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  #81  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2007, 3:34 PM
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The end of the 55 is definitely a mess, but extending it further with a tunnel would probably only move the location of that mess. I don't think there's any graceful way to handle the transition of a freeway into a surface street.
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  #82  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2007, 3:48 AM
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Affordable-housing debate grows for Disney employees
Some say that Disney should provide low-cost homes for its workers, while others say the company's role is not one of home developer.
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM – A typical Walt Disney Co. hotel worker scrubs floors and hangs fresh towels for about $11 an hour – a wage considered "very low income" by the state for housing benefits.

But city officials, business leaders and affordable-housing advocates are at odds about where these workers should live and who should pay for the low-cost homes that are lacking region wide.

The affordable-housing issue has come to the forefront as the City Council debates a proposal to allow new residences in the Anaheim Resort district around Disneyland – a plan that prompted Disney to protest, file a lawsuit and launch a ballot measure to discourage housing. The council is set to vote Tuesday.

Business officials say it's Disney's role to promote jobs, not build houses. While affordable-housing advocates say Disney should help its employees and the city with the housing needs that it creates.

City negotiations

City officials have requested that Disney pay for new homes as its theme parks and hotels have expanded.

In the mid-1990s, city officials asked Disney to provide 500 housing units for low-income households as part of negotiations to upgrade the resort, including the addition of Disney's California Adventure.

Disney officials, however, said they preferred to give money for housing because the company is "not a residential builder," said Rob Doughty, a Disneyland Resort spokesman.

Disney instead contributed $5 million of bond funds to "neighborhood improvements/housing." The council signed off on the agreement.

"We lived up to our end of the bargain," Doughty said.

But just a fraction of that went toward housing: About $1 million was used to buy about 16 apartments in the former Jeffrey-Lynne neighborhood that was renovated into affordable units across from the Disneyland Hotel. The rest of the money went to neighborhood upgrades — lighting, trees, irrigation and land acquisition.

Former Mayor Tom Daly, who was on the council at the time, said housing was a minor issue during negotiations, but that he and the council secured funds for Jeffrey-Lynne.

Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who later joined the council, thinks Disney gave too little.

"Disney had no responsibility whatsoever and did nothing," Galloway said. "Now they are saying … we don't want any residential in the resort."

In 2000, when Disney brought up the idea of a third theme park, city officials planned to ask Disney for an even bigger contribution for housing, city documents show.

The city estimated that at least 600 more employees would live in Anaheim if a third theme park were built, so the city drafted plans to ask Disney for $30 million to build 600 units.

But the discussions stalled when Disney put the project on hold.

Elisa Stipkovich, community development director, said she remembers approaching Disney about housing and the company was open to discussions. But she couldn't recall how much detail was discussed before the project was dropped. Disney officials said they do not remember receiving a $30 million request from the city.

Council support

It's unclear whether the city would make the same request if Disney comes up with a new plan.

Disney officials are unsure if they would be willing to fund housing in the future. City Council members are split on whether Disney should be asked.

"This is not the business' problem," Councilman Harry Sidhu said. "I truly believe in a free market. People who … can earn wages can stay here. If not, maybe they can move somewhere else, like Riverside, where rents are cheaper."

Mayor Curt Pringle said such a policy would discourage business. "It's like punishing another business, in this case one creating jobs and business opportunities in your city. I'm not interested in doing this," Pringle said.

Galloway, however, thinks Disney should be charged for affordable housing to help employees, going so far as to push for a ballot initiative that could include a tax on Disney, like a fee on admissions tickets.

"We're still begging Disney to help us with the problems they are causing. Does that make sense?" Galloway said. "I want Disney to be paying it."

Disney disagrees with a tax: "This is a ridiculous proposal that will drive businesses out of Anaheim, hurt the local economy and eventually jeopardize vital city service," Doughty said.

Galloway points out that many workers must live in overcrowded apartments, in motels or far away.

Pedro Hernandez, 44, works as an on-call banquet waiter for Disneyland Hotel and other resort venues. He has trouble making the $950 monthly rent for the one-bedroom apartment in Anaheim that he shares with his wife, stepdaughter and occasionally his daughter. Bills sometimes go on credit cards. He signed up for affordable-housing benefits, but the waiting list was so long that he stopped checking.

Another is Antonio Castillo, 48, who earns $11.27 an hour after 15 years of working at the Disneyland Hotel. He pays $900 for his one-bedroom Anaheim apartment with his wife and 20-year-old son, but they are hoping to move in with his daughter's family and share a four-bedroom house.

"Disney creates jobs for the people, but the jobs they produce pay very little," Castillo said.

Business involvement

Businesses rarely fund affordable housing, but a few programs exist.

One is the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach. The city of Dana Point asked the resort to subsidize rent payments for its low-income workers. Almost 100 employees get stipends of between $50 and $390 monthly.

More often, cities, including Irvine and Huntington Beach, require developers to set aside a percentage of their housing projects for affordable units. The Anaheim council has resisted the policy. No affordable housing is slated for the Platinum Triangle, where almost 8,000 homes are planned.

In Anaheim, Galloway and Councilwoman Lucille Kring are proposing a public-private partnership with council members and Disney representatives to come up with solutions.

Already, the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce has started a task force on workforce housing at all income levels, said Chamber President Todd Ament.

Ament asked Chris Lowe, Disneyland Resort government relations director, to chair the group. Two other Disney employees sit on the task force.

The group may try to link developers with available property outside resort boundaries for affordable-housing projects. Also, a housing trust may be created to fund such developments.

"I think we can protect the resort district, the economic engine for the city, but also responsibly find locations around the edges of the resort district, around the city of Anaheim, to meet the needs," Lowe said.

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  #83  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2007, 5:00 AM
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Originally Posted by dragonsky View Post
"This is not the business' problem," Councilman Harry Sidhu said. "I truly believe in a free market. People who … can earn wages can stay here. If not, maybe they can move somewhere else, like Riverside, where rents are cheaper."
Yeah sure, commute 45 miles away to work at your $11 an hour job. That's cost-effective.

Assholes, the whole lot of 'em.
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  #84  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2007, 2:11 AM
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Anaheim council OKs Disney-adjacent housing development
The project, which includes low-cost units, is approved on a 3-2 vote. Entertainment giant calls it a 'bad precedent.'
By Dave McKibben, Times Staff Writer
9:45 AM PDT, April 25, 2007

Over the strong objections of Disney and dozens of tourist officials, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 early this morning to approve a controversial residential project in the city's resort district.

The six-hour public hearing, which began Tuesday night and spilled into this morning, was the council's second attempt to settle the dispute that had lingered for nearly a year.

About 150 resort workers, many from Disney, attended the meeting in support of the development, some wearing stickers that read "Yes in Mickey's Back Yard" (YIMBY). The dozen employees remaining at the meeting cheered when the project was approved.

The council members who voted against the project were Harry Sidhu and Mayor Curt Pringle.

In a prepared statement, Disney said it was disappointed by the vote and looked forward to a citywide vote on the matter.

"This is a bad precedent and if allowed to stand is likely to lead to several more proposals to permit non-tourist uses in the resort area," the statement read.

Chamber officials said Tuesday that enough signatures had been gathered to put a measure on the February ballot that would prevent residential projects within the city's resort district.

According to a Disney statement, "We intend to work in coalition with community leaders, tourist officials and business leaders to insure the voters of Anaheim have the opportunity to decide whether the Anaheim resort area should be preserved."

In February, the council deadlocked 2-2 on whether to allow the 1,500-unit project near Disneyland and California Adventure. The project, which would include 225 low-cost units, would replace some 300 mobile homes on the property at Katella Avenue and Haster Street.

In the two months since the council deadlocked, Disney and tourist officials have raised the stakes in their campaign to keep housing-intensive development out of the resort district. The entertainment giant has sued the city to block the project, and — along with business leaders — is seeking a citywide vote to keep the area dedicated to tourism.

In a new argument Tuesday, Disney officials provided city officials with an inches-thick packet asserting that the residential project would exacerbate global warming because of the traffic it would generate.

The city and Disney have enjoyed a relatively cozy, fight-free relationship for 50 years, but the housing debate has created friction in town. Some argue the resort district, which sends the city millions in tax revenue, should be dedicated exclusively to tourism; others say there is a pressing need for working-class housing in the area.

In a staff report prepared for Tuesday's meeting, the city revealed what part of its strategy would be in fighting the Disney lawsuit, which demands that the environmental analysis the city approved to move the project forward be nullified.

City staffers said the project was consistent with the goals of the city's 2004 update to its general plan: "Encourage mixed-use development to create places where people can live, work and shop in order to reduce potential traffic trips."

Staff documents also pointed out that the 26-acre property had been used for residential purposes for decades as a mobile home park and "there are no new significant environmental effects" that weren't analyzed when the 2004 update was completed.

Disney officials said the thousands of people who would be living in the proposed units would be out of place in a district designed for tax-generating, visitor-friendly uses. Tourist officials say the resort area makes up less than 5% of the city's land but generates nearly 50% of the city's general fund. Disney wants the parcel to be developed as an upscale hotel-condominium project.
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  #85  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2007, 2:22 AM
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Disney rift with city may endure
The Anaheim council's OK of a hotly disputed housing plan could mean long-term discord.
By Dave McKibben, Times Staff Writer
April 26, 2007

In a city that long ago hitched its wagon to Disney's star, it was a rare and sobering rejection. Over the fierce objections of the entertainment giant, the Anaheim City Council cleared the way for low-cost housing right across the street from where Disney someday plans to build a third amusement park.

The classic battle between housing advocates and tourist officials, simmering for nearly a year, is likely to dominate city politics for months to come and spill into next year's elections.

Political observers called the vote something of a declaration of independence for Anaheim and say it portended a chill between city politicians and Disney brass.

Just a decade ago the city was all but branding itself Disneytown. The entertainment empire owned the city's two professional sports teams and was building a second theme park.

But as the city struggles with trying to find housing for the thousands of service workers who support the tourist industry, Anaheim has found itself on a collision course with Disney.

In many respects, Disney saw it coming.

A company spokesman had a losing statement prepared for the news media minutes after the vote. And Disney, already in an offensive mode, had filed a lawsuit to block the development and had joined forces with business leaders in a bid to force a citywide election that would preserve the area for tourist-related uses.

"There were no surprises," conceded Todd Ament, president of Anaheim's Chamber of Commerce.

Even Mayor Curt Pringle, the project's strongest and most fervent council opponent, seemed resigned to defeat moments before the vote. "I've seen the way this was going for some time," he said.

At issue is a plan to build about 1,275 condos and 225 low-cost apartments that might appeal to the resort's workforce, on land designated for tourist-related uses. The property is currently home to an aging mobile home park.

Disney contends a sprawling housing community would jeopardize its vision for the area. The company envisions boutique hotels and pricey time-share units, as well as the eventual third park in the area.

The council vote changes the land's zoning to permit housing, but the project proposal must come back for a final vote. A specific plan has not been submitted.

There are also legal and political issues ahead. Disney has challenged the environmental documents that support the project, saying they fail to address the impact of putting housing in an area that had been zoned for tourism. The company is also pushing a citywide referendum that would ask voters to do what the council refused to do: block the housing.

Cynthia King, director of Cal State Fullerton's Center for Entertainment and Tourism Studies, wonders whether the council's choice of housing over tourist-friendly uses in that spot could put the city and Disney on divergent paths and fracture their historically cozy relationship.

"It's almost like this symbolic thing that they finally stepped up to Disney," King said. The vote, she said, could signal a shift in vision in a town that had long banked on tourism.

The action also might prompt Disney to become more involved in local political campaigns, she said. In the past, Disney has sprinkled its campaign dollars to a variety of candidates rather than supporting a few favorites.

"It didn't occur to them there would be opposition to this," King said. "I understand why they felt blindsided. They probably felt the council would think, 'Why wouldn't we want to put hotels here and why wouldn't we want to expand the tourist district? This is what we do.' That was a reasonable thought for them to have."

The night's winners — housing advocates — appeared more relieved and weary than joyous.

"I don't feel like I'm in the mood to celebrate," said Cesar Covarrubias of the Kennedy Commission, which advocates for low-cost housing. "It's a good step in the right direction to keep the affordable-housing dialogue going."

The six-hour public hearing was the council's second attempt to settle the dispute. In February, the council deadlocked 2 to 2 on whether to permit the project. The project would replace about 250 mobile homes on the property at Katella Avenue and Haster Street.

In a February vote, council members Lorri Galloway and Bob Hernandez voted for the zoning change. They were joined Tuesday by Lucille Kring, who had abstained from the earlier vote because of a potential conflict of interest.

Kring said she "prayed and agonized" over the issue before opting to approve the rezoning. She cited earlier controversial projects in Anaheim that have prospered, such as the Mexican grocery store Gigante and GardenWalk, a nearly completed upscale retail center that Disney once opposed.

"If there is proper planning," Kring said later in the day Wednesday, "this project can also be something we can be proud of and an asset in the resort district."

About 150 resort workers, many employed at Disney hotels, attended the meeting in support of the development. Because of a packed council chamber, many sat in folding chairs in the lobby or stood in hallways. Some wore stickers stating "Yes in Mickey's Back Yard" (YIMBY). The dozen or so employees remaining at the meeting when the project was approved let out a cheer.

In a prepared statement, Disney said it was disappointed by the council's vote and looked forward to a citywide vote on the matter: "This is a bad precedent and if allowed to stand is likely to lead to several more proposals to permit non-tourist uses in the resort area."

Tourist officials note that the resort area makes up less than 5% of the city's land but generates nearly 50% of the city's general fund. Disney prefers that the parcel be developed as an upscale hotel-condo project.

Chamber officials, who favor a citywide vote, said Tuesday that enough signatures had been gathered to put such a measure on the February ballot. If approved, it would prevent residential projects within the city's resort district.

Pringle intimated that he would be involved in the ballot campaign.

"Others have said this issue is a passion of theirs," said Pringle, who with fellow Councilman Harry Sidhu opposed the project. "My passion is to ensure that the present and future of this city is economically secure. There was a plan to assure that … and I am prepared to stand up for it."

In a new argument Tuesday, Disney officials provided city officials with a thick packet asserting that, among other things, the residential project would exacerbate global warming because of the traffic it would generate.

Attorneys for SunCal Cos., the project's developer, countered that the threat of "global climate change" is not a new phenomenon and should have been introduced long before Tuesday's meeting.

"Al Gore's book has been around for a while," said SunCal attorney Michael Zischke.

In a staff report prepared for Tuesday's meeting, the city revealed what part of its strategy would be in fighting the Disney lawsuit, which demands that the environmental analysis the city approved to move the project forward be nullified.

City staffers said the project was consistent with the goals of the city's 2004 update to its general plan: "Encourage mixed-use development to create places where people can live, work and shop in order to reduce potential traffic trips."

Staff documents also pointed out that the property had been used for residential purposes for decades as a mobile home park and "there are no new significant environmental effects" that weren't analyzed when the 2004 update was completed.

In all, 54 speakers — 27 on each side — stepped to the lectern. As the clock approached midnight, an exhausted Pringle made light of the marathon session. Bill O'Connell, a resort district hotel owner, told Pringle the line of speakers was getting shorter. Pringle quipped: "So is my life."

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  #86  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2007, 3:02 AM
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Thursday, April 26, 2007
Garden Grove eyes Santa Ana golf course property
Garden Grove officials are exploring option of developing theme park on 100-acre Willowick Golf Course.
By DEEPA BHARATH
The Orange County Register

GARDEN GROVE– City officials say they will look at a proposal in May from a developer interested in building a theme park in the Willowick Golf Course property.

The 100-acre golf course is owned and operated by the city of Garden Grove, but is on Fifth Street in Santa Ana.

The city is eyeing the golf course as a prime piece of property to include in its InternationalWEST resort area, envisioned as a tourist destination with hotels, high-end retail and restaurants, entertainment and theme parks. Officials declined to go into details about the developer or the proposal, but said that any project on the golf course would require Santa Ana officials' approval.

A feasibility study in September suggested that the resort area could accommodate two theme parks – one along the lines of Universal Studios and another water park. City officials are looking at the 140 acres off Harbor Boulevard near the Garden Grove (22) Freeway for the theme park and considering Willowick for the second park, Economic Development Director Chet Yoshizaki said during a City Council study session Tuesday.

"This is a 100-acre piece of land in the middle of Orange County that could be developed in a relatively shorter period of time," he said.

But Santa Ana officials would not be eager to see Willowick developed, Santa Ana City Manager David Ream said today.

"We are willing to discuss it with Garden Grove," he said. "But the golf course is a major open space amenity to Santa Ana. It would take a really great project to make up for the loss of a community asset such as Willowick."

Decisions relating to zone changes on any proposed project on Willowick would have to go through Santa Ana's Planning Commission and City Council, Ream said.

Garden Grove City Council members expressed several concerns, but said they would look at promising proposals from developers and investors.

Councilman Bruce Broadwater called the proposal a "convoluted mess" involving several government agencies, but said he would consider it if it were lucrative for the city.

City Manager Matt Fertal encouraged council members to hold off on a decision until after they hear developers' proposals for Willowick.

"We wouldn't bring this before you if we weren't really impressed," he said.

The city of Garden Grove now gets about $600,000 from the golf course operation.

The City Council on Tuesday also voted unanimously to solicit bids to develop a 35-acre "entertainment hub" in the resort area.
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  #87  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2007, 2:55 AM
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Disney backers plan referendum on housing
Coalition hopes voters will overturn Anaheim's decision to approve low-cost housing project in the resort district.
By David Haldane, Times Staff Writer
April 27, 2007

Just one day after suffering a stinging rebuke at the hands of the Anaheim City Council, a coalition of business and community leaders siding with the Disney company announced plans Thursday to pursue a referendum aimed at overturning the city's decision to allow a controversial housing project near Disneyland.

The council's 3-2 decision early Wednesday, paving the way for about 1,500 low-cost condos and apartments across the street from where the entertainment giant wants to build a third amusement park, was "an ill-advised move and a dangerous precedent," Todd Ament, a member of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and co-chairman of Save Our Anaheim Resort District, said in announcing the referendum.

The signatures of about 13,000 registered voters will be needed for the referendum to be placed on a ballot. "We have a large task at hand," he said.

Speaking at a news conference in front of the chamber's offices on Center Street, Ament said the coalition hoped to collect those signatures by June, in time to get the citywide referendum on the Feb. 5 ballot — where it would join an earlier Disney-backed initiative preserving the nonresidential zoning of the resort district around Disney's two amusement parks and related facilities.

The coalition was joined by several powerful allies, including state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), former Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly and current Mayor Curt Pringle, who opposed the council's action but, until recently, had been trying to forge a compromise.

"This is a demonstration of community support for doing the right thing," Pringle said, adding that the proposed housing development is bad for the people of Anaheim.

Some of those favoring the development, who contend that it would provide much-needed low-income housing, especially for Disney employees, were quick to react to the coalition's action.

"If the mayor is going to take Disney's side, I take that very seriously," said Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who led the council majority in supporting the housing plan but is otherwise a political ally of Pringle. "His business is to protect the city's interest, not Disney's."

Frank Elfend, a consultant to the project's developer, SunCal Cos., agreed.

"It is disappointing that once again the Disney corporation is escalating Disney's war with the city of Anaheim," he said. "Disney's new referendum is just another intimidation and bullying tactic to force their will on Anaheim."

Disney, which has filed a lawsuit challenging the proposed project on the 26-acre Katella Avenue parcel, contends that a sprawling housing community would jeopardize its vision for the area, which includes boutique hotels and time-share units, as well as the third amusement park.

Some local political and business leaders agree, arguing that the Disney-centered resort district is the city's "economic engine," providing nearly 50% of its revenues from just 5% of its land.
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  #88  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2007, 12:21 AM
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Build the goddamn housing project.
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  #89  
Old Posted May 8, 2007, 2:35 AM
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Saturday, May 5, 2007
Developers feel pressure in Anaheim
Anaheim groups seek low-cost homes and sufficient wages for proposed complex next to Angel Stadium.
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM - A new coalition of unions, faith-based groups and community organizations is pressuring developers to build low-cost homes and pay sufficient wages at a proposed complex next to Angel Stadium.

Three developers are competing for a contract to build offices, shops and homes on a 51.4-acre, city-owned plot, which the National Football League has considered for a stadium. On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss the proposals in a closed meeting and may narrow the field of competitors.

The new Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, or OCCORD, is trying to persuade developers to commit to certain standards before the city awards a contract. The city's lease with the Angels forbids homes on the land now, but developers are talking to the Angels.

At least one developer is interested in making a pact with the coalition.

"We have a lot in common with the majority of their goals," said Eric Heffner, a principal at Windstar Communities. "Our development site is trying to meet all the needs of the community."

Coalition goals

In late 2005, OCCORD formed as part of a national network of groups that pushes for low-income residents to reap benefits from developments.

The coalition aims to reach a similar agreement to one done in San Diego where developers promised benefits, including affordable housing and adequate wages for contractors for a project next to Petco Park.

In Anaheim, OCCORD has drafted a list of desires, including childcare facilities and environmentally friendly practices.

"We definitely want to be in a position of supporting developers who are also going to make sure the community gets a return on the investment made on this project," said Eric Altman, the coalition's executive director.

Windstar officials have met with coalition members about three times, Heffner said.

A representative from developer Archstone-Smith met with members, but spokesman Steve Sheldon declined to comment. Hicks Holdings has yet to respond to a request to meet with the group, but consultant Will Mundinger said he would be willing to hear its ideas.

Church advocacy

One OCCORD member, St. Boniface Catholic Church, is pushing on its own for affordable housing on the land by Angel Stadium, first by meeting with individual council members.

Some parishioners have trouble paying for homes, doubling up in apartments or moving to the Inland Empire, said the Rev. Tim Freyer, lead pastor. The stadium property is in the Platinum Triangle, where none of the 8,292 planned homes is set to meet affordable-housing guidelines.

"There's an opportunity I think we should take advantage of," said Freddy Hernandez, a St. Boniface member.

City direction

Some council members said they have yet to see OCCORD's goals.

"I would never demand it," Councilwoman Lucille Kring said. "If a developer wanted to do it … for PR (public relations), I think that's fabulous."

Councilman Harry Sidhu said he is against forcing developers to build affordable units on privately acquired land, but this is public property.

"I don't mind having it there. The city owns the land. We can carve out what we want," Sidhu said.

The Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development group, or OCCORD, is making requests of developers that want to construct projects on city-owned land next to Angel Stadium. Officials from two of the three developers have met with members. Here are OCCORD's desires:

• Housing: Provide homes for residents who build or work in the development.

• Jobs: Create jobs with health insurance and sufficient wages.

• Hiring and training: Target local firms and residents.

• Childcare: Open centers in the project.

• Accessibility: Design buildings that are accessible to disabled patrons.

• Environment: Build with environmentally friendly practices.
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  #90  
Old Posted May 10, 2007, 2:21 AM
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Developer picked as finalist for stadium site
The City Council decides to negotiate exclusively with Archstone-Smith to develop city-owned plot.
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM - The City Council decided Tuesday to exclusively negotiate with one developer to construct an urban complex on a high-profile, city-owned plot next to Angel Stadium.

The council unanimously selected Archstone-Smith for the project on the 51.4-acre plot, which the National Football League has considered for a stadium. Archstone-Smith was one of three finalists vying to construct a development, including possibly homes, offices, shops and hotels on the property. Archstone offered the highest price to buy the land, between $150 million to $200 million.

City staff next is set to negotiate the details before the council ratifies a plan.

"There's still a lot of hurdles we have to go through, but this is a good start," Councilman Harry Sidhu said.

For previous stories, go to www.anaheim.net and look under Platinum Triangle.
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  #91  
Old Posted May 10, 2007, 3:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dragonsky View Post
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Developer picked as finalist for stadium site
The City Council decides to negotiate exclusively with Archstone-Smith to develop city-owned plot.
By SARAH TULLY
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM - The City Council decided Tuesday to exclusively negotiate with one developer to construct an urban complex on a high-profile, city-owned plot next to Angel Stadium.

The council unanimously selected Archstone-Smith for the project on the 51.4-acre plot, which the National Football League has considered for a stadium. Archstone-Smith was one of three finalists vying to construct a development, including possibly homes, offices, shops and hotels on the property. Archstone offered the highest price to buy the land, between $150 million to $200 million.

City staff next is set to negotiate the details before the council ratifies a plan.

"There's still a lot of hurdles we have to go through, but this is a good start," Councilman Harry Sidhu said.

For previous stories, go to www.anaheim.net and look under Platinum Triangle.
I'm glad Anaheim is moving on rather than sitting by the phone waiting for the NFL to call. That's just one more option they lost to put the NFL back in Socal. They have a couple sites left in LA, but I don't LA is going to be waiting much longer.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 11:45 PM
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More planned housing riles Disney
The company and Anaheim are already knee-deep in conflict over a 1,500-unit plan. A 449-unit plan promises even more.
By Dave McKibben, Times Staff Writer
May 10, 2007

It isn't nearly as vast or publicized as the controversial proposal to build lower-cost housing just down the street from Disneyland, but there is another looming residential project drawing Disney's wrath.

And it too comes with lower-income worker housing in an area of town that the entertainment giant says should be confined to tourism and the financial windfall it brings to Orange County's second-largest city.

Disney and some city leaders have been locked in battle over Platinum Pointe, a proposal to build about 1,275 condos and 225 lower-income apartments where Disney someday hopes to build a third amusement park. The dispute has sparked a lawsuit, two citywide ballot drives and plenty of rhetoric.

Now, the owners of an RV park on the far edge of the resort district want to build a 449-unit condo high-rise. The site, now home to the Anaheim RV Village, lies across Interstate 5 from Disneyland, barely within the boundaries of the resort district but squarely on Disney's hit list.

Developers of the proposed Parc Anaheim high-rise see the property, surrounded by two elementary schools, neighborhoods and the freeway, as a gateway to the city's downtown and generally unconnected to the tourist district.

Disney officials say the city, by allowing two residential projects in the zone, may be creating "a land rush" on housing in an area that it has painstakingly groomed for high-end tourism.

"The common theme with both of these projects is that they sit in an area zoned for tourist uses," said Rob Doughty, a Disneyland spokesman. "So they just shouldn't be there."

Disney's focus and energies have been geared toward blocking Platinum Pointe. But Parc Anaheim officials said they learned last fall through city staff that Disney did not consider them welcome in its neighborhood.

The news surprised David DiRienzo, Parc Anaheim's co-developer, who said Disney officials had assured his investors the company would not object to plans for a residential complex on the property.

"I still haven't spoken to Disney and I'm perplexed as to what their opposition is," said DiRienzo, whose Urban West firm is developing the project with Irvine-based St. Clair Meyers. "I thought in America you always got to face your accuser. But I guess that's not the case with Disney."

Doughty said company officials had a "brief, second-hand conversation" with the city about the project's concept, but there were no specifics about the plan.

"We said we would need to hear more," Doughy said. "And they mistakenly took that as a green light."

Now that a Disney-backed ballot initiative to stop resort district housing is being pushed, DiRienzo is fighting to keep his project alive by forming a coalition of developers and business owners to oppose the measure, if it makes the ballot.

A second measure, backed by a coalition of business interests and also backed by Disney, would specifically block the Platinum Pointe project.

DiRienzo called the measure, aimed at preserving the resort district for tourist-friendly uses, Orwellian.

"This proposition isn't about one or two developers, it's about anybody who owns private property within the resort," he said. "If you own a gas station, restaurant or a hotel, you may have to get voters to approve a new business. It's Big Brother and it's alarming.

"Disney is saying, 'We want to control this land as though it's our own, but we don't want to own it. We will dictate what is built, not government, not a body of local representatives.' When you take government out of the equation, you get a dictatorship."

Environmental reviews on Parc Anaheim have been completed, but the developer said Disney's actions could delay the project at least three years. The council has cleared the way for the Platinum Pointe complex by changing zoning on the site, but a specific plan hasn't been submitted.

It is unclear how much City Council support the Parc Anaheim project has.

Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, Platinum Pointe's biggest supporter because of its lower-income housing component, is backing Parc Anaheim, which would include several dozen lower-income units, work-live lofts, shops and a preschool.

But Councilman Harry Sidhu, who is supporting the anti-housing initiative along with Mayor Curt Pringle, is opposed to the project.

"If we do not protect our resort and keep building hotels here," he said, "other communities like Garden Grove, Fullerton and Orange will build them and our revenue stream will be gone."
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  #93  
Old Posted May 10, 2007, 11:58 PM
dragonsky dragonsky is offline
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Thursday, May 10, 2007
Toll road could go either way
Three local representatives try to work out a deal on proposed toll road extension but cannot agree.
By DENA BUNIS and PAT BRENNAN
The Orange County Register



WASHINGTON - The developers of the proposed Foothill South toll road extension, planned for a path that cuts through a state park, would lose their ability to skirt California laws under an amendment a House committee approved by a party-line vote early this morning.

But the measure, authored by Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, leaves intact the military's ability to allow the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency to use 340 acres to build the road. The highway has environmentalists up in arms but is supported by those who say they need relief from increasing gridlock as south Orange County communities grow. And it preserves an exemption from federal transportation laws.

For most of Wednesday, Davis, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, and Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, huddled with their staff members and later with one another as Sanchez tried to broker a deal.

Davis wanted to revoke the military's authority to grant use of the land.

Calvert said any changes in the existing law would scuttle the toll road, which would cut San Onofre State Beach park in half.

In the end, the three could not agree. Sanchez sided with Davis, saying Davis' amendment would preserve the ability of the road to be built but still ensure state laws are followed. Sanchez said she also decided to agree with Davis because Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, who represents Camp Pendleton, said he had no problem with making the road builders follow all California laws.

"They may very well have killed the road," Calvert said. "I don't know that yet. I'm disappointed in the other representative from Orange County. She could have stopped this tonight, but she chose not to." Calvert said he will fight the provision, which the full House and eventually the Senate must approve.

"I don't have a problem with the toll road," Sanchez said to her committee colleagues. "I just want to make sure the laws are followed."

The other members of the committee knew nothing of Davis' proposal, and several gathered around Sanchez before the vote as she explained the issue to them. Most Democrats sided with Davis and Sanchez, and Republicans backed Calvert. The vote was 30-27.

Dan Silver of the Endangered Habitats League, who with other activists has fought the proposed toll road extension, said the vote indicates a "shift in momentum" against the toll road.

"This is a major advance for the people of California," he said. "The tide is turning in favor of protecting our parks and pursuing improved transportation alternatives."

Toll road agency officials said Wednesday night they must analyze the implications of the action before deciding how to respond.

"This project has already been in the planning process for 20 years," spokeswoman Jennifer Seaton said. "Adding new steps to the process will only make the transportation problems more urgent."

The bill Davis amended is an annual measure that is basically a blueprint for the nation's defense agencies.

The Armed Services Committee started at 8 a.m. morning and finished the bill just after midnight.

While the committee considered the large, complicated bill, Sanchez, Davis and Calvert spent much of their day on this issue.

By 2 p.m. the panel hadn't reached the section with the Davis amendment.

Davis was in her seat when Sanchez entered the committee room, walked behind her chair and said something to the San Diego congresswoman. Then the two disappeared into the anteroom.

Meanwhile, Davis and Calvert had not talked.

Calvert made it clear he didn't appreciate Davis' essentially butting into something outside her district. Davis made it equally clear that her constituents worried about the environmental effects of the road.

Soon a key staff member from Sanchez's office arrived and huddled with Davis staff members, while the two members of Congress continued to talk. Sanchez got on the phone to people in California to learn more about what was going on. And she began designing what she hoped would be a deal.

By around 4 p.m. a decision had put Davis' amendment aside because Calvert needed to go to another meeting. Sanchez had more time.

She thought she had the makings of a solution: Leave the agreement that let the Navy convey the land to the toll road agency alone. In exchange, improvements would be done on Camp Pendleton. But state laws had to be followed.

"I'm not trying to do anything with the agreement," Sanchez said as she was running out of the Rayburn House Office Building on the way to another meeting. "The agreement is needed because the Marines get benefits from it. I'm trying to let the agreement stay in place. It's all about the environmental concerns."
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  #94  
Old Posted May 12, 2007, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocman View Post
Thai Nakorn opening in Stanton. Thai Nakorn, if you've been living under a rock, is arguably the greatest thai restaurant in California. The place in Garden Grove burned down. They are rebuilding that one as well.

OC Register Blogs.
April 13, 2007
Thai Nakorn has permit issues

Went down to the new Thai Nakorn location in Stanton today to take photos of happy eaters, and I was greeted by an apologetic Wanida Sreewarom. She exlpained today that the family is having permit issues and won't be able to open on Saturday as planned.

The earliest Thai Nakorn will open, Sreewaron states, will be Wednesday.

As happy as I am that they're opening the restaurant again, I wish I would have been notified sooner so I wouldn't have had to make the trek down there for nothing. Sreewarom will keep us all posted on opening events.

Talk about being PEEVED: I live in Buena Park and I could WALK to Thai Nakorn on Stanton ave. They replaced it with 'retirement villas' and I was LIVID. I know there is another Thai restaurand close there adjacent to Ken Crane's but it's not as good. Now I know Thai Nakorn is in business agian, I am amped, however I cannot walk there anymore.
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  #95  
Old Posted May 18, 2007, 8:47 AM
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http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...la-home-center

From the Los Angeles Times


Drive-in era revived in O.C.
For the first time in a decade, an inflatable screen will give the county an outdoor movie experience.
By Roy Rivenburg
Times Staff Writer

May 18, 2007

After a 10-year intermission, drive-in movies are returning to Orange County, courtesy of an inflatable silver screen.

Tonight in Costa Mesa, a 300-car theater — and unofficial backseat romance research center — will flicker to life in a parking lot at the Orange County Fairgrounds.

Bankrolled by four baby-boomers, the Star-Vu Drive-In plans to operate year-round, except during fair season.

The last such venue, Westminster's Hi-way 39 theater, closed in 1997 to make room for a Wal-Mart.

The Star-Vu, with its inflatable screen, represents a quirky new breed of outdoor cinema — and the owners hope to franchise the concept to other cities.

Bundled in blankets with his wife and two children at a sneak preview Thursday night, Patrick Muñoz said he would certainly be a repeat customer.

"This is great," the Newport Beach resident said, recalling that he last attended a drive-in 25 years ago but was more interested in his date. "I'm pretty sure I don't remember what the movie was."

If successful, inflatable screens could reinvigorate the drive-in industry, born 75 years ago in New Jersey when inventor Richard Hollingshead Jr. strung a sheet between two trees and plopped a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car.

After testing with lawn sprinklers to simulate movie-watching in the rain, Hollingshead patented the idea and opened the first roofless movie palace. By 1958, the peak of the drive-in binge, the number of cinemas topped 4,000 nationwide.

Some had carnival rides and miniature golf to help keep kids entertained.

By 1977, the number of drive-in theaters had dipped below 3,000, partly because Congress established national daylight-saving time in 1966, forcing outdoor cinemas to start films an hour later and clobbering attendance by families with small children.

The rise of videocassettes, cable TV and multiplex theaters compounded the industry's woes, as did skyrocketing land values. Today, drive-ins are an endangered species, numbering about 400.

So, when "Shrek the Third" beams onto the Star-Vu's 65-foot-wide screen shortly after 8 tonight, Southern California will boast its first new drive-in since 1975, according to drive-ins.com. That was when the Winnetka 4 opened in Chatsworth (it's now an indoor, 21-screen megaplex.)

Adding a touch of irony to Star-Vu's debut is its location. For decades, drive-in theaters held daytime swap meets to boost profits. Now, the situation is reversed: The home of a weekend swap meet — the fairgrounds — will open a drive-in theater.

Making it all possible is a 2,000-pound hunk of Italian plastic, inflated with British fans and cloaked with a French movie screen that is also used in indoor theaters. The contraption was reportedly invented by a German in 1994 and popularized in America, in part, by a Mormon missionary who saw one in Switzerland and dropped out of Brigham Young University to launch an inflatable movie screen rental company.

Star-Vu is one of just two U.S. drive-ins using air-powered screens, according to co-owner Bob Deutsch, whose Maryland company specializes in outdoor cinema equipment and rentals. The other theater is in York, Pa.

The screens inflate in about 15 minutes and are designed to withstand winds up to 40 mph.

"The first time I saw one, I was flabbergasted," said Deutsch, who had previously set up outdoor film festival screens with scaffolding that took two days to rig. "I bought it on the spot."

Punctures can be fixed by crawling through a zippered door while the screen is inflated and patching the hole with a heat gun, he said.

Kamikaze moths, dust and other grime can be washed off by laying the screen on its back, deflating it and having people in socks walk the surface with buckets of soap and water.

Prices for the imported screens range from $4,500 for a 16-foot-wide model to $223,000 for a TV-like cube that also works in broad daylight.

Knockoff versions for home use have also hit the market. Gemmy Industries recently introduced a 13-foot blow-up movie screen that retails for $200.

The only thing missing is inflatable popcorn.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
roy.rivenburg@latimes.com

*

(INFOBOX BELOW)

Rare breed

Forty years ago, Southern California had 107 drive-in theaters. Today, just 10.

Motor Vu Twin, Imperial: opened in 1940.

• Rubidoux, Riverside: 1948.

• Smith's Ranch, Twentynine Palms: 1954.

• Vineland, city of Industry: 1955.

• Mission Tiki, Montclair: 1956.

• South Bay, Imperial Beach: 1958.

• Santee, Santee: 1958.

• Van Buren Cinema 3, Riverside: 1964.

• Skyline, Barstow: 1966, closed in 1987, reopened in 1996.

• Star-Vu, Costa Mesa: Opens tonight.

--

Sources: Star-Vu Drive-In, drive-ins.com

--

*

(INFOBOX BELOW)

Now showing (Orange County)

A new drive-in theater opens at the Orange County Fairgrounds tonight and features a movie screen stretched like canvas across a giant, inflated frame. The theater can accommodate about 300 cars.

Inflatable frame: 72' wide x 46' tall. The structure is made of PVC-coated nylon tubes 10 feet in diameter that are welded together.

Screen size: 65' x 33'. The screen is stretched over the frame and attached with elastic ties.

Inflation time: 15 minutes, using two air blowers.

Projector: Similar to an indoor movie theater projector, but with a stronger, 7,000-watt lamp.

Wind resistance: Up to 40 mph. The 2,000-lb. screen and frame are tied to four steel cables anchored by concrete blocks.

What supports the screen: Just air pressure.

Speaker system: FM broadcast through car radio.

Tickets: Ages 13 and older $8.50; child 5 to 12 $5; 4 and younger free. Shows at 8 and 10:30 p.m. daily except during the Orange County Fair (July 13-Aug. 5).

--

Pump it up: Star-Vu Drive-In co-owner Bob Deutsch says during inflation the screen "looks like a big whale that grows and grows and grows."

Orange County Fairgrounds and Exposition Center

--

Sources: Outdoor Movies, Orange County Fairgrounds and Exposition Center
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  #96  
Old Posted May 18, 2007, 6:25 PM
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I think the drive in theater idea is a great concept - I'm glad that those fairgrounds will be put to use for something that can serve greater orange county when the fair isnt going on. I'm looking forward to seeing a movie here - seems like it would be a fun night out with a special someone
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  #97  
Old Posted May 18, 2007, 7:49 PM
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The instant drive in theater idea sounds like a great night-time use for empty surface or rooftop parking lots in downtown L.A. as well.
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  #98  
Old Posted May 18, 2007, 9:03 PM
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I think it could be cool for the rooftops, but im not sure about the surface lots in downtown. I'd rather see infill development take that land instead. It could be a nice temporary diversion until more permanent development occurs - I just hope it would be just that, temporary.
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  #99  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 6:15 PM
interloper interloper is offline
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Snapped a few pics on Saturday, appologize for the quality used my camera phone for the pics.

The first set is of this development http://skylineinoc.com/page.cfm









This is the lot across the street, called http://promenadepointe.com/

its been sitting like this for a while now.



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  #100  
Old Posted May 22, 2007, 11:29 PM
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Orange County emerges from L.A.’s shadow
By Charles Paikert

http://www.investmentnews.com/apps/p.../FREE/70521006

LOS ANGELES — Fueled by a flood of money from private-equity firms buying local businesses as well as a spectacular appreciation of real estate values, California’s Orange County has emerged from the shadows of neighboring Los Angeles as a wealth management powerhouse in its own right.

“Orange County used to be looked down upon because it was more suburban and less developed than Los Angeles,” said industry consultant Tim Welsh, president of Larkspur, Calif.-based Nexus Strategy LLC.

“But that’s worked to its advantage. Now it has very strong real estate, a lot of private businesses and many technology, financial services and pharmaceutical companies — and many more corporate executives than in Los Angeles. In some ways it’s a more straightforward wealth management model. And there’s plenty of room to grow,” Mr. Welsh said.

Nationally, only Los Angeles County and Illinois’ Cook County have more households with net worth of at least $1 million, excluding principal residence, than Orange County, according to the financial services division of

London-based Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC (see box).

And that number is expected to increase as local entrepreneurs continue to sell out to private-equity firms.

Betty Mower Potalivo: "There's been an unusual uptick of liquidity events."
Getting liquid

“There’s been an unusual uptick of liquidity events,” said Betty Mower Potalivo, president for Orange County and desert communities with Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp. “We’re seeing a lot of capital here lately.”

“There’s clearly more money available now,” agrees Russ Hill, president of Long Beach, Calif.-based Halbert Hargrove/Russell LLC, which has approximately $1.4 billion in assets under management. “There’s liquidity available for any successful business who wants it.”

“Private-equity firms are buying everybody’s business,” added Rick Keller, chief executive of The Keller Group Investment Management Inc. of Irvine, Calif., which has approximately $1.75 billion in assets under management. “And owners are selling because they’re being offered prices they didn’t think the business was worth.”

This influx of capital has given local wealth managers the welcome opportunity to cultivate first-

generation wealthy clients, as opposed to the more difficult task of prying a second or third generation of wealthy family members away from an existing wealth manager.

“It’s a chance to get involved with these families at an early stage,” said Ms. Potalivo, who is in Newport Beach, Calif. “They’re looking for advisers to help them with assets they haven’t had before. Before selling their business, they’ve had limited exposure to investing in the capital markets.”

In addition to Northern Trust, the rapid accumulation of wealth in Orange County has attracted such wealth management heavy hitters as Bessemer Trust Co., U.S. Trust Corp., and the major Wall Street investment banks and wirehouses.

In fact, Mr. Keller said, his firm increasingly finds itself competing for business against big brokerage firms. “That was not the case five years ago,” he said.

Mr. Hill said his toughest competition now is coming from wirehouses, especially for clients with $5 million to $20 million in investible assets.

Most local wealth managers say they rarely travel to Los Angeles, because they have all the business they need within Orange County, particularly in areas such as Newport Beach and Irvine.

“It’s clearly a distinct market,” Mr. Keller said. “It takes me as long to drive to Los Angeles as it does to fly to San Francisco.”

But others say that some of their business does come from Los Angeles. “People out here drive a lot. If someone is in Los Angeles, that won’t prevent us from going there,” said Bob Cluck, president and chief executive of Newport Beach-based Canterbury Consulting Inc.

Pat Soldano: Says wealth management firms are attempting to "gather assets."
At present, Orange County remains an underdeveloped market for multifamily offices, especially when compared with Los Angeles, according to Pat Soldano, president and chief executive of Cymric Family Office Services in Costa Mesa, Calif.

“We’re in an early stage of growth, and Los Angeles is further ahead,” she explained. “Our challenge is letting people know we exist.”

Ms. Soldano added that she is concerned that wealth management firms are offering services demanded by wealthy families in an effort to “gather assets.”

“In most cases, they are not doing a very good job,” she asserted. “Wealth management is mostly a sell culture, and family offices are part of a service culture.”

But as the market grows, and competition heats up, wealth managers increasingly are being forced to offer more services, Mr. Hill said.

“It’s a more holistic game now,” he said. “There used to be maybe one or two major non-investment issues for clients, but now there as many as five or 10.”

Complex services

As a result, Mr. Hill continued, a more complex service delivery model is threatening to cut into the profit margins of fast-growing wealth advisory firms.

“It used to be just pure investment asset allocation issues. But with so much wealth being unlocked here, today there’s much estate-planning and distribution issues,” Mr. Hill explained.

Local wealth managers are confident that Orange County will continue to grow and remain profitable, however.

Canterbury’s wealth management business has increased nearly 50% over the past three years, according to Mr. Cluck, a co-founder of the firm. “I think we will see the pie grow for everyone,” he said.

Ash Narayan, an Irvine-based managing partner with RGT Capital Management Inc., a unit of Dallas-based Robertson Griege & Thoele, said he’s seeing more “lateral movement” than startups as wealth advisers switch firms, but he believes that there are “plenty of opportunities” for new firms with “a good story, a good platform and exceptional people.”

“This is a big pond to fish from,” he said. “There’s so much money out there.”
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