2_medThe City of Anaheim’s able PIO Ruth Ruiz sent out this press release last night, providing a useful, informative run-down of what’s involved with the Anaheim Convention Center expansion, the financing for which the city council approved last night.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 22, 2014) – The Anaheim City Council tonight authorized the Anaheim Housing and Public Improvements Authority to issue bonds for expanding the Anaheim Convention Center to meet current and future needs of Anaheim’s convention and tradeshow industry. Since opening in 1967, revenues generated by the Anaheim Convention Center and related activities have consistently supported overall City services, thereby improving the quality of life for Anaheim’s residents.

The proposed Anaheim Convention Center expansion project encompasses the addition of 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting space for hosting concurrent events, capturing new meeting groups and retaining the large annual events, plus the replacement of Car Park 1. The current Anaheim Convention Center has limited meeting space opportunities and limits the ability to accommodate concurrent events.

It is conservatively estimated that the City’s General Fund would be better off by $115 million over the next decade and $320 million over a 30-year period by expanding, as determined by an outside consultant (Crossroads Consulting Services).

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pettibone questionvanderbilt questionWhen people decide to run for city council (or are simply thinking about it), it’s common for them to attend council meetings and speak on agenda items. It’s way of learning more about how the council operates and the issues before the city, to gain exposure for themselves via council meeting broadcasts – and to put themselves on record on major issues.

The 200,000 square-foot Anaheim Convention Center expansion, financed by a $300 million in revenue bonds, is one of the most consequential items the council has dealt with in recent years. Both supporters and opponents agree it will have a lasting impact on Anaheim.

So where were the two members of the Tait Slate, James Vanderbilt and Doug Pettibone, last night? They didn’t take advantage of public comments to let voters know where they stand on the convention center expansion. As far as I’ve been able to determine, they weren’t even at the council meeting.

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anarchists KKKcopsAnti-police activist Donna Acevedo filed her formal intention to run for city council back in March of this year.

She has now taken the next step by pulling nomination papers, which have to be returned completed with the requisite number of valid signatures by 5:00 p.m. on August 8.

That brings to five the number of candidates who have pulled papers to run for city council:

  • Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray
  • Councilwoman Gail Eastman
  • Jerry O’Keefe
  • Doug Pettibone
  • Donna Acevedo

James Vanderbilt (one half of the Tait Slate) has not yet pulled nomination papers.


kris Murray at 7-22 mtgI don’t think any one doubted the outcome of last night’s meeting, but it was still heartening late last night when the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to approve the bonds to finance the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilmembers Gail Eastman, Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman all voted yes, while Mayor Tom Tait voted no.

There was a huge turnout in support of approving the Convention Center bonds. Owners and operators of small and large businesses; union representatives; residents; single-moms; and hard-working folks in general asked the council, one after the other, to approve the bonds and get the Convention Center expansion moving forward.

The council majority spoke vigorously its support for the expansion and its opposition to the obstructionism of opponents. Kris Murray delivered impassioned oration drawing upon the examples of her predecessors and the plain requirements of the future.

“The fact is we have an opportunity in time. This is the seventh expansion. This isn’t 1960. This isn’t whether we get into the convention center business. that decision was made – thank God! Because our city is so far ahead of the curve financially from other cities – not just in the county, but around the state. In the Register today, two cities in orange County, Stanton and Placentia — Stanton tonight is considering a sales tax on their residence because they are cutting services because they can’t make ends meet; and so is Placentia. We have cities across the state filing for bankruptcy.  But Anaheim, courtesy of our Resort District, our stadium, the economic engines of this city – the Convention Center being a hallmark component of that – we aren’t in that position.  We are balancing our budget, reinvesting in police and fire, we are reinvesting in parks, and libraries, and roads, and potholes, and graffiti abatement. We are doing everything for neighborhoods because we have a thriving economy.
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This came over the transom earlier today from SOAR – Support Our Anaheim Resort:


It’s a good event with good people for a good cause. You can RSVP to Jill@SOARanaheim.com.

Anaheim Insider here.

Mayor Tait thinks the Convention Center expansion revenue bond should be put a city-wide vote because it’s too big. As he told the Orange County Register:

“If the people of Anaheim are going to take on that kind of debt for this expansion, they should at least be able to vote on it in November because this is an extremely expensive price to pay for the amount of square footage that we get.”

For those of us who have been involved in Anaheim politics for a long time, that’s an interesting position for him to take.

In 1996, then-Councilman Tom Tait and the rest of the City Council (Bob Zemel, Lou Lopez, Frank Feldhaus and Mayor Tom Daly) unanimously approved the largest bond in the history of Anaheim: $560,000,000 in lease revenue bonds for the Anaheim Resort Improvements.

Tait and his colleagues approved them acting at the Anaheim Public Financing Authority and did it without putting it to a vote of the people. The final issuance amounted to $510,427,465.45. Adjusted for inflation, that would be a $850,000,000 bond today.

Mayor Tait thinks a $300 million revenue bond is too big for the city to approve without going to the voters, but had no problem voting for a bond three-times larger in current dollars without giving the people of Anaheim a say in the matter.

Another repudiation by the mayor from a previous position, which are becoming so common that hardly anyone bats an eye any longer when he does it.

led zeppelin accOn the lighter side of things, I found this post on a website devoted to the Go-Go’s, listing rock bands (and other entertainers) that played at the Anaheim Convention Center between 1967 and 1979:

The Doors, Jefferson Airplane – JULY 15
The Righteous Brothers – DECEMBER 9

The Bee Gees, Vanilla Fudge & Spanky and Our Gang – JANUARY 27
Tonly Bennett, Duke Ellington – APRIL 19
Cream – MAY 17
Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night – DECEMBER 13

Steve Miller Band, Three Dog Night, Buffalo Springfield – JANUARY 17
The Rascals, Bonnie & Delaney – FEBRUARY 7
Diana Ross & the Supremes – FEBRUARY 22
Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, June Carter – MARCH 1
The Cream – MARCH 22
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grass Roots, Jeff Beck – APRIL 19
Fats Domino – JUNE 14
Joan Baez – JUNE 28
Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull – AUGUST 9
Donovan – NOVEMBER 7
Blood, Sweat and Tears – NOVEMBER 22
Joe Cocker, Grand Funk Railroad – DECEMBER 12
Ray Charles – DECEMBER 28

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Anaheim Blog top commenter Ryan Cantor proposes putting the Anaheim Convention Center expansion on the ballot, echoing Mayor Tom Tait’s position. I have a few thoughts on this approach.

First, I wonder, sincerely, if Ryan and some of his compadres in the commentosphere would advocate for putting the expansion on the ballot if the mayor commanded a council majority could kill it at tat level. call me cynical, but in my experience, calls for putting something to a vote of the people usually emanate from the side unable to stop that something at the council level because it lacks the ability to win elections.

The mayor cited the size of the bond issue as the reason for placing the convention center on the ballot:

“If the people of Anaheim are going to take on that kind of debt for this expansion, they should at least be able to vote on it in November because this is an extremely expensive price to pay for the amount of square footage that we get.”

That position begs the question: what, then, is the debt threshold for placing a bond issue on the ballot? What is “too expensive”? $300 million? $200 million? $119,543,888? Or is it akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: you know it when you see it?

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2_medEditorials like the one this morning opposing the Anaheim Convention Center expansion cause me to wonder if the editorial page staff at the OC Register has any understanding or institutional knowledge of Orange County government and politics.

The editorial opines:

But the taxpayer shouldn’t be on the hook if that 2 percent tax doesn’t meet its projections, especially with municipal governments creeping more and more into territories outside the fundamental scope of government and into places they simply don’t belong. The convention center industry is certainly one of those places.

A better solution: cities should stay out of the convention center business or any of the other landlording niches that local governments, in Anaheim and elsewhere, have carved out for themselves. In these cases, it is preferable to let the private sector take the lead.

News flash for the OCR: the City of Anaheim is already in the convention center business, and has been for 47 years. The editorial’s opinion that the city shouldn’t get into the convention center business would have been far more timely in the 1966 – but it’s a little late for that in 2014.

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Diamond finger puppet

The finger puppet interpretations of Greg Diamond.

According to the OC Register, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus will hold clown auditions today at 10:00 a.m.:

While the circus is in town, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be looking for new clowns for future productions.

The circus is holding clown auditions from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave.

Aspiring performers will be asked to put on three-to-five-minute routines that show “exaggerated facial expressions, athleticism or any unique physical skills, an understanding of comedy, as well as a sense of personality,” according to the circus announcement.

The proven digital dexterity of CATER “general counsel” Greg Diamond de la Brea, demonstrated last year in a finger puppet performance before the Anaheim City Council, could be just what Ringling Bros. is looking for.


lorri galloway at rally


Time for an update on who has pulled papers to run for mayor or city council.

On Friday (I think), Lorri Galloway pulled her nomination papers. The former councilwoman formed a committee and filed her intention to run last November, and has “Galloway for Mayor” yard signs popping up around Anaheim, so no surprise here.

That leaves Mayor Tom Tait as the only announced candidate who has not yet pulled nomination papers.

On the council side, it is still status quo. Incumbents Kris Murray and Gail Eastman have pulled papers, as have retired Anaheim policeman Jerry O’Keefe and attorney Doug Pettibone (a neighbor of the mayor’s and member of his council candidate slate). The other half of the Tait Slate, James Vanderbilt, has not yet pulled papers.

UPDATED (1:02 p.m. on July 22): Mayor Tom Tait has pulled his nomination papers.

This came over the transom from the City of Anaheim:


ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 21, 2014) – Anaheim residents can look forward to nearly 100 capital improvement projects for 2014/15. As part of the City of Anaheim’s $1.6 billion approved budget for this fiscal year, the City is committed to the community and improving its neighborhoods and infrastructure.

Capital improvements projects include:

• Anaheim Convention Center
• Community and Economic Development
• Electric
• Libraries
• Parks
• Sewer and Storm Drains
• Streets
• Transit
• Water

Highlights include:

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Supervisor Janet Nguyen

Supervisor Janet Nguyen

This came over the transom today from the Janet Nguyen for Senate campaign:

OC Register Endorses Janet Nguyen For Senate

Cites Supervisor Nguyen’s Commitment to Create Jobs

(Westminster, CA) – Support for Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s Campaign for the 34th State Senate District continues to build with the pivotal endorsement of the Orange County Register Editorial Board.

In an editorial titled Janet Nguyen for State District 34, the Register recently announced its endorsement citing Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s “commitment to fight for smaller government, fiscal restraint, no new taxes and a reduction in business regulations.”

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faithful partner

Monuments will be similar to this one (photo courtesy of the OC Register)

Excerpted from the OC Register:

A pair of life-size, bronze German shepherd dogs standing in alert poses atop marble pedestals will serve as the official monuments dedicated to Anaheim’s police canines, designed by an artist renowned for her series of law enforcement dog sculptures across the country.

Susan Bahary was selected by the Anaheim Community Foundation, which has taken the lead in bringing the statues, for $40,000 each, to two new dog parks under construction in Anaheim.
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kris murray at OCWD 11-15Along the items on tonight’s Anaheim City Council agenda is a resolution, proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray, signifying the city’s support for preserving Proposition 13, California’s landmark initiative that rolled back property taxes and imposed strict limits on increasing them.

Liberals have hated proposition 13 since voters’ overwhelmingly approved it in 1978. It is about the only tax advantage California has vis-a-vis other states, and it is the last remaining protection we have against the rapacious appetite the liberal special interests running state government have for our money. These interests have been gearing up for to make another run at killing Proposition 13 via the “split roll” – removing Proposition 13′s protections from non-residential property.

The more cities that pas resolutions like Kris Murray’s the better; I’d be surprised if her resolution received anything less than unanimous support from her council colleagues.

One thing about radicals is they love to photograph themselves “fighting the power,” and Saturday’s anti-police march/protest in Anaheim was no exception. As they marched from Stoddard Park to Disneyland, the gaggle of revolutionaries, anarchists in Guy Fawkes masks, socialists, ethnic militants and local anti-police radicals posted a photo-chronicle of themselves on various social media outlets – allowing us to see their aggressive efforts to “bring peace to the community.”

There are quite a few on the Twitter feed of the ACSA Collective, which  acts “in solidarity with Anarcho-Syndicalists, Anarcha-Feminists, Black Flag militants, Queer Anarchists, The IWW, and any other libertarian socialist movement” – and judging by their “acting in solidarity” with Saturday’s marchers, local anti-police activists could be included on that laundry list. Here are some representative photos:

acevedo march cops are bastards

acsc anarchy in disneyland

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OCCORD LogoOrange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) has announced the hiring of a new executive director to take the place of founding ED Eric Altman. Altman left OCCORD to lead the campaign to create a structural Democratic majority on the Anaheim City Council via by-district elections (in which endeavor he is inexplicably being aided by Mayor Tom Tait).

The new OCCORD honcho is Ann Werboff, a veteran of the union organizing and radical politics. Given that OCCORD’s self-professed mission is to turn Orange County blue and give our v iew of the role of government in our lives a hard shove to the Left, Werboff will fit right in.

For example, here’s the conclusion of a 2009 essay from the Review of Radical Political Economics, to which she contributed as a research assistant during her time in liberal academia:

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kill the kkkop in your head

From reports I’ve seen – and judging from the livestreaming by anti-cop InLeague Press – it’s an anemic turnout for today’s anti-police march in Anaheim.

It’s a fairly predictable jumble of the usual radical suspects who turnout for these marches wherever they’re held in the Southland: an AnswerLA.org contingent, anarchists, Party for Socialist Liberation members, Brown Berets militants, and the local contingent of anti-police protesters. Looks like about 75, maybe 100 people alternately marching and milling around while chanting such call-and-response classics as “What do we want? justice! When do we want it? Now!”

Agustin VillegasOn Monday, a 32-year old, hard-working, devoted husband and father of four sons named Agustin Villegas was shot to death on the 91 Freeway, by an as-yet unknown assailant. Villegas had lived in Anaheim for 15 years.

From the OC Register:

At the time of the shooting Villegas, a skilled mechanic, was heading home for dinner after repairing a car for a customer on Tustin Avenue in Anaheim, [his niece, Daisy] Soto said.

Villegas, who moved to Anaheim from Mexico about 15 years ago, had a loyal client base. If customer couldn’t pay for repairs, he would often let them slide until they came up with the funds, she added.

Villegas also coached youth soccer, regularly attended church and didn’t smoke or drink to set a good example for his wife, Reyna, and their four sons: 6 months, 4, 13 and 15, said Soto.

The family is attempting to raise money for Villegas’ funeral expenses. Donations can be made online at bit.ly/1wwFHrw. A funeral date has not yet been set.

What a tragedy. An innocent gunned down, a wife robbed of a living husband and a four boys deprived of a devoted father determined to be a good role model for them. It’s one of those episodes that makes you shake your head and wonder why such things happen to the good ones.

Agustin Villegas was the sole support of his wife and four sons. His family could use everyone’s help. You can click on this link on GiveForward.com to donate to a fund to raise $12,000 for for funeral expenses:

Agustin Villegas moved on to a better place on 7/15/14. He leaves behind a wife and 4 kids. We ask that you please help with funeral costs.

A fatal shooting on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim created a nightmare for our family on Monday July 14, 2014. Agustin Villegas was shot and killed in front of 2 of his 4 kids. Being the sole provider for his family we ask that you please help his wife and 4 kids with funeral costs. At this point any little bit helps.

He was the sole support of his family, and they could use our help. My family is donating, and I would ask Anaheim Blog readers to give as well.  Also, car wash and yard sale began this morning at 9:00 a.m. at Magnolia High School — 2450 W. Ball Road Blvd., Anaheim — to raise money for the family.

And just as importantly, offer up your prayers for the Villegas family and for their departed father.


council districts good jobsThe Anaheim City Clerk has published the rebuttals to the arguments for and against the November initiative that could bring by-district elections to Anaheim. Let’s start with the rebuttal signed by Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman:

Measure does not take away your voting rights or carve up Anaheim. Opponents are trying to confuse and mislead you. What voting for Measure ____ does do is make your vote count for more. Measure ___ gives you the power to:

  • Elect someone who truly represents you and your neighborhood;
  • Make your voice better heard at City Hall; and,
  • Elect a representative council member who will fight for faster and more responsive city services that meets your needs.

The entire City Council agreed that Anaheim deserves to have neighborhood representation, and that is why we unanimously placed Measure ____ on the ballot for your consideration. Measure ____ creates true neighborhood districts that will better serve Anaheim residents, while continuing our tradition of choosing a Mayor in a citywide election to provide a vital, unifying voice on the City Council. Having a council member from, and elected by, your neighborhood means they will understand your local needs and respond quickly to local concerns like traffic, crime, potholes, graffiti, and broken sidewalks. This means safer neighborhoods and stronger property values.   Measure ____ reduces the influence of outside special interests and promotes stable city finances, good jobs, and a better future for our community by guaranteeing that you are heard at City Hall. Vote YES on Measure ____ to keep our great city moving forward as an exceptional place to live, work, and raise a family. Tom Tait Mayor of Anaheim Jordan Brandman City Council Member

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