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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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This week, the Orange County Register (OCR, 2014) endorsed the re-election of Tom Tait as Anaheim’s mayor, calling him the “best [candidate] to lead the city.” Examining the rationale presented in its endorsement, however, I found little to justify the paper’s support.

The OCR cited Tait’s quelling anger and potential violence following riots during 2012 and supporting citizens’ oversight of the city’s police department.

t8The paper applauded Tait’s “dissenting voice,” a council member who consistently votes no “on numerous issues.” It cited Tait as the only council member to oppose a tax incentive to build a hotel near Disneyland and the city’s convention center.

Voting to approve a tax incentive to developers is not unusual, so voting no is not necessarily a virtue. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014).

Whether to offer a tax incentive depends on several factors; for example, (a) the need for a hotel that satisfies current convention needs and its potential to attract larger future conventions, (b) the return on investment that taxpayers would receive by building a hotel, and, most important, (c) whether not offering an incentive means not building a hotel and losing tax revenues. Tait’s vote seems like a no vote without consideration of positive aspects of providing a tax incentive.

Yes, Tait talks about transparency (endlessly), but the OCR did not cite any evidence of increased governmental transparency in Anaheim since he has been mayor. Transparency was confused with Tait’s rigidity and public comments that torpedoed the city’s negotiations with the Angels. And there is a difference between publicly discussing unfunded pension liabilities and solving this problem.

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Measure L amends the Anaheim City Charter to require the City Council to establish voter districts. A candidate seeking a seat on the city council must live within a given district, and only voters residing within that district may vote for that candidate.

L PICCurrently, members of the City Council may live anywhere in Anaheim, and voters may vote for any candidate. What is the need to change the current process: to establish voter districts and to limit an individual’s vote to one candidate?

The “impartial analysis” of Measure L by the Anaheim City Attorney is, indeed, impartial (Houston, 2014). He explains the differences between voting for council members “at large” from voting for a single candidate. Absolutely nothing in his analysis provides any need or basis for changing the current election process. The entire text of proposed amendments to Anaheim’s City Charter can be read online (City of Anaheim, 2014).

The argument supporting Measure L by Mayor Tait and Council Member Brandman (2014) consists of banality (e.g., Anaheim is a great place to live; Council members will become more effective) and nonsense (e.g., Anaheim will become less wonderful [if Measure L fails]). But again, nothing in their non-argument establishes any need to change the current process for electing city officials.

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Several hundred thousand dollars have been contributed by outside organizations to ensure Anaheim voters approve Measure L, a vote to change the process for electing members to the Anaheim City Council. Does Anaheim need to elect members by district instead of at-large? (I also ask the same question regarding Measure M: Does the city council need six members instead of four?) What is the demonstrated need to switch to a different basis for electing council members? Has want been mislabeled as need?

A good reason for passing Measure L would have been that the current system for electing council members does not result in the equal distribution of city resources and services. Mayor Tait and Council Member Brandman (2014) falsely imply a disparity, writing that passing Measure L “ensures neighborhoods get their fair share of city services.” In fact, the distribution of city dollars spent per capita in Anaheim has been remarkably similar. For example, the distribution for 2012 and 2013 is almost the same (City of Anaheim Finance Department, 2013, p. 12):

g1rev

Tait and Brandman offered no substantive reason or argument in their ballot verbiage for passing Measure L. Behold the purported reasons and implications—and note the absence of a shred of evidence for their support.

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In their rebuttal to the argument against carving Anaheim into single-member council districts, Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman made a number of claims ranging from fanciful to plain old misleading. 

One passage in particular drew a complaint from Councilwoman Lucille Kring:

The entire City Council agreed that Anaheim deserves to have neighborhood representation, and that is why we unanimously placed Measure ____ on the ballot for your consideration.

That sentence clearly and falsely mislead voters into believing the entire Anaheim City Council supports by-district elections.

This morning, a judge signed off on a settlement agreement striking that passage from the rebuttal.

Too bad someone didn’t file a complaint against the section of the argument in favor of by-district elections claiming that adopting it would result in Anaheimers getting their trees trimmed.

council districts good jobsThe Anaheim City Clerk has published the rebuttals to the arguments for and against the November initiative that could bring by-district elections to Anaheim. Let’s start with the rebuttal signed by Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman:

Measure does not take away your voting rights or carve up Anaheim. Opponents are trying to confuse and mislead you. What voting for Measure ____ does do is make your vote count for more. Measure ___ gives you the power to:

  • Elect someone who truly represents you and your neighborhood;
  • Make your voice better heard at City Hall; and,
  • Elect a representative council member who will fight for faster and more responsive city services that meets your needs.

The entire City Council agreed that Anaheim deserves to have neighborhood representation, and that is why we unanimously placed Measure ____ on the ballot for your consideration. Measure ____ creates true neighborhood districts that will better serve Anaheim residents, while continuing our tradition of choosing a Mayor in a citywide election to provide a vital, unifying voice on the City Council. Having a council member from, and elected by, your neighborhood means they will understand your local needs and respond quickly to local concerns like traffic, crime, potholes, graffiti, and broken sidewalks. This means safer neighborhoods and stronger property values.   Measure ____ reduces the influence of outside special interests and promotes stable city finances, good jobs, and a better future for our community by guaranteeing that you are heard at City Hall. Vote YES on Measure ____ to keep our great city moving forward as an exceptional place to live, work, and raise a family. Tom Tait Mayor of Anaheim Jordan Brandman City Council Member

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single-member districts unicorn 3

Just close your eyes and listen to the Magical Single-Member Council Districts Unicorn!

This November, Anaheim voters will decide on two initiatives: whether to replace the current at-large council election system with the single-member district (or “by-district”)system being pushed by a left-wing coalition; and whether to expand the city council from four to six members.

Ballot arguments for and against the by-district initiative were filed on Monday. The pro argument is signed by Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman. I’ll comment in greater depth soon, but a couple of things jump out.

For months and months, the advocacy of single-member district by proponents has been racially-based: a relentless focus on the ethnicity of current and  former councilmembers and claims that at-large elections “disenfranchise” Latino voters. Indeed, that was the entire basis of the Jose Moreno/ACLU lawsuit that put this initiative on the ballot.

However, except for a very oblique reference to “reflecting our neighborhoods,” the ethno-racial appeals are entirely absent from the pro-single-member districts argument – no doubt reflecting a cynical awareness by the pro-districts coalition that for voters who haven’t majored in Chicano studies, calls to gerrymander city council elections to produce a pre-determined ethnic composition holds little appeal. 

Instead, the pro-argument promises that all things bright and beautiful will happen to Anaheim voters if they adopt single-member districts: cleaner streets, filled potholes, trimmed trees, whiter teeth, happier marriages and an answer to the question of whether intelligent life exists on other planets. OK – not the last three things, but that’s probably because it would have put them over the 300-word limit.

In any case, here is the Argument in Favor, followed by the common sense truth of the argument against.

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Jordan BrandmanThis came over the transom from Councilman Jordan Brandman’s campaign last week:

I hope you are looking forward to the Summer season as much as I am. So many great things are happening in Anaheim, and with your continued support, only the best is in our future.  With that in mind, I would be honored to have you celebrate with us at a Taco Tuesday Summer Fiesta!

Tuesday, July 1st
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

El Torito Restaurant
2020 E. Ball Rd.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Please RSVP to Melahat at Melahat@PSCcampaigns.com or (562) 491-1318.

If you are unable to attend but want to support the campaign, please click here to contribute today.

Hope to see you then!

Sincerely,

Jordan

Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman is holding a debt-retirement fundraiser next week:

Jordan 12-13 fundraiser

 

Brandman isn’t up for re-election until 2016, but being a smart politico, he isn’t waiting until 2015 to start gearing up and is moving now to clear the decks of debt in order to have a large war-chest on hand to make him a prohibitive favorite for re-election, regardless of the council election system in place at that time.

Mayor Tom Tait

Mayor Tom Tait

Anaheim Insider here.

Last week, Mayor Tom Tait ousted his council colleague, Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman, from the OCTA Board of Directors, to which he had voted to appoint her a year ago, and take it for himself. After talking with a number of insiders who were present at the scene of the crime, it is clear Tait’s action is an example of big and small hypocrisy and double-standards, and possibly violation of state law.

Furthermore, Tait did it all without ever giving anyone an explanation why he wants to serve on the OCTA Board of Directors.

It wasn’t very difficult for Tait to oust Eastman. It’s the population-weighted city seat from the Fourth Supervisor District, and Tait controls almost fifty-percent of the vote. He only needed one other mayor to go along with him. He found that person in fellow my-way-or-the-highway contrarian Bruce Whitaker, the mayor of Fullerton. Even Tait couldn’t fumble this ball.

On multiple levels, Tait’s ouster of Eastman runs totally contrary to his often stated commitment to transparency, accountability and avoiding even the perception of a conflict of interest.

So Much for Transparency
As has already been noted on this blog, Tait kept his intention to seek the OCTA a secret. He waited until less than two hours before the start of the City Selection Committee to tell his council colleague he was running against her (despite the fact she’d been trying for weeks to get an answer from him one or another), but didn’t give her a reason why.

In fact, Mayor Transparency has never publicly explained why he wants to sit on the OCTA Board or why he felt it was necessary to remove a colleague who is universally regarded as doing a good job in that post.

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bacon_kevin_l

Kevin Bacon must be connected somehow!

Several days ago, PBS “SoCal Insider” host Rick Reiff used the term “gutter politics” to refer to what he perceived (wrongly, in my opinion) as attempts to link Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait with gadfly William Fitzgerald’s now infamous anti-Semitic rant. PBS SoCal’s David Nazar went on an even more offbase on-air bender on the same topic.

Yesterday, the Voice of OC – PBS SoCal’s media partner — published a story explicitly attempting to link Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman with a scandal to which they have no connection whatsoever.

Will Rick Reiff and David Nazar similarly denounce as “gutter journalism”  this actual attempt to manufacture a link between an elected official (in this case, two) and a dishonorable act – in this case from their station’s online media partner? Is anyone going to hold their breath for that to happen?

Adam Elmahrek’s post is headlined “The Calderon FBI Investigation’s Connections To OC” tortuously attempts to draw a connection to Kris Murray and Jordan.

You see, the FBI is investigation involving Sen. Ron Calderon, his brother Tom and the Central Basin Municipal Water District in LA County. on August 5, the FBI served the district with a subpoena that. According to the Los Angeles Times:

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pbs rick rieffThe latest PBS SoCal political roundtable took up the issue of William Fitzgerald’s anti-Semitic, homophobic rant at the Sept. 30 special council meeting. The moderator cued up the topic and asked SoCal Insider host Rick Reiff for his take:

Two words come to mind: gutter politics. You know, there are serious differences in the city of Anaheim, real, substantive arguments are going on in that community, and have divided the council and the rest of the city, whether to subsidize resort area development,  whether to change the way that council members are elected to give Latinos a bigger voice, how much to give the Angels to keep them in town – these are all those kinds of issues.

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That’s the vibe that emanates from much of the audience nowadays at Anaheim City Council meetings. The cadre of agitators who have designated themselves as the collective vox populi of Anaheim have a very unkind manner when it comes to anyone who disagrees with them.

The most egregious recent display was William Fitzgerald vomiting out an anti-Semitic, homophobic rant at Monday morning’s special council meeting. Fitzgerald has always been like that. The difference is he’s no longer the exception and the nastiness he embodies has increasingly become the rule in the peanut gallery.

Here’s Los Amigos Founder Amin David speaking a few minutes after Fitzgerald:

 

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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An interesting aspect of OCCORD calling on the state Attorney General and the OC District Attorney to prosecute all four members of Anaheim City Council for imaginary violations is it puts some members of the OCCORD Board of Directors at political odds with themselves.

OCCORD is the political offspring of UNITE-HERE. Unions provide OCCORD with funding, and at least 40% the radical group’s board of directors consists of union executives and members.

Among those are Ada Briceno, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE-HERE Local 11; Rick Eiden, the executive vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324; Rob Penney, organizing director for the United Nurses Associations of California;  Jorge Inestria, UNITE-HERE activist.

In addition to being a director of OCCORD, Eiden is also the president of the Orange County Labor Federation (the OC presence of the AFL-CIO) — which endorsed Jordan Brandman for Anaheim City Council in 2012.  UNITE-HERE is represented on the OCLF board by its president, Tom Walsh (Briceno is UNITE-HERE Local 11’s No. 2).

On its face, you have UCFW President Rick Eiden – in his capacity as an OCCORD Director — calling for the criminal prosecution of an elected official (on absurd legal grounds) whose he officially and materially supported as head of the OC Labor Federation.

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Whenever OCCORD takes some political-policy initiative of some kind, it’s plastered all over the radical left-wing group’s Facebook page. Whether “picketing” Anaheim City Hall or marching to demand immediate citizenship for illegal immigrants, OCCORD isn’t shy about advertising where it stands.

Except for its most recent action: bringing in liberal San Diego enviro lawyer Cory Briggs to cook up some phony accusations that Anaheim Councilmembers Gail Eastman, Kris Murray, Jordan Brandman and Lucille Kring have violated the state’s Political Reform Act and petitioning the state Attorney General and the OC District Attorney to prosecute them for these imaginary crimes.

OCCORD even went so far as to accuse those councilmembers of selling their votes in exchange for campaign support. OCCORD doesn’t have any evidence…because that is generally the case with false charges.

I guess egging government prosecutors to go after political opponents for non-existent crimes must dovetail into OCCORD’s mission of “bringing together workers, families, and community partners to organize and advocate for good jobs, strong communities, and inclusive democracy in Orange County.”

I’m curious why the lack of public ownership of this “bold” action? Especially if OCCORD leaders really believe there own accusations.

Last night, the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 against Mayor Tom Tait’s motion to cancel the city’s contract with the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce to administer the Anaheim Enterprise Zone.

The consensus opinion among the four “no” votes was since staff was already working with the Chamber on revising the contract’s scope in light of legislation ending the California Enterprise Zone program, which could entail the agreement evolving into an economic development partnership of the sort the Chamber has historically had with the city – then it made sense to wait for staff to come back to the council with a finished product for consideration.

 

So I’m reading through this letter from the lefty attorney Cory Briggs, whom OCCORD has dragged in an attempt to get state and county authorities to prosecute everyone on the Anaheim City Council except Mayor Tom Tait, and my first thought is, “Did this Briggs guys actually go to law school?”

I encourage you to read it, because there is no there, there. The allegations by OCCORD and Briggs barely rise to the level of guilt by association. If there were indeed any violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974, Briggs would have specified in his which sections have been transgressed. His omission is telling. Essentially, OCCORD and Briggs are asking state and local prosecutors to go on legal fishing expedition to find something on OCCORD’s political opponents (no wonder local gasbags are delighted with this: all innuendo and no substance – exactly their flavor).

Here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Attorney General Harris and District Attorney Rackauckas:

On behalf of Tina Quintana (a registered voter in the City of Anaheim) and Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, and pursuant to Government Code Section

91007, I am writing to request that you commence prosecutorial actions against Anaheim City Councilmembers Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, Lucille Kring, and Jordan Brandman for violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974 (“PRA”).

My clients believe that these four politicians violated the PRA for the following reasons:

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Yesterday was the deadline for filing Form 460s – campaign disclosure reports — covering contributions received and expenditures made from January 1 through June 30 of the Year of Our Lord 2013.

Anaheim City Clerk Linda Andal’s office is very good at uploading these reports very quickly. So far, the reports for Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman and Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman are online. Murray and Eastman are up for re-election next year.

“Gail Eastman for Council 2014” didn’t hold any fundraisers during the reporting period. She reported $10,209 cash-on-hand (COH) and no debt.

“Kring for City Council 2012”, who was elected last year, raised $21,972, spent $2,650.89, re-paid $37,500 of a $50,000 loan to her campaign from the Kring family Trust, and ended with $1,476 COH and remaining debt of $37,500 (to her family trust).

“Brandman for Anaheim City Council 2012” raised $6,962.73 in the first six months of this year, spent $15,683.75 and ended with a 682.52 COH and $15,000 in debt.

He also filed paperwork for his 2016 re-election committee on July 30.

I’ll update this post with Mayor Tom Tait’s and Councilwoman Kris Murray’s campaign reports when they become available.

UPDATE: Councilwoman Kris Murray‘s report shows very strong numbers: she raised $61,371.99, spent $2,239, and ended the period with $64,297.70 cash-on-hand and no debt.

UPDATE: I have the basic numbers from Mayor Tom Tait’s report: he raised $49,825; spent $18,298.25; and ended the period with $48,523.06 cash-on-hand and no debt. His report should be posted on the Anaheim City Clerk website tomorrow morning.

UPDATE:  The actual report for Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 is up.  The first thing that caught my eye was how much money his campaign spent, which is unusually high considering the election is a year-and-half away. Upon further examination, spending $5,267 now to lock down the Landslide Communications family of six conservative/Republican targeted slates is a smart move.

There was also an $1,158 expenditure on an anti-GardenWalk robocall that went out shortly before the vote on the amended GardenWalk agreement; hard to see how that will provide any benefit come November 2014 when GardenWalk is far away in the voters’ collective rear-view mirror.

The Kris Murray for Anaheim City Council 2014 has also been posted. I noticed a certain blog troll who used to live in Anaheim is having a hard time understanding how a candidate can raise $90,000 at a fundraiser and yet show less than that amount in her campaign report.

It’s really quite simple to understand by applying a modicum of brain power. Kris Murray’;s fundraisers was held on June 26 –a mere four days before the end of the filing period (June 30). The reality of fundraisers is not everyone who commits to buying a ticket a) physically shows up and/or b) pays right a away with a check.  The money raised continue to trickle in over time as donors make good on their commitments.

The fact that Kris was able to collect and deposit two-thirds of the money raised in several days is quite an accomplishment. In fact, she raised more money (the bulk in less than a week) more quickly than any other Anaheim candidate.

Curt Pringle

Curt Pringle

Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle has contacted Councilman Jordan Brandman to let him know he has decided to decline Brandman’s appointment of him to the Charter Review Committee, citing time and business commitments.

That’s a shame, because Curt would have been a true asset to the CRC, given his experience as mayor, knowledge of the charter and past experience in amending it, not mention sound judgment and intelligence.

The Voice of OC was quick to manifest its Pringle-obsession with this article, which veered quickly into its pet topics of claiming members of this temporary, advisory committee should be required to complete financial disclosure forms. This is a feeble argument for a proposal that is a not-even-thinly-veiled political ploy directed at Curt Pringle; more on why it is a bad and arbitrary idea later.

The article also wrings its figurative hands that no Latinos were among the five CRC appointees (while failing to note that only 6 of the 36 applicants were Latinos. ore “representation” requires that individuals step up and “represent.”)

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