Shocker: Anaheim doesn’t even have CSUF’s Disneyland Forward study! DELAY THE VOTE.

What a touching illustration of the blind trust Anaheim’s staff and elected leaders have in the Disney Corporation!

We were already put out that we couldn’t get our hands on the Cal State Fullerton economic report Disney was relying on to paint their juggernaut DisneylandForward proposal as an unalloyed good for the people of Anaheim – not only do we question the bias of a business school that’s a longtime recipient of Disney’s financial patronage, they also wouldn’t give us any more than a 9-page Executive Summary lacking any primary source citations.

Well, now we know that THAT’S ALL THE CITY OF ANAHEIM HAS EITHER, a 9-page Executive Summary lacking any primary source citations!

One more reason that the scheduled April 16 Council vote MUST be delayed for a few months. The Anaheim Democrats Club had ALREADY passed the following resolution saying as much, before this new development developed, which we intend to read and present at tomorrow’s (April 2) Council meeting. (On the Planning Commission, the thoughtful Luis Andres Perez agreed that more time and study was needed, but he was outvoted by his colleagues, which include the longtime Disney beneficiary Lucille Kring, the longtime SOAR board member Michelle Lieberman, and Sidhu-Ament Anaheim First frontwoman Amelia Castro.)

Anaheim Democrats Club Resolution: Delay Vote on Disneyland Forward

Whereas, taxpayer-funded staff time has been used to openly promote DisneylandForward as a positive project in advance of Anaheim City Council action, and prior to environmental and economic reports on the project’s impacts vs benefits;

Whereas, the City of Anaheim has misinformed the public with inflated claims of Resort benefits, including the myth by SOAR that tourism generates over half of Anaheim’s General Fund;

Whereas, the public has been misinformed that the closure of Magic Way was requested by residents, when neighbors actually requested “traffic calming” on Walnut Street, which appears unrelated to the closure of Magic Way;

Whereas, disruptions to traffic on Walnut Street are associated with semi-trucks blocking the roadway in both directions, backing into the now-inadequate single driveway to deliver goods for the Disneyland Hotel;

Whereas, the City of Anaheim has made no provision or plan for exponentially higher numbers of delivery trucks servicing the needs of a new theme park expansion adjacent to the Disneyland Hotel, accessible only by the single driveway on Walnut Street already inadequate for current use;

Whereas, traffic studies for proposed land use alterations limit studies to those vehicles related to hotel guests, theme park visitors, and cast members, but have not considered the cumulative impact of tour buses, quasi-public transit such as ART/ATN, and the numerous delivery trucks which exceed the 6,000 lb. weight limit on local streets;

Whereas, the public has been misinformed about the cost saving of street closures when Disney already funds maintenance of the streets in question through the Resort Assessment District;

Whereas, the public has been denied information, or misinformed, regarding how vehicles diverted from street closures are most likely to impact nearby residential streets not intended for additional traffic;

Whereas, DisneylandForward allows disruptive theme park operations to encroach on established residential neighborhoods, claiming that rides/attractions will be housed within “show buildings,” while failing to account for the increased noise of tens of thousands of visitors, outdoor performances, and other noise-producing activities associated with theme parks that are incompatible with adjacent homes;

Whereas, a Disney-requested City Ordinance restricts the heights of structures outside the theme park, owned by neighboring businesses, while DisneylandForward demands construction of an architectural “feature” 300 feet tall, equivalent to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (77 feet) on top of the Guardians of the Galaxy tower (184 feet) with room to spare;

Whereas, the public has never been offered any environmental study on the impact of Disneyland fireworks, despite the noise, and potential air pollution from shells exploding mid-air, or impact of unknown materials deposited on surrounding yards from the debris field blowing into residential neighborhoods;

Whereas, the Amended Development Agreement fails to define restrictions on new fireworks shows if they launch from the current location east of Disneyland Drive, where noise intrusion and debris fields already impact residential neighborhoods;

Whereas, the City of Anaheim’s Statement of Overriding Consideration seeks to ignore predictions of negative environmental impacts in the name of alleged “economic benefits,” lacking an independent, unbiased study commissioned by the City of Anaheim for the benefit of Anaheim;

Whereas, the primary justification for DisneylandForward is an economic report from CSUF Business School, a longtime recipient of Disney’s financial patronage, which may represent a conflict of interest inappropriate for the City of Anaheim to use for the decision-making process;

Whereas, the Disney-funded CSUF economic report has been withheld, other than a 9-page Executive Summary lacking primary source citations, including claims unsupported by real-world data readily available in City of Anaheim annual budgets showing actual tax revenues tied to Disney investments in the past;

Whereas, DisneylandForward proposes to add 13,800 new employees, many earning below the poverty-line for the Orange County region, where even recent gains in pay scale fail to keep pace with inflation, and many current Disney employees are still unhoused;

Whereas, DisneylandForward allows 40 additional years for Disney to develop their property by continuing entitlements they failed to construct prior to 2010 as anticipated by, but not required in, the Development Agreement of 1996;

Whereas, the City of Anaheim appears unwilling to negotiate benefits beyond minimal CEQA requirements, and token amounts offered by Disney for parks and housing insufficient to offset the cumulative impacts of disruptions to the daily lives of Anaheim residents caused by a local economy heavily reliant on tourism;

Whereas, news articles report litigation regarding Disney workplace conditions, a hostile proxy battle for control of Disney’s governing Board, and a much-publicized dispute with the State of Florida, as well as business practices reportedly poorly-received by consumers, such as costly new streaming services, low-budget theme park improvements,  and unprofitable movie projects, potentially undermining the appearance of the company’s stability;

Therefore, be it Resolved, that the Anaheim Democrats Club requests the Anaheim City Council reconsider DisneylandForward and delay any vote until the following may be determined for the long-term health of Anaheim:

  • The City of Anaheim should discontinue the use of staff time or other taxpayer-funded resources to promote DisneylandForward prior to a final decision by City Council,
  • The City of Anaheim should conduct independent studies, free of bias or conflict of interest, to determine actual cost-benefit analysis for the closure of public streets, the impact of increasing low-wage labor without adequate workforce housing programs, and claims of future tax benefits to the city, based on primary source records such as Anaheim’s budget documents, not estimated calculations based on regional modeling programs,
  • The City of Anaheim should fully disclose all documents used in the decision-making process, including those studies and reports ordered by, on behalf of, or funded by, Disney, with disclosure well in advance of final decisions, providing the public adequate time to review source materials, and ask questions of staff, with time for responses to be offered,
  • The City of Anaheim should require Disney to create, and comply with, a plan for delivery of supplies to those areas subject to the Amended Development Agreement, to ensure existing residences and businesses are not impacted by the alterations in land use inconsistent with previous plans,
  • The City of Anaheim should build accountability and consequences into noise ordinances, in the event Disney exceeds acceptable noise levels, including the closure of sections of property tied to such violations until solutions may be implemented;
  • The City of Anaheim should consider the impacts of visual intrusion upon neighbors, and require Disney to comply with height restrictions similar to those imposed on adjacent properties, by either removing restrictions that interfere with profitable redevelopment of nearby properties, or scale down Disney’s proposal for a 300-foot tall “feature,” far higher than the tallest structure currently in Anaheim,
  • The City of Anaheim should require Disney fund an independent, peer-reviewed study of environmental impacts related to the current, and/or future expanded use of pyrotechnics displays by Disney, including the impacts of noise, air quality, water, and ground pollution, to neighborhoods outside of Disney property,
  • The City of Anaheim should include protections for Anaheim taxpayers in the Amended Development Agreement, including “clawbacks,” to tie specific benefits, such as the closure or abandonment of public streets, to reasonable development benchmarks and timelines to be met by Disney in order to receive such benefits,
  • The City of Anaheim should partner only with stable organizations able to fulfill the obligations of new agreements, and withhold approval of a new Amended Development Agreement until Disney  resolves issues such as a hostile Board proxy battle, while stabilizing their business model to reflect the long-term economic ability required to fulfill the commitments of DisneylandForward.

Like we’ve said. Everyone likes Disneyland, but some of us love Anaheim more.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.