Land use decision likely to stay on Anaheim ballot

Times Staff Writer

A Disney-backed ballot initiative that would essentially strip the Anaheim City Council of its authority to make land use decisions in the city’s resort district apparently will still go before Anaheim voters in June.

Mayor Curt Pringle asked the council to bypass the ballot and instead adopt the initiative outright, saving taxpayers about $250,000 in election costs. But a majority of the five-member council has indicated a desire to see the anti-housing measure remain on the June 3 ballot.

Council members Lorri Galloway and Bob Hernandez have opposed the initiative from its inception, and last week Councilman Harry Sidhu said he would like to see voters decide whether the policy is appropriate.

“I’d like to let the democratic process work rather than let the political people decide the fate of the initiative,” Sidhu said. “I don’t want to get in the way of the taxpayers who put this on the ballot.”

Hernandez said saving $250,000 isn’t enough of a reason to forgo an election.


“At what price democracy?” he asked. “I thought the whole idea of this was to let the people decide.”

The group driving the initiative, the Disney-backed Save Our Anaheim Resort coalition, gathered more than 20,000 signatures in qualifying the measure for the ballot.

Disney has fought hard to maintain the 2.2-square-mile area surrounding its two theme parks strictly for tourist-serving uses such as hotels, time shares, shops and restaurants. The entertainment giant has spent millions of dollars on two ballot measure campaigns and two lawsuits in an attempt to block housing in the district.

Coalition officials once favored putting the issue before the voters, but that position has changed slightly now that the council is scheduled Tuesday to discuss enacting the policy into law.

“Our goal is to protect the resort district,” said Annette McCluskey, a coalition spokeswoman. “If that happens to be through City Council vote, that’s OK. We were asking for a vote of the people. But in a sense they already have voted. They’ve signed 50,000 petitions” for two ballot measures.