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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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Welcome to SimAnaheim - it's six cities in one!

Welcome to SimAnaheim – it’s six cities in one!

Now that Measure L has been approved by Anaheim voters, how will it be implemented? The settlement agreement between the city and the ACLU spells out the steps that have to take place:

First, the city council must adopt a resolution establishing the process for drawing “councilmanic” districts. [NOTE: council districts would have been drawn regardless of the Measure L outcome, since the city council voted last year to move to from-district council elections beginning in 2016.]

The next step is the appointment of an advisory committee to “assist in the development of district maps to recommend for adoption.” The advisory committee is to consist of three retired judges who live and are registered to vote in Anaheim. If the city is unable to find three such judges willing to serve, then the council will appoint an advisory Committee of up to nine registered Anaheim voters who “shall be broadly representative…of the demographics, geographic, socio-economic and other communities of interest” in Anaheim (you can bet OCCORD is working up an applicant pool). There’s a recipe of racial bean-counting and contention over whether or not someone is “really” Latino or whatever. Perhaps the Moreno v. Anaheim plaintiffs could volunteer examine the birth certificates and research the ancestry of advisory committee applicants. What was that Martin Luther King Jr. said about being judged by the “content of our character” and not “the color of our skin”? And since state law essentially considers something so fundamental as gender to be “self-assigned,” why shouldn’t race or ethnicity – which is far more malleable – be self-assigned, as well? 

But I digress.

Here’s an interesting proviso in the settlement agreement: advisory committee members will be required to file a written declaration that they will not run for city council in 2016 or 2018 – “in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest” and to make sure the recommended district lines are “free of any personal goals or desires of its individual members to run for a seat on the City Council.”

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Leftist council candidate Jose F. Moreno finished a distant fourth place last week, despite the generous financial assistance of rich San Francisco Bay Area progressives. The newly-minted Democrat and Tom Tait ally declined to seek re-election to the Anaheim City School District Board off Education to make a run for the Anaheim City Council, and was the the de facto second member of the Tait Slate following Doug Pettibone’s lightning implosion. There was some speculation Moreno might make it by virtue of being the sole Democrat on the ballot with a credible campaign, combined with the $100,000 Tait Family/Ahmanson IE against Kris Murray and Gail Eastman. Moreno’s campaigned on more-or-less the same campaign themes as Tait and James Vanderbilt, but he was a left-wing proponent of color-conscious politics running in a Republican year when Anaheim’s voting electorate leaned Republican.

While Moreno’s defeat was a tactical defeat for the Left in Anaheim, passage of Measure L was a strategic victory and the most consequential result of last week’s election – not just for Anaheim, but for Orange County. The Yes on L and M campaign’s mail and ground game, funded by more than $350,000 from outside union and progressive political interests – and with support from the Tait Family Trust and Howard Ahmanson IE campaign — won a campaign based on promises of responsive government, better streets, trimmed tree and pledges of a better, brighter future for all God’s children. It reminded me of Measure W – the campaign that promised Orange Countians a huge, fabulous, world-class Orange County Great Park at no cost to taxpayers. The promises of the Measure L campaign carry the same value.

Measure L won by 37 points, but its companion initiative, Measure M, only passed by 8 points – even though the official “Yes” campaign urged voters to approve both measures.

Measures L and M results 11-10-14

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The Orange County Register editorial board is advocating a “No” vote on Measure L, which would carve up Anaheim into a by-district system for electing the city council:

Come 2016, Anaheim voters will select their City Council candidates on the basis of residency districts – candidates will need to reside in a geographic district, but they will face voters citywide. This council-approved compromise combines the local loyalty of a district-resident candidate with entire electorate’s expectation that council members to legislate on behalf of all Anaheim.

Measure L on the Nov. 4 ballot seeks to disrupt this arrangement, and, thus, the Register encourages a No vote.

Measure L would localize special interests in the city, freeing candidates from having to make their case to the whole of Anaheim. The measure would change council elections to a “by district” arrangement where candidates must not only live in their district, but be elected solely by the residents of their district.

With one candidate per district, Anaheim residents would be left with only the mayor as their sole at-large representative. This level of disunity seems undesirable for California’s 10th-largest city – the most populous in the county.

It is a worry of the Register that such a system leads to a Balkanizing of the city, where council members only look inward at the needs of their districts rather than the whole city. This can lead to a level of dysfunction that has been seen in a number of cities with district elections – including the bankrupt city of San Bernardino.

You can read the rest of the editorial here.

This is a welcome editorial and the OC Register is, of course, correct to recommend a “no” vote. At the same time, one can’t help but be curious why the editorial board waited until the day before the election to publish its position in Measure L, which has greater long-term consequences in terms of Orange County policy and politics than anything else on the ballot in OC. The editorial board found its voice on Measure N – which decided whether or not to continue a utility rate transfers into the general fund – two weeks ago.  Yet, the editorial board waited to publish its opposition to Measure L when its position when it would have the least influence on voters. 

On the bright side, the editorial does lead with a critical piece of information of which most Anaheim voters (in my opinion) are not aware: if Measure L loses, Anaheim will still have district elections, but not the by-district elections – which reduce voter representation on the city council – advocated by the out-of-town left-wing coalition behind Measure L. Instead, council candidate will have to live in and run from geographic districts, but they will be voted on by all Anaheim voters. This balances geographic representation without reducing citizen representation on the council and ensuring councilmembers remain accountable to all voters.

However, for that to happen, voters will have to reject Measure L.

Cynthia Ward Measure L flip-flop


Anaheim voters received a “Yes on L and M” mailer on Friday with a photograph Anaheim gadfly Cynthia Ward and her husband on the front along with the words “We Love Anaheim. That’s why we’re supporting Measures L & M.”

Ms. Ward’s loves Anaheim so much that she has filed expensive lawsuits against it twice in the last year: for example, to stop the much-needed expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Yes on L Cynthia Ward flip-flop mailer 10-31-14_Page_2


Leaving aside this strange demonstration of affection, Ward’s stance on by-district council elections is exactly the opposite of what she told the OC Register in 2012:

Cynthia Ward, 46 and a lifelong resident of Anaheim, is not one of [those supporting by-district elections].

“Do we want to create a lot of special-interest districts and become like Los Angeles or Chicago?” she asked. “You’re going to have people saying, ‘Hey, you got a substation, I want a park for my area.’ “

“Districts will create pork,” she added. “Just like Washington, but on a smaller scale.”

Ward was actually correct in 2012. Since Ward executive this stark, dramatic flip-flop in 2013, it took her less than a year to do a 180-degree turn on by-district elections – going from believing they will be horrible for Anaheim to saying the way to show one’s love for Anaheim is to support by-district elections. It doubtless makes it easier for her to be a fervent acolyte and apologist for everything Mayor Tait says and does. Otherwise, it would be difficult to tell voters he is the greatest force for good in Anaheim while simultaneously saying he’s trying to turn Anaheim into special-interest porkfest like Los Angeles.  

This mailer was sent by the “Yes on L” campaign, which is entirely funded by unions and left-wing political interests committed to “building progressive political infrastructure” in California. These out-of-town special interests love Anaheim so much they want to re-structure its council elections and turn it into a Democratic bastion. This makes Ward’s lending herself to this cause especially ironic, since Ward is the executive vice president of the Anaheim Republican Assembly and continually inveighs (along with Measure L’s GOP front man, Mayor Tait) against the influence of outside special interests on Anaheim government and politics. Then again, consistency and constancy have never been her strong suits.

The Tait for Mayor campaign posted this photo on its Facebook page this week:

Tait promoting Moreno on campaign FB

Why take a photo of Mayor Tom Tait with council candidate Jose Moreno thanking him “for his leadership” and post it on the Tait campaign Facebook page for the benefit of Tait campaign supporters – rather than on his non-campaign mayoral Facebook page? The Tait campaign doesn’t throw random photos on its Facebook page. Any savvy campaign knows this gives the impression of a support for the pictured candidate as voters are making up their minds and filling out their ballots; each FB post communicates a deliberate political message. The message here is Tom Tait is supporting Jose F. Moreno, a leftist who practices race-identity politics, for the Anaheim City Council.

The question of whether Tait is supporting Moreno’s council candidacy has been a topic of conversation in Anaheim political circles for some time, intensifying after the second member of the Tait council candidate slate, Doug Pettibone, evaporated from the race. The consensus opinion is that he is. The two men have become political allies in recent years and Moreno has endorsed Tait for re-election. Their campaigns share volunteers in common, and where one sees a Tait yard sign, it is usually accompanied by a Moreno sign. Tait wants to elect two political allies to the city council; he isn’t exerting all this money and energy to go from being a minority of one to a minority of two. 

A few days ago, I spoke with a prominent leader in Orange County conservative politics who confirmed that Tait is supporting Moreno’s election, because the mayor told him as much earlier this month.

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Gloria Ma’ae is a long-time resident of Anaheim’s flatlands who is active in the civic affairs of the city. When the City Council appointed the Anahem Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) on Elections and Public Participation in 2012 following the ACLU-Jose F. Moreno lawsuit seeking the imposition of by-district council elections without a vote of the people, Gloria applied and was appointed.

The CAC’s charge was to study the city’s election system and make recommendations to the council for improving public participation and on what, if any, changes should be made to how the council is elected. [it’s worth noting here that Mayor Tait’s two appointees were both partisan Democrats.] By her own account, Gloria began the process with a truly open mind on the question of at-large versus district elections. After nearly 9 months of hearing from elections and other experts and (the relatively) few residents who spoke – and witnessing the active campaign by OCCORD and UNITE-HERE to manipulate the process —  Gloria concluded that by-district elections would be divisive and ill-serve good government in Anaheim.

Gloria is one of six community leaders who signed the ballot argument against Measure L. She isn’t a big donor or power player – just a resident who cares about her city and who clearly sees the destructive path down which OCCORD, UNITE-HERE, Tom Tait and an assortment of Bay Area leftists want to take Anaheim.

In this video she is speaking at the October 7 city council meeting, urging a “No” vote on Measure L:

Ron Bengochea is a life-long resident of Anaheim and a committed (although I believe now retired) union member and activist. I add the latter for those tempted to dismiss him as “Tea Partier.”  He was one of the few Anaheim residents to faithfully attend meetings of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, at which he always took the opportunity to address the committee on the why by-district elections offer only the mirage of more responsive government, In his experience dealing with city councils elected on a by-district basis, he found them to be the opposite: squabbling, parochial and unresponsive, 

Here he is speaking at the Septmeber 23 meeting of the Anaheim City Council, offering wise counsel stemming from experience and common sense on why by-district elections will be bad for Anaheim and urging a “no” vote on Measure L:

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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Lincoln_Club_OC_LogoThe Lincoln Club of Orange County has voted to oppose Measure L and urges Anaheim residents to vote “no” on the union/progressive political project.  According to the Lincoln Club voter guide:

Anaheim – Vote NO on Measure L. Measure L is a union ploy to turn Anaheim into the next Los Angeles with higher taxes and a unionized work force. Breaking the city into districts will not give residents more democratic power; it will reduce representation from 5 council members elected by all voters to 1 council member representing only his/her district.”

Well put. The Lincoln Club is a conservative, rather than partisan, organization of successful business leaders “who share a common belief in the virtue of a government which is limited.” As such, they recognize what Measure L, if adopted, portends for Anaheim: the ascendancy of politicians and political forces who, at their core, apprehend no intrinsic limits on governmental power.  In Anaheim’s case, this would manifest itself in the kinds of municipal policies characterizing cities such as Los Angeles and Oakland. 

The political Left recognizes this as well, which is why they have been pushing this project for the last two years. It’s a shame Mayor Tom Tait disregard blind to the political and policy consequences and is serving as chief Republican spokesman for what the Lincoln Club sees to be a “union ploy.”

moneyriveIt’s been a week or so since we’ve checked in on the outside special interest money rolling in for Measure L, which would replace the current at-large election system with by-district elections. If Measure L passes, Anaheim voters would go from having four representatives on the city council to only one.

On October 1, the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) chipped in with $5,000 – not large by OCEA standards. The Anaheim Municipal Employees Association is an affiliate of the OCEA.

I noted already how another local left-wing non-profit, the Orange County Congregation Community Organization served as a vehicle for funneling $20,000 from The Tides Center, an ultra-left outfit in San Francisco that is tied to George Soros and the Occupy movement. 

Also, $20,000 from the Korean Resources Center of Los Angeles.

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The Yes on L and M campaign appears to be afraid of its own initiatives.

This mailer has been landing in mail boxes this week:

Yes on L and M mailer week of 10-4-14_Page_2


What is intriguing about this mailer is that nowhere does it tell voters what Measures L and M actually do! Which raise the question: why wouldn’t the the leftists running the “Yes on L and M” campaign go to such length to avoid telling voters that Measure L would limit them to one representative on the Anaheim City Council, and that Measure M would increase the size of the city council by two members?

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Jose Moreno, the left-wing (newly-minted) Democrat running for Anaheim City Council, has had strong words regarding the influence of outside special interests on Anaheim politics in this July 25, 2013 post on his Facebook page:

hypocrisy on outside interests

As of today, approximately $355,000 has been poured into the “Yes on Measure L” campaign, an attempt by a coalition of progressive political interest groups and unions to abolish Anaheim’s at-large council elections and replace it with a by-district system. Nearly all of that money comes from outside Anaheim – much of it from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC.

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tides center logoThe left-wing campaign to end Anaheim’s at-large council district system and replace it with by-district elections lurched a little further to the Left this week.

The Tides Center, a leftist non-profit based in San Francisco, has funneled $20,000 into this campaign via a new “Yes on L and M” committee set-up by Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO).  Since OCCCO is located in Anaheim, it creates the illusion of pro-Measure L actually coming from Anaheim for a change, but in reality OCCCO’s committee is just serving as a pass through.

The Tides Center is a truly radical organization. In 2013, in dispensed $70 million in grants in the US, primarily to left-wing non-profit groups. The fact that it is interested in enough in re-structuring Anaheim council elections to donate $20,000 ought to be of deeply troubling to Republicans and conservatives in Orange County. Groups like The Tides Center are diametrically opposed to understanding of the relationship between citizen and government upon which this Republic was founded. For example, The Tides Center is supportive of the Zinn Education Project, whose mission to “educate” young Americans into believing the history of their country is basically a history of not very special country of wealthy, racists white people exploiting and oppressing everyone else.

Here’s an excerpt from a 2011 article by then-CEO Melissa Bradley on why The Tides Center supports Occupy Wall Street:

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Campaign contributions from outside of Anaheim continue pouring into the left-wing campaign to change how Anaheim citizens elect their city council.

The Korean Resource Center of Los Angeles has contributed $20,000 to the Yes on Measure L campaign. I called the KRC to ask why it is involving itself in a campaign to change Anaheim city council elections from at-large to by-district, and was put through to Director of Digital Yong Ho Kim.

Mr. Kim said KRC has been working with OCCORD, OCCCO and other groups on “civic engagement” and “voter education” (I used quotes because those are rubrics under which progressive non-profits obtain grant money for to engage in political activity) for several years – mainly in Buena Park and  Fullerton, and to a lesser degree in Anaheim and Garden Grove.  The KRC has an office in Buena Park.

Mr. Kim said the KRC’s donation was a “contract grant” to the Yes on Measures L and M campaign to fund educating Korean-American voters in Anaheim to support by-district elections and enlarging the city council.

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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):


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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Unite Here protestorsThe only unionized hotels in Anaheim are the Anaheim Hilton, the Disneyland Resort properties and the Sheraton Park Hotel. Most of the thousands of hotel workers in the Anaheim Resort area are non-unionized. 

UNITE-HERE Local 11 wants to change that, which is why they have been one of the driving forces (along with their off-shoot organization OCCORD) behind what has become Measure L – the initiative to replace at-large council elections with by-district elections. Pro-union, left-of-center candidates have had little success getting elected to the Anaheim City Council. UNITE-HERE supports by-district elections as a means to elected Democratic candidates who will boost their organizing efforts by adopting Los Angeles-style ordinances such as the $15.37 hotel worker minimum wage the LA City Council approved last week

Fresh off that union win in L.A., UNITE-HERE Local 11 executive board member and contract organizer Austin Lynch has been sent to down to Anaheim to help with the big push, according to sources. That’s an indication of UNITE-HERE Local 11’s focus on doing in Anaheim what is has done in Los Angeles.

The Orange County Labor Federation’s (OCLF) top two 2014 election priorities are:

1) Re-Elect Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva

2) Adoption of by-district council elections in Anaheim.

This is according a presentation in January 2014 – several days after the City of Anaheim-ACLU settlement agreement placing by-district elections on the ballot – by the OCLF, entitled “Analysis of the 2014 Elections In Orange County”:

OCLF Presentation AFSCME 36 - priorities slide


So, nine months ago, the AFL-CIO chapter in Orange County decided that changing how Anaheim citizens elect their city council was second in importance only to preserving the Democratic super-majority in the Assembly. Since OCLF campaign support is given almost exclusively to Democrats, the upshot is it sees Measure L as a prime opportunity to permanently end the Republican council majorities that have governed Anaheim. Since then, the OCLF has contributed at least $20,000 to the Yes on Measure L campaign.

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rojasYesenia Rojas, an SEIU-USWW organizer from Anna Drive who has become a de facto media spokesperson for that neighborhood and an active supporter of by-district council elections, as arrested this morning by Anaheim police. According to posts by her network of supporters and friends on Facebook, Rojas was brought in on an outstanding warrant for either interfering with the justice of the police, i.e. obstruction of justice.

Rojas was released on $10,000 bail at approximately 11:00 p.m.; the OC Labor Federation reportedly assisted with posting the bail. 

Council candidate and anti-police activist Donna Acevedo led the social media rally to get Rojas released. On Acevedo’s Facebook page, another anti-police activist, Zia Back, advised:

“Converge at the station. They will freak out and let her go.”

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sf to anaheim Voter Fund, a progressive political advocacy group based in San Francisco, has donated another $5,000 to the Yes on Measure L campaign, which seeks to replace the current at-large system for electing the city council with a by-district system.

Currently, each Anaheim voter is represented by the mayor and four council members who are accountable to them. If Measure L succeeds, each voter will have their representation reduced to a single member of the city council, and will have no vote on the other councilmembers.

The Voter Fund has already given $45,000 to the Yes on Measure L campaign, part of a trend of unions and progressive political organizations from outside of Anaheim – and in some case from outside the state — financing this measure to re-write the rules on how Anaheim citizens elect their city council. Thus far, not a single dime of Measure L financing has come from within Anaheim.

At some point, one would expect the Tait-Vanderbilt-Pettibone – not to mention Jose F. Moreno — to condemn this, give they are basing their campaigns on opposing the influence of outside special interests trying to control the politics of Anaheim.

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