Anaheim City Council Trio Extends $44 Million Subsidy for Another Hotel Developer

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Another vote on a hotel subsidy in the Anaheim resort area came before the council yesterday evening, only this time, concerned residents were ready. Dissenting voices took to the podium arguing against the terms of a two-year extension for a planned nine-story, 252-room hotel near Disneyland.

After being burned earlier this year when a 3-2 vote secured a GardenWalk hotel project tax giveaway to the total tune of $158 million dollars, angry Anaheimers tried to stay ahead of the game, but by the end of the night, it mattered not.

The same three council members, Harry Sidhu, Gail Eastman, and Kris Murray, who approved the controversial GardenWalk deal, voted in favor of extending a previously agreed upon subsidy to Lake Development-Anaheim.

Though construction has not gotten off the ground yet, developer Larry Lake has been granted another chance at getting his hands on up to $44 million in transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue over a fifteen year period just the same. In the lead up, there were fears that the extension might seek out the same level of concessions as the GardenWalk hotel project, especially with a 'Let the People Vote' initiative potentially on the horizon, but such concerns didn't materialize.

"We are definitely not asking for any change in the agreement," Lake said, "only an extension in time."

But for Mayor Tom Tait and Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, the idea of giving the original terms as they were in 2009 a second spin was unconvincing as they both voted against it anyway.

"This property is on the corner of Harbor and Katella," Tait said noting its lucrative proximity to Disneyland. "Why are we subsidizing? Why would we write a check from our general fund...to get a hotel built?"

Such 'public-private' partnerships are couched in the banal terms of 'economic assistance programs,' but work in effect to create uneven playing fields, eviscerate potential tax revenues and don't contain any guarantees of living wages and local jobs as requirements.

Call it developer welfare and there's three Anaheim city council members who once again demonstrated their willingness to sign off on seedier hotel deals than those that take place in rented rooms just a little further down Harbor!

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