The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce got a $425,000 no-bid contract from the city, but it isn’t a gift of public funds, according to a government ethics expert. Mayor Harry Sidhu, who pushed the contract, answered no questions about it from Councilwoman Denise Barnes.
Anaheim First, a private group that’s going to make spending recommendations to the city on $250 million over the next decade, is facing heavy criticism for a lack of transparency and close business ties.
Anaheim City Council members voted to give $250,000 to a nonprofit group, Anaheim First, to study neighborhoods and make spending recommendations on the planned $250 million neighborhood investment over the next 10 years, but questions about study specifics, funding and a delay proposal led to a fight.
At a city council meeting packed with union leaders and Disneyland Resort employees, Anaheim leaders discussed a recent survey that found many of the resort’s workers struggle to buy food, pay rent and afford other basic necessities. Critics say the union-funded report was commissioned to bolster an upcoming ballot initiative.
At their first official meeting, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and his new city council majority worked through a laundry list of actions aimed at reversing major policies and actions taken by the previous majority.
The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce for years had organized and made money on the annual state of the city event. But after a rough-and-tumble political season, Mayor Tom Tait says he wants to send a different message.