A tentative Superior Court ruling handed down today means the controversial TOT-split agreement with the GardenWalk project is going to be coming back to the Anaheim City Council for what is essentially a re-vote.
Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) had been suing the project in court on various grounds, and it’s my understanding the court had been ruling against OCCORD…until now.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page on OCCourts.org:
Pet., OCCO, Petition for Writ of Mandate — Granted; The notice given of the Development contract fails to substantially comply with the Brown Act by only stating that the Counsel would discuss and consider the existing economic assistance contract and failing to state that it would authorize execution of the agreement. As such the Board’s action is void.
The Writ is to issue.
The ruling is essentially a technical and procedural one, rather than a judicial decision on the GardenWalk agreement itself.
The upshot: the agreement will have to be brought back before the Anaheim City Council, and the matter voted on all over again. At least this way, the anti-GardenWalk crowd won’t be able to complain they didn’t know a vote was going to take place. And they’ll have another chance to reiterate the phony claim it is a “$158 million giveaway” — which is quite a feat given that the project, and the revenues it would generate, doesn’t happen without the TOT split. Perhaps the Take Back Anaheim crowd will, at the same time, explain how to transform lead into gold — something equally impossible as the :”giveaway” claim.
It’s difficult to imagine a different outcome from the vote taken in early 2012. Two of the three pro-GardenWalk agreement votes are still on the council — Gail Eastman and Kris Murray — and they have been joined by another pro-GardenWalk vote, Jordan Brandman. Given that Brandman was on the receiving end of several hit pieces attacking him for that support and still emerged as the top-vote getter, there is every reason to believe he will continue to be a strong supporter.
Mayor Tom Tait will presumably remain in opposition. I don’t recall where Lucille Kring was at the time. Kring had opposed the subsequent “Take Back Anaheim” ballot-box budgeting initiative before she changed her position to support it, so it’s plausible to speculate she will oppose the TOT-split.