Tom Tait: For “Corporate Cronyism” Before He Was Against It

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

The more I read other political blogs praising the conservative bonafides of Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and his principled stance against corporate cronyism, the more I question the ability of people to research his record and be honest about it.

From OC Political:

“It would seem to behoove good local Republican politicians to know what the goings on are in their county’s Central Committee, particularly when a monthly meeting might be featuring one of their cohorts on their own council. Mayor Tom Tait was a guest speaking at the meeting just a few months ago. He delivered a very different message. His message was that he stood alone fighting the battle of fiscal conservatism on the Anaheim City Council. The 4-1 vote in favor of extending tax rebates (TOTs) to hotel developers (Tait was the only dissenter) seems to bolster this claim by Mayor Tait.

From the OC Register via the Official Tom Tait Blog, er “Save Anaheim” on the city’s negotiations with the Angels:

“I would not do the deal,” said Mayor Tom Tait, the sole dissenter in the City Council’s Sept. 3 vote to proceed with negotiations using the staff proposal as the basis for talks. “That land belongs to the people, and we need to protect the people. We certainly value the Angels, but the economic value to the city doesn’t merit giving away the land for free.”

The fact of the matter is Tom Tait was a big supporter of corporate cronyism long before he was against it.

In 2012, Tait and the entire Anaheim City Council, approved tax incentives for targeted Anaheim businesses through the creation of the Anaheim Enterprise Zone.  The tax incentives offered included tax credit for hiring, sales, use tax credits, business deductions, net interest deductions, and net operating loss carry-forward credits.

In 2011, Tait and the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved the city use of $20 million for citywide TOT for the development of the Grand Plaza in Anaheim, which created an extension of the convention center and direct benefit to the Anaheim Marriott and the Anaheim Hilton Hotels.

In 2003, Tait and the council majority approved a city renegotiation with the Anaheim Sheraton so they, in turn, could provide more favorable terms for Morton’s Restaurant in Anaheim.  The added benefit on the lease allowed for a refurbishment of the hotel and the Morton’s to be built.

In 2002, with Tait’s vote there were two unanimous approvals of the city council for a 50 percent TOT sharing. One for the Anaheim Sheraton which was never done due to restricted financing.  The other was a 50 percent TOT share for any expansion of a convention center hotel through the Convention Center TOT Sharing Program.  The only hotel to enter into this agreement was the Doubletree.

Tait’s record on the GardenWalk project goes back to 2002 as well.  He voted yes on the city proving a 50 percent sales tax rebate to the GardenWalk for 30 years for the funding of its parking structure and a 50 percent TOT sharing agreement.  It was a unanimous vote of the city council.

In 1996, Tait approved the city-financed parking structure for Disneyland, the convention center expansion, street and infrastructure improvements and sign replacements via a TOT and other taxes.  The TOT in this case is three cents of every 15 percent of the TOT for all hotels in Anaheim’s resort area and a full 100 percent of all the growth of TOT, sales taxes, property taxes from Disney properties over the course of 30 years.

And way back in 1995, after Tait was appointed to the council, he voted in favor of a 1 percent TOT increase for site acquisition costs for the arena now known as the Honda Center.

As a pro-business Democrat, I don’t have a problem with government investing in areas to stimulate job creation and sales growth.  If Anaheim wasn’t offering these sort of business incentives for local businesses, other municipalities would and do.  The State of Michigan, for example, sent a delegation of people in the economic development office to the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in hopes of luring electronics companies to relocate to Michigan or place their North American headquarters in Michigan through a combination of tax incentives and other taxpayer-funded enticements.

And when it comes to businesses sucking from the “public teat”, as it’s so often described, Tait & Associates has no problem using public funds for training purposes.

The State of California offers private companies grants for training employees on a variety of equipment using new computers and new software applications and Tait & Associates applied for these grants several times.  From the website http://www.etp.ca.gov/ : The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs. The ETP was created in 1982 by the California State Legislature and is funded by California employers through a special payroll tax. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency. Businesses determine their own training needs and how to provide training. ETP staff is available to assist in applying for funds and other aspects of participation.

According to state records, in 2004/05,Tait & Associates was approved for $334,620 in contracts to train 234 employees from May 2005 to May 2007.  The earned amount of the grant was $114,685 and 145 employees were trained in a company that reported 265 people working at the business.  In 2006/07, Tait & Associates was approved for $283,500 to train 210 employees from May 2007 to May 2009 (about three weeks after the expiration of the first grant).  Tait & Associates reported 128 people were trained but the company shrunk to 227 people.  In 2009/10,Tait & Associates got a third ETP grant to train 125 employees for $75,500; 53 were trained but the business was down to 162 people.

In all, Tait & Associates had their employees trained on new computers and software to the tune of more than $320,000 in taxpayer funds after having been approved for nearly $700,000 – all to help a private business train employees to better do their jobs.  So nearly nearly twice as many people were trained than are currently employed at Tait &Associates.  Was Tom Tait himself trained with these state dollars?

I don’t have a problem with Tait using a state economic development program to train his staff, if it leads to job creation.  Tait & Associates seems to have a much lower headcount today than they did a few years ago.  Maybe he needs more OCTA contracts?

Saint Tait’s clown car of supporters seem to think any public investment in private business entities is a sin as evidenced by their repeated criticisms of Angels negotiations, attacks on the Anaheim Chamber, and attacks on anyone who dare criticize his honor for taking a principled stance ought to be asking Tait why he talks the talk without walking the walk.  Or better still, why his reputation as a taxpayer champion isn’t backed up by his record.

Tait voted against the Angels deal in 1996.  He’s against the current draft proposal for the Angels.  And he was against the amended GardenWalk TOT in 2012.  Other than that, Tait’s been a consistent “yes” vote on all sorts of “crony capitalism.”  And we haven’t even gotten all the records for Tait’s firm’s work for hotels in nearby Garden Grove that got even sweeter deals from that city than Anaheim did..but those records are forthcoming.  But Tait isn’t accountable to *those* taxpyaers, right?

  44 comments for “Tom Tait: For “Corporate Cronyism” Before He Was Against It

  1. Show Me the Money
    January 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    TKO for Dan Chmielewski!

    Is Cynthia Ward now going to tell us that corporate welfare is OK as long as Tom Tait is getting it? Or that it just doesn’t matter because he’s such an awesome guy that the same rules don’t apply?

  2. January 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    The votes are well documented. The state records are well documented. I am still waiting for details on Tait’s work on behalf of Garden Grove hotels so I can drop that other shoe.

    And make no mistake. I support the idea of government investing in businesses to help them grow and expand and hire more employees. Just like I support the idea of government offering assistance in the form of free daycare, food stamps, energy assistance and job training for long term unemployed.

    But Tait’s votes and his statements do contradict each other. I’m sure Jason Young is searching for the video of each meeting….

  3. Cynthia Ward
    January 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Do you know who else backed those deals? Your girl Galloway. And for the record I myself supported many of them-or at least the ones I was aware of, some pre-date my watching City Hall. If you notice what those have in common, they all offer something in it for taxpayers. They are partnerships, just like Tait has agreed COULD happen on the Stadium deal to make it fair and balanced. The difference today is the Stadium deal takes away the benefits taxpayers did manage to retain in the 1996 deal, and we offer more, more, more, to Arte Moreno, under what I can only say are blatantly false pretenses.

    I do know the old Disney parking garage bond deal was even worse than what we ended up with (which sounded OK at the time but then became a disaster in retrospect) and do you know how it GOT more palatable? Tom Tait negotiated better benefits for taxpayers, so we at least got less hosed than was originally planned, and you can see THAT in the old meeting minutes that Anaheim’s highly skilled City Clerk has put online, all the way back to the City’s formation as a lonely dirt-track village.

    Hey Dan, do you know what that is called? Compromise. Working together to find common ground. You know, the stuff Galloway says SHE will bring to the dance because she claims Tait is unwilling. Apparently, as you highlight here, Tait is capable and willing to find a halfway point. What he is not willing to do (and what you seem to miss) is compromise his values by letting the corporate cronyism completely bend the taxpayer over without viable benefits. I guess that is what Galloway means by bringing a new direction to City Hall.

    By the way Dan, you do all that research all by yourself? Or did someone GIVE it to you? Better yet, where were you seen recently, doing “research?”

  4. January 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Actually Cynthia, Lorri voted no on more than a few of these deals except of course where the council’s vote was unanimous. You’re overstating Tait’s involvement in the Disney Parking structure negotiations and you’ve completely ignored the business deals Tait & Associates is involved in just over the border in Garden Grove.

    Yes, I did the research by myself. Its not that difficult.

    Love the last paragraph. I did have a meeting at Curt Pringle’s office last week; I posted it on Facebook to get the tongues wagging. And its like shooting fish in a barrel. Mr. Pringle and I discussed high speed rail and the 1996 Angels negotiations as well as the city’s negotiations with the Ducks and the Rams. We didn’t really talk about the current MOUs at all.

    He did ask me some questions about my business, but since I only do Technology PR, there were no subcontracts to dangle before me. I remain independent and to the left. Now that I have come clean, would you like to? Who is funding CATER? Transparency is a window, not a mirror. I’m going to guess there’s a PAC behind it partially funded by the Tait Family Trust. Am I warm?

    But fair warning, I’m going to continue digging into every vote Saint Tait has made for future posts. I have some juicy stuff coming.

  5. January 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Tait doesn’t compromise Cynthia; his way or the highway. And then makes “principled” statements about protecting taxpayers when his record clearly doesn’t reflect it.

  6. gabriel san roman
    January 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Tait’s work on Garden Grove hotels? I’ve already been there and done that…and not as a proxy hack for LoGal or anyone else for that matter.

  7. Jason Young
    January 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Dan I am aware of Mayor Tait’s record and have discussed many of these items with him personally. I’m sure he would love to sit down and explain his positions with you. Give him a call.

  8. January 24, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Ran into the anti-everybody Duane Roberts on the bus, and he went on about Tait’s “hypocrisy” in accepting corporate welfare in Garden Grove that he opposes in Anaheim as Mayor.

    And I thought for a moment, and said, “That doesn’t REALLY make him a hypocrite (even assuming it’s all true.) He’s in charge of stewarding Anaheim’s resources. He’s NOT in charge of stewarding Garden Grove’s resources.”

    And for a minute or two, Duane was uncharacteristically quiet, unable to argue with that.

  9. Jason Young
    January 24, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Tait isn’t accepting corporate welfare in GG Vern just because his firm has worked on projects associated with hotels that received subsidies.

    • January 26, 2014 at 9:53 am

      Jason, I would argue that perhaps Tait is against these projects in Anaheim to make the ones his firm profits from in GG more competitive for hotels and guests. He he a vested financial interest in another’s city’s hotel projects that are close to Disneyland succeed.

    • January 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Weak! He financially benefits from being a hypocrite Jason. If there was a SavegardenGrove blog, they would decry the deals Tait & Associates got.

  10. gabriel san roman
    January 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

    …Until that awkward moment when you realize why Tait, as a steward of Anaheim’s resources, often recuses himself from certain votes because of potential conflicts of interest.

    • January 26, 2014 at 9:51 am

      We recuses himself on quite a bit GSR. OCTA votes while sitting on the OCTA board and his company holding OCTA contracts. I still believe he is only on the board so he can be aware of contracts to bid on when his term as mayor ends. Easier to sell to people you know after all.

  11. gabriel san roman
    January 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

    That was a reply to Vern, btw. This blog’s format sucks!

    • January 26, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Yeah, it’s a remarkably similar commenting format as OCWeekly. Hard to follow a string there too

  12. Cult of Personality
    January 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Jason, if anti-gay marriage conference wanted to hire your company to video their conference, would you do it? Would it be OK to help them because it’s just a job?

  13. Cult of Personality
    January 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Why doesn’t Tait comment here himself, Jason? Why can he only explain in private and one-on-one, why he isn’t being hypocritical?

  14. Cult of Personality
    January 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    If the info Dan is posting were about someone Cynthia Ward opposes, like Kris Murray or Harry Sidhu, she’d be all over it, calling them hypocrites and leeches here and on Orange Juice. But since it’s Tait, she ignores it and attacks Lorri Galloway. None of his attack dogs have tried to defend the computer training corporate welfare, and they don’t have the integrity to criticize Tait.

  15. gabriel san roman
    January 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Dan C — you’ll have credibility wagering these issues when you extend an invitation to Mayor Tait for a softball interview the likes of that with Kris Murray posted here before, LOL!

    • January 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      And who died and left you in charge of determining credibility?

  16. gabriel san roman
    January 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Weak salsa, Dan. I’ll just pop some popcorn and watch you pathetic hacks slap box each other!

  17. Jason Young
    January 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Why would Tait care how competitive the hotels in GG are? He runs a civil engineering firm not an investment bank. Mayor Tait is a Boy Scout for God’s sake not a manipulative greedy snake like his former pal Curt Pringle. If you knew the man you wouldn’t make such ridiculous accusations.

  18. Dan Chmielewski
    January 26, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Jason — I can give you hundreds of thousands of rea$onS why. He derives business from these hotels; they compete for guests staying close to Disneyland. If Tait can limit the number of 4 and 5 star hotels in Anaheim while letting those in GG achieve that status, mission accomplished. Check signed for Tait & Associates for “civil engineering.”

    He is a Boy Scout!? He just plays one on TV.

  19. Dan Chmielewski
    January 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I’m sure the view from the cheap seats suits you just fine.

  20. Jason Young
    January 26, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    You can try as hard as you like to smear the good name of Mayor Tait but it will never stick. Just like no matter what Murray, Eastman, Brandman, and Kring do they will always be seen as the Disney villains.

    • January 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm

      Tell me Jason, has Tait offered an opinion on marriage equality?

  21. Dan Chmielewski
    January 26, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Pay attention son; the $34 million was accounted for by city staff from the dais at last week’s meeting. The is quite a bit developed at the Park now. I was at the farmer’s marketing today and watched some o the lacross tournament on several of the fields ready for play. Plus, there’s a lot of food being grown for the OC Second Harvest charity. When was the last time you were at the Great Park?

    Wait until the Great Wolf Lodge is finished. A $300 million hotel resort with 600 rooms (and room for 200 more) with a parking garage and several restaurants that will become one of the largest indoor-outdoor waterparks in the country. They are shooting for 4 or 5 star status. The engineering firm with the contract? Tait & Associates

    • Ryan Cantor
      January 26, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Really, Dan? They’re the EPC firm with the contract? For the 300 million. I’ve done zero research on it and I’m gonna go out on a limb and call bologna. Shoot me a link that states otherwise.

      I’m glad you enjoyed some lacrosse. I hope those blades of grass were made of shredded $100 bills grown at that organic farm of yours. What are money trees going for these days? $200 million or is it just $197,000 a month?

      Anyway, Dan. I’m out. You posting links to websites supporting my claim on hotels was an absolute classic. Thanks for that. Keep up the good work.

      Regarding the $34,000,000, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

    • Ryan Cantor
      January 26, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      I was curious, so I looked. $25,000. That’s the kind of bid that gets awarded for one or two tasks. You’ll recall that Jordan Brandman was paid more to cut and paste from Wikipedia by the County of Orange. Given typical profit margins in engineering, I’d guess he (the company) made less than $5000 on that contract. Five grand, Dan. Keep ponying that around as your ace in the hole.

      http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/10/great_wolf_lodge_garden_grove.php

      Leave the real investigative journalism to the good folks at the Weekly, Dan. You suck at it.

        • Ryan Cantor
          January 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

          You just get better and better, Dan.

          So this is actually a demolition and construction contract with the city of Garden Grove. It has nothing to do with the contract you assign it to above, other than it is prerequisite work. On a quick glance, it’s demo’ing sidewalk and putting in a street light. Whoopiedadoo.

          So, claiming that Tait owns a $300,000,000 engineering contract, when in fact he does not, in an effort to attack his credibility . . . is . . . well, jeez– what’s your definition of defamatory again?

          Furthermore, this was clearly competitively bid. AND there’s a freaking rate sheet attached. How much more transparent can you possibly get?

          Again, assuming typical margins on engineering contracts, Tait & Co probably made around $20,000 on this. Keep hangin’ your hat on those big numbers, buddy.

          • January 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

            I think you have reading comprehension issues Ryan. Tait is part of a $300 million contract that he routinely fights against for Anaheim. Please stop trying to place words in my mouth.

  22. Jason Young
    January 26, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Dan – As a devout Catholic I am assuming he is not for marriage equality but I also haven’t had that conversation with him. What I do know is that he and Julie have always treated my husband Michael and I like family.

  23. Ryan Cantor.
    January 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Really?

    Show me. So far, you’ve failed to demonstrate that.

    Dan’s defamatory defense, round 2 . . .

  24. Ryan Cantor
    January 27, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Really? Part of a $300 million contract?

    Show me.

    So far, you’ve failed miserably in your attempts to do so.

    I await with baited breath for Dan’s “I’m not defaming anyone by claiming something that’s completely and totally untrue” defense, part duex.

    • January 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      The Weekly reports that up to a quarter million in contracts by Tait & Associates for the hotel project dating back years; there is also the matter of political contributions made by the developer to Tait’s campaign….

  25. Ryan Cantor
    January 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Indeed they do, Dan.

    I’m sure it’s all for no-bid busy work with no firm deliverables, too.

    Anyway, for argument, I’m going to concede your point. Let’s see what happens:

    What you said:

    “A $300 million hotel resort with 600 rooms . . . The engineering firm with the contract? Tait & Associates.”

    What you should have said:

    “A $300 million hotel resort with 600 rooms . . . The engineering firm WITH LESS THAN ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT of the contract? Tait & Associates.”

    I think your original claim is a bit on the light side of reality. A bit on the heavy side of defamatory. That assumes the Weekly’s accounting (no reason to doubt it isn’t) is correct.

    I’m coining a new political term today, Dan. I’m going to call it the Chmielweski line: The point at which the significance of an item becomes semantic, immaterial, and/or irrelevant . . . yet totally irresistible to polarized political noisemakers. It would seem you spend a lot of time below that line.

  26. Jason Young
    January 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Ryan what do you expect from a guy who counts Matt Cunningham as a friend and who is friendly with mastermind Curt Pringle?

    • Ryan Cantor
      January 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      If he’s a friend of Matt’s, I expect him to at least be able to prioritize what’s important in a thread vs. a continual emphasis on semantics in an exhausted effort to win at all costs. He seems to cling to the Chmielweski line for dear life.

      Matt and I don’t see eye to eye on many things, but for the most part, we’re able to agree on what to fight about. I can’t say the same about Dan.

  27. Dan Chmielewski
    January 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    The Cantor Line: when principle changes depending on who it applies to.

    Yes, Matt is a friend. We can disagree about politics without calling each other names.

    I have one meeting with Curt Pringle to talk about high speed rail and we’re pals? Really? Can I apply that to your cellmate Jason? What was he in for?

    And Ryan, next time you want an example of misogyny, just read transcripts from your buddy William Fitzgerald — aren’t you both on the same email list?

    • Ryan Cantor
      January 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      The Chmielewski line strikes again! “I must . . . find . . . obscure . . . fact to cling to. Relevance . . . doesn’t matter! Must . . . keep . . . . . . . . . . arguing!”

      No, Dan. William Fitzgerald is not a friend of mine. I’ve never met the man. I would suppose that somewhere, some spammer has us on the same list.

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