Anaheim, OC Leaders Call On Newsom To Finish Job, Re-Open Conventions and Meetings

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu

Orange County and Anaheim leaders representing business, labor and local government  held a press conference on March 11 to support Newsom Administration actions to accelerated re-opening of the Disneyland Resort and Angel Stadium, while warning that the Governor’s failure to issue meeting guidelines for convention centers and hotels undermines efforts to revive the Anaheim Resort economy and the jobs and businesses it supports.

The press conference was held at the Westin Anaheim, which was completed last year but remains closed due to the absence of re-opening guidelines from the state.

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu and Councilman Avelino Valencia (whose district includes the Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center), as well as hotel owners and employees, small business owners and union representatives addressed the devastation causes by the shut down, the hope generated by the impending re-opening of Disneyland and the urgency of obtaining similar re-opening guidelines for conventions and business meetings.

“We now have a path forward for the Disneyland Resort and Angels Baseball,” said Mayor Sidhu. “Today, I’m proudly declaring the Anaheim comeback.”

“There is still more work to do in Anaheim,” the mayor continued. He noted the rapid pace of vaccinations – Anaheim is home to two vaccination super PODS – and stated that overcoming COVID and economic re-opening can move in tandem.

“We can fight coronavirus while working on economic recovery,” declared Sidhu.

“It’s true what they say: we never really know what you have until it’s gone,” said Councilman Valencia. “The theme parks, Convention Center, hotels, and other businesses of the Anaheim Resort are the life of our city.”

Councilman Avelino Valencia

The pandemic shutdown has had a uniquely devastating impact on Anaheim’s economy, thanks in large part to the Newsom Administration’s mystifying foot-dragging on issuing workable re-opening guidelines on theme park re-opening.

No large California city has been affected as much as Anaheim,” said Valencia. “And it’s not just City Hall: working families and small businesses have suffered. Fifteen thousand people are out of work. Thousands of small businesses have closed – some for good.”

“Many of these small businesses represent someone’s life investment,” Valencia continued. “And that’s why we’re here today.”

“We are ready and prepared to begin safely holding events at the Convention Center when the time is right.”

Visit Anaheim CEO Jay Burress

Jay Burress, CEO of Visit Anaheim, described how the huge economic cost to Anaheim, noting the 1st and 2nd quarters of this year are a total loss for the Convention Center due to the absence of convention guidelines. – the loss of more than $900 million in economic impact.

“This week we received the cancellation of a 3rd Quarter 2021 citywide convention, worth $35. 3 million in economic impact, that must move to another state due to no guidelines in California,” continued Burress, noting that another five large conventions, totaling more than $144 million in economic impact, are poised to cancel due to lack of guidelines.

Ernesto Medrano, representing the LA/OC Building Trades Council, which represents many of the tradesman who worked on the construction of the approximately  remarked on the reality working safely during the pandemic.

Ernesto Medrano

“All the trades have rapidly adapted and learned how to work with safety and health measures implemented in the anticipation of this reopening and us working on this hotel is a prime example of those safety measures,” said Medrano. “We’ve been doing it for months and added measures to protect the health and safety of our members and the general public.”

“We’re confident than the safety measures have been already implemented, and we’re ready to get back to work,” Medrano continued.


  1. No large California city has been affected as much as Anaheim,” said Valencia. “And it’s not just City Hall: working families and small businesses have suffered. Fifteen thousand people are out of work. Thousands of small businesses have closed – some for good. Many of these small businesses represent someone’s life investment,” Valencia continued. “And that’s why we’re here today.”

    I’m glad Avelino and presumably his five Council allies care so much about small business in Anaheim. I hope that means they will vote next month against the variance allowing Golcheh Properties to put a carwash, 7-11 and gas station on the northeast corner of Sunkist and Ball. That project would displace 8 or 9 small locally-owned businesses, who have not even been offered any help relocating, to the benefit of an LA speculator.

    I really do hope they care about locally owned small businesses, like they say they do.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      So you want them to “prove” they care about small business by telling a property owner what they can and can’t do with their property?


      • Thanks. I figured that’d be your argument.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          I have one, at least.

          You, on the other hand, only have shallow posturing.

          • When the office I rented in Santa Ana closed because the landlord sold the property to the School for the Performing Arts, I didn’t get any relocation assistance from the landlord or the city, not did I expect anything.

            When you sign a lease, you enter into a contract. You’ve agreed to terms. Those businesses being displaced will have plenty of storefronts to choose from — and likely with deals on rents. But lets not let Vern’s lack of business experience get in the way of a councilmember who soundly beat Vern’s client and candidate for city council.

    • Vern is an idiot

      Now Vern wants the city to be in the business of telling property owners who their tenants must be.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Let’s unpack your spin, Vern.

      Would you be less exercised if the property owner were an Anaheim “speculator”? Then there’s your attempt to demonize the property owner as a “speculator” – when it’s the property owner investing their money and assuming the risks.

      Are tenants always to be accorded relocation expenses, as a matter of right? Should tenants dictate to the property owner how the property shall be used? Is the government to be allowed to dictate to the property owner that they must maintain the current use in perpetuity? That’s what you’re saying – all of which undermines property rights…and ultimately, the rights of small businesses.

      • I don’t really want to have a philosophical discussion with you, I just wanted to know what your first reaction would be, and it’s kind of what I thought.

        By the way you removed an anonymous comment off this thread, one that said folks are quitting Anaheim First because they don’t like Sidhu’s corruption. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it seemed interesting that you deleted that rather than disputing it. It is true that we don’t hear much from “Anaheim First” these days.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          “I don’t really want to have a philosophical discussion with you…”

          So, you START the argument by stating that being supportive of property rights is somehow anti-small business, but after I respond you decide you no longer want to talk about it.

          I deleted that comment because it was complete and total crap from beginning to end.

  2. Quarantining healthy people doesn’t work….lesson learned…our state government is a disaster. RECALL HIM

  3. Vern and Jose are angry that they can’t sponge off the Jaeger House any longer for the Los Amigos scam. Imagine these LOSERS actually having to pay for something. Maybe Jose can do another GO FUND ME so he doesn’t have to touch his generous pension.

    I find it amazing when these guys with ZERO professional experience opine on multi-million dollar real estate transaction. all the while renting a room in Brea and the oasis known as Anna drive. YEP. Real savy investors those two!

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