Our city council directly affects the quality of life here in Anaheim. They’re the ones whose decisions determine which roads to repair, what building codes will be enacted, how many police are on the street, and how many emergency responders come to your door. These individuals will have a greater impact on your daily lives than the President of the United States will ever have yet we know the least about them. Take some time and learn where I stand on the issues.
Our city is strong but we face challenges. The Resort District is our biggest asset but has become ripe for corporate greed. Our police force is stretched thin. Most of our parks are looking worn. Not all of our neighborhoods get the same attention as others and our business community lacks high paying jobs. To fix these things takes a strong commitment and money. I’m committed to working to improve on these issues but we need to stop giving our money away to Disney and special interest.
When visitors come and stay in our hotels they pay a tax. It’s called the Transient Occupancy Tax or TOT. The tax is 15% on top of the room rate. This is the single most revenue generating source for the city. Last year we earned approximately $119 million from the TOT. Of that, approximately $35 million went to pay down the Resort bond that was taken out in the late 90’s for improvements to the resort area. This includes the building of the huge parking structure for Disneyland. Yes! We paid for that and we don’t get one single penny from the millions of people who use it. We also don’t get one single penny from the millions of visitors who walk through the gates of Disneyland and California Adventure either. We can’t because your current council gave them a tax break for up to 45 years. So how do we make money off of Disneyland? As a city we receive a fraction of the property taxes off of their land and a small percentage of the sales tax collected in the park on food and souvenirs. We do make money when people stay in Disney Hotels. That’s why our TOT is all the more important. Disneyland and our convention center draws people from all over the world and many of them stay in our local hotels. We earn a 15% profit off every room a visitor stays in.
The current council majority has decided we need four diamond hotels to compete with the likes of Newport and Laguna Beach. So they have decided we can do without that 15% profit for 20 years to subsidize the building of three, 4Diamond hotels, One for Disney and two for a Chinese developer. Instead of making the full 15% profit we would normally make on other hotel rooms these three hotels will get a subsidy broken up like this: 70% is returned to the developer. 20% goes to repaying the resort bond and we are left with 10%. Out of the original $1.00 we are left with 10 cents to fund Police Officers, Firefighters and neighborhood improvements.
The argument used to support these subsidies is that we need 4Diamond hotels and they can’t be built unless they get a subsidy. I have a problem with the use of the term need. Don’t you think if there really was a need somebody would build them without a subsidy? We already have a Hilton, Sheraton and Hyatt, shouldn’t they be 4Diamond? The simple answer is no and the reason is the market doesn’t support it. We have 153 hotels with over 21,000 rooms in the city. The only 4Diamond hotel in the entire city is Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spas with 948 rooms. That’s less than ½ of 1% of all the hotels in the city.
Your current councilman Jordan Brandman claims this brings jobs and economic development to the city.
The simple fact is, these are tax payer subsidized jobs and not one of them is
guaranteed to go to an Anaheim resident!
Let me repeat that…
Not one of those jobs that you’re giving up your 15% profit for 20 years is
guaranteed to go to an Anaheim resident!
Your money is being used to provide economic development for all of Southern California. Once these hotels are built we will continue to be stuck with the same low wage jobs we have had all along. Low paying jobs which then force those same people to continue to cram into low-income apartments and rental homes which then continues to create more and more negative impacts onto our neighborhoods than we can handle . The simple fact is they are taking money that could go to improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods and giving it to special interest that fund their campaigns.