STRs STRaight Outta Anaheim! Council Votes 3-2 to Ban Future STRs, Give Existing Ones 18-month Phase-Out




The Overflow Room watches a bare Council majority pull out the Ban Hammer.

The Overflow Room watches a bare City Council majority pull out the Ban Hammer.  (From CW.)

Brea Outsider here!  Anaheim’s STR vote happened late last night — and it was good.  Let’s start with a couple of posts from OCCORD’s Facebook page, bracketing the events of last night in Anaheim’s City Hall.


“Main chambers full, spill over room full, and people are in line to get in. The people have come out in full force to support the ‪#‎banSTR ‬ordinances that will be voted on by the council in ‪#‎Anaheim‬


“Breaking news in Anaheim! Both ordinances pass banning short term rentals! What an incredible win for the neighborhoods and residents of Anaheim”.

Next we’ll go to our (perhaps unwitting, but she should expect it by now) correspondent Cynthia Ward for a couple of fine pieces of analysis.


Tonight, we heard an STR owner tell Council to ignore the crowd of hotel workers, because they are not Anaheim residents, so they don’t count, They were nicer about it, but that is what they meant, their intent was clear. Along with the line, “I don’t know if this is even our country anymore.” Good thing I was out of reach.

But here is the irony. Those hotel workers don’t live in Anaheim because they CAN’T. Our housing costs keep rising, inventory is short, and the STRs compound that, which SHOULD HAVE BEEN STUDIED in the EIR that SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE when staff shoehorned a de facto zone change into residential neighborhoods absent the slighte[st] hint of due process or notification of surrounding property owners etc. So as housing gets more expensive, it pushes our workforce out of town toward the outskirts where they can afford to live. That does not make them “less than” those who can stay here and work here. It does not mean they forfeit their voice at City Hall.

Follow that same logic, and the City’s official policy of pursuing higher cost vacations to drive up tax rates has the same effect. When Disney keeps jacking up their costs at the ticket booth, and the City pushes for higher room rates, even if they have to give back massive tax subsidies to get it, the cost of an Anaheim vacation drives budget minded families out of the Resort and into the residential neighborhoods for the “vacation home” in the same form of gentrification that drove the Resort workers out to more affordable digs.

It is all based on pursuit of more, more, more, and don’t get me wrong, I love me a good balance sheet when it is in the black, we all do. But we also have to weigh the consequences of our actions and ask if our profits have a negative impact on those around us. Are we hurting others to line our own pockets. In this case the answer is a resounding “YES!” And when it is the government that takes these actions, they have an obligation to FIX IT!

Those hotel workers this person was dismissing as somehow less than important, or at least less important then her and her precious “investment” in an unregulated hotel in the middle of the neighborhood, they are the fuel for the “economic engine” that brings visitors here. They keep things running. While they are seen as a “commodity” to be used or cut back on as needed, like the electricity or a travel budget, they are human beings. They have hopes and dreams, and fears, and I will bet when they were kids very few of them dreamed of scrubbing toilets until retirement. And yet they bring dignity to that work, they show up when their backs are aching, they stay late when needed to cover for someone out with the flu, they pull in extra hours when more tourists show up than were expected and they do it all for pathetically little money and NO THANKS from the average guest.

If you don’t believe me, go check the reviews for damn near every Anaheim hotel online. We have clean, beautiful. well maintained hotels in Anaheim, with nearly no online complaints about shabbiness, or dirt, or rooms left in disrepair. That is rare in any market, and it takes HARD WORK, harder than anything those spoiled STR owners have ever put in during their lifetimes, unless they were once hotel workers. Those STR owners show up with their housekeepers and gardeners, crying about how they will lose their jobs. This tells me the owners do not scrub their own toilets. And while there is so much concern about them losing their jobs if this illegal land use is not permitted to continue, where is the concern for those hotel workers whose hours have been cut because guests have bled out from the Resort into our neighborhoods?

Where is the concern for the neighbors who had mini motels shoved into their back yards without ANY notification? Had this gone through Planning Commission with CUPs, there would be notice. In fact, if you put HOUSING into the Resort, you have to do an EIR, a financial impact study, a vote of Council and a vote of the citizenry. But if you move the Resort into the residential zoned areas, Anaheim did it administratively, with less notice than if you wanted to sell home baking from your kitchen.

So yes the room is packed with union hotel workers, some don’t speak English, many don’t live in Anaheim where they work. But they are no less part of the fabric of our City. I was proud to sit among them tonight (until I spoke and raced for home for Richard’s BDAY) and they are a force to be reckoned with. DO NOT mess with women who can lift 14 pillow top mattresses per shift.

So this here Republican white chick says THANK YOU to Ada Briseno and the whole UNITE HERE crew who showed up today trying to make Anaheim a better place, just as they showed up for the Districting. You want something done? Ask someone in the hospitality industry. They understand hard work and are not afraid of a few blisters.

Cynthia adds an Orange Juice-only  P.S.:

BTW-one of the housekeepers working for the family that owns a string of STRs in a once residential neighborhood had told City Council she not only cleans the houses, she stays late to babysit for the tourists to make extra money, and even though the visitors sometimes return in the early hours of the morning, they are not a problem. First, she confirms the odd hours of coming and going that have an impact on those trying to sleep and listening to the car doors opening and closing, car alarms being set at 2 am, and the “honey what was the entry code again?” from the front porch.

But as she left the Chambers, one of the union leaders stopped her (respectfully) asking to talk for a moment, and asked if she got overtime for staying so late. She replied in the negative. He offered to get her a better deal with her employers. It was an ironic moment.

STR BAN Brigade!

Image taken from the Facebook feed of Ada Briceno, from whom we expect to be able to get permission eventually, because its a pretty rocking shot.


[J]ust got word we won. Future STRs banned. Existing STRs killed, will be amortized out over no more than 18 mos. 3-2 vote. Mayor Tait, Vanderbilt, and Jordan voted for us, Lucille and Kris voted against us. I gotta watch video when it uploads, I understand Kring was at her best and Murray was floored that her pal Jordan didn’t have her back for once.

Lucille Kring just killed the last of her political career it is her neighborhood getting hit the hardest by these illegal hotels, in south Anaheim around Disney. She just voted against her own constituents.

Hell even SOAR showed up and spoke on behalf of the residents. Back in 2008 we supported the SOAR initiative that separated residential use from tourism. To now let tourism encroach in residences would be the ultimate up yours. When left, right, center, tourism, unions, residents all come together and 2 leaders still don’t back their own constituents something is very very broken.

Thank God good prevailed. Two wins in one week. I could get used to this.


Let’s give the last word to an opposing viewpoint, prior to the vote.  Here’s rumored-to-be-paid-by-STR-interests Matt Cunningham being relatively reasonable before the vote:

I understand the angst of anti-STR activists, and have wrestled with this issue in my mind for months. I would not be happy if my neighborhood, in the course of a few months, was predominantly STRs rather than owner-occupied. Att the same time, STR owners proceeded according to the legal rules and its arbitrary and unfair to seek to extinguish them because the city didn’t exercise greater foresight. A balance is possible, achievable and ought to be pursued – rather than playing to the passions of organized and vocal factions.

Yes, let’s hear more about why the city didn’t exercise greater foresight”!  Sounds like a great story!  And here Matt is, reverting to feral form after the vote (with commentary from your Managing Editor interspersed):

It’s an astonishing vote, especially from Tait, who routinely speaks of “reducing burdens on existing and prospective businesses in Anaheim, resulting in more freedom for people to achieve their dreams.” Unless that dream includes investing your family savings into operating an STR, or operating an independent (non-union) housecleaning business servicing STRs – in which case you’re out of luck.

It would be interesting to see whether more people’s “family savings” are invested in their STRs — or into the properties neighboring STRs that have had their quality-of-life and property values plummeting.  The same goes for their “dreams,” which probably didn’t involve unruly tourists defecating on their lawns.

STRs are a political issue in Council Districts 3 and 4. Jose F. Moreno, the left-wing Chicano Studies professor running as the mayor’s candidate in District 3, is trying to ride this issue to a council seat and spoke in favor of the ban. He employed both the proletarian language of the Left – talking animatedly about “the people rising” — while invoking the Fear of the Other in complaining about “strangers” who stay at STRs. I think there’s a word for fear of strangers: xenophobia.

Matt seems to be painting Moreno as an opportunist.  Instead, he has been intricately involved with this issue for a long time.  As for the “xenophobia” crack: wow.  That’s some mighty fine stupid there.  In a sense, apparently, all zoning is xenophobia, and so is not wanting trespassing on one’s home.

The District 3 incumbent, Jordan Brandman, cast a deeply disappointing vote for the ban, so whether that will even be an issue in November is an open question.

Jordan does deserve some credit here, although the notion that he would have voted this way without Moreno breathing down his neck if he went the wrong way in solving the problem — one that he, more than anyone else, created in the first place — is far-fetched.  Still, his vote here was much that his vote on flying the LGBT Rainbow Flag last week was not: a difficult decision that was liable to anger some of his backers.  Yes, in both cases he went with the dominant sentiment of the crowd — but this time he didn’t help to arrange for the crowd to be present for his own “triumph”.  It will be an issue in November, but less of one than it would have been.  (Less of one, certainly, than the vote on a half-billion subsidy to Disneyland & Chinese concerns for building hotels that will take place on July 12.)

Kudos to Lucille Kring and Kris Murray for casting votes for property rights, reasonableness and allowing people running room to realize dreams. It’s unfortunate the council majority chose to kill off hundreds of small businesses rather than continuing to work with them to find the best balance. They didn’t have to do it, but they did anyway – and then wished everyone a happy Independence Day. Not a proud day for Anaheim.

Speaking of Kring — she found herself grasping the soiled end of the stick yet again.  When is she going to learn that, unlike Murray and Brandman, she’s not a favored child of the City’s power players?  Well — pretty soon, perhaps!  After Brandman broke ranks on this key issue of hera, she has much less reason to stay in the ranks herself when the half-billion dollar hotel subsidy comes up.  Her political campaign probably can’t survive votes on the unpopular sides of two major issues in two meetings, which her “friend” Murray would ask her to cast.  One kick in the teeth ought to be enough!

So: congratulations to the homeowners who will be regaining their peace and property values.  If Anaheim passes a reasonable and modest Bed ‘n’ Breakfast ordinance, in a proper and rational way designed not to invite a stampede, then perhaps the spirit-of-the-law-abiding cream of the crop — who were dragged down by the rapacious bad actors in their midst — can be saved.  But what might have remained tolerable as a small puddle became intolerable as a flood — and the wholesale invasion of tourists acting like sailors on leave in residential neighborhoods will end.

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