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John Leos has made “transparency” a cornerstone of his campaign: he’s all about ensuring nothing is hidden from the voters.

Except when it comes to telling voters about his stands on the issues.

Click here to go to John Leos’ campaign website. Scroll down and in the lower right-hand corner you’ll see a photo of him with Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait:

Now, here’s the same photo in a John Leos campaign mailer that went out a few days ago, targeting Republican voters:

But wait! Are they the same picture? Let’s make a side-by-side comparison:

Well, what do you know? The Leos campaign altered the photo: Photoshopping out the “No on 32″ signs on the back wall.

Why would the Leos campaign do that?

Leos, a government union activists and (until recently) a director of the OCEA. opposes Prop. 32, which would require unions like his to get members’ permission before using their dues for political purposes. Prop. 32 has strong support among Anaheim Republican voters, and letting them know Leos’ stance on this issue would undercut efforts to sell him as a conservative reformer.

So Leos airbrushes his”No on Prop. 32” stance out of existence. He’s so transparent on the issue of Prop. 32 that his position on it has disappeared!

Another sleazy attack on Jordan Brandman from the Orange County Employee Association landed in the mailboxes of Anaheim voters today.

This comes on the heels of this piece that landed on Monday. At least this time, OCEA refrained from claiming Brandman had actually broken the law. A small victory for truth.

Still don’t get why OCEA tries to slime Brandman by using photos that make him look squeaky clean, but I’ll save that for a post on why OCEA burns so much money on not-very-good mail.

As I’ve mentioned before, the baseless “accusation” being “investigated” by the DA is from one of Brandman’s AUHSD Board of Trustees colleagues, Katherine Smith, an antagonist with her own truthiness problems, who herself admits she has no evidence of any kind of any wrong-doing.

Then there’s the $158 million canard being tossed about by GardenWalk project opponents and uncritically regurgitated by the media. It is not a misleading number, but the claim that it diverts money from any city service is a logical impossibility.

The last attack has to do with allowing home builders to pay the residential impact fees after a house is sold, rather than before a single home as been built, in order to help the home building industry, which creates these things called jobs. But construction workers, electricians, contractors, etc., don’t pay dues to OCEA, so who cares about them, right?

Holy. Mackerel. Is there any bottom to the Orange County Employees Association’s well of cash?

Check out the most recent report for the OCEA’s Issues Committee, which only covers the period between October 1 and October 20.

During that three-week period, the well-moneyed union dropped a jaw-dropping $352,000 into its Issues Committee. After tossing $80,000 into the coin jar of the OC Labor Federation, $252,000 was put into the ironically-named “Taxpayers for Open & Accountable Government” – a committee set-up by the OCEA to fight the attempt by the conservative council majority to make Costa Mesa a charter city. [This is on top of an initial OCEA contribution of about $25,000 in August.]

So what does this have to do with Anaheim?

Well, consider that the OCEA has basically been laying siege to Costa Mesa since Councilman Jim Righeimer and the conservative council majority began pushing for greater outsourcing of city services. The present battle over the proposed charter (“Measure V”) being the latest campaign in that war.  OCEA has declared Costa Mesa to be ground zero. The political and prestige stakes are huge for OCEA. It’s the government union’s Vicksburg (or the council majority’s Battle of Tours. We shall see).

To summarize: OCEA has committed $274,000 to defeating the proposed Costa Mesa City Charter (which would liberalize outsourcing), and $300,000 to electing John Leos to the Anaheim City Council.

So what does it tell you that OCEA is committing more money to electing a single candidate in Anaheim, than it is spending on its high-profile, high-priority war against outsourcing in Costa Mesa?

It tells me the OCEA views electing Leos as mighty important to its strategic plans in Anaheim and the county. And that should give pause every thinking conservative.

[and as an aside, what’s up with Jim Lacy? He sold OCEA spots on slates — like “Save Prop. 13” and “National Tax Limitation Committee” — for anti-Measure V messaging, just like he sold spots to OCEA for John Leos.]

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

       — The Mad Hatter

That pretty much sums up the state of Anaheim politics for the last several months, as the disagreement over the GardenWalk vote earlier this year has grown into a huge, seemingly permanent rift between otherwise natural council allies — and primarily to the benefit of Nick Berardino and the AMEA/OCEA, who have happily fanned the flames and exploited the rift.

The fruit can be seen around an Anaheim in the form of these campaign signs:

Surreal.

Look closely at the disclaimer on the bottom of the sign: “Paid for by Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012 sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association.”

Crazy. A sign advertising a conservative Republican mayor’s candidate slate — comprised of a government union activist and a former councilmember who flipped to embrace a liberal, union sponsored initiative in order to get the mayor’s endorsement — and paid for by the same government union that is simultaneously spending huge sums to defeat Prop. 32 (paycheck protection) and the conservative majority on the Costa Mesa City Council.

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

                 – Alice in Wonderland

I saw a post over at OC Political entitled “Atlas PAC Endorsed Candidates Make Their Final Push.”

For readers unfamiliar with Atlas PAC, it is a conservative group committed to “individual liberty, free enterprise, limited and fair taxation and limited government regulation.”

I didn’t know until reading the post that Atlas PAC, like the OC Republican Party, endorsed Brian Chuchua for Anaheim City Council. Like the OC GOP’s action, an odd choice.

I’m assuming Atlas PAC made its endorsement before Chuchua announced his support for imposing a ticket tax on Disneyland, Angel Stadium and the Honda Center, in order to fund city social programs.

His support for a ticket tax comes despite this promise from his campaign website:

As your next councilmember, I will:

– Never vote to raise your taxes;

Perhaps Atlas PAC was unaware Chuchua is one of the biggest cheerleaders for fellow candidate John Leos, a government union activist whose council bid is being fueled with hundreds of thousands of government union dollars.

Like Leos, Chuchua supports the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and three left-wing activists, seeking to replace the current at-large council system with a district-based system of their design — which would be drawn to guarantee at least a third of Anaheim’s council seats are held by liberal Democrats.

For good measure, Chuchua has become active in “Los Amigos,” a group that agitates for left-wing causes in Anaheim.

But again, I’m assuming Atlas PAC was unaware of these facts. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why they would endorse him.

No flip-flopping allowed.

Former Anaheim Councilman Frank Feldhaus has pulled his endorsement of council candidate Lucille Kring (with whom he served on the council from 1998 to 2002).

The reason: Kring’s changing her position on the “Take Back Anaheim” initiative, a ballot-box budgeting measure that would take one specific revenue stream — the transient occupancy tax — and require a city-wide vote on its use in one specific instance: to subsidize hotel development.

Kring had opposed the “Take Back Anaheim” initiative, which was spearheaded by a coalition of liberal activists and funded by the county employee union. Then, a few weeks ago, she switched her position. As the Voice of OC reported:

Kring received Tait’s endorsement after she decided to support the “Let the People Vote” initiative, which would transfer power to approve hotel room tax subsidies from the council to the ballot box.

Kring, a former councilwoman, at first opposed the initiative.

“I changed my mind because I’ve seen polling, and people are really interested in voting. So why not?” Kring said.

I posted yesterday on the sleazy mailer from the Orange County Employees Association, accusing Anaheim City Council candidate Jordan Brandman of breaking the law — without any evidence whatsoever.

Illustrating just how unhinged Anaheim politics have become in a few short months, you have a member of the Orange County Labor Federation (OCFL) attacking a candidate who as been endorsed by the OCFL.

Keep in mind that no OCEA mail goes out without the approval of General Manager Nick Beradino.

And keep in mind that Berardino is a Vice President of the California Labor Federation — of which the Orange County Labor Federation (OCFL) is a part.

In other words, a senior officer of the state labor federation is funding a smear of a candidate endorsed by a local affiliate of the organization of which he is an officer.

It’s analogous to the Vice Chairman of the California Republican Party funding a hit on a candidate endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party.

Brandman has filed a complaint with the OCFL seeking an investigation and possible sanctions against OCEA, writing in a letter to CLF head honcho Art Pulaski:

This mailer blatantly attacks my integrity without any evidence and I refuted all accusations long before this mailer was sent (press release attached).  I find this action by OCEA and its General Manager Nick Berardino who is also a Vice-President of the California Labor Federation very disturbing and ask for your immediate investigation and consideration of sanction against OCEA for violating long-standing practice to not attack fellow labor endorsed candidates in elections.

The animus of Berardino and OCEA toward Brandman is no secret, but an uneasy truce was put together during the maneuverings over OCFL endorsements in the Anaheim City Council election. The private sector unions backed Brandman but not Leos, and vice versa for the government unions. It was ultimately agreed that neither wing of the OCFL would block the other’s chosen candidate, clearing the way for OCFL to endorse both Brandman and Leos.

OCEA’s rash attack mailer essentially shatters that agreement.

And regardless of one’s partisan affiliation or preferences in the Anaheim City Council race, the OCEA’s mailer should be considered pretty scurrilous. Accusing someone of breaking the law, in the absolute absence of any evidence, is wrong.

There had been a rumor on the political street of a non-aggression pact between the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and Anaheim City Council candidate Jordan Brandman.

The OCEA has killed that rumor with this hit piece it sent out against Brandman:

Readers will recall that Brandman’s erratic, less-than-truthful AUHSD Board of Trustees colleague Katherine Smith filed a complaint accusing him of misusing district resources — even though Smith herself admitted having no idea what she thought he was misusing. I described this as a variation of the old tactic of filing a complaint, and then sending out hit pieces claiming the target is “under investigation.”

Which is exactly what the OCEA has done with this truly sleazy hit piece, with the union claiming — absent any evidence — that Brandman has broken the law. [And this is another argument for forming the 5150 Committee to take out elected officials like Smith who have stayed in office past their expiration date.]

The irony is that if Brandman were just some rank-and-file OCEA member who was not just accused, but guilty of misuse of public property, the OCEA would be working to keep him from being fired!

And anyone want to bet we will not be seeing any OCEA-funded hit pieces against Lucille Kring?

If there is a silver lining for Brandman, it’s that the OCEA wouldn’t be hitting him unless its polling showed him positioned to win — not a cheering prospect for the government employee union whose desired outcome is the election of John Leos (and probably of Kring).

As Anaheim Blog has noted, the OCEA and other government unions are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to put John Leos on the Anaheim City Council.  Leos is a county employee who is also an OCEA shop steward, and served on the board of directors for both the OCEA and the OCEA political action committee until earlier this year.

Leos’ own fundraising has been worse than it was two years — and it was anemic then. If he manages to get elected, it will be entirely due to the ocean of money the government unions are pouring into this race.

Chris Emami has posted some of the mailers being put out by the OCEA here, here and here.   

If you’re looking for an example of how the OC Republican Party Central Committee endorsement process continues to misfire, Anaheim is a perfect example.

The main value to a candidate of this endorsement is the hope that somehow, from someone, money will arrive at the OC GOP to fund a “member communication” — usually a mail piece touting the endorsed candidates as “Team [fill in the city]” or something like that. They are mailed only to Republican voters, and are not independent expenditures because the member communication can be coordinated with the endorsed candidates campaign. Plus, they are sent out using the California Republican Party’s mail permit, which has a lower postage rate and thus gets the endorsed candidate more mileage for their postage dollar. The main drawback is member communications can’t be sent to non-Republicans.

In any case, the two OC GOP endorsed candidates in Anaheim are Lucille Kring and Brian Chuchua.

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There was another gang-related shooting in Anaheim, which took place this evening on the 700 block of north East Street. The OC Register reports:

Officers arrived to find a male suffering from at least one gunshot wound lying on a sidewalk in front of a residence.

The victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition, Dunn said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what sparked the shooting, and no information about the shooter or shooters has been released.

Based on the circumstances, police suspect that the shooting is gang-related, Dunn said.

Quick! Organize a streetside candidate forum near the scene of the shooting and engage in some heavy-duty community listening. Or respond by hitting visitors to Disneyland and Angel games with a dollar admission tax. Or maybe divert a fixed percentage of transient occupancy tax — say, 1%? — to city social programs.

Any of those should do the trick.

John Leos’ biggest fan.

Amazing. Voice of OC writes a long article about the “hidden hand” of Disney in the Anaheim City Council elections because the company has spent about $189,000 supporting two candidates, Jordan Brandman and Steve Lodge.

But no mention that the Orange County Employees Associations — with a little help from other government employee unions — has put $188,000 behind just one candidate: government union activist John Leos.

Oh wait — scratch that. That was the public number yesterday. Today, the OCEA Independent Expenditure Committee reported a late contribution of $250,000 into the “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012” — which itself is controlled by the OCEA..

Yes, you read that right. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But when you don’t have to ask your members’ permission before spending their money on campaigns, it’s amazing how quickly government unions can build a big a campaign warchest.

That brings government union spending for Leos at $438,000 — and $300,000 of that from OCEA. That isn’t counting the direct contributions that make up a majority of Leos’ meager fundraising.

Is there some spending threshold the OCEA and its fellow government i have to cross before, say, the Orange County Register comes to its sense and re-considers its endorsement of John Leos? There has to be some level of cognitive dissonance at work for the OCR editorial page to push for Prop. 32, and also push for a candidate who is completely dependent on the kind of union political spending the OCR wants to end? Any second thoughts as to what OCEA wants badly enough from a Councilman John Leos that is willing to spend at least $300,000 to elect him?

Leos and Berardino

OCEA’s John Leos at the union’s celebration of Jerry Brown’s inaugural, with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson and OCEA GM Nick Berardino

In a repeat of 2010, government employee unions ae pulling out the stops for John Leos’ campaign for Anaheim City Council.

The OCEA-sponsored “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Councl 2102” reported $138,000 in contributions from the United Employee Organizations of Orange County Independent Expenditure Committee (UEOOC). The UEOOC is an IE committee through which the OCEA, the Orange County Attorneys Association, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Association and other government employee associations funnel campaign contributions. It doesn’t sound so union-ish on the political mailer disclaimers.

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The modern Democratic Party has turned the word “choice” into a code-word for “legalized abortion.” But let’s get back to the real meaning of the word: letting people choose. As in, “I choose not to let my union automatically deduct money from my paycheck and use it to fund candidates and causes I oppose.” It’s really in line with that phrase from the Declaration of Independence, “…the pursuit of happiness.”

The biggest “choice” issue facing Californians is Prop. 32. One of the things this initiative would do, if it passed, would require that unions like Leos’s biggest supporter, the Orange County Employees Association, would have to ask a member’s permission before using his or her money for political purposes. It would be an “opt-in” stem, rather than the current, onerous “opt-out” system.

Who could be against that? Well, John Leos and the OCEA, for starters. Here’s John Leos at a recent event, wearing a “No on 32” lapel pin and surrounded by “No on 32” campaign signs:

Pay no attention to my “No on 32” lapel pin. Or those signs. Did I tell you the OC Register endorsed me? Yeah – I can’t believe it either.

Judging by the presence of the “No on 32” campaign signs, its safe to assume this was not a Republican or conservative event.

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[Editor’s note: for some reason, WordPress.com – which powers this blog — isn’t displaying author’s names on their posts. So we’ll do it the old-fashioned way here with Anaheim Blog’s new contributor, “Anaheimocrat,” and have him insert a byline until this wrinkle is smoothed out. – MC]

By Anaheimocrat.

I’m pleased to be a contributor to this blog, which is a new experience for me. My politics are middle-of the-road, but have been leaning more to the right in recent years. I’m using the name “Anaheimocrat” because I look at the candidate, rather than the party he or she belongs to, and what they will do for Anaheim. Anaheim is a wonderful place to live. I feel like Anaheim arrived at some cross-roads, and the choices we make will really shape what kind of city this is, and not necessarily for the best. I believe this election is one of those cross-roads.

I’ve learned that Supervisor Shawn Nelson has endorsed John Leos for city council. For me, that is not a reassuring endorsement. Nelson represents the Anaheim flatlands as the 4th District Supervisor, but he has not been a friend to the city. Since taking office, he has done everything he can to kill the city’s top infrastructure project, the ARTIC project. ARTIC is a long-term investment in the future of Anaheim that will support economic and population expansion for years to come, and will help maintain Anaheim as Orange County’s center of gravity.

From what I have learned, Supervisor Nelson has done everything in his power as a member of the OCTA Board of Directors to pull the plug on ARTIC and shift those resources to his home town of Fullerton.

And since Leos is so closely entwined with the county and Anaheim employees unions, endorsing him must have been a real political leap for Nelson, who has been a vocal critic of public employee unions.

When an Anaheim council candidate is endorsed by someone who has been so adversarial to Anaheim, it is cause to be suspicious of the council candidate’s suitability to govern Anaheim. That goes double when Nelson has to risk undermining the anti-public employee union credentials he’s worked hard to build up, by backing someone who has been as involved in OCEA politics as Leos.

John Leos comes off as a sincere man, if a bit opportunistic and too union-oriented for my tastes. But if Leos is able to attract the endorsement of our anti-Anaheim supervisor, it’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The Orange County Employees Association — the only visible means of support John Leos’ campaign has – has really started to open the money spigot.

According to a late contribution report filed by the government union today, since October 1 it has dumped $350,000 in members’ dues money into its Issues Committee (the OCEA maintains several campaign committees).

Last month, OCEA opened up the “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012,” and transferred into it $50,000 from the OCEA’s Independent Expenditure committee.

Of the big bucks poured into its Issues Committee, OCEA has contributed $80,000 into the Orange County Federation of Labor’s Committee On Political Education (COPE). Keep on eye on where that money goes from here.

It will be interesting to see how much of the remainder of that $350,000 infusion of members’ dues is used to play in Anaheim’s council election – not to mention in Costa Mesa, where the council majority, with Republican help,  is trying to rebuff the union-backed candidates. In Anaheim, there are Republicans are helping the union-backed candidate. Go figure.

Former Councilwoman Lucille Kring is to be commended for opposing the admission tax idea being embraced by several of her competitors (see my post on how John Leos and Brian Chuchua lent their support to the idea at the Anna Drive candidate forum; Jordan Brandman and Steve Chavez Lodge oppose the proposed tax). But her substitute motion for carving out 1% of annual transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues for city-run social programs deserves some examination.

The City of Anaheim’s budgeted TOT revenue for this fiscal year is $96 million. 1% of that is $960,000. Since TOT revenue will, generally speaking, increase each year, you’d have a permanently escalating, dedicated revenue stream to fund social programs in the city.

Would such programs be effective? Who knows? And effective at what? Preventing a repeat of the summer riots? Make Anna Drive a nicer place to live? I can’t tell you, and neither can anyone else because the plan only extends as far as setting aside 1% of TOT revenues for social programs.

Furthermore, shouldn’t we be getting away from the idea of reserving certain percentages of government budgets for this program or that policy? I’m hard-pressed to think of an example where it works well – Proposition 98 being a prime example. In fact, what this approach does is compresses elected officials’ room to maneuver when setting budget and policy priorities — which is what we elect them to do.

Perhaps the former councilwoman, having rejected the admission tax idea, felt it necessary to throw some kind of bone at the Anna Drive candidate forum as evidence of compassion. I don’t know – that’s speculation on my part. I think she meant well, but this smacks more of spitballing than considered policymaking.

At the Anna Drive candidate forum last week, most of the candidates in attendance endorsed the idea of imposing a tax of $1 a ticket on the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Stadium and the Honda Center in order to fund “youth programs and neighborhood development.”

Those pro-tax candidates include government union activist John Leos, Green Party activist Duane Roberts and Brian Chuchua (who, amazingly enough, is endorsed by the OC Republican Party).

Leaving aside the fact this ticket tax is bad public and economic policy, as a practical matter it is unworkable. It doesn’t appear to have occurred to Leos, Roberts or Chuchua that the city cannot single out those venues for a ticket tax, while exempting other venues in the city. The tax would have to e applied across the board, or not at all. So if John Leos wants a new admission tax (because that is what it is) to provide dedicated revenue to fund social programs, he’ll have to slap it on movie theaters, on the Grove of Anaheim, or any other venue where people are charged for admission.

Anaheim is a major city, the 10th largest in the state of California, and being a councilmember requires significantly more than this kind of seat-of-the-pants policy improvisation, or glibly endorsing a half-baked admission tax idea tossed out at a street-side candidate forum.

This just came over the transom from the Jordan Brandman for Anaheim City Council campaign:

Troubled Board Member Katherine H. Smith Continues Campaign of Harassment
 
(Anaheim) – Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) Trustee and small business owner Jordan Brandman today categorically denied the false accusations made by disgruntled Board Member Katherine H. Smith.  Jordan Brandman called the baseless allegations made to the District Attorney, a “politically-motivated vendetta which is wasting precious taxpayer dollars.”  
 
“This is another groundless personal attack by Katherine Smith to smear my good name.  She has repeatedly attacked me personally in public since I joined the Board of Trustees.”  Smith has been allied with AUHSD school board candidate Thomas “Hoagy” Holguin and controversial former AUHSD school board member Harald Martin.  Smith opposed Brandman’s appointment to the Board and opposed his successful elections in 2008 and 2010.

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I don’t know what he’s doing. Better call the D.A.!

It is an old political trick: file a complaint against Candidate X with a government agency. Then, when that agency responds as it is supposed to by saying, “Tes, we’ll look into it,” the candidate’s opponent(s) send out mail saying “Candidate X is being investigated by (fill in government agency name here)!”

Usually it’s done by filing a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission, and done late in the campaign so there won’t be any resolution until after the election. This time, it involves the District Attorney.

In this case, the victim is Anaheim Union High School District Trustee Jordan Brandman. His fellow trustee, Katherine Smith, has asked the District Attorney to investigate Brandman based on…well, I’ll excerpt the Voice of OC’s accounting of her complaint:

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