In the email Friday last was a thinly disguised plea from the City of Anaheim and OCTA aimed at private sector investors. Their scheme? Convince retail “operators” and investors to put money into a $174 million barn. ARTIC, for any fruit farmers still here, represented “Orange County’s continuing transformation from rural farmland and suburban community to a thriving metropolis” according to the City. It is to be the transportation hub Anaheim doesn’t need for the bullet trains that aren’t coming, the city buses only used by the unwashed, one of the nation’s more expensive streetcar systems and the links that will never develop to airports as in Ontario that’s being starved out of existence by its minders in Los Angeles.
Years ago, we attended the grand announcement of ARTIC. Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle was extracting funds from Measure M (he was an almost perpetual member of the OCTA Board after all) to build the barn, but he knew there was more money out there that he needed — so he threw a huge party at the Pond (it was that long ago) to convince those not fortunate enough to be drawing government pay that they just couldn’t lose by building restaurants, shops and office space to cater to the hordes that would be coming through his train station (even though it’s only the third busiest in the OC and doesn’t handle all the Metrolink routes). Pringle later went on to momentarily run California’s High-Speed Rail Authority, so what could possibly go wrong?
The investors must have seen through the Mayor, though — they failed to share his vision as five or so years later, NO ONE’s announced their intention to open even a shoe shine stand in Pringle’s edifice before “it opens in late 2014” (that’s only 18 months away, Anaheim Public Works).
This 23rd May “Update” meeting is scheduled for the back room of a saloon, so we’d hope it might not only attract “interested facility operators, property managers, parking managers, outdoor advertising, sponsorship sales firms, investors” and “firms from the various disciplines that are required to operate this iconic regional landmark,” but maybe a few OCTA Board members as well who could see where they’re spending M1 and M2 money that’s been confiscated from sales tax payers county-wide for the past ten years. We suspect the Measure M Taxpayers Oversight Committee might even be welcome.
Maybe one of these bureaucrats will have the good sense (or courage) to suggest to the OCTA to shut this turkey down.