What Are CATER And Tait FOR?

Anaheim Insider here.

Let’s begin  with the self-evident: stopping the Anaheim Convention Center expansion makes it harder (if not impossible) for Anaheim to compete-for and retain top tier conventions. Without the conventions, Anaheim hotels go unfilled. When the hotels are empty, local restaurants and tourism-dependent business suffer and close.

So then why does CATER seem so insistent on shutting this project down? They parade a list of obscure reasons but as far as I can tell it boils down to this: a small group of people without any background in public finance, public administration or with any credentials qualifying them as experts on multi-million dollar finance deals decided they didn’t like it.

Why don’t they like it? I suppose we should ask Mayor Tait or his handler. It seems this is just another part of the apparent War on Tourism launched in the last year or so.

Convention Center expansion: No.
Luxury Hotels: No.
Transportation projects for Anaheim: No.
Negotiations with the Angels: No.

Disneyland and the Ducks remain the only targets they haven’t attacked…yet. How long before that changes?

Complementing the preceding chorus of “Noes,” I have yet to see any action from the Mayor and CATER in support of Anaheim’s tourism industry or expanding Anaheim’s most critical source of general fund financing.

Why would these folks oppose Anaheim’s most important industry? Why would they try to hamstring expansion? Why would they seemingly take every step possible to hamper the expansion of Anaheim’s tax base? To undermine the city’s ability to provide services for residents?

Theories are welcome, because logic doesn’t apply.

43 comments

  1. Good gravy, straw man much?

    • You’re one to talk.

      • Indeed I am. I’m one to talk a lot actually.

        “Convention Center expansion: No”

        #FAIL. Illegal bonds: No. Convention Center: Yes!

        “Luxury Hotels: No”

        #FAIL. Taxpayer bailout for a developer with a bad loan? No. Luxury Hotels financed by the free-market? Yes!

        “Transportation projects for Anaheim: No”

        #FAIL. Stupid projects that increase traffic and abuse eminent domain? No. Good projects that do what the voters demanded their taxes actually do? Yes!

        “Negotiations with the Angels: No.”

        #FAIL. Taxpayer giveaway to the Arte Moreno with zero connection to the Angels? No. Win-win lease extension? YES!

        What we have here is a failure to communicate. Hope that helps, because apparently you’ve been too interested in spinning and not so much with the listening.

        • Every “yes” here is empty. What is one thing you’ve seen done to make any of that happen? And please spare us another lecture on the ‘no’

          • I’m sorry, I think you have CATER confused with the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce . . .

            You want to see what the Chamber has done to fight illegal bonds, promote the growth and liberty of the FREE market, advocate for smart transportation projects that link to voter approved tax increases and reduce traffic, and to promote terms that provide a legitimate positive return for both the owners and operators of Anaheim Stadium?

            Yeah, I want that, too! Know where I can find it?

            • Matthew Cunningham

              “You want to see what the Chamber has done to fight illegal bonds…”

              Once again, I will ask you to substantiate your claim that the Convention Center expansion bond is illegal. I imagine you will then – as you has been your habit — deny you said what you just said.

              The Chamber promotes economic development, and it does in the way that has made Anaheim a great city, a city built by leaders with a vision and a strategy for getting there. CATER’s claims to free market advocacy are baloney. It’s a political organization advancing a political agenda in support of the mayor and in opposition to the rest of the council.

              What CATER stands for, in reality, is paralyzing city government and economic development – that is what it does, the rhetoric notwithstanding. It proves that any idiot can carp from the sidelines, opposing the good and the very good in hopes of achieving the perfect. CATER is just a contrarian local version of environmental groups that use litigation as a political weapon. CATER’s handful of member are politically impotent; they can’t win elections so they resort to litigation.

              • Matt, I’m sorry, I think you missed the question.

                Just what HAS the Chamber done to fight issuing illegal bonds?

              • ” they can’t win elections . . .”

                Says the blogger who said people shouldn’t have the right to vote on bonds . . .

              • Chamber appears to promote economic development for their friends. Spare us the lecture, Matt. You have lost the concept of free market approach.

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  Allen, spare us the ignorance. What you know about what’s happening in Anaheim could fit in a thimble.

                  By the way, since you’re a supporter of single-member council districts in Anaheim, I thought you’d be interested to know you can join all the left-wingers who have established the pro-districts campaign HQ…in Garden Grove. The campaign is being led by a veteran left-wing community organizer, and housed in the building owned by radical UNITE-HERE union. You can help them as they organize the liberal coalition that is coalescing to push single-member districts and help produce a Democratic majority on the Anaheim City Council. You can send out tweets.

            • A solid misdirection attempt.

              The Chamber is working to improve Anaheim, CATER is trying to stop anything from happening in Anaheim.

              I am looking for one example where CATER either didn’t try to stop something from happening or where CATER actually proposed something that would help.

              Absent that, CATER and apparently Tait strike me as committed to the apparent turn of phrase: ‘War on Tourism’

              • No, I think the Chamber is working on improving its balance sheet and the balance sheet of those who pay them. I think that’s about it. That’s their sole reason for existing. People pay them to promote an interest, which for lack of a better description– is to make money. That’s neither good nor bad, but labeling their mission as “improving Anaheim” is pretty stinky.

                Anyway, you’re proposing to substitute your ideal for the mission of the Chamber for that of CATER. CATER’s mission is to STOP the abuse of public funds. That’s it. It’s unfortunate that CATER and the Chamber have been at odds, but that’s what happens when the Chamber’s primary mission goes from promoting private business interests to promoting public corporate welfare for its friends.

                • How is increasing business activity not improving Anaheim?

                  What qualifies CATER to be an arbiter of what is an appropriate use of public funds?

                  What CATER has done is cost investment and progress in the city. I asked my prior question because I see them as an unqualified group that has cost the city and now I would like to know what benefit they provide. Lacking that, I think we can close the book on CATER and agree that it is a burden on the future success of the city.

                  • When government’s primary purpose stops being enabling the freedom to pursue happiness for all its citizens and becomes about how to give away money to businesses who fund political campaigns it ceases to be about improving Anaheim. The Chamber exists to promote the later in Anaheim, not the former.

                    A judge qualifies CATER to be the arbiter of what is and is not appropriate use of public funds. I believe they’ve asked for one to weigh in twice now. That’s the whole point of the legal system– to resolve conflict of law.

                    CATER hasn’t cost the city anything. Recklessness and greed have. But for GardenWalk and the slew of giveaways that followed, CATER wouldn’t exist. Had the council not voted on questionable activity, CATER wouldn’t have anything to sue over.

                    That’s your burden– right there. Questionable activity. The ends do not justify the means. While you and I may disagree on the intentions of the Chamber and those it chooses to ally with, your insistence that we all focus on the ends the organization wishes to achieve vs. the ends of another does NOTHING to address the faulty means by which the Chamber and its council majority have used to secure their vision.

                    Process matters. Particularly when abuse of it screws over the taxpayer.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “CATER hasn’t cost the city anything. Recklessness and greed have.”

                      “Greed”??? Blech. Stop with the ridiculous, over-heated hyperbole, already. You sound like some left-wing, brain-dead Occupy activist.

                      And you’re dead wrong. CATER has cost the city. The needless delay they caused will increase the cost of the bonds – a cost borne by the taxpayers they claim to represent. It costs the city by putting in jeopardy major conventions that Anaheim currently has – like NAMM – and ones that had pledged to come her if the ACC were expanded (such as the American Heart Association). It costs those Anaheim residents who were going to get construction jobs WON’T get those jobs for who knows how long? There is a cost to CATER’s effort to make Anaheim a more difficult place to do business.

                      I’m amazed by the la-de-da attitude from you, Cynthia Ward, Greg Diamond and the rest of the bunch – acting is if there are no negative consequences to their recklessness – which they pretend is some high-minded fight for principle. Feh. CATER is like the mischievous youngest sibling who instigates a fight and then shifts the blame. Your pretense that CATER has done no harm is more than laughable – it’s delusional.

                    • First off, I agree with all Matt’s points.

                      Next, philosophy 101 is coming back to me here: Process vs. ends. Neither stands in the absolute.

                      I would follow up by saying CATER has unilaterally opposed EVERYTHING the city has done (regardless of bringing the chamber into this). So why is CATER operating at the extreme? They are getting press recently. Seems like a nice reason for them to keep stirring the pot. Some people are into that kind of stuff. But saying “ends don’t justify the means” is equally valid to the inverse and it looks like that is where CATER exclusively operates.

                    • Matt,

                      I’m not the one defending bad actions of a bad government.

                      I’m also not the one stating people in Anaheim shouldn’t have the right to vote on bond issues.

                      If I’m guilty of defending a bad organization who stands up against what they legitimately feel is a bad government and defending a citizen’s right to participate in direct democracy, then color me all kinds of guilty.

                      I don’t know how you landed on the side of the table you now sit, but I hope that at some point you begin to understand that the folks surrounding you serve themselves before serving others.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Neither am I, Ryan. Sorry to break it to you, but you don’t have a monopoly on truth or principles of good and limited government.

                      And no one is stating Anaheim voters “shouldn’t have the right to vote on bond issues.” That’s straw man argument if I ever saw one. Try taking issue with what someone actually says, rather than concocting some alternative version and taking issue with that.

                      Further, there is no “right” to vote on revenue bonds. That’s empty rhetoric on your part. Funny how Ward & Co. have had bupkis to say about this “right” until it came to a project opposed by their candidate.

                      As for the rest of your comment: I think you have been spending too much time around those conspiratorial nutcases who think every government action is the result of lobbyists pulling strings to line their pockets. Maybe it makes you all feel good and righteous about yourselves, but it is still fantasy.

                    • “No such bonds payable out of revenues shall be issued without the
                      assent of a majority of the voters voting upon the proposition for issuing the same at an election at which such proposition shall have been duly submitted to the qualified electors of the City.”

                      Strike one.

                      Me: “Should the bond issue have gone to the voters?”
                      You: “No . . .”

                      Strike two.

                      ” . . . but you don’t have a monopoly on truth”

                      Based on the first two, apparently I do. Strike three.

                      Sorry, Matt. You’re out.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      I had a great refutation of your comment, and then accidentally hit some combination of keys and zapped my response into oblivion. I’ll get to it later.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      As to your first point, Ryan:

                      Here’s the entire paragraph from which you lifted that single sentence:

                      Section 1210. REVENUE BONDS.

                      Bonds which are payable only out of such revenues as may be specified in such bonds may be issued when the City Council by ordinance shall have established a procedure for the issuance of such bonds. Such bonds, payable only out of revenues, shall not constitute an indebtedness or general obligation of the City. No such bonds payable out of revenues shall be issued without the assent of a majority of the voters voting upon the proposition for issuing the same at an election at which such proposition shall have been duly submitted to the qualified electors of the City.

                      That section applies to the City Council, not to a JPA like the APFA or the Anaheim Housing Authority. State law and the courts have made it clear voter-approval requirements like Section 1210 do not apply to entities like the APFA or the AHA. Sorry, Ryan. You can put on the ruby slippers and click your heels together as many times as you like – it still won’t make true what you want to be true.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      As to your “strike two”:

                      I’m still decided whether you’re being intellectually dishonest or are just suffer from intellectual confusion. As I have said, I don’t support putting the convention center expansion bond to the voters. You then twist and distort that position into the false claim that I have a general opposition to putting bond issues to the voters (not in this particular comment, but elsewhere).

                      I hold to a traditional conservatism in the mold of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln. I do not subscribe to progressive notions of direct democracy and the progressive impulse to punt policy making directly to the voters – it is corrosive of representative self-government and does limit government. It is a manifestation of the progressive idea that government is a living thing, and the object is to fashion an organic symbiosis between the government and the people so that the popular will – whatever it happens to be at a moment in time — is then manifested by the bureaucracy. This is directly opposed to the Founders’ mechanistic view of government as a thing instituted by the people to guarantee their natural rights – not to impose the popular sentiment of the moment.

                      Direct democracy advocates in Anaheim are inconsistent and politically self-interested in their advocacy: TOT revenue sharing agreements? Require they go to the ballot…but only insofar as they are used to incentives hotel development, because faction disliked the GardenWalk agreement. Revenue bonds? Put one on the ballot only when it finances a particular project (convention center expansion) that a tiny faction dislikes; otherwise, the same folks have been silent about voter-approval for every other revenue bond issued in Anaheim.

                      At the local level, we elect representatives to city council to govern the city. If voters disapprove of how those councilmembers are governing, they have the opportunity to replace them at regularly scheduled elections. Broadening the scope of policy-making actions that are subjected to direct democracy correspondingly diminishes representative self-government via the City Council, because the tendency is to only trust our elected representatives with matter of less and less importance. Hell, why not go all the way and just have the city manager and staff formulate policy and conduct quarterly elections to approve or reject their recommendations.

                      This is a long answer, but a necessary one given your embrace of the “let the people vote” war cry. That phrase gets trotted out all the time by activists and partisans when they lose a vote at the legislative level (such as a council vote) and want to another bite at the apple. It’s an effective tool, because it resonates with voters because we Californians are imbued with an inclination to direct democracy, and it allows those making the call to paint opponents are being anti-democracy and hostile to voters. But it is not a very conservative position.

                    • Seriously?

                      Does your extensive background in law and finance qualify you to be the final word on that language applying to this deal? No background in law or finance? huh…

                      So if that language doesn’t apply, “strike” one and two are totally bogus which makes strike three all the more embarrassing for you.

                      This is CATER in a nutshell

                    • One, you have no idea what my background is.

                      Two, the question wasn’t about this specific bond deal. It was in response to Matt’s claim about revenue bonds.

                      Don’t be so angry, Jack. Matt just happens to be wrong about this. It happens.

                    • Well, Matt– I was addressing what you wrote and not what you wanted to write.

                      “Further, there is no “right” to vote on revenue bonds.”

                      #FAIL.

                      Oh, but wait, I meant there’s no right to certain KINDS of revenue bonds. Yeah– that’s it. THAT’S WHAT I MEANT.

                      Duck, dodge, and weave all you want, you still #FAILHARDER

                      Right, wrong, or indifferent– voters have made it clear that they intend to limit the authority of local government and reserve the right to participate in decisions regarding indebtedness to themselves.

                      You’ve made it clear that you think the voters ought not have that right. There are a lot of folks like you who use backwards constructions of artificial government– agreements between fictional bodies and jurisdictions– to work around the intent of voters.

                      The honest thing to do, what good government ought to do, in this case was present the bond issue to the voters for their approval.

                      There is simply no good reason to deny the voters their right to vote on this deal. That’s what this issue is about. People (CATER) don’t want their rights abused . . . they’re stuck bemoaning those who would rather rely on obscurity and devise to rob them of that right in order to enrich themselves.

                      Sick. Sick. Sick.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Whatever, Ryan. It’s impossible to have an intellectually honest dialogue when you can’t be honest.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Spoken like a true zealot. Time to round up the enemies of the people and corrupt counter-revolutionaries!

                      You can organize an Anaheim version if the Red Guards, grab developers and parade them through town wearing dunce caps while you heap abuse on them.

                    • Please, Matt. Spare me your inconsistent dualism.

                      [Sure, they can have the right to vote– but it’s stupid and inconsistent with everything else I believe about the republic . . .]– Your soliloquy condensed.

                      Sorry, but that means you believe they shouldn’t have the right to vote on bond issues. Settle up with it.

                      Labeling yourself as a conservative means you necessarily believe the people reserve the right to limit their government’s authority over their lives: This includes government’s ability to spend the people’s money.

                      You can’t reconcile that principle with claiming the people shouldn’t vote on a revenue bond like the Convention Center Expansion. The people have made it clear they intend to limit local government from taking that action without their approval. Instead of defending that intent, you look for a backdoor constructed reason as to why it’s OK to expand, without a mandate, government’s authority and intrude upon the people’s reserved domain.

                      Fundamentally, Matt . . . that makes your position, a fairly fundamental position, a liberal one.

                      Enjoy.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      I can tell you my position very clearly. I cannot stop you from twisting and turning it into something it is not. I cannot stop you from making dishonest statements or force you to be logical. And I really don’t want to waste my time refuting your disappointing intellectual dishonesty.

                    • Logical? LOGICAL?

                      “Broadening the scope of policy-making actions that are subjected to direct democracy correspondingly diminishes representative self-government via the City Council, ” <<— YOU. Speaking as to why letting the people vote on bonds is bad.

                      You oppose the people's right to limit the scope of their government. YOU JUST SAID IT.

                      Time to true up, Matt. That's a liberal stance on a bedrock conservative issue.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Wrong. That is me talking about direct democracy in general, followed by you drawing an illogical, half-baked and WRONG conclusion about what I think.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Plus, you’re logical inference from your incoherent attack is that our right to limit our government is dependent on direct democracy. Maybe you can find a time machine and travel back to 1787 and tell Founders they have it all wrong in their aversion to Athenian democracy. After all, the Constitution is devoid of direct democracy.

                      Sorry, Ryan. You can’t bluster your way through this one and hope to be convincing that progressive direct democracy is actually a conservative idea.

                    • Dan Chmielewski

                      What CATER has cost is jobs for building trades, many of whom were expecting to begin work and now are in limbo.

                      If the judge rules against CATER, what then Ryan?

                    • Lets hope the city agrees to the simple settlement offer and puts the issue on the November ballot.

                    • Matt– did you just seriously confuse our right to direct democracy as envisioned by the framers of the GREAT State of California with those of these United States?!

                      For shame, Mateo. For. Shame.

                      Perhaps we should make a brief pit stop on our way back to 18th century. What do you think? Twenty minutes ought to be a enough time for you to go and correct that error?

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Is our right to limit our government confined to the state level, Ryan? Or to the federal? The right to alter or abolish our form of government is an inalienable, natural right that is inherent in us. Direct democracy is simply a means, not end. And as a means, it has a poor track record for limiting government.

                      Perhaps we should make a brief pit stop on our way back to 18th century. What do you think?

                      Perhaps we should – to rectify your woeful historical ignorance: the framers of the state constitution did their framing in 1879. The initiative, recall and referendum didn’t become part of the CA constitution until more than 30 years later.

                    • I mean, geez, you wouldn’t want one to conclude you’re embracing yet another bedrock of liberalism– that the federal government can step in and revoke freedoms granted to the people by the sovereign state in which they live, now would you?

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Ryan, people who read this blog are well aware you will conclude what you want, regardless of the facts.

                      Here you are again, fully informed as to what my views are, continuing to distort, twist and misrepresent them. So be it – I’m done wasting my time until you are able to argue/discuss/dialogue with at least a modicum on integrity.

                    • OMG, Matt. You suggested we go back to the 18th century. Not me.

                      *Head smack*

                      Come on, kid. Focus.

                    • Now that is funny.

                      Calling AI’s post “overwhelmingly intellectually dishonest” and then comment bombing the response section with these statements… I said it before and I’ll say it again, your role here is clear.

                      I really do think you get a kick out of seeing how deeply you can distort every topic posted on this site. Almost endearing at first but that wears off oh so quickly.

                    • Even if I agreed with what Ryan is saying (I don’t), I wouldn’t want to admit it because he acts like such a complete jerk! You don’t win people over by being an obnoxious a-hole.

  2. BigBoxOfRedWhine

    “WHY would a small group of ( FOUR ) people without any background in public finance, public administration or with any credentials qualifying them as experts on multi-million dollar finance deals decide” …. THAT A PUBLIC VOTE or FOLLOWING THE LAW on Financing was unnecessary? THAT is what the public “NO’s” were about! One of the 4 then went so far as to concede the family’s financial acumen to her husband (who was NOT called for expert testimony) and another dismissed all question of a discredited report, saying he “believed in it, since it was the product of a reputable company”. (Bernie Madoff would LOVE these folks as customers!). If ANY “WAR” exists, it is on Math Illiteracy, not Tourism!

  3. Dan Chmielewski

    Looks like Tait is for bringing the Clippers to OC; he’s on Karina Onofre’s task force

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