5 Hot Debates You Won’t Want to Miss This Week

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Here’s a rundown of the top civic stories resonating this week throughout Orange County.

1. Should the Public Know Angel Stadium’s Value?

As Anaheim officials continue to negotiate a new lease deal with the Angels, City Council members are set to decide on Tuesday whether to make public a recent appraisal of the stadium.

Mayor Tom Tait believes Anaheim residents should know how much their stadium is worth, while the majority of council members have questioned that logic.

The current negotiations framework calls for Angels owner Arte Moreno to receive 155 acres of developable city-owned land around the stadium at a price of $1 per year.

In turn, Moreno would use revenue from developing the land to finance up to $155 million in stadium renovations.

Tait and other critics of the current proposal call it a massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to a billionaire baseball owner for stadium renovations that he has already promised to do in the current lease agreement.

A majority of the City Council, meanwhile, have generally been more supportive of the proposal and emphasize that it is just a starting point to negotiations.

Estimates of the stadium’s value range from $30 million to nearly $400 million.

The decision is expected at Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.

2. Irvine Moves Toward Creating Veterans Cemetery

With momentum growing behind establishing Orange County’s first veterans cemetery, Irvine city leaders look poised to take another step in that direction.

City Council members have already shown interest in putting up at least 100 acres of land for the cemetery at the Orange County Great Park, which used to be a Marine Corps base.

On Tuesday, they’re set to appoint two council members to an ad hoc committee designed to help make it happen.

The committee would be composed of representatives from FivePoint Communities, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, the City Council and a nonvoting representative of Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton.

County supervisors John Moorlach and Shawn Nelson, meanwhile, doubt whether it’s realistic to expect the state or federal governments to put up the needed cash for such a cemetery in Orange County.

The discussion is set toward the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts at 4 p.m. Click here for the staff report.

3. Bike Safety Draws Attention at Transportation Meeting

Orange County transportation leaders are set to delve into the details of a new bike and pedestrian safety campaign on Monday amid concerns about injuries and deaths.

Orange County Transportation Authority staff are set to give an update to the Regional Planning and Highways Committee meeting and explain their newly expanded awareness efforts around nonmotorized safety.

It’s all part of a push by OCTA Chairman Shawn Nelson, Vice Chairman Jeff Lalloway, Director Todd Spitzer and others to make it safer and easier for people to ride bikes in Orange County.

At Monday’s meeting, officials are also set to approve an approach for figuring out which Orange County bike and pedestrian projects to prioritize for a large, new funding source.

The state’s new Active Transportation Program includes a host of federal and state funds available for for a bicycle and pedestrian projects.

About $180 million is available statewide, with another $13 million for Orange County through the Southern California Association of Governments.

OCTA staff is suggesting that projects in their regional plan, the 2014 Bicycle Corridor Improvement Program, be prioritized when requesting progrm funds.

Projects would also gain additional points for being included in the countywide Commuter Bikeway Strategic Plan, District Bikeway Strategies and OCTA Nonmotorized Metrolink Accessibility Strategy.

The increased focus on active transportation comes amid a growing effort nationwide to make communities more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

Advocates say such environments help boost health, public safety and economic development, along with reducing pollution and fostering more enjoyable areas to spend time.

The committee meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Click here for details on the bike safety effort.

4. Garden Grove Plans Open Streets Event

Amid growing interest in biking and pedestrian transportation, Garden Grove officials will consider moving forward with planning their own open streets festival.

Modeled after Los Angeles’ popular CicLAvia festivals, the Oct. 12 event is scheduled for the same day Santa Ana holds its first open streets event.

Up for decision Tuesday is a $155,000 contract with Community Arts Resources to lead the second phase of planning efforts.

Two miles of downtown area streets are scheduled to be closed to cars, with plans in the works for multicultural performances, public art, cooking demonstrations, kid’s activities, food trucks and booths for local businesses.

Garden Grove officials say they plan to pay for this portion of the event planning with $100,000 in illegal gambling funds and $50,000 in general fund money.

The next phase would be covered by $80,000 in active transportation funding from the Southern California Association of Governments.

In Los Angeles’ case, about half of CicLAvia’s costs are funded by private donors, with the other half coming from federal and state programs for the environment, public health and alternative transportation.

Garden Grove’s discussion is scheduled for Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the staff report.

5. Anaheim Streetcar Update

Anaheim city leaders are set to get an update this week on the city’s controversial $319-million streetcar project.

Policy issues up for debate this year include which agency will head up final design and construction, what types of federal grants should be sought, how operations and maintenance would be funded and which agency will be in charge of owning, operating and maintaining the transit line.

Supporters have said the streetcar will increase connectivity and spur economic investment. Critics, meanwhile, have said that the project will benefit only a select few in the business community and that an enhanced bus alternative would cost $260 million less.

The latest controversy has centered on taking control of private property for the project.

Property that includes the 52-year-old, family-owned Park Vue Inn could be taken over, prompting an outcry from the owners.

An environmental impact report, scheduled to be released in December, is supposed to identify the preferred route and clarify which properties would be taken.

Public hearings on the project’s environmental effects would be held in early 2015.

Tuesday’s discussion is set for the end of the council meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.

Major Meetings This Week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Adam Elmahrek contributed to this post.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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