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A special closed session of the Anaheim City Council has been called for Monday at 1:00 p.m. to discuss appointment of a permanent City Attorney:

City Attorney closed session

Ralph Andersen & Associates is the executive recruitment firm the city contracted to conduct the city attorney recruitment. Interim City Attorney Michael Houston is apparently interested in the position and city hall watchers consider him the frontrunner for the appointment.

Houston is a partner in the law firm of Cummins & White, which was contracted to provide the interim city attorney following the departure of City Attorney Christina Talley. During the last three months, Houston has provided the city with sound legal advice and shown himself to be professional, unflappable, impartial and even-handed. He is a top-shelf lawyer and will continue to be City Attorney should he be appointed permanently.

The usual rabble-rousers exploited Talley’s departure to engage in racial politics, highlighting the previously unmentioned fact that she is a Latina and even hinting her exit could lead to more rioting (something Donna Acevedo, Genevieve Huizar and a cavalcade of left-wingers seem to be doing their level best to achieve).

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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MRH-Sm

Michael Houston

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

The council approved the choice 5-0.

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

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

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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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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 »

Cristina Talley

Cristina Talley

At the November 13, 2012 Anaheim City Council meeting, the council wanted to form an ad hoc committee to oversee the city’s negotiations with the Angels regarding an extension on their lease. The council majority planned to name Councilmember Gail Eastman and Councilmember Kris Murray to the ad hoc committee as Mayor Tom Tait had previously claimed a potential conflict of interest because he owned property across from Angels Stadium and his engineering business operated out of a neighboring building.

This is where it gets interesting. In response to an inquiry about the Mayor’s conflict, the Anaheim City Council minutes report what happened next:

“At the request of the Mayor, the City Attorney reported that Mayor Tait had previously secured an advice letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission indicating … he would not have a conflict of interest under the Political Reform Act.”

It has been a couple of months since the city attorney made this interpretation of the FPPC conflict letter. The letter was never made available.

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Cristina Talley

Cristina Talley

Vern Nelson posted this 90-proof left-wing exhortation regarding the termination of Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley over at the perfervid Orange Juice Blog. [Anaheim Blog is not fearful of linking to blogs with diverging opinions, unlike Vern and some of his cohorts like Ricardo Toro, who refuse to link to this blog. very confident in their arguments, they must be!]

Reading Vern’s screed is a vivid illustration of how ardently the left views the world through a racial lens. Race and ethnicity are everything (at least, most of the time).

Ever since her firing a few days ago, left-wing agitators have suddenly made an issue of Talley’s ethnicity.  Suddenly, media outlets are prominently mentioning that Talley is a Latina — although what correlation that has to her lawyerly abilities is never stated. The local Left plays the race card in order to shut down, rather than enhance, discussion and debate.

Obviously, the council is split on the question of Talley’s competence. I don’t have a strong opinion on the degree of Talley’s legal acumen as a city attorney, but am certain it stems her mind, talent, education, character and experience — and not from her ethnicity or the color of her skin. It is reprehensible that so many of those who are exploiting this incident for their own purposes are trying to make it about race.

The voluble Vern Nelson declares that she is an outstanding city attorney, stating flatly that she “has been doing stellar legal work for the city since 1996.” Vern doesn’t explain the basis of that claim; perhaps his frequent interactions with the justice system endow him with a unique perspective unavailable to most of us. I suspect Vern says it because it serves his political purposes.

The outrage over her exit is interesting in that it comes from the same pressure groups who have been tirelessly flogging how the noticing of the GardenWalk agreement last year was a Brown Act Violation — and as the Voice of OC points out,  “The city attorney, however, is ultimately responsible for assuring that council votes don’t violate the Brown Act.” The three council members who voted “yes” are vilified — wrongly — for violating the Brown Act, while the person ultimately responsible for that violation is lionized? That makes a lot of sense (and let me note, I don’t agree with the court decision in this matter).

As Talley’s opinion that the city is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act: from what I have read and according to the experts I have heard at the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee meetings, that judgment can’t be made until there is an in-depth statistical analysis to determine whether or not there is polarized voting occurring in Anaheim’s council elections – and to my knowledge, that hasn’t been done. Given the absence of that data, I am unclear on how Talley arrived at her conclusion.

But back my main point: Talley’s ethnicity is of no relevance to the issue of her being shown the door, and it is shameful the way it is being waved around like a bloody shirt.

City Attorney Cristina Talley

City Attorney Cristina Talley

The Voice of OC reported last night on rumors that a majority of the city council has asked Talley to quit:

Rumors have been swirling since Tuesday night’s City Council meeting that the council majority has asked Talley to resign by 5 p.m. Thursday. 

After the council held a closed-door meeting and returned to open session Tuesday night, Talley had left and wasn’t present to give her usual closed session report.

Instead, City Manager Bob Wingenroth said there was nothing to report from the closed session.

Council members did not return phone calls or declined comment.

Talley reportedly delivered a letter to City Hall late Thursday afternoon.

Talley has been Anaheim City Attorney since April of 2009.

The VOC cited failure to properly notice — in the eyes of the court, that is — the GardenWalk agreement agenda in January of 2012 as a possible reason:

Wingenroth had said at a cancelled council meeting turned town hall last year that he wrote the agenda item for the subsidy. The city attorney, however, is ultimately responsible for assuring that meeting agendas don’t violate the Brown Act.

VOC also pointedf to Talley’s opinion that the city’s current at-large council system is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, as another possible reason — although I don’t quite understand how Talley could make that finding absent the statistical analysis necessary to determine if there has been “polarized voting.”

The comments have quickly piled up on the VOC post. Here’s Cynthia Ward, true to form:

I won’t even pretend I know what happened in that room Tuesday night. All I can say is Christina Talley is an honest public servant, who calls it like she sees it even when it is not what Council wants to hear. I see Anaheim’s leadership majority just riding roughshod over anyone who gets in their way, or even gives the appearance of standing up to them. The sad thing is they will get rid of her, and bring in a “yes man” like Jack White, who will get us sued even more when they let those people have their beloved status quo.

I hope Christina Talley has kept every email, every meeting note, every record of the profanity laced rants on the 7th floor, and I never thought I would say this about my beloved home town, but I hope she sues the socks off of the City of Anaheim. I hate to say that, but it is the only way the arrogant behavior is going to be exposed.

If it turns out that Council is firing the only Latina executive at City Hall because she stood up to the majority in pointing out that the current system they defend might be disenfranchising Latinos, methinks there is a campaign mailer in there somewhere. What a bunch of tools.

Ah, the essence of clarity and rational thinking, as ever. And playing the race card to boot!

Another commented pointed out the obvious to her:

Cynthia, first you admit you have no idea what happened here regarding Talley, and then you go off on a rant, lobbing accusations against the council majority you revile so, and then urge Talley to file lawsuit over a termination that is unconfirmed, and about which you admit knowing nothing!

As of 7:20 a.m. this morning, the prolific Beelzebub – amazingly — still had not weighed in.

Stay tuned. We’ll doubtless know the disposition of Ms. Talley soon enough.

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