Harrah Seeks to Usurp Voters Will

I received the e-mail early this morning and felt this needed to be brought to the attention of people at once. So here we go, this is an e-mail from Vince Fregoso in the Santa Ana Planning Department. Apparently Mike Harrah is seeking “amdendments” to the Developer Agreement that was approved by the voters of Santa Ana in April of 2005.

Good morning, 

The purpose of this email is to provide you with a courtesy notice that Caribou Industries, developer of the One Broadway Plaza office tower, is proposing to amend the development agreement (Development Agreement No. 2004-1) that was approved for the project.  The proposed amendments include removing the 50 percent pre-leasing requirement, allowing the project to request and accept Redevelopment Agency assistance, adjust the timing of the funding for the neighborhood traffic studies, allow additional time to refill any excavated area, and to allow Caribou to joint venture a maximum of 50 percent of the project.  

More detailed information related to these amendments will be available in the staff report, which will be released to the public at the close of business on Thursday, June 10th.  The amendments to the development agreement will be on the June 14th Planning Commission Agenda and are tentatively scheduled for the July 6th City Council meeting. 

I think it is safe to assume that the push to get the COunty of Orange to move in was a failure. So now Harrah is seeking to usurp the will of the voters he misled in 2005 with one of the most BS’d filled campaigns in human history. Remember when they put up signs that said Measure A would fix our schools?

These are not amendments, this is a complete re-write and conventional wisdom would be that he needs to take it back to the voters so he can dump another $500,000 misleading them that this big building is the savior of Santa Ana. SO lets take a look. He wants to get rid of the 50% leasing requirement, so after 5 years he cannot fill half of this building? I thought it was the greatest idea since sliced bread.

Next, he wants OUR money, in the name of Redevelopment funds, to go towards a project that cannot even get half the building occupied. This after he promised to finance it with his own personal fortune. Last of all he wants to “adjust” the timing of the traffic studies to the area, why, so he can hide the impact this boondoggle will have on the area. Of course if he can’t even fill half of the building, I guess we shouldn’t be that concerned with added traffic should we.

This is a disturbing development and the speed they want it approved by the Council means they are trying to sneak this through quickly with as little transparency as possible. There are three charter schools within the area,(OCHSA, OCEAA and El Sol Academy) have any of them been informed of these proposed “amendments?” People need to pressure the City Council to force Harrah to go back to the voters for those amendments.

  6 comments for “Harrah Seeks to Usurp Voters Will

  1. Mike Tardif
    June 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    “Remember when they put up signs that said Measure A would fix our schools?”

    Yeah, I remeber. Do you remeber when they said that Measure D was for “Term Limits” and would diminish the influence of developers?

  2. SA Preservationist
    June 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Claudio, thank you for posting this. I was opposed to this boondoggle from the beginning and was part of the group who tried to stop it. Unfortunately, our grassroots efforts were no match for Harrah’s huge advertising budget (this project was going to bring in droves of businesses and tourist tax dollars) and his friends on the City Council who drank the cool aid. The Development agreement was pretty thin to begin with (move one historic building, arrange 50% occupancy before ground breaking, etc.) and this new proposal is an insult. The City seems to be happy to waste our own Redevelopment dollars to line Harrah’s pockets. And those of us who are fighting to save what little is left of the Lacy Neighborhood from complete demolition keep hearing that the City has no money!

  3. Mike Tardif
    June 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Are there any assurances – concrete, bonded, insured assurances that Santa Ana will not end up with a 30 story unfinished building similar to this one in Garden Grove?
    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/grove-250470-garden-property.html

  4. Steve
    June 5, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    A lot has happened since this travesty of urban planning and architecture was foisted on the good folks of Santa Ana. I’d expect Pulido to support Harrah, and probably Bustamante as well, but I think beyond that his support on the council withers drastically. I really don’t expect these amendments to go anywhere.

    Now it’s time for the city to lower the boom and figure out a way to get the project scrapped.

  5. just...asking?
    June 7, 2010 at 10:16 am

    The council should amend the agreement to reduce the # of floors in line with the reduced guarantee! Ten or Twenty floors will limit fiscal and community exposure to what certainly looks like pending a business failure!

    Remember Garden Grove (see above comment) and Anaheim’s ghost towns in the Platinum Triangle and the Garden Walk.

    Will City Councils never learn? just…asking?

  6. cook
    June 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    The planning commission passes the change to the DA to the council on a 3 ya to 2 na vote.

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