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I reached out to Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley yesterday to find out the voter turnout in Anaheim for Tuesday’s primary election. The news isn’t very heartening:

Anaheim has 123,485 registered voters – very few of whom cast ballots in this election:

Anaheim turnout 6-3-14

In a disheartening manifestation of this low turnout, the first vote update from the ROV on Tuesday night increased the Anaheim vote count by only 14 votes.

Regardless of where one stood on Measure C, D and E, I think all would agree it is sad so few Anaheim voters exercised their voice on these proposed amendments to their city charter. In a Voice of OC article about the Measure D result, Mayor Tom Tait said “The people have spoken, and I think it shows that people are concerned about the effect of money and special interests on politics.”

 

You can certainly say some of the people have spoken – in this case, 14.8% of them. Also, I disagree with the mayor’s analysis – who the “special interests” are depends on which voters you talk to and their political leanings. However, one of the problems with such abysmal turnout is it undermines elections as indicators of what the voters want or don’t want, and their power to settle political issues. That isn’t spin directed at Tuesday’s results. It’s a lamentation over the corrosive effect low voter participation has on representative self-government.

IMG_8079The polls open in about 12 hours, and Election Day Anaheim voters will cast their ballot on the three charter amendments on tomorrow’s ballot.

TNT Fireworks put another $45,000 into the Yes on Measure E campaign, hoping to persuade Anaheim voters to repeal the charter’s prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks and allow the City Council to legalize them for sale and use. That brings TNT’s campaign expenditures on the Yes on Measure E campaign to $150,000.

There’s been some late, blog-based griping about legalizing fireworks, as Cynthia Ward and some of her gadflies complain that the Yes on E campaign has tried to address concerns about brush fire danger among Anaheim Hills – apparently not recognizing that Hills residents are next to open space and wilderness areas with there is brush, while the Colony is far away from those areas. Another complaint voiced is that it will be really hard to tell the difference between legal and illegal fireworks, thus making it hard for them to call the cops if they see someone using illegal fireworks. Here’s a helpful hint: illegal fireworks go up in the air and explode. Legal fireworks don’t.

And these are the folks who claim to the be true freedom-loving conservatives in town.

On the Measure D front, the Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 campaign paid for an IE robocall, recorded by my long-time friend Jon Fleischman, publisher of the influential state political blog FlashReport.org. Jon is also the president of California Term Limits. TheLiberalOC.com has a link to the robocall here (at the bottom of the post). Jon takes issue with on of the Yes on D campaign slogans, “Strengthens term limits”:

This is Jon Fleischman, president of California Term Limits, with a warning for Anaheim residents, and urging you to vote “No” on Measure D. Measure D is not term limits reform. Instead, it is an attempt by powerful special interests to prevent Mayor Tom Tait from uncovering their crony deals at City Hall. 

Please vote “No” on Measure D and protect Anaheim’s city treasury.

This message has been paid for by Tom Tait for Mayor 2014.

Gloriaski – why not say Measure D is an attempt by “powerful special interests” keep Mayor Tait from foiling their evil plan to fluoridate the city’s water supply and steal Anaheim’s women?  I mean, if one’s going to spin some campaign yarns, make them good ones!

Anaheim voters have received a second mail piece asking them to vote “yes” on Measure D, which would change the term for Anaheim mayors from four to two years, while limiting him or her to four consecutive two-year terms – preserving the current limit of eight consecutive years as mayor:

MeasureD-8.5x11-Mailer-Version2-Final-Cropped_Page_1

Here’s the official argument in favor of Measure D, and the official argument against.

If approved by the voters in June, Measure D would be into effect immediately, meaning all the mayoral candidates would be running for a two-year term in November, instead of a four-year term.

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mailmanThe highest profile measure on the Anaheim ballot this June is Measure D, which would shift the mayor’s term from four years to two years; the mayor would still be limited to eight consecutive years in office, however.

Thus far, the battle has been confined to the ubiquitous slate mailers. The Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 campaign purchased space on some slates for “No on D” while the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC purchased slates for “Yes on D.” Looking at the slates that have been landing in mailboxes, the “Yes” side seems to be on more slates – but it’s hard to quantify the impact and it’s probably a wash on that front.

The “No on D” campaign reports taking in $1,975 in two donations: $975 from Mayor Tait, and $1,000 from James Vanderbilt – the AUHSD trustee who is Tait’s candidate for council this November and who has quickly become the mayor’s Man Friday. $349 was spent on a robocall that went out about 10 days ago, and $1,042 on signs. The latter is enough to have COGS print them but not enough to have COGS puts them up. “No on D” will have to rely on volunteers to put up sing, which would explain why you hardly see any of them.

The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC has already sent out a mailer that hit this weekend:

first yes on d mailer

 

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The OC Register editorial board is rolling out its endorsements for the June primary ballot. Weighing in on the three proposed amendments to Anaheim’s city charter: Measures C,D and E, the OCR editorial board got two out of three correct.

The OCR supports a “yes” vote on Measure C (a bundle of largely technical modifications to the charter); and on Measure E – which would legalize the sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks in Anaheim. The endorsement of E is no surprise, given the Register’s long-standing support for the legalization of fireworks.

Where the editorial board got it wrong, in my opinion, was in opposing Measure D, which would change the mayor’s term to two-years. The reasons the newspaper cites for opposing it:

The change would take effect immediately, rather than after Mayor Tom Tait has been elected to and served a second term

  • Concern that Measure D “will do nothing more than clip Mayor Tait’s wings.”
  • The editorial also expressed the suspicion that Measure D was “political gamesmanship” aimed at a single person – Mayor Tait.

The irony here is that by basing its opposition not on concern for how Measure D might affect the office of mayor, but out of concern for how it might affect a specific individual – the OCR editorial board is committing, in principle, the same sin of which it suggests Measure D proponents are guilty.  Tom Tait is not the last mayor Anaheim will ever have, and the city will have a different mayor in December of 2014, 2016 or 2018.

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The day after the radical non-profit OCCORD formed the Committee for District Elections to fight for single-member council districts, allied individuals formed the “Committee Against Measure D.”

Measure D is the charter amendment on the June ballot that would change the mayoral term from four to two years.

The principal officer is Anaheim City School District Board of Education member James Vanderbilt; he is also running for city council on Mayor Tom Tait’s slate and signed the ballot arguments against Measure D. The treasurer is Helen Myers, a friend of Cynthia Ward, treasurer of a political action committee formed last year by Ward, and was treasurer of millionaire developer Tony Bushala’s Fullerton Recall PAC.

Continuing our series of posts (here, here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

We urge you to Vote Yes on Measure D to bring greater accountability to the Mayor’s office and strengthen Anaheim’s term limits law.

Common sense says a two-year term brings greater responsiveness to the Mayor’s office. Yes on Measure D does that.

An effective Mayor should have no problem seeking voter approval every two years. Longer terms don’t make for better leaders. Good mayors can accomplish a lot in two years, while a bad mayor will accomplish nothing in four years.

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Continuing our series of posts (here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

Vote “NO” on Measure D.

An overwhelming majority, over 70% of Anaheim, has already decided the mayor should have four years to speak for the people.

So who’s wasting our time with a question to which we already know the answer?

Special interests.

Why?

Their best argument is that two years is how they do things in the fine cities of Orange and Irvine. They say it increases accountability.

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We’ve posted the Argument in favor of Measure D, which would amend the City Charter to limit the mayor to four consecutive two-year terms, instead of the current limit of two consecutive four-year terms. Here is the Argument Against Measure D that will be in the sample ballot:

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE D

Opposition to Charter Amendment to Section 504

We urge you to vote “NO” on Measure D. Under Anaheim’s Charter, the mayor and city council members are all elected to four-year terms. Measure D proposes to change the Charter to require the city’s mayor to run for office every two years, while council candidates continue to be elected every four years.

There is simply no good reason to support this proposed change in the law.

The vast majority of American large-city mayors serve four-year terms. A four-year term gives the city’s chief elected official time to set goals and plan for the city’s needs, and it provides continuity of leadership to keep city government both stable and responsive to the voters.
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The most contentious local measure on the June ballot will be Measure D – a measure to change the mayor’s term from four to two years, based on the recommendation of the Charter Review Committee.

Following is the Argument in Favor that voters will receive in the sample ballots. I’ll be posting the Argument Against and the rebuttals against both arguments. Let the debate begin!

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

If there’s one thing voters want from their elected leaders, it’s greater accountability. Measure D does that for Anaheim’s most important elected position – our Mayor. Please vote YES.

Unlike many initiatives, Measure D is simple and straightforward. It changes the term of office for Mayor from 4 years to 2 years, and applies the city’s term limits fairly to the Mayor.

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