Kleptoheim Dispatch: Welfare for Rent Gougers, Cut-throat Prayer Breakfast, REFORM TUESDAY!


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A quiz for you, Anaheim. 

In this new, Post-Kindness, Money-Worshiping, Sidhu-helmed 2019 iteration of our city, what does the Council Majority do if a Serial Elder-Abusing Rent-Gouger named John Saunders, already known state-wide for buying multiple senior mobile home parks and forcing out homeowners onto the street with exorbitant rent hikes, comes HERE and pulls the exact same shit at our Rancho La Paz Park?  Does our Council Majority:

A. Tell Mr. Saunders NO, you can’t come into our town and do that to our seniors, we are quickly passing rent-control and other protections for senior parks here!  (Answer – of course not, our Council Majority ADMIRES profiteers of all stripes, plus Mr. Saunders has contributed to the campaigns of at least one or two of the Council majority and is likely to be even more generous in the future.)

B.  Tell the senior mobile homeowners tough luck, go pound sand in Corona or a shelter.  (Answer – also not a good option, because Council would look like meanies and risk their re-election.  Actually this COULD have been an option were these seniors not so outspoken and well-organized, under the leadership of Lupe Ramirez and others.)

C.  BINGO!  Steer scant public resources to SUBSIDIZING Mr. Saunders’ greed and save at least a few of the seniors from homelessness and penury for … maybe a year or two till nobody’s paying attention any more.  This was Councilman Jordan Brandman’s solution, proposed at the Oct. 22 meeting, and will probably be what happens – $350K of HUD money that was supposed to go to housing and fighting homelessness will be instead diverted to Mr. Saunders’ profits. And this fits the kleptocracy’s ideology perfectly – public dollars steered to satisfying private greed!

Before I bury the timely call to action too deeply in this story:

Please come to THIS Tuesday’s meeting (Oct. 29) to support Councilman Moreno’s much more sensible, honest and humane motions.  Actually there’s FIVE Jose motions this Tuesday, and two of them are applicable at this point in the story:

ITEM 17, an Ordinance to apply the rent stabilization enacted statewide in the recently passed AB 1482 to mobile home parks as well.  In other words “The owner of a Mobilehome Park may not, over the course of any 12-month period, increase the gross rental rate for a mobilehome site in the City of Anaheim in excess of five percent (5%) plus the percentage change in cost of living, or ten percent, whichever is lower, of the lowest gross rental rate charged for that site at any time during the 12 months prior to the effective date of the increase. [many more details here.]”

Just think – if Council passes Item 17 on Tuesday, then Jordan’s diversion of $350K of HUD money to help endangered seniors in Rancho La Paz may not even be necessary… and we’ll still have that money for the purposes intended – housing and helping with the homelessness crisis. 

Denise Barnes – usually the only other dependable vote for the people.

And why SHOULD we expect at least five members of the Council to pass Item 17 (if they’re not huge uncaring hypocrites?)  Well, we know Jose and Denise will – they’ve tried to pass all of this before.  But a couple months ago when Jose was trying to pass local rent control (not knowing how AB 1482 would turn out) Councilmen Brandman and Faessel, as well as Mayor Sidhu, all voted yes on a resolution IN FAVOR of the state passing AB 1482 instead.  Sure, that may have been a way to pass the buck and avoid local action themselves, but it ALSO indicates that they are SYMPATHETIC TO RENT CONTROL AND AB 1482, and now that it is the Law of the Land, there is NO reason it shouldn’t apply to Anaheim’s mobile home parks where it is sorely needed.  SO COME TUESDAY AND HELP ME TELL THEM THAT.

Slightly related is ITEM 18, an ordinance to protect Anaheim renters from “no-fault evictions” which are disturbingly common – AB 1482 does provide that protection but NOT UNTIL January 1, 2020 – Jose and Denise want Anaheim renters to be protected BEFORE THEN and as soon as possible.  Both Items 17 and 18 are presented with alternative “URGENCY ORDINANCES” which are much harder to pass – they would require 4/5 of council which is SIX VOTES – but they would GO INTO EFFECT IMMEDIATELY, and how nice would that be.

PLAY BALL!

Well, I see that Jose is on a roll, so let’s just let him keep going:  Items 19 and 20 both relate to the City’s ongoing (and disturbingly secretive) negotiations with Angels Baseball

  • Item 19 is about “requiring a 30-day public review period for any negotiated agreement with Angels Baseball, LP prior to final action by City Council” – all signs point to the Council wanting to rush through whatever deal they make at the last minute and present it to the public as a fait accompli, but that’s not how many of us get down. 
  • And Item 20 is about setting a “date certain” to make the Stadium Site Appraisal public, something Jose has been trying to do for months, against the stubborn resistance of the five-member secrecy-loving majority.  This should SO not be a problem – part of the language CREATING this appraisal included making it public, but the authors just didn’t think of specifying WHEN, because nobody dreamed of that being an ISSUE.  Council apologists have tried a nonsensical justification for secrecy – supposedly it is in the City’s interest for ONLY THE CITY’S TEAM to know the value of the property while negotiating with the Angels, but does anybody really believe that?  Add to that the fact that we ALL know what the numbers are since they were leaked on the Anaheim Blog – our most valuable public property is worth a whopping NINE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS “unencumbered,” and 100 million less – 800 million – now that it’s been encumbered by Council stupidly renewing Arte Moreno’s no-rent lease.  But it sure would be nice, and appropriate, for the public to be able to see how the appraisers reached those numbers – there are a lot of smart people out here!

It just doesn’t feel right when our Mayor and the billionaire team owner are constantly laughing at us. SOMETHING is up.

I’m sorry, but we are well within our rights not to trust our City’s leadership and negotiators. 

  • It took a year-long struggle back in 2013-14 to prevent this same crowd from renting out the whole site to Arte for $1 a year for 66 years to develop as he saw fit. 
  • Right in the heat of the Mayor’s race of 2018 Arte shook Anaheim by opting out of his lease, and within minutes mayoral candidate Sidhu, who just happened to be funded by the billionaire, announced that HE and ONLY HE could keep the team happy and in Anaheim. 
  • Going on to win by just a few hundred votes, one of Harry’s first acts was to reject Arte’s opt-out, restoring the old sweetheart no-rent lease, giving Arte more time to shop around for other towns, and costing Anaheim $100 million by re-encumbering the property. 
  • Not long ago Harry named HIMSELF, himself flush with Angels cash, as the most capable and trustworthy member of Council to represent us on the negotiating team. 

In what far-off galaxy does all of this pass any kind of SMELL TEST?

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Another quiz for you, Anaheim.

In this new, Post-Kindness, Money-Worshiping, Sidhu-helmed 2019 iteration of our city, who’s the perfect keynote speaker to lead the annual, Chamber-led, “Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast” at the Convention Center?  Would that be:

A.  The Dalai Lama.  (Answer – NO, gag.  That dirty hippy, who loved and praised Anaheim’s aspiration to be a “City of Kindness” and celebrated his 80th birthday here, is a good friend of former Mayor Tom Tait.  And former Mayor Tom Tait has been erased from history, along with any mention of “The City of Kindness.”  Nice try.)

B.  How about Darryl Strawberry, the beloved baseball great who struggled with addiction and now leads the “Clean, Sober and Saved” Strawberry Ministries?  Or Nick Vujicic who, born without arms or legs, has overcome life’s challenges through strength & hope found in Jesus Christ, and shares this message of hope and love all over the globe through his organization “Life Without Limbs?”  (Answer – are you kidding me?  How TAIT are those two choices?  In fact we seem to remember those WERE the speakers in 2017 and 18.  Get real.)

C.  Okay, I’ve got it.  How about a multimillionaire CEO known for taking one of Anaheim’s most beloved businesses (Carl’s Jr) out of the state, racked up the most federal employment-discrimination lawsuits of any American burger chain, fought against $15 minimum wage campaigns like last year’s Measure L, hates California and calls it socialist, began famously selling Carl’s burgers with outrageously sexual and drug-humor commercials, and nearly became Donald Trump’s labor secretary until allegations of domestic abuse made him withdraw his nomination … but still “has continued to live as a devout Catholic through his life.”  In other words, how about Andy Puzder? (left)

Well, that’s obviously the best choice for our new City of Greed, and if you guessed Andy then maybe you cheated by reading the Weekly story.  This was a hard Prayer Breakfast to get into this year – nobody I know was invited or going – so we were left to wonder how Mayor Sidhu worked this Anaheim-ditcher into his opening comments:  “Let this be a lesson to all of you – Andy took Carls’ Junior to Nashville, and if we don’t give the Angels everything THEY want they’ll be leaving too, with Disneyland close behind them!”  Unfortunately all we have is this:

Posted by Yesenia Rojas on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Imagine a Segue.

We haven’t spoken yet of Jose’s BIGGEST item this Tuesday, and our fingers are getting tired.  Our dirty town needs a lot of political and campaign reform, and Item 16 provides good big chunks of it:

  • Section 1 prevents an elective city officer (councilmember, mayor) from voting on any “proceeding involving a license, permit, or other entitlement for use” within 12 months of receiving more than $250 from that party (or agent or participant.)  The language does its best to cover moneys laundered through PACs like SOAR, which is the favored way for Disney and other big Anaheim businesses to fund their puppets.
  • Section 2 and 3 address a sneaky but very common method of getting past existing campaign donation limits, a method that’s been used a lot by Sidhu, Brandman, Kring, and Faessel, and is being used as we speak – having friendly interested parties donate to “retire debts” from old campaigns and campaigns for other offices – including offices these politicians barely even pretended to have any interest in.  The money from these fundraisers goes right into the politician’s pocket, and it walks and talks like a bribe.

So, your city needs you Tuesday – be there!  On top of all this, our friend Duane “Anaheim Investigator” Roberts has promised us some sort of big “October Surprise,” so you won’t want to miss THAT EITHER!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.