The leftist advocacy group Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) has lost it more than three-year-long litigation against the economic assistance agreement between the City of Anaheim and the developer of the GardenWalk Hotels project. Orange County Superior Court Judge David McEachen ruled again against OCCORD and Briggs; appealing to the California Supreme Court is now their only option for keeping the nuisance lawsuit alive.
In it’s lawsuit, OCCORD has been selling the claim there was a “quid pro quo” of campaign donations for council approval in violation of state law.
Judge McEachen wasn’t buying, noting that “other than using the words “quid pro quo”” neither OCCORD nor Briggs managed to produce even an allegation – let alone evidence – of trading votes for contributions “or even that there was anything like a wink-wink-nudge-nudge implied understanding to vote in the contributor’s interest. No such allegations are made.”
You can read the judge’s ruling here.
The OCCORD/Briggs lawsuit has been derided as frivolous and doomed from the beginning, and the litigation has been repeatedly brushed back in court (see here and here). They have only succeeded in driving up the cost of the GardenWalk Hotels project delaying it, although the luxury hotels development is moving forward – with one of the hotels already branded as a 4-Diamond JW Marriott.
That is what progressives like OCCORD and Briggs do: delay and obstruct others who are risking capital to build and create jobs and opportunity while contributing little themselves. OCCORD progenitor and bankroller, the militant hotel workers union UNITE-HERE, is using the referendum process in an attempt to extort hotelier The Wincome Group into forcing employees of its two planned 4-Diamond hotels to join the union.
Tonight, OCCORD and UNITE-HERE’s political ally, Mayor Tom Tait, will be waging guerrilla warfare of a similar nature against those two hotel projects and Disney’s planned 4-Diamond hotels. The mayor requested agendizing a re-hash of the July 12 council vote approving the development agreements and TOT tax rebate agreements for the three projects.
Tait also agendized discussion of a particular aspect of one of the Wincome projects – the redevelopment of the 358-room Anabella Hotel as a 634-room luxury property. The mayor apparently believes it is a good use of the public’s time to once again discuss the Wincome Group purchasing a triangular piece of land adjacent to the Anabella Hotel while selling the city an easement on a similar size parcel for Convention Center parking.
What Mayor Tait is doing is taking his power to place items on the council agenda and exploiting it as a political organizing tool. Is there anything new to be said on the matter of these three projects? No, of course not. Mayor Tait will repeat, ad nauseum, the same false and misleading arguments he made on July 12. The usual parade of gadfly and allies of the mayor will troop the podium and spout the same phony claims. Tait endorsed council candidates Denise Barnes, Jose F. Moreno, Arturo Ferreras and Mark Lopez will almost certainly be there to give their rehearsed campaign talking points for the benefit of city television viewers and any media that might be present.
In other words, city resources are being harnessed to organize a giant media event for the benefit of the Tait Slate of council candidates. There’s really no other point to it.
If either Mayor Tait and Councilman James Vanderbilt invoke the free market in arguing, one hopes someone wonders out loud where that devotion to the free market was hiding when they voted to use the government to extirpate hundreds of legal, permitted small business in response to political pressure? Or – adding injury to injury — they voted to ratchet the fees those doomed business had to pay from $250 to as much as $1,095? Talk about government picking winners and losers.