Matt “Jerbal” Cunningham, paid apologist and Curt Pringle-fanboy is blogging again, this time at the curtly named Anaheim Blog. Although he lives in Orange, his focus these days is Pringle’s Anaheim — “Civic affairs in OC’s largest city” as he subtitles the Blog. Jerbal founded the popular “OC Blog” years ago which he later sold so it could morph into the failed “Red County” empire.
The Jerb must have taken some exception to our Monday piece, Updated: “A backroom sweetheart deal”, that agreed with a Register editorial which suggested the $158 million Anaheim bed tax giveaway to a hotel developer ought be approved, or not, by the city taxpayers via one of those costly and annoying elections instead of being put where the sun doesn’t shine by the developer-funded City Council majority. In Maybe The Packing District Should Be Put On The Ballot?, he writes:
Shouldn’t the “Take Back Anaheim” (sic) be demanding this project be placed before the voters for their approval, since they believe city council government incompetent to make spending decisions absent recourse to the voters (unless, of course, the developer has been shaken down for sufficient goodies).
Take Back Anaheim was behind “an initiative last Spring calling for a public vote on any proposed use of city tax funds as an incentive for private development” per this OCR story last May. They were supported by Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and former Councilmember Lorri Galloway. But lacking the financial resources of, say, Jordan Brandman, the Initiative was unable to pay for signature gathering and failed to collect enough to qualify for the ballot.
We’ll bet TBA STILL DOES BELIEVE that Anaheim voters should have a say in any giveaway of tax funds, especially when it means $158 million less for services they probably really care about — like public safety in a city with a gang and drug problem that’s been overlooked by more forward-looking politicians. And we’ll further bet TBA DOES BELIEVE the City Council is “incompetent”. For years there has been a lack of competence on the Anaheim City Council, and before Tom Tait, in the Mayor’s office. Tait seems an honest and responsible politician, unlike his predecessor who was all about development at all cost, but also for the benefit of his consulting company clients. Prior to Tait, there was no shortage of ambition, or chairs, at the big conference table just outside the Mayor’s office for property developers and of course, the Disney play callers.
As timely illustration of how bad the city became at planning for development, the Register dropped this one the front page of the Local section yesterday morning: Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle is kind of … ghostly.
The Platinum Triangle was Mayor-for-Hire Pringle‘s redevelopment masterpiece and well supported by the Anaheim Councils of Cunningham’s “dark” era. The Register research staff did an excellent job of compiling the numbers on the venture’s performance as well:
So for the grand plan, only 23% of the planned housing was delivered (none of it “low income” — that’s verboten in the Resort District), only 9% of the expected commercial space has been built and NO new office space is to be found. With performance like this, organizations like TBA and Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development will continue their assault on the Council’s “incompetence” and perceived inattention to issues in other, poorer, more ethnic areas of the city. The miserable failure of the Platinum Triangle, Pringle’s baby, gives these folks every reason to distrust the City Council majority and demand better performance, honest planning via realistic assumptions, clean, transparent financing and less, or no, influence from the developers.
Borrowing his own best quote from Jerbal’s post on the Packing District, the Platinum Triangle IS THE TRUE “legacy of the era of Mayor Curt Pringle, which certain disgruntled elements are fond of deploring as a terrible dark age.” Legacy is really too polite and politically-correct a word for this complete failure of planning, corruption and devastation of city tax rolls considering what the new development isn’t contributing in property and use tax, PLUS what was torn down or fled town no longer contributes. We’ll also remind Jerbal that the “dark age” included current Councilmember Gail Eastman, but in a different role as the city’s Planning Commissioner — so she would’ve been up to her pantyhose in the Platinum Triangle.
But we’re not done, Jerbal. Your friend Pringle also concocted the $184 million ARTIC train station to replace the perfectly adequate Anaheim Station on the north boundary of Angels Stadium AND, while he really wanted a Monorail like Disney’s, he’d still embrace the ludicrous, unjustifiable, slow-speed, traffic-congesting $319 million Streetcar project between the Convention Center, not quite Disneyland (which won’t contribute a dime to it and won’t allow it on their property so as not to be liable, like the city, for any accidents, injuries or deaths) and ARTIC. These twin boondoggles total $503 million (before cost overruns) — over one-half billion dollars which TBA and OCCORD will also find a deplorable, incompetently planned waste for a high-speed railroad that will FAIL to reach Anaheim at all.
Over the last decade, the Anaheim City Council and its former Mayors have dealt their own city a bad hand from a stacked deck. Greed, arrogance and plain stupidity have underpinned these three miserably planned and dishonestly justified development projects — the citizens of Anaheim, not Disney, not the developers, deserve better. It’s more than appropriate and crucial that this City Council be hobbled and made to present development projects of this size and impact to its city residents and taxpayers for approval by ballot (and without poll guards). They can no longer be trusted to handle these responsibilities on their own.