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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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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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Former state Sen. Gloria Romero devotes herself to championing charter schools and helping parents utilize the Parent Trigger Law (which she authored) to create better educational opportunities for their children. She has lately been helping parents at Palm Lane Elementary School, in the Anaheim City School District, who want to use the Parent Trigger Law to convert Palm Lane to charter status.

ACSD Trustee Jose Moreno is an avowed opponent of charter schools: shortly after declaring his council candidacy this summer, he wrote to members of the Democratic Party of Orange County to assure them he not opposed the formation of charter schools (other than the one sponsored by a friend of Mayor Tait’s), but he wishes the state legislature had never allowed charter schools in the first place.

This Sunday, a robocall recorded by Sen. Romero went out, asking voters not to cast their ballots for either Moreno or his ACSD Board colleagues and council running mate, James Vanderbilt:

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We’re near the finish line for the Anaheim elections. On the council side of things, the real choice before Anaheim voters is between re-electing Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman, or replacing them with two members of Anaheim City School District Board of Education: James Vanderbilt and Jose F. Moreno. Vanderbilt is a Republican and Moreno is a left-wing Democrat, and together they constitute the Tait Slate.

True, Mayor Tait hasn’t formally endorsed Moreno as he has Vanderbilt, but that is a mere pretense at this point. Tait has told Republican leaders he is supporting Moreno. It’s apparent from Tait campaign Facebook page posts feature Tait with Moreno and speak of “James Vanderbilt, Jose F. Moreno and myself” that no effort is really being made to keep support for the left-wing Moreno on the down-low anymore:

Tait me and jose FB post 11-2-14

Tait promoting Moreno on campaign FB


In a joint mailer from the jointly-run Tait and Vanderbilt campaigns, the mayor says to voters:

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When he decided to run for Anaheim City Council at the beginning of the year, James Vanderbilt told both Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman that he was mainly running to build up name ID, that he thought they’d done a good job and he wasn’t going to attack them.

So much for promises.

Yesterday, this mailer from Vanderbilt landed in voter mail boxes and in truth, Vanderbilt broke that promise “no attacks” pledge early in his campaign):



In the mailer, Vanderbilt tries to contrast himself with Kris Murray on Measure N by claiming she “Placed Measure N on the November 4 ballot to transfer  utility fee surplus to the general fund by describing it as a “language update.”

There’s no other way to say it: Vanderbilt is lying. I very clearly remember watching that vote: both Kris Murray and Tom Tait voted against placing Measure N on the ballot. I even checked the minutes of the July 22 meeting where the vote took place, just the be certain I wasn’t mistaken.

As Anaheim Insider pointed out yesterday, the Tait campaign posted on Facebook that Anaheim voters need to replace Kris Murray and Gail Eastman with “a new, honest council.” That’s typical of the kind of rhetoric wafting out from Team Tait. How does the mayor square that with this falsehood being promoted by Vanderbilt? Either Vanderbilt didn’t bother verifying his claim (something easily done) or he knew it wasn’t true and made the false claim anyway.

The surviving official member of Team Team is James Vanderbilt, Jose Moreno’s colleague on the Anaheim City School District Board of Education

Vanderbilt has also been on the receiving end of at least three hit pieces in the last week, all from the OCTax PAC. Two of them have focused on Vanderbilt’s use of “educator” in his ballot title, even though his primary occupation is an administrator with the California Department of Veterans Affairs. This mailer hit mailboxes at the end of last week:

OC Tax hit on Vanderbilt no educator 10-21-14_Page_1


This one landed a day or two ago:

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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.”

Team Tait (at least as it was constituted until last week) began hitting Anahem voters’ mailboxes last week. As is customary with initial mailers, these were positives: Tait’s highlighting accomplishments, while Pettibone’s and Vanderbilt’s were introductory in nature.

The Tait piece:

1st Tait Mailer_Page_1


The Vanderbilt piece:

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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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oc gop logoThe Endorsements Committee of the Republican party of Orange County meets tonight to consider a slew of local government candidates who have applied for the county GOP’s endorsement.  The committee starts its work at 6:00 p.m. and is tentatively scheduled to consider Anaheim council candidates at 7:45 p.m. – a timetable that could easily go sideways depending on how much discussion preceding candidates and measures generate.

Council Gail Eastman, Kris Murray, James Vanderbilt and Doug Pettibone all have applied for the party endorsement (the OC GOP last month voted to endorse Mayor Tom Tait for re-election; although, the members elected from AD65 – which includes Anaheim, voted in opposition).  The right course would be for the party to endorse Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, since they are Republican incumbents in good standing with conservative voting records. Plus, they have been strong opponents of the union-progressive political campaign to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts and structurally tilt the council toward a permanent Democratic majority. The OC GOP has been alternately clueless and paralyzed on this issue, and thus ought to endorse Murray and Eastman if for no other reason than they have been fighting to save the GOP from being marginalized in OC’s largest city.

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Anaheim Insider here.

The Tait Slate of James Vanderbilt and Doug Pettibone have the anti-cop activist vote locked up, judging by this photo posted on Doug Pettibone’s campaign Facebook page:

Ward Carlos Becerra mary daniels


Pettibone and Vanderbilt are on the left. Fifth from the left is local left-wing activist Carlos Becerra, who is a fixture among Anaheim’s “the police are murderous racist thugs” contingent. We’ve already Becerra, who would like to get rid of the free enterprise system, chumming with his other favorite candidate, Tom Tait.

In the center, holding the Vanderbilt for council sign, is another member of that contingent, Mary Daniels. What does it say about these two candidates, who are seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party of Orange County, that they attract lefties with anti-conservative politics as campaign volunteers?

Typically, candidates craft ballot titles that communicate what they do for a living in such a way that voters are more likely to votes for them. At the same time, the state Election Code places limitations on what they can choose.

Words with Candidates
Jose F. Moreno (1) initially chose the ballot designation “Professor/Trustee, Anaheim City School District.” This almost certainly violates the state Election Code section limiting ballot designations to three words, and so Moreno (1) has changed his designation to “Professor/School Boardmember.”

That would solve the three word limit problem…if “boardmember” was actually a word! Unfortunately for Moreno (1), “boardmember” is not a real word. Search for it on any number of online dictionaries: asks, “Did you mean cardmember“? Merriam-Webster says “the word you entered isn’t in the dictionary” and gave me a spelling suggestion: barking deer. Cambridge Dictionaries does not have an entry for “boardmember” and The Free Dictionary reports it cannot be found in either the dictionary or the encyclopedia. 

So we find ourselves with an interesting situation: a candidate pointing to his school district record as a qualification for city council, using a made-up word to describe himself to voters.

What Is An Educator?

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According to our sources, this morning Lucille Kring qualified as a candidate for mayor and Jose “Joe” Moreno as a candidate for city council.

Here’s the final list of candidates, along with their ballot titles:


Denis Fitzgerald — Retired Corporation Executive

Lorri Galloway – Abused Children Executive

Lucille Kring – Councilwoman/Attorney/Businesswoman

Tom Tait – Mayor of Anaheim



Donna Acevedo – Property Manager

Gail Eastman – Councilmember/Businesswoman/Author

Jose F. Moreno (1) – Professor, Trustee, Anaheim City School District

Jose Moreno (2) – County Eligibility Technician

Kris Murray – Anaheim Council Member

Jerry O’Keefe – Business Owner

Doug Pettibone – Anaheim Businessman/Attorney

James Vanderbilt – Educator/Army Captain

UPDATED: The City Clerk has posted the list online. 

These are in alphabetical order. The final ballot order will be determined after the randomized alphabet drawing is conducted on August 14 by the Secretary of State.

The public review period for candidate statements and ballot titles started on Saturday and continues through August 18. During this period:

“…any person may file a writ of mandate or an injunction to require any or all of the material in a Candidate’s Statement to be amended or deleted. For candidate names and Ballot Designations, a writ may also be filed only upon clear and convincing proof that the material in question is false, misleading, or inconsistent with requirements.”

It doesn’t appear to me that any of the candidates chose ballot titles that could be challenged, with the possible exception of Vanderbilt. Near as I can tell, Vanderbilt works for the California Department of Veterans Affairs as an “education administrator” for the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education. That doesn’t sound like a teaching position, and when voters see “educator” they think “teacher.” Furthermore, being a school board member doesn’t make one an “educator.” At best, it is a highly misleading ballot title. 

According to this campaign HQ grand opening invite on the Tom Tait campaign website, he personally recruited James Vanderbilt and Doug Pettibone, and their campaigns will share a campaign headquarters. In other words, this is the official “Tait Slate.”


Anaheim City Council Candidate DOUG PETTIBONE

Anaheim City Council Candidate JAMES VANDERBILT

Cordially invite you to attend their



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Jose Moreno megaphone cropped

Jose Moreno, ACSD Board of Education trustee and left-wing activist

Anaheim City School District Trustee James Vanderbilt

Anaheim City School District Trustee James Vanderbilt

UPDATE (4:20 p.m.): I’m hearing now that Moreno is definitely running and will announce at a press conference on Friday.

Anaheim City Hall watchers I’ve spoken to believe Jose Moreno pulling papers for re-election to the Anaheim City School Board is a political head fake, and that he will actually file to run for Anaheim City Council by the end of the week (the deadline is 5:00 p.m. on August) – most likely with a press conference in front of City Hall.

The speculation had about who would be on the Tait Slate of candidates recruited by the mayor in an attempt to take out his Republican council colleagues: James Vanderbilt, Doug Pettibone or Jose Moreno. The feedback I’m getting is a de facto “all of the above” – the strategy being to stuff the ballot with Republican candidates and to the benefit of Democratic council candidates.

At this point, there are five (possibly six) Republicans on the ballot and only one Democrat: council gadfly Donna Acevedo. That changed with Moreno’s high-profile announcement last week that he had re-registered from No Party Preference to Democrat – a distinction without a difference given his ideology, but with political impact. 

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moreno becomes democratThe period for Anaheim council and mayoral candidates to pull nomination papers opened on July 14, and closes at 5:00 p.m. on August 8.

Thus far, presumed Tait Slate member James Vanderbilt is the only candidate for either mayor or city council who has not pulled papers. I reached out to Vanderbilt via e-mail to ask if he still plans to pull papers for council this November.

On Friday, I posted about growing speculation that Vanderbilt would not pull the trigger and that his fellow ACSD Board of Education member (and ACLU lead plaintiff against the city) Jose Moreno would throw his hat in the ring instead, as either an open or sub rosa member of the Tait Slate.

The chances of that happening took a nose dive yesterday when Moreno pulled papers to run for re-election to the ACSD Board:

Moreno 7-28

Is that the end of the story? Not quite.  Filing doesn’t close for 11 days (counting today). I’m still inclined to think Vanderbilt goes for council while Moreno sticks to running for re-election to the ACSD Board (having cleverly side-stepped in ACSD the by-district elections he’s demanding for the City of Anaheim) and running for council in 2016 if the voters adopt by-district council elections.

Also, yesterday Moreno switched his registration from NPP to Democrat (yes, I realize most readers assumed he already was one). Moreno cited the Democratic Party’s strong support for by-district council elections in Anaheim. I think that’s makes it even less likely he will run for council this year. I don’t believe he would run for council against the Pettibone/Vanderbilt ticket, and his new status as a Democrat would prevent him from being an open member of the Tait Sate because that would almost certainly doom what is otherwise a likely OC GOP endorsement of the mayor’s re-election. 

Still, Vanderbilt’s name won’t be on the ballot unless he returns valid nomination papers (which he hasn’t even pulled yet), and 11 days is plenty of time for a switcharoo to happen.

pettibone questionvanderbilt questionWhen people decide to run for city council (or are simply thinking about it), it’s common for them to attend council meetings and speak on agenda items. It’s way of learning more about how the council operates and the issues before the city, to gain exposure for themselves via council meeting broadcasts – and to put themselves on record on major issues.

The 200,000 square-foot Anaheim Convention Center expansion, financed by a $300 million in revenue bonds, is one of the most consequential items the council has dealt with in recent years. Both supporters and opponents agree it will have a lasting impact on Anaheim.

So where were the two members of the Tait Slate, James Vanderbilt and Doug Pettibone, last night? They didn’t take advantage of public comments to let voters know where they stand on the convention center expansion. As far as I’ve been able to determine, they weren’t even at the council meeting.

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moreno no endorsement from unionThe unions representing teachers in the Anaheim City School District (ACSD) and the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) have a joint political action committee – the Anaheim Educators PAC – which several days ago made its endorsements for this November school board elections. Three ACSD Board of Education seats are up for re-election. One incumbent, Sandy Blumberg is retiring and another, Jeff Cole, is seeking re-election. The third incumbent, Jose Moreno, is presumably seeking re-election, although rumors have swirled for months about him being the second council candidate on the Tait Slate.

Not surprisingly, the Anaheim Educators PAC endorsed Cole, as well as AUHSD history and psychology teacher Ryan Ruelas, creator of the BROS program, a past high school teacher of the year and the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association representative on the CTA State Council. Given the sound and fury blasting out of the CTA over the Vergara decision, I’d be curious to know his opinion of it.

The most interesting thing is who the AEPAC did not endorse: Jose Moreno.

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We’ve posted the Argument in favor of Measure D, which would amend the City Charter to limit the mayor to four consecutive two-year terms, instead of the current limit of two consecutive four-year terms. Here is the Argument Against Measure D that will be in the sample ballot:


Opposition to Charter Amendment to Section 504

We urge you to vote “NO” on Measure D. Under Anaheim’s Charter, the mayor and city council members are all elected to four-year terms. Measure D proposes to change the Charter to require the city’s mayor to run for office every two years, while council candidates continue to be elected every four years.

There is simply no good reason to support this proposed change in the law.

The vast majority of American large-city mayors serve four-year terms. A four-year term gives the city’s chief elected official time to set goals and plan for the city’s needs, and it provides continuity of leadership to keep city government both stable and responsive to the voters.
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