TheLiberalOC has learned that organizers of a petition drive to halt a $158 million giveaway to two hotels in Anaheim have overcome incredible odds and are close to achieving the necessary number of signatures to place an initative on the ballot in November. Late last month, the group seeking to stop the giveaway was told them needed an additional 7,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot and experts we all by writing off the effort as doomed to failure.
Anaheim Council member and initiative proponent Lorri Galloway told the Voice of OC, ““I have to be honest and say when it comes this late in the game and the time frame is still the same, to have to get 7,000 more signatures, it is, wow, it’s significant.”
Some volunteers believed it would be impossible to gather the additional signatures required, but Galloway refused to give in.
“To add another 50 percent we’re really going to have to shake the bushes — shake the bushes and shake the trees. But quitting is not a part of our vocabulary. We’re moving forward,” she said to The Voice of OC.
Field operatives say the group is close to getting 22,000 signatures. Time is short and they need every sinagture they can get as some will certainly be disqualified. Residents are urged to visit the group’s website or Facebook page for updates and information on where to sign the petition. More than 22,000 are needed total.
The initiative drive was created after a $158-million tax subsidy was granted by the majority of the Anaheim City Council in January to the developer of two planned four-star hotels at the Anaheim GardenWalk center. The deal allows the developers to keep 80 percent of the hotels’ room tax revenue for at least 15 years.
Union leaders and Anaheim community activists have critized the subsidy as a “giveaway” of public funds without no corresponding community benefits. The opposing argument from building trade unions and members of the business community say the deal will create jobs and spur economic growth.