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single-member districts unicorn 3

Just close your eyes and listen to the Magical Single-Member Council Districts Unicorn!

This November, Anaheim voters will decide on two initiatives: whether to replace the current at-large council election system with the single-member district (or “by-district”)system being pushed by a left-wing coalition; and whether to expand the city council from four to six members.

Ballot arguments for and against the by-district initiative were filed on Monday. The pro argument is signed by Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman. I’ll comment in greater depth soon, but a couple of things jump out.

For months and months, the advocacy of single-member district by proponents has been racially-based: a relentless focus on the ethnicity of current and  former councilmembers and claims that at-large elections “disenfranchise” Latino voters. Indeed, that was the entire basis of the Jose Moreno/ACLU lawsuit that put this initiative on the ballot.

However, except for a very oblique reference to “reflecting our neighborhoods,” the ethno-racial appeals are entirely absent from the pro-single-member districts argument – no doubt reflecting a cynical awareness by the pro-districts coalition that for voters who haven’t majored in Chicano studies, calls to gerrymander city council elections to produce a pre-determined ethnic composition holds little appeal. 

Instead, the pro-argument promises that all things bright and beautiful will happen to Anaheim voters if they adopt single-member districts: cleaner streets, filled potholes, trimmed trees, whiter teeth, happier marriages and an answer to the question of whether intelligent life exists on other planets. OK – not the last three things, but that’s probably because it would have put them over the 300-word limit.

In any case, here is the Argument in Favor, followed by the common sense truth of the argument against.

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Part of the settlement reached in January between the City of Anaheim and the ACLU (representing ACSD Trustee Jose Moreno and two other plaintiffs), the city agreed to pay ACLU’s legal fees in an amount negotiated between the two parties.

Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council approved paying the negotiated amount $1.22 million. You can read the staff report here; a summary of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s rates here and of the city’s attorneys’ rates here.

Over at TheLiberalOC.com, “Editorial Staff” tries to paint this as a futile waster of money:

The amount is on top of the $1.25 million in legal fees the city had incurred fighting the inevitable. The only thing gained by the council majority’s opposition to the lawsuit was to delay the implementation of a new district election process, and it’s presentation to voters for approval in November.

Why so much effort, and waste of taxpayer funds, to stop what was clearly inevitable? Simple really; to protect the status quo so that members Murray and Eastman would get one more shot at four-year terms on the council before the implementation of districts. The entire battle, all of the posturing and positioning, all the legal fees, was so that the current power base in Anaheim would have four more years to raid the public piggy-bank to reward the rich and powerful interests in Orange County’s largest city.

I suppose that is one way to look at it, even if it is the wrong way – on several levels.

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The Coalition of the Left that has been driving the single-member council districts train is holding a press conference this morning about the city’s settlement with ACLU of the Moreno v. Anaheim lawsuit, per this UNITE-HERE news release on the website its community organizing off-shoot, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD):

OCCORD-UNITE-HERE release

 

A refresher for readers: OCCORD is a non-profit, community organizing off-shoot of the militant union UNITE-HERE; it was founded by UNITE-HERE staffers and is funded by unions and non-profits like the left-wing New World Foundation. It’s self-stated mission: “OCCORD 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.”

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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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Robert Rubin

Robert Rubin

From the Los Angeles Times:

Opening a new front on efforts to improve minority representation on local elected boards,  attorneys  representing several Latino citizens have accused the Coachella Valley Water District of violating the California Voting Rights Act.

In a letter delivered Monday to John Powell, the district’s board president, lawyers Robert Rubin and Megan Beaman said the district’s  at-large election system “dilutes the ability of Latino constituents to elect candidates of their choice to the board or to influence the outcome of board elections.” 

The letter asks the district to switch to a system of electing board members by geographic district or “other lawful system” or be sued.

Though the sprawling district has large numbers of Latino residents, the Coachella Water District’s board members all are white. 

You can read the rest of the article here. Perhaps this will wake up the inhabitants of political La-La Land — primarily my fellow Orange County Republicans — who do not think the Left is going to use CVRA as a tool to litigate their way electoral gains in Orange County local government that they are unable to gain at the ballot box.

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October 16 council district mapping meetingThe city is beginning the process of drawing council district maps, part of implementing the City Council’s vote in June to change from a purely at-large election system to from-district system (councilmembers must reside in districts, but are elected at-large).

Staff, with the assistance of demographers and outside counsel, will draw up maps for both a four and six member council. The June 2014 ballot will feature a proposed charter amendment expanding the council to six members, and drawing maps now enables to city to more quickly implement a “yes” vote, if that is the voters’ decision.

On October 16, the city is holding the first of a series of community meetings on the subject, in order to answers questions such as how the mapping will be done and why it is being done. The meeting is at 6:oo p.m. in the Anaheim City Council chambers; here is a flyer with more info.

You can click here to read the staff report outlining the process in more detail.

OC Superior Court Judge Franz Miller was scheduled to hear City of Anaheim arguments on the Moreno V. Anaheim case being litigated by the ACLU, but all was continued to October 17 at 9:00 a.m.:

Moreno v Anaheim motion continued

Which leads us to a question to be posed yet again shortly: why hasn’t Jose Moreno, in his capacity as a member of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education, made any attempt to shift elections there from at-large to by-district?

 

Anaheim City School District Trustee Dr. Jose Moreno wants the Anaheim City Council elected from single-member council districts. Not ten years from now, or in the near future – but right now. He’s even the lead plaintiff of an ACLU  lawsuit seeking to force the city to switch from at-large election to single-member council districts. Moreno alleges the city is violating the California Voting Rights Act since the city if more than 50% Latino and yet there are no Latinos on the council.

“It’s time, Anaheim!” is a pro-single-member district slogan one often sees on the Facebook page of Moreno and districting supporters.

Judging by his actions rather than his rhetoric, the time ISN’T now when it comes to electing his own Anaheim City School District Board of Education from single-member districts.

The conditions Moreno cites for necessitating council elections by single-member districts are also present in the ACSD – even more so in key respects. The ACSD student body is 86.3% Latino — from which one can surmise that the population withing ACSD boundaries is even more heavily Latino than the city itself.  Furthermore, Moreno is the “only Spanish-speaking, Spanish dominant, Latino-surnamed” member of the ACSD Board of Education. Yet, while he has relentlessly hammered the City of Anaheim to move to single-member councl districts, he has said and done nothing to bring the same system to ACSD.

As I pointed out in a previous post, the ACSD Board of Education can switch to single-member district elections by a simple legislative action and then obtaining a waiver from the state Board of Education – no vote of the people necessary. The ACSD could easily have a single-member district system in place by March of next year – in time for Moreno and other incumbents to run for re-election from single-member districts.

Morenmo had a perfect opportunity at the ACSD Board of Education’s August 26th meeting. The Board took up adding language to the board bylaws regarding ensuring board of education elections were compliant with the state and federal Voting Rights Acts (as well as language stating the board is elected by “all voters in the district.”).

Did Moreno take the opportunity to act on his rhetoric and call for an immediate switch to single-member districts?

Not even close. Here’s a transcript of his exchange on the topic with Superintendent Linda Wagner:

WAGNER: Dr. Moreno, do you have a question?

Read the rest of this entry »

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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A significant but overlooked on last week’s Anaheim City Council agenda was a report on the distribution of core city services throughout Anaheim.

I say significant because a core contention of the left-wing coalition pushing for single-member council districts is that East Anaheim receives a disproportionate share of city services and amenities, and that the Flatlands — especially Latino areas — are getting short-changed. This imbalance was the major underlying factor for the “unrest” in July 2012 (along with “racist cops” running around “murdering” innocent Latino males minding there own business in stolen cars or playing look-out for illegal gun deals, to listen to Genevieve Huizar, Donna Acevedo and their apologists).

Single-member council districts will magically remedy solve alleged imbalance, according to advocates of thus carving up the city. This was the mantra parroted month after month, over and over and over again by OCCORDites, UNITE-HERE members and pother assorted of this coalition at meetings of the Citizens Advisory Committee and City Council. These folks adhere to the strange theory that severing any ballot-box accountability between all councilmembers (save one) and voters in a particular council district will somehow make those councilmembers more responsive to the needs of that district. [Hey, I'm just presenting their thinking; I don't claim it makes sense.]

The report prepared by city staff cuts the leg out from under that “the flatlands are short-changed” myth. If anything, it shows the opposite is true — an inconvenient reality for the pro-single member council districts side.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray’s most recent e-newsletter sums up the report’s findings:

Anaheim has emerged from a lasting recession with a stronger, sustainable economic climate due to years of innovative planning and significant private sector investments that enabled the City to hit the ground running as the state and national economies recovered. This past fiscal year, the City Council adopted a balanced budget, restored city cash reserves, and invested in core city services across all neighborhoods. The financial health of our city is a direct reflection of the strength of Anaheim’s business climate and economic growth. The nexus is clear – a strong economy grows city revenue that is reinvested into our communities. This is great news for all of Anaheim!

At last night’s council meeting, City staff presented a report on the allocation of core services to each of Anaheim’s Neighborhood Council Districts: West, Central, South, and East. The report included day-to-day costs of services such as police and fire protection, library programs, and street and park maintenance; as well as investments being made by the City’s Capital Improvement Program into community amenities and infrastructure such as parks, libraries, and community centers.

The report found that the proportion of each neighborhood’s costs are closely related to the size of its population and that investments being made through the Capital Improvement Program demonstrate a true commitment to our most distressed neighborhoods of West and Central Anaheim.

I hope you will take a moment to review the charts and graphs below that illustrate the distribution of city resources within our community.

Core Services Funded by the General Fund for FY 2013/2014

Summary Results of the Report

Summary results table

 Total Net Cost by Neighborhood

total net cost by neighborhood

Per Capita Net Cost by Neighborhood

Per capita cost by neighborhood

Capital Improvement Projects by Neighborhood

In addition to the programs and services covered by the General Fund, investments are being made into improving community amenities and building new neighborhood facilities in our city. Oftentimes these capital improvement projects have one-time costs and are funded by restrictive grants and developer fees – not the General Fund. Therefore it is important to also consider these investments being made through the City’s Capital Improvement Program when considering the distribution of resources into our city’s neighborhoods.

Investments in Community Amenities from 2005-2012

Investments in amenities

 Investments Anticipated over the Next Five Years

anticipated investments

Note: While the report included all areas of the City, it did exclude services provided to the Resort in an effort to avoid distorting analysis of the services provided to residents of the South neighborhood. The report also excluded projects and programs funded by outside restricted funds and special assessments.

The charts and graphs above have been pulled directly from the Budgeted Costs for Core Services by Neighborhood report prepared by the City of Anaheim Finance Department. To read the full report, click here.

Best regards,

Kris Murray
Council Member
City of Anaheim

I have no illusions any of this information will matter to those for whom the campaign for single-member council districts is about trying to elect liberal Democrats to the Anaheim City Council to push for liberal policies that are being stymied by the present Republican majority.

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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Anaheim Insider here.

Who has seen today’s online article in the OC Register, featuring the mayor and the city council giving their opinions on council districts and the ACLU lawsuit? Here’s what Mayor Tait had to say:

“The people of Anaheim should be given the choice on how they are to be governed – either an at-large system or by districts. The majority of the council has refused to put the choice of district elections before the voters. Sadly, their refusal to do so may cost the city potentially millions of dollars in needless litigation costs. The bottom line is that a district-based system brings the government closer to the people.”

First, it takes nerve for Mayor Tait to say Anaheim voters should be “given a choice on how they are to be governed — either an at-large system or by districts” when the only choice he has voted to put before  the voters is single-member council districts.  The Citizens Advisory Committee recommended putting both choices on the ballot.  When the mayor asked staff to bring back resolutions based on the CAC report, he deliberately omitted asking for one incorporating the CAC recommendation for asking the voters if they want to keep at-large voting.

Mayor Tait even voted against asking the voter if they want to increase the council to six members. For all his talk about “letting the people choose,” the only choices he has supported giving them are ones he favors.

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Superior Court Judge Franz Miller has lifted the stay on the ACLU lawsuit claiming Anaheim’s at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act and seeking to impose on the city a single-member council district system (that no one outside of a small. vocal faction of political interests has asked for). basically, he is allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

The city had sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, which the judge obviously turned down, and has set a March 17, 2014 trial date for the ACLU’s litigation on behalf of Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno, Latino activist Amin David and another plaintiff.

Keep in mind that under the ordinance adopted by the City Council a few weeks ago to shift to a residency-based districts system of elections, those four residency-based districts must be drawn and approved by March 1.

It’s my understanding (for which I’m seeking further confirmation) that Judge Miller felt it may be premature to continue a stay on the ACLU lawsuit based on the City Council voting to replace the system being litigated by the ACLU with the new, residency-based district system — at least without a full hearing.

Judge Miller did set an October 1 hearing to hear motions to stay the lawsuit or dismiss it.

I wasn’t at today’s hearing and didn’t hear the arguments or the judge’s comments. Obviously, from the perspective of those of us opposing the Left’s attempt to carve up Anaheim, today’s decision was not the preferred outcome. At the same time, neither is it defeat. Contrary to certain Vichy gadfly-types who opposed districts before they supported them but want to run-up the white flag because they are afraid of the possibility of the city writing a check to the ACLU, the better course for the city to fight it out because the city is in the right.

UPDATE: Here are the OC Register (paywall) and Voice of OC articles on today’s ruling.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray’s most recent e-newsletter went out yesterday, and present a very clear explanation of the City Council’s recent actions regarding the Citizens Advisory Council, districting and expanding the size of the council. This is a welcome communication, since the media and local blog coverage of this issues (with the exception of Anaheim Blog, of course) has been confused, incomplete and often misleading – a result of a persistent propaganda campaign of disinformation and misrepresentation from advocates of single-member council districts.

Anaheim City Council Approves Historic Elections Change

Council Agrees to Alter Historic City Election System and Let the Voters Decide

Following months of community meetings and public discussion, the City Council took historic action Tuesday night to alter the way in which residents elect city leaders. At a previous meeting, the Council reviewed the findings and recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement (CAC) and listened to hours of public comment, as well as testimony from CAC members and reports by voting rights experts and city staff. 

 I am deeply grateful to the CAC – a committee comprised of private citizens – who gave countless hours serving their fellow residents, reviewing the City’s present electoral system, and studying the array of legal options available to ensure a fair and open elections process in Anaheim that serves our growing population and changing demographics. 

Staying true to the submitted CAC recommendations and input from residents, the Council took the following steps that became final following Tuesday’s City Council meeting:

  • Adopted a city ordinance to establish residency-based districts for city council members that maintains elections by city-wide vote. This system ensures neighborhood representation while maintaining a council body that is accountable and responsive to the city as a whole;
  • In addition to this ordinance, the Council approved two ballot measures for the June 3, 2014 election that will give Anaheim voters the opportunity to consider the following city charter amendments: 
  1. Establish residency-based districts for city council members with election to occur by city-wide vote; 
  1. Increase the City Council from 4 to 6 members with the Office of the Mayor continuing to be separately elected at-large.

The City Council’s action, with approval by the voters, would establish a similar elections system in Anaheim to systems used in the cities of Newport Beach, Santa Ana and most familiar to Anaheim voters, the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) representing many of Anaheim’s primary and secondary schools. 

For information on the findings and recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) on Elections and Community Involvement, click here. For additional information on the City Council and meetings, visit www.anaheim.net

I was watching a video clip I took of the National Brown Berets at Sunday’s anti-police march (that is the only honest way to describe it) in Anaheim and noticed something at the 10-second mark (the scroll bar counts the seconds off backward for some reason).

The young woman in the grey shirt and black jacket, waving her sign and chanting along with the Brown Berets looks like none other than Marisol Ramirez, a member of the OCCORD Board of Directors and frequent provider of quotes to the Voice of OC and other media claiming the Anaheim City Council majority is out of touch with “the people.”

Here’s a screenshot of Ms. Ramirez from the OCCORD video mentioned in my previous post:

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

It’s Anaheim Insider time again. Here’s what I have  for you:

DA’s Report Shows Civilian Oversight Board Unnecessary
It’s crystal clear from yesterday’s very thorough report by the Orange County District Attorney that Joel Acevedo, a gang member fleeing the police, tried to shoot Anaheim police officer Kelly Phillips, who returned fire and killed Acevedo (police officers are generally much better shots than gang members).

The OCDA’s report on the July 22 shooting comes two months after its investigators also rules the July 21 shooting of Manuel Diaz justified.

The OCDA team investigating the Acevedo shooting interviewed 64 witnesses, reviewed ballistics, DNA evidence, “APD reports,  audio recordings and dispatch and radio recordings; Orange County Crime Laboratory reports including toxicology, forensic alcohol examination, latent print, officer processing and firearms examination reports, crime scene investigation photographs; autopsy photographs, the forensic pathology report related to Acevedo; criminal history records related to Acevedo including prior criminal history records and prior incident reports; the personnel records of Officer Phillips; and other relevant reports and materials including audio recordings of the conducted neighborhood canvass.”

So what exactly would a civilian police oversight board add to this process? What missing investigative, scientific or legal expertise is missing that a civilian oversight board would provide? If its supporters have a real answer, I’d like to hear it.

“More oversight is always a good thing” is not a sufficient rationale. It’s not even true.

The truth is Mayor Tait’s proposed civilian oversight board is purely a sop to a few vocal activists who have attached themselves to the mayor (and vice-versa).

Tait Conflict-of-Interest On Stadium Resolved…or Not?
This small item ran in last week’s Anaheim Bulletin:

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A belief that genuine representation in government is a function of ethnicity and race underlies the campaign to divide Anaheim into single-member council districts. This is obvious to anyone who has observed this issue unfold over the last year.

It is equally obvious that those leading this campaign are aware that the great majority of voters don’t like race-based policy-making and are offended by the idea of their government seeing them as white, black, Latino or Asian or whatever (not to mention these racial and ethnic classifications are increasingly meaningless in a state like California with its high rates of ethnic and racial intermarriage). That’s why you see and hear them slipping back and forth between saying the demand for single-member districts is about electing more Latinos and saying that Latinos doesn’t need to be represented by Latinos in order to be represented. This continuous shifting is politically savvy and intellectually dishonest.

Here’s an example from the June 11, 2013 Anaheim City Council meeting. Dr. Jose F. Moreno is the highly race-conscious lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit seeking to force single-member districts on Anaheim residents who have never asked for it. Watch as Moreno, in the space of mere seconds, takes intellectually contradictory positions on race and representation:

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The Magic Single-Member District Unicorn is not happy.

The Magic Single-Member District Unicorn is not happy.

In a vote that is sure to annoy the liberal elitists on the Los Angeles Times editorial board, the Anaheim City Council voted 3-2 to reject placing single-member council districts on June 2014 ballot. Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman and Councilmembers Lucille Kring and Kris Murray voted in the majority.

In doing so, the council moved forward with implementing a residency-based district system (yes, OCCORDobots: “single-member” isn’t the only type of district) that preserves at-large voting, and gives voters the opportunity to increase the council to six members.

Also going down in flames was the ex poste facto proposal to impose a Form 700 financial disclosure form filing requirement on members of the temporary, advisory Charter Review Committee. It was a transparently political ploy directed at former Mayor Curt Pringle, who has declined to serve on the CRC. There was no coherent, compelling argument for applying to the CRC, and it died on a 4-1 vote.

I watched much of the meeting online but missed the council discussion on the council res-structuring agenda items. I did see the impressive presentation by demographer Dr. Peter Morrison. You can review his Power Point here – and I really recommend that you do.

The bottom line: more Latinos on the City Council is inevitable. The demographics are inexorable, and even if no change is made to the structure of the City Council, sheer weight of numbers will lead to the election of more Latinos in the not too distant future.

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Last night, Mayor Tom Tait and the members of the city council named five of the seven members of the Charter Review Committee (CRC). Each has one appointee to the CRC; those five will then name the remaining two -at-large members from the current pool of  applicants. Here are the appointees:

Mayor Tom Tait: Tom Dunn

Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman: Keith Oleson

Councilmember Kris Murray: Craig Farrow

Councilmember Jordan Brandman: Curt Pringle

Councilmember Lucille Kring: Amanda Edinger

Brandman iterated that he wanted the CRC to take up “general governance in addition to a line-by-line review of the entire charter…particular council administration responsibilities, there needs to be some updating of the charter.” He also stated he’d like the CRC to look at refining term limits, referencing some “glitches” (possibly a reference to how Anaheim’s term limits prohibits a councilmember from running for mayor in the middle of his or her second term). Brandman also expressed a desire for the CRC to look at standardizing city boards and commissions, and wants to take council districts off the table for the CRC, since the council is already dealing with that issue.

Kring disagreed with the last point and said she’d like council districts and council structure to remain within the CRC’s purview.

Mayor Tait asked to have the resolution creating the CRC brought back at the next council meeting to add a provision requiring CRC members to fill out a Form 700. Since the CRC is an advisory body of temporary duration, members are not required to completed these invasive forms. I don’t believe there is any reason to require it because the CRC is, as stated, advisory and temporary. It has no authority over the expenditure of funds, awarding of contracts, imposition of regulations, etc. The city council can take or leave its recommendations as it chooses.

No Form 700 filing requirement was imposed on members of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee, and its charge was just as serious and central to the nature of Anaheim city government. So why the CRC and not the CAC? That’s a recommendation that should be politely rejected.

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