Monday, August 06, 2007


Bad Mouse??

A bit of a zoning issue going on in Anaheim and the Washington Post is on the story:

“It's a tale worthy of a Disney classic: wicked plotters, oppressed workers, an uphill battle that leads, one hopes, to a happy ending. But this time the bad guy is in the mouse suit. At least that's how affordable-housing advocates in Disneyland's home town of Anaheim tell the story.” In Anaheim, the Mouse Finally Roars

Actually, that’s also pretty much the way Post writer Sonya Geis tells the story too. At issue is a plan to build some 1,500 apartments and condos – of which 225 will be of the “affordable housing” type. Early on Ms. Geis frames this thusly:

“But Disney's resistance to housing -- affordable housing, especially -- is fueling frustration in Anaheim.”

Unfortunately, this is seemingly just a gratuitous slam at Disney as Ms. Geis never actually documents a specific Disney resistance to so-called affordable housing. In fact, it takes several paragraphs before we get a hint that maybe Disney isn’t alone here as we learn that “[t]housands of residents signed petitions to force a vote on the project.”

A few more paragraphs and we discover:

“In 1994, the city created a special resort zone designation so that land around Disneyland would go only for tourism. Disney and Anaheim spent millions cleaning up the area. Nearby streets, once lined with fast-food joints and cheap motels, are now wide and clean boulevards of flowering trees, long-leafed palms and sunset-colored adobe."

And Anaheim is now collecting nearly double in hotel taxes in just 8 years. Further, this isn’t just Disney versus Anaheim

“Disney, along with business groups, residents and Anaheim's mayor, argues that the housing project is the beginning of the end for zoning that keeps cash flowing into the city…”

That’s right; the freaking MAYOR of Anaheim is on Disney’s side in this. Anyone reading just the first few paragraphs would never get the sense that there were legitimate arguments to be had by the other side.

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