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Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring has scheduled a kick-off fundraiser for her mayoral bid for Monday, December 9 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Diamond Club in Angel Stadium:

Kring mayoral fundraiser

Click here for the PDF of the fundraiser flyer.

Incumbent Mayor Tom Tait is seeking re-election to a second term, and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway has also announced she will be a candidate for mayor.

Most of the host committee names are no surprise; for example, Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman, who was pushed from the OCTA Board of Directors by Tait without explanation. What is noteworthy is the name of conservative Republican Assemblyman Don Wagner.

One potential wrinkle: the Anaheim Charter Review Committee has recommended changed the mayoral term from four to two years. If approved by the City Council, this would be one of the charter amendments on the June 2014 ballot – and if the voters approve that change, then the mayoral candidate will be running for a two- rather than four-year term.

I’ve posted previously on a proposal by Competitive Power Ventures to lease the Ball Road basin from the Orange County Water District in order to build a 400 megawatt, natural gas-fueled power plant. The site is adjacent to the Santa Ana River and the Anaheim Auto Center and near residential neighborhoods and office parks.

CPV wants to lease the Ball Road Basin in order to submit it as a power generation site in response to a Request-for-Offers issued by Southern California Edison (SCE), seeking new power generation projects. The rapidity with which the OC Water District has moved on this unsolicited offer from CPV is driven by the RFO’s December 12 deadline.

A recent development that the media has missed bodes ill for CPV’s plan. SCE released a map to guide bidders like CPV as to the value of potential power plant locations:

SCE power map

Click here for the PDF of the full map with legend.

This is bad news for CPV.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Insider here.

The OC Register picked up on the issue I’ve been posting about: Mayor Tom Tait’s conflict-of-interest issue regarding being an OCTA Director when his company has a contract with the OCTA. I examined the validity of Tait’s rationalizations in this post.

Another point to consider: California Government Code 1090:

1090. Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members. Nor shall state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees be purchasers at any sale or vendors at any purchase made by them in their official capacity.

As used in this article, “district” means any agency of the state formed pursuant to general law or special act, for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries.

Mayor Tait isn’t merely a Tait & Associates employee. He owns Tait & Associates. He has a financial interest in all Tait & Associates business, including the contract with OCTA. He will soon be a member of the OCTA Board of Directors.  State law states “…city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by…any body or board of which they are members.” The facts here match up with what Government Code 1090 prohibits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, the Anaheim Union High School District held a series of community forums “seeking community input into the boundaries that will be established under the new by-trustee-area method of electing the Board of Trustees” according to an e-mail sent out by the district.”

Earler this year, AUHSD Board decided on a policy of pre-emptive surrender to the possibility of being sued by marauding bands of California Voting Rights Act litigants, and voted to replace its at-large election system with a by-district system. Unlike the City of Anaheim, the AUHSD doesn’t need to hold a city-wide election on the question but can make this switch by a board vote and obtaining a waiver from the state Board of Education (which grants them without hesitation). As the AUSD missive puts it:

The Board’s decision was the culmination of a lengthy process during which a demographer reviewed voting patterns over the past 10 years to determine whether the at-large voting method complied with the California Voting Rights Act.  Under the act, an at-large voting method is not permissible if it impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice as a result of dilution or abridgment. The analysis showed that the at-large voting method did appear to impair the ability of a protected group from electing candidates of its choice. To correct this, the Board modified the election method to a by-trustee-area method to provide greater opportunities for representation of all constituencies within the District.  

The District has drawn up several draft trustee area maps in accordance with these criteria:

Read the rest of this entry »

The OC Register’s veteran political reporter Martin Wisckol posted this item on the upcoming Anaheim mayoral contest:

Councilwoman Lucille Kring’s entry this month into the 2014 Anaheim mayor’s race sets up a three-way race that’s bound to split the vote. But it could split in numerous ways, leaving it unclear who will benefit.

Some see incumbent Tom Tait and his former council ally Lorri Galloway splitting some of the issue-oriented vote. Both have called for council elections in which only a given district’s voters can vote for candidates in that district, a plan they say would increase council representation of poorer and ethnic communities. Both have been critical of some city development subsidies and of the city’s approach to renegotiating the Angels’ stadium lease.

But the vote could split along several other lines. Thanks to blogger and political consultant Matthew Cunningham for hipping me to splits I hadn’t thought of.

Republican vs. Republican. Galloway is the sole Democrat in the race.

Challenger vs. challenger. Will those who don’t like incumbent Tom Tait split their vote between Kring and Galloway?

Woman vs. woman. Tait could gain a little advantage if the female vote is split along gender lines.

Union vs. union. The city’s police and fire unions are backing Kring. Most other municipal employees are represented by the Orange County Employees Association, which is expected to back Galloway. That faceoff could also benefit Tait.

I would respectfully disagree that the at-large v. single-member council district issue is really vote-determinative.  To the extent that Anaheim voters even consider it important, my hunch is they would tend to favor retaining at-large voting.

Anaheim Insider here.

The Orange County Register has picked up the issue of whether Mayor Tom Tait can and should serve on the OCTA Board of Directors since the company that he owns and runs has a $330,000 contract with OCTA. The contract runs for another 19 months, and so far OCTA has paid Tait & Associates $127,483.

It is certainly a conflict of interest when judged against the conflict standard established by the mayor himself. Maybe he’s giving himself a waiver.

It’s OK If The Contract Isn’t Too Big?
In the Register, Tait claims he can vote “fairly” as an OCTA Director, but that’s not the issue.

“If I didn’t feel I could serve fairly, I wouldn’t do it,” Tait said of his upcoming two-year term on the OCTA board.

Tait told the reporter that “It’s not a large contract.”  Does that matter? Would it be a conflict if it were for $1 million or $5 million instead? Does that mean he would not be able to vote “fairly” if the contract were bigger?

Read the rest of this entry »

Councilwoman Lucille Kring officially filed her intention to run paperwork on November 19, the first official step in running for mayor of Anaheim, allowing her to move forward and raise money for that campaign. She made her announcement on November 13.

Lorri Galloway announced she was going to run for mayor in a Frank Mickadeit column that was published on Halloween – but unlike Kring, she has taken no official steps since then to move her campaign forward.

Anaheim Insider here.

This is on the “Tom Tait for Mayor of Anaheim” Facebook page:

Tait crony capitalism

“Crony capitalism is a cancer on our party.”

Oh brother. Unless Tom Tait is on the receiving end of it, apparently.

The City of Garden Grove is subsidizing the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park resort and hotel project to the tune of almost $50 million:

As part of a 2010 deal, city leaders agreed to advance $5 million to Colorado-based developer McWhinney Enterprises, then pay another $42 million soon after the hotel opens. Officials also plan to give McWhinney public land worth about $22 million.

Chad McWhinney was a long-time associate and protege of the late OC GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes, who connected McWhinney and Tait when he worked forTait & Associates for a number of years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI swung by Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman’s fundraiser Monday night. Her kick-off fundraiser was held at the new Grand Terrace of The Honda Center. She had a strong turn-out of approximately 75 people om hand (all of them paying customers and not filler bodies invited to create the illusion of support.

Gail Eastman is clearly taking her re-election effort seriously and running hard. As I’ve noted in a previous post, Gail Eastman is strongly positioned to win re-election. Sure, the ankle-biter brigade who vent in the blogosphere and during city council public comments are good at delivering complaints and invective, but not much else. They have and will try to paint a caricature of Gail, but that doesn’t obscure the fact that she is much better known and is more popular in the community than they are.

There’s also the iron law of elections: you can’t beat somebody with nobody. So far, these folks don’t have a bad candidate to run against Gail Eastman, let alone a good one.

The Voice of OC reports that KOCEPBSSOCALWHATEVERITSCALLED will shutter it’s “Real Orange” news program:

PBS SoCaL’s long-running public affairs show “Real Orange” is set to air its last episode by the end of the year, a station spokeswoman told the Orange County Business Journal this week. 

It’s not yet clear what will replace the show nor how much coverage Orange County will get.  The spokeswoman said the move comes as part of an effort to “help move PBS SoCal forward and strengthen the value of the programming that we provide to Southern California.”

Oh well. I guess that means no more slanted, one-sided and erroneous reporting on Anaheim politics on that particular outlet.

Anaheim Insider here.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has addressed the resignation of building division head Scott Fazekas, who had been under fire since revelation that his firm had been getting the lion’s share of the city’s outsourced plan check review work.

“We have to be concerned about perceptions of conflict,” Tait said Oct. 11 when asked about how outsourced work should be handled. 

Tait said that as the co-owner of two consulting firms, he wouldn’t allow the city to contract with his companies. “For me, as mayor, it’s not OK to have a contract with the city of Anaheim,” Tait said.

But it’s OK for Tom Tait, as an OCTA Director, to have a contract with OCTA?

The above excerpt is from an October 12, 2011 Voice of OC article headlined “Anaheim Mayor Addresses Conflict of Interest Issues.” The issue was that the building division was outsourcing some work to the firm that the building division head used to work for.

On one hand, Mayor Tait says it is not OK for his firm to have a contract with the City of Anaheim because he is the mayor. On the other hand, he says it is OK for his firm to have a contract with OCTA when he is on the OCTA Board of Directors.

The mayor’s conflict-of-interest standard is a fast-moving target.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mayor Tom Tait

Mayor Tom Tait

Anaheim Insider here.

Last week, Mayor Tom Tait ousted his council colleague, Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman, from the OCTA Board of Directors, to which he had voted to appoint her a year ago, and take it for himself. After talking with a number of insiders who were present at the scene of the crime, it is clear Tait’s action is an example of big and small hypocrisy and double-standards, and possibly violation of state law.

Furthermore, Tait did it all without ever giving anyone an explanation why he wants to serve on the OCTA Board of Directors.

It wasn’t very difficult for Tait to oust Eastman. It’s the population-weighted city seat from the Fourth Supervisor District, and Tait controls almost fifty-percent of the vote. He only needed one other mayor to go along with him. He found that person in fellow my-way-or-the-highway contrarian Bruce Whitaker, the mayor of Fullerton. Even Tait couldn’t fumble this ball.

On multiple levels, Tait’s ouster of Eastman runs totally contrary to his often stated commitment to transparency, accountability and avoiding even the perception of a conflict of interest.

So Much for Transparency
As has already been noted on this blog, Tait kept his intention to seek the OCTA a secret. He waited until less than two hours before the start of the City Selection Committee to tell his council colleague he was running against her (despite the fact she’d been trying for weeks to get an answer from him one or another), but didn’t give her a reason why.

In fact, Mayor Transparency has never publicly explained why he wants to sit on the OCTA Board or why he felt it was necessary to remove a colleague who is universally regarded as doing a good job in that post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gail Eastman kick-offJust a reminder: Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman  is holding a re-election fundraiser this evening from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Honda Center’s newly-opened Grand Terrace (2695 E. Katella Avenue, in case you need an address).

RSVP to Jennifer Fitzgerald at (714) 402-3106 or jennifer@cl7communications.com; OR, Download the flyer and make checks payable to: Gail Eastman for Anaheim City Council 2014 and mail to CL7 Communications, Inc., PO Box 10306, Fullerton, CA 92838-0306

You can also fax the above form with credit card information to (714) 459-8165 or email it to  Jennifer@CL7communications.com

There are two council seats up in November of 2014 – both of them currently held by Eastman and Councilwoman Kris Murray. if Anaheim voters approve a June charter amendment to expand the council from four to six members, there will be two addition (and open) council seats up for grabs. keep in mind that (barring judicial interference), the council elections will be conducted on a from-district basis for the first time. In other words, council candidates will still have to stand before all Anaheim voters, but will be required to live in residency-based districts that will be drawn up by the spring.

Gail Eastman is getting a relatively late-start on her fundraising, but there is every reason to believe she’ll be strongly competitive and a favorite for re-election. She came very close to unseating incumbent Lorri Galloway in her first council run in 2008, and was the top vote-getter in 2010.

It’s still unclear who Mayor Tom Tait will endorse/recruit for his presumptive council slate aimed at unseating Eastman and Murray. The mayor will have his hands full with his own re-election battle against Councilwoman Lucille Kring and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, so it remains to be seen how much time, energy and money he can put into such an effort. It’s worth noting that in 2012, his only attempt to target a candidate for defeat (aside from the slow-motion undermining of Steve Chavez Lodge’s candidacy) was a pretty nasty hit piece against Jordan Brandman, funded by family members. Brandman was ultimately the top voter-getter.

Anaheim residents, business reps and civic leaders urging OCWD Board to oppose the CPV power plant.

Anaheim residents, business reps and civic leaders urging OCWD Board to oppose the CPV power plant.

If you had to pick an unlikely venue for a strong demonstration of grass-roots energy, you probably couldn’t find one more unlikely than the board room of the Orange County Water District – tucked away in Fountain Valley —  at noon on a Friday.

But that was the scene a 100-plus crowd of people who live and work in Anaheim, and answered the Stop The Power Plant coalition’s call to come and speak against the proposed building of a 400 megawatt power plant on an OCWD-owned site in Anaheim. Mobilizing a crowd of that size on two-days notice to attend a mid-day meeting miles away in a different city is a real measure of the intensity of community opposition to building a power plant on Ball Road Basin.

The speakers included nearby residents; employees from Anaheim Auto Center who took time off from work to speak; operators and  patrons of the Anaheim Equestrian Center; Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray; and Anaheim Chamber President Todd Ament, who is helping lead the Stop The Power Plant coalition of residents and businesses.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray speaking against CPV proposal at OCWD.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray speaking against CPV proposal at OCWD.

Impressive as that showing was, stopping the CPV proposal will entail continued pressure on the OCWD Board of Directors, who voted 6-2 in closed session on Friday to continue negotiating a leasing agreement for the land with the power plant developer, Competitive Power Ventures.

The next regular OCWD Board of Directors meeting is this Wednesday, November 20 at 5:30 p.m. (the Board will again discuss the power plant in closed session), and the Stop the Power Plant coalition is planning to show up in force.

At least five of the 10 OCWD Directors must vote to oppose leasing the Ball Road Basin to CPV for the lease agreement deal to fail.  If the OCWD votes to press ahead and lease the land to CV anyway, it is equally important that the California Energy Commission – which has the final say over the power plant proposal — sees the community opposition to this site was started quickly and grew with each passing week. The CEC traditionally denies approval when there is strong community opposition. Attending OCWD Board meetings and speaking out ensures the CEC sees a public record of broad, intense community opposition.

Candidly, given the breadth and intensity of community opposition (which is only growing with the passage of time) it is difficult to see why the OCWD Board would vote to lease the basin to CPV for a power plant proposal that is highly unlikely to be approved by the CEC. The OCWD apparently sees this as an opportunity to generate revenue from the site for a short or long period of time, regardless of whether the power plant is ultimately approved – although we shall have to see the details of the lease agreement when it is brought to the OCWD Board of consideration (presumably at the December 9 board meeting).

The City Selection Committee meets in a few minutes to begin voting on appointments to the governing boards of various regional bodies such as the Orange County Transportation Authority and LAFCO.

As I noted yesterday, one of the OCTA directorships up is the 4th District population-weighted seat, to which Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman was appointed a year ago.

Rumors have been swirling about whether Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait would vote to appoint Eastman, as he did last year. The latest word on the street is that he plans to vote for himself for the seat. Since Anaheim has about 48% of the vote, that would mean Eastman would need the vote of every other 4th District mayor.

Strange days.

UPDATE: Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker just nominated Tait for the seat.

Gail Eastman speaking. Cites her work and experience as an OCTA Director, and points out that The mayor abstains on every OCTA-related item on the Anaheim council agenda by citing he has a conflict of interest.

Tait made no candidate statement other than he had served on the OCTA Board (for a few months in early 2011) and that he would abstain in anything related to the contract that Tait and Associates has with OCTA.

Now they are balloting.

Anaheim, Brea, Fullerton and La Habra voted for Tait. Buena Park and Placentia voted for Eastman. Tait gets the seat, and the 4th District population-weighted seat gets its fifth occupant in four years.

Applause followed the election result in every contest so far – with the stonily silent exception of the 4th District balloting. Not a single clap.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

The City Selection Committee meets tomorrow evening to vote on appointments to a number of regional governmental bodies, including the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors.

Quick tutorial: there are three OCTA directors from each supervisor district: the county supervisor; the one-city/one-vote seat; and the population-weighted seat. In the Fourth Supervisor District, the population-weighted seat is held by Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman, who was elected to the seat a year ago to fill the remaining year of the term when Lorri Galloway was termed off the council.

Here’s how the City Selection Committee voting for the city-representation OCTA Board seats in each supe district: for the one-city/one-vote seat, each city in the supervisorial district has a single vote, cast by mayor or the mayor’s designated proxy. In the population-weighted seat, each city has a weighted vote equivalent to its percentage of the supe district’s population. Anaheim has a little more than 48% of the Fourth District’s population, and has 48% of the vote for the population-weighted seat. In practical terms, it means that Anaheim’s mayor, in tandem with the mayor of one other Fourth District city, determines who has that seat ion the OCTA Board.

The OCTA Board is deliberately structured that way in order to ensure the large cities, which tend to be bigger users of both transit and transportation, have a strong voice in setting OCTA policy – while balanced by small city representation in the one-city/one-vote seat. It’s analogous to how the House of Representatives and the Senate were set up the balance the interests of small and large states.

Since the current OCTA Board structure was instituted, a member of the Anaheim City Council has had the population weighted seat. Gail Eastman has it now, and Lorri Galloway, Tom Tait and Curt Pringle preceded her.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

“We need a mayor who unites and does not divide us. I will be that mayor.”

That was the theme and cadence of Councilwoman Lucille Kring’s announcement speech for mayor, made at a kick-off event this morning in front of Angel Stadium and attended by approximately 50 supporters drawn from the grrassroots, the business community and public safety.

Kring’s speech was based on a riff of calling for Anaheim to have a mayor who would embrace certain policies and attitudes – neighborhood improvement, restoring civility to the council chamber so all feel welcome to speak, etc. – followed by the refrain, “I will be that mayor.” it was an effective speech.

Kring gave her speech from the dais on a riser under giant baseball hats, flanked by her husband Ron, Councilwoman Kris Murray, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce president Todd Ament, Tony Bruno (general manager of the Sheraton Park Anaheim, and representatives (I’m almost positive) of the Anaheim police and firefighter associations, who have endorsed Kring for mayor (the APA endorsed Tom Tait for mayor in 2010; I’m pretty sure the firefighters did, as well).

Todd Ament kicked off the event, introducing Councilwoman Kris Murray, who offered a very strong endorsement of Kring and along with some criticism of Mayor Tait. Murray introduced Kring, who launched into the aforementioned peroration, much of which is reproduced in the following press release from the Kring for Mayor campaign:

Joined by Anaheim’s finest including representatives of the 355 member Anaheim Police Association, 172 member Anaheim Fire Association, city council colleagues, residents, and business leaders, nine year Anaheim city councilwoman Lucille Kring today kicked off her campaign for Mayor.   The election will be held in a year on November 4, 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Orange County Water District has scheduled a special board meeting for Friday at 12:10 to discuss Competitive Power Ventures bid to lease the district’s Ball Road Basin in order build a 400-600MY power plant – bordered by the Santa Ana River, Ball Road and the Anaheim Auto Center.

Click here to see the agenda and here. for the staff report.

The obvious is question is why the need to call a special session to discuss the power plant proposal when the Board’s next regular meeting is only a few days later?

The CPV proposal is being opposed by a growing coalition of Anaheim residents and businesses, who packed last week’s OCWD Board meeting to speak in unified opposition not to additional power generation – which no one questions – but to siting a power plant on the Ball Road Basin.

CPV needs the OCWD Board of Directors to approve a lease by December 12 — which is Edison’s deadline for power generation proposals. If the 10-member OCWD board votes to lease the land to CPV, the power plant proposal goes directly to the California Energy Commission for approval — completely bypassing the City of Anaheim planning/approval process.

Six OCWD directors must vote “yes” to lease the land for a power plant. If five directors vote no, then no power plant on the Ball Road Basin.

To send a message of opposition to the OCWD Board of Directors, click on this link.

 

 

Kring for mayor logo

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring will announce her entry in the mayoral race tomorrow. She’ll be challenging incumbent Mayor Tom Tait, who is seeking re-election to a second term. Former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway has also announced her candidacy for mayor.

Here’s the media advisory from the Kring for Mayor campaign:

Anaheim City Councilwoman Lucille Kring will be joined by community leaders, first responders, residents, and business leaders at a press conference tomorrow morning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The media is encouraged to attend.

Event: Lucille Kring for Mayor Press Conference
Date: Wednesday, November 13
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Stay tuned…

lorri galloway at rallyFormer councilmember and current mayoral aspirant Lorri Galloway sent this e-mail to her supporters:

Dear Friends and Family:

My campaign for Anaheim Mayor 2014 has been in the news lately. After a PBS story aired last night, I am heartsick because I have allowed negativity to be the focus, which is something that I abhor, and I have often been on the receiving end of it Truthfully, I am honored to be in a country where someone like me has the opportunity and freedom to run for such an office. My faith in God tells me that the blessing will be in the journey, not in the victory or defeat. I just sent this apology to the Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait.

Dear Tom:

With all of my heart, I sincerely apologize. Read the rest of this entry »

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