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Anaheim Activist to City Council: Give Voters the Option of At-Large Council Districts

Posted by Matt Cunningham on June 6, 2013

[Originally posted on AnaheimBlog.net]

At last week’s Anaheim City Council meeting, Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) member Gloria Ma’ae spoke eloquently on how the UNITE-HERE/OCCORD coalition had manipulated the CAC process. She described how half of the CAC committee strongly desired the opportunity to recommend that the City Council also place on the ballot the option of expanding the City Council to 6 members who are elected at-large but nominated by council district (as in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and the Orange Unified School District):

The Tait/Galloway bloc on the CAC — who had been resolutely committed to 8 single-member council districts from the very beginning of the CAC process – absolutely refused to countenance further discussion (aided, inexplicably, by CAC member Keith Oleson). CAC members Vivian Pham, Martin Lopez, Bill Dalati – these were folks who couldn’t say enough about having a robust discussion (I don’t include the ridiculous Larry Larsen who said little for most of the process).  Vivian Pham even invited the obnoxious, noisome kook William Fitzgerald to make a formal presentation to the CAC.

Yet when five of their colleagues wanted the opportunity to discuss also recommending a six-member council elected at-large from council districts as an option for the City Council’s consideration, those four would have none of it. I noted this on Facebook while watching this shutdown of discussion in action:

Briceno FB pro-silencing discussion

Note how UNITE-HERE second-in-command Ada Briceno’s approval of this silencing of discussion. So much for the Left’s commitment to tolerance and inclusion.

Hopefully, the mayor and the members of the Anaheim City Council will not imitate these strong arm tactics. They are elected officials and are not bound by the CAC’s recommendations. It is they who constituted the Citizens Advisory Committee, and not the other way around.

But if the City Council decides it must give such weight to the CAC’s recommendations as to put them before the voters, it should also demonstrate awareness that at least half of the CAC also wants the voters to be given the option of electing their council from district while retaining the right to vote on all council candidates. It’s there in the video of the May 9 CAC meeting for those who care to watch it — and upon watching it, there’s no denying the reality of what I have described above and what Gloria Ma’ae explains in the video.

To ignore that reality and confine themselves narrowly to the CAC’s formal recommendations would be to deliberately short-change the ability of Anaheim voters to decide what kind of government they want.

10 Responses to “Anaheim Activist to City Council: Give Voters the Option of At-Large Council Districts”

  1. I’d like to remind the readers that Matt C. is paid by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce to write AnaheimBlog.net

  2. Lifetime Anaheim Resident said

    EDITORS NOTE: This comment has been redacted because it attacks a commenter not relevant to the post.

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

    Please don’t delete Matt’s post. Matt’s endorsement of this position now becomes evidence that the “at large vote” plan is intentionally being used by the Chamber of Commerce to dilute the interest of minority neighborhoods. Letting Anaheim Hills choose the West Anaheim resident most to their liking is not the point. Judges are much less dumb than Matt seems to believe. I’ll make sure that this gets to the ACLU’s lawyers. Thanks, Matt!

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      Greg, thank you for providing evidence that there is a blogger in OC who know even less than Vern.

      • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

        Keep on writing, sweetheart! Having your anti-minority-at-any-cost antics documented by you yourself is an enormous time-saver.

  4. No, it was not a “shutdown” of an “opportunity to discuss” Santa-Ana style elections. I know that much without even watching it. There had been MONTHS – what, six months or more? – of discussion of Santa-Ana style elections. This was a last-minute attempt by the anti-democracy minority to slip that option into the CAC’s recommendation – entirely appropriate to shut that down, and thanks to Keith for his much-appreciated assist.

    By the way “obnoxious, noisome kook” – I like that description for my crazy (but usually right) buddy Fitzgerald. Good wordsmithing there, Matt.

    • Matthew Cunningham said

      You didn’t attend a single CAC meeting and by your own admission didn’t watch the May meetings — and yet you claim to know what happened at the CAC meetings and what was and wasn’t discussed. You certainly aren’t one to let ignorance be an obstacle to opinion-mongering, Vern.

      The CAC spent one meeting discussing recommendations re the size of the council and the method for electing it. The facilitator controlled the flow of the discussion pretty tightly, and when it came to the vote-at-large/nominate-by-district system, his facilitating produced confusion. For the most part, he boxed the committee into discussing whether councilmembers should be elected at-large or by single-member districts. That’s the choice he had them vote on — not an system like Newport beach’s.

      The Tait/Galloway bloc knew exactly what they were doing. Keith, for whatever reason, shot himself in the foot, since the system he is most opposed to is single-member council districts.

      • You’re right, I wasn’t able to attend ANY of those meetings, much as I wanted to, as I work on Thursday nights. I sometimes watched them online, and apart from that relied on reports including YOURS! But one thing seems obvious – your clique has only just recently become enamored with the Santa Ana style faux-districts… right around when you figured out that your defense of the status quo was untenable. Are you claiming that your clique has been crying out for discussion of that option for more than, say, a few weeks now? Go ahead and say that, I’m gonna check on your truthfulness this time.

      • As far as Keith, whom I’d like to meet and discuss this with some day, I sure can’t speak for him, but I think I’m familiar with his gripes about district elections, which I’ve heard, and which Cynthia shared for a while before changing her mind. My impression is he considers the Santa Ana option to include THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS – the provincialism, horse-trading etc. he fears would come from districts along with the anti-democratic unaffordability that comes of having to run city-wide. I’d appreciate it if Keith somehow let me know if I’m understanding him right, or else sets me straight.

      • gericault said

        You couldn’t pick a better example for the ACLU of demographic voter gerrymandering than the NMUSD school trustee board elections. The districts are completely skewed towards maintaining a Newport Majority and keeping the latinos from District seven from ever having a voice. The Latinos in district seven make 70-100% of the schools populations but have never gotten anywhere close to having a trustee.

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