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ward conspiracy alertIt’s been a year since the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 (Mayor Tait in opposition) to approve a non-binding MOU establishing the framework of an agreement between the city and the Angels that would have financed the renovation of the stadium at no cost to taxpayers, and generated economic activity on idle city-owned land in the stadium district. This framework was all upside for the city, with the Angels shouldering the risk.

Not wanting such a good deal for Anaheim to go unchallenged, gadflies Cynthia Ward and Brian Chuchua subsequently formed a non-profit called CATER for the express purpose of filing lawsuits against the City of Anaheim. Their first was against the Angels MOU, alleging Brown Act violations.

Prominent among their raft of allegations of shadowy dealings has been a much bally-hooed claim that an report by Convention, Sports and Leisure on the Angels’; economic impact was furtively altered to mislead the public.

Earlier this year, CATER leader Ward wrote:

When released, the report was City stamped to indicate it was distributed to the Council majority prior to the Council meeting of September 3. Yet the version of the report released for public review was an altered version, edited after the Council meeting and purged of a glaring mistake with the potential to discredit the “experts” findings, upon which the Council based their approvals. The City Attorney’s response to CATER’s letter to Cure and Correct the Brown Act violation confirmed the two versions, as Michael Houston included both copies (one stamped, one not) in his response.

Can you imagine the repercussions should the government begin approving expenditures based on one set of documents — and then alter those records to make them more palatable to the public prior to their release?!

To ensure no one missed the import of these revelations, Ward liberally used bold-type and text  coloration emphasize this was really, truly an important point!

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wait until my blogAnaheim Insider here.

Julie Tait, the wife of Mayor Tom Tait, sent an e-mail to supporters yesterday with a link to an OC Weekly puff piece on the Mayor. In the e-mail, she writes:

“When the special interests groups and their lobbyist start coming after Tom, please don’t believe the nasty things you might hear or read.”

Yes, because only special interests groups and lobbyists could possibly be opposed to what Tait has said and done as mayor.

“Rather than sticking to the issues, we suspect they will attack Tom’s character.  As we all know, attacking ones character is the lowest form of argument.”

The hypocrisy here is that character attacks are the stock in trade of Mayor Tait’s most intense campaign supporters and volunteers, such as Cynthia Ward, Jason Young and others. Mrs. Ward is practically the Taits’ bodyguard these days. She can hardly write a sentence without attacking the character of an Enemy of the Tait. Has that pious criticism ever been communicated to her? Young no longer publishes his nasty pro-Tait website, but character attacks against anyone who disagrees with Mayor Tait were the only kind of argument he could manage.

You can’t give what you don’t have. If the Tait campaign truly believed “attacking ones character is the lowest form of argument,” they would put a leash on their attack dogs. Otherwise, complaints about character attacks are simple hypocrisy.

cater who caresFrom the beginning, CATER gadflies have scoffed at the suggestion that their legal battle — waged in partnership with liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs and his Inland Oversight Committee cutout – to obstruct the Anaheim Convention Center expansion would have a negative economic impact on the city. [And if it did, their attitude has been “so what?”]

It’s ironic that a group styling itself as a Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility would be so economically irresponsible.

This August 22 story in the OC Register shows CATER’s deluded attitude is…deluded, and could have cost the Anaheim Convention Center at least two major conventions:

The expansion turmoil has prompted at least one trade-group executive to says his organization would look at options to leave if the expansion doesn’t materialize.

“We’d have to assess our options and current growth. We’ve been going with the knowledge and assumption that it’d be happening,” said Adam Andersen, group show director for New Hope Natural Media, which runs the Natural Products Expo West.

NAMM’s chief echoed that sentiment:

The top executive of the National Association of Music Merchants said he is cautiously optimistic the expansion will be completed a year before NAMM’s long-term contract expires in 2018.

“We are counting on the expansion to hold us. We probably could inhale or tighten our belt for a year or two, or even three, until the expansion is completed,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM’s president and chief executive officer. NAMM is the biggest trade group to visit Anaheim’s convention center.

In the past, Lamond has said an expansion is vital to the trade show staying in Anaheim. Organizers have said the show generates $91.5 million in spending at local restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions like Disneyland and elsewhere.

Greg Diamond de la Brea, CATER’s lawyer and gadfly fixture at Anaheim City Council meetings, intoned with ominous intent:

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The Ministry of Truth was one of four government bureaucracies that rule fictional Oceania in George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 – the propaganda arm of Ingsoc; its job to twist stated reality to suit the extant needs of the Party.

The full-page political advertisement purchased by CATER in yesterday’s Anaheim Bulletin ad embodies the spirit of the Ministry of Truth, from the “Stop Lying” headline down through the catalog of straw man arguments rolled out by these gadflies:

Ignorance is Strength

Ignorance is Strength

The “Stop Lying” logo is, ironically, more accurately directed at the authors of this ad. Let’s start with the headline:

“The Truth About The Angel Stadium Deal”

The truth is there is no Angel Stadium deal. There is only a non-binding MOU that establishes a framework for the negotiations between the city and the Angels. CATER’s claim that there is an “Angel Stadium Deal” is an untruth.

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When it comes to the relationship between Anaheim gadfly group CATER and liberal litigator Cory Briggs Inland Oversight Group, it seems that one hand washes the other. Briggs’ IOC is CATER’s co-plaintiff in the lawsuit to stop the council-approved expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center.

As it turns out, CATER has joined Brigg’s legal battle against the expansion of San Diego’s convention center, which was filed at the beginning of April of this year.

On May 12, CATER and IOC filed their lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion. Two weeks later, on May 27, CATER jumped into the San Diego Convention Center legal fight, with Greg Diamond of Brea filing an answer to a Briggs “reverse-validation complaint.” I’m not a lawyer, but a lawyer tried to explain it to me. Even though CATER is clearly allied with Briggs, it is technically a defendant in the San Diego case but it’s “answer” to ask the court to find in Brigg’s favor:

WHEREFORE, Defendant CATER prays for the following relief against Defendants City of San Diego, City of San Diego as successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego, Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, and Public Facilities Financing Authority of the City of San Diego (and any and all other parties who may oppose Defendant CATER or Plaintiff in this proceeding):

A. A judgment determining or declaring that the Bond Approvals do not comply with all applicable laws in at least some respect, rendering the Bond Approvals null and void, invalid, or otherwise without legal effect;

B. Injunctive relief prohibiting Defendants City of San Diego, City of San Diego as successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego, Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, and Public Facilities Financing Authority of the City of San Diego (and any and all other parties who may oppose Defendant CATER or Plaintiff in this proceeding) from taking any of the action contemplated by the Bond Approvals unless and until said Defendants comply with all applicable legal requirements, as determined by the Court;

C. All legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with this proceeding, including but not limited to reasonable attorney fees as authorized by the Code of Civil Procedure; and

D. Any and all further relief that this Court may deem appropriate.

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Yesterday I referred to a July 2013 post on an Inland Empire blog reporting that at the time the Inland Oversight Committee (IOC) — CATER’s partner in suing to stop the approved Anaheim Convention Center expansion — listed a dead man, Ian Trowbridge, as it’s chairman.

As it turns out, the IOC publicly listed Mr. Trowbridge – deceased for almost a year-and-a-half – as its chairman until several days ago. Check out this June 4, 2014 snapshot of the IOC website via the Internet Wayback Machine.

IOC dead Ian Trowbridge

 

Keep in mind the CATER/IOC lawsuit was filed weeks before, on May 12. That puts the City of Anaheim in the unique position of having been jointly sued by a director of the OC Cemetery District and a group headed by a dead man.

Per the Voice of San Diego:

The website for the Inland Oversight Committee, a nonprofit from which Briggs frequently sues in San Bernardino County, posts Briggs’ law office as its contact address. The website lists someone named Anthony Kim as the organization’s legal adviser. Kim is an attorney in Briggs’ office. The website also names Ian Trowbridge, a San Diegan and a Briggs ally, as the group’s chairman. Trowbridge died more than a year ago. Since Trowbridge’s death, Briggs has sued at least nine times on the group’s behalf.

Sometime during the last two weeks, Brigg’s Inland Oversight Committee changed the chairman listing to “SD Fraker.” 

I suppose it’s metaphoric that CATER, after inviting this legal vampire into Anaheim, finds itself teamed with the undead.

Anaheim Insider here.

CATER propaganda quote

As Dan Chmielewski of TheLiberalOC.com has already noted, the CATER claque has published a website for their club: www.anaheim-cater.com. CATER is run by a very loud person who has said very little about her non-profit 501(c)4. We know it is her, camp follower Brian Chuchua and her blogging sidekick Greg Diamond. They’ve filed two lawsuits against the City of Anaheim to undermine negotiations to keep the Angels in town and to torpedo the vital expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. Although they demand transparency from others, they refuse to say who funds their activities.

At least CATER is being truthful about its purpose: “carrying on propaganda.” Yes, CATER really does says that on the “About” page of its website, which also says:

“[CATER] shall not participate or intervene in any campaign (including the publication or distribution of statements) on behalf of any candidate for public office; and, it shall not, except in an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes described above.”

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Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

Liberal San Diego litigator Cory Briggs

In his May 16 letter to the City of Anaheim, Greg Diamond of Brea – the “government accountability attorney” who represents his buddies from CATER – explains the secretive group’s lawsuit against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion “largely follows the reasoning sent to the City Council prior to its vote by Cory Briggs, Counsel for our Co-Plaintiff…” 

That’s helpful because CATER, self-proclaimed champions of transparency that they are, haven’t released their lawsuit to the public for whom they claim to be fighting. So if the public wants to have some inkling of the grounds on which CATER is driving up the cost of a Convention Center expansion they profess to support, they’ll have find their way to Diamond’s May 15 post on Orange Juice Blog. That’s a tall order since very few Anaheim residents have ever heard of Orange Juice Blog (lucky devils). Transparency in action – CATER-style!

In the sentence quoted above, Diamond pontificates about Brigg’s communication to the City Council, which he says “the City Council chose to ignore in approving the bonds without a legally mandated vote of the electorate.”

Diamond is talking about an e-mail Briggs sent to the Anaheim City Council. And when did councilmembers receive this warning they “chose to ignore”? At 3:06 p.m. on March 11 – a few minutes after the council convened for its workshop on the Convention Center expansion, prior to going straight into regular session.

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Anaheim Insider here.

Let’s begin  with the self-evident: stopping the Anaheim Convention Center expansion makes it harder (if not impossible) for Anaheim to compete-for and retain top tier conventions. Without the conventions, Anaheim hotels go unfilled. When the hotels are empty, local restaurants and tourism-dependent business suffer and close.

So then why does CATER seem so insistent on shutting this project down? They parade a list of obscure reasons but as far as I can tell it boils down to this: a small group of people without any background in public finance, public administration or with any credentials qualifying them as experts on multi-million dollar finance deals decided they didn’t like it.

Why don’t they like it? I suppose we should ask Mayor Tait or his handler. It seems this is just another part of the apparent War on Tourism launched in the last year or so.

Convention Center expansion: No.
Luxury Hotels: No.
Transportation projects for Anaheim: No.
Negotiations with the Angels: No.

Disneyland and the Ducks remain the only targets they haven’t attacked…yet. How long before that changes?

Complementing the preceding chorus of “Noes,” I have yet to see any action from the Mayor and CATER in support of Anaheim’s tourism industry or expanding Anaheim’s most critical source of general fund financing.

Why would these folks oppose Anaheim’s most important industry? Why would they try to hamstring expansion? Why would they seemingly take every step possible to hamper the expansion of Anaheim’s tax base? To undermine the city’s ability to provide services for residents?

Theories are welcome, because logic doesn’t apply.

From Bloomberg News:

Citigroup Inc. terminated a deal to purchase $265 million of revenue bonds from Anaheim,California, after opponents sued over plans to expand the city’s convention center, a city spokeswoman said.

Citigroup was the lead underwriter on the bonds offered March 24, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bonds were rated AA- by Standard & Poor’s, according to a disclosure document. The deal was set to close May 14.

A local group that calls itself the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility filed the suit May 12, alleging that the public financing authority wasn’t allowed to offer the debt because California lawmakers dissolved redevelopment agencies, one of which was a member of the financing authority.

“Unfortunately, the originally targeted investors were not willing to accept the litigation risk and chose not to proceed even though the city, the city attorney and bond counsel were of the opinion that such litigation would not likely succeed,” Anaheim spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz said by e-mail.

Scott Helfman, a spokesman for Citigroup, declined to comment on the termination.

The city council in March approved the funding and plans to build a 200,000-square-foot expansion of the convention center, which is less than two miles south of the city’s star attraction, Disneyland.

Proceeds from a 2 percent hotel room tax were to pay for the bonds.

Ruiz said city officials are trying to determine if they can move forward with the project.

“It is unfortunate that a few local activists, in contradiction to the overwhelming community support shown at the council meeting where the bonds were authorized, have taken legal action against this project,” she said.

Ms. Ruiz is exactly right, although I’m sure Cynthia Ward and her little band of mystery members are pleased with themselves.

Ward, Brian Chuchua and their consigliere from Brea have cost Anaheim jobs. They have also cost the city money for parks, a new fire station and other civic improvements because the cost of the next financing deal will escalate. Bully for them.

Amazing how a group that bills itself as supporting “economic responsibility” in reality does everything in its power to undermine the city’s economic development efforts, fueled by an irrational hostility toward the council majority.

Anaheim Blog today received a copy of this letter sent by Convention, Sports & Leisure to Councilwoman Lucille Kring, in which the firm rejected “conflict of interest” claims being fanned by some local gadflies and picked activists opposed, and reported on by the Voice of OC.

This story was “broken” by a VOC commenter, “Anaheimer” (aka Kevin Hogan, part gadfly Cynthia Ward’s claque). The conjured “conflict” was the claim that CSL parent company Legends Entertainment was selected as Angels Baseball’s new food service contractor because the CSL report arrived at the unremarkable conclusion that the Angels have a positive economic impact on the city.

The key part of the Voice of OC article casting doubt on CSL’s assertion of its independence from Legend’s food service business:

Yet filings with the state of Texas, where CS&L is based, indicate that the consulting and hospitality firms have the same top executives.

The Legends website lists Dan Smith as “President, Hospitality,” a position he has apparently held since at least 2012. However, on a 2013 filing with the Texas Secretary of State, Smith is listed as president of CS&L.

Additionally, Texas filings show three other executives for CS&L also serving as executives at Legends Hospitality LLC. They include David Checkett, David Hammer and Marty Greenspun.

Despite these filings, the parent company’s letter claims that “Legends management nor staff have involvement in the day-to-day operations of CSL or have any influence on projects in which CSL provides advisory services.”

The letter from CSL directly addresses this part of the VOC story:

Dear Council Member Kring:

We have followed some of the recent reports attempting to cast a false light on CSL, Legends and our recent work for the City of Anaheim. As we have stated in the past, CSL and the various operations of Legends, are run as completely separate divisions, including our customers in the Legends Hospitality line of business. Any discussion with the Angels regarding Legends Hospitality’s food and beverage services took place completely independently of the CSL work for the City. As such, we categorically deny any implied wrongdoing between the two.

Furthermore, no Legends Hospitality management or staff had any input or knowledge whatsoever of the work performed by CSL on behalf of the City, and no CSL management personnel working on this project for the City, or any other CSL project, were at any time involved any Legends Hospitality negotiations or other related discussions with the Angels. Additionally, we feel that it is important to note that Dan Smith is not an officer of CSL nor has he ever served as President of CSL, nor has he had any interaction whatsoever with the analyses conducted by CSL for any project it conducts, including our work for the City of Anaheim.

During the original CSL acquisition process, officers of Legends various divisions, including Legends Hospitality, of which Mr. Smith is, were used in the CSL company tax filings. This formality is in the process of being adjusted to reflect CSL’s actual responsibilities and leadership structure. Bill Rhoda was serving as president of CSL prior to and after the date of the acquisition. Mr. Rhoda has over 20 years of professional sports experience, including analysis of economic impact in markets throughout the country.

That didn’t seem very difficult to clear up. The Voice of OC article was published on April 24. The letter to Kring from CSL is dated April 25. Although the VOC article states that “Legends spokesman Eric Gelfand declined to comment,” I have no idea how much time Gelfand was given to provide a comment. Since CSL is an independent subsidiary of Legends, I’m guessing Gelfand declined to comment because he didn’t have the facts readily at hand.  It would seem allotting just a little more time to ascertaining the truth of the matter could have led to a more complete and factual story.

Anaheim Insider here. The real one.

Tom Tait had a campaign fundraiser last week. It was mildly attended from what this insider’s sources have said: about 40 people, give or take. Many were family members or staff, along with those you’d expect: Amin David, Jose Moreno, Cynthia Ward; the mayor’s personal clique of supporters more than neighborhood representation. No surprising given how the mayor has progressively alienated his supporters.

Tait touched on the topic of his opponents. He took partial credit for Councilwoman Lucille Kring’s election in 2012 and called her a flip-flopper, and mentioned Lorri Galloway as his friend and colleague who decided to run against him.

Tait kept up his pitching for the Democrats’ pet party-building project in central OC: by-district council election in Anaheim. he pointed out that by-district elections would be on the November ballot and thanked Jose Moreno, the liberal ethnic politician whose lawsuit against Anaheim cost the taxpayers almost $3 million. Tait said by-districts elections would give everyone a voice; someone might let him know that the same number of people can vote in both at-large and by-district elections.

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Greg Diamond, "counsel" to CATER

Greg Diamond, “counsel” to CATER

Back in September, Anaheim’s notorious and fickle gadfly Cynthia Ward announced “the incorporation of the entity that will raise funds to take action against the council majority’s corporate subsidies.”

Now we know the name because, according to sources, her little group has filed  a complaint with the Anaheim City Clerk alleging a Brown Act Violation by the Anaheim City Council. Her group is called Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility or CATER — as in CATERing to the narrow political agenda of some very squeaky wheels.

The complaint was penned and filed by — you guessed it — CATER “counsel” Greg Diamond. This explains why the letter is confused, confusing and far, far longer than it needs to be. Fair warning: down a Red Bull or some hi-octane coffee before attempting to read Diamond’s opus, or risk falling asleep.

When you boil it down, the complaint claims the city staff’s recommendation to adopt the Angels negotiations MOU and the Anaheim City Council’s 4-1 vote to do so on September 3 all hinged entirely on a report by the consulting firm Convention, Sports and Leisure (CSL) about the positive economic impact of having Angels baseball in Anaheim. The clear implication of Diamond’s assertion is that none of this would have happened absent the CSL report.

But that’s just an opinion. Where’s the Brown Act violation? It’s a very convoluted letter, but it comes down to when Cynthia Ward was able to get a copy of the CSL report. Diamond also says the Public Records Act was violated because the CSL report given to the city council on September 3 was allegedly different from the version that was provided later to Ward.

The complaint doesn’t state exactly which sections of the Brown Act and the Public Records Act were violated (unless those specifics are buried somewhere in the eight dense pages). Despite several references to the CSL report being altered — “…a later copy of the report…appears to have been edited to remove at least one factual error…” — but Diamond never says exactly what was edited or what the supposed factual error was. Was it a substantive change? Who knows? Diamond clearly implies that it is, but never tells us what it was. His omission of the sinister edit/alteration makes it hard to seriously consider Diamond’s implication that the council might have acted differently but for the mysterious “edited” information from the “first” report “upon which the Council based their decisions at the September 3 meeting…

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Year of Kindness logo backgroundAs Anaheim’s official Year of Kindness wears on, it’s time for another spotlight on individual contributions to the unofficial Year of Unkindness that is running concurrently. And this week it falls on — who else? — Cynthia Ward. Here’s Cynthia doing her smashmouth thing the other day on Orange Juice, the unofficial blog of the unofficial year of Unkindness:

“I may be naïve but I am no whore, heading home with anyone willing to pay me.”

Cynthia reserved that lovely appellation for yours truly, because she seems to think that being a consultant – being hired to provide expertise and services – makes one  a “whore.” That is, if one is a consultant who disagrees with Ms. Ward’s political stance du jour. cynthia ward grrrrrIt’s sort of like how she recently described (on the Anaheim Canyon Community Council Facebook page), an Anaheim civic activist who also doesn’t subscribe to Ward’s current orthodoxy (I’ve removed the activist’s name):

“[So-and-so] is a bitch to the nth degree, no question, but she is ferocious in advancing what she truly believes is the best interest of Anaheim! She hates us because she has been brainwashed into believing that we are just “haters” who want to bring it all down for our own selfish agendas.”

Nice language! Maybe she should change her name to Cynthia Fitzgerald.

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Year of Kindness logoMayor Tom Tait has declared 2013 the Year of Kindness in Anaheim – not that one would know it from the public comments during this morning’s special council meeting.

A group of the mayor’s supporters showed up this morning to oppose Councilman Brandman’s proposal that the mayor or a councilmember have the support of at least one colleague in order to place items on the council agenda (this would eliminate the mayor’s ability to unilaterally agendize items at any time). Nothing wrong with that.

First, and worst, was noisome gadfly William Denis Fitzgerald, who had this to say:

99% of the Jewish people are good, hard-working individuals who practice their faith. Unfortunately, less than 1% are greedy, scheming, malicious Jews like Jordan Brandman – and some say, like the Jewish leadership of the Disney corporation, whose money got Brandman elected.

It was the Jordan Brandman-type of evil jews that led to the harted of all jews in Germany and the Holocaust. let us hope that never again will people confuse the action of a few, evil, anti-American Jews like Jordan Brandman with the Jewish population as a whole.

Fitzgerald concluded with a truly vicious slur against Brandman. Spewing anti-Semitism, blaming the Holocaust on the Jews, and then spitting out a nasty epithet – Fitzgerald reached a new low this morning, which I didn’t think was possible.

I wish Mayor Tait dished out something far stronger than his mild admonishment of Fitzgerald, which was more along the lines of how to better “express” himself. although he did tell Fitzgerald he had “crossed the line” with the personal slur against Brandman.

I think it is interesting that the people in the chamber vocalized greater disapproval when the four councilmembers explained their reasons than they directed at Fitzgerald’s bigotry.

At this point, it bears mentioning that Fitzgerald is part of the Orange Juice Blog’s information transmission belt. Perennial council candidate Brian Chuchua – another cog in that clunky machine —
recently posted this on the Facebook page of the Anaheim Canyon Community Coalitions:

Chuchua posting e-mails on Anaheim Canyon Comm Coaltion FB page

It’s an e-mail from Orange Juice blogger Greg Diamond of the City of Brea, asking the like-minded to disseminate one of his unreadable, interminable screeds. You’ll note William Denis Fitzgerald there on the distribution list, along other squeaky wheels, mud-slingers and attention-seekers like Cynthia Ward, Jason Young, Larry Larsen and Amin David. Nice company.

Speaking of Amin David, he spoke a few minutes after Fitzgerald:

On this beautiful fresh morning we come here to ask questions as to why this time has been agendized for 8:00 a.m. today. It’s very strange. But certain things come from despicable people such as Jordan Brandman. He wants to stifle you, Mr. Mayor, from putting items on the agenda that need clarity, that need debate, that need public input. And he wants to stifle you from doing that.

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Ever since the OC District Attorney’s office released its report stating the police shooting of Joel Acevedo was justified, a tiny but vocal gaggle of carping conspiracists refuse to accept that finding.  To do so would entail relinquishing their belief that the Anaheim police actually executed Acevedo.

One of slender reeds to which these paranoiacs cling is the “missing gun shot residue test” claim. Semi-sober blogger Vern Nelson at the hallucinatory Orange Juice Blog and Anaheim squeaky wheel Cynthia Ward brandish this claim like a sword.

“Matt, until the DA produces the powder residue tests on Joel Acevedo’s autopsy there are a lot of people questioning that shooting,” Ward asserted the other day. She has said the same thing on other occasions (along with her fellow conspiracy theorist Vern Nelson), presumably to ward off the unwelcome findings of the OCDA (and my hunch is the “lot of people” to whom she refers were probably all shouting and marching at the left-wing anti-police protest in Anaheim on July 21).

At this point, let me note that Ward’s moral authority, such as it is, is based on her self-appointed status as an indefatigable researcher who tirelessly digs until she unearths the facts — and by an amazing coincidence, the “facts” she digs up invariably confirm her previously announced speculations.

Which is why I find it curious she is still spouting the “Until the DA produces the GSR tests” line. The reason isn’t a mystery. It took me less than an hour and a few phone calls to find the answer.

The OC District Attorney Hasn’t Used GSR Testing For Years
The broad answer is law enforcement reliance on gun shot residue tests has declined over the years due to reliability factors. There are too many factors that can produce false positives. The FBI stopped using GSR testing in 2006 (although an agency spokesmen stated at the time the time the bureau retained confidence in the technology).

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Is this what passes for news nowadays?

Today, the Voice of OC reports that Disneyland has had input into the development of the Anaheim Rapid Connection system. Wow, what a shock. Public agencies (the smart ones, at least) always consult with and seek input from the public — which includes businesses — when developing transportation projects.  Yet, the Voice of OC and squeaky wheels like Cynthia Ward attempt to create the perception that doing so is suspect — at least when it comes to Disney.

Suppose the City of Anaheim and OCTA developed a transit system for the Anaheim Resort without any input from Disney, the largest single business in the resort? Suppose they broke ground and began construction without ever meeting with Disney and asking “Hey, you guys have 58 years of experience and loads of data on traffic patterns and resort visitor attitudes and habits. What do you think about having ARC stop at Disney Way.” Would anyone consider that intelligent planning?

[Maybe Cynthia Ward, whose published attitude is that the city can and should build some bare-bones system and Resort visitors should just suck it up and ride.]

Transportation projects are improved by seeking the input of impacted business and residents. Although the Anaheim Resort area is more than just Disneyland, it exists because of Disneyland. Millions of people come there every year, spending enormous sums of money and creating and sustaining thousands of jobs, because of Disneyland.

The usual Anaheim suspects have been demanding that Disney pay for the system. I expect that sort of talk from leftists like Jose Moreno, who have never met a corporation whose wealth they didn’t want to re-distribute. Indeed, Moreno and his cohorts want the city to impose a head tax on entry into Disneyland, Angel Stadium, the Honda Center (and likely growing list of attractions) fund their program for increased city spending.

Disney-phobia’s Warping Effect On Reason and Logic
But it is strange to hear self-identified conservatives echoing a leftist policy theme. Conservatives routinely — and rightly — blame much of the high-cost of housing on exactions and fees imposed on builders to “mitigate” the impact of more live bodies moving into an area. Want to build homes on your property? Then you’ll have to donate land for parks, pay to build streets, etc.; after all that infrastructure benefits the developer’s customers.

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The OC Register published an interesting article on Sunday regarding a steep decline in crimes-solved statistics during the last decade (sorry, it’s behind the OCR paywall).

Predictably but prematurely, the dementors of the Anaheim politics are crowing. Cynthia Ward, in typical hyperbolic fashion, headlines her postThe Register Blows The Lid Of More Dirty Secrets of the Anaheim Police.”

That’s not what the OCR article does, but as usual, she and her fellow travelers see what they want to see. For example, Ward writes:

“What is clear is that even when APD numbers appear to reflect better rates of crime-solving, it’s because of a shift in reporting standards, not an increase in actual criminals pulled off the streets.

Taken in context with her salacious headline, Cynthia implies the APD is cooking the books, while doing less crime-fighting than advertised – neither of which can be reasonably concluded from Kyle’s article.

The article is very, very long and chock-full of details and information that is well-worth pondering and investigating further. But in essence, what appears to be the case isn’t cooking the books, but more accurate and consistent application of standard FBI crime definitions. The more reasonable conclusion to draw from Kyle’s article is that pre-2002 compilation and reporting of crimes-solved statistics left something to be desired:

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I saw this posted yesterday on the Facebook page of would-be conscience of Anaheim, Cynthia Ward:

“…I wish the issue could be an April Fool’s joke, but nobody is laughing, not the grieving mothers who have buried their sons, not the neighborhoods forced to watch the violence from gangs and cops alike…” [emphasis added].

“Violence from gangs and cops alike”? As if Anaheim has an equivalent problem with both gang violence and police violence. As if the reasons and occasions for gang violence are morally proximate to police use of deadly force. The former stand outside and against law and civilization and ordered liberty; the latter safeguard them. I find it astounding that anyone would draw that kind of moral equivalency between the activities of criminal gang members and police officers.  Amazing.

Two recent Voice of OC stories made quite a lot out of a 2008 e-mail between Public Works Director Natalie Meeks and then-Mayor Curt Pringle. The e-mail didn’t live up to the hype. Anyone with some understanding of the issue could tell there was no “there,” there.

The origin of this e-mail tells its own story about shenanigans inside City Hall.

The official version is the e-mail appeared in response to a public record request from Tait-ally Cynthia Ward. According to the first Voice of OC article:

Ward says she received a tip from a City Hall source that the email showed the supposed misrepresentation.

“I had a piece of information passed along to me from an anonymous source that indicated that,” Ward said. “But I was never given any proof I could go to anybody with to force the issue, so I’ve been forced to just sit and wait and see if that piece of information turns up when they finally released the documents.”

Ward requested on Dec. 13 a slew of records related to the streetcar project, including emails and other communications between OCTA and city officials from 2007 to 2012.

This is the relevant text from Ward’s December 13 request:

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