Anaheim Taxpayers Bailing Out Anaheim Chamber?

Any city big enough to support major theme parks, have a large enough convention center to host shows like BlizzardWorld and the Anime Expo, and two professional sports franchises should have a strong Chamber of Commerce, right?  But this isn’t the case in Anaheim where taxpayers are about to provide a stimulus package to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce to the tune of about $200,000.

The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Todd Ament will ask the Anaheim City Council for another $200,000 in taxpayer subsidy at the city council meeting next week.  This item was placed on the agenda today. 

What’s troubling about this development is that the chamber’s executive director, Todd Ament, is also an Anaheim Planning Commissioner recently appointed by Councilmember Lucille Kring who is also on the Chamber’s Board of Directors (Kring has a business — the Wine Bar –  in the Anaheim Garden Walk).  Kring is expected to vote on this issue even though it’s clearly a conflict of interest for her to do so.

Last week, Ament voted to approve a new Disney development on its 3rd Gate property, even though Disney is a key member of the Anaheim Chamber’s executive board of directors.  Ament should have recused himself from that vote as well.  But conflicts of interest seem to be business as usual in Anaheim.

This taxpayer funded gift to the Anaheim Chamber is earmarked to cover the costs of events the chamber will put on for the city, which previously were handled by a very competent city staff. 

So much for Republicans in the Anaheim city council who pretend to be protecting taypayers.  It look like the real champion for taxpayers is Democratic councilmember Lorri Galloway who’s likely to be the only “no” vote here. 

The Anaheim chamber’s activities should be subsidized by dues paying members of which Anaheim should have plenty.  But in these tough economic times, when every department in city government has been asked to cut their budgets, Curt Pringle’s posse is gifting the Anaheim chamber with taxpayer dollars to fund redundent functions.