What were they thinking?


What was the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce thinking when they agreed to spearhead the Disney ballot measures?

Councilwoman Lorri Galloway is taking the Chamber to task on this one, and rightly so.

“We’re giving them up to $200,000 a year to promote and work with Anaheim’s businesses, not to do referendums against the city,” the councilwoman said. “The chamber is supposed to be promoting businesses, not pitting them against each other. Why should we give them one dime?”

The chamber received $205,000 from the city this year, about 9% of the group’s annual budget.  In November, the chamber’s 41-member board voted overwhelmingly to take Disney’s side in the housing dispute. The group’s website lists “political action” and “represent business interests in government” as two of the chamber’s five initiatives. Last year, the chamber helped promote Measure M, the county’s sales tax for transportation projects.

It’s one thing to engage in political action that benefits local businesses.  However it’s another to go directly against the city when they are providing you with funding.

The LA TImes has the complete story, I couldn’t find any thing in the Register, though it may only be in the print edition.

  6 comments for “What were they thinking?

  1. just...asking
    May 7, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Chambers enter into contracts with cities for very specific purposes. But Chambers are independent entities. Council’s can always stop funding if the Chamber is not fufilling its contractual agreement with the City. In no way does this mean that the Chamber should behave as puppets of the City! This is an association of business banded together to improve business interests. Sometimes that means going after politicians and positions that further business interests.

    The City should and demand that no City funds are used in the political process of this or any matter before the council. But, the Chamber should be free to independently of the City take positions, legally funded with the other 91% of their money to protect their interests.

  2. May 7, 2007 at 8:50 am

    And the city should stop funding the chamber and Let disney cover the $200,000 in taxpayer funds that are indirectly funding Disney,s initiatives the next time the contract is renewed.

  3. FLowerszzz
    May 7, 2007 at 11:04 am

    It is an unfortunate thing going on there and I feel both sides are right and are fighting for what they believe in. It’s going to get nasty.

  4. Jim Leonard
    May 7, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Lorri Galloway has missed the point that the Chamber is protecting the the economic base of Anaheim which is something three members of the city council chose not to do. In 1994 the businesses of Anaheim, yes including Disney, agreed to form what is now called the Anaheim Resort.
    This basically was a written contract between the people of Anaheim and the businesses of Anaheim. These businesses include the Disneyland Resort, hotels, motels, restaurants, the convention center, and all of the stores. It was agreeded that 2.2 square miles of our 62 square mile city be set aside for resort activities. On April 24th, three members of the city council voted Unilaterally voted to break this contract and change the zoning from Hotel Use to Residential Housing totaling 1500 homes. This will translate to 77 units per acre (per planning staff) which is the highest density of any residential housing in the OC.

    This vote was made without the agreement of the other party to the agreement which is the Anaheim Resort. This vote in reality was a breach of contract, a breach of trust and a serious breach of fiduciary responsibiliy. The city stands to lose $4.6 Million per years in tax revenues if housing is allowed at the site. This money is the equivalent of 32 police officers which our city desperately needs. We get only 17% of the property tax from residential housing. If hotels go this site that it was zoned for, we get a 15% bed tax which will generate the needed income for our city.

    This is why the Chamber is supporting the Referendum to overturn the council’s misguided vote. This is not about affordable housing. The city is putting in 9,500 plus homes in the Platinium Triangle and not one is going to be affordable. Yet, why would you put housing in the Anaheim Resort and the answer is that you do not. The 2.2 square miles of the Anaheim Resort is probably the most important 2.2 square miles west of the Mississippi River as a world class travel destination. We have the largest convention center on the west coast and to put in housing in an area that is not condusive to housing just does not make sense..

    I hope that you will see that this is not about Disney, but is about protecting the viability of the 2.2 square miles of the Anaheim Resort from
    land use that does not fit into what was agreed to in 1994. I hope that you will all sign the Referendum to overturn our misguided council vote.

  5. Aunt Millie
    May 7, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    In my opinion, local governments waste far too much money on this sort of corporate welfare. They funnel money into chambers, hire useless economic development directors, hire lobbyists and public relations consultants. The vast majority of this money is some form of corporate welfare or a way of keeping money coming in to politicos between jobs, guys like Pringle, Baugh, Maddox, et cetera who continue to belly up to the government trough while claiming to have conservative credentials.

    As to the resort issue, I see it as a well-connected developer trying to cram more units per acre into an area and using every argument he can to get the zoning changed to accommodate his profitability, while throwing out the long term planning. I’m still trying to figure out where all the traffic is going to go from the thousands of new high density housing units.

  6. Not Captive to the Mouse
    May 7, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    The $4.6 million in supposedly “lost” revenue is entirely conjectural. It represents bed tax that could eventually be generated by a hotel that might someday be built on the site in question. This figure comes from the city’s independent analysis, which also showed that the supposed “loss” would not materialize for up to 55 years, if at all.

    The resort specific plan is not a written contract. It is simply a zoning document, and it is hardly sacrosanct — it has been amended 8 times since 1994. In fact, the specific plan was recently amended to allow luxury condominiums to be built in the resort district as part of hotel development. Why do you object to housing for working families in the resort but not to luxury condominiums?

    If the Chamber of Commerce wants to put corporate special interests above the common good, that’s their business. But we should not let them use our tax money to do it.

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