Sept. 25: Council seeks initiative on Disney plot
Anaheim City Council asks staff to prepare a ballot measure requiring voter approval of a Disney project.
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register
ANAHEIM - The City Council gave its blessing for a ballot initiative that would give voters say on whether Disney can build a theme park or other project on company-owned property.
Tonight, the council voted 3-2 to ask staff to start paperwork for the ballot measure, requested by a group funded by developer SunCal. The group can avoid collecting signatures to place the item on the ballot if the council sets the election instead.
"I'm looking for something that is fair and right and just," said Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.
Mayor Curt Pringle and Councilman Harry Sidhu opposed the issue.
The initiative is the latest spike in the drawn-out dispute between SunCal, the city and Disney over SunCal's proposal to build 1,500 homes across from the Disney plot in the Anaheim Resort area. Disney says the resort should be reserved for tourism uses, but three council members have sided with SunCal by approving residential zoning for the plot the developer is purchasing.
The council has until March 4 to put the initiative on the June 3 ballot – the same date as a competing referendum spearheaded by Disney. Disney gathered signatures for the referendum, which would overturn the zoning, and a related initiative that would require voter approval of housing developments in the resort. Signatures from the initiative are being counted.
Proponents of the new initiative said voters should have say over Disney property, just as Disney is asking voters to approve housing projects in the resort.
"Give the people the whole story and let the people decide what's best for them," said speaker Martin Lopez, who favors the initiative.
Others disagreed, saying the developer-funded group should collect signatures if they want a ballot measure. Pringle called the initiative "punitive and retaliatory."
"This is nothing but harassment and a vicious attack on Disney," said speaker Stan Pawlowski, who is against the initiative.