Re-Elect Tom Tait Mayor: Why?

This week, the Orange County Register (OCR, 2014) endorsed the re-election of Tom Tait as Anaheim’s mayor, calling him the “best [candidate] to lead the city.” Examining the rationale presented in its endorsement, however, I found little to justify the paper’s support.

The OCR cited Tait’s quelling anger and potential violence following riots during 2012 and supporting citizens’ oversight of the city’s police department.

t8The paper applauded Tait’s “dissenting voice,” a council member who consistently votes no “on numerous issues.” It cited Tait as the only council member to oppose a tax incentive to build a hotel near Disneyland and the city’s convention center.

Voting to approve a tax incentive to developers is not unusual, so voting no is not necessarily a virtue. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014).

Whether to offer a tax incentive depends on several factors; for example, (a) the need for a hotel that satisfies current convention needs and its potential to attract larger future conventions, (b) the return on investment that taxpayers would receive by building a hotel, and, most important, (c) whether not offering an incentive means not building a hotel and losing tax revenues. Tait’s vote seems like a no vote without consideration of positive aspects of providing a tax incentive.

Yes, Tait talks about transparency (endlessly), but the OCR did not cite any evidence of increased governmental transparency in Anaheim since he has been mayor. Transparency was confused with Tait’s rigidity and public comments that torpedoed the city’s negotiations with the Angels. And there is a difference between publicly discussing unfunded pension liabilities and solving this problem.

The Anaheim City Council lacks a Latino council member. But no evidence was cited by the OCR that Latino residents of Anaheim have no voice or that their concerns are unaddressed. Tait and Brandman (2014) falsely implied a disparity in the city services that neighborhoods receive. In fact, the distribution of city dollars spent per capita in Anaheim has been remarkably similar for several years (City of Anaheim Finance Department, 2013, p. 12).

It is not my argument that Tom Tait should not be re-elected mayor. It is my contention, however, that the rationale offered by the OCR for his re-election lacks a basis for concluding he “deserves his fellow [sic] residents’ votes.”

—Hugh Glenn

Sources

Los Angeles Times. (2014, April 22). L.A., where tax breaks come easy—For some. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/m553o9m

Orange County Register. (2014, October 29). Editorial: Tom Tait for Mayor of Anaheim. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/lxm83v5

Tait, T., & Brandman, J. (2014). Argument in favor of Measure L. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/km6f77d

8 comments

  1. mayor tait lied regarding keeping angels he wants angels out of anaheim so he can sale the land for more homes to be build he has no intenion of trying to out to keep the angels here mr tait step down as mayor and let someone who really wants the angels to stay here quit lying to the great people of anaheim you dont support the angels or our police

  2. Learn to spell and how about some correct grammar? He is also against the silly cable car that is currently being discussed.

  3. What is silly about the street car? These systems have worked nationally with great success. The Anaheim street car makes sense for a city moving millions of tourists annually through their downtown.

    • Exactly which corner of the earth are you posting from. Chad? The proposed streetcar is only a 3 mile route,entirely through the Resort District, and goes nowhere near Anaheim’s downtown. Are you aware of that?

      • To someone who drinks red wine by the box, your commentary is taken with caution. The downtown extends beyond greater city hall area. The city is moving millions of tourists every year and the street car will facilitate moving them in large numbers. LA’s light rail has just exceeded 100 million annual riders. San Diego, Portland, Dallas, Tuscon and Phoenix are also operating them with success. These systems work.

  4. is anyone really surprised by the Register’s endorsement?

    • No, but it should be—to any person who examines the endorsement and the absence of evidence to do so.

      • Tom Tait is close personal friends with Brian Calle who oversees the editorial board and since the day Tait was elected the Register’s editorial section has been his personal Echo chamber. Its a mammoth conflict of interest that puts the integrity of the entire paper in a suspect light. Now that they are fast going under and Calle may be out job. The upside is Anaheim residents can start getting the LA Times that’s balanced, independent and delivered on time.

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