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dark-money-graphicTake a gander at the campaign finance report filed by the campaign to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts. Two things jump out beside the $101,100 in contributions: 93% of that total is the “dark money” hated by the progressives running this campaign  and not a penny of it comes from Anaheim – most is from Northern California.

The biggest single contributor to the Committee for District Elections is OCCORD  – to the tune of $49,000.  OCCORD is a left-wing non-profit political advocacy group headquartered in a Garden Grove office building owned by the militant union UNITE-HERE.  [OCCORD’s professed mission is to reverse the polarity of Orange County politics and shift it as far to the Left as possible.]

That’s a neat trick. OCCORD Executive Director Eric Altman announces his resignation to go run the Committee for District Elections. $49,000 is diverted from OCCORD on June 26 to the committee Altman is heading up (it’s unclear exactly when Altman left OCCORD, but his replacement as executive director wasn’t announced until mid-July.

Since OCCORD is a 501(c)4, it only has to file annual financials with the IRS and refuses to disclose its donors. In other words, by the time any figures out where that $49,000 came from, the November election will be long over. Is it from traditional OCCORD donors like the California Endowment and the James Irvine Foundation? Wells Fargo? If so, did they understand their money would be going to fund a ballot initiative? We know at least some of that money comes from UNITE-HERE, which cuts OCCORD a $5,000 check every month.

Mind you, OCCORD founder and leader Eric Altman (now the director of the Committee for District Elections — is an advocate of transparency… at least for others. I encourage the Voice of OC and the OC Register to ask OCCORD where the $49,000 came from, and see if they get an answer. I once tried, and was rebuffed.

The second biggest donor is Voter Fund, a San Francisco-based political action committee that on May 30 donated $45,000 for a campaign to re-structure how Anaheim is governed.  Hmmm…why would a PAC from liberal San Francisco care how Anaheim elects its city council?

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OCCORD LogoOn Monday, I reported the inaugural contribution to the pro-council districts campaign committee was $3,500 donation on May 9, 2014 from one of the lead attorneys suing Anaheim on behalf of Anaheim City School District (ACSD) Board of Education member Jose Moreno (who has successfully avoided running for re-election this November under a by-district system because he slow-walked their introduction into the ACSD).

I would have reported it two months ago, except the Committee for District Elections ( a spin-off of UNITE-HERE-spin-off OCCORD) never reported it to the Anaheim City Clerk. I happen to find it during a search of the Secretary of State’s CAL-ACCESS database – not where one would ordinarily go for information on contributions in Anaheim campaigns.

Although Morris Baller’s $3,500 check was received on May 9, the Committee for District Elections didn’t report it until May 12. Given that is was a late contribution, meaning it should have been reported within 24 hours.

Campaigns and committees sometimes miss reporting deadlines. As long as such omissions are the exception rather than the rule and are remedied in a timely fashion, then no harm, no foul. At the same time, it’s strange that the Committee for District Elections made its Form 410 Statement of Organization filings with the City Clerk – both before and after Mr. Baller’s contribution — it reported Baller’s contribution to the Secretary of State, instead.

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Ada Briceno (L) and Eric Altman (R)

Ada Briceno (L) and Eric Altman (R)

For those still under the false impression that the push for single-member council districts (aka by-district elections) in Anaheim is not a political project of the Left, here’s some news: Eric Altman, founding executive director of left-wing advocacy group OCCORD, is leaving that post to run the campaign for the by-district initiative on the November ballot.

A message from Ada Briceno, chair of OCCORD (and second-in-command of radical UNITE-HERE Local 11, from whence OCCRD sprang) on the OCCORD website announces the news:

Dear Friends:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of OCCORD, it is both with great sadness and with great hope that I write to inform you that Eric Altman, the founding executive director, has decided to step down after nine years of successful leadership. Eric Altman will transition from his role as executive director in July 2014 to focus on the Anaheim campaign for district-based elections. We thank him for his time at the helm of OCCORD and look forward to continuing to work with him to empower low income residents and create a more inclusive Orange County.

You can the read the rest here.

Altman will presumably be paid by the “Committee for District Elections, sponsored by One Anaheim,” for whom the treasurer is the OCCORD operations manager and which seems to have the same address.

Altman was a senior organizer for UNITE-HERE when he founded OCCORD in 2005. The two groups are closely intertwined and even have offices in the same building in Garden Grove. In 2012 alone, UNITE-HERE funded OCCORD to the tune of $66,000 (OCCORD also received $2,500 from the Nurses Association of Canada).

OCCORD goal is to move Orange County leftward, politically – and single-member council districts are a vehicle for achieving that goal.  The advocacy group has advertised itself to prospective employees as “a leader in the emerging movement to reclaim Orange County, California, from the extreme laissez-faire policies” that aims to “reframe the debate about our regional economy and the role of government in our society.” Let’s just say OCCORD’s view of the “role of government in our society” bears little resemblance to that of the Founding Fathers.

OCCORD has been laser-focused on bringing single-member council districts to Anaheim. It lobbied the Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections intensively, to the point where Altman was allegedly texting talking points and instructions to CAC Chair Vivian Pham during the CAC meeting where recommendations to the city council were voted on. As Briceno’s announcement put it:

“After a two-year organizing and advocacy campaign in Anaheim, OCCORD’s grassroots leaders and coalition partners won a major victory when the City Council agreed to put the issue of district elections before Anaheim voters in the November 2014 general election.”

OCCORD itself states that “Our programs, which began in Anaheim, are designed to be replicated in cities throughout Orange County.”

Who knows – at some point, Republicans outside of Anaheim might finally wake up to what the Left is up to in Anaheim (with the regrettable collaboration of a few Republicans), and what the consequences of failing to oppose this campaign will have for Republicans and conservatives county-wide.

It’s interesting that Altman isn’t taking a leave of absence, but leaving OCCORD altogether, since the left-wing advocacy group is advertising for a new executive director and lead organizer. Perhaps that means “One Anaheim” is going to be a permanent, full-time political advocacy operation with Altman at the helm, or perhaps he has something else lined up post-election.


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