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Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray - the top vote=getter.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray – the top vote=getter.

What to make of Tuesday’s election?

Mayor Tom Tait was elected to a second term, Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray was the top vote-getter for council, and Councilwoman Gail Eastman has apparently been narrowly edged out by James Vanderbilt, a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education whom Tait recruited at the beginning of the year to run for city council. All had sufficient resources to communicate their messages to Anaheim voters, and independent expenditures were well-funded and plentiful. [NOTE: Eastman has generally been losing ground in the daily tallies since Election Day, although today she gained 99 votes – leaving her 269 votes down. A lot of Anaheim ballots were counted today – 9,513. There are only 38,591 uncounted ballots left county-wide. A huge percentage of those would have to be from Anaheim for Eastman to be able to catch Vanderbilt.

Do the results bear out Tait’s claim to the Voice of OC that voters are “tired of tired of city leaders steering public resources to expensive projects and subsidies for the resort area and major businesses, while paying little attention to underserved neighborhoods.”

No. That’s spin.

For the moment, let’s put aside the underlying falseness of the mayor’s claim, which is part and parcel of a sustained campaign of distortion aimed at dismantling Anaheim’s traditional economic development vision. If Tait’s analysis were true, then Kris Murray would have been defeated. She has been the most vocal advocate of the public-private partnership approach to economic development. Defeating her was Team Tait’s top priority and she was subjected her a merciless, mendacious pounding from both Tait /Vanderbilt campaign proper and a $100,000 IE campaign funded by the Tait Family Trust and Howard Ahmanson via the California Homeowners Association (CHA) independent expenditure committee. 

Team Tait clubbed Murray with the same themes Tait sounded in the above even more so than Eastman. Yet, Murray was the top vote-getter and received a higher percentage of the vote than four years ago. Jordan Brandman was hit with the same attacks two years ago, and he was the top vote-getter. Jose Moreno ran on much the same platform as Tait, and he finished as distant fourth place. The mayor’s interpretation of the election results is a stretch too far.

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The latest example of the topsy-turvy nature of Anaheim politics is a Tait Family Trust-funded attack falsely claiming Councilwoman Gail Eastman is not a good Republican and too close to public employees unions, while simultaneously urging support for Measure L – an  initiative to pave the way for a Democratic take-over of the Anaheim City Council that is sponsored by militant unions, rich left-wing dilettantes from San Francisco…and Tom Tait.

But first, a quick political trivia quiz. What is the difference between these two logos?

both gop logos 

The one with three stars is a trademarked logo of the Republican National Committee. The logo with two stars is not, and can be used by anyone. The “Continuing the Republican Revolution” political slate mailer, for example, incorporates the two-star elephant into its logo. Whether it has three or two stars — or one or four, for that matter, the average voter sees a red-white-and-blue elephant and thinks “Republican.”

In mid-October the Eastman campaign sent out this mailer:

Eastman GOP choice mailer 10-13-14_Page_1

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IMG_5473

It’s October, so there are quite a few independent expenditures being conducted to influence the outcome of the mayoral and council races, as well as the balloting on Measure L (which would replace the current at-large council election system with by-district elections. A bad idea).

One IE campaign in particular bears particular attention, and that is the mail campaign being waged against Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman. The vehicle being used is a campaign committee called the California Homeowners Association (CHA), and the funding for the hits is coming from the Tait Family Trust (Tom Tait’s parents) and Fieldstead & Company (quirky Home Savings heir Howard Ahmanson).

On October 10, both entities deposited identical amounts into CHA: $49,750. That’s $99,500 altogether.

So far, CHA has spent $50,103 so far on three hit pieces against Murray and Eastman. They’re entirely predictable and closely hew to the line of attack Tom Tait has pursued for the last two years: the GardenWalk agreement (“$158 million giveaway“), on a 2012 MOU with city employees (which Anaheim Insider posted about yesterday) and falsely accusing them of eminent domain abuse regarding the Anaheim Rapid Connection streetcar.  [Note: even though the three mailers attack both councilwoman equally, only $16,024 of the $50K is attributed to hits on Murray, rather than split evenly.]

That leaves just under $50,000 in the CHA till for Anaheim purposes. Whether that will be used to continue hitting Murray and Eastman, promote Tait and/or Vanderbilt, or hit Lucille Kring remains to be seen.

What is beyond dispute is that Team Tait is pulling out the stops to take out the mayor’s council colleagues. There’s something surreal about the OC Republican Party’s Local Elected Official of the Year waging a very expensive war to take out his two Republican council colleagues – especially when one considers that if Tait is successful, the most likely result is the election of the most left-wing Democrat anywhere in Orange County local government.

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Anaheim Insider here.

In a condescending, inaccurate mailer funded by the Tait Family Trust, Mayor Tait accuses council women Gail Eastman and Kris Murray of giving a “sweetheart” deal to the city’s public employee unions. The mailer is covered with feminine touches such as hearts, lipstick marks and pink-colored lettering. The Tait family’s mail consultant must have been in a hurry because the tea doilies and aprons were left out.

2nd CHA hit on Kris and Gail 10-16-14_Page_1

The Tait camp might want to consider that more than a few women voters are more likely to be offended by the mailer’s chauvinistic tone, which is quite out of place considering the reason Tait’s hand-picked candidate Doug Pettibone dropped out of the race (or rather, was thrown under the bus by the Mayor).

If Murray and Eastman were men, does anyone think the mailer would have looked like this?

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CHA Hit paid by Tait Family TrustAnaheim Insider here.

If you could spend $49,750 on anything in your community, what would you spend it on? Just to make it a little easier, here are a few options of what that kind of money buys you in Anaheim:

A. Annual tuition for 199 low income kids to attend the Anaheim Boys and Girls Clubs after school programs.

B. One week of tuition for 239 toddlers to attend preschool at the Anaheim YMCA.

C. Underwrite 497 Anaheim kids living in violent families to attend Youth Violence Prevention Programs at the Orange County Family Justice Center.

D. Pay for 829 Anaheim at-risk youth to attend the 24-week Cops 4 Kids Junior Cadet Program.

E. Fund a malicious mail campaign against your (conservative Republican) council colleagues.

It appears Mayor Tom Tait, who has spent his entire first term of office espousing a platform of “kindness,” prefers option E. 

As this FPPC filing shows, the Tait Family Trust is funding $49,750 in campaign attack mail aimed at Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman, his two Republican colleagues. And the hits are just getting started with a hit piece dredging up their votes on GardenWalk from nearly two years ago.

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gail eastmanThis came over the transom today from Councilwoman Gail Eastman’s re-election campaign

Friends,

It’s time to get out and talk to the voters in Anaheim!

I’m excited for our Precinct Walk TOMORROW, September 20. Stop by my house anytime between 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. to pick up campaign brochures, and signs so you can visit with voters in your neighborhood. Sign up today to join us.

Absentee voters will have ballots in their hands in less than three weeks. So let’s get the word out about our vision for the future of Anaheim: A future with safe communities, a growing economy and strong neighborhoods.

Even if you can’t walk tomorrow, please come pick up your packet and walk your neighborhood any time in the next couple weeks.

Thank you for your continuing support of my campaign.

All my best,

Gail Eastman

Anaheim Councilwoman Gail Eastman is holding a re-election campaign kick-off fundraiser this Sunday, August 24.  It’s a summer BBQ from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the home of Brad and Daria Daniels in Anaheim:

Eastman 8-24-14 fundraiser

You can RSVP to Jennifer@CL7communications.com

kris Murray at 7-22 mtgI don’t think any one doubted the outcome of last night’s meeting, but it was still heartening late last night when the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to approve the bonds to finance the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilmembers Gail Eastman, Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman all voted yes, while Mayor Tom Tait voted no.

There was a huge turnout in support of approving the Convention Center bonds. Owners and operators of small and large businesses; union representatives; residents; single-moms; and hard-working folks in general asked the council, one after the other, to approve the bonds and get the Convention Center expansion moving forward.

The council majority spoke vigorously its support for the expansion and its opposition to the obstructionism of opponents. Kris Murray delivered impassioned oration drawing upon the examples of her predecessors and the plain requirements of the future.

“The fact is we have an opportunity in time. This is the seventh expansion. This isn’t 1960. This isn’t whether we get into the convention center business. that decision was made – thank God! Because our city is so far ahead of the curve financially from other cities – not just in the county, but around the state. In the Register today, two cities in orange County, Stanton and Placentia — Stanton tonight is considering a sales tax on their residence because they are cutting services because they can’t make ends meet; and so is Placentia. We have cities across the state filing for bankruptcy.  But Anaheim, courtesy of our Resort District, our stadium, the economic engines of this city – the Convention Center being a hallmark component of that – we aren’t in that position.  We are balancing our budget, reinvesting in police and fire, we are reinvesting in parks, and libraries, and roads, and potholes, and graffiti abatement. We are doing everything for neighborhoods because we have a thriving economy.
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Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

This was announced at the SOAR PAC fundraiser last week, but the press release came over the transom yesterday:

S.O.A.R. PAC Endorses Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Council Member Gail E. Eastman for Anaheim City Council

Murray and Eastman will Continue to Support the Anaheim Resort District’s Vitality

ANAHEIM, CA – Support Our Anaheim Resort District (S.O.A.R.) PAC, has announced its endorsement for Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Council Member Gail Eastman for reelection to Anaheim City Council. After careful consideration, S.O.A.R. PAC endorsed Murray and Eastman because of their continued support to the Anaheim Resort District and their dedication to funding and improving vital city services to Anaheim residents.

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Anaheim Councilwoman Gail Eastman is holding a re-election fundraiser on February 27 at The Catch in Anaheim:

Eastman 2-27-14 fundraiser'

Click here for the full invite and more details.

From Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman’s most recent e-newsletter:

eastman for council logoRe-election Campaign Kickoff Smashes Expectations!

More than 100 local residents, small business owners, civic leaders and state officials gathered at the Honda Center’s newly opened Grand Terrace on Monday to help re-elect Gail Eastman to the Anaheim City Council. The support was overwhelming and exceeded all expectations. 

In total, close to $75,000 was pledged to support Gail’s vision of peace and prosperity in the City of Anaheim!

This election is critical to ensuring Anaheim can remain a place where all residents and businesses can flourish. In the coming weeks, a new campaign website will be debuted that will communicate ways to help Gail and her positions on the issues.

$75,000 is an impressive number, and to put it in perspective, consider that Eastman raised $60,417 and spent $57,331 to get elected in 2010. Granted, she was also the beneficiary of considerable independent expenditures that year – but the coalition that supported her then is still intact and behind her now. Plus, she has the advantage of incumbency this time around.

Anaheim Insider here.

The Orange County Register has picked up the issue of whether Mayor Tom Tait can and should serve on the OCTA Board of Directors since the company that he owns and runs has a $330,000 contract with OCTA. The contract runs for another 19 months, and so far OCTA has paid Tait & Associates $127,483.

It is certainly a conflict of interest when judged against the conflict standard established by the mayor himself. Maybe he’s giving himself a waiver.

It’s OK If The Contract Isn’t Too Big?
In the Register, Tait claims he can vote “fairly” as an OCTA Director, but that’s not the issue.

“If I didn’t feel I could serve fairly, I wouldn’t do it,” Tait said of his upcoming two-year term on the OCTA board.

Tait told the reporter that “It’s not a large contract.”  Does that matter? Would it be a conflict if it were for $1 million or $5 million instead? Does that mean he would not be able to vote “fairly” if the contract were bigger?

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Anaheim Insider here.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has addressed the resignation of building division head Scott Fazekas, who had been under fire since revelation that his firm had been getting the lion’s share of the city’s outsourced plan check review work.

“We have to be concerned about perceptions of conflict,” Tait said Oct. 11 when asked about how outsourced work should be handled. 

Tait said that as the co-owner of two consulting firms, he wouldn’t allow the city to contract with his companies. “For me, as mayor, it’s not OK to have a contract with the city of Anaheim,” Tait said.

But it’s OK for Tom Tait, as an OCTA Director, to have a contract with OCTA?

The above excerpt is from an October 12, 2011 Voice of OC article headlined “Anaheim Mayor Addresses Conflict of Interest Issues.” The issue was that the building division was outsourcing some work to the firm that the building division head used to work for.

On one hand, Mayor Tait says it is not OK for his firm to have a contract with the City of Anaheim because he is the mayor. On the other hand, he says it is OK for his firm to have a contract with OCTA when he is on the OCTA Board of Directors.

The mayor’s conflict-of-interest standard is a fast-moving target.

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Gail Eastman kick-offJust a reminder: Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman  is holding a re-election fundraiser this evening from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Honda Center’s newly-opened Grand Terrace (2695 E. Katella Avenue, in case you need an address).

RSVP to Jennifer Fitzgerald at (714) 402-3106 or jennifer@cl7communications.com; OR, Download the flyer and make checks payable to: Gail Eastman for Anaheim City Council 2014 and mail to CL7 Communications, Inc., PO Box 10306, Fullerton, CA 92838-0306

You can also fax the above form with credit card information to (714) 459-8165 or email it to  Jennifer@CL7communications.com

There are two council seats up in November of 2014 – both of them currently held by Eastman and Councilwoman Kris Murray. if Anaheim voters approve a June charter amendment to expand the council from four to six members, there will be two addition (and open) council seats up for grabs. keep in mind that (barring judicial interference), the council elections will be conducted on a from-district basis for the first time. In other words, council candidates will still have to stand before all Anaheim voters, but will be required to live in residency-based districts that will be drawn up by the spring.

Gail Eastman is getting a relatively late-start on her fundraising, but there is every reason to believe she’ll be strongly competitive and a favorite for re-election. She came very close to unseating incumbent Lorri Galloway in her first council run in 2008, and was the top vote-getter in 2010.

It’s still unclear who Mayor Tom Tait will endorse/recruit for his presumptive council slate aimed at unseating Eastman and Murray. The mayor will have his hands full with his own re-election battle against Councilwoman Lucille Kring and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, so it remains to be seen how much time, energy and money he can put into such an effort. It’s worth noting that in 2012, his only attempt to target a candidate for defeat (aside from the slow-motion undermining of Steve Chavez Lodge’s candidacy) was a pretty nasty hit piece against Jordan Brandman, funded by family members. Brandman was ultimately the top voter-getter.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman is holding a re-election kick-off fund-raiser the evening of November 18 at The Honda Center’s newly-opened Grand Terrace:

Gail Eastman kick-off

This will be Gail Eastman‘s third time on the ballot. She was a Planning Commissioner in 2008 when she ran the first time and came close to knocking out incumbent Councilwoman Lorri Galloway (who is strongly rumored to be a candidate for mayor next year). She was the top vote-getter during her second run in 2010.

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Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

From the OC Register:

Councilwoman Calls for Citizen Oversight on Stadium Negotiations

ANAHEIM – Councilwoman Kris Murray said she will call Tuesday for the creation of a citizen task force to help renegotiate a stadium lease aimed at keeping the Angels in Anaheim through 2057.

Murray and three other City Council members voted last month to delay the baseball team’s option to leave Anaheim to 2019 from 2016 while publicly outlining a series of negotiating points. Mayor Tom Tait, who voted against the deal, said that creating a citizen oversight panel at this point is “too little, too late.”

“It could not be more relevant to have full transparency so our residents know the benefits of the stadium as we enter negotiations with the Angels,” Murray said. “This will allow them to weigh the benefits of any agreement before it’s brought back to the City Council for approval.”

An Angels spokesman declined to comment.

It’s unclear how many people Murray would have serve on her Anaheim Citizens Task Force on Community Benefits, which would review plans that could allow the Angels to lease the city-owned parking lot surrounding the stadium for $1 annually over 66 years. In turn, team owner Arte Moreno would have the right to develop the property and ask the city for tax subsidies to help fund construction. Any profits could go toward stadium improvements.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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Yesterday was the deadline for filing Form 460s – campaign disclosure reports — covering contributions received and expenditures made from January 1 through June 30 of the Year of Our Lord 2013.

Anaheim City Clerk Linda Andal’s office is very good at uploading these reports very quickly. So far, the reports for Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman and Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman are online. Murray and Eastman are up for re-election next year.

“Gail Eastman for Council 2014” didn’t hold any fundraisers during the reporting period. She reported $10,209 cash-on-hand (COH) and no debt.

“Kring for City Council 2012”, who was elected last year, raised $21,972, spent $2,650.89, re-paid $37,500 of a $50,000 loan to her campaign from the Kring family Trust, and ended with $1,476 COH and remaining debt of $37,500 (to her family trust).

“Brandman for Anaheim City Council 2012” raised $6,962.73 in the first six months of this year, spent $15,683.75 and ended with a 682.52 COH and $15,000 in debt.

He also filed paperwork for his 2016 re-election committee on July 30.

I’ll update this post with Mayor Tom Tait’s and Councilwoman Kris Murray’s campaign reports when they become available.

UPDATE: Councilwoman Kris Murray‘s report shows very strong numbers: she raised $61,371.99, spent $2,239, and ended the period with $64,297.70 cash-on-hand and no debt.

UPDATE: I have the basic numbers from Mayor Tom Tait’s report: he raised $49,825; spent $18,298.25; and ended the period with $48,523.06 cash-on-hand and no debt. His report should be posted on the Anaheim City Clerk website tomorrow morning.

UPDATE:  The actual report for Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 is up.  The first thing that caught my eye was how much money his campaign spent, which is unusually high considering the election is a year-and-half away. Upon further examination, spending $5,267 now to lock down the Landslide Communications family of six conservative/Republican targeted slates is a smart move.

There was also an $1,158 expenditure on an anti-GardenWalk robocall that went out shortly before the vote on the amended GardenWalk agreement; hard to see how that will provide any benefit come November 2014 when GardenWalk is far away in the voters’ collective rear-view mirror.

The Kris Murray for Anaheim City Council 2014 has also been posted. I noticed a certain blog troll who used to live in Anaheim is having a hard time understanding how a candidate can raise $90,000 at a fundraiser and yet show less than that amount in her campaign report.

It’s really quite simple to understand by applying a modicum of brain power. Kris Murray’;s fundraisers was held on June 26 –a mere four days before the end of the filing period (June 30). The reality of fundraisers is not everyone who commits to buying a ticket a) physically shows up and/or b) pays right a away with a check.  The money raised continue to trickle in over time as donors make good on their commitments.

The fact that Kris was able to collect and deposit two-thirds of the money raised in several days is quite an accomplishment. In fact, she raised more money (the bulk in less than a week) more quickly than any other Anaheim candidate.

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Per her e-mail that came over the transom this morning, Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman is having a constituent coffee the Saturday after next:

Greetings!

I will be at Ruby’s Diner on Saturday, March 23. Please stop by and have coffee or breakfast with me. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors.  I’d love to meet with them too.

Do you have questions or concerns that you want to talk with me about? Do you have a great idea that you think that City Hall should implement? I want to hear about it!

So come down and have a cup of coffee with me. Or just come by and say “Hi”.

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