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Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray - the top vote=getter.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray – the top vote=getter.

What to make of Tuesday’s election?

Mayor Tom Tait was elected to a second term, Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray was the top vote-getter for council, and Councilwoman Gail Eastman has apparently been narrowly edged out by James Vanderbilt, a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education whom Tait recruited at the beginning of the year to run for city council. All had sufficient resources to communicate their messages to Anaheim voters, and independent expenditures were well-funded and plentiful. [NOTE: Eastman has generally been losing ground in the daily tallies since Election Day, although today she gained 99 votes – leaving her 269 votes down. A lot of Anaheim ballots were counted today – 9,513. There are only 38,591 uncounted ballots left county-wide. A huge percentage of those would have to be from Anaheim for Eastman to be able to catch Vanderbilt.

Do the results bear out Tait’s claim to the Voice of OC that voters are “tired of tired of city leaders steering public resources to expensive projects and subsidies for the resort area and major businesses, while paying little attention to underserved neighborhoods.”

No. That’s spin.

For the moment, let’s put aside the underlying falseness of the mayor’s claim, which is part and parcel of a sustained campaign of distortion aimed at dismantling Anaheim’s traditional economic development vision. If Tait’s analysis were true, then Kris Murray would have been defeated. She has been the most vocal advocate of the public-private partnership approach to economic development. Defeating her was Team Tait’s top priority and she was subjected her a merciless, mendacious pounding from both Tait /Vanderbilt campaign proper and a $100,000 IE campaign funded by the Tait Family Trust and Howard Ahmanson via the California Homeowners Association (CHA) independent expenditure committee. 

Team Tait clubbed Murray with the same themes Tait sounded in the above even more so than Eastman. Yet, Murray was the top vote-getter and received a higher percentage of the vote than four years ago. Jordan Brandman was hit with the same attacks two years ago, and he was the top vote-getter. Jose Moreno ran on much the same platform as Tait, and he finished as distant fourth place. The mayor’s interpretation of the election results is a stretch too far.

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“Election season often brings out the ugliest in people. Negative attack ads and misrepresentations have become commonplace” (Orange County Register, 2014). No greater misrepresentations have been made toward opponents during this election than ones by Tom Tait, Anaheim’s mayor. Tait has indirectly accused two council members running for re-election, Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, of (a) betraying the public trust, asserting that each collected $500,000+ in campaign contributions from special interest groups, and (b) misrepresenting their voting for a subsidy to build a four-star hotel in Anaheim.

I use the word indirectly because the mailed campaign ad originated from California Homeowners Association (2014) in Willows, CA (500 miles north of Anaheim via I-5), an organization describing itself as “support[ing] fiscally responsible candidates for public office.” Ironically, this same special interest group, a PAC, has funneled $100,000 into the “attack Eastman & Murray–re-elect Tait campaign.”

False accusations. Eastman and Murray have not betrayed the pubic trust and each has not collected $500,000+ in campaign contributions—accusations by Tait for which no evidence has been presented.

Gross misrepresentation. It is common practice for cities to offer incentives to developers to build large hotels and sports stadiums. Cities contribute to a project because they want to collect millions of dollars from hotel taxes and sales taxes. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014). If the Anaheim Convention Center fails to increase its space, major conventions will meet elsewhere, as will conventions with increasing participants who previously met in Anaheim. Some organizations will meet elsewhere if Anaheim lacks sufficient rooms in first-rate hotels, ones that fulfill the needs of conventioneers (and more affluent families visiting the Disney Resort). These four-star hotels will be built eventually—in Anaheim or in a city nearly (e.g., Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove).

Gross misrepresentation. It is common practice for cities to offer incentives to developers to build large hotels and sports stadiums. Cities contribute to a project because they want to collect millions of dollars from hotel taxes and sales taxes.

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The latest example of the topsy-turvy nature of Anaheim politics is a Tait Family Trust-funded attack falsely claiming Councilwoman Gail Eastman is not a good Republican and too close to public employees unions, while simultaneously urging support for Measure L – an  initiative to pave the way for a Democratic take-over of the Anaheim City Council that is sponsored by militant unions, rich left-wing dilettantes from San Francisco…and Tom Tait.

But first, a quick political trivia quiz. What is the difference between these two logos?

both gop logos 

The one with three stars is a trademarked logo of the Republican National Committee. The logo with two stars is not, and can be used by anyone. The “Continuing the Republican Revolution” political slate mailer, for example, incorporates the two-star elephant into its logo. Whether it has three or two stars — or one or four, for that matter, the average voter sees a red-white-and-blue elephant and thinks “Republican.”

In mid-October the Eastman campaign sent out this mailer:

Eastman GOP choice mailer 10-13-14_Page_1

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One of the questions put to the candidates at the Anaheim Buzz/Anaheim Hills Community Council forum was a speed-round on taxes. They were asked for a yes-or-no response to whether they supported or opposed:

  • Imposing a “gate” tax on entry to Disneyland Resort, Angel Stadium, the Honda Center and other sports and entertainment venues”
  • A utility tax
  • Raising the sales tax for Anaheim
  • A “split-roll” property tax system, i.e. removing Prop. 13 protections from commercial property 

All candidates responded with a quick “non” to each tax…except Jose Moreno. As Anaheim Blog reported earlier this month, the left-wing Democrat responded to each question about imposing a new tax or hiking an existing one with “Open to the idea.”

Here’s the video:

Given Moreno’s clearly stated political philosophy, it’s reasonable to assume that translates as, “I’ll vote for that tax increase if it comes before me.”


It’s October, so there are quite a few independent expenditures being conducted to influence the outcome of the mayoral and council races, as well as the balloting on Measure L (which would replace the current at-large council election system with by-district elections. A bad idea).

One IE campaign in particular bears particular attention, and that is the mail campaign being waged against Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman. The vehicle being used is a campaign committee called the California Homeowners Association (CHA), and the funding for the hits is coming from the Tait Family Trust (Tom Tait’s parents) and Fieldstead & Company (quirky Home Savings heir Howard Ahmanson).

On October 10, both entities deposited identical amounts into CHA: $49,750. That’s $99,500 altogether.

So far, CHA has spent $50,103 so far on three hit pieces against Murray and Eastman. They’re entirely predictable and closely hew to the line of attack Tom Tait has pursued for the last two years: the GardenWalk agreement (“$158 million giveaway“), on a 2012 MOU with city employees (which Anaheim Insider posted about yesterday) and falsely accusing them of eminent domain abuse regarding the Anaheim Rapid Connection streetcar.  [Note: even though the three mailers attack both councilwoman equally, only $16,024 of the $50K is attributed to hits on Murray, rather than split evenly.]

That leaves just under $50,000 in the CHA till for Anaheim purposes. Whether that will be used to continue hitting Murray and Eastman, promote Tait and/or Vanderbilt, or hit Lucille Kring remains to be seen.

What is beyond dispute is that Team Tait is pulling out the stops to take out the mayor’s council colleagues. There’s something surreal about the OC Republican Party’s Local Elected Official of the Year waging a very expensive war to take out his two Republican council colleagues – especially when one considers that if Tait is successful, the most likely result is the election of the most left-wing Democrat anywhere in Orange County local government.

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Anaheim Insider here.

In a condescending, inaccurate mailer funded by the Tait Family Trust, Mayor Tait accuses council women Gail Eastman and Kris Murray of giving a “sweetheart” deal to the city’s public employee unions. The mailer is covered with feminine touches such as hearts, lipstick marks and pink-colored lettering. The Tait family’s mail consultant must have been in a hurry because the tea doilies and aprons were left out.

2nd CHA hit on Kris and Gail 10-16-14_Page_1

The Tait camp might want to consider that more than a few women voters are more likely to be offended by the mailer’s chauvinistic tone, which is quite out of place considering the reason Tait’s hand-picked candidate Doug Pettibone dropped out of the race (or rather, was thrown under the bus by the Mayor).

If Murray and Eastman were men, does anyone think the mailer would have looked like this?

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CHA Hit paid by Tait Family TrustAnaheim Insider here.

If you could spend $49,750 on anything in your community, what would you spend it on? Just to make it a little easier, here are a few options of what that kind of money buys you in Anaheim:

A. Annual tuition for 199 low income kids to attend the Anaheim Boys and Girls Clubs after school programs.

B. One week of tuition for 239 toddlers to attend preschool at the Anaheim YMCA.

C. Underwrite 497 Anaheim kids living in violent families to attend Youth Violence Prevention Programs at the Orange County Family Justice Center.

D. Pay for 829 Anaheim at-risk youth to attend the 24-week Cops 4 Kids Junior Cadet Program.

E. Fund a malicious mail campaign against your (conservative Republican) council colleagues.

It appears Mayor Tom Tait, who has spent his entire first term of office espousing a platform of “kindness,” prefers option E. 

As this FPPC filing shows, the Tait Family Trust is funding $49,750 in campaign attack mail aimed at Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman, his two Republican colleagues. And the hits are just getting started with a hit piece dredging up their votes on GardenWalk from nearly two years ago.

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gail eastmanThis came over the transom today from Councilwoman Gail Eastman’s re-election campaign


It’s time to get out and talk to the voters in Anaheim!

I’m excited for our Precinct Walk TOMORROW, September 20. Stop by my house anytime between 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. to pick up campaign brochures, and signs so you can visit with voters in your neighborhood. Sign up today to join us.

Absentee voters will have ballots in their hands in less than three weeks. So let’s get the word out about our vision for the future of Anaheim: A future with safe communities, a growing economy and strong neighborhoods.

Even if you can’t walk tomorrow, please come pick up your packet and walk your neighborhood any time in the next couple weeks.

Thank you for your continuing support of my campaign.

All my best,

Gail Eastman

Eastman 9-24-14 fundraiser picThis came over the transom yesterday from Councilwoman Gail Eastman’s re-election campaign:


My fundraiser lunch at the Anaheim White House Restaurant is a little over a week away! There are still spots available and I would love to see you there.

Please join me for a fundraiser luncheon on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m hosted by Bruno Serato.

With campaign season in full swing, now more than ever I need your support as we continue our fight to keep our citizens safe and expand our jobs base while maintaining balanced city budgets and protecting Anaheim’s quality of life.

I look forward to seeing you there.


Gail Eastman

Click here for the event flyer

oc gop logoThe OC GOP Endorsements Committee voted 3-2 last night to recommend to the full Central Committee “no endorsement” for any of the Anaheim City Council candidates. 

These committee meetings can have a surreal aspect, and last night was no exception. Although Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman had submitted their applications for the endorsement two weeks ago, it was not until they were literally standing in front of the committee that Chairman Mark Bucher told them their request could not be considered at all because they hadn’t taken the pledge not to accept contributions from public employee unions. That could have been communicated earlier.

Tom Tait’s candidates were then brought before the committee. Doug Pettibone went first. He’s a first time candidate and it showed in his pitch, which was short and consisted of telling the committee that Tait has asked him to run, and since the OC GOP has endorsed Tait, then it should also endorse him because he has been endorsed by Tait, and it would be inconsistent if they didn’t.

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Anaheim Councilwoman Gail Eastman is holding a re-election campaign kick-off fundraiser this Sunday, August 24.  It’s a summer BBQ from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the home of Brad and Daria Daniels in Anaheim:

Eastman 8-24-14 fundraiser

You can RSVP to


Councilwoman Tem Gail Eastman

Councilwoman Tem Gail Eastman

This came over the transom the other day from the Councilwoman Gail Eastman’s re-election campaign:


I’m happy to inform you that I officially filed my papers last Friday for re-election to the Anaheim City Council.

Serving on the City Council has been one of the greatest honors of my life. When I ran four years ago, I promised to tackle our City’s most pressing issues, particularly those facing public safety, jobs and economic growth and our neighborhoods.

Today, more Anaheim residents are working. Businesses are thriving. Our strong financial management has also led to balanced budgets and higher revenues without new taxes or fees. This means safer communities, with more police officers and firefighters on the streets protecting Anaheim citizens. It also means more investment in our neighborhood infrastructure.

I could not have done any of this without your tremendous support and trust.

While we’re headed in the right direction, let’s not kid ourselves. Special interests from both outside and within Anaheim are bent on taking over City Hall. They’ve been very vocal – and sometimes hostile – in their opposition to everything we’ve done to keep our city safe, grow jobs and improve our neighborhoods. That’s why I’m so motivated to run a strong campaign, to continue serving as a voice for common sense and an advocate for our neighborhoods. With your help, I know we’ll be successful.

Please join me on Sunday, August 24 at 4 p.m. at the home of Bradley and Daria Daniels for a Campaign Kickoff and Fundraiser. Click here to learn more.

At this fun event, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time with your neighbors and enjoy some great food while learning about the many ways you can support my campaign. We’ll also have campaign signs and brochures that you can take home.

I love Anaheim and know you do to. We have a tremendous history and everything’s in place for an even stronger future. Let’s not stop now. I invite you to join me in my effort to leave a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren.

Please RSVP today for our August 24 kickoff.

You can make an immediate financial contribution to my campaign to keep our streets safe, grow jobs and strengthen our neighborhoods by visiting my website and making a generous donation of $1,900, $1,000, $500 or whatever you can afford to support our effort ($1,900 is the campaign contribution limit.)

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your ideas or questions at 714-333-7656 or Thank you very much for your ongoing support and trust.



Councilwoman Tem Gail Eastman

Councilwoman Tem Gail Eastman

This came over the transom last week from Councilwoman Gail Eastman’s re-election campaign:


You and I make a great team. Together, we surpassed my fundraising goal this past filing period, raising over $42,000 which gives us over $70,000 to get our message to voters this campaign season! What a monumental success and it’s all because of you.

None of this could have been accomplished without your support, so thank you. I am humbled by your generosity and feel grateful for every dollar contributed, hour volunteered, and support given. 

Let’s build off this fantastic momentum! 

How can you help keep the momentum going? There are plenty of ways!


  • Donate today!
  • Add your name to my supporters list HERE
  • Host a coffee or tea so I can meet and talk with your friends, family and neighbors about the issues important to them
  • Sign-up to have one of my campaign signs placed in your front yard 

Or do all of the above! 

Thank you again for your continued support and please do not hesitate to contact me by responding to this email or giving me a call at (714) 333-7656.


Gail Eastman

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kris Murray at 7-22 mtgI don’t think any one doubted the outcome of last night’s meeting, but it was still heartening late last night when the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to approve the bonds to finance the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilmembers Gail Eastman, Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman all voted yes, while Mayor Tom Tait voted no.

There was a huge turnout in support of approving the Convention Center bonds. Owners and operators of small and large businesses; union representatives; residents; single-moms; and hard-working folks in general asked the council, one after the other, to approve the bonds and get the Convention Center expansion moving forward.

The council majority spoke vigorously its support for the expansion and its opposition to the obstructionism of opponents. Kris Murray delivered impassioned oration drawing upon the examples of her predecessors and the plain requirements of the future.

“The fact is we have an opportunity in time. This is the seventh expansion. This isn’t 1960. This isn’t whether we get into the convention center business. that decision was made – thank God! Because our city is so far ahead of the curve financially from other cities – not just in the county, but around the state. In the Register today, two cities in orange County, Stanton and Placentia — Stanton tonight is considering a sales tax on their residence because they are cutting services because they can’t make ends meet; and so is Placentia. We have cities across the state filing for bankruptcy.  But Anaheim, courtesy of our Resort District, our stadium, the economic engines of this city – the Convention Center being a hallmark component of that – we aren’t in that position.  We are balancing our budget, reinvesting in police and fire, we are reinvesting in parks, and libraries, and roads, and potholes, and graffiti abatement. We are doing everything for neighborhoods because we have a thriving economy.
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Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

This was announced at the SOAR PAC fundraiser last week, but the press release came over the transom yesterday:

S.O.A.R. PAC Endorses Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Council Member Gail E. Eastman for Anaheim City Council

Murray and Eastman will Continue to Support the Anaheim Resort District’s Vitality

ANAHEIM, CA – Support Our Anaheim Resort District (S.O.A.R.) PAC, has announced its endorsement for Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Council Member Gail Eastman for reelection to Anaheim City Council. After careful consideration, S.O.A.R. PAC endorsed Murray and Eastman because of their continued support to the Anaheim Resort District and their dedication to funding and improving vital city services to Anaheim residents.

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Time to review the Form 460 campaign finance disclosure reports filed by the various incumbents and candidates seeking the favor of the voters in November.

Mayor Tom Tait (Republican) is seeking a second term, and is being challenged by Councilwoman Lucille Kring (Republican) and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway (Democrat). Here their 2013 numbers:

Tom Tait (click here for report)
Raised: $84,574
Spent: $33,411.7
Cash on hand (COH): $73,858.52
Debt: $5,700 (owed to fundraiser Phyllis Schneider)
Loans: $0

Lucille Kring (click here for report)
Spent: $3,896.86
COH: $26,373.14
Debt: $0
Loans: $0

Lorri Galloway (click here for report)
Raised:  $7,000 (personal loan)
Spent:  $4,000
COH:  $3,000
Debt:  $7,000
Loans:   $7,000

For the sake of perspective, keep in mind that Tait was fund raising throughout 2013, raising the bulk of his funds prior to June 30 and $34,749 since then; considering Kring’s late entry and the fact that she didn’t begin raising money until December, her fund raising pace more than kept up with the mayor’s.

However, all the perspective in the world doesn’t change the reality that Mayor Tait has already locked up most of the key slate mailers and has $46,000 more cash on hand than Councilwoman Kring.

Only three people have filed to run for city council: Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray, Councilwoman Gail Eastman and Rodolfo “Rudy” Gaona.

Kris Murray (click here for report)
Raised:  $74,295.99
Spent:  $21,683.65
COH:  $57,777.94
Debt:  $0
Loans:  $0

Gail Eastman (click here for report)
Raised:  $41,858
Spent:  $7,535.31
COH:  $44,581.69
Debt:  $0
Loans:  $0

Eastman didn’t get started on fundraising until late in the year, but both she and Murray have healthy campaign bank accounts as they enter 2014 with 8 months left for fundraising and no credible opponents in sight.

Anaheim Councilwoman Gail Eastman is holding a re-election fundraiser on February 27 at The Catch in Anaheim:

Eastman 2-27-14 fundraiser'

Click here for the full invite and more details.

From Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman’s most recent e-newsletter:

eastman for council logoRe-election Campaign Kickoff Smashes Expectations!

More than 100 local residents, small business owners, civic leaders and state officials gathered at the Honda Center’s newly opened Grand Terrace on Monday to help re-elect Gail Eastman to the Anaheim City Council. The support was overwhelming and exceeded all expectations. 

In total, close to $75,000 was pledged to support Gail’s vision of peace and prosperity in the City of Anaheim!

This election is critical to ensuring Anaheim can remain a place where all residents and businesses can flourish. In the coming weeks, a new campaign website will be debuted that will communicate ways to help Gail and her positions on the issues.

$75,000 is an impressive number, and to put it in perspective, consider that Eastman raised $60,417 and spent $57,331 to get elected in 2010. Granted, she was also the beneficiary of considerable independent expenditures that year – but the coalition that supported her then is still intact and behind her now. Plus, she has the advantage of incumbency this time around.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor pro Tem Gail Eastman penned this piece for the Orange County Register about a month ago, but it remains current and I’d like to re-post it here:

The First Amendment not only protects our freedoms of speech and religion, it is the cornerstone of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Unfortunately, an isolated yet highly vocal group of individuals in Anaheim has abused its right to speech in an attempt to wage what can only be described as a campaign of hatred for fellow citizens.

This sad chapter in our city’s history began brewing this summer as these individuals lobbed hateful personal attacks and bullied other speakers at City Council meetings. It reached a tipping point at a September meeting when an individual spewed anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs toward one of my colleagues. It was a disgusting display of ignorance and incivility. This intolerance has no place in our community. Period.

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Anaheim Insider here.

The Orange County Register has picked up the issue of whether Mayor Tom Tait can and should serve on the OCTA Board of Directors since the company that he owns and runs has a $330,000 contract with OCTA. The contract runs for another 19 months, and so far OCTA has paid Tait & Associates $127,483.

It is certainly a conflict of interest when judged against the conflict standard established by the mayor himself. Maybe he’s giving himself a waiver.

It’s OK If The Contract Isn’t Too Big?
In the Register, Tait claims he can vote “fairly” as an OCTA Director, but that’s not the issue.

“If I didn’t feel I could serve fairly, I wouldn’t do it,” Tait said of his upcoming two-year term on the OCTA board.

Tait told the reporter that “It’s not a large contract.”  Does that matter? Would it be a conflict if it were for $1 million or $5 million instead? Does that mean he would not be able to vote “fairly” if the contract were bigger?

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