PATTOO WEEK, Part 8: Some Final Thoughts, and Meeting Kris Murray More Than Halfway

PATTOO WEEK #8

INTRODUCTION

PATTOO — the “Protecting Anaheim Taxpayers from Their Own Opinions” Act (known by some ideologues as the “Anaheim Taxpayers Protection Act”) first came to the Anaheim City City Council for its approval on March 3, 2015.  It is a Charter Amendment that would require a 2/3 vote of the Anaheim City Council to place any proposed new, increased, or extended tax on the ballot.  Anaheim’s Council may send it to the citizens for a November 2016 vote.

To follow this, you’ll probably want to read:

  • Cynthia Ward’s original March 9 story on the subject
  • Tuesday’s introductory post for PATTOO WEEK, which sets forth the major ideas for the week
  • Wednesday’s second post — public comments, a bit o’ Murrbottery, and Kring Komedy
  • Thursday’s third post — Vanderbilt and Tait offer some realistic concerns; Murray offers many unrealistic retorts
  • Friday’s fourth post — Getting deeper into the bonds issue; Murray’s in a hurry and has an urgent question
  • Saturday’s fifth post — A holiday weekend digression, mostly about parliamentary procedure; you can skip it
  • Sunday’s sixth post — Murray’s Question; Tait’s Retort; Murray’s Manifesto (Collector’s Edition)
  • Monday’s seventh post — The Council postpones until April 7; Tait asks an easy question that freaks Murray out
  • This post (just to complete the record)
  • Our four-part series from March 8 presenting OJB’s own official unofficial March 3 meeting transcripts:
    Part One — Public Comments
    Part Two — Murray’s Intro, Kring’s Kvetch, and the Vanderbilt-Houston Discussion
    Part Three — Tait & Houston, “Mr. Procedure,” Debbie Moreno, Murray, Brandman
    Part Four — Bonds, 3-2 Measure N Vote, Angry Brandman, Tabling, Tait on JPA Loophole
  • Cynthia Ward’s concluding pre-Council Meeting Post [link to come]

As if we need to repeat it: these aren’t official transcripts; they were the best we could do with our OJB volunteers.

[1] A FEW INITIAL FINAL NOTES

First, the link to Part 6, which includes Murray’s best-ever rendition of “Everything (the Council Majority Has Ever Done) is Awesome!”, was accidentally removed from the site for much of yesterday.  So if you couldn’t get access to it before, please feel welcome to try it again now.

Second, Cynthia Ward will have her own separate (and inimitable) commentary on Items 33-35 coming today well in advance of the meeting.  Be sure to read it.

Third, if Treasurer Henry Stern is not there today and ready to testify, City Manager Paul Emery should be given his walking papers.

Fourth, the three Charter Amendments should really all be voted upon at the same time.  If one isn’t ready, the others can easily wait.  But it’s not fair to, say, pass Murray’s in the expectation that they will also pass Tait’s, when the latter promise may come up empty.

Fifth, do you suspect that all of this is partly to keep us from talking about replacing Charles Black with Wylie Aiken (item 36) or the homeless shelter resolution (item 27) or the deal for decommissioning San Onofre (item 32)?  The Aiken issue needs to be taken care of today — but maybe the homeless shelter and decommissioning issues ought to be POSTPONED INDEFINITELY (or even to a date certain) for now.

[2] A COMPROMISE PROPOSAL: MEETING MURRAY MORE THAN HALFWAY

Despite the fact that, as you can read in Part 7, Kris Murray herself was afraid that bond rating agencies might punish Anaheim if they noticed what its government was trying to do here, I recognize that this proposal might well pass today.  Here’s how we recap things:

  • Tom Tait is a sure “No” (barring perhaps some compromise on packaging this with his own two proposed Charter Amendments)
  • James Vanderbilt asked the great question to which the answer should lead him to vote No, but that doesn’t make his opposition a sure thing
  • Jordan Brandman promised to oppose this, but his BFFs Murray and Carrie Nocella and Curt Pringle have had three weeks to work on him
  • Lucille Kring has looked like a Yes, but she hedged a bit when she asked a good question about whether Anaheim was leading this charge alone
  • Kris Murray is as obvious a “Yes” is as Tait is a No; only some kind of a deal could change her course

Well, as always, I’m here to help people reach compromise.  I was inspired by Murray’s claim that this is not about making a Gate Tax for Dinsey that much closer to impossible, but about her deep love for Prop 13 and the timing of its coming into being just when a gate tax because reasonably impossible is purely coincidental.

Here’s the amendment that could conceivably lead to a 5-0 vote.  (I don’t really like it myself, as I think that government should have access to all of the tools in its toolbox — but I like it a lot better than the version that would close off any possible gate tax ever if Disney held the support of over 1/3 of the Council.)

Ready?

Add a provision to the proposal that explicitly excludes voting on a gate tax of up to 6.5% — which is the amount of tax that Disney already faces in Orlando, Florida — from the supermajority Council vote requirement.

This doesn’t mean that such a proposal would necessarily get on the ballot — this Council wouldn’t support a gate tax, for example, unless Disney intentionally decided to beat a strategic retreat by supporting a 2% tax in order to head off that 6.5% — but it does mean that the 20-year period in which a vote on a gate tax was expressly forbidden gets a chance to catch up with other funding measures.  It means that as the public gets to realize how much Disney has been able to get from Anaheim, as well as giving to it, they have a fair chance to decide that Disney should give a little more than it does to ensure the prosperity of its original hometown.

[3] ON HATING DISNEY … WHICH WE CRITICS ACTUALLY DON’T

This approach is actually a good thing for Disney — it will do better if the Anaheim flatlands do not get a reputation as a slum where police have to suppress impoverished and largely minority residents — but corporate dynamics are such that it’s sometimes hard for a big corporation to do something smart.  Carrie Nocella — Disney’s Government Relations head and a great friend of Kris Murray — does not get bonuses for whittling down any gate tax on Disney to only 2%; she gets bonuses for keeping her foot firmly on the neck of anyone who would otherwise try to collect from Scrooge McDuck.  But if a gate tax is the only tax increase that is not excluded from this proposal, then Disney has good motivation to negotiate some reasonable deal with the City — and one that would probably be better than what they have with Orlando.  Carrie Nocella can still get her bonus for “saving the day” by keeping it from getting even worse.

There are people who hate Disney, but none of the three publicly divulged participants in CATER — Cynthia Ward, Brian Chuchua, and me — are among them.  (And here I’m speaking for us as individuals; CATER itself takes no stand.) While I’d like to see the Angels stay, if they did move to Tustin then — presuming that the city gets a decent deal where it shares significantly in the benefits — personally, I would love to see Disney open a third gate on what are now the Stadium grounds: one with the huge rollercoasters it now lacks that could make it compete with the Magic Mountains and Knott’s Berry Farms of the world.  Having those sort of beauties soaring over the intersection of the 5, 57, and 22 would become the most iconic view yet in Anaheim.  (And this could probably even happen with the Angels remaining on the property, if it were done right.  A rollercoaster zipping all the way around the Stadium?  Dream Big!)

But the enemy of the population (if not the government) of Anaheim is the notion that if something big like this happens, Disney and its middlemen (like Pringle & Associates) should get the lion’s share of the benefits from it and leave the city some perks for its top leaders and a pile of nails and patchy fur.  Anaheim should be a safe (for all people) model community where even its least fortunate residents still have a decent life, including decent schools, parks, recreation, housing, and transportation (and not just between ARTIC and the Convention Center.)  There is no reason that this can’t happen other than a lack of will.  The problem with PATTOO — oh, all right, since I’m being conciliatory I’ll call it “ATPA” for now — is that it takes away that will for Disney to cooperate significantly enough with its community that it doesn’t need PR and half-million dollar independent expenditures to have community support.

[4] OOPS, I SEE THAT WE ARE OUT OF TIME …

As for items 34 and 35 — to fix the JPA loophole and to ensure that the public gets to vote on major giveaways — I will address them in comments to Cynthia’s story.  I hope that you will too.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)