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Can Disney Agree to Affordable Housing in Anaheim?

by: Andrew Davey (atdleft)

Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 10:12:59 AM PDT

(Photo courtesy of OC Register; story cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

Oh my! Here's some interesting news on the fight over affordable housing in Anaheim. The Register has a story on last night's Anaheim City Council meeting, and of their latest decision to give Disney, Suncal, and the affordable housing advocates three weeks to work out a compromise.

Obviously, this leaves one HUGE question in my head. Can the two sides reach a compromise? Is there middle ground between affordable housing near Disneyland and giving Disney free reign to do as it pleases in the "resort district"?

Follow me after the flip for more...

Andrew Davey (atdleft) :: Can Disney Agree to Affordable Housing in Anaheim?
Outside Anaheim City Hall, affordable housing activists staged a protest by pitching over 100 red-domed tents outside. They were doing this in an effort to  help people visualize the need for affordable housing for Orange County's working poor. They used the tents to do a skit in which people were not allowed to pitch their red-domed tents in an area called "Disneyland", and then they were forced away by "Disney Villains" from another area called "Nimby-land". The people with the tents had nowhere to stop and put their tents down, just like how far too many working families in Orange County have nowhere to call home.

Inside city hall, an unusual sense of calm came upon council chambers. OK, so it was still kind of tense. However this time, the meeting went on fairly smoothly. And in the end, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 to give all sides in the dispute another 3 weeks to reach a compromise.

But how can a compromise be reached? Is there land available for affordable housing in other nearby areas? Is there an affordable housing proposal in Anaheim that Disney can support? Is there another proposal for the "resort district" that Suncal and the affordable housing advocates can support?

As we've discussed before, the working-class folks who make the entire "Anaheim Resort District" work are in dire need of homes that are within their reach and within their budget. However Disney just doesn't want to see any housing within the "resort district", as that may disturb their "third gate" plan for a possible third theme park and plenty of new timeshare properties to go with it. So can both sides agree to "third gate" AND affordable housing? Is there room for both in Anaheim?

I guess we'll find out in these next three weeks.

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Kids can't afford homes (0.00 / 0)
They aren't even legally allowed to work. What a silly sign. Wouldn't it be neat if local or state governments started seriously subsidizing living near your workplace though?  Whether targeting employers or employees, to the point that it essentially produced a disincentive to commute long distances, particularly by car.

Government can't subisdize... (0.00 / 0)
After all, that would be SOCIALISM!! Ahh, hide the kids! The big, bad SOCIALISM monster is coming to subidize homes near work and give health care for all and make college affordable again and help working people survive. SCARY!! hehe ; )

No really, that would be an intersting idea. I just don't know if the knuckleheads on the Anaheim City Council would agree to that. After all, they want the "free market" to determine those types of things, dontchaknow.

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
Last I checked (0.00 / 0)
The virtue of an unfettered market died in 1929.

[ Parent ]
Oh, come on now! (0.00 / 0)
We all know that facts have a liberal bias! Steven Colbert told me so! Milton Friedman is always right... Except when he was wrong.


; )

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
Where is Buffy when you need her? (8.00 / 1)
I'm afraid that it takes more than that to kill that off.

A pity Sara Michelle Geller is a Republican, BTW.

[ Parent ]
How about... (0.00 / 0)
if it is so beneficial to the public to have affordable housing, then the public should pay for it, not just landlords. I support housing vouchers (means-tested), thereby enabling them to make choices rather than forcing them into the "projects"

The Silent Consensus

OK, so what would you do here? (0.00 / 0)
Where would you let these working families go? Would you allow this affordable housing development in Anaheim? Or should Disney be allowed to have full control over this entire "resort area"? You seem to like "mnarket-based solutions", Viking, but just about EVERYONE in this dispute wants the City of Anaheim to help them out somehow. How would YOU resolve this problem?

I'm looking forward to hearing your solution. : )

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
It's only socialism if it doesn't help rich people (8.00 / 1)
Because protecting the "property rights" of Disney via police services, paving streets, and zoning working people out of Anaheim is just "creating a good business climate.

[ Parent ]
Nope (0.00 / 0)
If I OWN the property, it is not my obligation to engage in any transactions I wish not to. Nor is it my obligation to accommodate consumers of a certain economic status. Telling me I have to is socialism

Since when does anyone of any economic status have the right to live in any house in anywhere of his/her choosing?

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
Are you for Libertarianism, or Feudalism (8.00 / 2)
Since we are talking about a piece of property that gets services from the City of Anaheim, the County of Orange, the State of California, and the Federal Government of the US.

And yes, you are in fact obliged, in any civilized country, to engage in transactions that you do not wish to.  It's called the Rule of Law, and most of us think it's a Really Good Idea.

Disney Corp. owns the land it sits on, AFAIK.  It does not own Anaheim, or the people who live in it.

If you think that they have the authority to ignore that, then you are not a proponent of Libertarians.  You're for Feudalism.

[ Parent ]
Sounds like feudalism to me... (0.00 / 0)
As Disney has seemed intent on making all Anaheim residents into their new serfs.

And yes, Disney owns the land it's on. However you're totally right that Disney DOES NOT OWN ANAHEIM, and they do NOT own the people who live in Anaheim. Heck, Disney doesn not even own the land in dispute! Right now, IT'S A MOBILE HOME PARK!

So why should Disney enjoy the "privilege of libertarianism" while EVERYONE ELSE SUFFERS IN FEUDALISM?

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
If you are implying (0.00 / 0)
that a landlord who fights against rent control thinks he "owns the city and the people of the city" then I wholeheartedly disagree with you. If you don't, how is that not hypocritical?

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
That's the nasty little secret behind "market based solutions" (8.00 / 1)
It means that democratic majorities don't get to exercise their rights. If "everyone" in Anaheim were to agree to an affordable housing plan, using the democratic and Constitutional processes, the advocates of "market based solutions" would oppose it because it violated their ideological standards. Markets want to function on their own without interference, and that often means some sort of limitation of democracy is required for that to occur.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
And that's PRECISELYT what Disney wants... (0.00 / 0)
Or at least, what they're threatening the City of Anaheim with.

Disney has been threatening Anaheim that if they don't shut up and let Disney squash the affordable housing that gets in the way of their new theme park and timeshare hotels, then they'll deceive the voters into approving a "Save Our Anaheim Resort" ballot initiative that takes away ALL POWERS from the city to regulate what happens in the resort district. If this were to happen, Disney could bascially do whatever it wants and NEVER have to get city approval for anything. Disney would, in fact, become the QUASI GOVERNMENT for the "Anaheim Resort District".

So is that fair? Should Anaheim voters approve a measure that would take away THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS' VOICE in what happens in a huge swath of town? Now that doesn't sound "free market" OR "democratic" to me!

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
If by "ideological standards" (0.00 / 0)
you mean "individual rights" then you are absolutely right. Our constitution guarantees individual rights

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
Would I allow it? (0.00 / 0)
Would the government be FORCING Disney to make their housing "affordable"? Then no. If Disney OWNS the property, it is theirs to do with as they please as long as they are not violating the rights of others. To tell property owners they are OBLIGATED to cater their housing to certain consumers, it might not be eminent domain for private use, but only because it doesn't change ownership

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
But Disney DOESN'T own the property... (0.00 / 0)
Right now, the land in dispute is a MOBILE HOME PARK. So does Disney have licenseto tell Anaheim that they MUST let them put up timeshares? Or does the city have the right to tell Disney that they can't have their way this time, and that this area should be redeveloped to make way for more affordable housing units?

Right now, the residents of the mobile home park are mostly in agreement that they want affordable housing here. Should their wish be ignored so Disney can get its way here? What say you now?

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
Whoever owns the mobile home park... (0.00 / 0)
And on top of that, the residents of this community own mobile homes that are sitting on property that they are leasing from the mobile home owner. So why must their concerns be ignored to make way for Disney? I haven't heard you explain why.

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
I hereby... (0.00 / 0)
withdraw my disagreement with you on this subject

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
Cartoon Economics (8.00 / 2)
Being an extreme libertarian is like being a Trotskyite. The ideas are so outlandish that until 1994, governments in the US had the good sense not to try them.  It's mostly all theory although if you look at places where libertarian ideas get a good trial, you see that disaster ensues.  Argentina and Chile have lots of examples to choose from here.  And the libertarians cry (like the Trots) that the problem is that their ideas have never gotten a fair trial.

On the other hand, if you actually do good empirical work and try to back your economic theory with facts, it turns out that the theory doesn't work, and never did.  Work on anti-poverty efforts (for example, on minimum wage, which turn out to work pretty well) show that the cartoon economics a lot of these people half learned just does not hold up with reality intrudes.

Now the public is starting to figure this out, and as the GOP continues to implode, we still hear that somehow, it's just because Bush didn't carry out the libertarian agenda enough, rather than the truth: the damn agenda doesn't and didn't work, and the public is turning on it, big time.

There are a lot of reasons why subsidizing public housing that's integrated into where other people work and live is a good thing.  If your first response is to talk about vouchers,  you need another response.

[ Parent ]
How fitting for Disneytown... (8.00 / 1)
To have freakishly cartoonish economic policy rule the land!

No really, you're right. Disney had wanted Anaheim to declare the "Anaheim Resort District" off limits to any and all regulation and zoning laws that interfere with their "third gate" plan to open a third theme park AND put pricey new timeshare units next to the new theme park. Now think about it. Is that really "free market" OR "democracy"?

NO! It's "socialism for the corporate elite"! It's socialism that benefits Disney, but does NOTHING to help Disney's poor employees who need an affordable place to call home.

Hopefully, both sides can eventually agree to a compromise settlement that allows for affordable housing while giving Disney some of what it wants (while NOT destroying the democratic process in Anaheim). If a settlement isn't reached, and Disney still tries to shut off debate with an initiative meant to defang the Anaheim City Council of all regulatory powers in the "resort district", then we need to fight back. We can't let "voodoo economics" win over the needs of real people.

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
"I sold my soul to the company store" (8.00 / 1)
While Anaheim has grown a lot since Walt and his merry band set up shop in the 1950s, I'm guessing that in some ways, it's still a Company Town.

Once upon a time, corporations that did this thought they had some obligation to the towns people, since the services of local government and the good will of the local people who worked there was important to everybody, including the company.

Now this is seen as almost as quaint as the Geneva Convention.  It's far more cost effective to buy the services of an army of lobbyists to protect your interests in state and federal government, and bribe give large campaign donations to friendly people in local government.

A little civil disobedience might go a long way here, particularly if it prevents people from getting to Disney parking lots, or gets seen by a lot of people going to the park.

[ Parent ]
Anaheim's more than a "Company Town"... (0.00 / 0)
And I don't think that Disney likes this fact.

Once upon a time, Anaheim used to do whatever Disney told it to do. And whatever Disney wished upon a star, Disney got. That was the way things were.

BUT NOT ANY MORE. Now don't get me wrong, the 4-1 Reep city council still does A LOT of stupid things a lot of the time. However this time, they're doing something smart. 3 of them are putting their feet down, and they're telling Disney that they can only get so many of their dreams to come true. This time, they're asking that Disney take the people of Anaheim into consideration as they make plans for the Disney Resort.

Disney needs to realize that Anaheim isn't the small town it used to be. Anaheim is a city with hundreds of thousands of people with their own needs that shouldn't be ignored. These people need a place to live. And wait, ISN'T IT ALSO IN DISNEY'S LONG-TERM INTEREST THAT THEIR EMPLOYEES HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE?

If Disney cared about its own future in Anaheim, it would reach an agreement here.

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
In some ways (8.00 / 1)
Disney's relationship to Anaheim has long been like that of the Navy to San Diego, or Boeing to Washington State - certainly not the only game in town, but enough of an economic presence to carry a lot of weight in city hall, with the political connections to back it up. From the 1950s onward Disney desired a cozy relationship with Anaheim leaders, and this being Orange County they got it - most cities there have always been governed by developers and their friends/toadies in city government.

But Disney does not have total control over all the processes of government. In Orlando, on the other hand, they do. In the late 1960s, when planning Disney World, they got Orange County (FL) and the Florida state legislature to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District, basically giving Disney its own government to administer the planned development without having to rely on messy things like "democracy."

Since the 1970s or so, when Anaheim began asserting its own priorities independent of those of Disney, the company has been less than pleased with its dependence on elected government, even though Disney usually gets something close to what it wants. Here they usually relied on appeals to goodwill - not defined in the OC as you describe it, but instead as "we owe our jobs to the private sector so we should let them do what they want." That usually got the city to go along and enough voters to ratify it, on the rare occasions they were included.

Over the last 10 years a new problem has arisen - Anaheim has gone from being an older yet affordable suburb to an older and unaffordable suburb. Much of Anaheim proper (excluding the affluent Anaheim Hills) is working-class and now predominantly Latino. It's they and their institutions that are leading the fight for affordable housing, and Disney just cannot stomach the idea that they actually have to contend with democracy, with actual people who might not want to do things the Disney way. And so they try to lean on the city (the old tactic) or threaten to turn their resort into Reedy Creek West.

In any case, I think you're absolutely right about the framing. Everyone in SoCal can relate to affordable housing problems. With churches on board, it becomes even more difficult to impugn these activists and workers' needs. (And serves as a possible example of progressive coalitioning.) The last thing Disney wants are pickets and protests, but that may be exactly what is needed.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
Why do you think Disney wants to SOAR? (0.00 / 0)
The "Save Our Anaheim Resort" initiative would do precisely do to Anaheim what Reedy Creek Improvement District did to Orlando... It would NEUTER Anaheim city government in regards to anything at or near Disney. Basically, the people of Anaheim would have NO SAY if Disney got its way on this initiative.

Now Disney didn't need this before. In the past, Anaheim did whatever Disney wanted. But now 3 city council members are showing signs of independence, and Disney doesn't like it. So now, Anaheim is at a crossroads. Do they treat Disney as any other large employer subject to regulation like everyone else, or should Disney just get whatever it wants and everyone else be damned?

That's what we're facing in Anaheim.

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
Instead of public housing... (0.00 / 0)
I support giving means-tested housing vouchers to people so they can find a house of their choosing near their work. The housing vouchers would be a % of the median home price in the area

What I find interesting about many liberals is while they are pro-choice on the first thing that comes to mind (so am I), they are anti-choice on houses (instead of offering means-tested housing vouchers, they offer rent controls and public housing), they are anti-choice on health care (instead of restoring competition and giving a means-tested health voucher, they offer socialized medicine), and they are anti-choice on education (though I admit I share that one. I support public schools, but the difference: I support means-tested school vouchers in areas of failing public schools until the public schools are up to par)

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
I... am pro-choice for families, for patients and for students. (8.00 / 2)
First, I know I might regret responding, but here it goes... I just can't see where you are coming from on this, at all. I may not be the most well-versed person on these subjects but knowing where to stand on these issues is a no-brainer.

Providing housing vouchers is not a viable solution if the house costs 800,000 and you can only afford a house that costs 3-400,000. Providing a voucher for any percentage (assuming it would be a single digit number) of the total cost would still mean people would live in impoverished neighborhoods they can afford. Affordable housing provides lower-income people a choice for where they want to live and the opportunity to own their home.

Also, offering universal healthcare provides more of a choice than it does now. In the current system if I have health insurance I am required to go to certain in-network providers who are contracted to deny claims, and if I don't have health insurance I have to wait until I'm almost dead and go to an ER (as recommended by the president) where I might be left to die anyway. With universal health care all-doctors could compete for the 'business' of patients by being good doctors instead of competing to offer less service like in the current system.

The same applies to education on the k-12 level. If we privatize primary education, then what results is that the 'good' schools are more expensive than the 'not so good' schools and then the vouchers become irrelevant because the poor kids will still end up going to the bad schools thereby increasing the gap between the very poor and the super rich and it all circles back to housing and property taxes, but that is just a whole other can of worms. Next thing you'll say is that 'no child left behind' was the best thing to happen to primary education in this country because it may schools 'accountable'.

[ Parent ]
$800,000? (0.00 / 0)
The median home price is about $500,000, no?

The % would depend on the amount of income the person has. What I envision is a certain % of the median rental price in the area they work, or a % of the median housing cost. I can see double digit %

I'm not defending the current health care system. But to support socialized medicine as a solution is like supporting the Iraq war to fight terrorism. Answer these questions:

When all health benefits are "free", will smokers and obese people be denied treatment for heart attacks and strokes because they have opted for an unhealthy lifestyle? Will "rehab" be enforced to control diet and smoking? Will people in a vegetative state be told an extra year of life to them is not worth the cost to the taxpayers?

I do not support privatizing primary education, and I don't support no child left behind either. I am just against forcing low-income children to be stuck in failing schools

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
Extreme Libertarian? (0.00 / 0)
No, I'm not an EXTREME libertarian any more than Nancy Pelosi is an "arch-liberal". I am just libertarian compared to everyone else on here

With regards to the minimum wage, my position is simply this:

Guaranteed Minimum Income but not so much that people could live off it > minimum wage > nothing at all

I don't want to end up like China, which has low unemployment but a high starvation rate. I think the GMI would prevent that by giving the poorest people leverage in the market and make them more able to say no to borderline-slave labor conditions. With the GMI, if people want to work for less than an artificial floor set by the government, let them

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
Have you been in China lately? (8.00 / 2)
It's a Libertarian's paradise.  If you bribe the right officials, you can do pretty much whatever you want.

The minimum wage isn't what will make us more like China.  It's the loss of civil liberties, and the loss of the economic liberties of people who cannot afford to bribe their government.

There's a reason a lot of us think the GOP is a lot like the Communist Party Of The USSR.  Like the CP-USSR, the GOP favors restrictions on liberty, and an economy built mostly on kleptocracy.  Only the rhetoric differs.

That people who call themselves "Libertarianism" vote Republican is just what those old communists used to call "false consciousness", which is just Marxist jargon for "damn fools".

[ Parent ]
In fact, the OC GOP reminds me... (0.00 / 0)
A lot of the old CP-USSR!

After all, they don't mind "socialism" for rich people with yachts...


So long as our law enforcement officers don't get their hard-earned retirement benefits...

And free speech is no longer accepted...


If it's free speech against the GOP machine chosen ones.

So yes, I see your point. And right now, Disney and their 2 cronies on the Anaheim City Council are acting the same way. They get to enjoy all the privileges they want, while everyone else rots away homeless and starving.

Now ain't that "libertarian", or what?

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

[ Parent ]
"Sunbelt bolshevism" (0.00 / 0)
That was how Mike Davis, urban historian at UCI and one of my personal heroes, once described this phenomenon. Socialism for the well-off homeowners, ruthless exploitation and exclusion for everyone else.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
I never said that... (0.00 / 0)
you misread me. I meant having no minimum wage and no GMI would make us more like China

I agree about the GOP favoring restrictions on liberty. I'm not a Republican.

Built mostly on kleptocracy? On what grounds do you base that on? seriously

The Silent Consensus

[ Parent ]
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