Tuesday, March 30, 2010

5 Points Ruby's and Jordan Brandman Re-Election Kick-Off

Anaheim residents no longer have to leave the city in order to shooby dooby down to Ruby's! Our own 5 Points Ruby's is now open. Yes, I know, it seemed like a fairy tale at times, as the poor old flatiron building sat on blocks for years, trapped in a sea of red tape. But Bill Taormina managed to push his way through the obstacles (including piles of money to be spent) and got 'er done! The building, originally constructed in the 1920s in a flatiron style, was crafted to accomodate the pie wedge lot left by the 5 sided intersection of Lincoln (Old County Road at the time) Center, and West Streets. Over time the building, and its surrounding area, faced challenges, as the upper floor units became flophouse style apartments, with all the joys of humanity that come with that environment. The City of Anaheim bought the building, along with the Lund Paints building next door (reused as a restaurant supply warehouse) and the surrounding homes facing south into Center Street, during a road widening project on Lincoln. All were meant for demolition, until local preservationists stepped in. The Lund Paint building was lost, but the residences were moved to other lots on the street, and joined by infill new construction, in styles that reflect the neighborhood. The Flatiron would have been a total loss if not for developer Bill Taormina, who stepped in knowing the the investmen was unlikely to pencil out. Bill rehabbed the building, and in a departure from the usual red and white 50s style Ruby's theme, the 5 Points Ruby's sports a brown  and tan theme that reflects eras from the 20 to the 40s, more in keeping with the structure's period of significance. Photos from the Anaheim History Room's Digital Collection grace the walls, reflecting Anaheim's past. Carhops on skates serve drivers beneath a massive pergola, and the outdoor patio area looks like the perfect spot for Saturday breakfast! A public park is planned for the remaining corner lot.

The restaurant has been serving invited guests during a "soft opening" combining fund raising for local charities with training new hires to serve the public. I attended one of the fundraisers Friday night with Council candidate Kris Murray, Disney's Carrie Nocella, School Board Trustee Jordan Brandman, and our families, in a completely packed house! The Morris family directly across the street were in attendance Friday night, clearly excited to see this finally come to fruition, after years of living in a construction zone! Also residing across the street is larry Black, who has been to Ruby's repeatedly, not only for the excitement, but likely to keep his kitchen clean so he can sell the airplane bungalow his family has on the market.www.CalBungalow. com.

Come on out to see the latest Ruby's, at Lincoln and the 5 freeway (across from Paul Kott's office) and if you run into Bill Taormina, say thanks!

Speaking of Jordan Brandman, his re-election Kick-Off party is tonight at Mama Cozza's restaurant, Ball and Brookhurst. I undertand there are about 100 guests planning to attend, but there is always room for more. You can pay at the door if you can make it last minute!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carol Latham on Art in Public Places: Anaheim Beautiful

The next meeting of Anaheim Beautiful is on April 7th, 2010 at 12:00 Noon.

Please save the date! This will be a great informative meeting!
Red Lion Hotel
1850 S. Harbor Blvd.

Cost: $25 per person / $30 at the door.

Reservations Please! - RSVP by April 1st.
Call: 714-765-6079
Guest Speaker: Carol Latham / Anaheim Arts Council
Subject: "Art in Public Places"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Harry Sidhu: Carpetbagger

Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu has moved recently (twice) in an effort to represent the 4th District on the County Board of Supervisors, after Chris Norby vacated the seat in a special election.
How much do we trust Harry Sidhu to be a member of the 4th District community he claims he wants to represent? Recently Harry went to great lengths to tell others that he and his wife had purchased a home in the 4th District, in order to put down roots in the community. As a multi-millionaire, he is certainly in a position to own more than one home, so that is doable. I had been watching the Clerk-Recorder’s public records system, waiting for a transaction to record, showing his purchase of another home, to no avail. The boys from Fullerton accurately picked up Harry’s visit to the Registrar of Voters, claiming he had moved from the Calabria apartments, to a new home at 2215 E. Lucky Way in Anaheim’s 92802, which is well within the 4th District. Over breakfast at Mimi’s recently, Harry verified to me that he and his wife had purchased the home, and that he planned to remain in the house even if he lost the primary in June. When I asked him to put that in writing, along with a pledge not to use the Supe seat as a springboard for yet another office, he offered to send an email to that effect. I have yet to get that, but I digress.

Here’s my problem. A) There is no such address as 2215 E. Lucky Way. At least not in the City of Anaheim. In fact, the location of Harry’s newest abode (and site of dispute with the Bushala team) is in fact 2215 South Lucky Way. Bushala told me yesterday that he went to that location to confirm Sidhu’s residence there, to clear up the confusion over the address.

B) Harry Sidhu does not appear to own the house at that address. Public records show the owner of 2215 S. Lucky Way to be Phuc and Bian Huynh, who live nearby on East Simmons Avenue. The Sidhus are renting.

Which leaves us with several very big questions:

A) Is Harry Sidhu legally registered to vote if he gave a home address that does not exist? If not, is his candidacy for the 4th District even valid? I understand there are others asking that same question, with lawyers.

B) Why did Harry lie to the residents of the 4th District by claiming he had bought his home in the District? Did he really think we were too stupid to check on that? Harry Sidhu can certainly afford to purchase a second house, which he would have done if putting down the deep roots he claims he wants in the area. There is nothing wrong with renting, unless you told others you had purchased.

C) Harry has lived in his 3rd District home, the “elegant Yorba estate” for many years. Why is he so unpopular with his own long term neighbors that he sees himself as unelectable in his own back yard, when the 3rd District seat opens up? Is he so despised on his own home turf that he would rather overcome charges of “carpetbagging” than run in his own neck of the woods? What do Harry’s neighbors know that the 4th District doesn’t?

I do not have answers for those questions, and I frankly will not hold my breath waiting for Harry to answer them, just as he has not sent the email confirming his verbal commitments to me. But I trust the people of the 4th District will ask themselves these questions before voting for our next Supervisor.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Congratulations to Janet Lee and the Shops at Anaheim Gardenwalk for the Maxi Award!

Over last spring and summer, volunteer artist and Anaheim resident Janet Lee worked with the Shops at Anaheim Gardenwalk to create an innovative new program, featuring art in public places-in a shopping center! Janet worked tirelessly with volunteers from many organizations, including Assistance League, Anaheim Historical Society, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and others. Together they teamed up with school children in the summer camp programs, and local artists volunteering their time. Using donated materials, the artists created enormous murals, painted by the school kids, to be hung in the public spaces of the Anaheim GardenWalk. The murals depict Anaheim culture and history, based largely on Gail Eastman's children's book, Ana's Home by the River.

That project has now won a Gold Award in the ICSC Maxi Awards, recognizing innovative ideas in shopping center development. This is the only project of its kind in the world, but I suspect the idea will be picked up and taken elsewhere soon! They would do well to hire ball-of-energy Janet Lee to run future programs!

Good work and congratulations to Janet, the GardenWalk, and thanks to all of the artists, school kids, and organizations that gave time, energy, and resources to this project. The murals can be seen in the upper areas of the GardenWalk center, and are open to the public at no charge.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Children's Book Signing to Benefit Anaheim Family Justice Center


Dino Mannersauthor Susan Finch and illustrator Allison Seda joined by Anaheim Police Chief, Anaheim City Attorney, and Officer Byrd to teach children important life lessons

ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 2, 2010) – Susan Finch, the author of Dino Manners, a popular children’s book which teaches children to treat their friends with respect, will be joined by Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley at the Anaheim Family Justice Center on Friday, March 5, from 4:00 – 7:30 p.m. The trio will share in the reading of the book, and offer words of advice and encouragement to all. The event is free to the public, with proceeds from the book sales benefitting the Anaheim Family Justice Center.

Dino Mannersfeatures colorful and humorous illustrations of a group of dinosaurs learning about friendship, resolving conflict, sharing, how to stay safe, and much more.

Also joining the dinosaur-talk at the event will be Officer Byrd and his friend and author, retired Los Angeles Police Department officer Michael Simonsen. Officer Byrd, a South American Macaw, is no stranger to police work himself. The two officers visit schools to teach children and adults about safety. Officer Byrd likes to entertain his audience with his bike riding, skateboarding, roller-skating, and even driving his own police car.

Established in October 2006, the Anaheim Family Justice Center offers many resources to effectively and efficiently address domestic violence, child abuse, elder/dependent abuse and sexual assaults. By utilizing a multi-disciplinary team approach to intervene, new and innovative ways to support and enhance provisions of crime victim services are proposed.

The Anaheim Family Justice Center is located at 150 W. Vermont Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92805.

For more information please contact the Anaheim Family Justice Center, at (714) 765-1618 (714) 765-1618

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A New Music Hall for Anaheim

The Orange County Register reports on a new music hall opening in Anaheim, with some reservations from the neighbors. http://www.ocregister.com/news/neighborhood-236971-music-hall.html

Apparently the owner of the EXTRON site at Ball and East Streets is creating a steak house restaurant, and is also adding a concert hall, with a focus on country music. The site sits on an arterial corner, but is surrounded by residential properties nearby, and the neighbors are understandably concerned. Sadly if you read the comments section below the Register article, the critiques of the project quickly tailspin into name calling and insults, alluding to the stereotype of country music fans being in-bred hillbillies. But just a quick Google search of demographics http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=514540
shows that Country Music listeners tend to be in the 25-54 year old age range (the folks most likely to spend money), they are Caucasian, female, married, homeowners, with kids, and at least some college education. Not exactly the image of "Bubba passed out on your lawn after a night of downing longneck beers" that the neighbors might fear. The parking lot of this concert hall is far more likely to be filled with Beemers than pickup trucks, and the greatest crime spree may well turn out to be GPS units swiped from those convertibles during the concert, not the shotgun target practice some have posted on the Register site.

In addition, the concert hall appears to have made an agreement with the Planning Commission to utilize the same neighborhood protections agreed to by the owners of the Ember nightclub in the Anaheim Colony Historic District. Like the EXTRON site, the Ember property fronts onto a busy arterial street, but backs onto and is surrounded by residences, and those neighbors were greatly concerned for quality of life issues, for the same reasons as the EXTRON neighbors likely are. The owners of Ember agreed to Conditional Use that specified on-site security to keep the party from spilling onto neighboring streets, as well as valet parking, and a strictly enforced dress code. The Ember nightclub has become an assett to the community, and using those same restrictions for the EXTRON site is likely to produce an equally beneficial project. The Conditional Use Permit also gives the neighbors the reassurance that if the owner fails to abide by the rules, the Permit can be pulled. That is a lot more comfort and local control than we get when a "party house" picks up down the street, and we cannot get the cooperation of the absentee landlord to quell the keggers.

A concert hall at Ball and East Street would also create yet another entertainment venue for Resort visitors, who often complain of a lack of nightlife or free-time options after a convention, outside of Disney. Conventioners visiting for a business trip want an adult oriented venue to relax after a busy day of walking through medical device booths at the Convention Center, and they have money to spend, money that goes back into the coffers of Anaheim's General Fund.

I have not spoken to the neighbors, but it appears the project could be a win-win, as long as the neighbors have their concrerns addressed in the CUP, and the owner acts in good faith to abide by those concerns. This could be a great step in closing the gap of the cultural vaccuum of Anaheim. Bring on the music!