We’re hoping that today’s special City Council meeting in Anaheim to decide whether to place two initiative proposals to amend the city charter on the November ballot doesn’t erupt into violent protests similar to those which disrupted a council meeting earlier this month. Mayor Tom Tait has set the meeting to be held at 4 p.m. in the Anaheim High School Cook Auditorium. The auditorium will hold 1,300 people which should help ensure there’s room for people wanting to attend. A near-riot broke out two weeks ago when people, wanting to attend the meeting were turned away because the council chambers were full, took to the streets to protest.
The Council will consider whether to place the citizen driven initiative to bar the council from giving away future bed tax revenue to developers without a vote of the public. Proponents fell short of the needed signatures to place the proposal on the ballot. A Council majority, of Members Gail Eastman, Harry Sidhu, and Kris Murray, has consistently opposed such restrictions and voted in favor of a $158 million giveaway earlier this year to spur the development of luxury hotels in the Disneyland area Garden Walk district.
The second initiative proposes to establish six City Council districts. Council members would have to reside in the district they wish to represent and only the voters of the individual districts would select their representatives. The proposal is in response to an ACLU lawsuit which seeks to force the city to establish districts due to perceived violations of the California Voting Rights Act. Support for the proposal is mixed because some proponents believe that six districts are not enough for a city the size of Anaheim. They advocate for eight smaller districts.
The Orange County Register reports this morning that George Kalogridis, the Disneyland Resort president is calling on the Council to place the proposed council district initiative on the ballot. From the OC Register story:
Disneyland Resort‘s president is taking the rare step of urging the Anaheim City Council to consider allowing elections by district in a city where Disney is the largest employer and biggest tax generator.
George Kalogridis, the Disneyland Resort president, sent a letter to Anaheim City Council members on Tuesday, the day before the council is scheduled to discuss whether a proposal to elect council members by district, instead of at-large, should go on the ballot.
At a special council meeting last week, the council majority of Eastman, Sidhu, and Murray signaled support for Murray’s proposal to set up citizen’s commission study the electoral process in Anaheim rather than take immediate action.
Tonight’s meeting is the final opportunity for the Council to place either initiative on the November ballot before the August 10th deadline.
The meeting begins at 4 p.m. at Anaheim High School which is located at 811 W. Lincoln Ave. Speakers will have three minutes to address the council. Groups supporting and opposing the initiative proposals, as well as the City Council, are unified in support of at least one thing. They hope that, regardless of decision that may be made tonight, any protests be peaceful, non-violent, respectful of private property and lawful expression of free speech.