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futureA friend alerted me that missing from yesterday’s post on implementing Measure L was a discussion of how many council seats will be on the ballot in 2016.

The answer is: four. Councilmembers Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman will be running for re-election in yet-to-be drawn council districts, and two new, open seats will be on the ballot.

According to the text of the Measure L charter amendment, once the four winners are sworn, they will cast lots to decide which serves only a two-year term and runs again in 2018:

Notwithstanding the term of office specified in the first paragraph of this Section 500, at the City Council meeting where these four members are sworn in, the City Council shall select by casting of lots one member elected at the November 2016 general election to hold office for a term of two years and until his or her successor qualifies; the remaining three members shall serve for a term of four years and until their successors qualify.

This is done so that going forward, there will always be three council seats on the ballot every two years. So, it is possible that either Councilmember Brandman or Kring will have to run a third time in 2018 (but for another two-year term). It begs the question of why the amendment didn’t limit the lot casting to the winners of the two newly-created council district seats.

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Welcome to SimAnaheim - it's six cities in one!

Welcome to SimAnaheim – it’s six cities in one!

Now that Measure L has been approved by Anaheim voters, how will it be implemented? The settlement agreement between the city and the ACLU spells out the steps that have to take place:

First, the city council must adopt a resolution establishing the process for drawing “councilmanic” districts. [NOTE: council districts would have been drawn regardless of the Measure L outcome, since the city council voted last year to move to from-district council elections beginning in 2016.]

The next step is the appointment of an advisory committee to “assist in the development of district maps to recommend for adoption.” The advisory committee is to consist of three retired judges who live and are registered to vote in Anaheim. If the city is unable to find three such judges willing to serve, then the council will appoint an advisory Committee of up to nine registered Anaheim voters who “shall be broadly representative…of the demographics, geographic, socio-economic and other communities of interest” in Anaheim (you can bet OCCORD is working up an applicant pool). There’s a recipe of racial bean-counting and contention over whether or not someone is “really” Latino or whatever. Perhaps the Moreno v. Anaheim plaintiffs could volunteer examine the birth certificates and research the ancestry of advisory committee applicants. What was that Martin Luther King Jr. said about being judged by the “content of our character” and not “the color of our skin”? And since state law essentially considers something so fundamental as gender to be “self-assigned,” why shouldn’t race or ethnicity – which is far more malleable – be self-assigned, as well? 

But I digress.

Here’s an interesting proviso in the settlement agreement: advisory committee members will be required to file a written declaration that they will not run for city council in 2016 or 2018 – “in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest” and to make sure the recommended district lines are “free of any personal goals or desires of its individual members to run for a seat on the City Council.”

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Leftist council candidate Jose F. Moreno finished a distant fourth place last week, despite the generous financial assistance of rich San Francisco Bay Area progressives. The newly-minted Democrat and Tom Tait ally declined to seek re-election to the Anaheim City School District Board off Education to make a run for the Anaheim City Council, and was the the de facto second member of the Tait Slate following Doug Pettibone’s lightning implosion. There was some speculation Moreno might make it by virtue of being the sole Democrat on the ballot with a credible campaign, combined with the $100,000 Tait Family/Ahmanson IE against Kris Murray and Gail Eastman. Moreno’s campaigned on more-or-less the same campaign themes as Tait and James Vanderbilt, but he was a left-wing proponent of color-conscious politics running in a Republican year when Anaheim’s voting electorate leaned Republican.

While Moreno’s defeat was a tactical defeat for the Left in Anaheim, passage of Measure L was a strategic victory and the most consequential result of last week’s election – not just for Anaheim, but for Orange County. The Yes on L and M campaign’s mail and ground game, funded by more than $350,000 from outside union and progressive political interests – and with support from the Tait Family Trust and Howard Ahmanson IE campaign — won a campaign based on promises of responsive government, better streets, trimmed tree and pledges of a better, brighter future for all God’s children. It reminded me of Measure W – the campaign that promised Orange Countians a huge, fabulous, world-class Orange County Great Park at no cost to taxpayers. The promises of the Measure L campaign carry the same value.

Measure L won by 37 points, but its companion initiative, Measure M, only passed by 8 points – even though the official “Yes” campaign urged voters to approve both measures.

Measures L and M results 11-10-14

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Cynthia Ward Measure L flip-flop

 

Anaheim voters received a “Yes on L and M” mailer on Friday with a photograph Anaheim gadfly Cynthia Ward and her husband on the front along with the words “We Love Anaheim. That’s why we’re supporting Measures L & M.”

Ms. Ward’s loves Anaheim so much that she has filed expensive lawsuits against it twice in the last year: for example, to stop the much-needed expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Yes on L Cynthia Ward flip-flop mailer 10-31-14_Page_2

 

Leaving aside this strange demonstration of affection, Ward’s stance on by-district council elections is exactly the opposite of what she told the OC Register in 2012:

Cynthia Ward, 46 and a lifelong resident of Anaheim, is not one of [those supporting by-district elections].

“Do we want to create a lot of special-interest districts and become like Los Angeles or Chicago?” she asked. “You’re going to have people saying, ‘Hey, you got a substation, I want a park for my area.’ “

“Districts will create pork,” she added. “Just like Washington, but on a smaller scale.”

Ward was actually correct in 2012. Since Ward executive this stark, dramatic flip-flop in 2013, it took her less than a year to do a 180-degree turn on by-district elections – going from believing they will be horrible for Anaheim to saying the way to show one’s love for Anaheim is to support by-district elections. It doubtless makes it easier for her to be a fervent acolyte and apologist for everything Mayor Tait says and does. Otherwise, it would be difficult to tell voters he is the greatest force for good in Anaheim while simultaneously saying he’s trying to turn Anaheim into special-interest porkfest like Los Angeles.  

This mailer was sent by the “Yes on L” campaign, which is entirely funded by unions and left-wing political interests committed to “building progressive political infrastructure” in California. These out-of-town special interests love Anaheim so much they want to re-structure its council elections and turn it into a Democratic bastion. This makes Ward’s lending herself to this cause especially ironic, since Ward is the executive vice president of the Anaheim Republican Assembly and continually inveighs (along with Measure L’s GOP front man, Mayor Tait) against the influence of outside special interests on Anaheim government and politics. Then again, consistency and constancy have never been her strong suits.

Gloria Ma’ae is a long-time resident of Anaheim’s flatlands who is active in the civic affairs of the city. When the City Council appointed the Anahem Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) on Elections and Public Participation in 2012 following the ACLU-Jose F. Moreno lawsuit seeking the imposition of by-district council elections without a vote of the people, Gloria applied and was appointed.

The CAC’s charge was to study the city’s election system and make recommendations to the council for improving public participation and on what, if any, changes should be made to how the council is elected. [it’s worth noting here that Mayor Tait’s two appointees were both partisan Democrats.] By her own account, Gloria began the process with a truly open mind on the question of at-large versus district elections. After nearly 9 months of hearing from elections and other experts and (the relatively) few residents who spoke – and witnessing the active campaign by OCCORD and UNITE-HERE to manipulate the process —  Gloria concluded that by-district elections would be divisive and ill-serve good government in Anaheim.

Gloria is one of six community leaders who signed the ballot argument against Measure L. She isn’t a big donor or power player – just a resident who cares about her city and who clearly sees the destructive path down which OCCORD, UNITE-HERE, Tom Tait and an assortment of Bay Area leftists want to take Anaheim.

In this video she is speaking at the October 7 city council meeting, urging a “No” vote on Measure L:

Ron Bengochea is a life-long resident of Anaheim and a committed (although I believe now retired) union member and activist. I add the latter for those tempted to dismiss him as “Tea Partier.”  He was one of the few Anaheim residents to faithfully attend meetings of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, at which he always took the opportunity to address the committee on the why by-district elections offer only the mirage of more responsive government, In his experience dealing with city councils elected on a by-district basis, he found them to be the opposite: squabbling, parochial and unresponsive, 

Here he is speaking at the Septmeber 23 meeting of the Anaheim City Council, offering wise counsel stemming from experience and common sense on why by-district elections will be bad for Anaheim and urging a “no” vote on Measure L:

Measure L amends the Anaheim City Charter to require the City Council to establish voter districts. A candidate seeking a seat on the city council must live within a given district, and only voters residing within that district may vote for that candidate.

L PICCurrently, members of the City Council may live anywhere in Anaheim, and voters may vote for any candidate. What is the need to change the current process: to establish voter districts and to limit an individual’s vote to one candidate?

The “impartial analysis” of Measure L by the Anaheim City Attorney is, indeed, impartial (Houston, 2014). He explains the differences between voting for council members “at large” from voting for a single candidate. Absolutely nothing in his analysis provides any need or basis for changing the current election process. The entire text of proposed amendments to Anaheim’s City Charter can be read online (City of Anaheim, 2014).

The argument supporting Measure L by Mayor Tait and Council Member Brandman (2014) consists of banality (e.g., Anaheim is a great place to live; Council members will become more effective) and nonsense (e.g., Anaheim will become less wonderful [if Measure L fails]). But again, nothing in their non-argument establishes any need to change the current process for electing city officials.

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This mailer from the Lucille Kring for Mayor campaign began landing in voters mailboxes yesterday: 

King Angels hit on Tait 10-7-14_Page_1

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Jose Moreno, the left-wing (newly-minted) Democrat running for Anaheim City Council, has had strong words regarding the influence of outside special interests on Anaheim politics in this July 25, 2013 post on his Facebook page:

hypocrisy on outside interests

As of today, approximately $355,000 has been poured into the “Yes on Measure L” campaign, an attempt by a coalition of progressive political interest groups and unions to abolish Anaheim’s at-large council elections and replace it with a by-district system. Nearly all of that money comes from outside Anaheim – much of it from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC.

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Several hundred thousand dollars have been contributed by outside organizations to ensure Anaheim voters approve Measure L, a vote to change the process for electing members to the Anaheim City Council. Does Anaheim need to elect members by district instead of at-large? (I also ask the same question regarding Measure M: Does the city council need six members instead of four?) What is the demonstrated need to switch to a different basis for electing council members? Has want been mislabeled as need?

A good reason for passing Measure L would have been that the current system for electing council members does not result in the equal distribution of city resources and services. Mayor Tait and Council Member Brandman (2014) falsely imply a disparity, writing that passing Measure L “ensures neighborhoods get their fair share of city services.” In fact, the distribution of city dollars spent per capita in Anaheim has been remarkably similar. For example, the distribution for 2012 and 2013 is almost the same (City of Anaheim Finance Department, 2013, p. 12):

g1rev

Tait and Brandman offered no substantive reason or argument in their ballot verbiage for passing Measure L. Behold the purported reasons and implications—and note the absence of a shred of evidence for their support.

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The Orange County Labor Federation’s (OCLF) top two 2014 election priorities are:

1) Re-Elect Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva

2) Adoption of by-district council elections in Anaheim.

This is according a presentation in January 2014 – several days after the City of Anaheim-ACLU settlement agreement placing by-district elections on the ballot – by the OCLF, entitled “Analysis of the 2014 Elections In Orange County”:

OCLF Presentation AFSCME 36 - priorities slide

 

So, nine months ago, the AFL-CIO chapter in Orange County decided that changing how Anaheim citizens elect their city council was second in importance only to preserving the Democratic super-majority in the Assembly. Since OCLF campaign support is given almost exclusively to Democrats, the upshot is it sees Measure L as a prime opportunity to permanently end the Republican council majorities that have governed Anaheim. Since then, the OCLF has contributed at least $20,000 to the Yes on Measure L campaign.

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ruby heeled districtsThe Left continues to pour money into its effort to change the rules of how the Anaheim City Council is elected in order to produce elections results more to their liking, i.e. the election of left-of-center councilmembers to adopt left-of-center policies.

The latest donation comes from the Orange County Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE), which on Thursday, September 18 contributed $10,000 to the “yes on Measure L” campaign.  That brings the OC Labor Federation’s total contribution to the Measure L campaign to $20,000. So far, the unions and progressive political forces have put nearly a quarter of a million dollars into Measure L, which will end the at-large council election system and carve Anaheim into single-member council districts.

Does anyone not there believe that radical left-wing organizations like OCCORD and UNITE-HERE are funding this campaign to further the cause of limited government? Will we hear a single word of criticism about this  from Team Tait, which has based its campaign on “fighting outside special interests” even as it enthusiastically supports Measure L, which is being funded entirely by a flood of outside special interest money? 

Galloway Calle

Lorri Galloway was interviewed on September 5 on Fox News LA by anchor Tony McEwing and OC Register editorialists Brian Calle and Joseph Perkins, as part of a series of “You Decide 2014” interviews with local candidates.

I found it well worth watching. Not so much because one learns anything new about Lorri Galloway, but because one gets a better sense of how the OC Register editorial page will approach the Anaheim’s municipal elections.

In 2012, the libertarian conservative newspaper’s endorsed Anaheim council candidate John Leos — the anti-paycheck protection union activist on whose behalf the Orange County Employees Association spent north of $600,000 in two cycles, but whom Mayor Tom Tait endorsed after dropping Steve Chavez Lodge a few months before election.  

If body language is any indication, it seems OC Register is pre-disposed to endorse a “yes” vote on Measure L – even though shifting Anaheim city council elections from an at-large to by-district basis will lead to kind of municipal government policies the OC Register editorial page opines against.

At the 4:27 mark in the video, McEwing brings up by-district elections, and framing of the issue in a way that is informed by the liberal premises that authentic representation is a function of race and ethnicity, and at-large elections disenfranchise Latino voters. Calle nods vigorously throughout McEwing’s framing of the issue :

“Let me bring up another issue that is huge in Anaheim, and it’s the way the city elections are held, the electoral process, it is probably one of the major issues, and you have the ACLU, which certainly believes that the way elections are held, the at-large elections as opposed to district elections, has resulted in an under-representation of particularly minorities, Latinos in particular. Are you in favor of district-wide elections as opposed to at-large elections, the way their held now.”

I hope the OC Register does not endorse Measure L. The editorial board’s traditional fealty to limited government is not served by a left-wing political initiative intended to breakdown limitations on the scope of Anaheim city government. The editorial page’s long-time support for color-blind government stands in opposition to Measure L, which is fueled by a belief in color-conscious government. 

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Anaheim Insider here.

Last week the ACLU gave $10,000 to Measure L. That’s not surprising since the ACLU represented Jose F. Moreno in his CVRA lawsuit against the city. The settlement signed this January is why Measure L is on the ballot this November.

Here’s Moreno introducing Mayor Tom Tait at the January 8, 2014 press conference organized the ACLU and Moreno. After reaching out and embracing Moreno, the Mayor can barely contain his joy at what he calls a “victory” over the city by Moreno and the ACLU:

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ruby heeled districtsHere’s news for any conservatives and Republicans out there still clicking the heels of their ruby slippers together and telling themselves the campaign for by-district elections is NOT a left-wing political initiative to capture Anaheim city government: the ACLU of Southern California has donated $10,000 to the Committee for District Elections.

The Committee for District Elections is the “Yes on Measure L” campaign, Measure L being the ballot initiative to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts – which in turn is born of the Left’s frustration at being unable to elect Democrats to the Anaheim City Council under the at-large election system. Only one of three mayors and just three of 12 councilmembers elected in the last 20 years have been Democrats.  

Measure L is about putting an end to Anaheim’s status as the largest city in California with a Republican majority city council.

The ACLU joins the Orange County Labor Federation (the AFL-CIO chapter in OC), the PowerPac.org Voter Fund (a San Francisco-based left-wing “issues” group that “invests” in building “progressive infrastructure”), and OCCORD (an arm of the militant UNITE-HERE union) as funders of the Yes and Measure L campaign.

To date, all of Measure L’s donations come from left-wing groups from outside Anaheim.

That’s the reality – as opposed to the fantasy that Measure L is about good government and “neighbors election people from their neighborhoods” – unless you think 85,000 people is a “neighborhood.” 

powerpac no transparencyLast week I called PowerPac.org, the progressive “issues advocacy” group from San Francisco that has provided nearly half the funding ($45,000) for the Yes on Measure L campaign. I was hoping to connect with a spokesperson who could explain why PowerPac.org was so interested in changing how Anaheim elects its city council, and where the $45,000 came from. The person I spoke to said she’d pass my request on to their vice president, who would have someone call me with a response.

A week later and nothing.

In the interim, I called the Los Angeles office listed on PowerPac.org’s website and get a “This is not a working number” message. Same thing when I call PowerPac.org’s Washington DC office. I called the San Francisco office again and got an answering machine.

So, this morning I call the San Francisco office again. The same lady I spoke to last week answers the phone. I explain, again, who I am and that I’m calling about a donation PowerPac.org made to Anaheim initiative campaign; she responds as though she’s never talked to me before.

“I can pass on your request,” she tells me.

I explain that she had told me the same thing when I called the week before, and I’d never received a response.  She repeated that all she could do was pass on my request.

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Yesterday evening, I e-mailed this open letter to members of the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee:

Dear member of the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee:

With the November election is only 10 weeks away, there is an urgent need for clarity among Orange County Republican activists, donors and officeholders about the true political situation in Anaheim.  For more than two years, it has been obscured by the dynamics of ongoing conflict between the majority of the Anaheim City Council and Mayor Tom Tait centered on a few, specific areas of disagreement.

The outcome of Anaheim’s mayoral and council contests are important — but of greater long term consequence for the political trajectory of Anaheim and Orange County is Measure L, which would replace Anaheim’s current at-large council elections with a by-district system that is used in cities like Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

If Measure L passes, the Democratic Party will have established a beach head in Orange County’s largest, most important city – a beach head it would be almost impossible for the Republican Party of Orange County to reverse.

Consider these facts:

  • Anaheim is the 10th largest city in California
  • It is the largest city in the state with a Republican-majority city council.
  • Of its 123,823 voters, 38.9% are Democrats, 35.1% are Republican and 21.8% are NPP.
  • Since 1994:
    • Only 1 of Anaheim’s 3 mayors has been a Democrat
    • Only 3 of 12 councilmembers have been Democrats

Given liberal Democrats’ poor election track record under Anaheim ‘s traditional at-large election system, a coalition of left-wing interest groups and activists has been working since 2012 to enact a by-district election system. Under this scheme, Anaheim would be carved into 4 (or possibly 6) single-member council districts. Instead of being accountable to all Anaheim voters, council candidates would only be voted on by voters into their geographic districts.

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During the last few days, the Orange County Employees Association has donated $2,135 to the election campaign of Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees Al Jabbar, who was appointed to in 2013 to fill a vacancy created by Jordan Brandman’s election to the Anaheim City Council.

Jabbar, a Democrat, ran for the Anaheim City School District Board of Education in 2012 and got smoked. 

There’s nothing surprising about the OCEA donation. Jabbar, who is a county employee, is an OCEA shop steward and a past member of the OCEA Board of Directors and the OCEA Political Action Committee board. He’s one of the first local elected official the OCEA endorsed this year.

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The three initiatives on Anaheim’s November ballot have been christened with their letter names:

  • Measure L: whether to replace at-large council elections with by-district elections.
  • Measure M:  whether expand the city council from four to six members.
  • Measure N:  whether to amend the “Anaheim City Charter regarding water and electric rates be amended to: update language regarding financial reserves, reaffirm and authorize the transfer of money to the City’s general fund to support general City services, remove unnecessary language that duplicates a requirement of the California Constitution, and authorize programs to assist non-residential and residential customers?”

OC-Labor-FedOn August 7, the OC Labor Federation, via its Orange County Dignity PAC, contributed $10,000 to the Committee for District Elections, the committee running the campaign for by-district council elections.

So, we have another contribution from another liberal special interest group interested in carving Anaheim into single-member council districts. The OC Labor Federation joins OCCORD, San Francisco-based PowerPac.org and left-wing litigators from Northern California as funders of this effort to re-cast the politics of Anaheim city government.

Perhaps this will cause a few more scales to fall from the eyes of those Republicans who still refuse to see the campaign for by-districts in Anaheim for what it is: a campaign by the organized political Left to re-structure how Anaheim elects its council members in order to achieve permanent Democratic majorities.

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