For the last several months, I have chronicled the ongoing controversy in Anaheim over single-member council districts over at Anaheim Blog.
Some background: Last summer, the ACLU, representing three radical activists, filed suit against the City of Anaheim under the California Voting Rights Act, alleging the current system of electing city councilmembers at-large dsicriminates against Latinos and demanding the council instead be elected form single-member districts.
In the wake this lawsuit, the council create a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to conduct a series of public hearings and make recommendations on how to increase public participation (this could include, or not, switching to single-member council districts). Mayor Tom Tait and the councilmembers each appointed two members to the CAC.
What has ensured is a carefully-orchestrated effort by a left-wing coalition of labor unions, “community organizations” and the Democratic Party to game the process so the council will place on the ballot a measure calling to doubing the council to 8 members, elected from single-member districts instead of stabding before all Anaheim voters.
The stakes in Anaheim are huge. If this left-wing coalition prevails, Anaheim will almost certainly go from being one of the largest cities in the state and the nation with a GOP majority to becoming a mini-Los Angeles.
In Anaheim, the political Left gets it. Unions like the OC Labor Federation and UNITE-HERE, union spin-offs like Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD), the Democratic Party of Orange County, the ACLU — they all get it and ar actively engaged in trying to impose single-member council districts on Anaheim. In contracts, Republicans in Orange County have been either oblivious or impotent, and in some instances actively working to achieve the Left’s goal.
What is going on in Anaheim isn’t isolated, but the opening of a campaign to turn Orange County blue in terms of control of city councils. Writing in UniionWatch.com on April 2, Kevin Dayton goes into detail on how the unions and their left-wing allies are using the California Voting Rights Act to litigate their way into greater political control of local governments.
Unions Will Control Mid-Sized Cities with California Voting Rights Act
by Kevin Dayton
Unions firmly control the political agenda in California’s largest cities, but civic leaders and citizens in some of the state’s smaller cities are still resisting the union political machine.
Some of these cities, with populations from 100,000 to 250,000, include Escondido, Oceanside, Murrieta, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Clovis, Elk Grove, and Roseville. These are cities where a dominant faction of elected and appointed officials generally puts a priority on efficiently providing basic services at a reasonable cost to their citizens.
Not surprisingly, city councils in some of these cities have attempted to enact home-rule charters or have exercised rights under their home-rule charters to free themselves from costly state mandates. This greatly agitates unions, which have long worked to attain their unchecked control of the agenda at the capitol.
Union officials want California’s cities to submit fully to state laws regarding collective bargaining for public employees and government-mandated wage rates (“prevailing wages”) for construction contractors. As reported in www.UnionWatch.org throughout 2012, public employee unions and construction trade unions spent huge amounts of money to convince voters in some of these cities to reject proposed charters.
Obviously unions don’t want to spend $1 million in dozens of cities every two years to defeat proposed charters, as they did in Costa Mesa before the November 2012 election. And soon they won’t have to spend any more money.
Unions are now implementing a tactic to alter political control of these smaller cities. It is likely to succeed in turning almost every California city with a population of 100,000 or more from fiscal responsibility to “progressive” governance based on theories of social justice.
Unions and their attorneys are masters at exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to attain unrelated economic objectives that benefit unions. And now unions are using the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (Election Code Section 14025 et seq.) as a tool to ensure the adoption of union-backed public policies at local governments.
You can read the rest of the article by clicking here.