You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2013.

This came over the transom from the City of Anaheim earlier this evening:

CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS REPLACES MEMBERS
Councilmember Kris Murray Adds New Voices to Advisory Committee

ANAHEIM, CA – (February 28, 2013) Anaheim Councilmember Kris Murray has made two appointments to the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement (CAC). Sandy Day and Keith Olesen, both long-time, active Anaheim residents, will be immediately seated as Committee members to replace the outgoing David Diaz and Joseph Karaki.

The appointments will take effect today and will allow Day and Olesen to participate in the committee meeting scheduled to take place tonight. Both Diaz and Karaki submitted resignations this past week due to professional scheduling conflicts.

“David Diaz and Joseph Karaki have been wonderful Committee members and I am saddened that their schedules no longer allow them to continue in that capacity,” said Councilmember Murray. “That they have given so much of their time speaks volumes of the depth of their commitment to create positive change in our community. I have the greatest respect for both gentlemen for being among the first to step forward, and I look forward to hearing their thoughts and perspectives when recommendations are made.”

With extensive resumes of service in the community, Day and Olesen are strong new voices for the Committee. Both appointees had previously submitted applications when the Committee was first announced.

“I have known both Sandy Day and Keith Olesen for many years and have been impressed by their passionate commitment to the City of Anaheim,” said Councilmember Murray. “This Committee and its recommendations are vital to moving Anaheim forward and I am pleased these two actively engaged citizens are willing to serve and contribute to its mission.”

Day, a resident of Latin American descent, is a community advocate for arts and cultural programs in the City of Anaheim. She has served on numerous boards, committees and ad-hoc groups working to advance Anaheim as a cultural center in Orange County. Day is also a past member of the Anaheim Sister City Commission, and traveled as an emissary of the City at her own expense to Mito, Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, to bring thousands of cards and condolences on behalf of the City to the leaders and residents of Mito.

Olesen, a resident and leading voice from the historic Colony District of Anaheim, was a long time chairman of the Central Neighborhood Council District and has also chaired and been active on appointed boards and committees that support and advocate for Anaheim residents, public safety, and neighborhood improvements. Mayor Tom Tait hailed Olesen as a leading example of the kindness embodied by the City’s Hi Neighbor program in his 2011 State of the City address to the community.

The Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement was established by the Anaheim City Council last September to give Anaheim residents a voice in any changes that may be proposed as to how the City will be governed going forward. The Committee was charged with studying the myriad of elections systems available in the State of California, as well as methods to improve voter turn-out and civic engagement for all Anaheim residents.

In related information, a third CAC vacancy, also due to professional schedule conflicts, was announced by Committee member Peter Argawal. That vacancy will be discussed at a future City Council meeting.

To learn more about the CAC, including meeting dates, video of past meetings and more, please visit http://www.anaheim.net/CACElections.

IMG_6494One topic being brought up at the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee meetings has been pushing the start time of Anaheim City Council meetings from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Left-wing activist Duane Roberts, in particular, has been riding this hobby horse at the CAC meetings. CAC member and two-time former council candidate Bill Dalati has responded by having the topic placed on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

The rationale usually advanced for moving the start time is that it makes it easier for the average citizen to attend council meetings — and that would seem to be true, at first glance. This is one of those well-intentioned ideas that makes less sense the more you think about, especially given how Anaheim City Council meetings generally progress.

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IMG_6494The Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement meets again this Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m., at the Brookhurst Community Center. This will be the seventh CAC meeting, with eight more to follow.

I’ve attended most of them, and they are assuming a definite pattern. At the actual committee-work level, the CAC members have been taking presentations from experts on voter participation and engagement, on the basics of the California Voting Rights Act and on various election systems (ranked choice, cumulative voting, etc.).

All the presenters have participated as neutral experts in their fields, with the exception of Steve Chessin of the Californians for Electoral Reform, who was there as an advocate. [When asked by CAC Chair Vivian Pham what he recommended Anaheim do, Chessin urged an immediate switch to cumulative voting followed by a transition to fully proportional voting when OC’s voting systems technology permitted it. Other presenters have declined to offer their opinions, feeling it was not their role to do so.]

On the political level, there is an organized effort, led by OCCORD and unions like UNITE-HERE, to push the CAC toward recommending single-member council districts. Last week, the OC Democratic Party announced its support for single-member council districts.

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Anaheim isn’t the only California being sued under the California Civil Rights Act. Palmdale, like Anaheim, is being sued by those seeking to win in the courtroom what they’ve been unable to win in the court of public opinion.

The Los Angeles Times ran an article on the lawsuit last week.

Latinos and African Americans make up about two-thirds of the population of Palmdale. But since the city’s incorporation in August 1962, not a single black resident and only one Latino has ever served on the City Council.

That’s the backdrop of a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Antelope Valley civil rights activists alleging racial bias in city elections in this High Desert locale. The complaint argues that Palmdale’s system of at-large council seats dilutes the influence of minority voters.

Yes, because at-large elections are the only possible explanation. therefore, the system must be re-structured to produce a desired outcome — in this case, guided by the distinctly left-wing belief that representation is a function of race.

MRH-Sm

Michael Houston

It was announced at this week’s Anaheim City Council meeting that Mike Houston of Cummins & White has been named interim City Attorney, reported the Voice of OC the other day.

The council approved the choice 5-0.

I have known Mike for 20 years. He is a very good, very smart attorney of the highest integrity. Anaheim made a terrific choice.

Naturally, the VOC frivolously attempted to reduce the entire matter to former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle — and reducing Mike’s entire career to a 1996 gig as a campaign staffer under Curt when he was Assembly Speaker. The intended inference: somehow, Mike Houston is under the sway of a nefarious confederation of lobbyists and Republicans and the business community! It’s becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to deny that the VOC actively seeks and injects a Pringle aspect to any Anaheim story, whenever it is remotely possible.

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As Orange County Republicans snooze, blissfully ignorant of the dangerous possibility of council districts being imposed on Anaheim (or in some cases, providing misguided support for them), the OC Democratic Party is lending its voice to the left-wing coalition pushing for them. This just came over the transom from the OC Dems:

DPOC Calls On The City Of Anaheim To Enact Elections By Single-Member Districts

Santa Ana, CA – 2/21/2013 – The Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) calls on Anaheim to enact elections by single-member district for the 2014 election cycle.

In June 2012, Anaheim community leaders and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the City contending that Latinos are effectively shut out of the current electoral process. Currently, council and mayoral elections are conducted through an “at-large” system.

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The Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement — CAC, for short — will meet for the sixth time tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Ponderosa Family Resource Center, 2100 Haster Street.

On the CAC agenda: a presentation from Orange County’s rock star Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley on voter participation and outreach.

The CAC will also hear from the Aly Zimmerman, the assistant city manager of the City of Vista, on that city’s Community Outreach Committee. Vista was under similar legal threat of forced conversion to council districts about 10 years ago regarding similarly alleged disenfranchisement of Hispanic voters (there were no Latinos on the council). As the CAC heard at its December 13 meeting, Vista mounted a vigorous voter outreach program that increased Latino voter participation. Since then, two Latino candidates have won election to the council.

And all without having to go to council districts. Imagine that.

Here is the complete agenda packet.

In a previous post,  I asked how then-City Attorney Christina Talley could state at the November 13 Anaheim City Council meeting that Mayor Tom Tait had NO conflict in negotiating a new lease with the Angels.

Recap: Mayor Tom Tait is a partner in an LLC that owns property at 2130 E. Orangewood and his company, Tait Engineering Services leases a portion of that facility.  Since all of this happens within 500 feet from Angels stadium property, there is a legal conflict of interest.

Mayor Tait then asked the City Attorney to explore with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) how to avoid this conflict, and the question she asked was “if Tait gives the property to his adult, non-dependent children” could he avoid a conflict?

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The Anaheim Police Association blasted out this e-mail this morning, asking for recipients to e-mail the Anaheim City Council to express their opposition to Mayor Tom Tait’s proposal for a citizens police oversight commission:

Support Your Anaheim Police!

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and his supporters are attempting to weaken our police force by implementing policies and police review procedures that could jeopardize the safety of Anaheim’s families. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of Independent Review already perform independent and objective reviews of officer-involved incidents.

Don’t let the Mayor’s hand-picked cronies and City politics get in the way of our public safety. As citizens of Anaheim, it’s time to take a stand for safer streets, schools and homes.

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Cristina Talley

Cristina Talley

Gabriel San Roman of the OC Weekly has published a story taking aim at the myth being spun by the usual suspects — Vern Nelson, the Take Back Anaheim crowd, Los Amigos — that Cristina Talley was a sort of Latina Joan of Arc pushed out by a sinister council majority in retribution for speaking out on behalf of la raza.

Yes, I am recommending an OC Weekly story, operating on the principle that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Form 460s, the campaign disclosure forms, give a partial insight into the strength of candidates and campaigns. I say partial because they don’t necessarily tell the whole story in terms of other critical measures such as name ID, positive/negative public perception, track record at the ballot, etc.

At the same time, they do tell a story about a candidate’s ability to organize, campaign and are indications of provenance and breadth of his or her support.

Plus, they are interesting to political junkies and insiders.

The latest wave of Form 460s provide 2012 totals for contributions, expenditure, cash-on-hand and debt. Let’s start with the incumbent Anaheim councilmembers, starting alphabetically and with their next election in parenthesis).

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Two recent Voice of OC stories made quite a lot out of a 2008 e-mail between Public Works Director Natalie Meeks and then-Mayor Curt Pringle. The e-mail didn’t live up to the hype. Anyone with some understanding of the issue could tell there was no “there,” there.

The origin of this e-mail tells its own story about shenanigans inside City Hall.

The official version is the e-mail appeared in response to a public record request from Tait-ally Cynthia Ward. According to the first Voice of OC article:

Ward says she received a tip from a City Hall source that the email showed the supposed misrepresentation.

“I had a piece of information passed along to me from an anonymous source that indicated that,” Ward said. “But I was never given any proof I could go to anybody with to force the issue, so I’ve been forced to just sit and wait and see if that piece of information turns up when they finally released the documents.”

Ward requested on Dec. 13 a slew of records related to the streetcar project, including emails and other communications between OCTA and city officials from 2007 to 2012.

This is the relevant text from Ward’s December 13 request:

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Rules? Those are for lesser beings than I, Jason Young.

Rules? Those are for lesser beings than I, Jason Young.

Jason Young finally filed the Form 460 for his “Save Anaheim” PAC…eight days late!

I think there’s a $10 per-day fine involved there. But I digress.

It’s difficult to understand what Mr. Young so long to file his report. I mean, it’s really thin. Like, anorexic.

The only activity he had to report for the mighty and fearsome Save Anaheim PAC was a $644.26 contribution from himself and a $1,204.24 expenditure for when one of his ham-fisted print ads in the Orange County Register.

Young reports having 117 dollars and 87 cents left with which to strike terror into hearts of his imagined Anaheim power structure.

If you look at the actual report, you’ll notice that Young and his treasurer signed the report and dated it has having been executed on January 31, 2013 — the last day to file. In other words, they are swearing under penalty of perjury that they finished the report by the deadline.

And yet, the report is stamped as being received by the Anaheim City Clerk on February 8, more than a week later. What gives?

And isn’t this the same character who points the finger over the Brown Act violation related to the January 24, 2012 GardenWalk vote — but can’t find 30 minutes to comply with the legal deadlines for filing his skimpy campaign report?

Duane-RobertsLast week, Orange Juice Blog proprietor Vern Nelson posted his elaborate theorem on why the departure of Cristina Talley as Anaheim’s city attorney unavoidably involved race. Naturally, I disagree.

Vern concocted a narrative re-inventing Talley as an advocate for the Anaheim’s Latinos.  Nobody is really buying it, which isn’t surprising.

The most entertaining part, however, was reading left-wing Anaheim gadfly Duane Roberts take Vern’s narrative apart at the sinews. Here’s Roberts’ comment:

I don’t know the exact reason why Cristina Talley resigned her post, but there is no factual basis to some of the claims you’ve made in this article. Besides presenting wild speculation as fact, there is hard evidence which completely contradicts your assertions.

For example, at the March 6, 2012 meeting of the Anaheim City Council, Talley told then-Councilman Harry Sidhu that it was her opinion the city DID NOT violate the Brown act on January 24th when the vote was made to kick back $158 million in TOT revenues to subsidize Bill O’Connell’s Gardenwalk development.

From the minutes:

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SOAR PAC logoFor some reason, Matt’s post about Cynthia Ward starting up an “Anaheim Taxpayers Association” PAC reminded me of her dramatic resignation from the Save Our Anaheim Resort PAC board back in September 2010.

Back then, Cynthia was a big backer of Shirley McCracken’s campaign for mayor and a loud opponent of Tom Tait, whom she dismissed as a special interest puppet. When the SOAR PAC board endorsed Tait over McCracken, Cynthia submitted this resignation letter. It is full of the political martyr complex and visions of gathering dark forces (against which Cynthia battles ceaselessly) that many of us have become familiar with.

Since Cynthia somersaulted from Tait critic to His Biggest Fan about a year ago, we figure she’s about mid-way through the story arc on her way to disenchantment before finally turning on the Mayor in favor of a new white knight.

Cynthia WardLast week, Anaheim gadfly Cynthia Ward formed a political action committee, calling it the “Anaheim  Taxpayers Association.”

Its stated purpose: “To support or oppose candidates for all offices, and to support or oppose initiatives which affect Anaheim.”

The treasurer is Helen Myers, a friend of hers who is also treasurer for rich Fullerton gadfly Tony Bushala’s campaign undertakings.

Cynthia regularly and vociferously declares her absolute and total independence of anyone and everything, so this should be interesting enterprise to watch. IE committees are only as effective as the amount of money they can raise. Cynthia Ward is known for a number of things, but campaign fundraising isn’t one of them.

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GoldwaterOC Hispanic Bar Association President-elect Diana Lopez’s invoking the spectre of riots as a response to the invited exit of City Attorney Cristina Talley reminded me of a pertinent passage from Barry Goldwater‎’s acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Party convention.

Keep in mind that Goldwater is held in high esteem by the libertarian elements of the GOP who constitute an increasingly anti-law enforcement (as distinct from anti-union power) voice in the party, so it is good to re-visit this classic conservative summary of ordered liberty and how freedom is inseparable from respect for law and order.

“Security from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill that purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens. History shows us – demonstrates that nothing – nothing prepares the way for tyranny more than the failure of public officials to keep the streets from bullies and marauders.”

It wouldn’t hurt for the angry Left to ruminate on these words, as well.

diana-lopezQuiz time! Who said the following last night during public comments at the Anaheim City Council: “Perhaps another riot will get their attention.”

A) a young firebrand from the Revolutionary Communist Party, or

B) the president-elect of the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association.

If you guessed A)…we’ll you should be right, but, crazily, you aren’t.

That literally incendiary statement was made by  Diana Lopez, as noted the president-elect of the OC Hispanic Bar Association.

Apparently, the council majority’s ending of Cristina Talley’s tenure as city attorney warrants “the community” responding by rioting. That’s really lowering the threshold for urban rioting. Read the rest of this entry »

If there were a way to bet on media headline predictions, I could have wagered my savings and retired on how Voice of OC would headline its coverage of the Anaheim State of the City speech:

“Mayor Tells A Tale of Two Anaheims”

I realize that OCCORD, Los Amigos, Take Back Anaheim, the OCEA and the rest of the coalition of the left-leaning have been selling that storyline hard for months, but I just do not buy it. There are no more “Two Anaheims” than there are two of any city (except maybe Aliso Viejo and Laguna Beach). Every city of any size and duration will have affluent areas  and poorer areas, older section and newer sections.  Anaheim is not unique in this respect. That is the reality of the human condition. Hammurabi could well have spoken of “Two Babylons” and with considerably more justification.

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Cynthia Ward posted this over at Orange Juice Blog. It is an excerpt from a new book, “Echoes of Anaheim,” published by a friend of hers on the subject of growing in post-war Anaheim.

I really enjoyed reading the excerpt. It strikes me as much closer to reality than the Orange-County-is-a-racist-dystopia theme that dominates the writings of Gustavo Arellano (whose self-appointed mission, aside from relentless self-promotion, seems to be to ensconce himself as the historical arbiter of the societal character of OC).

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