Almost forgotten in the post-election coverage was Anaheim voters affirming the the development agreements for the two 4-Diamond hotel projects planned by the Wincome Group in the Anaheim Resort.
Measures J and K were referendums on the development agreements for the 4-Diamond hotel currently under construction next to the Anaheim Convention Center, and an approved luxury hotel project on the current site of the Anaheim Hotel. Nearly 53% of Anaheim voters chose to sustain these agreements:
They were also a colossal waste of time and money – the result of UNITE-HERE Local 11’s cynical use of the referendum process to blackmail Wincome into turning its hotel workers into UNITE-HERE members.
In summer 2016, after the Anaheim City Council approved development agreements and TOT rebate agreements for the Wincome hotel projects and Disney’s 4-Diamond hotel, UNITE-HERE started circulating referendum petitions targeting the Wincome projects. The union left Disney’s hotel alone because it was assured those employees would be Local 11 members.
Nonetheless, UNITE-HERE circulators mislead petition signers by telling them the referendum was to force Disney to pay hotel taxes – foreshadowing the union’s dishonest Measure L campaign message that the “living wage” measure applied to Disney. It’s important to point all this out as a reminder that UNITE-HERE Local 11’s leadership has no problem prevaricating in the pursuit of its political objectives.
The gambit failed – Wincome did not agree to UNITE-HERE organizing their new hotels’ employees. It wasn’t a matter of union wages, but the opacity of union finances that precluded confidence in an agreement.
But the referendum petitions were submitted and qualified for the ballot, and Wincome was forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars convincing a majority of Anaheim voters to sustain the development agreements for two projects that will bring hundreds and hundreds of good jobs to the city. Or at least the project under construction will – the passage of the $18 minimum wage initiative will likely lead to cancellation of the second Wincome 4-Diamond property.