I'm supposed to be relaxing at the Parker Resort in Palm Springs, a beautiful lil' oasis where UC Riverside MFA program in creative writing is holding a writer's retreat (I'm an invited lecturer), but news that SanTana mayor Don Papi Pulido is busy lubing Orange County's seat for the Freudian 37-story symbol that is a proposed skyscraper has me too pissed off to swim in the night heat. The building, of course, is the notorious One Broadway Plaza, proposed by megadeveloper Mike Harrah years ago to satiate his ego. What's stopped Harrah from beginning construction is a clause in the development agreement that requires he fill the building to at least 50 percent capacity before beginning construction. He couldn't do it during boom times, and there's no way he can pull it off now.
In steps Don Papi Pulido, who just loves to stretch and even break the law. He wants to use federal stimulus money to "to move at least some county offices into the proposed tower," according to the always-excellent Orange County Register reporter Doug Irving. But guess who would benefit the most from such a move? Harrah.
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I don't have access to as many public records right now out in the desert (hold it...cute girl in low-rise bikini passed by the pool...), but I do know that Harrah has in the past rented out many of his downtown SanTana buildings to the county. One I know for sure he still owns is 1200 N. Main, where Harrah maintains his offices and whose main tenant is the county's Health Care Agency. If Pulido gets his way, Harrah gets subsidized to move his current tenants to One Broadway Plaza, which would either mean more money from the same source or a good chunk of his buildings would then stand empty. Regardless, in this day where so many local businesses are failing, why the hell is Don Papi favoring Harrah? Oh yeah--because Harrah is a former donor, and no one in SanTana really gives a shit.