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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.

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:

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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ruby heeled districtsThe Left continues to pour money into its effort to change the rules of how the Anaheim City Council is elected in order to produce elections results more to their liking, i.e. the election of left-of-center councilmembers to adopt left-of-center policies.

The latest donation comes from the Orange County Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE), which on Thursday, September 18 contributed $10,000 to the “yes on Measure L” campaign.  That brings the OC Labor Federation’s total contribution to the Measure L campaign to $20,000. So far, the unions and progressive political forces have put nearly a quarter of a million dollars into Measure L, which will end the at-large council election system and carve Anaheim into single-member council districts.

Does anyone not there believe that radical left-wing organizations like OCCORD and UNITE-HERE are funding this campaign to further the cause of limited government? Will we hear a single word of criticism about this  from Team Tait, which has based its campaign on “fighting outside special interests” even as it enthusiastically supports Measure L, which is being funded entirely by a flood of outside special interest money? 

Unite Here protestorsOf the thousands of hotel workers in the Anaheim Resort, only those at a few hotels are actually paying dues into UNITE-HERE Local 11 coffers. UNITE-HERE would love to change that, and to that end has been one of the main forces behind the push to change Anaheim City Council elections from at-large to by-district.

Yesterday, UNITE-HERE Local 11 poured more money into the “Yes on Measure L” campaign. In the last four days, the militant left-wing union made contributions of $13,254.82, $1,711.89 and $11,898.65. Given the specific amounts, it’s obvious UNITE-HERE Local 11 is paying for at least a couple of city-wide mailers.

That’s $26,865.36, on top of the $25,000 donated in August by UNITE-HERE Local 11, which is also the Yes on Measure L campaign’s landlord. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why UNITE-HERE is putting money into passing Measure L: because by-district elections provide path to changing the Anaheim City Council from majority-Republican to majority-Democrat and leveraging that power to unionize more hotel workers, which translates into more dues money for Democratic coffers. Furthermore, UNITE-HERE would like to get back into the Honda Center and re-unionize Anaheim Arena Management’s food service workers — and having a Democratic council majority as AAM’s landlord makes that easier. 

I invite any pro-Measure L Republican who out there who thinks the measure they are supporting will not help the Democrats and will not hurt the Republicans to send me a post explaining why, and I will post it. It would make for fascinating reading.

Speaking of the Yes on Measure L campaign, it filed paperwork this week to change its name from “Committee for District Elections – sponsored by One Anaheim,” to  Committee for District Elections – Yes on Measures L & M, Sponsored by Anaheim Neighborhoods Together, a Coalition of Labor, Business and Community Organizations.”  It’s a deceptive name since Measure L has no business support; it’s contributions have come entirely from union and left-wing political action committees.

Galloway Calle

Lorri Galloway was interviewed on September 5 on Fox News LA by anchor Tony McEwing and OC Register editorialists Brian Calle and Joseph Perkins, as part of a series of “You Decide 2014” interviews with local candidates.

I found it well worth watching. Not so much because one learns anything new about Lorri Galloway, but because one gets a better sense of how the OC Register editorial page will approach the Anaheim’s municipal elections.

In 2012, the libertarian conservative newspaper’s endorsed Anaheim council candidate John Leos — the anti-paycheck protection union activist on whose behalf the Orange County Employees Association spent north of $600,000 in two cycles, but whom Mayor Tom Tait endorsed after dropping Steve Chavez Lodge a few months before election.  

If body language is any indication, it seems OC Register is pre-disposed to endorse a “yes” vote on Measure L – even though shifting Anaheim city council elections from an at-large to by-district basis will lead to kind of municipal government policies the OC Register editorial page opines against.

At the 4:27 mark in the video, McEwing brings up by-district elections, and framing of the issue in a way that is informed by the liberal premises that authentic representation is a function of race and ethnicity, and at-large elections disenfranchise Latino voters. Calle nods vigorously throughout McEwing’s framing of the issue :

“Let me bring up another issue that is huge in Anaheim, and it’s the way the city elections are held, the electoral process, it is probably one of the major issues, and you have the ACLU, which certainly believes that the way elections are held, the at-large elections as opposed to district elections, has resulted in an under-representation of particularly minorities, Latinos in particular. Are you in favor of district-wide elections as opposed to at-large elections, the way their held now.”

I hope the OC Register does not endorse Measure L. The editorial board’s traditional fealty to limited government is not served by a left-wing political initiative intended to breakdown limitations on the scope of Anaheim city government. The editorial page’s long-time support for color-blind government stands in opposition to Measure L, which is fueled by a belief in color-conscious government. 

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Anaheim Insider here.

Last week the ACLU gave $10,000 to Measure L. That’s not surprising since the ACLU represented Jose F. Moreno in his CVRA lawsuit against the city. The settlement signed this January is why Measure L is on the ballot this November.

Here’s Moreno introducing Mayor Tom Tait at the January 8, 2014 press conference organized the ACLU and Moreno. After reaching out and embracing Moreno, the Mayor can barely contain his joy at what he calls a “victory” over the city by Moreno and the ACLU:

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ruby heeled districtsHere’s news for any conservatives and Republicans out there still clicking the heels of their ruby slippers together and telling themselves the campaign for by-district elections is NOT a left-wing political initiative to capture Anaheim city government: the ACLU of Southern California has donated $10,000 to the Committee for District Elections.

The Committee for District Elections is the “Yes on Measure L” campaign, Measure L being the ballot initiative to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts – which in turn is born of the Left’s frustration at being unable to elect Democrats to the Anaheim City Council under the at-large election system. Only one of three mayors and just three of 12 councilmembers elected in the last 20 years have been Democrats.  

Measure L is about putting an end to Anaheim’s status as the largest city in California with a Republican majority city council.

The ACLU joins the Orange County Labor Federation (the AFL-CIO chapter in OC), the PowerPac.org Voter Fund (a San Francisco-based left-wing “issues” group that “invests” in building “progressive infrastructure”), and OCCORD (an arm of the militant UNITE-HERE union) as funders of the Yes and Measure L campaign.

To date, all of Measure L’s donations come from left-wing groups from outside Anaheim.

That’s the reality – as opposed to the fantasy that Measure L is about good government and “neighbors election people from their neighborhoods” – unless you think 85,000 people is a “neighborhood.” 

powerpac no transparencyLast week I called PowerPac.org, the progressive “issues advocacy” group from San Francisco that has provided nearly half the funding ($45,000) for the Yes on Measure L campaign. I was hoping to connect with a spokesperson who could explain why PowerPac.org was so interested in changing how Anaheim elects its city council, and where the $45,000 came from. The person I spoke to said she’d pass my request on to their vice president, who would have someone call me with a response.

A week later and nothing.

In the interim, I called the Los Angeles office listed on PowerPac.org’s website and get a “This is not a working number” message. Same thing when I call PowerPac.org’s Washington DC office. I called the San Francisco office again and got an answering machine.

So, this morning I call the San Francisco office again. The same lady I spoke to last week answers the phone. I explain, again, who I am and that I’m calling about a donation PowerPac.org made to Anaheim initiative campaign; she responds as though she’s never talked to me before.

“I can pass on your request,” she tells me.

I explain that she had told me the same thing when I called the week before, and I’d never received a response.  She repeated that all she could do was pass on my request.

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Yesterday evening, I e-mailed this open letter to members of the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee:

Dear member of the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee:

With the November election is only 10 weeks away, there is an urgent need for clarity among Orange County Republican activists, donors and officeholders about the true political situation in Anaheim.  For more than two years, it has been obscured by the dynamics of ongoing conflict between the majority of the Anaheim City Council and Mayor Tom Tait centered on a few, specific areas of disagreement.

The outcome of Anaheim’s mayoral and council contests are important — but of greater long term consequence for the political trajectory of Anaheim and Orange County is Measure L, which would replace Anaheim’s current at-large council elections with a by-district system that is used in cities like Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

If Measure L passes, the Democratic Party will have established a beach head in Orange County’s largest, most important city – a beach head it would be almost impossible for the Republican Party of Orange County to reverse.

Consider these facts:

  • Anaheim is the 10th largest city in California
  • It is the largest city in the state with a Republican-majority city council.
  • Of its 123,823 voters, 38.9% are Democrats, 35.1% are Republican and 21.8% are NPP.
  • Since 1994:
    • Only 1 of Anaheim’s 3 mayors has been a Democrat
    • Only 3 of 12 councilmembers have been Democrats

Given liberal Democrats’ poor election track record under Anaheim ‘s traditional at-large election system, a coalition of left-wing interest groups and activists has been working since 2012 to enact a by-district election system. Under this scheme, Anaheim would be carved into 4 (or possibly 6) single-member council districts. Instead of being accountable to all Anaheim voters, council candidates would only be voted on by voters into their geographic districts.

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During the last few days, the Orange County Employees Association has donated $2,135 to the election campaign of Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees Al Jabbar, who was appointed to in 2013 to fill a vacancy created by Jordan Brandman’s election to the Anaheim City Council.

Jabbar, a Democrat, ran for the Anaheim City School District Board of Education in 2012 and got smoked. 

There’s nothing surprising about the OCEA donation. Jabbar, who is a county employee, is an OCEA shop steward and a past member of the OCEA Board of Directors and the OCEA Political Action Committee board. He’s one of the first local elected official the OCEA endorsed this year.

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The three initiatives on Anaheim’s November ballot have been christened with their letter names:

  • Measure L: whether to replace at-large council elections with by-district elections.
  • Measure M:  whether expand the city council from four to six members.
  • Measure N:  whether to amend the “Anaheim City Charter regarding water and electric rates be amended to: update language regarding financial reserves, reaffirm and authorize the transfer of money to the City’s general fund to support general City services, remove unnecessary language that duplicates a requirement of the California Constitution, and authorize programs to assist non-residential and residential customers?”

OC-Labor-FedOn August 7, the OC Labor Federation, via its Orange County Dignity PAC, contributed $10,000 to the Committee for District Elections, the committee running the campaign for by-district council elections.

So, we have another contribution from another liberal special interest group interested in carving Anaheim into single-member council districts. The OC Labor Federation joins OCCORD, San Francisco-based PowerPac.org and left-wing litigators from Northern California as funders of this effort to re-cast the politics of Anaheim city government.

Perhaps this will cause a few more scales to fall from the eyes of those Republicans who still refuse to see the campaign for by-districts in Anaheim for what it is: a campaign by the organized political Left to re-structure how Anaheim elects its council members in order to achieve permanent Democratic majorities.

Powerpac.org logoAs I reported last week, of the $101,100 reported by the campaign to convince Anaheim voters to adopt by-district council districts, not a penny comes from Anaheim.

93% of the “Committee for District Elections” funding is “dark money” – meaning its true sources are undisclosed. Half of that is from a liberal issues advocacy group from San Francisco – PowerPac.org.

The obvious question is why does a political interest group from the San Francisco Bay Area think changing the why far-away Anaheim elects its council is so important that it plows $45,000 into the effort?

PowerPac.org describes its mission as:

“direct[ing] financial and human resources to strategic local and state legislative fights, ballot initiatives, and other campaigns by organizing donors who are committed to social justice politics. We identify priority areas for investment and help donors achieve maximum political impact with their political giving.

Our process includes conducting research and analysis on the political landscape, identifying critical social justice issues to bring more voters – particularly voters of color – into the political process.

PowerPAC believes that the most effective way to build political power for historically underrepresented constituencies is to invest in long-term political infrastructure that can be mobilized for short-term victories.” [Emphasis added]

“Social justice politics” is left-wing jargon that translates into bigger government, redistributive taxation, and intensive regulation of the marketplace.

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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.

The Voice of OC published a story yesterday on an “Anaheim Youth Civic Summit” being held today and tomorrow, and sponsored by the Orange County Congregation Community Organization:

 The two-day training at Anaheim High School “seeks to educate youth with an introduction to civics and how the government works…and provide opportunities for youth to become civically engaged in Anaheim through experiential learning,” according to organizers with the Orange County Congregation Community Organization.

 Scheduled speakers include Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Mike Matsuda, Los Amigos of Orange County President Jose Moreno, Orange County Congregation Community Organization or OCCCO Executive Director Miguel Hernandez and Ryan Ruelas, founder of the student leadership group BROS.

In other words, Anaheim high school students get to spend two days being “educated” in politics by the liberal political activist superintendent of the AUHSD, the left-wing head of Los Amigos and a school board candidate and teachers union activist who is also a member of the State Council of the CTA – one of the most powerful special interest groups in the state – and the incumbent Republican mayor who is running for re-election and working with a left-wing coalition to pass a by-district council elections measure on the November ballot.
 
According to the OCCCO website:
The Anaheim Civic Youth Curriculum builds off the past success and covers five general areas:
 
1. Active Citizenship
2. Civics 101
3. Transformative Leadership
4. Knowing the Issue 
5. Taking Action
With generous support from the ACT (Accelerating Change Together) Grant the curriculum is being developed to increase civic engagement and participation among Anaheim’s most at-risk youth. Grounded in the Anaheim Civic Youth Baseline Survey, the curriculum seeks to educate youth with an introduction to civics and how the government works, it also seeks to influence current attitudes towards voting and participation and provide opportunities for youth to become civically engaged in Anaheim through experiential learning. [Emphasis added]
 
Maybe I’m jaundiced from years of watching how politics is conducted in our public schools, but events like this set of alarm bells for me.  OCCCO is a good-hearted, faith-based organization, but it’s politics are definitely left-of-center, as are those of almost all the speakers. This event sounds more like a two-day campaign volunteer recruiting seminar – especially for the by-district elections campaign. Moreno, Tait, Ruelas and OCCCO all actively support the passage of the by-district council elections initiative. Ryan Ruelas’ BROS youth group, for example, has been a presence of pro-council district rallies.
 
Even the “Anaheim Civic Youth Baseline Survey” that informs this summit tips the events politico-ideological hand:
Anaheim youth survey question
anaheim youth summit district elections questions
Funny how the issue of by-district elections keeps cropping up?
 
Encouraging our youth to be civically engaged is a good thing; a representative self-government depends upon an informed and engaged electorate understands the nature of representative government and the principles upon which the American Republic was founded. There is little of that in the “Anaheim Civic Youth Baseline Survey.”
 
However, engaging our youth in politics ought to be the job of political parties and other civic institutions, and ought to be kept clear of our K-12 public schools. The AUHSD certainly should be host of and participant in an ideologically-slanted event with all the markers of being thinly-veiled rally to recruit volunteers for the by-district elections campaign.
 
Following: photos from the March 22, 2014 rally in support of the by-district elections campaign, organized by OCCCO and OCCORD:
 
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Anaheim BROS, a youth group organized and moderated by Ryan Ruelas, AUHSDteacher, union activist and school board candidate.

Jose Moreno exhorting the faithful at OCCCO pro-districts campaign rally.

Jose Moreno exhorting the faithful at OCCCO pro-districts campaign rally.

Mishal Montgomery, aide to mayor Tom Tait, speaks at OCCCO pro-district rally.

Mishal Montgomery, aide to mayor Tom Tait, speaks at OCCCO pro-district rally.

ajd

OCCORD LogoOrange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) has announced the hiring of a new executive director to take the place of founding ED Eric Altman. Altman left OCCORD to lead the campaign to create a structural Democratic majority on the Anaheim City Council via by-district elections (in which endeavor he is inexplicably being aided by Mayor Tom Tait).

The new OCCORD honcho is Ann Werboff, a veteran of the union organizing and radical politics. Given that OCCORD’s self-professed mission is to turn Orange County blue and give our v iew of the role of government in our lives a hard shove to the Left, Werboff will fit right in.

For example, here’s the conclusion of a 2009 essay from the Review of Radical Political Economics, to which she contributed as a research assistant during her time in liberal academia:

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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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OCCORD LogoOn Monday, I reported the inaugural contribution to the pro-council districts campaign committee was $3,500 donation on May 9, 2014 from one of the lead attorneys suing Anaheim on behalf of Anaheim City School District (ACSD) Board of Education member Jose Moreno (who has successfully avoided running for re-election this November under a by-district system because he slow-walked their introduction into the ACSD).

I would have reported it two months ago, except the Committee for District Elections ( a spin-off of UNITE-HERE-spin-off OCCORD) never reported it to the Anaheim City Clerk. I happen to find it during a search of the Secretary of State’s CAL-ACCESS database – not where one would ordinarily go for information on contributions in Anaheim campaigns.

Although Morris Baller’s $3,500 check was received on May 9, the Committee for District Elections didn’t report it until May 12. Given that is was a late contribution, meaning it should have been reported within 24 hours.

Campaigns and committees sometimes miss reporting deadlines. As long as such omissions are the exception rather than the rule and are remedied in a timely fashion, then no harm, no foul. At the same time, it’s strange that the Committee for District Elections made its Form 410 Statement of Organization filings with the City Clerk – both before and after Mr. Baller’s contribution — it reported Baller’s contribution to the Secretary of State, instead.

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