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

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

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

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

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

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

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What’s been buzzing around Anaheim for a few weeks is bleeding into the media (OC Register and VOC): during tonight’s closed session, the Anaheim City Council is expected to settle the ACLU’s lawsuit (for which the lead plaintiff is Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno) to replace the city’s at-large council elections with a system of single-member council districts.

As part of the settlement, it is expected the City Council will agree to carve the city into four single-member districts and then put it to the voters. The judge can’t impose single-member districts by judicial fiat since Anaheim is a charter city; it requires amending the city charter, which can only be done by a vote of the people.

There’s no reason single-member districts couldn’t be placed on the June ballot in hopes of obtaining a”yes” vote that would put single-member districts in place for the November council elections. My guess is the ACLU, the plaintiffs and the rest of the single-member district Coalition of the Left prefer a November election on the grounds its higher (and more Democratic) turnout increase the odds of voter approval.

As readers know, in 2013 the council voted to create four at-large council districts (which doesn’t require amending the charter), and to place on the June ballot measures asking voters to a) incorporate at-large council districts into the city charter and b) whether they want to increase the council to six members. City staff was subsequently instructed to create districts for both a four- and six-seat council, for the city council’s consideration and adoption.

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

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

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

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

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

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Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The signature line from that speech is, of course, this:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

It is sad and ironic that 50 years later, the City of Anaheim is being sued by self-styled civil rights activists who seek to base Anaheim’s city council elections on the color of  its citizens skins, and not their character as unique, individual citizens.

Strip away the rhetoric and the ACLU lawsuit seeking to impose single-member council districts centers on race. This elevation of ethno-racial group considerations above individual rights is evident in this comment by ACLU lawsuit plaintiff Jose Moreno at the June 11, 2013 Anaheim City Council meeting:

After paying at least rhetorical deference to Councilwoman Kris Murray’s point about the individual citizen’s right to vote for whomever they choose, Moreno offers this critical caveat:

“…so that neighbors may elect neighbors regardless of what they may look like but that people who look a certain way or may have a certain surname, that their voting patterns are respected.” [emphasis added].

That is (or should be) a startling admission of a radical idea. In plain English, what Moreno is saying is that the ballot choices of Latino voters should be accorded more weight than non-Latino voters. That principle stands in opposition to one of the bedrock principles of this Republic of equality before the law. Each of us has the right to vote and to cast his or her ballot for the candidate or candidates of our choice; but no person’s vote does and should count more than the vote of anyone else. Sometimes our favored candidates win, and sometimes they lose – but those are our choices as individuals and not merely constituent parts of a racial group, or individual manifestations of ethnic groupthink.

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