Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

From the Ward Family

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The State is Getting Us A Choo Choo For Christmas

I will include more details in an upcoming post, but for now I will refer folks to the post I ran at Red County regarding High Speed Rail, and its impact on Anaheim.

I am off to finish last minute the GardenWalk.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shopping for Someone to Blame at the GardenWalk

Today's Register covers more than one tragedy. The first is the report that "The Shops at GardenWalk" has defaulted on their sizable loan, and may face foreclosure. Let's face it, no bank wants a shopping center on their hands, so I hope they are able to work out a deal on the payments. I happen to love the GardenWalk, I love the shops, I love the restaurants, and their movie theater has spoiled me for anywhere else. Those who complain about its stark concrete have clearly not been there recently, as the center has grown out of its "new construction" look, and the greenery is filling in beautifully. If you have not visited lately, brave the parking garage (yeah, its disorienting, but its not brain surgery, and they have been working on signage) and go do some last minute Christmas shopping with deeply discounted quality merch and (sadly) no crowds.

The second great tragedy of this story was that the Register chose to interview Coucilwoman and wine bar owner Lucille Kring of all people for feedback. As usual, Lucille plays the blame game, laying the fault for her poor business decisions on the shoulders of the GardenWalk. Councilwoman Kring claims the management of the center somehow tricked her into signing a lease for a bad location. Once again, Lucille fails to think ahead, regrets a poor choice, and then blames others to excuse herself. Lucille, the reason your business is failing has nothing to do with the center you are in. Before opening a wine bar, or any other endeavor in the hospitality industry, one should actually LIKE people, and want to welcome them. Abrasively insisting that others concede to your wishes, whether it is what they want to do or not, does not make for good public policy, and it sure doesn't sell wine.  "If we had a crystal ball, we wouldn't have signed the lease", she says. Well, lots of folks are successful in business, without the use of crystal balls. We use a little something called common sense. The people of this town did not need a crystal ball to see that the SunCal deal, which benefitted Lucille's best developer-buddy while shafting the rest of the city, was a bad idea. Had we gone with the unholy trinity of Kring, Hernandez, and Galloway, we would have sacrificed the potential of a TOT generating property, and been left with a half-finished construction project, abandoned when SunCal went under. But run into her today, and she will tell you she never would have voted for that project (then why did she?) and that she had a compromise. Well the time to demand a compromise from a developer is BEFORE you approve their ill-conceived project, and the time to negotiate a better space in a center is BEFORE you sign the lease!

Lucille's judgement is not to be trusted, but it has nothing to do with an otherwise delightful shopping center.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

political rabble rousing

So it's not exclusive to Anaheim, but I just stumbled across this blog and have to share. Love it.

Have Yourself a Strip Mall Little Christmas

For your amusement, we have photos of Lincoln Avenue in 1971, courtesy of the Anaheim Public Library's History Room. These shots are Lincoln and Anaheim Blvd, and Lincoln and Lemon Street. No, our little Vons Center that now occupies the space is not an aesthetically pleasing substitute for the donwtown we once had. On the bright side, they do bother to decorate it, so we will take our victories where we find them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

City Council Report

Tuesday night's City Council meeting was an interesting mix of celebration and tragedy. The opening segment featured the winners of the Anaheim Beautiful Christmas Lights contest, and it was incredible to see the efforts folks put into their homes, even with the economy being the way it is. See the winners at

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

Moving To The Big Time

Because I have such copious amounts of spare time on my hands, I am now raising Cain over at Red County as a political blogger.

Come make trouble with me, the grown ups are letting me play with their toys.

Christmas In Anaheim

Anaheim celebrates Christmas in a BIG way, in all of our neighborhoods. Coming up this weekend, we have the Downtown Anaheim Nutcracker Tree Lighting, on Center Street Promenade, Saturday, December 5. The event begins at 10 am with a street fair, and crafts for the kiddies. The tree lighting is from 6-7 pm. The event is FREE and you can check the site for details at

For those on the West side, the 12th Annual Tree Lighting is scheduled for 6pm, Friday the 4 at Twila Reid Park, 3100 W. Orange Avenue. RSVP to

Also Friday night, at 6:30 pm, the Anaheim Historical Society invites the public to the Annual Victorian Christmas celebration at the historic Woelke-Stoffel House. The Queen Anne Victorian mansion has been decorated for the holidays, and the AHS is offering a selection of desserts and beverages, with historic holiday cheer. Non-members are invited, come see the work AHS does in the community. Gifts will be available to purchase for that history lover on your list, including Sesquicentennial blankets for those who missed them, Steve Faessels books on Anaheim, and of course DVDs of Huell Howser's visit to Anaheim with yours truly. The event is FREE, donations and new memberships always accepted. The Woelke-Stoffel house is located at 418 N. West Street, between Lincoln and Sycamore. On street parking is available, with a drop-off point for those with mobility issues.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mother Earth Meets Father TIme

This weekend the OC Register (click on title for link) covered a story regarding solar panels on an historic property in South County. Since "the greenest building is the one already built", and historic preservation is the ultimate expression of recycling, it stands to reason that preservationists would be attracted to the concept of eco-friendly energy. Sadly, technology does not as yet allow many of us to be good stewards of energy while being good stewards of our historic homes. Solar panels are, well, they are ugly. I am unlikely to put them on a street-facing roofline of my home, even if permitted. I would consider them for a rear facing roofline of a garage, but ours faces the wrong direction. In the case of the South County property, they managed to drop them below the line of visibility, on a parapet flat roof of a Pueblo-Revival style structure, so they make sense in that location. What I am waiting for is preservation friendly energy products.
At home, we did manage to re-create our garden in an eco-friendly manner that honors the period of our 1908 home. By using underground irrigation systems run by a Smart Timer, and planting California natives that do not require much water, we tripled our landscaping while LOWERING our water bill from the same period last year. I am also considering interior storm windows to "dual pane" the bedroom windows during the neighbors parties, because they do not affect the exterior look of the house, and they are reversible. But there is so much more that could be done. A new roof tile has been developed that doubles as a solar panel, but appears as an "S" curve Spanish tile. So far they only come in black, so it is still jarring on a red tile roof, and there are no other "shingle" type applications that I have found. But somone out there is thinking ahead.
The big debate we see in Anaheim is over artificial turf. I admit I have a strip of driveway we have replanted repeatedly with no success, I cannot get lawn to grow there, and ONLY lawn is appropriate for a mow-strip drive on a period home. Some of the higher end fake turfs look pretty darned good, and I am tempted. I consider artificial turf to be a reversible change that does not affect the historic structure itself, and therefore should be allowable under a Mills Act contract. Others disagree, rather vocally. I would love to hear other viewpoints, with reasons for pro or con. I would also love to hear about how others have handled making their old homes a little friendlier to Mother Earth. And no, this is not a debate for or against global warming, I simply would rather spend our hard earned paychecks on Bradbury wallpaper rather than my energy and water bills.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Union Workers Choose to Work Sick!

Sarah Tully reports in her "Around Disney" blog (see link above) that despite Disney's overwhelming efforts to curb the spread of flu in the Resort, there are still members of the Unite Here Labor Union that are undermining their efforts by deliberately coming to work knowing they are sick! Their selfish excuse? Their own Union cancelled their sick pay benefits to save money during a dispute over their contract with Disney. That's right, Disney did not cancel the sick pay, the Union did! How is it that 30 other Unions have accepted the new contract from Disney, which I understand gives them greatly expanded benefits, but the Unite Here Union has refused to even meet with Disney to further discuss the issues. The Union's position seems to be "Our Way or the Highway". Sorry Ada Briseno, but this is still the United States, and business owners still have the right to make their own best offer, YOU take it or leave it. As far as those employees that knowingly work when sick, I think they not only should be fired, I think they should lose their Safety and Sanitation certificates, preventing them from working with food in the future. Fire them, Mickey! If the goal of the Union in releasing this information to Sarah Tully was to scare off guests, it didn't work. I was just there today, the place is jumping, and folks are stopping to use the hand sanitizer stations, expressing gratitude to The Mouse for caring about their guests and Cast Members. In case you were wondering, today's Register reports that Knott's is doing NOTHING different in their handling of a public venue during a flu outbreak. Somebody hand me a churro.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disney Ahead of Its Time as Mouse Beats Swine

With swine flu making every public area a virus bath, where is one supposed to feel safe? Do not get me started about the shopping mall, where I have to go find gifts for everyone I have ever known while surrounded by sick people who refuse to stay home. So what's a family supposed to do for fun without risking their health? The Happiest Place on Earth of course! Disney already has a stellar reputation for steam cleaning the Heck out of the place at night, but now they are taking the lead to make a visit to the House of Mouse a healthier alternative to that pre-Christmas shopping mall. Look around the park, you will see public hand sanitizer stations, with notices that one may also purchase bottle of sanitizer to keep with you, for a BUCK. I can't buy it that cheap at the store! They have also provided sanitizer to Cast Members with high Guest contact, and they have upped their cleaning schedules for surfaces that are "high touch" like drinking fountains and pay phones. They are training their Cast Members on how to handle sick Guests, and have overhauled the way their Cast members handle cleaning hotel rooms. And yet, despite knowing this, mean old Mom will not allow beloved teen to cut school and go to Disneyland instead. Yes, pumpkin, I know Disneyland is way safer than your germ ridden school a block away, but you will have to wait for the weekend. The good news is, I feel safe taking my kids there this weekend, so I can enjoy a visit before my pass expires for the season! Once again, the Mouse makes a good neighbor. I may just have to buy my Christmas gifts there and skip the mall altogether. My circle of homies have never complained about Disney merch for the holidays.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Do We Dream So Small?

"Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not be realized. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work, remembering that a nobler, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty."
Daniel Burnham, master architect of the the 1893 Exposition

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

Anaheim Mourns the Loss of One of Our Own

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle ordered flags on City buildings flown at half-staff in honor of the loss of Anaheim resident Justin Swanson, a 21 year old Lance Corporal in the Marines, who has lost his life in Afghanistan. Swanson was based at Camp Pendleton, with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force.

The prayers of many go out to the friends and family of Justin Swanson.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do We Trust This Woman With Even More of Our Money?

Last year I thought NOTHING could be more depressing than seeing Lorri Galloway ooze her way back into her City Council seat, enabling her to drain even more of the life blood from Anaheim's citizens. Oh, don't hold back, Cynthia, tell us how you REALLY feel. But before the final votes were counted, my beloved Mother In Law was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, and I found the one thing that could devastate me worse than Anaheim politics. So for those who have been asking, no, I did not give up on Council Watching. I just had a heart to mend, and an estate to close out. But we are approaching the one year Anniversary of losing my beautiful Marianna, and it is time to get back in the game. So for all you No On Galloway fans, we are back.

How has Lorri been surviving in this down market? While non-profits are overwhelmingly reporting lost revenue, Lorri seems to be doing just fine with the Eli Home. Let's take a look at some of the reported donations to the Eli Home, a non-profit of which Lorri Galloway is Executive Director, and from which she derives her income. These donations were listed on the Eli Home website (link above) for the year 2008:

Anaheim Police Association
Anaheim Firefighters Association
**Galloway has openly and for the record advocated to greatly expand pay and benefits for public safety workers, while jobs in other areas of the City remain unfilled. Anaheim public safety personnel are already some of the best compensated in the region, but she routinely demands more, from a budget hemorrhaging from losses. But I am sure that is a simple coincidence that those groups donate to her non-profit and walk precincts and put up signs during the election.

Anaheim Public Utilities (uh...aren't they under her authority?)

Clear Channel (these would be the same people she was fighting to give more billboard space to recently)

Kenwood Investments LLC (the developer in negotiation with Redevelopment for the Packing House block. City Council serves as the Redevelopment Agency, and she will be called upon to vote for or against this developer)

Regent Development OC LLC (they have submitted plans for the Convention Center expansion, to be determined by City Council. I can see your surprise from here)

Sheldon Group (consultants who represent developers all over the city, with plans up for approval from City Council)

Now this is only a partial list, the website has 2 pages worth. These are just the names that jump out at me in a quick glance through the list. I assume that Galloway got some sort of ruling out of Jack White that it is OK to collect donations for the non-profit from which your personal income is derived from people doing business with the City. And perhaps the FPPC has ruled that it is OK, although I will be finding that out for myself. But in the end, being within legal limits is not the same as doing what it right. Looking over these donations, ask yourself, is this someone you trust to have not sold her vote? Because now Galloway wants to run for County Supervisor, where she would be swimming in an even bigger pool of our money, with even larger stakes for special interests. Is that an office we want to send her to? I 'm thinking NO.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anaheim Websites

West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council (WAND) will not meet this month, due to Veteran's Day. They do not meet in December, so their next meeting will be held Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at Maxwell School. They will be gathering for their 12th Annual Holiday Magic Christmas Tree Lighting at Twila Reed Park, Friday, December 4, at 6 pm. You can catch up with WAND at their new website,

South District Neighborhood Council has also just completed a new website, you can catch up with them at

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 For those who miss Mike, you can catch up with him at

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paper Clip Project

Introducing a new blog by Anaheim Colony resident Dan Harrison. The Harrisons have a fabulous mid-century treasure, featured in Atomic Ranch magazine, and the glossy coffee table book.

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.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ignorance, Thy Name is Registered Voter

While only parts of Anaheim are in Assembly District 72, it seems the venom is spewing all over the City, as candidates who appear to have few moral values try to take the seat of someone proven to have no moral values. This is an improvement? Chris Norby appears to be pulling WAY out ahead in both polls and funding, proving once again that voters will overlook a skirt chasing hound dog's wayward activities if it benefits them. Me, I have a hard time trusting a man who cannot keep his promises to his own wife. On the other hand, Ackerman does not appear to be an improvement, as her only campaign strategy appears to be knocking Norby, without ever giving us reasons to vote for her as an option. I have also long been opposed to carpetbagging politicians, I believe you cannot represent an area you are not firmly entrenched in. Nobody but a long time resident understands the unique challenges of a community, and renting an apartment just before an election just does not cut it. Faher appears to be a raging nutcase. I know little of MacMurray, other than that he is a schoolteacher with a website of grammatical errors who is endorsed by Labor Unions who have irritated me lately, so he may not have my vote. Rands is another candidate I know only through a website, and while I agree with her stand on Prop 8 (go ahead and send the angry emails, when we as Christians perfect that whole "love each other" thing, then and only then will be be in a position to dictate "thou shalt not") I do not understand how she plans to create "health care without insurance companies getting in the way".
Come November 17, I may very well sit at home, for the first election of my life. The alternative is a write-in campaign for "None of the Above", forcing a new election, with none of the current candidates permitted to run again. Give us new choices. E-gad, perhaps we should have let Sidhu carpetbag this one.
Oddly enough, while my period-appropriate-yet-useless mailbox is routinely filled with mudslinging garbage, my Mom's little senior community has received NO mailings at all, from either side. I checked, and they are in the District (sometimes hard to tell with the way the gerrymandered boundaries jog back and forth) and they did receive ballots for the Special Election. Yet none of the candidates considered them worthy of glossy colored hit pieces. Had I known they wanted them I would gladly have forfeited mine. Instead, they sent Mom to ask me who to vote for. Now is that about the scariest thing ever? Rather than check out the candidates for themselves, an entire neighborhood of high-propensity voters is counting on mailers to help determine who to vote for. And in the absence of mailers they will now depend on a local activist that many of them have never met before. These are people who would not lend me their cars, but will allow me to influence their most precious rights as Americans. All I can say is, if I have this much of a voice around here, the line to offer me "consulting contracts" begins at the front porch, no appointments before 9 am please. For all others willing to do their homework, here are the websites for the candidates.

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

Halloween Returns to Anaheim

Anaheim has long been Halloween-happy, and I am glad to report the town is returning to its old celebrations. Now before you get in a wad over the Christianity vs. Halloween debate, allow me to give some background. In the 1920s, the KKK, posing as a men's Bible Study, managed to infiltrate Anaheim, taking a City Council majority, and controlling both the Police and Fire Departments. (It's OK, we did throw them out)Some of our civic leaders were not as easily deceived by the masses, and Lotus Loudon, Publisher of the local newspaper, created a Halloween celebration as "a better use for a bedsheet". Storefronts were decorated by local schoolkids, with awards for the winners, which brought shoppers downtown to look at the windows. A kiddie parade in the daytime was followed by an adult parade at night, which involved literally every civic group in town. To not have your group represented with a float was unheard of, and in some circles, downright unpatriotic. The culmination of the festivities was the Masquerade Ball, which was the social occasion of the year. Sadly, our misguided leaders of past regimes bulldozed the downtown that the parade ran through, which pretty much took the party out of it all. Thankfully, folks like the Fall Festival Committee have been working hard to bring back the Parade and Ball. This year's theme was Return to Oz, and the Masquerade Ball featured awards given to those community members showing Brains, Courage, and Heart. Winners were:

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

Welcome Back George Kalogridis

In the wake of Ed Grier's retirement from Disney, we locals have been wondering who would be brought in to head the House of Mouse. "Mickey" announced today that George Kalogridis will be returning to Anaheim, as President of the Disneyland Resort. The 38-year Disney veteran has been at Disneyland Paris for the last 3 years. where he was responsible for the 2 theme parks, 7 hotels, and Disney Village. Prior to Paris he had worked here in Anaheim, opening Disney's California Adventure, and Downtown Disney. Kalogridis started out as a busboy in 1971, and worked his way up. Someone needs to point that out to Ada Briseno, because Disney is only a dead-end job if you make it one. Work hard, get an education, and Disney can be a great career move. Or, you can dress up in a mouse suit and get arrested in front of the press. Your choice. Welcome George, and good luck finishing the DCA expansion, we are all rooting for you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ray Donley Exhibit at Sarah Bain Gallery

Saturday, October 10 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, the Sarah Bain Gallery in Downtown Anaheim is hosting a Reception with artist Ray Donley. "Earthly Pleasures, Fierce Realities", runs from October 6 to November 3. Enjoy food, wine, and the company of artist Ray Donley. The artist holds 2 degrees in Art History, and is the subject of the upcoming documentary, "Dancing the Inquisition Waltz". The Sarah Bain Gallery is located in the Carnegie Plaza, directly behind the Muzeo, at Anaheim Blvd and Broadway. Parking available on Center Street Promenade, or in the City parking structure, next to City Hall West.

Friday, September 25, 2009

All We Need Are the Giant Portraits On Every Street Corner

I cannot even find the words to describe my horror at what I see in this video. The only thing missing from this indoctrination is uniforms and giant portraits of Father-President in the background.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Music, Music, and More Music

Music a'plenty in Anaheim this weekend!

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,

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

And next week, 80s rock icon Billy Squier is playing The Grove, Wednesday September 23rd. Tickets are $32.50 to $49.50.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

At Least Buy Us Dinner First

Today's post is about leadership, present and future. For the current team leaders, kudos to the Anaheim City Council for voting against Item #19 on last night's consent calendar. The item as proposed would have created an Ordinance (that makes it permanent) allowing landowners to petition for CUPs to change land use for residential properties. Goodbye to that empty lot that the landlord cannot build on until the economy improves, and hello to a construction yard, landscape storage yard, or the use that drove the proposal, a vehicle impound lot! No kidding, this made it past the Planning Commission, and all the way to City Council. The community had a whopping 2 hours to rally in opposition, but folks rose to the occasion and made it to Council to ask for denial on the Item. The vote was 5-0 against. What I found most interesting was Bob Hernandez' statement that he understood Staff would never have brought this forward themselves (they know better) but that this was requested by one of the Councilmembers! Not one of them copped to being the instigator, and in the end they all voted against, understanding it was a losing proposition. Harry Sidhu was the only Council person who seemed interested in the item, and knowing he is running a losing campaign against Tom Daly for a County Supe spot, methinks Harry went fishing for developer dollars, using our own neighborhoods as bait. But that is only my opinion.

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

Leadership Hoax and the Real Deal All in the Same Week

The Hoax:
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

Events at the GardenWalk

The Anaheim GardenWalk is inviting the public to participate in the Unveiling Ceremony of "Anaheim in Motion: History Comes to Life" on Saturday, August 15, beginning at 6 pm. Anaheim Planning intern Janet Lee, working as an unpaid volunteer (God bless her) has worked miracles, coordinating 20 artists, who worked with hundreds of kids at YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Cops 4 Kids, to create giant murals of Anaheim history and culture. The project, sponsored by the Anaheim Historical Society, Assistance League, and many other non-profits and for-profit businesses, will display the murals as public art for roughly a year, in space generously donated by the Anaheim GardenWalk, in the Anaheim Resort. The family friendly event will include magic shows for the kids, and the best view of the Disneyland fireworks outside of the park itself. The event is FREE and open to the public. GardenWalk is located on Katella, between Anaheim Blvd and Harbor, east of Disneyland.
In other GardenWalk news, Richard and I joined some Colony neighbors last weekend for Julie and Julia, and of course the ONLY civilized venue for a great movie experience is the GardenWalk theatre. The theatre is split into 2 sides, one for families, and a 21 and over space, where the snack stand features beer and wine, which may be imbibed in the theatre. Nice step up from popcorn and overpriced soda, eh? All seats in the theatre are luxury leather "media room" type recliners, and the absence of the under 21 set and their incessant text messaging makes the $11 ticket price a bargain to me and mine! As far as the movie, Julie and Julia was quite possibly the best warm-fuzzy-feel-good we have enjoyed in years! Richard and I both agreed we need to go back and see it again! I double dog dare you to see this movie without feeling fabulous about life afterward, and I especially dare you to see it and not want to cook later! Now if I can just get Richard to stop serving everything in clarified butter before my hips explode.....
For more info on the Shops at GardenWalk or the Theatres, see their website at

Friday, July 31, 2009

4th District Race Heats Up in Favor of Daly

Well here is an interesting development. Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu is inviting folks out to his home for the 4th Annual India Independence Day celebration, and Kick Off for his run at the 4th District County Supe seat. Now, I have always found it to be poor form to have a campaign event in an area other than where one is running, but this one really takes the cake. To essentially announce to the world that Harry does not live in the 4th District, but hey, come on over and party anyway, is just plain tacky. Harry is not even pretending to carpetbag. He claims he will be obtaining a home in the District, and will retain his home (the Yorba estate is one of the largest private residence properties in Anaheim Hills) as his vacation home. Yeah right. Asked if his family would leave their very private, very gated estate to join him in the 4th District, Harry hemmed and hawed and dodged the question. Like Gin Sidhu is really going to move shopping carts out of the driveway to come home. Not buying it, and Harry, stop asking me for money. This is the 3rd office he has gone after in a year, and on the slim chance he is elected as County Supe, I have no doubt he will simply go after another office immediately afterward. Harry, Public Service means you serve us, not the other way around.

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

Community Input for Transporation and Police

Our Grand and Glorious Government is offering several opportunities for public input, because, well, they care about us and want to offer us the finest services available. Yeah.

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.

"Uber-Rail Station"
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.
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

Historian J.J. Friis Lost to a Stroke

James Jesson Friis, son of Anaheim history author and legal-eagle Leo Friis, has passed away after a stroke. J.J. Friis was a long time member of the Orange County Historical Commission, involved in the Native Sons of the Golden West, and ran the Pioneer Press started by his father, to publish Anaheim history books. JJ. had grown up on Clementine Street in what became the Colony District, and was something of a legend. His "larger than life" personna will be missed by all, especially his widow, Harriet. Funeral arrangements are not yet announced.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bring In the Dollars!

Lots going on in Anaheim in the near future.

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 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

Potluck Goes Downtown

The Colony monthly potluck gets a little shift this month. Rather than poking through the closets and bathroom cabinets of a neighbor this time (you know they all do it!) we will meet at the Carnegie Counrtyard at the Muzeo. Friday July 24, 7 to 9 pm Carnegie Outdoor Plaza, 201 S. Anaheim Blvd (behind the Carnegie Library/Anaheim Museum Building) Parking on Center Street Promenade, on street or in the parking garage. Bring a dish to share, and your favorite beverage. But we aren't worried about having enough food, since local restaurants Flame Broiler, Bella Marri's, 195 Downtown Grill, Cafe Amore, and Tandoori Garden will be hosting a mini-Taste of Anaheim during the event! All are welcome, come see our downtown.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Todd Ament Helps Anaheim Kids by Totalling Cars!

Anaheim Chamber head (and newly minted Planning Commisioner) Todd Ament will compete in the Demolition Derby on Saturday July 25th, at the OC Fair! Now THERE is a mental image I have had fun playing with! They are looking for sponsors for this worthy event, as it benefits the Boys and Girls Club Motel Kids Outreach. Sponsorship Levels are $100 for "smash Em Up" level, or $250 for "Demolish" level. Sponsorship includes a decal on the car, but you have to get your artwork in by Thursday the 23 at noon. Contact Danielle Hill at 714-758-0222 ext. 214 or for information.

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

Disney News

While I do not have photos of it, the folks over at the Disney Blog have a fabulous post on Marty Sklar getting his "window" at Disneyland, during the birthday celebration on Friday. Check it out at

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

Jazz Tonight in Downtown Anaheim

Judy Chamberlain wil be performing tonight, July 15 at 7 pm, Cafe Amore at Harbor and Center, downtown Anaheim. The event is free, although I dare you to resist the food at Cafe Amore!

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

Anaheim Colony Cares Blood Drive

Once again, Meghan Shigo is hosting the Anaheim Colony Cares Blood Drive, to benefit the Red Cross. The event is Tuesday, July 21st from 2 pm to 8 pm. The BloodMobile will be parked at the incredible Shigo home, 510 N. Clementine, just north of Pearson Park. Click this link to make your appointment, your donation can save a life!

or contact Meghan directly at 714-273-1381.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Historian Declared Historic

With the possible exception of Jim Sleeper, nobody knows Orange County history like Phil Brigandi. So when Phil turned 50 on Sunday, a few of us "history nerds" figured a celebration was in order. According to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, a building, structure or object must be at least 50 years old in order to be recognized, and "plaqued". Phil having now met the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, we are seen here "Plaquing" him as historically significant, during lunch at the Blue Bayou, inside Pirates of the Caribean, during a group visit to the "Happiest Place on Earth". (He was not amused). The Disney trip was particularly appropriate, as Phil's father was a cast member at the time of his birth. Phil's brth certificate actually lists his Dad's occupation as "ride operator" and industry as "Disneyland". How many people have Disneyland on their birth certificates?!

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"
"Te Amo!!!"

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 or 714-292-0042 for details.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Green Event This Weekend

Coming to Maxwell PArk this weekend, FREE and open to the public! Also on Saturday, an artist's workshop will review Anaheim History lessons in preparation for a children's mural project to be displayed at the GardenWalk Center. If you are interested in participating, or know an artist who would be interested in working with kids to depict scenes of historic Anaheim, contact
Janet Lee
Program Coordinator
GardenWalk Mural Project

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Well This Sucks

The Governor announced this week to eliminate General Fund support for state parks. There is a budget hearing on the proposal next Tuesday, June 2. If you do not agree with this move, your legislators need to hear from you. Our friends at the State Parks Foundation have set up this online action alert: http://www.calparks .org/stopclosure s Please send a message to your legislators. There is a great fact sheet listed at the bottom of this email about what the budget cut means to us and our State Park system.

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

Pringle for Governor?

OK, Lexie would kill him, but I would campaign to send Curt to Sacto and clean up this mess.
A very enlightening interview with Mayor Curt Pringle on Fox News.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Mouse Eats Well

Shamelessly lifted from an e-newsletter I get, because as a family of foodies I love that the Mouse offers food beyond corn dogs and cotton candy.

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 d├ęcor.
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

Sick and Twisted Goes on Sale

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; 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:

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

Saying Goodbye When We Just Said Hello

This location is Fullerton, but the story is all Anaheim. The corner of Lemon and Orangethorpe has become the site of a memorial to the 3 young people killed by what appears to be a drunk driver. Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was celebrating his new career in Major League Baseball, after flying his parents in to see him pitch 6 scoreless innings in his Season debut. Nick's girlfriend, Courtney Stewart, was driving, and friends Henry Pearson and John Wilhite were passengers. At the corner of Lemon and Orangethorpe, Andrew Gallo, a 22 year old driving on a suspended license for prior drunk driving convictions, hit the car the young people were in, while apparently drunk yet again. 3 of those people are dead, and Wilhite, a ball player at CSUF, has just been taken off the critical list, so hopefully he will make it. 3 young lives taken by the stupidity of one person. This is one of those "screaming at the sky asking God what he is doing" moments. The Angels postponed the game scheduled for the evening the group died, and held a moment of silence during the next game. Note to the press: Could you maybe just call them "the Angels"? I know Arte won the right to call them the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but frankly it is just beyond stupid.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hobby City at WAND

2 items, entirely unrelated.

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

Water and Plants and History, Oh My!

The Anaheim Historical Society is pleased to present our guest speaker for March, Jeff Smith of Natural by Design Landscape. Jeff is an expert on water and energy use for gardens, as well as a fellow history nerd, who lives in the Historic Palm District, just north of The Colony. Jeff will be sharing a presentation on how California's landscape developed over time, with emphasis on the availability of water in the choice of those plantings. This is especially significant today, with our drought conditions. We can learn from the past to plant for the future. There HAS to be a better answer than fake grass or xeriscape. Jeff has those answers for us!
The meeting is FREE and the public is always welcome.
Tuesday, March 31
7 pm
Ebell Clubhouse Helena and Cypress, across from the tennis courts at Pearson Park

Monday, March 16, 2009

GardenWalk Party Thursday night

I have a special invitation for anyone reading this:

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

Why the Economy Sucks or The Death of Customer Service in America

Anyone who has visited us (and you are few because I never let anyone in) know that the house has been unfinished for far too long. Richard and I are finally tackling those projects, trying to finally get the place done, so we can invite y'all over. Yep, all of you. Of course it will likely be some sort of a fundraiser, but I digress. We were even pretty excited about the idea of being able to spend a few dollars in a bad economy, and committed ourselves to buying locally whenever possible. Now for the irony. Our biggest obstacles are no longer time and money (although they are factors) no, our biggest obstacle is the merchants themselves! We consistently find ourselves leaving empty handed, wanting to scream "Why are you making it so difficult for me to give you my money?!" Last weekend it was a well known vintage hardware shop in Orange. They carried what I wanted, at a price I was willing to pay. But by the time the saleswoman/owner (the one with the bad wig who never figured out college is over, you know the one) by the time she was done telling me all the reasons I did not want this (very expensive, hard to install, yada, yada) I left the store empty handed. She talked herself right out of a sale. Instead, I ordered-get this-brand new hardware that exactly matched the stuff she did not want to sell me, from a repro place in another state. Say what?

So today we went to talk to a few cabinet people. Again, trying to spend in Anaheim, and balance the "sorry kids you can't go to college we just gave all our money to the carpenter for custom cabinets" with the "made from plastic and lead paint in China" of stock warehouse garbage, we went to a local "we build it ourselves" shop. And we were laughed at. Now I do not mind someone telling me that they cannot help me. Go ahead and tell me that your unskilled workers out back cannot make those flush mounted shaker doors fit the cabinet frame. I'm pretty used to it. But don't mock me for the request. Don't tell me "nobody does that" (yes they do) or that I will hate them (I do not hate the ones I already live with, or I would not want to add an island of them, thanks) or that I cannot get cabinets made from anything from MDF (it makes me itch almost as bad as vinyl) because I was not born yesterday, and I know you are full of it.

If you can't help me now, at least be nice about it. You never know what I may need in the future! I understand that old house stuff is a fairly specialized request. I am willing to pay a bit more for it (but don't hose me on the price, it's not THAT much harder) I am willing to wait a little longer. I am even willing to paint it myself, install my own hardware, etc. But do not make me feel foolish for asking if you might provide a service or product I may wish to purchase. And after that, do not dare whine about how you have to lay off employees because nobody out there is spending money. So to Henry at the "we don't really do custom cabinets" shop, all I have to say is, be thankful you aren't the HVAC guy. He made the mistake of insisting that he could not explain how to service our AC filter, because I am a woman. (Are my breasts going to impede the ability to reach the filter?) Unlike HVAC guy, Henry merely lost a sale, not a body part. But it is still sad that an Anaheim business left an Anaheim resident with such a bad taste for their shop. And when I go to reno the tract house kitchen Richard's Mom left us for a rental, (which does NOT need special order work) I know where not to go.

The solution? The kitchen saleswoman at Lowe's (Rosanna, great gal) sat down and listened to what I wanted, took the time to help me layout the new cabinets, using stock sizes, and then checked her manufacturers to find one willing to sell me just the hardwood boxes, unpainted, no doors or drawers, but all the bells and whistles and gadgets inside. We will have a local carpenter make the doors and drawer fronts, and paint them ourselves, installing our own hardware. Problem solved. Lowe's makes a sale, a local carpenter gets some work, Richard gets the kitchen he wants at a price I want to pay. Everybody happy. Why merchants cannot seem to think outside the box to make a sale is beyond me, but I am grateful to people like Rosanna, who "get it", and she will also get the not-custom-kitchen cabinets I need in the future. Our daughter's theory on Mom's living room rant; "Mom, all the smart people left California already, so all you have left to deal with are idiots. It's systemic."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tourists and TOT

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

Friday afternoon musings

We hear about the death of reading, and how the internet will kill off paper publication someday. But I am not buying it. There is simply no replacement for the joy I get at opening the mailbox, and finding an old house magazine, instead of the expected bills (or perhaps to soften the blow of the bills that got shoved INTO the magazine by the carrier). Such was my reaction today. While I am supposed to be working, this newly minted issue of Victorian Homes arrived, tempting me in its glossy glory to brew a pot of Berry Berry Tea (imported regularly to the Ward abode from Victoria BC’s Empress Tea Shop) curl up with my kitten, and start the weekend early. Alas, such a luxury is not to be had today, but I will stop to share the editor’s thoughts from inside the world of gingerbread I would prefer to cyberspace.

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.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Jordan......

Reading like a Who's Who of Orange County politics, this invite looks more like a fundraiser for Governor, not a local school board. But that is exactly the kind of across the board support Jordan Brandman has earned in trying to turn around a troubled high school system. Having a kid at Loara, and being on the PTSA Board there, I have seen firsthand the changes Jordan has already pulled off, and he can have the last scrapings of my bank account any day.
The party is at the always fabulous home of Mitch and Sherry Caldwell, the historic Fiscus House, designed by noted architect Frederick Eley, on Wednesday, March 11, from 6 pm to 7:29. (I think that means Sherry throws us out at 7:30). RSVP to or 714-540-2295. Or print the invite here and mail it in.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Carpetbaggers Take Over Anaheim Politics

For some time now Matt Cunningham has been posting to his Red County blog about rumors of Harry Sidhu running for the 4th District seat when Norby leaves in 2010. Many of us have long believed that race is Tom Daly's to lose, so Harry "I will run for anything" Sidhu would be clearly out of his mind to try for it.
Matt now reports that he cornered Harry at the Muzeo event last week and Harry admitted that yes, he is running. Um.....why did we just re-elect this man to a City Council seat he clearly does not care about?
Worse, there are also rumors of Lorri Galloway considering the seat. While I would love to see Lorri take her Eva Peron act elsewhere, the District seat that currently controls serious grant money for her own shelter is not where I want her, thanks anyway. Lorri's reported interest in the Supe's seat explains why she has been working so hard (aided by newly minted compadre Lucille Kring) to expand her feifdom. Veddy interestink...
I have not seen a formal announcement from either party, and we need to keep in mind that neither Galloway nor Sidhu actually live in the District they wish to represent. Both would have to relocate to the flatlands....and how likely is it that they will leave the hills for a home where they have to actually live with the consequences of their failed Council policies? What are the odds that they are willing to move shopping carts out of their driveways to go to work in the morning? Only time will tell. In any event, Tom Daly will mop the floor with either of them, it is a moot point, but I would prefer it if they had to leave their Council seats to run....