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Earlier this month, Jason Young — wedding videographer by trade, deceptive gadfly blogger by choice — posted this video on his SaveAnaheim.com blog:

Young is very excited because the 4-member panel on a PBS show supports the idea of a civilian police review to duplicate the existing layers of police oversight.

On the other hand, Young must not have liked what panelist Mike Capaldi had to say about last summer’s Manuel Diaz shooting, since he editing that part of the video out. Here’s the complete exchange:

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In a telling manifestation of the massive popular groundswell building against the Anaheim City Council majority and the way the city is run, a throng of six (6) people showed up outside the private residence of Mitch and Sherry Caldwell.

Over at the fever swamp of the local blogosphere, Orange Juice Blog, the mini-protest was reported by “Luke Skywalker” (who, as it turns out, is really liberal activist Steve Perez; OJB proprietor Vern Nelson only endorses pseudonymous blogging on his site). Since Perez devotes his post primarily to noting how annoying he was. We learn nothing about who the protestors actually were.

Gabriel San Roman of the OC Weekly furnishes that information: it was organized by the family of Joel “Yogi” Acevedo.

Acevedo was an alleged criminal gang member who was shot and killed last summer by Anaheim, police officers after fleeing from a stolen car he was driving and firing at the officers -although you’d never know it from San Roman’s reporting.

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“We want more transparency, pig! And single-member council districts, too! And a gate tax! And a Living Wage! And…”

There was an explosion in an Anaheim apartment fire on Saturday, cause by drug dealers using fire to extract hashish from marijuana, according to the OC Register.

The night before, a gang member was shot in the face by a member of a rival gang, near Sycamore and Pauline streets. The OC Register reports:

Prior to the shooting, witnesses reported hearing someone shout out a gang name, Dunn said, followed by someone shouting out a rival gang’s name.

Investigators say the man injured in the shooting is a documented member of the gang that claims the neighborhood where the confrontation took place.

Obviously, these incidents make it clear Anaheim’s top public safety priorities should be establishment a citizen police oversight commission, single-member council districts and a diversion of TOT revenue to neighborhood programs. Greater “transparency” might have avoided these crimes.

Call it a hunch, but I would say the great, silent majority of Anaheim residents are far more concerned about violent crime in their city, than they are about adding a fifth-layer of police oversight (and that doesn’t count the ultimate oversight function of the city council). The caterwauling of certain blog critics notwithstanding, I don’t believe there is any appreciable number of Anaheimers waiting to stand “shoulder to shoulder” to “clean out” the Anaheim Police Department. If there were, we would see calls to place the proposed civilian police oversight commission on the ballot — after all, its proponents want to put everything else on the ballot. As it is, no oversight commission supporters seem anxious for the people to weigh in on that one.

Don't make us riot!

Don’t make us riot!

The OC Register has a story up about the “feared” loss of food worker jobs at the city-owned Honda Center.First, it’s important to note the “job loss” theme is misleading. What is happening is a change in who is operating the food service: Anaheim Arena Management, which operates the Honda Center for the city, is taking that function over from industry giant Aramark. The food service jobs aren’t going away. Unless Anaheim Arena Management is hiding a secret army of android food service workers, people will be employed to serve food and drinks to Honda Center patrons.

I don’t discount the nervousness felt by individual Honda Center employees who are unsure if they will be kept on after the change in providers. However, no job is guaranteed in this life.

What is upsetting UNITE-HERE Local 11 — and which the OC Register misses — is that when Anaheim Arena Management takes over, food service employees may no longer be dues-paying members of UNITE-HERE, and that impacts Local 11’s financial bottom line.

But whatreally caught my eye in this story was union spokeswoman Leigh Shelton raising the spectre of rioting if things don’t go UNITE-HERE’s way:

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Wondering what kind of anti-business policies single-member council districts would make more likely in Anaheim? Look no further than UNITE-HERE Local 11’s lobbying of the City of Anaheim to adopt a “retention” policy a la that paragon of mismanagement and ill-governance, Los Angeles.

To illustrate how “retention” works, I’ll excerpt from Los Angeles International Airport’s retention policy, which imposes these requirements on LAX contractors:

  • Contractor agrees to offer to employ and retain for a 90-day period the employees who worked for at least 12 months for the terminated contractor/subcontractors earning less than $15.00 per hour.
  • Contractor agrees to not discharge without cause the employees retained during the 90-day period.
  • Contractor agrees to perform a written performance evaluation of each employee retained at the end of the 90-day period.

[LAX packages their retention policy with a “Living Wage” ordinance: in LAX’s case, contractors were required, as of July 1, 20102, to pay their employees at least $10.70 an hour, along with a minimum health benefit hourly rate of $4.67 per hour (up from $1.70 per hour when the mandate was imposed in 2010).  Plus, the “Living Wage” has to be increased every year. If the contractor doesn’t provide health benefits, then the minimum health benefit hourly rate must be added to their pay – spiking the “Living Wage (in this case) to $15.37 per hour.]

UNITE-HERE is meeting with Anaheim city officials to press their case for imposing a retention policy on Anaheim contractors.

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Welcome to Anaheim!

Welcome to Anaheim!

Yesterday, the OC District Attorney cleared Anaheim Police Officer Nick Bennallack of any wrong-doing in the July 2012 shooting of gang member Manuel “Stomper” Diaz.

The OC Register reports:

Officer Nick Bennallack was on a gang-enforcement patrol in the Anna Drive neighborhood on the afternoon of July 21 when he pulled up to a small group of men. Manuel Diaz, 25, a convicted gang member, ran, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office concluded.

The officers gave chase, down an alley and into the front yard of an apartment house. There, Bennallack fired two shots, one hitting Diaz in the back-right side of his head, the other hitting him in his right buttock, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

The police association said shortly after the shooting that officers saw Diaz pull something from his waistband and turn. Diaz was found to be unarmed; investigators found a cellphone registered to Diaz, as well as the two spent ammunition cartridges from Bennallack’s gun and a drug pipe at the scene, the District Attorney’s Office said.

You can read the letter from the D.A. office here.

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New World FoundationLast week, we examined OCCORD, its funding and its role in the left-wing coalition trying to influence the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Election to endorse single-member council districts.

Some may question describing OCCORD as a politically left-wing organization. As to that, my previous post traced the group’s genesis as an off-shoot of the left-wing union UNITE-HERE, and their continuing close relationship in terms of strategizing and organizing. It doesn’t stop there.

A significant source of  funding for OCCORD is The New World Foundation (NWF), a New York City-based non-profit with assets of more than $30 million. According to its website, The New World Foundation “believes global and national social change begins at the local level. We seek to help progressive community activists in the United States and around the world build stronger alliances for social justice, civil rights, economic and electoral issues since 1954.”

The New World Foundation has given OCCORD at least $30,000 since 2008. The money comes from the NWF’s New Majority Fund, the purpose of which is “building electoral majorities that can reverse the rightward trend across America” and help recipients of its funding to “grow in scope and scale to influence the broader political climate and reshape government at the municipal, county and state levels.”

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The Democratic Party of Orange County on Monday sent out this e-newsletter trumpeting the accomplishments of new party Chairman Henry Vandemeir. First among the “important issues” for which Vandemier is hailed for “taking a visible stand” is “Fair Elections” liberal-speak for single-member council districts:

Newly Elected DPOC Chair Hits The Ground Running

In just six short weeks, Henry Vandermeier, newly elected chair of the Democratic Party Orange County (DPOC), has covered a lot of ground. Under Henry’s leadership, DPOC has been out in the community taking a visible stand on such important issues as Fair Elections, Immigration Reform and LGBT rights in the Vietnamese community. A Council of Clubs initiative has been launched to work more closely with the many Democratic Clubs chartered throughout Orange County. And, a Strategic Plan designed by Henry has been adopted by DPOC to lead the party through the next two years.

As I’ve posted previously, the Left in this county has its eye on the ball and correctly sees the ACLU litigation and the Citizens Advisory Committee process as the opening to advance their agenda.

If you asked OC GOP regulars what they think about the distinct possibility electing the Anaheim City Council by single-member districts, the response would probably be, “What?”

Yesterday, the Anaheim Police Association sent another e-mail blast urging recipients to contact councilmembers in opposition to a proposed citizens review commission:

Stand with your police department and against ineffective Civilian Review Boards.

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.

Civilian Review Boards are ineffective at changing police behavior or policy. In fact, most CRB’s only sustain 10-15% of complaints filed against the police department. Officers’ decisions are no longer based on law and policy, but based on the political motivation of a review board. A CRB will further divide our community when decisions are not made based on the law, but on the personal politics and the lack of professional and legal training of a few. A CRB is a step backwards because it attempts to pacify the misinformed and those people who scream louder over the majority of residents and our professional Anaheim police officers! Click here to read a comprehensive Q&A list.

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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.

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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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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Remember the notorious incident last July that took place on Anaheim’s gang-ridden Anna Drive when Anaheim police jousted with residents in the wake of the shooting of fleeing gang member Manuel Diaz?

As if we could forget.

Well, eight residents of Anna Drive have filed claims against Anaheim citing, according to the OC Register, “physical injuries, emotional trauma, violations of constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure and other damages.”

The claimants want the city to cut them each a check for $500,000. For those not doing the math, that is $4 million tax dollars. There goes the Neighborhood Improvement Fund (what percentage of annual TOT revenue is $4 million?)!

This isn’t surprising. After all, we live in a litigious society, and suing the police is a cottage industry. The Anna Drive incident represents an opportunity for some to cash in and get out of Anna Drive, and with sympathetic media coverage to boot.

Yes, I am commenting on the claims on after seeing only the spare description in the OC Register article. At the same time, let us recall that when police arrived in force following the shooting in order to secure the crime scene — and remember that what prompted the initial police intervention was a gang-conducted sale of illegal guns — a number of residents responded by bringing their young children and babies out to watch the fun. Not exactly behavior you would find in a handbook on responsible parenting.

Then there was the throwing of rocks and bottles at police.

The attorney representing the claimants claims her clients were not among the misbehavers. I don’t know whether that is true. It may be. What is clear to me is the police were operating in a confusing, chaotic and dangerous situation made more confusing, chaotic and dangerous by the bellicosity of a number of Anna Drive residents.

In my opinion, the police were trying to do their job, which is protecting the lives, liberty and property of Anaheim residents – including those of Anna Drive, which is beset by criminal gangs. These claims are more properly lodged against the gangs terrorizing Anna Drive, but the reality is gang members’ response would – unlike the city’s — would be lethal.

That is the reality we should bear in mind as this claim-soon-to-be-lawsuit moves along.

Anyone looking for modern examples of yellow journalism will find a stunning example of it in this Al-Jazeera “”Faultlines” news report on Anaheim’s recent civil unrest, which aired in December 2012.

It is crystal clear the Al-Jazeera reporter set out, from the get-go, to establish an agenda driven narrative: the Anaheim police are racists who target Mexicans. The reporter barely acknowledges there is a gang problem, and even then blames police law enforcement tactics.

In the opening seconds of the segment, the Al-Jazeera reporter blames the police for the July riot. incredibly, in the eyes of this reporter, it wasn’t the rioters and looters who turned downtown Anaheim into a “war zone,” but the police officers who were trying to protect the lives and property of residents and store owners.

It’s almost laughable to watch the video and see a local rapper (echoed by some police critics) saying it is totally unreasonable for police to approach them as if they are gang members just because they dress like gang bangers, shave their heads like gang bangers and are tatted up like gang bangers while hanging out in gang neighborhoods — but are shocked and offended that some riot police were wearing military-style utility uniforms.

In other words, looking like a gang banger in a gang area signifies nothing, but riot police wearing fatigues is a threat to freedom. Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Al-Jazeera reporting and the community-organizer Left.

I came across this video in yesterday’s Voice of OC story, which emulated the Al-Jazeera segment’s sensationalism:

In video aired by Al Jazeera, cadres of officers in military fatigues are seen brandishing assault rifles while hitched to sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. 

This sentence refers to the 20 minute mark in the Al-Jazeera segment, showing footage of a post-riot demonstration.  The Voice of OC’s claim that the police were “brandishing” is not only inflammatory, but plain wrong. Words have meanings, which are easily found in dictionaries.

The phrase “brandishing assault rifles” conjures images usually associated with thuggish fighters for Third World strongmen, or Islamist terrorists.

Allow me to illuminate, for the VOC, the meaning of “brandish”:

“to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly”

Now, here is what the Voice describes as “brandishing assault weapons”:

Al-Jazeera vidcap

Do you see any police shaking or waving their weapons in a menacing fashion? Neither do I.

Now,  here s what “brandishing and assault rifle” looks like:

Example 1 of brandishing assault rifles.

Example 1 of brandishing assault rifles.

Example 2 of brandishing assault rifles.

Example 2 of brandishing assault rifles.

Some readers may think this a small point. I don’t. As I said, words have set meanings. This VOC description of Anaheim police comportment was grossly inaccurate and unfair. Media outlets owe it to their readers to use the language accurately and truthfully. Informing ought to take precedence over inflaming.  Coverage of these events becomes part of the ongoing dynamic.

On a final note, glaringly absent from the Al-Jazeera report is any condemnation of the rioters or expressions of sympathy and support for their victims by the ridiculous rapper Scandalousz by the ACLU bleeding heart or any other excuse makers. To listen to these individuals, Anaheim doesn’t have a gang problem, but a police problem.

Protestors haranguing Anaheim policeman.

Protestors haranguing Anaheim policeman.

Since when are the police, and not gangs, the problem?

There is something unreal about the coverage and hubbub surrounding the issue of oversight of the Anaheim Police Department. This unreality is evident in this this Voice of OC account of an exchange between Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and left-wing agitator Duane Roberts:

The debate in Anaheim about police conduct has become so contentious that at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting Police Chief John Welter publicly accused a former council candidate of spreading “ @#!*% lies” during the public comments portion of the meeting.

A clearly angry Welter confronted Duane Roberts, a frequent critic of the Police Department on OrangeJuice Blog, in the crowded council chambers lobby and told Roberts to speak with the chief before maligning him at council meetings.

“Do I get a chance to refute all the @#!*% lies you say at council? No,” Welter said.

That the police chief would publicly berate a resident and insist that the chief be allowed to vet the criticism before it goes public raised concerns among some about a possible chilling effect on residents who witnessed the confrontation.

Really? Really? Who are these “some” who are “concerned…about a possible chilling effect” because the Chief Welter would like to some lefty agitator to confirm an allegation against before broadcasting it in public, before the city council. How is that unreasonable?

And where in this did Chief Welter insist on being “allowed to vet the criticism before it goes public?” What he did – according to this article – was ask a single individual (who I gather – I may be wrong- has a habit of making such accusations) to ask his target if the accusation is true: “Hey Chief, is it true that you did this or did that?” Oh boy, that sure is an intimidating and chilling exercise.

The article continues:

West Anaheim resident Art Castillo, who was present during the exchange, called Welter’s tirade “intimidation” toward residents who want to make public their grievances about the police department.

Welter is “not listening to the people who are the victims,” Castillo said.

Oh brother. By victims, are we talking about those Anaheim residents who are terrorized and preyed upon by gang members? Or “victims” such as Joel Acevedo, who fired at police and was shot in response?

The central question amidst all this sturm und drang ought to be which poses a threat to the lives, liberty and property of Anaheim residents? The police or gang members? The answer is an easy one (I can guarantee you it is exactly that for the average Anaheim resident), and subsequent policy and political decisions should flow from that answer.

Welcome to Anaheim!

Welcome to Anaheim!

The OC Register reports that Anaheim Police Officer Dan Hurtado has been cleared in the March 2012 shooting of a gang member:

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has cleared an Anaheim police officer who shot and killed a 21-year-old gang member after the man ignored commands to stop and pointed a shotgun at the patrolman, an investigative letter released Tuesday said.

Officer Dan Hurtado was aware of a witness standing nearby and also believed her to be in harm’s way before he fired three shots from a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, he told district attorney investigators.

Should anyone be surprised Officer Hurtado was cleared? He was doing his job. A known gang member pulls a gun, refuses order to stand down, and gets shot.

What never fails to astonish me is the complaints about “police brutality” and “excessive force” that inevitably follow incidents like this — as if the police, and not the gangs, are the problem. These complaints are usually propounded by “community activists,” and those left-libertarians who think the greatest threat to freedom are the police – but are far more understanding of, and even sympathetic to, rioting as a “reaction” to law enforcement activity.

We live in a society founded on the idea of ordered liberty. Gangs undermine ordered liberty. By  relentlessly cracking down on gangs and gang activity, the police are fulfilling one of the most basic functions of local government: ensuring the safety of the citizenry and thereby protecting their liberty.

Can you find the diversity in this photo?

Can you find the diversity in this photo?

Chris Nguyen published a new post at OC Political that contains interesting lessons for the City of Anaheim, which is being sued by the ACLU and three litigants (who simultaneously shed crocodile tears about how much their lawsuit is costing taxpayers).

Nguyen asks whether Santa Ana might also be a target for a California Voting Rights Acts lawsuit. In Santa Ana, the seven councilmembers are elected to represent the district in which they reside, but they are voted on at-large.

The ethnically-homogeneous Santa Ana City Council is entirely Hispanic — it’s funny how that lack of diversity seems to bother none of the folks who are so agitated about Anaheim — despite the city’s significant number of Asian voters. Nguyen writes:

Santa Ana’s Asian population is highly concentrated in the western portion of the City.

In the redistricting plan adopted at the beginning of 2012, Ward 6′s border with Ward 3 moved south, and increased the Ward 3 Asian population by 16%. The relatively square Ward 4 became much more rectangular by yielding most of its western territory to Ward 6 and picking up the southeastern portion of Ward 6. This increased the Ward 4 Asian population by a whopping 209%. However, these changes decreased the Ward 6 Asian population by 27%.

Prior to the 2012 redistricting, 46% of all Santa Ana Asians resided in Ward 6, 24% lived in Ward 3, and just 5% in Ward 4. With the new districts, just 33% live in Ward 6, 27% live in Ward 3, and 17% live in Ward 4.

Ward 6 is represented by Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinajero; Ward 3 by newly-elected Councilwoman Angelica Amezcua; and Ward 4 by Councilman David Benavides.

At last weeks meeting of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Commission on Elections, an attorney who was very involved in Modesto’s experience with CVRA litigation and move to council districts shared an interesting and relevant fact. When the city moved from an at-large system to a district-system, one of the new districts was a “majority-minority” district; i.e. a majority of voters were members of “protected classes.”

Rather than follow the underlying theory behind CVRA — that under such circumstances,voters will vote their skin color — this district elected a very conservative, white, NRA-supporting senior citizen.

All of this should be precautionary to those who are pushing Anaheim to cave in and enact council districts right now. Governance is a serious issue, and I am amazed at the rashness of calls to jam through council districts poste haste.

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