I had high hopes for the Voice of OC when it launched a couple of years ago, but its coverage of Anaheim in general and GardenWalk in particular has been very biased. The Voice is almost a surrogate for the agenda of people and organizations like Dr. Jose Moreno, OCCORD and Los Amigos.
Take, for example, this paragraph from today’s Voice story on GardenWalk:
“The City Council first granted the subsidy to O’Connell’s partnership, GardenWalk Hotel I, in January 2012. The 3-2 vote revealed a spit on both the City Council and in the community, with neighborhood activists and good-government advocates pitted against a group of construction trade unions and influential business lobbyists closely linked to O’Connell.”
So if anyone who opposes this project is a benevolent “neighborhood activist” and a “good-government advocate,” but supporters are “construction trade unionists” and “influential business lobbyists.”
How incredibly biased and inaccurate. How unfair to individuals like myself who support this project, and aren’t unionists or “iinfluential business lobbyists,” but think the facts show GardenWalk to be a good deal for Anaheim.
The agreement with GardeWalk is good government. It is sound, forward-thinking economic development policy. It will make possible the development of a four-star hotel that will create thousands of jobs, strengthen the Resort Area’s competitive position as a tourist and convention destination, and will increase the city’s long-term TOT revenues.
The city is putting no cash into this deal. The 80% share comes from TOT revenues that don’t currently exist and will only come into existence if the project is built. There is no “giveaway.”
It is particularly disappointing to watch the vilification of Bill O’Connell, a wonderful man who has been a pillar of the Anaheim community for many years. This man, who has given back to the community for many years, is being publicly attacked and torn don by people and groups who are takers and constantly trying to extract “community benefits” from business and government.
There are many of us in the city who have no direct stake in this project but want the City Council to re-affirm its support and move the city forward on a path of continued economic growth and development.