You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘aclu’ tag.

morris baller captionFor anyone still suffering from the delusion that the campaign for by-district council elections in Anaheim is some home-grown, kitchen-table, grass-roots effort, may I present the inaugural contribution to the Committee for District Elections – sponsored by One Anaheim: a check for $3,500 from one Morris Baller, a liberal litigator from Oakland.

And who is Morris Baller?

He’s an $805-an-hour partner in the “public interest class action” law firm of Goldstein, Borger, Dardarian & Ho  the same firm which – along with the ACLU — represented Jose Moreno and his allies in their attempt to force the adoption of by-district elections via litigation.

It’s the same Morris Baller who pocketed about $250,000 in fees, courtesy of Anaheim taxpayers, as a result of the settlement agreement that put by-district elections on the November ballot. So we have the city cutting a check to one of Moreno’s left-wing lawyers, who then kicks back $3,500 of his winnings to Moreno’s comrades at the OCCORD-run Committee for District Elections.

Neat-o.

Ironically, Baller argued in this September 4, 2012 letter to the City of Anaheim that he and his clients Moreno et al considered putting the question of by-district council elections to a city-wide vote to be inherently discriminatory toward Latino voters. But fiddle-de-dee! With the Left it’s all about the ends – the means don’t have to be logical or intellectually honest.

The campaign report for the Committee for District Elections, which shares an address (and according to the above 497 filing a phone number) with the left-wing political advocacy group OCCORD, will be available at the end of the month. Anyone want to guess how much of the reported donations will come from left-wing unions, individuals and organizations? And how few of those will hail from Anaheim?

rubin $264KThe lawsuit filed by Jose Moreno et al and the ACLU against the City of Anaheim demanding the imposition of single-member council districts by judicial fiat, claimed the city was in violation of the California Voting Rights Act. One of the attorney’s sharing in the $1.22 million the city is paying as part of the lawsuit settlement is Robert Rubin.

Rubin, along with another left-wing lawyer, Joaquin Avila, authored the CVRA. Since the laws enactment in in 2002, Rubin has traveled the state filing, threatening to file or participating in CVRA lawsuits against cities and school districts. Conveniently, when defendants lose or settle CVRA lawsuits, they have to reimburse the plaintiffs for legal fees and expenses incurred.

According to Wikipedia, Rubin and Avila and their fellow litigators) have collected $4.3 million in fees from three cases. Who know one could rich fighting for the poor and disenfranchised?

Rubin was also part of the team suing Anaheim, and according to city documents he was demanding to be reimbursed at the kingly rate of $825 per hour! He billed 341.4 hours to “supervise all aspects of the case including legal/ litigation strategy and filings, argue/ attend hearings and city council meetings, correspond with opposing counsel” – which would have brought his haul to $281,655! Yowza.

As it is, Rubin settled for a mere $775 per hour, meaning he will pocket $264,585.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jose F. Moreno

Jose F. Moreno

UPDATED: After consulting an expert legal mind about the nuanced language of the staff report, the settlement agreement’;s restrictions on single-member district ballot arguments isn’t as draconian as I initially concluded. I’ve revised the post accordingly.

Apparently, the commitment of single-member council districts to “authentic representation” doesn’t extend to free and unfettered debate with opponents.

Item 18 on tomorrow night’s Anaheim City Council agenda deals with placing on the November ballot the proposed charter amendments to re-structure the city council. One of those is the single-member council districts charter amendment, being put on the November ballot pursuant to the settlement agreement with the ACLU and plaintiffs Jose Moreno et al. Interestingly, the ACLU and the plaintiffs included some very political demands designed to tilt the campaign playing field in their direction.

According to the staff report:

As one of the actions being taken tonight, the Council should identify two or more members of the City Council to write the arguments. Agreement provides that the selected members must be those that “support a change in the City’s electoral system to ‘by-district’ elections.” This resolution prohibits Council members from using their City titles for identification as an author in the signature block of any written argument or rebuttal argument except for those Council members authorized by this resolution to write the argument in favor of the single member district Charter amendment measure. [emphasis in the original]

And indeed, the settlement agreement stipulates just that (page 2, second paragraph):

Neither the City Council , nor any of its members, shall file a ballot Argument against the [by-district] Charter Amendment measure pursuant to Elections Code 9282(b).

In other words, only councilmembers allowed to sign ballot arguments on this issue – in an official capacity, using their titles — are Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman – sort of a ballot argument-version of gerrymandering.

For folks who tirelessly portray themselves as speaking for “the people,” it’s very revealing that proponents have so little confidence in the appeal of single-member council districts to Anaheim voters that they proactively sought to exclude Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilmembers Gail Eastman and Lucille Kring from signing ballot arguments against by-district elections.

As part of the settlement between the city and the ACLU the left-leaning group’s lawsuit seeking single-member districts for Anaheim City Council elections, the city has to pay the ACLU’s legal costs, which are reportedly to be $1 million. Single-member council district proponents are now trying to shift blame to the councilmembers who oppose single-member districts — which utter nonsense. From today’s OCRegister.com:

Mayor Tom Tait said that the cost of fighting the lengthy lawsuit could have been avoided if the City Council in August 2012 had approved his call for similar ballot measure. 

First of all, it was Jose Moreno, Amin David, Consuelo Garcia and the ACLU who sued the City of Anaheim, not the other way around. They initiated the litigation. They forced the legal fight. The legal costs incurred by both sides are the result of a deliberate, freely-made action by the plaintiffs and the ACLU.

Furthermore — and this is the crucial truth that the media has missed and single-member district proponents are glossing over — the litigation continued for as long as it did because the plaintiffs and the ACLU had no interest in putting single-member council districts on the ballot. This is from a September 4, 2012 letter — nearly a month after Mayor Tait’s failed attempt to put single-member district on the ballot —  from the plaintiffs’ attorneys to the city’s attorneys:

We told you that Plaintiffs would not postpone litigation on the possibility that the City might put a measure to the voters in November 2012, and that the City should instead consider a negotiated resolution to a court action, which would allow the election system to be changed without subjecting the question to a vote of the entire electorate, which is equivalent to an at-large election in its discriminatory effect on Latinos.

And from the same letter:

Still, the City took no positive action toward unconditionally changing the election system. It put on the agenda for the next scheduled Council meeting, on July 24, 2012, a resolution to submit the matter to voters at the November 2012 election — precisely the type of “referendum” that we told you repeatedly the Plaintiffs would not accept as the basis for settling or delaying the lawsuit.

And more:

Moreover, the schedule established by Resolution No. 2012-090 and incorporated in the City’s request for a nearly one-year stay of litigation would provide the City the absolute ability to avoid the risk that the Court could compel the City to change its election system before the 2014 elections.

And:

As we have discussed with you on numerous occasions in informal communications, Plaintiffs will not accept such a ballot measure as a basis for resolution or even delay of the lawsuit.

The mayor’s claim is directly contradicted by the plaintiffs’ attorney. The plaintiffs and the ACLU had no interest in putting single-member districts on the ballot – they wanted the court to impose them directly on the people of Anaheim without their consent. According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, even if the council had supported Mayor Tait’s proposal, it would not have stopped the clock on the litigation. it would still have gone forward and the legal costs would have continued to mount, because the plaintiffs were not interested in going to the ballot — which they viewed putting the matter on the ballot to be discriminatory against Latinos.

Given that they had opposed placing single-member council districts on the ballot as having a “discriminatory effect on Latinos,” it is strange that the plaintiffs are today celebrating the same thing as a “victory” for Latinos.

If the plaintiffs had been amenable to putting single-member council districts to the voters, this settlement would more than likely been reached long ago, and Anaheim taxpayers would have saved a great deal of money. The fault lies with the plaintiffs’ stubborn insistence on bypassing the voters in favor of the imposition of single-member districts by judicial fiat.

The Anaheim City Council has voted to approve a compromise settlement with the ACLU on a lawsuit brought by local school board member and liberal activist Jose F. Moreno and two others. After listening to City Attorney Michael Houston recite the terms of the agreement, my initial impression is both sides came away with something.

Here are the terms as best I could catch them during Houston’s report:

  • The case is dismissed with prejudice (meaning the ACLU can’t re-file it down the line) and the city is fully released from the plaintiffs claims.
  • The settlement is not an admission that the city of any violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) nor that the CVRA is applicable to Anaheim’s election system.
  • By February 7, the City Council will:
    • Place a single-member council districts charter amendment on the November 2014 ballot for approval or rejection by the voters. If approved, the 2016 council elections will be conducted on that basis.
    • Move the proposed charter amendment to expand the city council to six members from the June to November 2014 ballot, and repeal the June ballot measure to incorporate residency-based districts into the City Charter.
    • Suspend the residency-based districts the council voted last year to create, and eliminate the council district mapping process currently under way. These will only be re-instated if voters reject single-member districts.
  • If the voters approve single-member council districts in November, the council will create a committee of three retired judges who are Anaheim residents to advice the council on creating the districts. if three such judges cannot be found to serve, the council will appoint a 9-member citizens advisory committee that is broadly representative of the city.

One upshot of the settlement is that this November’s council election will be conducted just as they always have, on an at-large basis.

Following Houston’s report, councilmembers had a chance to ask questions and make comments. Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray posed a series of illuminating questions to Houston, whose answers made several things clear:

The ACLU and the plaintiffs attitude throughout the litigation was that they neither desired nor thought it necessary to ask Anaheim voters if they even wanted single-member council districts. Their interest was in having the court impose them on the city.

If the council had placed single-member council districts on the November 2012 ballot – as Mayor Tom Tait and a platoon of leftists demanded in August of that year — the ACLU and Jose Moreno would have continued to sue the city, and the city would still have had to spend money defending itself. After all, what ACLU and the plaintiffs sought was imposition of single-member districts by judicial fiat – not the opportunity for Anaheim citizens to have a say in the structure of their government.

Behold, your progressive tribunes of the people in in action!

Mayor Tait asked City Attorney Houston if the plaintiffs would have filed their lawsuit demanding single-member council districts if the city council were already elected from single-member districts. Houston responded, unsurprisingly, that he didn’t believe they would have.

So, while switching to single-member council districts is a very real future possibility, the plaintiffs wound up agreeing to something they had tried to avoid – involving the voters of Anaheim in the matter.

UPDATED: the city has posted the settlement agreement itself, as well as an FAQ and press release.

UPDATED: Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray released this statement:

Today’s settlement allows Anaheim to move forward and preserves our residents’ rights to democratic decision-making.

This settlement protects the taxpayers from further expense from a lengthy trial and leaves our citizens in charge of their own elections.

I’m so proud of the work of our residents in debating this issue over the past year and especially the members of our Citizens Advisory Committee, which I proposed to create an open forum on this critical issue for Anaheim.

I also thank Anaheim’s mayor and my fellow city council members for their unanimous support of this victory for Anaheim residents.

What’s been buzzing around Anaheim for a few weeks is bleeding into the media (OC Register and VOC): during tonight’s closed session, the Anaheim City Council is expected to settle the ACLU’s lawsuit (for which the lead plaintiff is Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno) to replace the city’s at-large council elections with a system of single-member council districts.

As part of the settlement, it is expected the City Council will agree to carve the city into four single-member districts and then put it to the voters. The judge can’t impose single-member districts by judicial fiat since Anaheim is a charter city; it requires amending the city charter, which can only be done by a vote of the people.

There’s no reason single-member districts couldn’t be placed on the June ballot in hopes of obtaining a”yes” vote that would put single-member districts in place for the November council elections. My guess is the ACLU, the plaintiffs and the rest of the single-member district Coalition of the Left prefer a November election on the grounds its higher (and more Democratic) turnout increase the odds of voter approval.

As readers know, in 2013 the council voted to create four at-large council districts (which doesn’t require amending the charter), and to place on the June ballot measures asking voters to a) incorporate at-large council districts into the city charter and b) whether they want to increase the council to six members. City staff was subsequently instructed to create districts for both a four- and six-seat council, for the city council’s consideration and adoption.

Read the rest of this entry »

The ACLU is demanding the city turn over a trove of documents, voice-mails e-mails, and text messages – both official and personal — from a small army of current and former councilmembers, staff, city commission appointees and private citizens, often pertaining to circumstances, events or issues not even tangentially related to “racially-polarized voting.”

It’s sort of like litigation carpet bombing, and it done in support of the racially-driven lawsuit the ACLU is arguing on behalf of lead plaintiff and Anaheim City School District Governing Board member Jose Moreno – the goal of which is to impose on Anaheim citizens a single-member council district system for which they have not asked.

ACLU letter photoClick on the image to see the October 4 letter to City Attorney Michael Houston.

The letter from ACLU attorney Bardis Vakili claims:

“The documents identified herein are relevant to a central issue in the case – the lack of accountability of Anaheim’s city council to Anaheim’s Latino community, resulting from the continued maintenance of an at-large system after being advised that the system dilutes the vote of the Latino community.”

Like I said, from the perspective of the plaintiffs and the ACLU, this is all about the color of a person’s skin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some thoughts on the ongoing debate over Anaheim’s recently adopted anti-camping ordinance.

For starters, it was good to see the City Council unanimity on the matter. This really isn’t a complicated issue: there is a homeless encampment in La Palma Park which has a deleterious effect on the life of neighboring residents and is effectively denying the use of a public park to the public.

Opponents of the ordinance criticize it by asking where the city proposes that the homeless campers go? The underlying assumption is that by squatting in a city park, homeless individuals thereby obligate the city to provide them with someplace else to live. That is a poor precedent to set.

Read the rest of this entry »

Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The signature line from that speech is, of course, this:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

It is sad and ironic that 50 years later, the City of Anaheim is being sued by self-styled civil rights activists who seek to base Anaheim’s city council elections on the color of  its citizens skins, and not their character as unique, individual citizens.

Strip away the rhetoric and the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts centers on race. This elevation of ethno-racial group considerations above individual rights is evident in this comment by ACLU lawsuit plaintiff Jose Moreno at the June 11, 2013 Anaheim City Council meeting:

After paying at least rhetorical deference to Councilwoman Kris Murray’s point about the individual citizen’s right to vote for whomever they choose, Moreno offers this critical caveat:

“…so that neighbors may elect neighbors regardless of what they may look like but that people who look a certain way or may have a certain surname, that their voting patterns are respected.” [emphasis added].

That is (or should be) a startling admission of a radical idea. In plain English, what Moreno is saying is that the ballot choices of Latino voters should be accorded more weight than non-Latino voters. That principle stands in opposition to one of the bedrock principles of this Republic of equality before the law. Each of us has the right to vote and to cast his or her ballot for the candidate or candidates of our choice; but no person’s vote does and should count more than the vote of anyone else. Sometimes our favored candidates win, and sometimes they lose – but those are our choices as individuals and not merely constituent parts of a racial group, or individual manifestations of ethnic groupthink.

"We don't need single-member districts at ACSD!"

“We don’t need single-member districts at ACSD!”

Let’s say a member of a school district board of education was the lead plaintiff in litigation against the city in which his district was located, alleging the at-large council election system disenfranchised the city’s Latino majority and asking the court to force a change to electing councilmembers from single-member districts.

Let’s also say this same school board member was himself elected at-large to a five-member board of education that had only two Latino members – despite a student population and voting base that are even more overwhelmingly Latino than the city in which the district is located.

Let us further posit that the board of education on which the plaintiff served could switch from at-large elections to single-member district elections at any time, by its own action, without even having to put it to a vote of the people. All that would be required would be action by the board and a waiver from the state Board of Education – which has granted such waivers to other school districts.

Let us further suppose that despite months of heavy coverage of this plaintiff’s lawsuit, no media outlet (save one) ever raised the question of why that plaintiff had never sought to enact within his own school district what he was trying to impose on the city in question via litigation? It is, after all, a reasonable and screamingly obvious question — and the failure to pose it raises its own set of questions.

Why Hasn’t Moreno’s Anaheim City School District Abandoned At-Large Elections?
Of course, this isn’t a hypothetical but a reality:  it is true that Anaheim City School District Board of Education member Jose Moreno is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts in the City of Anaheim.

Read the rest of this entry »

Judge Franz Miller has decided to let the ACLU/Jose Moreno/Amin David lawsuit against Anaheim move forward to a March 2014 trial. He has also set an October 1 date to hear City of Anaheim motions  for a stay, dismissal or bifurcation.

The salient aspect of the lawsuit to impose single-member council districts is the overwhelming focus on race and ethnicity. It is driven by a noxious state law, the deceptively named California Voting Rights Act, that treats voters as nameless members of racial or ethnic groups rather than as individual citizens, and seeks to make racial/ethnic considerations that organizing principle for how we elect our local governments.

Proponents of single-member council districts employ a number of slogans and incantations to advance their cause of carving Anaheim up electorally based on racial/ethnic criteria, in order to achieve a desired racial/ethnic outcome.

One endlessly-repeated catchphrase is “Only three Latinos have been elected to the Anaheim City Council in the city’s 156 year history.” Here’s video of the lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno employing it at the June 11, 2013 Anaheim City Council meeting as if it is the coup de grace that ends of debate:

[NOTE: the discussion in the first minute of the video revolves around the disagreement between former Councilman Lorri Galloway and CVRA attorney Robert Rubin – one of the lawyers arguing Moreno’s lawsuit – over whether she is a bona fide Latina.]

This claim — which is echoed ad nauseum and unthinkingly in the media — lacks credibility because it rests on the false assumption that Latinos have been a significant portion of Anaheim’s population throughout the past century-and-a-half.

Read the rest of this entry »

Superior Court Judge Franz Miller has lifted the stay on the ACLU lawsuit claiming Anaheim’s at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act and seeking to impose on the city a single-member council district system (that no one outside of a small. vocal faction of political interests has asked for). basically, he is allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

The city had sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, which the judge obviously turned down, and has set a March 17, 2014 trial date for the ACLU’s litigation on behalf of Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno, Latino activist Amin David and another plaintiff.

Keep in mind that under the ordinance adopted by the City Council a few weeks ago to shift to a residency-based districts system of elections, those four residency-based districts must be drawn and approved by March 1.

It’s my understanding (for which I’m seeking further confirmation) that Judge Miller felt it may be premature to continue a stay on the ACLU lawsuit based on the City Council voting to replace the system being litigated by the ACLU with the new, residency-based district system — at least without a full hearing.

Judge Miller did set an October 1 hearing to hear motions to stay the lawsuit or dismiss it.

I wasn’t at today’s hearing and didn’t hear the arguments or the judge’s comments. Obviously, from the perspective of those of us opposing the Left’s attempt to carve up Anaheim, today’s decision was not the preferred outcome. At the same time, neither is it defeat. Contrary to certain Vichy gadfly-types who opposed districts before they supported them but want to run-up the white flag because they are afraid of the possibility of the city writing a check to the ACLU, the better course for the city to fight it out because the city is in the right.

UPDATE: Here are the OC Register (paywall) and Voice of OC articles on today’s ruling.

The Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting will convene for its final meeting this Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Anaheim City Council chambers.

The CAC members vote on the draft report to the ciy council.

You can read and/or download the draft report here.

When you boil it down, the ACLU’s attempt to litigate the City of Anaheim into replacing the at-large system of electing the city council with single-member council districts is really about race; specifically classifying citizens on the basis of their race and designing a system of representation that is based on race.

The ACLU alleges the current system violates the California Voting Rights Act, disenfranchises Latinos and demands increasing the number of Latinos on the council via single-member council districts.

It is clear to anyone who has been paying attention tat the left-wing coalition pushing single-member districts views the world through race-colored glasses. The internal logic of this thinking inevitably leads us to away from the “content of our character” ideal articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr., pushing us backward to absurd spectacle of an increasingly inter-racial society arguing over what someone’s “real” ethnicity is.

And the mangling of color-blindness was on display in these paragraphs from the Voice of OC’s story on yesterday’s decision by Judge Franz Miller to delay hearing the lawsuit until July:

The city challenges the validity of the lawsuit in court documents, arguing that members of minority groups have consistently been elected to the City Council. According to the city, 10 seats have been up for election since 2002, with seven of those seats filled by either “Asian” or “Hispanic” council members.

One of those council members is former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who is Spanish and Filipina, a mix that ACLU attorney Robert Ruben said doesn’t meet the criteria for Latina under the Voting Rights Act.

What a sad, infuriating spectacle. But not an unexpected one. When racial bean-counting is the coin of the realm for acquiring political power and “representation,” should we be surprised when such argument breaks out over whether or not someone is really Latino (or Asian or whichever ethnicity is deemed in need of increased “representation)? If single-member council districts become a reality in Anaheim, we can expect more of such demeaning spats.

Read the rest of this entry »

Today, the OC Superior Court Judge Franz Miller granted the City of Anaheim’s request for a stay of the ACLU’s litigation to force a switch from at-large election of council members to a single-member district system.

The judge stayed the lawsuit until July 9 in order to give the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections the opportunity to complete its work, and for the City Council to take the CAC’s report under consideration for action.

UPDATE: The city had two motions before the court today. One was a motion to dismiss the ACLU’s lawsuit – I believe that’s what a request for a “judgment on pleadings” is — was continued until July 9.

The other motion was for the stay, which Judge Miller did grant. The court case is now scheduled for July 7. A conference for July 9, at which the city will to present a “detailed time line for any proposed city election.”

From the OCCourts.org website:

Reasoning: Deny reqst for j/n as untimely; ct has inherent power to stay proceedings in the interests of justice and to promote judicial efficiency (Freiberg 33 A4 1484, 1489; although ct should consider traditional factors of judicial economy, MP hardship, and RP prejudice (Rivers 980 FSupp 1358, 1360), where, as here, there are separation of powers considerations (see Connecticut Indemnity 23 C4 807,814), that factor has particular importance; cts should defer when practical to legislative solutions to potential constitutional problems, especially where the democratic process is invoked; if ct finds current voting scheme for city council unconst, ct will either order a particular scheme or order Anaheim to come up w/ one; re the former option, Anaheim correctly notes it is not reqrd to adopt a particular scheme, just a const one; re the latter option, that appears to be what Anaheim is moving toward now; reqstd say time is de minimis; a serious timeline/game plan is necessary to ensure any problems are remedied with all due speed

The city’s legal fees, which the pro-single member district faction and the Vichy Anaheim-types find so objectionable, shouldn’t move much in the interim. Given the sum the city spent litigating the Angels name change, it strikes me pound-foolish to engage in hand-wringing over a legal bill related to Anaheim’s governing structure for the next 100 years.

UPDATE: Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek was at the hearing and has more details here.

DPOC logoWhile the OC Republican Party slumbers, the Democratic Party of Orange County is lending its voice to the left-wing coalition pushing to abolish Anaheim’s current at-large system for electing the city council, and carve the city into eight single-member council districts.

My friends at TheLiberalOC. com posted yesterday that the DPOC Central Committee approved a resolution of support for this scheme, which is being quarterbacked at the political level by a confederation of OCCORD, UNITE-HERE Local 11, Los Amigos and the OC Labor Federation — with the ACLU covering the litigation front.

Hmmm.

Democratic Party of Orange County: left-wing.

OCCORD: left-wing.

UNITE-HERE: left-wing.

Los Amigos: left-wing.

OC Labor Federation: left-wing.

ACLLU: left-wing.

Anyone seeing a pattern, here?

Given that constellation of support, it’s safe to say this plan for eight single-member council districts isn’t intended as a recipe for limited government and greater liberty in Anaheim.

Megaphoning for socio-ethnic justice for a peacefully diverse environment.

During public comments at Tuesday night’s Anaheim City Council meeting, former Los Amigos President Amin David asked how much the city had spent defending itself against the ACLU lawsuit seeking to force a switch to a district-based system of council elections.

He neglected to mention he is one of the plaintiffs in that lawsuit.

The answer to Amin David’s question was $144,000 as of the end of September.

During the campaign, Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose Moreno took council candidate Jordan Brandman to task about council districts, lambasting him for supporting a citizens commission to examine in a deliberate manner, rather than rushing to place a slapped together proposal on the November ballot.

“When we asked you to discuss district elections, and to be really clear that we want district elections now, to not go through the expense of a lawsuit, which is general fund money, but to rather have the council vote to put it on the ballot…”

Moreno’s point was that folks like Brandman were costing the city money in litigation costs by not preemptive lay bowing to the lawsuit.

That, by the way, is the line generally taken by the defeatists the among Anaheim activists, who have bought into the conventional wisdom that resistance is futile and a quick surrender is the least expensive option.

Leaving aside the validity of that conventional wisdom — which I do not buy — let’s consider David’s and Moreno’s concerns over how much their litigation will cost the city, because it is uniquely within their power to do something about it.

They could simply suspend their lawsuit until the citizens commission completes its work, forwards its recommendations to the Anaheim City Council, and the city council takes action regarding those recommendations.

Putting their lawsuit into suspended animation — not dropping it — would stop the clock on the city’s legal expenses.

In fact, it’s my understanding the city has asked them to do exactly that — and they refused.

Keep that in mind next time Jose Moreno, Amin David or anyone supporting their litigation sheds crocodile tears over “the cost to taxpayers.”

Megaphoning for socio-ethnic justice for a peacefully diverse environment.

There are three plaintiffs to the ACLU’s lawsuit against the City of Anaheim, seeking to force the replacement of the current at-large council election system with election by districts. One of them is Dr. Jose Moreno, a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Trustees.

The basis of the lawsuit is that Anaheim’s current system violates the California Voting Rights Act because not enough Latinos have been elected to the council of a city that is 50% Latino, and believe a district-based system will ensure the candidates of the right ethnicity are elected.

Which leads me to ask: why doesn’t Moreno sue the Anaheim City School District? After all the Latinos are the dominant ethnic group in the district. The vast majority of the students are Hispanic. And yet, four of the five members of the Board of Education are white:

Mighty white.

This week’s election changed nothing. Two union-backed candidates, Al Jabbar and John Santoianni, went down in flames. Board of Education member James Vanderbilt was re-elected, and will be joined by a former ACSD principal, Bob Gardner, who is also unarguably a white guy:

Bob Gardner.

If matching the ethnic composition of a jurisdiction’s elected officials with that of the residents is the sine qua non of representation — which is the underlying rationale of the ACLU/Moreno’s lawsuit — then shouldn’t Moreno lead by example by suing his own school district for being so unrepresentative of the community? Are not the same conditions that exist in the City of Anaheim also present in the Anaheim City School District — only more so? The ACSD’s Board of Trustees is elected at large — and is whiter than the Anaheim City Council.

What argument could be made against Moreno suing to implement trustee districts, other than being indecorous and not very cricket?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Contributors

%d bloggers like this: