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Welcome to SimAnaheim - it's six cities in one!

Welcome to SimAnaheim – it’s six cities in one!

Now that Measure L has been approved by Anaheim voters, how will it be implemented? The settlement agreement between the city and the ACLU spells out the steps that have to take place:

First, the city council must adopt a resolution establishing the process for drawing “councilmanic” districts. [NOTE: council districts would have been drawn regardless of the Measure L outcome, since the city council voted last year to move to from-district council elections beginning in 2016.]

The next step is the appointment of an advisory committee to “assist in the development of district maps to recommend for adoption.” The advisory committee is to consist of three retired judges who live and are registered to vote in Anaheim. If the city is unable to find three such judges willing to serve, then the council will appoint an advisory Committee of up to nine registered Anaheim voters who “shall be broadly representative…of the demographics, geographic, socio-economic and other communities of interest” in Anaheim (you can bet OCCORD is working up an applicant pool). There’s a recipe of racial bean-counting and contention over whether or not someone is “really” Latino or whatever. Perhaps the Moreno v. Anaheim plaintiffs could volunteer examine the birth certificates and research the ancestry of advisory committee applicants. What was that Martin Luther King Jr. said about being judged by the “content of our character” and not “the color of our skin”? And since state law essentially considers something so fundamental as gender to be “self-assigned,” why shouldn’t race or ethnicity – which is far more malleable – be self-assigned, as well? 

But I digress.

Here’s an interesting proviso in the settlement agreement: advisory committee members will be required to file a written declaration that they will not run for city council in 2016 or 2018 – “in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest” and to make sure the recommended district lines are “free of any personal goals or desires of its individual members to run for a seat on the City Council.”

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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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“Election season often brings out the ugliest in people. Negative attack ads and misrepresentations have become commonplace” (Orange County Register, 2014). No greater misrepresentations have been made toward opponents during this election than ones by Tom Tait, Anaheim’s mayor. Tait has indirectly accused two council members running for re-election, Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, of (a) betraying the public trust, asserting that each collected $500,000+ in campaign contributions from special interest groups, and (b) misrepresenting their voting for a subsidy to build a four-star hotel in Anaheim.

I use the word indirectly because the mailed campaign ad originated from California Homeowners Association (2014) in Willows, CA (500 miles north of Anaheim via I-5), an organization describing itself as “support[ing] fiscally responsible candidates for public office.” Ironically, this same special interest group, a PAC, has funneled $100,000 into the “attack Eastman & Murray–re-elect Tait campaign.”

False accusations. Eastman and Murray have not betrayed the pubic trust and each has not collected $500,000+ in campaign contributions—accusations by Tait for which no evidence has been presented.

Gross misrepresentation. It is common practice for cities to offer incentives to developers to build large hotels and sports stadiums. Cities contribute to a project because they want to collect millions of dollars from hotel taxes and sales taxes. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014). If the Anaheim Convention Center fails to increase its space, major conventions will meet elsewhere, as will conventions with increasing participants who previously met in Anaheim. Some organizations will meet elsewhere if Anaheim lacks sufficient rooms in first-rate hotels, ones that fulfill the needs of conventioneers (and more affluent families visiting the Disney Resort). These four-star hotels will be built eventually—in Anaheim or in a city nearly (e.g., Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove).

Gross misrepresentation. It is common practice for cities to offer incentives to developers to build large hotels and sports stadiums. Cities contribute to a project because they want to collect millions of dollars from hotel taxes and sales taxes.

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We’re near the finish line for the Anaheim elections. On the council side of things, the real choice before Anaheim voters is between re-electing Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman, or replacing them with two members of Anaheim City School District Board of Education: James Vanderbilt and Jose F. Moreno. Vanderbilt is a Republican and Moreno is a left-wing Democrat, and together they constitute the Tait Slate.

True, Mayor Tait hasn’t formally endorsed Moreno as he has Vanderbilt, but that is a mere pretense at this point. Tait has told Republican leaders he is supporting Moreno. It’s apparent from Tait campaign Facebook page posts feature Tait with Moreno and speak of “James Vanderbilt, Jose F. Moreno and myself” that no effort is really being made to keep support for the left-wing Moreno on the down-low anymore:

Tait me and jose FB post 11-2-14

Tait promoting Moreno on campaign FB

 

In a joint mailer from the jointly-run Tait and Vanderbilt campaigns, the mayor says to voters:

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This week, the Orange County Register (OCR, 2014) endorsed the re-election of Tom Tait as Anaheim’s mayor, calling him the “best [candidate] to lead the city.” Examining the rationale presented in its endorsement, however, I found little to justify the paper’s support.

The OCR cited Tait’s quelling anger and potential violence following riots during 2012 and supporting citizens’ oversight of the city’s police department.

t8The paper applauded Tait’s “dissenting voice,” a council member who consistently votes no “on numerous issues.” It cited Tait as the only council member to oppose a tax incentive to build a hotel near Disneyland and the city’s convention center.

Voting to approve a tax incentive to developers is not unusual, so voting no is not necessarily a virtue. The Los Angeles City Council awarded $500,000,000 in tax incentives for downtown economic development for 2015-2016 (Los Angeles Times, 2014).

Whether to offer a tax incentive depends on several factors; for example, (a) the need for a hotel that satisfies current convention needs and its potential to attract larger future conventions, (b) the return on investment that taxpayers would receive by building a hotel, and, most important, (c) whether not offering an incentive means not building a hotel and losing tax revenues. Tait’s vote seems like a no vote without consideration of positive aspects of providing a tax incentive.

Yes, Tait talks about transparency (endlessly), but the OCR did not cite any evidence of increased governmental transparency in Anaheim since he has been mayor. Transparency was confused with Tait’s rigidity and public comments that torpedoed the city’s negotiations with the Angels. And there is a difference between publicly discussing unfunded pension liabilities and solving this problem.

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tait massive spending

Anaheim Insider here.

Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek published an article yesterday on Disney campaign spending, accompanied by indignation and astonishment from Team Tait, their stocks in trade.

Elmahrek also managed to ignore the topic of the Tait/Ahmanson negative campaign blitz altogether.

Tait advisor John Lewis told the Orange County Register that Disneyland is keenly interested in making sure the city’s proposed streetcar project stays on track. The light-rail system would deposit riders at the park’s front gate.

Lewis isn’t an unbiased source, and Elmahrek shows no skepticism toward his claim about Disney’s “keen interest.” On the flipside, streetcar supporters express frustration at Disney’s neutrality on the issue.  

Elmharek writes about ARC “deposit[ing] riders at the parks’ front gate” as if that is insidious. Where does he suggest riders be deposited? At the Katella/Harbor intersection? That’s like complaining that Measure M funding to improve the I-5 “deposits more motorists at Disney’s doorstep.”

Lewis also contends that the Disney spending is done in coordination with unions, major hoteliers and other big businesses in the city in a bid to control the city council. He questioned whether any business in the country has spent as much as Disney has on a city council race.

A strange complaint when you consider that Team Tait has been coordinating with unions, rich Bay Area progressives and OC lefties in their allied bid to control Anaheim city government.

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The Tait for Mayor campaign posted this photo on its Facebook page this week:

Tait promoting Moreno on campaign FB

Why take a photo of Mayor Tom Tait with council candidate Jose Moreno thanking him “for his leadership” and post it on the Tait campaign Facebook page for the benefit of Tait campaign supporters – rather than on his non-campaign mayoral Facebook page? The Tait campaign doesn’t throw random photos on its Facebook page. Any savvy campaign knows this gives the impression of a support for the pictured candidate as voters are making up their minds and filling out their ballots; each FB post communicates a deliberate political message. The message here is Tom Tait is supporting Jose F. Moreno, a leftist who practices race-identity politics, for the Anaheim City Council.

The question of whether Tait is supporting Moreno’s council candidacy has been a topic of conversation in Anaheim political circles for some time, intensifying after the second member of the Tait council candidate slate, Doug Pettibone, evaporated from the race. The consensus opinion is that he is. The two men have become political allies in recent years and Moreno has endorsed Tait for re-election. Their campaigns share volunteers in common, and where one sees a Tait yard sign, it is usually accompanied by a Moreno sign. Tait wants to elect two political allies to the city council; he isn’t exerting all this money and energy to go from being a minority of one to a minority of two. 

A few days ago, I spoke with a prominent leader in Orange County conservative politics who confirmed that Tait is supporting Moreno’s election, because the mayor told him as much earlier this month.

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Anaheim Insider here.

The Tait Family Trust and Home Savings of America heir Howard Ahmanson have spent this month stretching the truth in their campaign mail attacks (done through the California Homeowners Association IE committee) against Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman. The IE campaign is part of Mayor Tom Tait’s attempt to defeat his two GOP colleagues and replace them with James Vanderbilt and leftist Jose F. Moreno (since Doug Pettibone dropped out).

This very dishonest hit piece (even by the standards of this campaign), paid for by the Tait Family Trust, arrived in the mail yesterday: 

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When he decided to run for Anaheim City Council at the beginning of the year, James Vanderbilt told both Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilwoman Gail Eastman that he was mainly running to build up name ID, that he thought they’d done a good job and he wasn’t going to attack them.

So much for promises.

Yesterday, this mailer from Vanderbilt landed in voter mail boxes and in truth, Vanderbilt broke that promise “no attacks” pledge early in his campaign):


IMG_0289
IMG_0288

 

In the mailer, Vanderbilt tries to contrast himself with Kris Murray on Measure N by claiming she “Placed Measure N on the November 4 ballot to transfer  utility fee surplus to the general fund by describing it as a “language update.”

There’s no other way to say it: Vanderbilt is lying. I very clearly remember watching that vote: both Kris Murray and Tom Tait voted against placing Measure N on the ballot. I even checked the minutes of the July 22 meeting where the vote took place, just the be certain I wasn’t mistaken.

As Anaheim Insider pointed out yesterday, the Tait campaign posted on Facebook that Anaheim voters need to replace Kris Murray and Gail Eastman with “a new, honest council.” That’s typical of the kind of rhetoric wafting out from Team Tait. How does the mayor square that with this falsehood being promoted by Vanderbilt? Either Vanderbilt didn’t bother verifying his claim (something easily done) or he knew it wasn’t true and made the false claim anyway.

two taits caption

Anaheim Insider here.

Has anyone else noticed how the Tait campaign and Tait supporters in general react to any criticism of their man they way Scientologists do toward critics of L. Ron Hubbard? They come unglued at the suggestion the Mayor is wrong on something, being unkind to his colleagues or distorting facts.

At the same time, they either enthusiastically echo any attack by the Tait campaign (and let’s be honest, the Tait Family Trust IEs are part of the larger Tait re-election campaign), or are silent about them. 

I noticed an example of this this morning after reading the post about the Tait campaign crying foul over its media ally Brian Calle being accurately if unhelpfully quoted calling the Mayor an “advocate for the people who were rioting and their issues.” Tait opponents are ‘despicable” for accurately quoting what Calle really said.

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The Tom Tait for Mayor Facebook page posted this yesterday:

TT FB on Calle 10-27-14

 

It’s a link to Brian Calle, the editorial page director of the OC Register, on Fox News 11 taking issue with an independent expenditure against Mayor Tom Tait that landed in mail boxes last week:

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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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This mailer hitting Mayor Tom Tait on crime and public safety started landing in voter mailboxes yesterday:

Citizens hit on Tait with TR 10-23-14_Page_1 Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim Buzz and the Anaheim Hills Community Council (AHCC) sponsored a mayoral and council candidates forum on October 9 at the Influence Center. The forum was recorded on video and the initial segments are being uploaded to the AHCC YouTube channel. Here are self-introductions by Mayor Tom Tait, Councilwoman Lucille Kring and former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.

Mayor Tom Tait:

 

Councilwoman Lucille Kring:

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This came over the transom this morning from the Anaheim Police Association, in response to recent mailers from the Tat for Mayor campaign. The APA says the mailers use “photographs of Tom Tait with Anaheim Police Officers and Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada…without consent from these officers and violate California Government Code Section 3206” and criticizes the Tait campaign for “suggest[ing] that Mayor Tait has Anaheim Public Safety support” when the “Anaheim Police Association has strongly endorsed Lucille Kring against Mayor Tom Tait in the 2014 election.“:

Cease  Desist Tait 2014_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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This came over the transom from the Anaheim Firefighters Association:

AFA press release Tait photo

The press release is referring to this mailer from the Tait campaign:

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Measure L amends the Anaheim City Charter to require the City Council to establish voter districts. A candidate seeking a seat on the city council must live within a given district, and only voters residing within that district may vote for that candidate.

L PICCurrently, members of the City Council may live anywhere in Anaheim, and voters may vote for any candidate. What is the need to change the current process: to establish voter districts and to limit an individual’s vote to one candidate?

The “impartial analysis” of Measure L by the Anaheim City Attorney is, indeed, impartial (Houston, 2014). He explains the differences between voting for council members “at large” from voting for a single candidate. Absolutely nothing in his analysis provides any need or basis for changing the current election process. The entire text of proposed amendments to Anaheim’s City Charter can be read online (City of Anaheim, 2014).

The argument supporting Measure L by Mayor Tait and Council Member Brandman (2014) consists of banality (e.g., Anaheim is a great place to live; Council members will become more effective) and nonsense (e.g., Anaheim will become less wonderful [if Measure L fails]). But again, nothing in their non-argument establishes any need to change the current process for electing city officials.

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The Anaheim Police Association PAC has paid for a TV ad featuring APA President Kerry Condon chastizing Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait on public safety, particularly his long fight to establish a police oversight commission of the kind being pushed by anti-police activists (for example, the ACLU and the Freedom Socialist Party).

Entitled “Split Second,” the ad apparently began running this morning:

Here’s the ad script:

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