"Jordan Brandman's public support of the now infamous $158 million GardenWalk hotel project tax giveaway is sure to not carry much favor with the Take Back Anaheim crowd, either, especially when developer Bill O'Connell and councilman Harry Sidhu are counted among his backers. "
Read the full story here:
Jordan Brandman with Giveaway 3 members Kris Murray and Harry Sidhu.
From the NY Times:
For more than a generation, Disney has been the power center of the city. The park draws millions of visitors each year and is the city’s largest property tax payer and employer.
In 2007, when a developer proposed a high-rise building with affordable housing, Disney spent more than $2 million to back a group called Save Our Anaheim Resort Area, which opposed the plan and successfully persuaded the city to abandon the idea. Since then, the group changed the verb in its name from “save” to “support” and has created a political action committee that funneled thousands of dollars to candidates, largely money collected from Disney and businesses near the resort, while Disney has continued to donate millions directly to candidates. Disney officials point out that they donate millions of dollars to local nonprofit groups every year.
“Our political action committee is focused on electing resort-district-friendly officials, not just at City Hall but also county supervisors and state senators, anyone voting on matters that would affect the district,” said Jill Kanzler, the executive director of the group.
Earlier this year, tensions flared when the City Council approved a tax incentive to a developer for a $283 million project to build two luxury hotels across from Disneyland. Typically, the city collects a 15 percent tax for every stay in the city. The incentive plan will allow the developers to keep the money from the tax for the next 15 years, an amount estimated to be $158 million.
“Throughout the city people are facing real problems with working poverty and struggling to get the resources and attention that others parts of town get routinely,” said Eric Altman, the executive director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, an advocacy group that has been critical of city government. “There is the basic question of why is it in a city with those kind of resources can we have such extreme poverty?”
Mr. Altman said the most recent tax deal is “essentially the city printing money” for investors in the resort area.
Anaheim resident, business owner, latino leader, and former Los Amigos President Amin David denounced Jordan Brandman at an Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) board meeting on February 16, 2012.
Jordan Brandman voted to defer developer fees to his business cronies working on GardenWalk and the Platinum Triangle. This robbed the students of AUHSD of a vital stream of revenue.
This was the first time Jordan Brandman supported the giveaway of our tax dollars. Jordan Brandman went on to voice his SUPPORT of $158 milllion in tax subsidies to the GardenWalk hotel develoepr Bill O'Connell.
After voting to defer the developer fees that should have gone to AUHSD students, Jordan Brandman received the Red Tape to Red Carpet award from the Orange County Business Council.
Here is Jordan Brandman accepting his award for diverting funds away from AUHSD students and into the hands of developers. Only in Anaheim do corrupt politicians receive awards for their unethical behavior.
From Jordan Brandman's quiestionaire submitted to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC:
Here is the transcript of Amin David's speech at the AUHSD board meeting on February 16, 2012:
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Curt Pringle is pictured in the background of this image of Jordan Brandman.
I wanted to share a two-part series on our former Mayor Curt Pringle by a writer from the Voice of OC. This will give you more insight into the backdoor dealings happening at City Hall. Jordan Brandman has called Curt Pringle his "mentor."
But before you read on, let's throw out a few facts:
1. Curt Pringle endorsed Gail Eastman, Kris Murray, Jordan Brandman, and Steve Lodge.
2. Curt Pringle and his staff have given generously to all of their campaigns.
3. Curt Pringle's lobbying firm represented the GardenWalk Hotel developers that were given up to $158 million dollars in TOT subsidies.
Here is the two-part story:
"Resistance is Futile"
Anaheim Colony neighbors attending a monthly Anaheim Colony Potluck the day after our story on Gail Eastman broke, are reporting that Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman were starting a whisper campaign against Mayor Tait.
What misinformations were Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman spreading about Mayor Tait?
Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman were insinuating that Mayor Tait was behind the riots last week in front of Anaheim City Hall. Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman insinuated that Mayor Tait is actively involved with Take Back Anaheim which is spearheading an effort to allow the voters to approve any future TOT giveaways. Take Back Anaheim supporters are RUMORED to have been involved with egging folks outside Anaheim City Hall before the riots last week.
What's the truth?
1. Mayor Tait supports placing an initiative on the ballot that would allow residents to vote on future TOT giveaways.
2. Mayor Tait signed the petition in favor of the ballot initiative that Take Back Anaheim is supporting.
3. Mayor Tait has had NO involvement with Take Back Anaheim other then signing the petition.
I'd like to point out that some of the folks wishing to be heard on the police shooting matter couldn't get into chambers due to the overwhelming amount of union workers there supporting the TOT giveaway. Those union members were ASKED to be there by Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, Harry Sidhu, SOAR, OCBC, and all the other folks who approve of the giveaway of our tax money.
Sadly, these union members are just being used as a tool to spin the story. 'Cause we all know that it's all about JOBS, right? Wrong. The GardenWalk deal was signed in May of 2009 (over 3 years ago) and Bill O'Connell hasn't even broken ground yet. By the time these hotels are built, the recession will be over. I don't know about my readers, but if work in my industry dried up, I'd get re-educated in a new profession and find work elsewhere, and not grovel at Anaheim City Council meetings asking for a hand out. Not to mention the fact that there is NO provision in the agreement that forces the developer to use local workers or pay the prevailing wage.
Why would Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman make such statements?
Overall this is just another attempt by Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman to smear Mayor Tait's reputation because he didn't bow to SOAR, OCBC, OCTAX, DISNEY, and all the other special interest groups out to fleece the residents of Anaheim for the benefit of their wealthy contributors. It might also be retaliation for Mayor Tait dropping his endorsement of Jordan Brandman.
I have spent almost every day for the past two weeks or so trying to connect all the dots regarding the GardenWalk Hotel Development. i couldn't figure out why Disney (a.k.a. SOAR) would spend so much money influencing Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu to vote for the $158 million TOT giveaway.
Then this morning I started looking through the staff reports issued by the City of Anaheim and found this:
See the original document via this link:
I also find it interesting that the City of Anaheim points out that the agreement is inconsistent with the adopted incentive program.
Pictured above is Disney lobbyist Carrie Nocella, Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray, and Orange County Business Council President Lucy Dunn.
How much money did Disney (a.k.a. SOAR) and the OCBC spend to get Kris Murray and Gail Eastman elected?
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Jordan Brandman and his supporters claim that the GardenWalk Hotel project is needed to stimulate job growth in Anaheim.
The truth is that the GardenWalk developers entered into the original TOT agreement on May 26, 2009 and then AMENDED it on August 24, 2010 to give them 2 more years to complete the project.
It's now over 3 years later and construction on the project STILL hasn't begun. By the time construction begins, the recession more then likely will be over.
I predict Bill O'Connell will come back to council this year asking for another extension to complete the project and want not just 80% of the TOT but 100%. After all, Bill O'Connell needs to create jobs for the community that may or may not happen sometime in the distant future. It has nothing to do with greed and corporate welfare.
Bill O'Connell already owns 5 hotels in the Disneyland Resort area. Here is a link to his vast hotel portfolio:
Are you telling me he can't use his own personal wealth to build these hotels on his own? Are you telling me he can't get credit to build a hotel adjacent to Disneyland? But why try either of those avenues when you can take tax revenue from the residents of Anaheim.
The job's rhetoric is just a way for Jordan Brandman, Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu to spin the story.
In the midst of widespread unrest in the City of Anaheim over recent police shootings, the 'Giveaway 3' (Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Harry Sidhu) decided to spend the first 20 minutes of the council meeting presenting their case for TOT tax giveaways to wealthy and well-connected developers.
Still shot taken from presentation:
A comment from a concerned resident:
Kris Murray and Harry Sidhu reside in the affluent area known as Anaheim Hills or 'The Hills.'
The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce is also financially connected to Disney. In 2010, Disneyland gave $55,000 in political contributions to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC.
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In addition, the Chamber received $5000 from Bill O'Connell owned hotel properties. These folks are linked together and wielded their power to influence our Anaheim City Council (excluding Mayor Tait and Mayor Pro Tem Lorri Galloway) to give up to $158 million in TOT tax money to Mr. O'Connell.