Protests Shine Spotlight on the Anaheim Tourists Don't See - NBC Southern California

Ongoing coverage of events in Anaheim after a series of police shootings

Protests Shine Spotlight on the Anaheim Tourists Don't See

Recent police shootings in Anaheim, and ensuing protests, bring attention to news other than city that is home to Disneyland



    Anaheim Police Shootings Spark Debate Over Class Differences

    Anaheim officer-involved shootings last weekend sparked a series of protests in the city by residents and outside groups. Now the protests are calling attention to the class differences in the SoCal city. Patrick Healy reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 27, 2012. (Published Friday, July 27, 2012)

    With its famed resort district, Anaheim has been banking an enormous reservoir of good will.

    "This is wonderful!" exclaimed Aracey Garcia of Oakland, as she and her family strolled Harbor Boulevard en route to Disneyland.

    Like many arriving vacationers and tourists, she was not aware of the police shootings that triggered waves of protest and community unrest.

    But the events have caught the attention of national and even international media. Flying in from from Adelaide, Australia, Rebecca Washnig and Ben Packer learned of the city's anguish on an inflight newscast.

    Protesters, Police Clash in Anaheim

    [LA] Protesters, Police Clash in Anaheim
    Demonstrators took to the streets of Anaheim Tuesday night to protest two recent fatal-officer involved shootings. The protests became violent when the crowd took their message into city streets, throwing rocks, bricks and traffic cones at officers and squad cars. Police used beanbags and pepper balls to subdue the crowd. Angie Crouch reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on July 24, 2012.
    (Published Tuesday, July 24, 2012)

    "We were kind of hoping it would finish by the time we got here," Washnig said.

    If there has been an impact on Anaheim tourism, it is not yet apparent. Calls for a boycott of the city have now appeared in internet postings attributed to Anonymous, the shadowy anti-establishment movement known for internet hacking attacks.

    Packer, for one, will be surprised if there is much effect.

    Anaheim Police Prepare for Weekend Protests

    [LA] Anaheim Police Prepare for Weekend Protests
    Friday night Anaheim Police prepared to deal with a weekend full of several different protests, buy groups upset by recent officer involved shootings. Beverly White reports for NBC4 News at 12 a.m. on July 28, 2012.
    (Published Saturday, July 28, 2012)

    "It's between people who live here and the police in Anaheim. It's not about the people going to Disneyland," Packer said.

    But for Anaheim, what the community outbursts haves revealed is that there are other less comfortable sides of Anaheim beyond the Magic Kingdom.

    "Anaheim's Tragic Kingdom" reads the headline of a commentary by Gustavo Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly.

    The community anger reflects more than tension with police, as Arellano sees it, and has its roots in a growing perception that City Hall has been inattentive to the needs of Anaheim's less than affluent neighborhoods.

    "The city has been way too focused on the resort district," Arellano said. He does not question the city's need to encourage the tourism that brings commerce to the private sector and revenue to the city.  "But you can't just rely on the cash cows," Arellano said. "The whole city has to be healthy."

    Members of the Anaheim City Council are elected at large, rather than from geographic districts. 

    As it is, four our of the city's five council members live in the well-to-do eastern section of the city known as Anaheim Hills.

    A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union alleges the at large system effectively works to exclude Latinos from the Council.

    Anaheim officials have said they cannot comment on a matter in litigation.