Thursday, December 24, 2009
I am off to finish last minute shopping...at the GardenWalk.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Once the awards were given, the frustration began. Anaheim faces a $6 million budget shortfall this year. Of that $6mil, half of it will be cut from Community Services, which manages parks, libraries, etc. The head of Community Services, Terry Lowe, is a good man, who truly cares about his staff and his community, and this has to be killing him. Terry understands his payroll is not made up of numbers on employee badges, but names, and people, and families, and mortgages, and at this time of year, Christmas presents. Members of the unions who represent our employees packed the Chambers, begging for their jobs. Members of the community came to speak about how hard these people work. I do not think anyone in that room is saying that staff does not deserve their jobs, everyone gets how hard they work. The issue is how to cover those paychecks once they are written. Six million bucks is a lot of change to scrounge out of the couch cushions, and I do not envy the City Council, or the Department heads right now. Everyone wants to keep these folks working, the frustration is funding the funds. Kudos to City Council for stopping to respond to Public Comments, and reassure these workers that they are not cutting willy-nilly.
Then the frustration really began. For decades our Redevelopment staff has been issuing Rehab Loans, to homeowners in need of money for improvements. The loans carry a low interest rate, and are "silent seconds", paid back at the time of refinance or sale of the property. As the loans are repaid, the money is cycled into more loans, which regenerates improvements in perpetuity. But at least three of our Council members instructed staff to look into shifting the loans into grants. They wanted to give away home improvements valued at $10k each, to homeowners whose properties had a "high percentage of code and graffitti problems."
Eventually the fund would be depleted, in an economic environment when that money will not be replaced by other sources. Council members Kring, Hernandez, and Sidhu all copped to suggesting this, which surprised me since it sounded like a Galloway scheme. I admit it, I fear for our City when Curt Pringle leaves, as he was the only one who caught this insanity, pulled it from the Consent Calendar, and wrestled it to the ground before killing it.
It would be kind of fun if we could figure out how to take those Community Service employees, many of whom specialize in laying sod, planting trees, painting buildings, fixing lights, and put them to work improving the neighborhoods that need the rehab money.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Come make trouble with me, the grown ups are letting me play with their toys.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
We, the people of Anaheim, descend from dreamers, people who either settled here when Juan Pacifico Ontiveros insisted the entire region could not support a goat, or brave folk who left family and friends behind to settle a growing region in recent years. But whether we came recently, or have been here for generations, we are dreamers, lured by the California promise of a better life. So can someone please tell me why our kids play at Glover Stadium which looks like something from South Central Los Angeles, while we spend $200k for a Rose Parade float glorifying a baseball team we recently sued for humiliating us? Anyone?
I admit, I love Mondays, they are like the calendar equivalent of a blank sheet of paper waiting to be drawn upon. But then I pick up the newspaper and see how small and petty and unimaginative some of our Civic dreams are, and it is tough to drive past City Hall without screaming in futility. Why is it that so few of our leaders understand how to dream big dreams? Why can they not see how amazing our City could be with a little attention, a little love, and a whole lot of paint and trees? Just wondering on a Monday morning.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The prayers of many go out to the friends and family of Justin Swanson.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Anaheim Firefighters Association
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
South District Neighborhood Council has also just completed a new website, you can catch up with them at www.SouthAnaheimNeighborhoodCouncil.org
Meghan Shigo also has Michelle Lieberman working on the Colony website. The website had initially been built by Mike Tucker, but Meghan took over the money sucking project when Mike and his lovely (and patient) wife Jennifer abandoned ship for Albuquerque. Check out the new calendar function at http://anaheimcolony.com. For those who miss Mike, you can catch up with him at www.besthomesnm.com
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Dan is conducting an experiment as part if his degree program, but I will let him explain it to you here. Looks like fun, but then the Harrisons always are. http://colonypaperclip.blogspot.com/
Monday, November 2, 2009
John MacMurray, Democrat from La Habra
Linda Ackerman, Carpetbagging Republican from Irvine now Fullerton
Richard Faher, Republican, Placentia Businessman
Chris Norby, Republican, Will chase women from any city, but goes home to his wife in Fullerton (this week at least)
Jane Rands, Green Party, System Engineer from Fullerton
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Dr.'s Tom and Cynthia Coad for Courage
Kiwanis of Greater Anaheim for Heart
George Adams for Brains
Janet Lee for Glenda
Debbie Herman for Auntie Em
Anna Kunkle for Lolly Pop
Anaheim Interfaith Shelter/Halcyon for Yellow Brick Road
Disney VoluntEARS/Disneyland Resorts for Munchkin Land
Glad to see our civic spirit returning to Anaheim! I have to serve one more year of indentured servitude to Mr. Schroeder's Loara Band Tournament that same weekend, and then I can participate too! Congrats to the winners, and thanks to the Fall Festival Committee for all your hard work, often against overwhelming odds.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Saturday, September 19, the GardenWalk is hosting a MusicFest with 11 local bands, including Blues Bettie, Dig Jelly, the Armand Blaise Orchestra, and more. Music includes blues, salsa, jazz, modern, alternative, funk, big band, sounds like an eclectic mix at a venue that I alwasys find fun (until hubby sees the MasterCard bill from the Georgiou's Boutique located at the GardenWalk)
The MusicFest is 11 am to 10:30 pm, FREE to the public, anaheimgardenwalk.com
Also on Saturday, The Fab Four are playing at the Pearson Park amphitheatre, 8 pm to 10 pm. Richard and I loved this last year, but check to see if tickets are still available, as last year folks were out front begging to buy any seats! 714-765-5274 or anaheim.net/comm_svc/pearson
And next week, 80s rock icon Billy Squier is playing The Grove, Wednesday September 23rd. Tickets are $32.50 to $49.50. thegroveofanaheim.com
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Now for leadership of the future. Tom Tait announced today his candidacy for Mayor in 2010. Tom had been appointed to City Council many moons ago, and then relayed that seat into re-election for another term. So it appears he will be back, running against Lucille Kring for Pringle's termed out spot. We have 2 Republicans running for one non-partisan seat (not that the parties have ever stayed out of the local races) so it looks to be an interesting race.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Okay, so the link to Anaheim is a little iffy, but roll with me here. A young film-maker named Daniel-Califf-Glick contacted me with an invite for local history junkies to come see his new film, "The Triumph Of William Henry Harrison", playing Thursday, August 27th at the IndieFest here in Anaheim. His thought was that history nerds tend to love all history, not just local stuff, and I think he's right. Now keep in mind the film is a "mockumentary", based on "conspiracy theories" surrounding the death of Harrison. So the thing is gonna be really amusing, or really bad, there is rarely a middle ground here. But I love the enthusiasm of a young film-maker who pulls out all the stops and calls and emails around to gin up support for his project. So Richard and I are going, and invite others to join us. The theatre is at Downtown Disney (get your parking validated at the theatre, the Mouse values their parking spaces). 7 pm August 27.
For the Real Deal:
In other news that is actually connected to Anaheim, the Chamber of Commerce contract comes up for renewal and negotiation with City Council on Tuesday, August 25, at a meeting that starts at 5 pm sharp. The Chamber has a contract to host special events that promote Anaheim business, and the contract runs fiscal year to year. That makes advance planning difficult for long term goals, which is not an efficient use of resources. They are instead asking for a 3 year contract, which makes much more sense in a tight economy, if anything we do not have to pay for staff reports every year to review a contract that has been great for everyone involved. Todd Ament has brought new life to a Chamber that had been stuffy and innefficient at best, and I would follow them into battle any day under Todd's leadership. The Chamber has elevated events like Taste of Anaheim to new highs, and promoted all sorts of business networking and information programs that include all walks of Anaheim citizens. If you agree, and would like to show support, please attend the Council meeting in Council Chambers, City Hall, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd, at 5 pm. You need not speak if you are not comfortable, at some point someone will ask for a show of support, and you may simply stand to let Council know you support the Chamber's new contract.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
In other County Supe news, Lorri Galloway had recently (and arrogantly) told Red County Blogmeister Matt Cunningham that she would be the ONLY Dem in the race for 4th District. Asked about that OTHER Dem running for office, Tom Daly, her answer was, "If I were him, I wouldn't, and I'm going to do everything I can to get his endorsements." Poor Lorri, believing the press spin she has created. Sorry girlfriend, but Union support and public support are not the same thing. Did you really think that the adoring crowds who worship at your feet during Union protests in the Resort are Anaheim voters? Did Ada Briseno not bother telling you that they were bussed in from Los Angeles, most do not actually work for the Anaheim Resort, and none of them can vote for you? Sorry, guess I let the cat out of the bag. Seems as of this morning, Daly is pulling in some north county endorsements from Democrat politicos that are disinclined to acquiesce to Lorri's request. Means No. Oh and in case anyone is keeping score, Lorri is another Hills resident who does not live in the 4th District.
In the event Sidhu and/or Galloway actually rent apartments here, (They could share a lease, maybe. Not a hardship, since neither will ever see each other in the condo) and should they actually deign to sleep in those apartments, it does not give them the same insight to the day to day issues that residents of the 4th District face, challenges that are frequently unheard of in the Hills. The candidate who does best understand those issues is the man who grew up here in the flatlands. That would be Tom Daly.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
First up are some transportation meetings.
"Monorail To TrafficLand"
Today, Wednesday, July 29, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201, is a presentation on the Fixed Guideway Transit Corridor Study. Before you yawn at the title, think Monorail. The project, which is proposed as an above ground "Fixed Guideway" will transport passengers from the soon-to-be-built ARTIC center at the Stadium to the Platinum Triangle and Anaheim Resort District. Yes, buses are cheaper, but this is so much sexier. And if all those condos get built in the PT when the economy improves, trust me, we will want a way to get above those passenger vehicles sitting in their gridlock. God help us trying to get to a game. Today's events are either 3 to 5 pm, or 6 to 8 pm. anaheimfixedguideway.com
Tomorrow, you can bring your monorail-induced enthusiasm for mass transit to a presentation on ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Intermodal Transportation Center. This will be Anaheim's answer to Grand Central Station, located at the Anaheim Stadium, where one may now catch the Metrolink or Greyhound. The Register reports that the City has spent $24 million dollars for the design work, so it might be nice for folks to show up and see where the money went. Frankly, for twenty four million bucks the darned thing better produce flying monkeys for entertainment. See it for yourself at the OCTA Headquarters, 600 S. Main Street in Orange, from 5 to 7 pm Thursday. octa.net/artic
On a bitter note, it is interesting to see them spending so much for a new glorified train station. This from the government that relocated our historic train station, converting it to a YMCA PreSchool, which has now been listed as a "taking" for the new High Speed Rail project.
"Partner With the Police"
And the other opportunity for public input is a meeting this evening with the Anaheim Police Department at the Downtown Community Center. The meeting is from 7 to 8:30, and is intended to "better address issues brought forward by members of the Colony community". IE: we hear you whining to the Mayor during breakfast at Mimi's. It would be great to see a good turnout tonight. We have been successful in "taking back" the area, but the mentality has become one of complacency, and that relaxed attitude appears to be allowing some of that undesirable element to creep back in. Now before Gustavo gets his Calvins in a twist, by undesirable I mean drug dealing dirtballs and taggers of ANY background. My biggest problem right now is actually a group of skanky white trash scavengers who steal out trash, load it into stolen shopping carts, and then discard of what they do not want by dumping it elsewhere, thereby ensuring that the entire world knows my 20 year old daughter is on the Victoria's Secret mailing list. No, you may not have her phone number. I also have a private theory that the scavengers seem to find the loudest carts to steal, but I have yet to scientifically test that hypothesis. Clatter-clatter-clatter. So come on out to the DTCC on Center Street tonight and let's see what we can do to work with the APD to push back, because it is easier to maintain a better quality of life than to have to take it back entirely. By the way, the contact person for Central Anaheim is Sergaent Alex Orozco, 714-765-3878.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Disney's California Adventure continues its $4billion overhaul, with the Orange Stinger being converted to the "Silly Symphony Swings", playing off the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon "The Band Concert", in keeping with the renovation taking DCA back to Disney's roots as he stepped off the train into early 20th Century Los Angeles. California Screamin is getting rock work, World of Color is slated for March 2010, and the Blue Sky Cellar has reopened. Hand in hand with the DCA overhaul is the addition of the Vacation Club timeshares, fueling the expansion of the amazing Arts and Crafts style Grand Californian Hotel, which I was thrilled to discover will feature pieces from our friends at Old California Lantern Company in Orange. Yep, the Mouse supports income all over the region, and we are all grateful to have our "company town".
Also drawing crowds to Anaheim, NBA stars Richard Jefferson and Luke Walton are hosting a basketball camp for kids, at the Anaheim Sports Centers. The camp is open to boys and girls, ages 7 to 17, and more information can be found at www.lwjrbballcamp.com. Cost is $300, but hey, "it's for the kids".
And April 2010 will see Wizard Entertainment bring Comic-Con to Anaheim, filling our Convention Center and surrounding hotels and restaurants with an expected 30,000 sunlight deprived 20 year olds. Sorry, did I say that out loud? I mean TOT paying visitors. (I have spawned an entire family of gamers, and they do not see the light of day unless I kick them out, you know I'm right!) These gatherings are just Reason #428 for expanding the Anaheim Convention Center, if we don't do it, San Diego will pick up these conferences. Yes, the City is hurting for dollars, but we are riding this downturn better than most, and that is without a doubt due to the visitors that create 50% of our General Fund revenue. Think about it, we could be Stanton.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Motel Kids Outreach Program provides services and support for children who are one step away from homelessness, living in local motels. I can't think of a better use for $100, and seeing Todd in a flame-retardant driver suit would be worth more than that!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I never knew this, but thanks to the newest video on Disneyland, you can get a guide to the Main Street honorary windows by asking at City Hall. The latest video was 4 years in the making, although you'd never know it, the young hostess (and daughter of photographer and producer) does not seem to age. (We should all be so lucky!) Richard and I enjoyed the advance copy we watched, and we learned things about the park that DH and I had not known, and some of my Disney-fan buds had not been aware of. Get your copy of The Secret Tour of Disneyland online. Google it, I cannot get the link to work here.
In other Disney News, Ada Briseno and her gang at Unite Here 11 staged yet another ridiculous public protest over at the Resort. Sadly, the vast majority of the protestors were not actually Disney Cast Members, but were union members bussed in from Los Angeles. Of course they were also joined by Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, an elected official who had no business being there, and a bunch of Episcopal Priests who happened to be in town. Say what?
What's at stake? Essentially Disney wants all their cast members in the same benefits package, which actually increases coverage for things like sick-pay that cast members of Unite Here do not currently get. So why are Ada and company whining? Because they like the status quo of Disney paying THEM to offer coverage for cast members. Looks like the Union is not looking out for their members so much as looking out for themselves.
Now this is still America, and folks have the right to take to the streets to protest anything they want. But as a taxpayer I am interested in who covers the Police hours needed to maintain order at these demonstration Ada keeps staging for the press. Someone needs to remind Galloway that in challenging times that money could be used to keep cops on the streets, instead of keeping cops busy protecting her Union pals from traffic after they choose to step into the street. Tired of the whole thing, Ada and Unite Here need to let their people vote once and for all. Oh did I forget to mention that? Yeah, the last Disney offer was rejected by the Union without even presenting it to members for a vote. Great representation, Ada.
I am not privy to the nuts and bolts of the deal, and I do not work for Disney. I am just tired of seeing the Union clog the streets and disrupt the vacations of folks who come to Anaheim and cover 50% of the City services I enjoy here. Ada, quit whining, and let your people vote so we can all get back to treating our guests to the Happiest Tax Generator on Earth.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Anaheim in Motion, an art project fro kids and local artists is taking off like a rocket! The brainstorm of PLanning Intern Janet Lee, the project teams local artists with kids from YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Cops4Kids. Working from Gail Eastman's children's book, the teams are depicting Anaheim history and Culture in massive canvas painting projects, which will be displayed at the Anaheim GardenWalk. Contact me if you would like to volunteer or donate for this fabulous cause. With art projects eliminated due to budget cuts, this may be the ONLY opportunity for kids to participate in a hands on art project this year!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
or contact Meghan directly at 714-273-1381.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Chris Jepsen, with aid from many, created some fabulous folded booklets on the life and times of Phil Brigandi, entitled, "The Phirst Phifty Years: A Phun Philled Phamplet Phor Phriends of Phil Brigandi". Phil was serving on historic Boards by the age of 18, and at age 50 he has published some 20 books. Jim Sleeper offered a list of the next 12:
"The First 50 Are the Toughest"
"Slow Times at Orange High"
"I Never Danced All Night"
"Baden Powell Made a Man Out of Me"
"Lone Wolf Howling"
"College Days:Dusting Off History"
"What Else Rhymes With Orange?"
"I Left My Heart In Borrego Valley"
"No Brown Soda Pop"
"She's Out There, Somewhere"
"Barkus Is Willing"
For those Phil Phans unable to attend the celebration, you may wish him a Happy Belated Birthday on July 11, as Phil will be the guest speaker at the Anaheim Historical Society Annual Banquet. RSVP to me at Cynthia_Ward@sbcglobal.net or 714-292-0042 for details.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
GardenWalk Mural Project
Saturday, May 30, 2009
2009 STATE PARK BUDGET CUTS & CLOSURES FACT SHEET AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS On May 21, the Governor's office announced a proposal to "eliminate the General Fund support for state parks." On May 26, representatives of the Department of Finance indicated that, specifically, the proposal is to take $70 million of the Department of Parks and Recreation's (DPR) General Fund allocation in the 2009-10 Fiscal Year (which starts July 1, 2009) and the remainder of their General Fund – another $73 million – in the next budget year, FY 2010-11, for a total removal of $143 million. Those representatives also indicated that the cuts will result in closures of as much as 80 percent of the state park system, approximately 223 state parks. • The state park system receives an annual General Fund allocation of approximately $145 million, less than 1/10 of one percent of the entire state budget and less than .62 percent of the estimated $24.3 billion budget deficit. • Last year's proposal to close 48 state parks and reduce lifeguards from 16 popular state beaches was soundly rejected by tens of thousands of Californians across the state. The present proposal, to gain $143 million in "savings" is 10 times larger than last year's proposal to save $13 million. • State parks have an economic multiplier effect in many communities that are already struggling in the current recession. For every $1 spent supporting the state park system, $2.35 is returned to the state's General Fund through purchases in local economies and in the state parks themselves by park visitors. Given that "economic multiplier effect, the proposal could cost the state as much as $352.5 million in potential revenue ($150M x $2.35 = $352.5M). • In 2008, almost 80 million visits were made to state parks by Californians and tourists to enjoy the natural, cultural and historic values in our state parks. • The Governor's proposal will severely impact Californians, particularly in these tough economic times. State parks are more popular than ever with the public and have experienced a record number of camping reservations this summer. This year, more than 25,000 nights have been reserved for camping reservations, compared to 20,700 in 2008 and 19,7000 in 2007. Q &A Q: Does this recent proposal mean that state parks will be closing? Representatives of the Governor's office have said that in order to gain the General Fund savings, as much as 80 percent of the state park system may be closed, which is approximately 223 state parks. It is important to remember, however, that this cut to state parks funding is a proposal from the Governor. Any budget changes must be approved by the Legislature, and we don't yet know if the Legislature will agree with this proposal. Q: Which parks are closing under the Governor's proposal? At this time, we do not have a list of specific parks that will be closed. A list may be made available after May 28. Q: How quickly will state parks be closed? Neither the Governor's office nor the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) have announced the timing of any closures, if the Legislature adopts them. It has been widely discussed that the Legislature and Governor need to agree on a new budget by the beginning of July. Media reports have indicated that the DPR does not plan to close any state parks until after Labor Day. But it's nearly impossible to pinpoint the date when a new state budget will be in place and whenand if any state park closures are part of the budget. Q: Will day use passes/annual pass still be valid? Right now, the passes will still be honored at state parks for day use and Californians should continue to visit and enjoy our state parks. If park closures do begin, it's likely that the passes will no longer be valid for most state parks. Q: How can Californians help save our state parks? You can visit www.calparks. org/stopclosures to send a message to your legislators and the Governor. Advocates can also go directly to the SOS campaign web site at www.savestateparks. org to get the latest information and officially register opposition to this proposal. Once you've signed up, you'll receive information about calling, faxing and writing your elected officials and the Governor to make your voice heard on this proposal.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Disneyland® Resort Restaurants Win 15 Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards
Disneyland® Resort restaurants won 15 awards at the 2008-2009 Southern California Restaurant Writers Awards Banquet last month at the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California. A highlight for Resort restaurants was the recognition of Alex Flores and Francisco Origel, sous chefs at the perennially popular Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa, as co-winners of the “Sous Chef of the Year.”
Napa Rose and Steakhouse 55 won the highest honors, the Golden Bacchus Wine Award and a Golden Sceptre (Five Star) award in the continental and American categories, respectively. Napa Rose showcases California wine country cuisine with menu options that change seasonally and at Steakhouse 55 guests experience classic and delectable American fare, while enjoying the feel of vintage Hollywood through the restaurant’s retro décor.
The Southern California Restaurant Writers, Inc. has operated for 35 years as a nonprofit seeking to improve the quality of restaurants in the region. Award winners are chosen from Santa Barbara south to the Mexican border. Awards are published for the general knowledge of diners living in or visiting the area.
The 15 awards were distributed among 12 restaurants – seven in Disneyland® Resort hotels, two in Disneyland® Park, two in the Downtown Disney® District and one in Disney’s California Adventure® Park.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Anaheim Colony's own Ryan Chorbagian has long been a favorite character of mine, a creative soul who can turn on the charm instantly, usually to get out of a jam caused by his creativity. I would love Ryan even if he wasn't the product of the world's coolest parents. But now the chronically underemployed man-ling has found a way to get that creativity to pay off. Ryan has turned his passion for scavenging really cool old stuff into what appears to be highly marketable art. We knew he had it in him, glad to see he has found his voice in the art world. Ry has always had an amazing eye for balance and texture, etc. so I expect to be pulling out my checkbook for some of his pieces at the show, currently running here:
Fill Box at Bunny Gunner, 266 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 868-2808; www.bunnygunner.com. Open Tues.–Sat., 10AM–7PM. Thru May 2. Free
In other Chorbagian news, Ryan is hosting what Mom PJ has called one "Big-Assed Garage Sale". I'll let her explain it:
THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY COLONY ARTIST, RYAN CHORBAGIAN IS ACTUALLY GETTING RID OF SOME CRAP. I HAVE GONE THROUGH IT AND ALREADY HAVE MORE THAN I EVER WANTED. ALL SALES ARE FINAL AND WILL HELP WITH HIS RELOCATION TO CHICAGO IN AUGUST. HE IS ACCEPTING VISITORS AT 421 N. PINE STREET FROM 7AM-4PM. SOME THINGS I HAVE SEEN ARE TONS OF CLOTHES, OLD CASEMENT WINDOWS, DISNEY STUFF (SOME UNOPENED), RANDOM TOYS, YARD TOOLS, (VINTAGE HAND TOOLS,) VINTAGE LADIES COATS, MID-CENTURY END TABLES, YADA YADA.COME ON BY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And Ryan, we will miss you and your very special way of seeing Anaheim. Good luck in Chicago. Try not to break anything.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Committee (WAND) will hold a meeting at 6:30 pm this Wednesday, to discuss Police and Code Enforcement activity. Special guests are Allan and Yvonne Ansdell, owners of Hobby City, with an update on how they hope to bring back the tourist attraction! The meeting is at the West Anaheim Youth Center, 320 S. Beach Blvd.
Not an Anaheim item, but related to historic preservation, so it caught my attention. The folks in Hawaii hope to put Barack Obama's grandmother's high-rise rental apartment on the National Register, as the birthplace/childhood home of the President. Interesting spin: the National Register folks might actually demand proof that Barack Obama was in fact born in Hawaii, in order to complete that listing. Just saying is all......
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 31
Ebell Clubhouse Helena and Cypress, across from the tennis courts at Pearson Park
Monday, March 16, 2009
On Thursday, March 19, at the Anaheim Resort GardenWalk, SOAR is hosting a getting-to-know-you event from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. We are offering FREE food and beverage, provided by GardenWalk restaurants. We also have FREE entry to the GardenWalk movie theatre! What’s in it for us? We want the chance to tell you how important it is to support the Anaheim Resort, as Anaheim’s primary source of tax revenue. And if you agree that saving Anaheim’s critical services, like Fire, Police, Parks, Libraries, is important, then we would like the chance to sign you up for a FREE Soar membership. No fees, no funny hats, and your information will never be sold. We just want to be able to contact you in the future, with invitations to more exciting events in the Resort. Such a deal! We also want to be sure that you know about the GardenWalk, and see for yourself that locals are very, very welcome there!
For many years, we have lamented the lack of quality entertainment, retail shops, and restaurants in the flatlands of our beloved Anaheim. When we begged merchants for upscale offerings, the standard answer has been, "Anaheim's demographics do not support this type of development." And we took our bent little noses off to other cities for our shopping, and dreamt of a day when a simple Ann Taylor sweater might be had in Anaheim, and not just the leftovers being cleared out at the Anaheim Plaza Clearance Center, but in a real store, with real sales staff. (and real dressing rooms)
Not long ago, a visionary man brought these things to us, right here in the Anaheim Resort. Bill Stone stuck his neck (and a large fortune) out to build GardenWalk, offering Anaheim residents all of those merchants we begged for. And yet, Anaheim's response has been, well, lackluster at best.
So what is holding us back from enjoying all that the GardenWalk has to offer? I think it is largely perception, and I know I had my own preconceived notions of what GardenWalk is and isn’t. I had anticipated a tourist trap, where one might find the usual t-shirts and postcards, upcharged to grab dollars from visitors as a captive audience. But I have delighted in the stores, such as Ann Taylor, Giorgios Studio, White House/Black Market, etc. that would be found in any quality shopping mall. I have found genuine values there, as I recently updated my tired wardrobe, with pieces I could not have found elsewhere in Anaheim, at very competitive prices.
My fear is that misperception will keep us from patronizing the center that Bill Stone so bravely built, trusting that Anaheim could support such a quality environment. And if GardenWalk does not hold its own through this economic challenge, merchants will never give us this chance again, and we as a community will be condemned to a lifetime of Chuck E Cheese's, and TJ Maxx. My challenge is to each and every resident of Anaheim who has ever longed for a "real" shopping center right here in town. Come on out and give GardenWalk a try.
So please pass this along, and bring your friends and family to see us on Thursday evening. You do not need to live in Anahiem, just care about Anaheim! Our hosts are prepared to entertain hundreds of people, there is no such thing as too many guests for this event! I would love to see this party packed that evening. We need to send a message that the people of Anaheim want to thank Bill Stone and these quality retailers for taking a chance on Anaheim. Any of us who have tried to get Trader Joe's here know how hard it is to talk merchants into investing in Anaheim. Let's tell these folks that their investment has been well placed, that Anaheim CAN and WILL support quality merchants. It is time for us to step up and tell the world that Anaheim’s demographics DO support something more than a discount center. I hope to see you all there on March 19.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Why the Disney Resort is....well, the Disney Resort.....
I was over at the Disneyland Hotel for breakfast with friends (Gustavo would find my choices pedestrian, but I starved for 2 weeks to get away with the 2 by 4 breakfast at Steakhouse 55).
As I was leaving, I noticed the usual gaggle of tourist girls taking each others' photos in front of our favorite mouse. While you can see the barriers indicating that work is being done in the area, what you cannot see is the Resort "Cast Member" maintenance guy, who is crouching down behind the base block, so as not to intrude on the "guest experience". After literally crawling on his hands and knees to get himself out of the shot, he then stopped his work, and offered to take their photos together. He later went back to work, grabbing a wrench from his toolkit, whistling quietly. Sorry, folks, but NOBODY else does it as well. Which is why, despite the downturn in the economy, while the crowds are not as robust as they may have been in years past, folks are still using whatever extra money they have to visit us in Anaheim. And while TOT revenue is off from previous years, thank God we have what we do, because without it we would be in BIG trouble!
Speaking of TOT tax, I am looking into the whole stink about online booking agencies and their payments of TOT to the City of Anaheim. While we have a full Council majority backing the move to collect the extra TOT from the agencies, I am not so sure I am in agreement. (Cynthia is going to disagree with Mayor Curt?! gasp!) Yeah, I just might.
Here's the spin:
Council claims that agencies that book discount tickets (Expedia, Orbitz, etc) buy blocks of rooms wholesale, and then resell them at a profit, while withholding the TOT collected at the higher price. Confused? Here's a hypothetical example: Agency A buys a block of rooms from a hotel at $100 per room, sells to Family B at $200 per room, collects TOT on the $200 from Family B, but only gives the City the TOT on the $100 Agency A paid. Now, if that is in fact the scenario, then yes, Agency A needs to forward all TOT collected back to the City. That is only fair.
However, I have also heard that the agencies are not in fact collecting and not forwarding. The alternate scenario is that they are only collecting TOT from Family B based on the lower price that Agency A bought the room for. If the battle is raging over forcing agencies to collect more taxes from the consumer, I am not sure that is the way to go. Charging tourists even more money in this economy may not be the smart move, and frankly the agencies are lit about it. In fact, in other markets where City governments have forced the TOT issue, agencies have simply rerouted guests to neighboring cities! (can you say Garden Grove?) How much TOT does Anaheim collect on a Garden Grove hotel room? That would be none.
There is no easy answer here, and I still do not have all of the answers. But I am looking into it, and will report back here when i get those numbers. Any ideas from the peanut gallery?
Friday, February 20, 2009
Here for your reading pleasure, are Victorian Homes editor Merrie Destafano’s Top 10 reasons for loving an old house.
1. Windows that stretch-catlike-floor to ceiling, that capture sunlight and pull it through the prism of rippled century-old glass.
2. Glowing hardwood floors that require you to walk barefoot, that tell ghost stories when they creak in the middle of the night.
3. Sky-high and majestic ceilings, decorated with a wallpaper mosaic, that transforms a home into a cathedral.
4. Woodwork that dresses a room like a woman attending a ball, with the diamond-bright jewelry of crown molding, deep windowsills, and bull’s eye trim.
5. Finely crafted fireplaces brought to life when winter winds blow, that crackle with blazing embers and remind us of our primal need to tame the wild beast called Fire.
6. A foyer that hints of marvelous things to come, like the prelude to a Bach fugue; that causes excitement to pulse through your veins as you anticipate what will come next.
7. A parlor that resurrects the lost art of entertaining, that hearkens us back to an age when we drew pleasure from the confidence of a true friend come to call.
8. A stairway with curved banister and landing that leads upwards to down-filled comforters and four-poster beds, to a mythic land of rest for the weary traveler.
9. A wraparound porch, the bridge between home and the outside world, where the family can visit with friends and neighbors without taking a journey.
10. An entire street lined with historic homes-a well-tended, renovated historic district-that creates portal to the past, that triggers memories and reminds us of a Paradise almost lost in the quest for everything shiny and new.