Next Tuesday, after much speculation, the divisive $158 million GardenWalk hotel subsidy will return before the Anaheim city council for a vote. The agenda for the meeting spells it all out as there will be “discussion and action” on a resolution for the economic assistance agreements (aka developer welfare!) so that the City Manager can potentially “execute and administer” them.
A quick call to the City of Anaheim by the Weekly confirmed as much. It's happening!
Last year, the council voted 3-2 to approve the massive subsidy on January 24, 2012 only to have an Orange County Superior Court judge rule it void in response to a lawsuit filed alleging, among other things, that the Brown Act had been violated. This time around, the language is clear and the public is on notice. What that means is that there is sure to be one hell of a contentious council meeting next week! Count on hours of lengthy public comments!
In this second installment of the political drama, two new council members, Jordan Brandman and Lucille Kring, will be before the dais casting their vote. Last year, Mayor Tom Tait, along with former councilwoman Lorri Galloway, were not in favor of the massive tax giveaway. Current council members Gail Eastman and Kris Murray were fervent backers of the project. Its current manifestation calls for a diversion of 70% of the transient occupancy tax (TOT) over a 20-year time frame.
The GardenWalk hotel subsidy has dominated much of the political discourse since it initially arose and bitterly divided the council with lasting reverberations to the current day. In response, a 'Let the People Vote' initiative mobilized, but failed to go before the ballot box as talk of Anaheim being a 'tale of two cities' gained traction.
How things will go down Tuesday remains to be seen. One thing is official: It's on like Donkey Kong!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz