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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:

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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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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dark-money-graphicTake a gander at the campaign finance report filed by the campaign to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts. Two things jump out beside the $101,100 in contributions: 93% of that total is the “dark money” hated by the progressives running this campaign  and not a penny of it comes from Anaheim – most is from Northern California.

The biggest single contributor to the Committee for District Elections is OCCORD  – to the tune of $49,000.  OCCORD is a left-wing non-profit political advocacy group headquartered in a Garden Grove office building owned by the militant union UNITE-HERE.  [OCCORD’s professed mission is to reverse the polarity of Orange County politics and shift it as far to the Left as possible.]

That’s a neat trick. OCCORD Executive Director Eric Altman announces his resignation to go run the Committee for District Elections. $49,000 is diverted from OCCORD on June 26 to the committee Altman is heading up (it’s unclear exactly when Altman left OCCORD, but his replacement as executive director wasn’t announced until mid-July.

Since OCCORD is a 501(c)4, it only has to file annual financials with the IRS and refuses to disclose its donors. In other words, by the time any figures out where that $49,000 came from, the November election will be long over. Is it from traditional OCCORD donors like the California Endowment and the James Irvine Foundation? Wells Fargo? If so, did they understand their money would be going to fund a ballot initiative? We know at least some of that money comes from UNITE-HERE, which cuts OCCORD a $5,000 check every month.

Mind you, OCCORD founder and leader Eric Altman (now the director of the Committee for District Elections — is an advocate of transparency… at least for others. I encourage the Voice of OC and the OC Register to ask OCCORD where the $49,000 came from, and see if they get an answer. I once tried, and was rebuffed.

The second biggest donor is PowerPac.org Voter Fund, a San Francisco-based political action committee that on May 30 donated $45,000 for a campaign to re-structure how Anaheim is governed.  Hmmm…why would a PAC from liberal San Francisco care how Anaheim elects its city council?

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single-member districts unicorn 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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In my earlier post ruminating oOCCORD Logon the possibility of the OCEA playing sugar-daddy to the single-member council districts ballot initiative campaign, I mentioned OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) as a leader of the left-wing coalition in that side of the issue.

And it appears OCCORD will indeed be taking a leading role in the campaign. On March 25, paperwork was filed with the Anaheim City Clerk creating the “Committee for District Elections, sponsored by One Anaheim” – with an address in Garden Grove, 92843. While the street address is redacted from the Form 410, its safe say this committee is a creature of OCCORD – which is also in Garden Grove 92843. Plus the committee treasurer is Susan Hecht, who is OCCORD’s development and operations manager.

“One Anaheim” is identified as a “social welfare organization,” meaning it is (presumably) a 501(c)(4), which are allowed to engage in partisan political campaigns (as a secondary activity). They also are not subject to limits on their lobbying activity and are not required to publicly disclose their donors. I haven’t yet found any documentation on “One Anaheim,” but it’s a safe bet it is also an OCCORD political project.

It’s also ironic that the campaign to carve Anaheim into several, more politically bite-size pieces has taken the name “One Anaheim.”

As some long-time readers know, OCCORD, in its own words:

“is a leader in the emerging movement to reclaim Orange County, California, from the extreme laissez-faire policies and entrenched anti-immigrant sentiment that have long dominated our region.”

Yes, to to the folks at OCCORD, our highly-regulated economy here in Southern California is an example of “laissez-faire” economics – which tells you just how radical they are. Can someone tell me again how bringing single-member council districts to Anaheim is NOT a political project of the Left?

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.

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jose moreno for thee not meYesterday, the Los Angeles Times published an article claiming the City of Anaheim is looking to settle the California Civil Rights Act lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno. I don’t know whether a settlement is indeed in the works, but if it is I truly hope it does not involve the city capitulating to this litigious shakedown by a small left-wing faction trying to impose on Anaheim residents an single-member council district system they have not sought for themselves. Progressives love to presents themselves as tribunes of democracy, but are inclined to seek victory in the courtroom rather than at the ballot box.

That said, this quote from Moreno in the LAT article highlights what happens when reporters cover a political situation about which they have only superficial knowledge:

“For me, certainly, any settlement talks are about the city agreeing toward the direction of establishing districts, authentic districts, where the representatives are voted for by the residents of those districts,” said Jose Moreno, a plaintiff in the suit.

Now, I assume that LAT reporters Paloma Esquivel and Adolfo Flores are ignorant of the fact that Moreno has refused to take any action to establish “authentic districts, where the representatives are voted for by the residents of those districts” in the Anaheim City School District – where all the criteria he claims demand district in Anaheim council elections are even more in evidence. Otherwise, one would think that real reporters would have challenge Moreno on his blatant hypocrisy on the matter.

At least, one would think. In reality, there has been what could be characterized as a conspiracy of silence on the matter. I don’t think a single media outlet – certainly not the Voice of OC — has ever asked Moreno this blazingly obvious question: “Given the reasons you cite for suing the City of Anaheim, why don’t you take action to establish single-member districts in your own school district?”

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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.

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October 16 council district mapping meetingThe city is beginning the process of drawing council district maps, part of implementing the City Council’s vote in June to change from a purely at-large election system to from-district system (councilmembers must reside in districts, but are elected at-large).

Staff, with the assistance of demographers and outside counsel, will draw up maps for both a four and six member council. The June 2014 ballot will feature a proposed charter amendment expanding the council to six members, and drawing maps now enables to city to more quickly implement a “yes” vote, if that is the voters’ decision.

On October 16, the city is holding the first of a series of community meetings on the subject, in order to answers questions such as how the mapping will be done and why it is being done. The meeting is at 6:oo p.m. in the Anaheim City Council chambers; here is a flyer with more info.

You can click here to read the staff report outlining the process in more detail.

On the Anaheim City Council’s agenda on September 24 was some good news amidst all the usual unpleasantness: the creation of Miraloma Park and Community Center. The city had its eye on a commercial property for some time, and moved to purchase it when it became available. According to the staff report, amenities will include:

Miraloma Park and Community Center in the City of Anaheim consisting of re-purpose the existing 4,312-square-foot building to create a Silver-level, LEED-certified community center with a multi-purpose room, classrooms, counseling offices, a kitchen, restrooms, a computer center, and a lounge. The project will also include a perimeter loop trail, a sloping skate plaza, an outdoor classroom plaza, a picnic and BBQ area, a multi-court/events plaza, an interactive water feature, a variety of play areas, native gardens, a vertical garden wall, storm/bio swales, solar canopies and a parking area.

miraloma

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Jose Moreno jedi mind tricksI’ve written previously that Jose Moreno, the lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts on the people of Anaheim, has made no effort to shift elections to the Anaheim City School District Board of Education from at-large to the single-member districts he judges so critical to democracy.

Moreno is a member of the ACSD Governing Board of Education, and he can push to have the ACSD adopt by-district election without filing a lawsuit or going to a vote of the people.

Moreno is basically claiming the Anaheim should have more Latinos on the city council since the city’s population is 54% Latino, and citing the [intellectually dishonest] factoid that only three Latinos (or four, if one considers Lorri Galloway’s Latina blood content high enough) on the Anaheim City Council since the city’s founding.

The same conditions which Moreno deplores in the City of Anaheim are present in the Anaheim City School District. only more so.

64% of the 203,816 people who live in the ACSD are Latinos.

86.3% of ACSD students are Latino.

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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.

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring took the time to speak to next-to-last meeting of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) on April 18. She gave the CAC members a brief and to-the-point tutorial on why she is opposed to single-member council districts.

Kring’s appeal to common sense employed reality to illuminate the down-side of single-member council districts and illustrate why they are not the solution that proponents contend they are:

Vivian Pham

Vivian Pham

The Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) on Elections is chaired by Vivian Pham, a liberal Democrat who had only lived in Anaheim for two years when Mayor Tom Tait chose her last fall as one of his two appointees to the CAC (the other being another Democrat, Bill Dalati).

I eventually came to the opinion she was almost certainly coordinating with the left-wing coalition, led by OCCORD and UNITE-HERE Local 11, that is lobbying the CAC to recommend electing the City Council by single-member districts. After all, in her capacity as its Community Development Officer, Wells Fargo has funded OCCORD’s activities to the tune of at least $80,000. Furthermore, it is hardly a secret Pham is solidly in favor of single-member council districts.

Other observers of the CAC process have reached the same conclusion, and any doubts I may have had pretty much evaporated during last week’s CAC meeting (you can watch the video here).

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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.

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