years?

And finally, spending several years and millions of dollars entitling and turning a giant hole in the ground into a site suitable for homes, a sports part and greenway is not "flipping."

Jim Leonard

Actually, I waited while the Salesman called the builders main office regarding the last units to be built and they confirmed that NO affordable housing units were being built (by definition) and they were the ones who passed on the $450,000 figure to the salesman. If this amount is affordable to you, then I guess it is. I also spoke with the building department and they also confirmed that no affordable units were in the total of 603 homes. Councilman Mark Murphy also confirmed this and referred me to the City of Orange Website that addressed affordable housing issue as to why they did not push for affordable housing at that site.

I don't know how many times I have to repeat that I have nothing bad to say about River Bend, nor Suncal, but you keep pushing the idea that I do. My conversation with Councilman Murphy was over a month ago and he gave me basically the same history that you did.

Glad you cleared up who filled up that big hole!

The only difference between you and me is that I am not paid to prostitute myself to Suncal for a few dollars every month.

Ouch!

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