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Anaheim Dodges $90 Million Revenue Loss with Rejection of Measure A

Voters’ decision protects local economy and family-owned businesses.

Anaheim voters, in a decisive move to safeguard the city's economy and the future of numerous small and family-owned businesses, voted against Measure A. This Los Angeles-style ballot measure, if passed, would have imposed a crippling regime of significant wage increases and stringent work restrictions on all local hotels and event centers, including key city-owned facilities like the Anaheim Convention Center, Honda Center, and Angel Stadium.

Experts, including Anaheim's Finance Director Debbie Moreno, projected that Measure A's passage would result in a staggering $90 million loss for the city over a decade. This loss, attributed to diminished tax revenues and escalated labor costs, would have considerably strained the city's budget and public services.

Measure A, backed by the militant hotel workers union UNITE-HERE Local 11, was widely criticized for its potential to depress tax revenues, inflate labor costs, and damage Anaheim's appeal as a convention destination. This initiative's broad definition of "event center" meant it applied to a diverse range of venues, from the Anaheim Convention Center to the Anaheim YMCA and Camelot Golfland, creating an untenable situation for many.

The measure’s stipulation for a sudden minimum wage hike to $25 an hour, doubling to $50 for certain work conditions, presented an existential threat to the more than 160 primarily independent, family-owned hotels in Anaheim. This drastic change would have led to layoffs, reduced benefits, or the closure of many smaller hotels and event centers.

A diverse coalition of businesses, residents, and community leaders formed in response, raising over $1 million in under two months to educate voters about Measure A's detrimental effects. This coalition successfully out-organized UNITE-HERE Local 11, providing the council with compelling arguments on the measure's adverse impacts on businesses, jobs, and the city's financial capacity to fund public services.

During a council meeting, several coalition members urged the council to oppose Measure A, highlighting its destructive potential. Notably, UNITE-HERE Local 11 was absent from the discussion.

The council's vote (5-0-2) against Measure A reflected a strong opposition to the measure's risks. Mayor Ashleigh Aitken and Councilman Carlos Leon abstained, previously having shown support for the measure without full consideration of its financial repercussions.

Councilmember Jose Diaz from District 1 emphasized the proposal's risk to essential city services and quality of life. District 6 Councilmember Natalie Meeks, who initially requested the city's official opposition, stressed the importance of the council's stance for the future of the city and its residents.

Mayor Pro Tem Natalie Rubalcava from District 3 and District 4 Councilmember Norma Campos Kurtz also voiced concerns about Measure A's extensive negative impacts on the city's budget, community services, and the principle of minimal government intrusion into business operations.

Anaheim's decision to oppose Measure A is a testament to the council's commitment to informed decision-making and protecting the economic well-being of its residents and businesses.


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