ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2023) — Anaheim voters can cast ballots by mail, drop box or in person for an Oct. 3 special election in our city on Measure A, a hotel and event center wage, workload and worker safety initiative.
Measure A is also known as the hotel and event center minimum wage, worker retention, and hotel worker safety and workload initiative ordinance.
The measure asks if a city ordinance should be adopted to increase the hourly minimum wage of hotel and event center workers to $25 with a 3 percent minimum annual increase starting in 2026, along with worker retention, safety and workload provisions.
WHY A SPECIAL ELECTION
In June, Anaheim’s City Council called for a special election after the Orange County Registrar of Voters certified signatures gathered for the initiative by Measure A proponents in early 2023.
The Council had the option of calling a special election or putting the measure on the November 2024 general election ballot.
A majority of Council members declined the November 2024 option, citing a need to address the initiative’s workplace implications and economic concerns sooner than that (see fiscal analysis below).
A special election is estimated to cost $1.5 million and will be paid for by the city using funds available in Anaheim’s current budget for the 12 months through June 2024.
WHO CAN VOTE
Only registered Anaheim voters can vote on Measure A.
The deadline to register to vote for the special election was Sept. 18.
If you didn’t register by Sept. 18, you can still vote through Oct. 3 using what’s known as a conditional voter registration.
You can fill out a conditional voter registration at the Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana or by visiting an Anaheim vote center (see how to vote below).
After completing a conditional voter registration, you will be given a special election provisional ballot.
Provisional ballots undergo verification with checks of signatures and registration information, and, if valid, are counted along with other votes in the election.
HOW TO VOTE
Ballots for Measure A went out to registered Anaheim voters in early September.
Vote-by-mail ballots can be filled out and returned by mail with a postmark of no later than Oct. 3 and received within seven days, or by Oct. 10.
Twelve ballot drop boxes are available across Anaheim.
You can put completed ballots in a drop box until 8 p.m. on Oct. 3, after which time boxes are locked.
Drop boxes in neighboring cities will not be open, with the exception of Santa Ana, which is holding a special election on Nov. 14.
But Anaheim voters are strongly encouraged to put Measure A special election ballots in drop boxes in our city before the end of voting on Oct. 3.
Here’s where you can find Anaheim drop boxes:
- ARTIC: 2626 E. Katella Ave., walk-up
- Boysen Park: 951 S. State College Blvd., walk-up
- Chaparral Park: 1770 W. Broadway, walk-up
- East Anaheim Community Center: 8201 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, walk-up
- Euclid Branch Library: 1340 S. Euclid St., walk-up
- Granada Square: 1048 N. State College Blvd., walk-up and drive-thru
- Magnolia Baptist Church: 720 S. Magnolia Ave., drive-thru only
- Peralta Canyon Park: 115 N. Pinney Drive, walk-up
- Ponderosa Family Resource Center: 320 E. Orangewood Ave., walk-up
- Sage Park: 1313 W. Lido Place, walk-up
- St. Boniface Catholic Church: 120 N. Janss St., walk-up
- St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church: 2050 W. Ball Road, drive-thru only
Anaheim has six vote centers where you can cast your ballot in person or drop off your ballot.
Three centers opened Sept. 23 through 8 p.m. on Oct. 3:
- Downtown Anaheim Youth Center: 225 S. Philadelphia St.
- East Anaheim Community Center: 8201 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road
- West Anaheim Youth Center: 320 S. Beach Blvd.
Hours for these vote centers are:
- Through Sept. 29: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sept. 30 through Oct. 2: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Oct. 3: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Three additional vote centers are open from Sept. 30 through 8 p.m. on Oct. 3:
- Brookhurst Community Center: 2271 W. Crescent Ave.
- Canyon Hills Branch Library: 400 S. Scout Trail, with drive-thru drop off available
- Ponderosa Park Family Resource Center: 320 E. Orangewood Ave.
The hours of the four-day vote centers:
- Sept. 30-Oct. 2: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Oct. 3: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Initial results from vote-by-mail ballots are expected around 8:05 p.m. on Oct. 3, just after the polls close.
Counting of other ballots gets underway on Oct. 4 with final results from the Registrar of Voters expected by Nov. 2 or earlier.
Once the Registrar has certified results, Anaheim’s City Council is expected to vote to receive the results at its next regularly scheduled meeting, likely in early November.
WHAT IS MEASURE A
Measure A asks if the city should adopt the initiative as part of the Anaheim Municipal Code, the basic set of laws governing our city.
The measure calls for a minimum hourly wage for hotel and event center workers of $25, increasing 3 percent annually starting in 2026.
Along with wages, the initiative would limit hotel housekeepers to cleaning no more than 4,000 square feet of space in hotels with fewer than 60 rooms, and no more than 3,500 square feet in hotels with 60 rooms or more, unless they are paid double their daily pay for the entire day.
The measure also limits how many types of rooms can be cleaned without premium pay, including: special-attention rooms, or rooms where guests declined housekeeping the prior day, rooms with more than one bed in it, rooms across more than one floor or a combination of guestrooms and other hotel space.
Measure A also includes a passage about retaining workers for six months in the event a hotel’s ownership changes.
A section of Measure A also calls for security devices, or handheld alarms, to be provided to workers by themselves cleaning guestrooms or restrooms.
The alarms would be used if a worker found themselves being threatened by a guest or anyone else.
Hotels must provide security monitoring and response.
Anaheim in June adopted a hotel worker safety protections law that requires hotels and motels to provide alarms, monitoring and notification of guests (see hotel worker safety protections law below).
If voters adopt Measure A, it would take effect 10 days after the City Council votes to receive certified results from the Registrar of Voters.
Based on the Council’s meeting schedule, that would likely be in early November, should voters approve the measure.
The wage provisions of Measure A would take effect 30 days after a voter-approved ordinance is adopted by the city.
Measure A would apply to all hotels in Anaheim, plus motels, apartment motels, extended stay hotels and other types of lodging. It would not apply to corporate housing not at a hotel, rooming houses, boarding houses and short-term rentals, among other exceptions.
Event Center Workers
Measure A also calls for a minimum hourly wage of $25 and annual increases for event center workers.
The measure defines an event center as a publicly or privately owned structure in Anaheim of more than 20,000 square feet and used for public performances, sporting events, business meetings or similar events.
According to the measure, “an event center includes, but is not limited to, concert halls, stadiums, sports arenas, racetracks, coliseums, and convention centers.”
The measure would apply to the city of Anaheim as owner and operator of the Anaheim Convention Center and as owner of Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Honda Center and City National Grove of Anaheim.
Measure A would also cover other spaces larger than 20,000 square that hold events.
Pending final determination, it is likely to apply to the city-owned Anaheim Hills Golf Course Clubhouse, the White House Banquets & Event Center and Hobby City on Beach Boulevard, Linbrook Bowl in west Anaheim, M3 Live on Harbor Boulevard and others.
The measure’s “similar events” and “not limited to” language brings questions about other venues and spaces falling under its provisions, which would have to be determined by the city should Measure A be adopted.
Who supports Measure A?
The Measure A initiative submitted to the city lists four housekeepers, Maria Aldana, Josefina Perez, Mayra Jimenez and Celia Lopez, as supporters of the initiative.
Measure A is sponsored by the Unite Here Local 11 hotel worker union, which has advocated for and seen similar measures adopted by city councils in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Irvine, Santa Monica, Glendale and West Hollywood.
Voters in Laguna Beach rejected a similar measure in 2022.
The argument for Measure A, filed with the city, says, “Tourism workers are the heart of Anaheim. We deserve the chance for a middle-class life and protection from threats on the job. Vote ‘yes’ to give us this chance.”
Measure A’s listed opponents are the Anaheim Family YMCA, the Anaheim Police Association, hotel owner Grag Badalian and Anaheim City Council Member Natalie Meeks.
In July, a five-member majority of the Council voted to oppose Measure A, citing potential impacts to the Anaheim Convention Center and the city’s larger visitor economy.
The California Hotel & Lodging Association is sponsoring the “No on Measure A” campaign with spending by Walt Disney Co., Marriott International, Wincome USA, Prospera Hotels and other hotel and tourism businesses.
The argument against Measure A, filed with the city, says: “Measure A will damage local businesses, especially smaller, family-owned hotels throughout Anaheim that will not be able to afford the massive increases in operating costs — destroying local jobs.”
In May, Anaheim’s City Council ordered two fiscal impact reports for Measure A.
One focuses on impacts to the Anaheim Convention Center, other city-owned facilities and what types of private venues would be impacted.
A second report looks at the initiative’s impact to the city’s hotel-stay tax revenue from higher costs at hotels.
The event center report, by Cincinnati-based Baker Tilly US LLP, finds the city-owned Anaheim Convention Center could see increased yearly wage costs and other impacts of up to $8.6 million a year.
The Anaheim Convention Center operates as a city enterprise that charges fees to cover operating expenses.
The convention center typically breaks even on operating costs and revenue from event leases, food and beverage service and parking.
Secondarily, the convention center is responsible for about $30 million in yearly hotel-stay tax revenue for the city as visitors come to Anaheim for conventions and events.
About $14 million of that goes back to the convention center to pay down expansion debt and some maintenance costs in the area around the center.
With higher costs and limited ability to raise prices, a potential convention center operating deficit would mean Anaheim’s general fund keeps less of the hotel-stay tax revenue generated from center events.
That reduced figure is estimated at $7.3 million to $8.6 million, according to the report.
Anaheim’s general fund, currently at $441 million, is the city’s primary source of funding for public safety, community services and other day-to-day operations.
Higher costs would also bring challenges keeping and attracting events in competition with other convention centers across the state, region and country, the report said.
City-owned Angel Stadium, Honda Center and City National Grove of Anaheim are estimated to see a 19 increase in operating costs should the initiative be approved, according to the report.
You can read the report here.
A second report, by Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics LLC, focuses on impact to the city’s hotel-stay tax revenue.
Anaheim collects a 15 percent tax on hotel bills. The tax makes up the city’s largest source of revenue for public safety, community services and city debt obligations.
The report forecasts a short-term rise in city revenue as hotels raise prices to offset higher costs, if the initiative were to be adopted.
That is followed by a forecast of a long-term decline in revenue growth as some hotels could go out of business and the building of new hotels could slow, according to the report.
Anaheim’s hotel-stay revenue could grow by 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent in the first couple of years following adoption, the report said.
Based on a forecast of $236 million in hotel-stay revenue for the 12 months through June 2024, the increase could range from $1.2 million to $5.9 million annually.
After that, revenue is still seen growing, but that growth is seen slowing by 30 percent to 70 percent at five years and beyond from adoption.
The report cites limited long-term ability of hotels to raise rates and less to no growth in the number of hotel rooms in the city as investors opt for other markets to finance new hotels.
You can see the report here.
CITY HOTEL WORKER SAFETY PROTECTIONS LAW
In June, Anaheim’s City Council adopted a hotel worker safety protections law that includes the worker safety provisions of Measure A.
The law is now part of the Anaheim Municipal Code and takes effect for hotels and motels on Jan. 1, allowing time for lodging businesses to acquire safety alarms and set up monitoring, if they’re not already doing so.
The city’s hotel worker safety protections law does not include Measure A’s wage, workload and retention provisions.
Personal security devices
Under the city’s law, hotels and motels are required to provide electronic security devices, or alarms, to employees working by themselves in a guestroom or restroom.
Devices must be provided at no cost and ensured to be working by management.
At all times, a hotel or motel needs to have designated monitoring and response personnel who can receive alerts from security devices and provide immediate on-scene assistance in the event of an alert. Hotels must keep accurate, current records of response personnel assignments.
The city’s law goes beyond Measure A by requiring hotels and motels to notify guests of Anaheim’s worker protection rules at check-in. Guests must acknowledge either electronically or in writing that “Anaheim law protects hotel workers from threatening behavior, and in compliance with such law, this hotel provides personal security devices to its employees.”
Lodging operators must also prominently display in each guestroom notification that “Anaheim law protects hotel workers from threatening behavior,” referencing chapter 6.101 of the Anaheim Municipal Code, and notifying guests that personal security devices are provided to employees.
The city’s hotel worker safety protections law also has provisions for training, record keeping and extension for lodging employers that cannot reasonably implement security devices and other provisions by Jan. 1.
You can read more here.
Should Measure A be approved by voters, its worker safety provisions would replace Anaheim’s hotel worker safety protections law.
If adopted by voters, Measure A’s worker safety protections would also go into effect earlier, likely in November, than the Jan.1 date of the city hotel worker safety protections law,
You can read the entire text of Measure A and learn more about the initiative at Anaheim.net/elections.