Pauper Chase

Rich man John Seymour discovers he likes poor people just fine

It may also be that Anaheim and Related Cos. are banking on Seymour's Sacramento ties. Leaving City Hall, he was elected to three straight terms in the state Senate before completing Pete Wilson's U.S. Senate term after Wilson was first elected governor in 1990. A month after Seymour lost the seat to Democrat Dianne Feinstein, Wilson appointed the Republican stalwart to head the California Housing Financing Agency. That happens to be one of the agencies Anaheim is asking to help fund its Jeffrey-Lynne project.

Neither Seymour's involvement in the Jeffrey-Lynne project nor his past relationship with Anaheim City Hall and Sacramento has gone unnoticed by project opponents. At a July 18 community meeting, Green Party activist and Anaheim resident Duane Roberts passed out photographs of Seymour's $1 million home in Indian Wells, along with the question "What does John Seymour know about affordable housing?" Attorney Sutton also denounced Seymour's role in the project. "I think it's just the old political connections," Sutton said. "These entities are not about helping poor people. They are about enriching the people that are involved in those projects."

Witte, who is the former deputy mayor of San Francisco (under Feinstein, coincidentally), claims that his partner's status as a former state official and mayor of Anaheim had nothing to do with Anaheim choosing his company to carry out the Jeffrey-Lynne Revitalization Plan. Witte points out that his previous redevelopment project in Anaheim, Paseo Village, didn't involve Seymour and has been praised by city officials as the model for Jeffrey-Lynne.

"I don't need anyone's political support other than the city's and the community's," Witte exclaimed. "While I happen to like and respect John Seymour, the fact that he is involved with SCHDC was completely irrelevant to my desire to join with them for this project."

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