Yesterday, Los Angeles Times reporter Daniel Miller essentially took credit for Disney’s decision to cancel its Eastern Gateway Project:
A month after our report on the tense Disney/Anaheim relationship, Disneyland kills plans for disputed transit hub: https://t.co/CTY3UKe6NU
— Daniel Miller (@DanielNMiller) October 26, 2017
Hubris? Ignorance? Shameless self-promotion? All of the above?
Miller’s implied claim betrays an embarrassing level of ignorance about how development works. Think about it: Miller is saying that in the 30 days since his articles appeared, Disney was able to whip up a ready-to-go development plan that integrates a new, cutting-edge 4-Diamond hotel with its other three Anaheim hotel properties (the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier) plus a new 6,500 space parking structure.
Anyone with a passing understanding of development and all the studies, plans, etc., a project of this scale would involve, knows that what Miller is claiming is impossible.
Miller reportedly spent nearly a year working on his two-part series and Disney and Anaheim politics – and it still came out sharply biased. Surely the implied claim that these articles killed the Eastern Gateway Project merit a few hours of investigation prior to being made?
Miller overlooks the obvious factors, such as the rash decision by the “People’s Council” to force the mass resignation of all city commissioners – including members of the Planning Commission. The fetishizing of districting trumped good governance and temporarily lobotomized the Planning Commission, causing projects to slow to a crawl. This unanticipated pause becomes an opportunity for Disney to re-evaluate the Eastern Gateway Project. Add in uncertainty about the city council in the wake of the 2016 elections, plus the hectoring from a number of Harbor Boulevard property owners and decision to cancel the Eastern Gateway and focus on developing the westside of the Disneyland Resort isn’t that surprising in retrospect.
Furthermore, Miller’s articles focused on the TOT economic assistance agreements to support 4-Diamond hotel development projects. How does it make sense that Disney would respond by re-locating the parking structure – which it is building on its own dime?
And it’s laughable to imply Disney made these decisions and developed these plans in the 30 days since Miller’s articles appeared. That kind of self-aggrandizement further erodes the already-compromised credibility of Miller’s articles.