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I reached out to Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley yesterday to find out the voter turnout in Anaheim for Tuesday’s primary election. The news isn’t very heartening:

Anaheim has 123,485 registered voters – very few of whom cast ballots in this election:

Anaheim turnout 6-3-14

In a disheartening manifestation of this low turnout, the first vote update from the ROV on Tuesday night increased the Anaheim vote count by only 14 votes.

Regardless of where one stood on Measure C, D and E, I think all would agree it is sad so few Anaheim voters exercised their voice on these proposed amendments to their city charter. In a Voice of OC article about the Measure D result, Mayor Tom Tait said “The people have spoken, and I think it shows that people are concerned about the effect of money and special interests on politics.”

 

You can certainly say some of the people have spoken – in this case, 14.8% of them. Also, I disagree with the mayor’s analysis – who the “special interests” are depends on which voters you talk to and their political leanings. However, one of the problems with such abysmal turnout is it undermines elections as indicators of what the voters want or don’t want, and their power to settle political issues. That isn’t spin directed at Tuesday’s results. It’s a lamentation over the corrosive effect low voter participation has on representative self-government.

Yesterday, Anaheim voters spoke on three proposed amendments to the city charter that emerged from the Charter Review Commission process. A bundle of largely technical fixes and updates to the charter (Measure C) won handily. The prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks was repealed, and a proposal to change the mayoral term from four to two years failed:

primary election results

 

Measure C has caused great angst among the loud-but-little knot of blog-based conspiracists who think everything is a well-orchestrated back-room deal. They convinced themselves Measure C was a sinister scheme by “special interests” to loot the city treasury – which begs the question of why that powerful (but imaginary) cabal didn’t mount a pro-C campaign if so much was at stake.

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IMG_8079The polls open in about 12 hours, and Election Day Anaheim voters will cast their ballot on the three charter amendments on tomorrow’s ballot.

TNT Fireworks put another $45,000 into the Yes on Measure E campaign, hoping to persuade Anaheim voters to repeal the charter’s prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks and allow the City Council to legalize them for sale and use. That brings TNT’s campaign expenditures on the Yes on Measure E campaign to $150,000.

There’s been some late, blog-based griping about legalizing fireworks, as Cynthia Ward and some of her gadflies complain that the Yes on E campaign has tried to address concerns about brush fire danger among Anaheim Hills – apparently not recognizing that Hills residents are next to open space and wilderness areas with there is brush, while the Colony is far away from those areas. Another complaint voiced is that it will be really hard to tell the difference between legal and illegal fireworks, thus making it hard for them to call the cops if they see someone using illegal fireworks. Here’s a helpful hint: illegal fireworks go up in the air and explode. Legal fireworks don’t.

And these are the folks who claim to the be true freedom-loving conservatives in town.

On the Measure D front, the Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 campaign paid for an IE robocall, recorded by my long-time friend Jon Fleischman, publisher of the influential state political blog FlashReport.org. Jon is also the president of California Term Limits. TheLiberalOC.com has a link to the robocall here (at the bottom of the post). Jon takes issue with on of the Yes on D campaign slogans, “Strengthens term limits”:

This is Jon Fleischman, president of California Term Limits, with a warning for Anaheim residents, and urging you to vote “No” on Measure D. Measure D is not term limits reform. Instead, it is an attempt by powerful special interests to prevent Mayor Tom Tait from uncovering their crony deals at City Hall. 

Please vote “No” on Measure D and protect Anaheim’s city treasury.

This message has been paid for by Tom Tait for Mayor 2014.

Gloriaski – why not say Measure D is an attempt by “powerful special interests” keep Mayor Tait from foiling their evil plan to fluoridate the city’s water supply and steal Anaheim’s women?  I mean, if one’s going to spin some campaign yarns, make them good ones!

IMG_8079The OC Register has published a round-up article on the three local ballot measure before Anaheim voters this Tuesday: Measures C, D and E.

Measure D would change the mayoral term from four year to two years; the global limit on eight consecutive years as mayor would remain unchanged.

The article quotes the three mayoral candidates views on Measure D:

Mayor Tom Tait:

“If a two-year term makes sense for the mayor, shouldn’t it also apply to council members who serve four-year terms? A four-year term allows time for a mayor to set goals and implement a vision. If a mayor were required to run every two years, a significant amount of time would be spent on running for re-election, rather than on the job of running the city. Due to the great expense of running for office in Anaheim, passing measure D would further empower special interests.”

Councilwoman Lucille Kring:

“If you have a mayor who is out of step with the will of the electorate, and people are upset about it, then it would make sense to have a two-year mayor. Four years can be a long time for some people, and sometimes the person holding the gavel is not a leader. If they’re doing a good job, then they will be elected. If not, then the people will have an opportunity to elect someone who will move the city forward.”

Former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway:

“The mayoral race is extremely expensive, because you’re running for the highest office in a large city, so people need to start raising money a year before the election. If a mayor’s term is only two years, then they will consistently spend their time raising funds rather than concentrating on their work for the people in this city. Plus, you can’t accomplish very much in two years, because there are projects and policies that could span an entire four years.”

The arguments advanced by Tait and Galloway are, in my opinion and with all due respect, flawed and don’t match up with reality.

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The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC has published its voter’s guide for the June primary: 

ACC voter guide for June 2014

MEASURE C — VOTE “YES”
Various Charter Amendments
Shall the Charter be amended to: modernize and remove outdated language to reflect changes in the City and law; authorize financial documents’ availability in electronic format; update matters regarding boards/commissions; allow setting City Manager compensation by agreement, resolution or ordinance; authorize methods for selling municipal property; permit City Council to delegate Treasurer’s appointment/removal to City Manager; allow Treasurer and Finance Director to be the same person upon Council approval?

REASON FOR OUR POSITION
Measure C makes several modifications to the City Charter. These modifications are designed to streamline our local government, create additional financial safeguards, close potential loopholes, and increase transparency at City Hall.

For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure C.

MEASURE D — VOTE “YES”
Change to Term of Office – Mayor
Shall Anaheim City Charter Sections 500 and 504 be amended to change the term of office of the Mayor from four years to two years, and to clarify how “eight years of service” is determined for the purpose of calculating term limits for someone serving as Mayor by also amending Section 503.5?

REASON FOR OUR POSITION
Measure D is a simple and straightforward measure:
• Changes Anaheim Mayor term to two years
• Increases accountability by requiring the Mayor to face voters every two years
• Limits Mayor to eight years in office
• This is the same as every other City in Orange County with a Directly-Elected Mayor
• Allows voters to reaffirm a good Mayor or more quickly remove a bad Mayor
• Strengthens Anaheim’s Term Limit Law
• Keeps Mayors focused on our priorities – keeping Anaheim safe bringing jobs to our city, and improving neighborhoods
For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure D.

MEASURE E — VOTE “YES”
Safe and Sane Fireworks
Shall Anaheim Municipal Code Section 6.40.030, which prohibits (bans) the retail sale, possession or use of safe and sane fireworks in the City of Anaheim except pursuant to a public display permit issued by the Fire Chief, be repealed and the City Council granted the authority to regulate safe and sane fireworks?

REASON FOR OUR POSITION
We support Measure E because it:
• Restores Anaheim traditions by allowing Anaheim residents to participate in a long-standing holiday tradition of celebrating our freedom
• Supports Anaheim’s Community by allowing the legal sale of Safe and Sane fireworks by charitable organizations that get to keep a large portion of the profits
• Is safe for the community by allowing residents to purchase fireworks specifically authorized by the state government
• Provides major benefits to Anaheim by not forcing residents to celebrate the Fourth of July in neighboring cities
• Received unanimous support by Anaheim City Council
• Allows City Council to continue to restrict fireworks from areas (such as Anaheim Hills) where Fire Chief recommends
For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure E.

Anaheim Insider here.

10 days ago or so, Mayor Tom Tait recorded a robocall to voters, in which he attacked Measure D as being backed by “outside special interests.”

The robocall was an independent expenditure from the Mayor’s re-election campaign committee, and therefore triggered a requirement that IE expenditure report his campaign is mandated to file must also include all donors who have given his campaign more than $100 since 2014.

An examination of this report shows that 93% of the campaign money Tait has raised this year for his re-election are from outside of Anaheim. Isn’t it disingenuous to attack Measure D as a tool of “outside special  interests” with a robocall paid for by outside special interests, some of whom have contracts with the City of Anaheim?

Anaheim voters have received a second mail piece asking them to vote “yes” on Measure D, which would change the term for Anaheim mayors from four to two years, while limiting him or her to four consecutive two-year terms – preserving the current limit of eight consecutive years as mayor:

MeasureD-8.5x11-Mailer-Version2-Final-Cropped_Page_1

Here’s the official argument in favor of Measure D, and the official argument against.

If approved by the voters in June, Measure D would be into effect immediately, meaning all the mayoral candidates would be running for a two-year term in November, instead of a four-year term.

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mailmanThe highest profile measure on the Anaheim ballot this June is Measure D, which would shift the mayor’s term from four years to two years; the mayor would still be limited to eight consecutive years in office, however.

Thus far, the battle has been confined to the ubiquitous slate mailers. The Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 campaign purchased space on some slates for “No on D” while the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC purchased slates for “Yes on D.” Looking at the slates that have been landing in mailboxes, the “Yes” side seems to be on more slates – but it’s hard to quantify the impact and it’s probably a wash on that front.

The “No on D” campaign reports taking in $1,975 in two donations: $975 from Mayor Tait, and $1,000 from James Vanderbilt – the AUHSD trustee who is Tait’s candidate for council this November and who has quickly become the mayor’s Man Friday. $349 was spent on a robocall that went out about 10 days ago, and $1,042 on signs. The latter is enough to have COGS print them but not enough to have COGS puts them up. “No on D” will have to rely on volunteers to put up sing, which would explain why you hardly see any of them.

The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC has already sent out a mailer that hit this weekend:

first yes on d mailer

 

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Anaheim Insider here.

Mayor Tom Tait paid for a robocall a few days ago, urging Anaheim voters to oppose Measure D, which would amend the city charter so the mayor serves a maximum of four consecutive two-year terms, rather than the present two consecutive four-year terms. If adopted by Anaheim voters, it would go into effect immediately and Tait, Lucille Kring and Lorri Galloway would be running for a four- rather than two-year term in November.

Mayor Tait attacks Measure D as Trojan Horse for “outsider special interests,” which is a unique argument considering the lead signer of the “yes” argument is a life-long resident of Anaheim, and the other signer is a longstanding community leader in west Anaheim. Compounding the irony is the fact that Anaheim voters are being warned against “outside special interests” by a robocall being auto-dialed from Merced…300 miles away.

The OC Register editorial board is rolling out its endorsements for the June primary ballot. Weighing in on the three proposed amendments to Anaheim’s city charter: Measures C,D and E, the OCR editorial board got two out of three correct.

The OCR supports a “yes” vote on Measure C (a bundle of largely technical modifications to the charter); and on Measure E – which would legalize the sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks in Anaheim. The endorsement of E is no surprise, given the Register’s long-standing support for the legalization of fireworks.

Where the editorial board got it wrong, in my opinion, was in opposing Measure D, which would change the mayor’s term to two-years. The reasons the newspaper cites for opposing it:

The change would take effect immediately, rather than after Mayor Tom Tait has been elected to and served a second term

  • Concern that Measure D “will do nothing more than clip Mayor Tait’s wings.”
  • The editorial also expressed the suspicion that Measure D was “political gamesmanship” aimed at a single person – Mayor Tait.

The irony here is that by basing its opposition not on concern for how Measure D might affect the office of mayor, but out of concern for how it might affect a specific individual – the OCR editorial board is committing, in principle, the same sin of which it suggests Measure D proponents are guilty.  Tom Tait is not the last mayor Anaheim will ever have, and the city will have a different mayor in December of 2014, 2016 or 2018.

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Why is this man smiling?

Why is this man smiling?

The first independent expenditures of the 2014 Anaheim election season came from the Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 committee, which made $4,999 in IEs between March 26 and April 25 buying “No on Measure D” spots on slate mailers for the June primary election.

The Form 496 filed for the IE also offer an early glimpse at Tait’s mayoral fundraising since the New Year: since the mayoral/council election isn’t until November, campaign reports ordinarily would be due until June 30. According to the report, Tait’s 2014 fundraising has been robust, adding $51,099 to his re-election war chest – the bulk of it in March and April.

When you consider Tait raised $84,574 during all 12 months of 2013, his haul this year is pretty impressive – especially for someone who really doesn’t like fundraising. The IE filing only lists contributions and not expenses, so it’s hard to say what the Tait for Mayor cash-on-hand is – but I’d guess it’s a little over $100,000 at this point. 

A question prompted by this expenditure is whether it’s the beginning of a larger IE effort by the Tait for Mayor committee to defeat Measure D, or merely nailing down slates until there’s money in the newly-established Committee Against Measure D. 

Vote-by-mail ballots went out today. It’s a pretty safe bet that well over 50% of Anaheim voters will cast VBMs this June, we’ll find out pretty soon how much of his re-election funds Mayor Tait will put into beating Measure D.

Stay tuned.

The day after the radical non-profit OCCORD formed the Committee for District Elections to fight for single-member council districts, allied individuals formed the “Committee Against Measure D.”

Measure D is the charter amendment on the June ballot that would change the mayoral term from four to two years.

The principal officer is Anaheim City School District Board of Education member James Vanderbilt; he is also running for city council on Mayor Tom Tait’s slate and signed the ballot arguments against Measure D. The treasurer is Helen Myers, a friend of Cynthia Ward, treasurer of a political action committee formed last year by Ward, and was treasurer of millionaire developer Tony Bushala’s Fullerton Recall PAC.

Continuing our series of posts (here, here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

We urge you to Vote Yes on Measure D to bring greater accountability to the Mayor’s office and strengthen Anaheim’s term limits law.

Common sense says a two-year term brings greater responsiveness to the Mayor’s office. Yes on Measure D does that.

An effective Mayor should have no problem seeking voter approval every two years. Longer terms don’t make for better leaders. Good mayors can accomplish a lot in two years, while a bad mayor will accomplish nothing in four years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continuing our series of posts (here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

Vote “NO” on Measure D.

An overwhelming majority, over 70% of Anaheim, has already decided the mayor should have four years to speak for the people.

So who’s wasting our time with a question to which we already know the answer?

Special interests.

Why?

Their best argument is that two years is how they do things in the fine cities of Orange and Irvine. They say it increases accountability.

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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:

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

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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The most contentious local measure on the June ballot will be Measure D – a measure to change the mayor’s term from four to two years, based on the recommendation of the Charter Review Committee.

Following is the Argument in Favor that voters will receive in the sample ballots. I’ll be posting the Argument Against and the rebuttals against both arguments. Let the debate begin!

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

If there’s one thing voters want from their elected leaders, it’s greater accountability. Measure D does that for Anaheim’s most important elected position – our Mayor. Please vote YES.

Unlike many initiatives, Measure D is simple and straightforward. It changes the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years, and applies the city’s term limits fairly to the Mayor.

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