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ruby heeled districtsThe Left continues to pour money into its effort to change the rules of how the Anaheim City Council is elected in order to produce elections results more to their liking, i.e. the election of left-of-center councilmembers to adopt left-of-center policies.

The latest donation comes from the Orange County Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE), which on Thursday, September 18 contributed $10,000 to the “yes on Measure L” campaign.  That brings the OC Labor Federation’s total contribution to the Measure L campaign to $20,000. So far, the unions and progressive political forces have put nearly a quarter of a million dollars into Measure L, which will end the at-large council election system and carve Anaheim into single-member council districts.

Does anyone not there believe that radical left-wing organizations like OCCORD and UNITE-HERE are funding this campaign to further the cause of limited government? Will we hear a single word of criticism about this  from Team Tait, which has based its campaign on “fighting outside special interests” even as it enthusiastically supports Measure L, which is being funded entirely by a flood of outside special interest money? 

Unite Here protestorsThe campaign for by-district council elections has received another big union check: UNITE-HERE Local 11 contributed $25,000 to the Committee for District Elections, which is the “Yes on Measure L” campaign. 

Who does UNITE-HERE Local 11 represent? Hotel workers (and food service employees). Of what does Anaheim have thousands? Non-unionized hotel workers that UNITE-HERE not only wants, but needs as members. 

The only hotels in the Anaheim resort area with unionized workers are the Anaheim Hilton and the Disney properties.  

UNITE-HERE wants to change that.  It’s 501(c)4 satellite group, OCCORD, has been fighting the GardenWalk Hotel economic assistance agreement in court. By an amazing coincidence, OCCORD is being represented by Cory Briggs, the same left-wing ambulance chaser who is co-plaintiff with CATER against the Anaheim Convention Center expansion.

[OCCORD is housed in office next to UNITE-HERE, in a building owned by UNITE-HERE, and receives a $5,000 check from UNITE-HERE every month]. 

OCCORD doesn’t object to the city’s TOT subsidy for the GardenWalk project. What they (or rather, UNITE-HERE) want is for the GardenWalk owners to allow UNITE-HERE to unionize their employees. If the GardenWalk investors agreed to that, OCCORD’s lawsuit would go away. In the meantime, the OCCORD/UNITE-HERE strategy is to wear the GardenWalk investors with drawn-out litigation and force them to choose between agreeing to be unionized or giving up the project. 

Bu that is a laborious, expensive approach to unionizing hotel workers. It would be better for UNITE-HERE to have a left-leaning, Democrat-majority on the Anaheim City Council that made it clear to hotel developers that approval of their new or expanded projects hinged on having unionized workers or agreeing to “card check neutrality” as a condition of approval (in addition to incorporating similar demands into the conditions).

Since the at-large council election system has proven a barrier to electing more than one Democrat to the city council, UNITE-HERE and other left-wing constituencies want to replace it with by-district elections, which would structurally tilt council elections toward a Democratic majority. It’s no accident that nearly 92% of UNITE-HERE political contributions go to Democrats.

Orange County Republicans should consider that the pillar of Democratic power in Nevada are the unions representing hotel and casino workers.  Imagine how the political landscape in Orange County would be altered if the Left succeeds in passing Measure L and opening the door to unionizing the estimated 8,000 hotel workers in the Anaheim resort area. That’s a lot of union dues revenue available to fund the election of Democratic candidates.  

UNITE-HERE Local 11 needs members. Or rather, it needs the revenue from member dues. It also represents Aramark employees, and lost members when the Anaheim Ducks decided to get rid of Aramark and bring its food service operations in house.  UNITE-HERE lobbied the Anaheim City Council to require the Ducks to staff their in-house food service operation with UNITE-HERE members. They even pushed for the council to ask the Ducks to allow UNITE-HERE to organize their food service workers via card check. 

Since the four of the five members of the Anaheim City Council are Republicans, UNITE-HERE’s demands were rebuffed. Does anyone think that would have been the case if a Democratic majority were in control?

This is what is at stake in the battle over by-district election in Anaheim. It’s not the naive (and cynical) malarkey about “neighbors electing neighbors” or better city services (neither of which by-district elections would deliver). This is the opening salvo in a political campaign to shift Anaheim and Orange County to the Left. 

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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OCCORD LogoOn Monday, I reported the inaugural contribution to the pro-council districts campaign committee was $3,500 donation on May 9, 2014 from one of the lead attorneys suing Anaheim on behalf of Anaheim City School District (ACSD) Board of Education member Jose Moreno (who has successfully avoided running for re-election this November under a by-district system because he slow-walked their introduction into the ACSD).

I would have reported it two months ago, except the Committee for District Elections ( a spin-off of UNITE-HERE-spin-off OCCORD) never reported it to the Anaheim City Clerk. I happen to find it during a search of the Secretary of State’s CAL-ACCESS database – not where one would ordinarily go for information on contributions in Anaheim campaigns.

Although Morris Baller’s $3,500 check was received on May 9, the Committee for District Elections didn’t report it until May 12. Given that is was a late contribution, meaning it should have been reported within 24 hours.

Campaigns and committees sometimes miss reporting deadlines. As long as such omissions are the exception rather than the rule and are remedied in a timely fashion, then no harm, no foul. At the same time, it’s strange that the Committee for District Elections made its Form 410 Statement of Organization filings with the City Clerk – both before and after Mr. Baller’s contribution — it reported Baller’s contribution to the Secretary of State, instead.

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OCCORD LogoThe Voice of OC reports the left-wing political advocacy group known as OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) is suing the City of Anaheim in an attempt to invalidate the city’s economic assistance agreement with the GardenWalk hotel project developer.

Cory Briggs, a left-wing environmentalist attorney from San Diego, is serving as OCCORD’s counsel on this idiotic lawsuit. Readers will remember that last summer, Briggs and OCCORD asked state and county prosecutors to go after ever member of the council (except Mayor Tom Tait) over the May 2013 GardenWalk vote.  In their fevered imaginations, mere membership on the SOAR advisory board constituted a conflict-of-interest, because they know GardenWalk developer Bill O’Connell, Sr. who is also – gasp! – a member of the SOAR Advisory Board!!

According to the Voice of OC, the lawsuit filed by OCCORD and Briggs alleges that Councilmembers Lucille Kring, Gail Eastman, Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman voted for the May 2013 GardenWalk agreement because Bill O’Connell gave to their campaigns. Never mind that Bill O’Connell Sr. has been one of their political supporters for years. Never mind that Eastman and Murray had already voted for the original GardenWalk agreement, which Brandman had also publicly supported. Never mind that the terms of the 2013 agreement Kring supported differed from the 2012 agreement. Never mind that all four councilmembers have in practice always supported the principle of such economic assistance agreements.

No – in the imaginations of Cory Briggs and OCCORD, the only possible explanation for these councilmembers to cast a vote entirely consistent with their public records is receiving contributions that amount to a small fraction of what their campaign raised.

If GardenWalk developers had struck a deal with OCCORD’s sponsor and funder UNITE-HERE Local 11 for it to organize GardenWalk hotel workers, OCCORD wouldn’t be filing this lawsuit. If the developer struck such a deal now, and threw in a “living wage” provision and some “community benefits”dreamed up by OCCORD, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the lawsuit dropped altogether.

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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?

Interested in the kind of governance progressives have in mind for Anaheim? Watch Santa Ana under the Sunshine Ordinance regime.

Last night, the Santa Ana City Council approved a 5-year strategic plan required by the so-called “sunshine” ordinance adopted in 2012.  Both were largely the products of lobbying by SACReD (the Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development). SACReD is Santa Ana’s equivalent of the coalition of left-wing interests in Anaheim that pushes for policies like single-member council districts and retention ordinances; in fact, it includes some of the same players, like OCCORD.

Much of the strategic plan is what you would expect to see in such a document produced in any city, and replete with jargon, buzz words and catch phrases. Other parts reflect the political priorities of the progressive interests that lobbied for it under the SACReD umbrella.

This is progressive governance – as distinct from traditional representative government — in action. With the latter, candidates present their political beliefs and governing priorities to the voters, who respond by either voting for or against them. The judgment of the citizenry, rendered at the ballot box, then sets the direction of government via the electorate’s selection of who will captain the ship of state – subject to amendment or reversal in future, regular elections.

Progressive governance differs because it views government not as a mechanism, but as a living organism that should embody the passions, priorities and needs of the people at any moment not only reflects, but incorporates the people. There’s no real distinction between “the people” and the government. Since progressive see themselves as representing the legitimate aspirations of the people, then it is their political priorities constitute the legitimate objectives of government.

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One talking point made by advocates of single-member council districts for Anaheim is that is it not a political project of the Left – notwithstanding the fact that the organizational and political heft behind the push for council districts is coming from a coalition of left-wing political organizations and figures such as OCCORD, UNITE-HERE, the Democratic Party of Orange County, the Orange County Labor Federation, the ACLU, Dr. Jose Moreno, Amin David, Vivian Pham, etc. The smattering of Republican supporters serve as a tissue of bi-partisan camouflage.

Take this flyer for a “Rally for Anaheim” rally to be held March 22 at Little Peoples Park on March 22. The rally is being organized by two left-wing non-profits, OCCORD and Orange County Congregation Community Organization – with special guest Mayor Tom Tait:

occord rally for anaheim english

The Facebook page invites people to come and “Show your civic pride and join us to learn more about district elections in Anaheim.”

One of the organizers listed on the flyer is Marisol Ramirez, a director of OCCORD and an organizing intern for the militant UNITE-HERE Local 11. Here is Ms. Ramirez at last summer’s anti-police rally (organized AnswerLA.org and now-Anaheim Council candidate Donna Acevedo) waving a Party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying COPS: George Zimmermans With A Badge:

OCCORD Director Marisol Ramirez holding party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying "Police Are George Zimmermans With A  Badge."

Marisol Ramirez holding a Party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying “Police Are George Zimmermans With A Badge.”

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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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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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I posted last week about the city’s report regarding the distribution of city services – a critical issue because a central contention of single-member council district advocates is that the flatlands are short-changed, an alleged situation that single-member districts will supposedly remedy (see the Magic Single-Member District Unicorn). Radical community group OCCORD has been the chief proponent of this view, even putting out a study purporting to rove this disparity.

Here’s a video clip from that August 13 council meeting in which Councilwoman Kris Murray engages staff in an illuminating exchange comparing the city’s study with the problematic OCCORD document:

An interesting aspect of OCCORD calling on the state Attorney General and the OC District Attorney to prosecute all four members of Anaheim City Council for imaginary violations is it puts some members of the OCCORD Board of Directors at political odds with themselves.

OCCORD is the political offspring of UNITE-HERE. Unions provide OCCORD with funding, and at least 40% the radical group’s board of directors consists of union executives and members.

Among those are Ada Briceno, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE-HERE Local 11; Rick Eiden, the executive vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324; Rob Penney, organizing director for the United Nurses Associations of California;  Jorge Inestria, UNITE-HERE activist.

In addition to being a director of OCCORD, Eiden is also the president of the Orange County Labor Federation (the OC presence of the AFL-CIO) — which endorsed Jordan Brandman for Anaheim City Council in 2012.  UNITE-HERE is represented on the OCLF board by its president, Tom Walsh (Briceno is UNITE-HERE Local 11’s No. 2).

On its face, you have UCFW President Rick Eiden – in his capacity as an OCCORD Director — calling for the criminal prosecution of an elected official (on absurd legal grounds) whose he officially and materially supported as head of the OC Labor Federation.

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An interesting discussion took place at the Anaheim City Council dais last night. As Mayor Tom Tait announced they were taking up item 22 (the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s Enterprise Zone contract), Councilman Jordan Brandman jumped in with a point of order.

He made reference to the OCCORD/Cory Briggs letter asking the state Attorney general and the OC Districts Attorney to prosecute every member of the city council (except Mayor Tait) for voting in favor of the GardenWalk agreement this May. The specious contention being those votes violated conflict-of-interest laws because those councilmembers either served on the SOAR Advisory Committee or had received contributions from the SOAR PAC.

Brandman pointed out that each member of the city council, including the mayor, had received campaign contributions from either the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC, Chamber members or Chamber affiliates. Given the OCCORD/Briggs letter, would they be violating those same conflict-of-interest laws, since the same circumstances presented themselves?

Here is video of Councilman Brandman’s question and City Attorney Michael Houston’s response:

Houston’s response should put to rest any idea that the OCCORD/Brigg’s allegations have any merit at all – which is sure to be a disappointment to certain inhabitants of the local blogosphere who are fairly drooling at the idea of the objects of their political hatred being prosecuted for something, anything.

OCCORD Director Marisol Ramirez holding Party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying "Police Are George Zimmermans With A  Badge."

OCCORD Director Marisol Ramirez holding Party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying “Police Are George Zimmermans With A Badge.”

The Left in Anaheim must be getting desperate, today’s press release from radical left-wing group OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) is any indication:

DA Urged to Prosecute Anaheim Council Members for Conflict of Interest

Council members received contributions from PAC tied to developer, then voted for $158 million hotel subsidy, says letter by CA attorney.

Contact:  Eric Altman, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (714) 392-0959 or ealtman@occord.org

Anaheim, CA – A prominent California attorney alleged that members of the Anaheim City Council violated state law when they voted on behalf of a $158 million hotel subsidy, after accepting contributions from a PAC tied to the project’s developer. Attorney Cory Briggs urged California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to prosecute the council members in a letter sent Thursday. Briggs’ request for prosecution was made on the behalf of a community organization, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, and a private Anaheim resident named in the letter.

The letter alleges that Anaheim City Council members Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman had an illegal conflict of interest when they voted for the Garden Walk Hotel subsidy in May, within months of accepting donations from the political action committee formed by Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR.) Hotelier Bill O’Connell, who benefited from that subsidy, sits on the SOAR Advisory Committee. The letter also names council members Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, who voted in favor of the subsidy and are SOAR Advisory Committee members. Eastman and Murray did not disclose their business relationships with SOAR and O’Connell at the time of the vote, as required by law.

The request for prosecution issued by Briggs is a required legal step before the filing of a private lawsuit. A potential filing would result in another in a recent series of lawsuits faced by the city council on behalf of residents. Last month, a judge ordered a trial in a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of Anaheim voters, alleging that the city’s election system violates the California Equal Voting Rights Act.

The Garden walk subsidy caused controversy, even before the allegations made last week. The subsidy was first passed in January 2012, but that vote was voided after a Superior Court Judge ruled that it violated the Brown Act, California’s open government law, because the public did not receive proper notice.

This is typical of the Left’s approach to politics: if you can’t win in the court of public opinion, then sue! Or in this case, ask government prosecutors to go after your opponents.

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On July 3, when the Anaheim City Council re-visited the issue of placing single-member council districts on the June 2014 ballot, OCCORD – which has been spearheading the effort with its godparent union UNITE-HERE — was essentially a no-show.

Instead, OCCORD released a video in which four of its regulars said they weren’t coming because the council is ignoring their voices – as if it is City Council’s duty to two the OCCORD/UNITE-HERE line. One of them even complained the council meetings were a “circus” – which is ironic since it is OCCORD and UNITE-HERE who create the unruly circus atmosphere by jeering and booing opposing points of view.

Personally, I suspect the automotons OCCORD and UNITE-HERE turn out were probably burning out and unwilling to show up, so the left-wing group turned lemons into lemonade with a video claiming they would be no shows because the Corporatist Power Structure ignores the Will of the People.

Almost three weeks after the fact, OCCORD is organizing a “picket” of tonight’s council meeting, claiming the City Council “ignored” the recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Committee that OCCORD and UNITE-HERE spent months mightily trying to manipulate into supporting the division of Anaheim into eight single-member council districts.

Of course, OCCORD’s claim is a selective one that doesn’t hold water.

As this blog has noted time and again, the 10-member CAC split on the question of single-member districts versus at-large elections – five members in favor of each. At the final meeting one of the members who had voted for single-member districts had re-considered and joined with other members in an attempt to add another recommendation for electing the council at-large from residency-based districts, but were shut down by the bloc appointed by Mayor Tom Tait and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.

In the end, the report that was unanimously adopted by the CAC called for placing before Anaheim voters the following options:

– Electing the council at-large

– Electing the council from single-member districts

– Expanding the council to 6 members

– Expanding the council to 8 members

If OCCORD were honestly and genuinely alarmed that the CAC was being “ignored,” they would be picketing for all four questions to be placed on the June ballot. Of course, they and their allies are doing no such thing because OCCORD could care less about what the CAC actually recommended. They only want the CAC recommendations they agree with placed on the ballot — which makes their denunciations of the council majority’s actions totally hypocritical.

But what else is new?

One last thing: I hope no one from OCCORD, UNITE-HERE or anyone else who speaks tonight in favor of single-member council districts attempts to link Sunday’s march with a alleged community support for carving Anaheim up into eight districts. No one at the protest said anything about council districts except Donna Acevedo, who worked it into her speech to the crowd – whose collective response was total indifference; and in any case, the vast majority of marchers weren’t from Anaheim, and they were far more interested in tearing down the police than in anything else.

Jason Young liarAnaheim Blog readers remember Jason Young, gadfly wedding videographer with a court record.

Jason is about as subtle and nuanced as a sledgehammer. Jason’s favorite tactic is accusing people of being “liars” – an interesting approach from someone convicted of burglary and identity theft.

Today, Jason unsheathed his stiletto in an attempt to slash (figuratively speaking) the newest member of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee, Amanda Edinger.

I’ll not link to Jason’s attempt at character assassination. He posts screenshots of some comments Mrs. Edinger has made on Facebook and uses them to falsely claim Mrs. Edinger is anti-immigrant. In other words, the guy who continually accuses other people of being liars shows himself to be exactly that: a liar.

Amanda Edinger’s comments reveal that she thinks the federal welfare state is too big and that too many people are dependent on it; that immigrants who are in this country illegally should not be given amnesty; that immigrants to this country should learn English; that the federal government should be able to control the border; that individuals should strive to be self-sufficient. All of these are views that are squarely in the mainstream of American political thought.

But Jason Young, in a deeply dishonest act, smears her as “anti-immigrant.”

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Anaheim Blog readers know the answer to that question: a left-wing coalition of unions and a non-profit union-offshoot group.

Still, it’s revealing to view demonstrations of the profoundly radical world-view that animates these activists.

Here’s OCCORD Community Organizer Yenni Diaz posting on the OC Labor Federation Facebook page:

Yenni Diaz May Day
Do you see that red graphic Ms. Diaz shares in her post? Here’s a larger version of it:

anti-poliice graphic

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

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

Hmmm.

Democratic Party of Orange County: left-wing.

OCCORD: left-wing.

UNITE-HERE: left-wing.

Los Amigos: left-wing.

OC Labor Federation: left-wing.

ACLLU: left-wing.

Anyone seeing a pattern, here?

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

I published a series of posts delving into the origins, funding and self-proclaimed mission of OCCORD, one fo the left-wing groups spearheading the drive for electing the Anaheim City Council from single-member districts.

You can read those posts here, here, here and here.

Another major cog in that coalition is Local 11 of the militant union UNITE-HERE, which represents “more than 20,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers throughout Southern California.” UNITE-HERE also feels it vital to point out that it “boasts a diverse membership, comprising workers from many immigrant communities as well as high percentages of African-American, Latino, and Asian-American workers. The majority of UNITE HERE members are women” — because, as well know, it is absolutely imperative that we identify ourselves by skin-color.

UNITE-HERE is the mothership of OCCORD. As I noted in an earlier post, OCCORD founder and Executive Director Eric Altman led UNITE-HERE’s strategic affairs department for 15 years before starting OCCORD. UNITE-HERE provides funding for OCCORD, and UNITE-HERE Local 11’s second-in-command, Ada Briceno, is the chair of OCCORD, whose current and former staff members have also served stints as UNITE-HERE organizers.

I see the staff of UNITE-HERE Local 11 at every meeting of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections. Working hand-in-glove with OCCORD, UNITE-HERE is running a drill of getting bodies up to the microphone during public comments to say how their lives will be better if there were single-member council districts – the goal being to use the public record of CAC meetings to claim broad public support for single-member council districts.

Once the public comments are done, those folks have gone and the meeting settles down to the regular agenda, most of the remaining audience is composed of UNITE-HERE and OCCORD staffers.

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