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.
And this article isn’t biased coming from a blog bought and paid for by the folks who support this outrageous deal?
Of course it is biased, Jason. I make it very plain these are my opinions (fact-based). The Voice of OC is supposed to be straight news reporting, not opinion or advocacy. I’m surprised you cannnot tell the difference.
But I am not bought and paid for by anyone, Jason. You ought to be ashamed of your childish, nasty behavior. Grow up, young man.
Nasty, childish behavior huh? You’re the one hiding behind an alias, claiming your info is based on “facts,” on calling me names.
The City Manager and former City Finance Director opposed this deal. Don’t you think he knows a bit more about the inner workings of Anaheim and our government then you or I. The OC Register editorial team also opposed this deal. Not to mention Mayor Tait who actually is a successful businessman unlike Murray, Eastman, or Brandman.
That land should be sold to a developer that can build a hotel without a subsidy. The only reason O’Connell needs a handout is because he is upside down on the property and because it is not economically sound. I’d like to also point out that only one Anaheim hotel has been built with a subsidy and it just happens to be another O’Connell property. My God even his brother took money from Garden Grove for his hotel.
Corporate welfare needs to stop NOW!
Jason, I have criticized your behavior, not you. And I have criticized it truthfully.
And if you read the staff report from a year ago, you would know there was a strange disconnect from the facts laid out in the report and the recommendation. According to the body of the report, the GardenWalk agreement was a net economic positive for the city, but the conclusion was at odds with the facts in the report. That was the strange part, and calls the city manager’s judgment and motivations into question.
Truth be told, if you were to review that meeting again you would hear the City Manager state in his staff report that the “proposed project is a good one, a very good one” and for many reasons. Also that the city staff does support incentivizing positive development in Anaheim. His ONLY concern was that the amendement of the existing economic assistance agreement may set a precedence due to the exceptional contribution. So to say that he is unequivocally opposed to the deal is not accurate.
Also, you state that “he knows a bit more about the inner workings of Anaheim and our government than you or I” but again the truth is that the City Manager was just formally appointed as such merely 7 months ago and had just been hired in November 2010 as our Finance Director. Now and after being employed by Anaheim for a little over two years, I am certain that the city manager will recognize that there are some very real and daunting issues before the city with respect to pensions and bond payments that will actually need the development of high-end hotels, such as the GardenWalk, to see us through longterm. In fact, it would be irresponsible to not support these hotel projects when one fully understands the longterm issues that face Anaheim.
Finally, you state that the mayor is actually a successful businessman versus his three colleagues on the council. May I remind you that his business actaully has profitted greatly from exactly these sorts of public-private partnership projects. In fact, the Garden Grove hotel that you cite in your attempt to character assassinate Mr. O’Connell’s brother made Tait and Associates quite wealthy, which I actually take no issue with, but let us just call a spade, a spade. The issue I do have, however, is the fact that this mayor has made and will continue to make an excellent living from Garden Grove while attempting to obliterate it’s only competition, Anaheim.