Anaheim LOOTERS: Sidhu & Gang “don’t let a good CRISIS go to waste!”


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No time for a decent photoshop, we have to run after these fuckers!

FIRST (We’re in a hurry.)

Here’s the e-mail you need to write to before 5, if you care about Anaheim: lday@anaheim.net or publiccomment@anaheim.net [It is EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING to not be able to show up in person, in crowds, and yell about this – and our leadership is loving that fact.]

Here’s the “agenda” – one item – for the “emergency” meeting at 7 tonight – it doesn’t tell much… CLICK HERE.

Not as much as the STAFF REPORT which is a DOOZY (excerpts below) CLICK HERE! 

Here’s where you go to witness the atrocities tonight:  CLICK HERE.

https://anaheim.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2340

So, in short, our local kleptocracy has decided to use this coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to do what they always love to do – steer public resources – $15 million – to their friends in the resort industry!  ONE MORE TIME!  Except this time they pretend it has something to do with the health crisis so how dare you oppose it!

Naomi Klein’s 2007 masterpiece “The Shock Doctrine” describes the policy of elites to take advantage of any CRISIS that comes along, to just do what they always wanted to do already.  Like how Bush-Cheney used 9-11 to invade Iraq and radically abridge our civil liberties, two things they’d already been dying to do.  Maybe that’s my simplification but we’re definitely seeing that here.

Where does this $15 million come from?  From our long-suffering, dwindling “reserves” – our city’s emergency savings – which are already due to be drained by both the upcoming bond payments for our Convention Center expansion (which we opposed) and Sidhu’s extravagant police-raise payoff (which we also opposed.)  THERE WILL BE NO RESERVES LEFT, VERY SOON, UNDER SIDHU’S LEADERSHIP.

$6.5 MILLION – nearly half the bailout – is earmarked stupidly and corruptly to go to “Visit Anaheim,” the non-profit charged with advertising our resort industry, which should be FUNDED by the resort industry.  From the staff report:

  • Given the overwhelming importance of the tourism sector to Anaheim, including employment, driving customers to businesses through the city, and tax revenue generation for services to our residents and neighborhoods, the Mayor recommends our City support the relaunch of tourism marketing so that Anaheim is among the first destinations to emerge from the economic slowdown in the interest of all of Anaheim. The Mayor therefore recommends that Council direct and authorize the City Manager to negotiate terms and performance metrics, and grant up to $6,500,000 to Visit Anaheim, our Destination Marketing Organization, with three equal payments in April, May, and June.

And let’s not forget our good friends the Developers:

  • Authorize the City Manager to implement a variety of programs, policies, and practices designed to incentivize development and business activity in the City, including such things as:
    a. Extending time frames as necessary to facilitate development;
    b. Deferring, reducing, or waiving fees;
    c. Implementing electronic plan check at the earliest possible time;
    d. Expediting the plan check and review process to the maximum extent possible;
    e. In general, considering regulatory relief measures from processes and standards contained in the Anaheim Municpal Code, including Title 18 (Zoning Code), as deemed necessary to facilitate ongoing business activities and development activities.

Here’s our old friend Cynthia Ward: 

Another Emergency meeting is scheduled TONIGHT (Thursday) for Anaheim City Council, called for 7 pm as a teleconference. There is only one item on the Agenda, and it is NOT addressing the medical crisis that experts tell us is headed our way in the next 2 weeks or so.

TONIGHT’S ONLY AGENDA ITEM IS AN ECONOMIC BAILOUT, MOSTLY TO TOURISM, using $15MM in reserve funds, a limited resource already being sucked down at record-breaking pace by this administration.

$6,500,000 will go to Visit Anaheim, in addition to the money they are already paid, with no apparent parameters on how that money gets used.

The intent is to promote Anaheim as the destination of choice once we recover from the health crisis, with no finding of fact that the tourism industry will not recover on its own in a free market.

Only $2MM of the $15MM will go to help Anaheim residents through the Anaheim Community Foundation, and $6MM is aimed at assisting the homeless.

This is the highest priority of the Mayor and his Council majority?

Frankly, I am offended that we have not even DISCUSSED how we will address the potential impacts to our health care providers, but Mayor Sidhu decided bailing out the tourism industry is number one on his TO DO list.

By declaring an Emergency meeting, the Mayor avoided the law for posting the agenda publicly for 72 hours before the meeting. But since the first payment to Visit Anaheim is not due until April, for a marketing effort that shouldn’t begin until we exit the crisis, how could this not wait for a time when the public can be properly notified and fully participate in the meeting?!

PLEASE communicate with our elected leaders before 5 pm, so your comments can be sent to the various officials who are participating in tonight’s meeting via teleconference.

Submit comments prior to 5 pm at publiccomment@anaheim.net.

READ the item for yourself, HERE!

JOSE should be conducting a talk about this sometime before 7, on Facebook Live. We will link to and promote that.

Jose live now talking about it…

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=222298629151533&ref=watch_permalink

 

Meanwhile – silver linings – Harry has really chalked up a new crime to add to the reasons for recalling him – Taking advantage of the Coronavirus Crisis to bleed Anaheim’s reserves even whiter for his cronies.

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UPDATE after Thursday night meeting

This $15 million “emergency” bill passed on the usual “party” line vote – 5 ayes, Jose dissenting and Denise abstaining.  Not up for much dispute was the $8 million actually earmarked to help people and small businesses, although Jose did criticize the vagueness of where and how it would be actually spent.

The big dispute was over the $6.5 million to “Visit Anaheim,” a city agency, generally funded by hotel tax, whose job is bringing tourists to this town, particularly booking conventions.  Trevor was given credit for coming up with that idea, and you could hear him blush with pride over the phone line.  Harry and Stephen both pointed out that the agency has lost $10 million in funding so far in the crisis, and insisted that in order for us to enjoy a robust RECOVERY when this crisis dissipates we need to have them ramped up and ready to go with NEW MARKETING CAMPAIGNS!

Denise questioned why we should dig into our dwindling reserves to fund a function that SHOULD be funded by the resort interests that have THEIR OWN reserves.  So did Jose, most vehemently.  Harry and Trevor both repeated the old LIE that 50% of Anaheim’s revenue comes from the resort district, and Jose corrected them for the umpteenth time – HALF OF THAT 50% goes right into paying off old bonds for the BENEFIT of those resort interests, so really closer to 1/4 or 1/3 of our revenue actually comes from there.  Harry tried to shut Jose up.

Harry tried to shut Jose up many times.  Another time was when Jose asked City Manager Zapata for his honest opinion on whether it was a good important idea – in fact, an emergency – to fund resort district marketing at this point to the tune of $6.5 million.  Zapata answered cautiously but honestly:  No, in his opinion, that amount was excessive at this point, and whatever amount was given should have specific guidelines and metrics as to how Visit Anaheim would spend it.  I don’t think Harry was expecting THAT from his City Manager, but it didn’t make any difference.

Anyway it’s become obvious that HARRY’S go-to city manager is actually Greg Garcia, the deputy CM, who seems to put all Harry’s pro-resort inspirations into legalese.  Jose had several questions on specifics for the Mayor, who constantly deferred to Greg for answers and clarifications, until Jose got impatient and said “I thought this was YOUR plan, Mayor!”

Another big tempest was over where and why Trevor got that $6.5 million for marketing, which was actually not from the city’s reserves, but from some other reserves associated with the Convention Center.  Trevor was apparently under the misimpression that THOSE reserves were solely intended for resort district business, Jose proved him wrong (those funds COULD go to help regular folks instead), tempers flared, they called each other liars.

The most important time Harry tried to make Jose shut up is when Jose pointed out correctly the OTHER new drains on the reserves, which combined with what happened tonight, are going to disappear the reserves altogether – the extravagant new public safety contracts approved by the same majority right before the pandemic hit, when they were still fantasizing umlimited growth.  (Jose did NOT mention the upcoming payments on the controversial Convention Center expansion bonds.)  City attorney stuck up for Jose – he DID have a right to point out a concern with the new plan’s funding.

The strange but obedient Jordan Brandman alluded a lot to a “lot of differences” he frequently has with the Mayor (I really can’t think of any, not when it comes to money) but tonight he reverently bows to the Mayor’s wishes BECAUSE HE IS THE MAYOR, and ELECTED AT LARGE.  Jose couldn’t resist pointing out later that Jordan NEVER extended the same deference to Tom Tait when HE was mayor. [And I would add, Tom won with about 60% of the vote while Harry won with 36%.]

So – there you have it unless I think of something else.  One more night of KLEPTOCRACY AND LOOTING, care of Jordan Brandman, Stephen Faessel, Lucille Kring, Trevor O’Neil, and Mayor “Clownshoes” Sidhu.  Five more years of this shit if we don’t recall him!


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.