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The OC Register editorial board is rolling out its endorsements for the June primary ballot. Weighing in on the three proposed amendments to Anaheim’s city charter: Measures C,D and E, the OCR editorial board got two out of three correct.

The OCR supports a “yes” vote on Measure C (a bundle of largely technical modifications to the charter); and on Measure E – which would legalize the sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks in Anaheim. The endorsement of E is no surprise, given the Register’s long-standing support for the legalization of fireworks.

Where the editorial board got it wrong, in my opinion, was in opposing Measure D, which would change the mayor’s term to two-years. The reasons the newspaper cites for opposing it:

The change would take effect immediately, rather than after Mayor Tom Tait has been elected to and served a second term

  • Concern that Measure D “will do nothing more than clip Mayor Tait’s wings.”
  • The editorial also expressed the suspicion that Measure D was “political gamesmanship” aimed at a single person – Mayor Tait.

The irony here is that by basing its opposition not on concern for how Measure D might affect the office of mayor, but out of concern for how it might affect a specific individual – the OCR editorial board is committing, in principle, the same sin of which it suggests Measure D proponents are guilty.  Tom Tait is not the last mayor Anaheim will ever have, and the city will have a different mayor in December of 2014, 2016 or 2018.

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Why is this man smiling?

Why is this man smiling?

The first independent expenditures of the 2014 Anaheim election season came from the Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 committee, which made $4,999 in IEs between March 26 and April 25 buying “No on Measure D” spots on slate mailers for the June primary election.

The Form 496 filed for the IE also offer an early glimpse at Tait’s mayoral fundraising since the New Year: since the mayoral/council election isn’t until November, campaign reports ordinarily would be due until June 30. According to the report, Tait’s 2014 fundraising has been robust, adding $51,099 to his re-election war chest – the bulk of it in March and April.

When you consider Tait raised $84,574 during all 12 months of 2013, his haul this year is pretty impressive – especially for someone who really doesn’t like fundraising. The IE filing only lists contributions and not expenses, so it’s hard to say what the Tait for Mayor cash-on-hand is – but I’d guess it’s a little over $100,000 at this point. 

A question prompted by this expenditure is whether it’s the beginning of a larger IE effort by the Tait for Mayor committee to defeat Measure D, or merely nailing down slates until there’s money in the newly-established Committee Against Measure D. 

Vote-by-mail ballots went out today. It’s a pretty safe bet that well over 50% of Anaheim voters will cast VBMs this June, we’ll find out pretty soon how much of his re-election funds Mayor Tait will put into beating Measure D.

Stay tuned.

Continuing our series of posts (here, here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

We urge you to Vote Yes on Measure D to bring greater accountability to the Mayor’s office and strengthen Anaheim’s term limits law.

Common sense says a two-year term brings greater responsiveness to the Mayor’s office. Yes on Measure D does that.

An effective Mayor should have no problem seeking voter approval every two years. Longer terms don’t make for better leaders. Good mayors can accomplish a lot in two years, while a bad mayor will accomplish nothing in four years.

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Continuing our series of posts (here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

Vote “NO” on Measure D.

An overwhelming majority, over 70% of Anaheim, has already decided the mayor should have four years to speak for the people.

So who’s wasting our time with a question to which we already know the answer?

Special interests.

Why?

Their best argument is that two years is how they do things in the fine cities of Orange and Irvine. They say it increases accountability.

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We’ve posted the Argument in favor of Measure D, which would amend the City Charter to limit the mayor to four consecutive two-year terms, instead of the current limit of two consecutive four-year terms. Here is the Argument Against Measure D that will be in the sample ballot:

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

Opposition to Charter Amendment to Section 504

We urge you to vote “NO” on Measure D. Under Anaheim’s Charter, the mayor and city council members are all elected to four-year terms. Measure D proposes to change the Charter to require the city’s mayor to run for office every two years, while council candidates continue to be elected every four years.

There is simply no good reason to support this proposed change in the law.

The vast majority of American large-city mayors serve four-year terms. A four-year term gives the city’s chief elected official time to set goals and plan for the city’s needs, and it provides continuity of leadership to keep city government both stable and responsive to the voters.
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The most contentious local measure on the June ballot will be Measure D – a measure to change the mayor’s term from four to two years, based on the recommendation of the Charter Review Committee.

Following is the Argument in Favor that voters will receive in the sample ballots. I’ll be posting the Argument Against and the rebuttals against both arguments. Let the debate begin!

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

If there’s one thing voters want from their elected leaders, it’s greater accountability. Measure D does that for Anaheim’s most important elected position – our Mayor. Please vote YES.

Unlike many initiatives, Measure D is simple and straightforward. It changes the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years, and applies the city’s term limits fairly to the Mayor.

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Readers may have gathered from my preceding posts (here, here and here) on the Charter Review Committee recommendations and the proposed charter amendments that has issued from the CRC’s work, but the more recommendations that were more political (for lack of a better descriptive) in nature were separated into discrete ballot measures. The rest of the recommendations – mainly streamlining-oriented charter changes sought by city staff — were assembled together in a single ballot measure (the proposed Measure 1).

That was the source of some discussion on Tuesday night. Citing the state’s “single subject rule” for statewide ballot initiatives, Mayor Tom Tait expressed his preference for putting each item in Measure 1 into a separate ballot measure for the sake of clarity and transparency. That has the downside of crowding the ballot with so many measures that they fail under their own weight.

City Attorney Michael Houston pointed out that ballot measures placed before voters by city councils are exempt from the single-subject rule, although the council could certainly apply that rule of its own volition. He provided direction on how Measure 1 could be separated into three different ballot measures, but believed a strong case could be made that Measure 1, as drafted, conformed to the single-subject standard because they are “reasonably germane” to the topic at hand – namely the restructuring and modernization of city government.

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On Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council took up the Charter Review Committee’s recommendations, which staff had packaged into four proposed charter amendments for the June ballot. Anaheim voters will have the opportunity to say yes or no to changing the mayoral term from four to two years; legalizing safe and sane fireworks; and enacting a bucket of government efficiency reforms. The council unanimously rejected placing the repeal of term limits on the ballot.

july 4 fireworks patrioticLegalizing Safe and Sane Fireworks
Measure 4 would repeal the city charter’s ban on the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks, which 59% of voters approved in 1986, and the council was unanimous in its support not only for putting the measure before the voters but in hoping they would approve it.

“This is something, I think, that the people want. It’s a good thing. It brings people together on the Fourth of July, it brings neighborhoods together, and it something I wholeheartedly support,” said Mayor Tait. Well put.

As someone who strongly believes we ought to be able to celebrate our freedom and independence with safe and sane fireworks, this is a great development and continues a trend toward reversing the tsunami of fireworks bans that swept Orange County cities in the late 1980s. Fullerton voters legalized fireworks in 2012, and Westminster and Villa Park have also reversed their bans in the last few years.

Two-Year Mayoral Term
The Charter Review Committee recommended this change by a vote of 5-2, with Tom Tait and Lucille Kring’s appointees voting in opposition – and that is how their appointors voted on Tuesday night as the council voted 3-2 to place Measure 2 on the June ballot.

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One of the items the City Council will take up tonight is the question of changing the length of the mayoral term from four years to two.

Prior to 1992, the mayor was directly elected every two years; only sitting members of the city council were eligible to run. In 1992, the charter was amended and the current system — four-year terms and allowing anyone to run for mayor — came into being.

At its September 26 meeting, the Charter Review Committee (CRC) voted 5-2 to change the mayoral term to two-years. The general sense of the CRC was that since the mayor is first-among-equals and the (at least) nominal head of city government – and possibly the only at-large city official in the near future — having to face the voters every two years renders that office more responsive to the voters.

None of the mayoral candidates support the recommendation. In the OC Register last week, Mayor Tom Tait said:

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Tomorrow night, the Anaheim City Council will take up the recommendations of the Charter Review Commission. The staff recommendation is to package the recommendations into four ballot measures and proposed ballot summary language is proposed – which, if actually used, will probably doom these charter amendments to defeat.

Measure 1 is essentially a bundling of charter amendments sought by city staff, which fall mainly into the category of modernizing and streamlining city government operations. Here is the proposed ballot language:

Measure 1

If Measure 1 appears on the ballot like this, it will very likely be rejected by the voters. Keep in mind that this is all the information upon which many, if not most, voters will base their decision.

  • “Address methods of setting City Manager’s compensation”? That sends up a red flag the minds of voters in the post-Bell era.
  • “Clarify and validate application of utility rate transfer to retail rates” – what does that even mean?

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Among the items on tonight’s Charter Review Committee agenda is legalizing safe-and-sane fireworks, which have been illegal in Anaheim as a result of a 1986 initiative that was approved by the voters.

The Charter Review Committee will be asked to approve one of the following:

1)  Amend Section 1214 of the Anaheim Charter to allow the use of fireworks and – if approved by a vote of the people — repeal the existing ban. This would enshrine legalized fireworks in the Charter and necessitate a city-wide vote to repeal it.

2) Don’t amend the Charter but recommend the City Council place a repeal of the fireworks prohibition on the ballot.

3 ) Maintain the status quo.

We have celebrated our freedom and independence with fireworks since the beginning of the Republic. Repealing this ban is in keeping with that tradition, with Anaheim’s “freedom friendly” ethos and continues the trend of Orange County cities ending their 1980s-era bans on safe-and-sane fireworks (such as Westminster and Fullerton).

The agenda report contains a series of recommendations to mitigate fire concerns, such as maintaining the fireworks prohibition in those parts of Anaheim that are south of the 91 Freeway and east of the 55 Freeway.

Hopefully, the CRC will strongly endorse Option 1, which should provide an issue around which the Mayor and City Council can unite.

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.

The Charter Review Committee meets again tonight, as it nears the end of the process. Here’s the agenda and :

– Article VII: Section 701 – Officers and Employees: consider allowing City Manager to appoint City Treasurer, rather than by majority vote of the City Council.

– Article IX – Appointee Boards and Commissions – Library Board (continued)

– Article XII, Section 1216 & 1217 – Fiscal Administration: discussion of repeal of those sections, which pertain to claims filed against the city.

– Discussion and directions regarding next steps required to complete charter review process, including calendar for approval of charter recommendations and outline of final report.

– Consideration of additional meeting dates and/or review of next committee meeting schedule.

Click here to access to current city charter.

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lorri_galloway_smallAnaheim Insider here.

Back in August, I reported that Lorri Galloway was plotting to run against Tom Tait for Mayor next year.

Last week, I blogged that at a union send-off party for OC Labor Fed firebrand Tefere Gebre, Galloway was telling others of her plans to challenge Tait.

Gabriel San Roman is following on our heels with this post on the OC Weekly about sources telling him the same thing.

Nobody should be shocked by this. Most of the lefties will probably thank Tom Tait for all his help and then support Galloway.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Lucille Kring is gearing up for a mayoral run. It’s a safe run for her since it is the middle of her first term.

Senator Lou Correa continues to feed rumors that he’ll move to Anaheim and run for Mayor, mainly be playing coy and not denying he’ll run.

Also, the Charter Review Commission has already made a provisional recommendation to return to two-year terms for mayor. If that goes on the June 2014 ballot and is approved, the candidates will be battling over a two year, not a four year, term. Lou Correa might find that an attractive way to bridge the two year gap between the end of his Senate term and running for the Board of Supervisors.

Anaheim’s Charter Review Commission met last night to take up several parts of Section 500 of the city charter, which pertains to the mayor and city council.

I wasn’t able to attend the meeting and the video isn’t up yet, but here’s what i am told took place.

There was a move to change the mayoral term from four to two years. Anaheim is the only Orange County city with a directly-elected mayor in which the mayoral term is four years. All other OC cities with directly elected mayors – Orange, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Westminster, Irvine — have two-year mayoral terms.

This recommendation was approved on a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Robert Dunn (Tait appointee) and Amanda Edinger (Kring appointee) voted in opposition.

The CRC also took up the matter of term limits. Currently the charter states that “No person shall serve as Mayor or as a member of the City Council for a combined period of more than eight consecutive years.” A quirk of the term limits section prohibits councilmembers from running fro mayor in the middle of their second council term.

I’m told Commissioners Dunn (Tait appointee) and Keith Oleson (Gail Eastman appointee) argued for eliminating term limits altogether, and the CRC ultimately voted 6-1 to do just that, with Commissioner Gloria Ma’ae (CRC appointee) voting in opposition.

The next meeting of the CRC is October 17.

The Charter Review Committee meets again this evening at 6:00 p.m. in the council chambers at Anaheim City Hall. Items on the agenda include:

3. General clean up of language throughout the Charter/gender neutrality

3b. Deliberation of potential obsolete provisions, including but not limited to the following sections: 402, 517, 601

And what are those sections? 402 pertains to “Limitations on Use of Eminent Domain; 517 deals with “Publishing of Legal Notices;” 601 is the requirement for the City Manager to live in Anaheim.

What is obsolete about them? City Attorney Michael Houston explains in a memo to CRC members. Regarding Section 402:

“Several Committee members recognized that state law dissolved redevelopment agencies, and there was further discussion that state law established successors to these dissolved agencies. Committee members inquired whether it was appropriate to update Section 402 to reflect this change in law by potentially amending or deleting potentially obsolete references to the “Anaheim Redevelopment Agency.”

Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends this reference to the “Anaheim Redevelopment Agency” not be deleted based in the explanation below. Rather, staff recommends that the final paragraph of Section 402 be amended as follows (proposed changes shown in underline): “Anaheim Redevelopment Agency (or any successor agency or successor in interest to this entity).

There’s a lengthy discussion of the dissolution of RDA in 2011, which I’m not going to retype but you can for yourself in the memo. Mr. Houston concludes:

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The Charter Review Committee held its second meeting last night in the Anaheim City Council chambers.

City Attorney Michael Houston briefed them on the Brown Act. The facilitator hired by the city, Raphe Sonenshein, spoke to them about what to expect from the process based on his experiences providing the same service to other charter review committees, and led them on a quick overview of the Anaheim City Charter (which he characterized as well done).

The committee also elected its chairman and vice chairman. Craig Farrow nominated Todd Ament (president/CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce) for chairman, and since there were no other nominations for that post, he was elected unanimously.

Todd Ament nominated Ernesto Medrano (political director for OC’s Teamsters local) for vice chairman. Again, there were no other nominations and Medrano was unanimously elected.

The Charter Review Committee met tonight to appoint the two remaining members (as I posted about yesterday) from the pool of remaining applicants.

The CRC has met and appointed Todd Ament and Gloria Ma’ae. Two very fine, qualified choice that speak to the wisdom of those committeemembers who voted for them.

There’s more to report, but that will have to wait. I’m not a big one for blogging from an iPhone.

UPDATE: I spoke with someone who was at the CRC meeting last night, and this is how the nominations went down. Each CRC member nominated someone. Once the nominations were made, the committee voted on each one, and the top two vote-getters were appointed.

Ernesto Medrano nominated Veronica Rodarte. E. Thomas Dunn nominated Brian Chuchua (surprise!), Keith Oleson nominated Paul Kott, Craig Darrow nominated Todd Ament and Amanda Edinger nominated Gloria Ma’ae.

The vote on each nominee:

Rodarte: 4 to 1 against (Medrano being the “yes” vote)

Chuchua: 4 to 1 against (Dunn being the “yes” vote).

Kott: 3 to 2 against (Oleson and Dunn being the “yes” votes)

Ament: 4 to 1 in favor (Dunn being the “no” vote)

Ma’ae: 3 to 1 in favor (Dunn voted “no”; Medrano abstained).

There were a lot of good names among the applicant pool, but with only two slots not everyone can get the nod.

The Charter Review Committee will hold its first meeting tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. in the Anaheim City Council chambers. Here are the CRC members (with their appointing councilmember in parenthesis):

  • E. Thomas Dunn (Tait)
  • Amanda Edinger (Kring)
  • Craig Farrow (Murray)
  • Ernesto Medrano (Brandman)
  • Keith Oleson (Eastman)

The CRC’s business will be limited to appointing two additional members from the remaining pool of applicants, who are:

1) Adelekan, Pat
2) Alvarez, Juan
3) Ament, Todd
4) Bengochea, Ron
5) Chuchua, Brian
6) Crow , Byran
7) Day, Sandra
8) Diaz, David
9) Elwell, John
10) Estep, Bill
11) Faessel, Stephen
12) Flores, Cecilia
13) Hall, Ryan
14) Hines, Theresa
15) Jensen, Madeline Rae
16) Kott, Paul
17) Larsen, Larry
18) Lodge, Steve Chavez
19) Ma’ae,Gloria
20) John, Machiaverna,
21) McCracken, Shirley
22) Mueller, Phyllis
23) Noteboom, Frances
24) Perez. Claudia
25) Porretta, Heather
26) Postma, William
27) Rodarte, Veronica
28) Shimogawa, Teresa
29) Sigala, Maria
30) Varnum, Dennis

Those appointments will bring the CRC up to its authorized members of seven people; the committee will elect its chair and vice-chair at its next meeting.

The Magic Single-Member District Unicorn is not happy.

The Magic Single-Member District Unicorn is not happy.

In a vote that is sure to annoy the liberal elitists on the Los Angeles Times editorial board, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 to reject placing single-member council districts on June 2014 ballot. Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman and Councilmembers Lucille Kring and Kris Murray voted in the majority.

In doing so, the council moved forward with implementing a residency-based district system (yes, OCCORDobots: “single-member” isn’t the only type of district) that preserves at-large voting, and gives voters the opportunity to increase the council to six members.

Also going down in flames was the ex poste facto proposal to impose a Form 700 financial disclosure form filing requirement on members of the temporary, advisory Charter Review Committee. It was a transparently political ploy directed at former Mayor Curt Pringle, who has declined to serve on the CRC. There was no coherent, compelling argument for applying to the CRC, and it died on a 4-1 vote.

I watched much of the meeting online but missed the council discussion on the council res-structuring agenda items. I did see the impressive presentation by demographer Dr. Peter Morrison. You can review his Power Point here – and I really recommend that you do.

The bottom line: more Latinos on the City Council is inevitable. The demographics are inexorable, and even if no change is made to the structure of the City Council, sheer weight of numbers will lead to the election of more Latinos in the not too distant future.

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