The Mouse Effect

What was once thought of as a one-time effort of political consolidation to prevent the permeation of housing into the infamous Anaheim Resort District has now become a full fledged attempt of Disneyland’s political ascension. Disney has lined the coffers of the California Republican Party, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, and the S.O.A.R. initiative with hundreds of thousands of dollars in a consolidated effort to keep Anaheim’s City Council firmly within Disney’s political agenda.

The Mouse Effect has tangibly demonstrated its potential for enacting it’s political will, as we all saw with the Suncal low-income housing fiasco, and more recently numerous comments coming from city council candidates and Councilman Harry Sidhu which have demonstrated Disney’s adamant will for the city to subsidize it’s new proposed 4 and 5 star hotels to the tune of $120,000,000.

This Mouse Effect has had setbacks, having just lost the election of its number one supporter, Gail Eastman. Perhaps the residents of Anaheim can put a stop to this corporate welfare before the plan is solidified. Anaheim is expected to take a hit in its tax revenue by as much as 20 million because of the economic downturn. Surely the city can find more effective ways of allocating $120,000,000, instead of compounding its budget shortcomings by giving Disney this enormous welfare check.



  3 comments for “The Mouse Effect

  1. jose s.
    November 11, 2008 at 8:15 am

    steve, speak english please.

  2. Revan
    November 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    An interesting op-ed. I always knew Disney was sticking its rat nose where it didn’t belong.

  3. November 12, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Steve, Steve, Steve. How many times must I tell you, research first, THEN publish! When it comes to Disney, you have this nasty habit of spouting off any negative item that you hear, regurgitating it as fact. Were you traumatized by Mickey as a child that you believe every rumor of the Mouse taking over the City?

    How about we work with facts instead of assumptions, shall we? You have repeated Galloway’s $120,000,000 claim of corporate greed. But as we discussed over lunch, the money does not go to Disney as the operator, it goes to the developer. Also, nobody could possibly know what that figure is, since it is based on materials costs which fluctuate. Bad enough Galloway pulled that number from out of her…..hat…..but you are repeating it as gospel. I pegged you as smarter than to get your info from Galloway without confirming. Is she also the one who told you that we could lower our utility rates by making Disney sweep their own streets? Gimme a break.

    Did you know that the Anaheim City Council approved hotel incentives back in spring of 2007? And the money is not corporate welfare, it is an offset with no fiscal impact to the City, since it covers the spread between a 4 star hotel and 3 star hotel, while being paid back from that cost differential.

    Steve you are passing judgment on something you clearly did not understand when you wrote this. I expect better than that from you, and if you want us to read your blog posts, you will need to post accurate info. Galloway is worse than Wikipedia as a source, son. However, I will give you props for posting something you knew would create controversy, in a blatant attempt to begin a war of words and increase blog hits. But it was a cheap trick. Try again.

    In the end, I will let our beloved Mayor Curt rebut your false information from a post he sent in back when this issue first came up. And have a nice day.

    From Curt Pringle:
    “I appreciate all of the Anaheim talk on the Blog over the last few days about our incentives for four/five star hotel properties. I would like to share my perspective on this.
    It is always interesting that some wish to immediately be negative about what they hear on one issue, and from that, seek to claim that their interpretation of the situation defines conservatism or proper government management. I know there are opposing views, but one point of non-agreement does not define an entire political philosophy.The city of Anaheim takes great pride in its Resort district. It is an important economic engine to our city. We have fought hard this year to preserve it!
    Even with 20,000 hotel rooms in our city, new hotel development is vigorous in Anaheim. At this moment in time, nearly 1500 new hotel rooms are under development in Anaheim. Many other developers are coming to the city expressing interest in developing hotels.
    So we have seen in managing for our city’s future that many additional hotels are necessary. But in all cases, except the current construction of the 250 room expansion of the Disney Grand Californian, all of the new hotels are three star properties.
    The current market conditions allow for the development of three star properties in our city, even with their current high property and construction costs.
    But in planning for the future of Anaheim, we have considered how we could grow the Resort district, both in number of rooms and the average nightly rate.
    We do not need to do anything to encourage three star properties. But four star properties and the additional construction costs that are required to get these properties to that level are much higher and they may not be built at the current cost of construction.
    Four star properties can add to our opportunities to bring additional conventions to Anaheim and can assist in the growth of the Resort area.
    On Tuesday’s agenda, we voted to provide a potential tax reimbursement to hotel developments if they seek to build four star properties. Our plan would be to require the full 100% of the bed tax be collected on the three star property equivalent rates. But we would consider, based on need, if we would reimburse for the first 10-15 years, the additional amount of taxes collected from the three star rate equivalent to the four star rate.
    We are not reimbursing what the market will provide – in this case a three star property. But we see the value in growing the Resort for the long term. And a mix of high end hotels, even with higher construction and development costs, will insure that we have the mix of properties that will continue to grow the Resort.
    At the council meeting, I respect that Councilmember Harry Sidhu wanted to delay this discussion for a few months in order to get more information.
    And I also respect that Councilmember Lorri Galloway joined with HERE (Hotel Employee/Restaurant Employee Union) in opposing this plan. The HERE representatives were the only ones who spoke against this proposal.
    I see a similarity in the council action on Tuesday, to when, in the Legislature, we provided a manufacturer’s tax credit on the purchase of new manufacturing equipment or when we provided an R&D tax credit to encourage more high tech research firms to locate to California. Some people didn’t like any type of tax credit or incentive programs. And I can respect that.
    But with these incentives in Anaheim, I feel we are taking steps today to prepare for the long-term fiscal health of our city.
    Sometimes planning for the long term is not seen by everyone in the short term.
    But I will hold Anaheim’s fiscal position up as an example of a fiscally responsible and secure government even in these economic times. This year we have made a mid-year budget reduction of 2 ½%; we have maintained a 13% general fund reserve and are truly in a strong budget position.
    I will proudly match our city’s planning and budget position to any other local government from Rancho Santa Margarita to Riverside. “
    April 24, 2008 5:21 PM

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