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moreno leos

Jose Moreno’s city council campaign e-mailed out this fundraising invite today:

Dear Friend,

With Election Day arriving in less than 9 weeks the Dr. Jose F. Moreno campaign is sprinting towards the finish line, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!

October is Voter Outreach Month and our community-centered campaign needs YOUR help more than ever to raise the money that we need to bring our campaign message to the voters’ doorstep and mailbox.

We need to raise $40,000 in September to fully implement our mail program and supply our volunteers with everything they need for October including phones, campaign literature, clipboards, pens, refreshments and snacks.

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Anaheim Insider here (again).

A friend forward to me this e-mail from the Tom Tait campaign to OC GOP Central Committee members, who are voting tonight (possibly right now) on whether to give Tait an early endorsement:

Subject: Union Money invades Anaheim

Dear Central Committee Member,​

Tonight, our Local Elected Official of the Year, Mayor Tom Tait, will be rightfully seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party of Orange County for his reelection this November.  One or two supporters of Anaheim City Council Members Lucile Kring, Kris Murray, and Gail Eastman, may try to pull his name from the consent list for separate consideration.  

Two of these Council Member​s, Murray and Eastman, are up for reelection in November as well.  Council Member Kring, is in a safe seat yet has decided to run against Mayor Tom Tait in spite of his strong Republican credentials and stellar job performance.   Why?  

The attachment speaks volumes for itself.  Union money is pouring into the coffers of all Anaheim Elected Officials on the City Council except one – Mayor Tom Tait. 

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One of the arguments made by single-member council district proponents is that Anaheim is so big that the cost of communicating with so many voters prices potential candidates out of the running – especially Latinos – and allows special interests to dominate the elections. Carving the city into single-member council districts, the argument goes, diminishes the significance of campaign warchests by making it easier for a candidate to win in this smaller voter universe by walking precincts.

There is no denying that an ample campaign warchest is preferable to a small one, and that running a robust campaign mailer effort in Anaheim isn’t cheap. However, that isn’t the decisive factor, and the candidate who spends the most money isn’t necessarily the one who wins.

Another mantra of the single-member district cult is “only three Latinos have been elected to the Anaheim City Council in 156 years.” The intellectual dishonesty of that claim aside, it’s illuminating that when one of the those Latinos, Lou Lopez, was first elected, he came in first even while being vastly outspent by the candidate who finished second, Bob Zemel. From a February 10, 1995 Los Angeles Times article:

The cost of being elected to the City Council was dramatically different for Bob Zemel and Lou Lopez.

Zemel, who had placed third in the two previous elections, spent more than $108,000 for last November’s win. Lopez spent $34,000, according to financial disclosure records reviewed this week.

“All the power-brokers said I couldn’t do it my way,” Lopez said Thursday. “People can’t believe I won on that kind of money. I was told I would need a minimum of $60,000 to get elected in Anaheim. But I’ve been involved in politics for 15 years, won three elections and have knocked on a lot of doors. I didn’t just come out of the woodwork.”

Other top-spenders included: Paul Bostwick, who finished in fourth place after spending more than $80,800, about half of which was his own money; fifth-place finisher Sharon Ericson, who spent about $55,300, and seventh-place finisher Leonard Lahtinen, who reported expenditures of more than $47,800, of which $29,000 was his own money.

Candidate Shirley McCracken, running for a council seat for the first time, managed to finish third while spending only $20,500.

In other words, the first and third highest vote getters – Lopez and McCracken — were the candidates with the poorest campaigns in terms of spending.

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My frend Chris Emami at OC Political has posted about an Anaheim Campaign Database project he is launching. It is a worthy endeavor, and the information about council candidates is useful. I do have some suggestions for making it more complete.

The profiles of the candidates’ campaign finances don’t include how much of their own mony they donated to their campaigns. Brian Chuchua, for example, pumped about $60,000 (if memory serves) from his own pocket (and the pocket of a family member). Not that it did him any good, but it does belong in any pie chart or profile of his campaign finances.

Also, independent expenditures aren’t included. The post includes this illustrative pie chart about John Leos’ campaign contributions:


But the real story is the staggering $531,000 the unions — mainly the Orange County Employees Association — spent in independent expenditures on behalf of Leos.

Still, this project is a good start, and I’m sure Chris will be incorporating improvements along the way.


$900,000? Sure it's a lot of money, but there's more where that came from.

$900,000? Sure it’s a lot of money, but there’s more where that came from.

The year-end Form 460s — those are campaign finance disclosure forms — were due yesterday, but a number of them were filed over the course of January.

I opened up the Form 460 for the OCEA-sponsored “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012,” and did a double take when I saw the final total spending on behalf of Leos:


One would have to do the research, but I’d wager that is an Anaheim record for IE spending on a single candidate by a single entity (with a sub-category of spending it and losing).

$365,622.65 of that was spent in the final 17 days of the campaign, with a large chunks uncorked in the last days to fund phone banks and paid walkers.


$390,000 of that $531,055 came from the pockets of OCEA members, the rest from other labor unions (some of which also receive campaign fund transfers from OCEA, so the latter’s total may be higher).

Now, if you had this to the $200,000 spent by OCEA in its unsuccessful attempt to elect Leos to council in 2010, and the estimated$100,000 it spent in 2011 on a series of city-wide mailers promoting Leos and his “transparency ordinance,” then OCEA has spent $700,000 over the course less than three years to put John Leos on the Anaheim City Council.

Now, add the $32,360.79 spent by the OCEA Independent Expenditure Committee to fund attacks on Jordan Brandman.

Let’s further broaden the scope to include the $64,000 that OCEA put into signature gathering for the anti-GardenWalk Take Back Anaheim initiative, which failed to qualify for the ballot. And then add in the money OCEA spent on mailers hitting Councilmembers Harry Sidhu, Kris Murray and Gail Eastman over the GardenWalk vote — which was likely another $100,000 (and I’m estimating conservatively).

We’re talking at least $900,000 the OCEA has spent on Anaheim politics in less that three years. That’s almost a million dollars, and with very little to show for it: two Leos losses, a failed initiative campaign, and an alienated new councilmember.

OCEA's John Leos (center) with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson (right) at Jerry Brown inaugural shindig.

OCEA’s John Leos (center) with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson (right) at Jerry Brown inaugural shindig.

As this blog as documented pretty thoroughly, the Orange County Employees Association spent a staggering amount of its members’ dues money in an effort to elect one of its members, John Leos, to the Anaheim City Council.

How much did that failed effort cost on a per-vote basis?

OCEA directly put into $350,000 into independent expenditures for Leos (this doesn’t take into account OCEA money that may have made its way into the election via transfers to other union-controlled committees, or even the estimated $100,000 OCEA spent in 2011 on direct mail promoting Leos).

John Leos ultimately garnered 19,051 votes.

That comes to $18.37 per vote…to buy a third place finish. Keep in mind that number may change when all the money is finally accounted for.

In 2010, OCEA directly spent $200,000 trying to elect Leos in 2010, when he received 12,966 votes. That’s $15.42 per vote.

Amazingly, OCEA  dollar-cost-per-vote ratio increased from 2010 to 2012, for a third-place finish both times. Not a good ROI on OCEA members’ moolah.

The dust has settled and once again, a hugely expensive government union effort to elect John Leos to the Anaheim City Council has fallen short.

In 2010, the Orange County Employees Association spent $——- in independent expenditures on behalf of John Leos candidacy. He came in third with 12.1% of the vote.

Leos and Berardino

OCEA’s John Leos at the union’s celebration of Jerry Brown’s inaugural, with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson and OCEA GM Nick Berardino

In the Fall of 2011, OCEA spent an estimated $100,000 on direct mail Anaheim voters promoting John Leos and his “transparency ordinance.”

This year, the OCEA put $350,000 into its pro-Leos campaign. Leos finished third with 13.9% of the vote.

That’s $650,000 in members’ dues money that OCEA has spent over two years in a vain attempt to make Leos an Anaheim City Councilman (and I’m not counting the $138,000 from the government union umbrella group UEOOC).

That additional $450,000 the OCEA spent for Leos in 2011-2012 only barely budged his percentage of the vote from 12.1% to 13.9% – even in a year with presidential election turnout. When you consider that unlike in 2010, this year Leos had the active support of the city’s well-liked conservative Republican mayor, as well as conservative Republicans Supervisor Shawn Nelson and Assemblyman Chris Norby, the failure of the Leos/OCEA campaign effort is even more glaring.

$650,000 is a huge sum of money to burn with nothing to show for it.

Chris Emami did yeoman’s work posting up a number of mailers from the tsunami of mail that landed on Anaheim voters this election.

Although we’ll know the results in a few hours, you can view a number of the mailers largely driving those results here, here, here, here and here.

Despite the gusher of government union money uncorked to elect John Leos, I’ll venture a prediction that it is in vain, and that Leos falls short. I think enough voters are smart enough to realize what the game is, that the sheer volume of government union money becomes an issue in itself, and the OCEA’s mail was uneven, and enough of it just not very good. Two years ago, there was a flood of it portraying Leos as a champion of the taxpayer; the problem was it all said “paid for by the Orange County Employees Association.” Nothing has changed.

If Leos loses, that means OCEA will have spent around $700,000 since 2010 in a vain attempt to elect him to the Anaheim City Council.

In other news, Councilwoman Kris Murray distributed this response to yesterday’s op-ed by Mayor Tom Tait.



John Leos has made “transparency” a cornerstone of his campaign: he’s all about ensuring nothing is hidden from the voters.

Except when it comes to telling voters about his stands on the issues.

Click here to go to John Leos’ campaign website. Scroll down and in the lower right-hand corner you’ll see a photo of him with Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait:

Now, here’s the same photo in a John Leos campaign mailer that went out a few days ago, targeting Republican voters:

But wait! Are they the same picture? Let’s make a side-by-side comparison:

Well, what do you know? The Leos campaign altered the photo: Photoshopping out the “No on 32″ signs on the back wall.

Why would the Leos campaign do that?

Leos, a government union activists and (until recently) a director of the OCEA. opposes Prop. 32, which would require unions like his to get members’ permission before using their dues for political purposes. Prop. 32 has strong support among Anaheim Republican voters, and letting them know Leos’ stance on this issue would undercut efforts to sell him as a conservative reformer.

So Leos airbrushes his”No on Prop. 32” stance out of existence. He’s so transparent on the issue of Prop. 32 that his position on it has disappeared!

I posted yesterday on the sleazy mailer from the Orange County Employees Association, accusing Anaheim City Council candidate Jordan Brandman of breaking the law — without any evidence whatsoever.

Illustrating just how unhinged Anaheim politics have become in a few short months, you have a member of the Orange County Labor Federation (OCFL) attacking a candidate who as been endorsed by the OCFL.

Keep in mind that no OCEA mail goes out without the approval of General Manager Nick Beradino.

And keep in mind that Berardino is a Vice President of the California Labor Federation — of which the Orange County Labor Federation (OCFL) is a part.

In other words, a senior officer of the state labor federation is funding a smear of a candidate endorsed by a local affiliate of the organization of which he is an officer.

It’s analogous to the Vice Chairman of the California Republican Party funding a hit on a candidate endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party.

Brandman has filed a complaint with the OCFL seeking an investigation and possible sanctions against OCEA, writing in a letter to CLF head honcho Art Pulaski:

This mailer blatantly attacks my integrity without any evidence and I refuted all accusations long before this mailer was sent (press release attached).  I find this action by OCEA and its General Manager Nick Berardino who is also a Vice-President of the California Labor Federation very disturbing and ask for your immediate investigation and consideration of sanction against OCEA for violating long-standing practice to not attack fellow labor endorsed candidates in elections.

The animus of Berardino and OCEA toward Brandman is no secret, but an uneasy truce was put together during the maneuverings over OCFL endorsements in the Anaheim City Council election. The private sector unions backed Brandman but not Leos, and vice versa for the government unions. It was ultimately agreed that neither wing of the OCFL would block the other’s chosen candidate, clearing the way for OCFL to endorse both Brandman and Leos.

OCEA’s rash attack mailer essentially shatters that agreement.

And regardless of one’s partisan affiliation or preferences in the Anaheim City Council race, the OCEA’s mailer should be considered pretty scurrilous. Accusing someone of breaking the law, in the absolute absence of any evidence, is wrong.

As Anaheim Blog has noted, the OCEA and other government unions are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to put John Leos on the Anaheim City Council.  Leos is a county employee who is also an OCEA shop steward, and served on the board of directors for both the OCEA and the OCEA political action committee until earlier this year.

Leos’ own fundraising has been worse than it was two years — and it was anemic then. If he manages to get elected, it will be entirely due to the ocean of money the government unions are pouring into this race.

Chris Emami has posted some of the mailers being put out by the OCEA here, here and here.   

John Leos’ biggest fan.

Amazing. Voice of OC writes a long article about the “hidden hand” of Disney in the Anaheim City Council elections because the company has spent about $189,000 supporting two candidates, Jordan Brandman and Steve Lodge.

But no mention that the Orange County Employees Associations — with a little help from other government employee unions — has put $188,000 behind just one candidate: government union activist John Leos.

Oh wait — scratch that. That was the public number yesterday. Today, the OCEA Independent Expenditure Committee reported a late contribution of $250,000 into the “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012” — which itself is controlled by the OCEA..

Yes, you read that right. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But when you don’t have to ask your members’ permission before spending their money on campaigns, it’s amazing how quickly government unions can build a big a campaign warchest.

That brings government union spending for Leos at $438,000 — and $300,000 of that from OCEA. That isn’t counting the direct contributions that make up a majority of Leos’ meager fundraising.

Is there some spending threshold the OCEA and its fellow government i have to cross before, say, the Orange County Register comes to its sense and re-considers its endorsement of John Leos? There has to be some level of cognitive dissonance at work for the OCR editorial page to push for Prop. 32, and also push for a candidate who is completely dependent on the kind of union political spending the OCR wants to end? Any second thoughts as to what OCEA wants badly enough from a Councilman John Leos that is willing to spend at least $300,000 to elect him?

Leos and Berardino

OCEA’s John Leos at the union’s celebration of Jerry Brown’s inaugural, with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson and OCEA GM Nick Berardino

In a repeat of 2010, government employee unions ae pulling out the stops for John Leos’ campaign for Anaheim City Council.

The OCEA-sponsored “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Councl 2102” reported $138,000 in contributions from the United Employee Organizations of Orange County Independent Expenditure Committee (UEOOC). The UEOOC is an IE committee through which the OCEA, the Orange County Attorneys Association, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Association and other government employee associations funnel campaign contributions. It doesn’t sound so union-ish on the political mailer disclaimers.

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The Orange County Employees Association — the only visible means of support John Leos’ campaign has – has really started to open the money spigot.

According to a late contribution report filed by the government union today, since October 1 it has dumped $350,000 in members’ dues money into its Issues Committee (the OCEA maintains several campaign committees).

Last month, OCEA opened up the “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012,” and transferred into it $50,000 from the OCEA’s Independent Expenditure committee.

Of the big bucks poured into its Issues Committee, OCEA has contributed $80,000 into the Orange County Federation of Labor’s Committee On Political Education (COPE). Keep on eye on where that money goes from here.

It will be interesting to see how much of the remainder of that $350,000 infusion of members’ dues is used to play in Anaheim’s council election – not to mention in Costa Mesa, where the council majority, with Republican help,  is trying to rebuff the union-backed candidates. In Anaheim, there are Republicans are helping the union-backed candidate. Go figure.

At the Anna Drive candidate forum last week, most of the candidates in attendance endorsed the idea of imposing a tax of $1 a ticket on the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Stadium and the Honda Center in order to fund “youth programs and neighborhood development.”

Those pro-tax candidates include government union activist John Leos, Green Party activist Duane Roberts and Brian Chuchua (who, amazingly enough, is endorsed by the OC Republican Party).

Leaving aside the fact this ticket tax is bad public and economic policy, as a practical matter it is unworkable. It doesn’t appear to have occurred to Leos, Roberts or Chuchua that the city cannot single out those venues for a ticket tax, while exempting other venues in the city. The tax would have to e applied across the board, or not at all. So if John Leos wants a new admission tax (because that is what it is) to provide dedicated revenue to fund social programs, he’ll have to slap it on movie theaters, on the Grove of Anaheim, or any other venue where people are charged for admission.

Anaheim is a major city, the 10th largest in the state of California, and being a councilmember requires significantly more than this kind of seat-of-the-pants policy improvisation, or glibly endorsing a half-baked admission tax idea tossed out at a street-side candidate forum.

OCEA’s John Leos (center) with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson (right) at Jerry Brown inaugural shindig.

I was looking at council candidate John Leos’ campaign website and saw this promise:

“I pledge to decline the City car allowance, medical benefits and pension.” – John Leos

Except for the car allowance part (and good for John Leos on that count), that’s like a non-smoker promising to give up cigarettes, or a teetotaler promising to give up drinking.

Leos works for the county probation department. He already has a government pension: 2.7% at 55 (which is far better than what most Anaheim voters can look forward to getting). He already has medical benefits through the county.

In other words, Leos is promising the taxpayers he will not to double-dip — which is good as far as it goes, but kind of the minimum one would expect — and in light of is existing county pension and medical benefits, an essentially meaningless promise.

It was SRO at the Anna Drive candidate forum (courtesy OC Register)

Six of nine Anaheim council candidates attended at last night’s street side  candidate forum on gang-infested Anna Drive. Judging from pictures on Voice of OC and the OC Register, the audience didn’t outnumber the candidates and forum organizers by very much.

Nonetheless, some useful information emerged in the coverage by the VOC and OCR.

John Leos, the government union activist being supported by organized labor, came out in support of imposing a dollar head-tax on visitors to the Disneyland Resort and Angel Stadium (it’s unclear whether this head-tax would also be imposed on the Honda Center, the Grove of Anaheim, Muzeo or any other attraction in Anaheim).

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Leos and Berardino

OCEA’s John Leos at the union’s celebration of Jerry Brown’s inaugural, with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson and OCEA GM Nick Berardino

The Orange County Employees Association (of which the Anaheim Municipal Employees Association is part) has spent another $12,428 in its effort to get county worker and government union activist John Leos elected to Anaheim City Council.

That’s on top of the $50,000 the big government union put into a separate campaign account, “The Committee In Support of John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012.”

This spotlights how dependent on OCEA are the council hopes of Leos, whose fundraising is even more anemic than during his 2010 council run. He had raised only $10,775 as of September 30, while the OCEA had donated nearly six times that amount on his behalf.

The $12,o0o-plus was spent through the union’s IE committee and went to buying spots for Leos on seven slate mailers. Six of those seven slates — with names such as “Save Prop. 13,” the “National Taxpayers Limitations Committee Newsletter” and the “Small Business Action Committee” — belong to Landslide Communications, owned by longtime conservative activist and slate king Jim Lacy.

It makes for interesting politics: the left-leaning OCEA buys spots for government union activist Leos on conservative activists slates while simultaneously hiring a left-wing Occupy Movement consultant to run its pro-Leos campaign.

This morning, this blog wondered out loud how much the Orange County Employees Association would spend in a second attempt to elect John Leos to the Anaheim City Council.

We already have an answer.

According to the campaign reports filed today  by the OCEA-sponsored “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012” show the government employee union’s IE committee contributed $50,000 to its “Support John Leos” committee on Sept. 17.

The OCEA’s committee has already spent $21,849.09 for Leos: on slates, polling, mailers, campaign consultants.

Read the rest of this entry »

John Leos’ biggest fan.

If there were any doubts whether the Orange County Employees Association (with which the Anaheim city employees union is affiliated) was going all in for John Leos again this year, you can put them to rest.

The OCEA is sponsoring the “Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2012” political action committee.  You can bookmark it’s entry on the Cal-Access site to track the money going in and out. OCEA formed the committee last month (on September 11, to be precise)

By funding voter contact through this new committee rather than the union PAC, I’m guessing OCEA has learned a lesson from 2010, when the many pro-Leos mailers it funded all said “Paid for by the Orange County Employees Association” — a signal flare alerting voters that Leos’s was the government union candidate.

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