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Mission of Group Leading Council District Push In Anaheim: Roll Back Conservatism In OC

Posted by Matt Cunningham on April 30, 2013

The bland-sounding Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) is an off-shoot of the left-wing union UNITE-HERE, and has been the lead organizer of the left-wing coalition pushing to carve Anaheim into 8 single-member council districts, drawn according to ethno-racial criteria.

This week, OCCORD is busily preparing for tomorrow’s May Day union rally, next week it’s focus will be on the final meeting of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee meeting.

I’d wager few Orange County Republicans and conservatives have heard of OCCORD, so here’s a primer.

OCCORD recieves north of half-a-million in funding annually from a variety of non-profits, including the is The New World Foundation, a radical, New York City-based non-profit that funds left-wing organization in the United States and around the world.

OCCORD’s grants came from the NWF’s “New Majority Fund” – which is its largest funding vehicle. The ambitious agenda of the New Majority Fund is  “building electoral majorities that can reverse the rightward trend across America” and helping groups like OCCORD to “grow in scope and scale to influence the broader political climate and reshape government at the municipal, county and state levels.”

Indeed, OCCORD’s mission fits perfectly into The New World Foundation’s larger goals, self-consciously casting itself as an agent for rolling back conservative politics and governance in Orange County.

In April of 2012, Norma Rodriguez, an organizer for the San Diego-based Center on Policy Initiatives (another recipient of financial support from the New World Foundation’s New Majority Fund) posted this OCCORD job opportunity:

“OCCORD- Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development is  a sister organization of CPI’s in Orange County, they are hiring a Researcher and Policy Analyst, please forward on to colleagues in OC or colleagues interested in moving there!!”

In the job posting, OCCORD Executive Director Eric Altman told potential applicants [emphasis added]::

“OCCORD is hiring a campaign-oriented Researcher/Policy Analyst.  We’re looking for a good strategic thinker who will keep digging until they find the information they need and who can communicate the relevance of their findings to multiple audiences ranging from policymakers to grassroots leaders.”

Altman concludes with this revealing caution [emphasis added]:

“Oh, and since this is Orange County, the epicenter of the modern American conservative movement, we need someone who doesn’t mind fighting  an uphill battle…”

According to another OCCORD job posting for the same position:

“The Researcher/Policy Analyst utilizes research and data analysis to reframe the debate about our regional economy and the role of government in our society, and integrates the research component into OCCORD’s comprehensive campaigns.”

That call to oppose the conservative movement and persuade Orange Countians to accept a larger government role in their lives is echoed in an August 2012 job posting by OCCORD for a Community Organizer:

“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.”

OCCORD paints a pretty clear picture of how it sees its mission: overturning the philosophical political underpinnings of Orange County and shifting our politics left-ward toward an increased role for government in the regulation of our lives.

Furthermore, it’s clear OCCORD views dividing Anaheim into eight single-member council districts as critical to its goal of “reclaiming” Orange County from the influence of free market and limited government ideas and “re-framing” the debate about the role of government in the lives of Orange Countians. That would tend to argue that single-member council districts will move Anaheim governance to the Left.

OCCORD’s present political focus is on re-structuring the governance of Orange County’s largest city to make it easier to elect liberals to the Anaheim City Council. The person ultimately hired for the Researcher/Policy Analyst position, Clara Turner, is a fixture at Anaheim Citizen Advisory Committee meetings, continually supplying CAC members with charts, graphs and arguments for dividing the city into eight single-member districts.

However, it is worth noting that OCCORD’s ambitions for its agenda — in its own words — is not limited to Anaheim but is county-wide in scope. And that ought to concern supporters of limited government who are either indifferent to what is happening in Anaheim, or have convinced themselves it is nothing to worry about.

7 Responses to “Mission of Group Leading Council District Push In Anaheim: Roll Back Conservatism In OC”

  1. OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

    If Republicans don’t want the effect of Anaheim districting to be partisan, there’s an easy solution: work with us on this one. Electing Council members by Anaheim simply preserves representation for the minorities — something that Republicans seem to be very interested in when the discussion centers on Sacramento. The Democratic Party favors it because it’s right; the Republican Party should also favor it — because it’s right.

    I say that even though it gives you an in with Anaheim’s Latino and Middle Eastern communities, which you’d otherwise be seen as trying to suppress. If I were being partisan, I’d want you to act like cartoon villains suppressing minorities — in just the way that Matt Cunningham wants you to do. Personally, not speaking for the DPOC, I’d much prefer that we agreed on doing the right thing here, with no one getting a political advantage on the process issue, and then fight out the individual election battles later. I want the win for Anaheim itself — and stand with a fair number of Republicans on that issue.

    Matt Cunningham, on the other hand, wants you to stand in the way and take a hit — because someone (whom he won’t disclose is PAYING him to do so.) I do not think that he has your party’s interests at heart, but if he someone snookers you into suppressing minorities to benefit his clients, you CAN expect this to be discussed.

    (P.S. My sense of OCCORD and other activist groups in the area is that they do not consider themselves partisan because they don’t want themselves to be perceived by the Democratic Party as “captive” votes, and are entirely willing to oppose us. I’m sure that Matt must have mentioned that up there somewhere — or intended to, perhaps, and just forgot.)

  2. Joe said

    “preserves representation for the minorities”

    Really, so will the DPOC demand and sue the city of Santa Ana for not adopting a election by district system so that the minority group, Vietnamese, highly populated in the west Santa Ana might be able to elect someone that is understands their concerns or issues. Come on Democrats, do the right thing! Oh, wait that is a council that is dominated by Democrats! Gasp,

    Are the Democrats in Santa Ana suppressing the the rights of the vietnamese minoritiy? If you are going to make this into a partisan issue, you might want to make sure your party members are consistent or else you won’t have egg on your face when the whole truth comes out.

    • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

      We’re not suing anyone. If you want to push for this, go ahead. I might even agree with you. But failing to first support Anaheim Districting would make the hypocrisy of such a move awfully obvious.

    • Paul Lucas said

      Santa Ana has districts.

  3. TheMarshallPlan said

    So this is all about “minorities” having representation, however, I notice you lump all minorities in as a group. Do you think all racial and ethnic minorities think alike and want the same things? Why that seems like profiling, but it can be, since you’re an “open-minded” Democrat.and would never do that.

    Since this is about “minority” representation, does this mean that all “minority” groups get a council district? Is there a Black district, a Mexican district, an Asian one? Oops, make that, will there be separate Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Indian districts? How about Russian, Armenian and Jewish districts, unless they don’t count as minorities?

    Riddle me this. if minorities can’t get elected at-large, then how did Harry Sidhu and Lou Lopez win election? Unless they’re ot real minorities in your book since they ‘re Republicans.

  4. OCInsider#33 said

    I have never understood why anyone, especially a minority group, would want to only be able to vote for one council member and the mayor. Talk about diluting your vote. None of the other members of council would have to care about the voters in your area. At least now they have to try. And before anyone brings up the Board of Supervisors as an example, remember the BOS very rarely votes on specific land use items, only in the small areas that are still not incorporated. Can’t you just see a council majority getting together and placing the zoning of everything no one else wants into the council district of the member not in the majority? And the voters in that district would have no recourse. so what if you get a token democrat or latino council member? At what cost? This is such a self inflicted fatal wound. Grow your voter bloc so everyone running for council needs to listen to you. Then you will become a voice for your community.

    • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

      “None of the other members of council would have to care about the voters in your area. At least now they have to try.”

      Oh, they “HAVE TO try”? Please fork over your best evidence of Kris Murray or Gail Eastman fulfilling this alleged requirement to care about voters in the poorer areas of Anaheim.

      Look, if you’d all rather lose the lawsuit and pay even more of the ACLU’s costs, that can be arranged, but it’s dumb.

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