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Posts Tagged ‘ACLU’

Anaheim Is Beachhead In Union Campaign to Control OC Cities Via CVRA Lawsuits

Posted by Matt Cunningham on April 26, 2013

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.

I have written extensively on who these organizations are, where they recieve their funding and their strategy.

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.

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , , , | 21 Comments »

Could Vietnamese Groups Use the California Voting Rights Act to Sue Santa Ana?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 20, 2012

There’s been much discussion about the ACLU lawsuit against the City of Anaheim to force Councilmembers to be elected by district rather than at large, as voters in the entire city vote for every Councilmember.  The lawsuit cites the California Voting Rights Act of 2002’s requirements for racial representation on City Councils.  Anaheim is 53% Latino.

As Gustavo Arellano at the OC Weekly noted, Anaheim had an 80% nonwhite Council as recently as 2006, with Latino Councilmembers Richard Chavez and Bob Hernandez (both elected in 2002), Asian Councilmembers Lorri Galloway and Harry Sidhu (both elected in 2004), and white Mayor Curt Pringle (elected in 2002).  I might also note Lou Lopez served on the Council from 1994-1998 when he gave up his Council seat to run unsuccessfully for Supervisor.

With the election of white Councilmembers Jordan Brandman and Lucille Kring replacing termed out Asian Councilmembers Lorri Galloway and Harry Sidhu, Anaheim has its first all-white City Council in a decade.  What impact this will have on the lawsuit against Orange County’s largest city is to be seen.  Brandman has asked to agendize a possible lawsuit settlement for the next Council meeting .

Meanwhile in the County’s second-largest city, Santa Ana has had an all-Latino Council since 2006.  With six council wards, each Councilmember (other than the directly-elected Mayor) represents 16% of the city.  However, Santa Ana elects its Councilmembers at-large from these wards.  In other words, voters in the entire city still pick the Councilmember representing each ward.

Santa Ana’s Asian (mostly Vietnamese) population is highly concentrated in the western portion of the City.

In the redistricting plan adopted at the beginning of 2012, Ward 6’s border with Ward 3 moved south, and increased the Ward 3 Asian population by 16%.  The relatively square Ward 4 became much more rectangular by yielding most of its western territory to Ward 6 and picking up the southeastern portion of Ward 6.  This increased the Ward 4 Asian population by a whopping 209%.  However, these changes decreased the Ward 6 Asian population by 27%.

Prior to the 2012 redistricting, 46% of all Santa Ana Asians resided in Ward 6, 24% lived in Ward 3, and just 5% in Ward 4.  With the new districts, just 33% live in Ward 6,  27% live in Ward 3, and 17% live in Ward 4.

Can anyone say cracking?

The California Voting Rights Act of 2002 states that a violation “is established if it is shown that racially polarized voting occurs in elections for members of the governing body of the political subdivision or in elections incorporating other electoral choices by the voters of the political subdivision.”  It goes on to say, “The fact that members of a protected class are not geographically compact or concentrated may not preclude a finding of racially polarized voting…but may be a factor in determining an appropriate remedy.”

In practice, the most common remedy under the California Voting Rights Act of 2002 has been to have ward elections in which voters only vote one Councilmember to represent their ward and do not vote for any other Councilmembers (basically, ward elections make city council elections a lot more like supervisorial elections, legislative elections, and U.S. House elections).

Anaheim is being sued for violating the California Voting Rights Act of 2002 because citywide voters have not elected a Latino to the current City Council.  Could Santa Ana be sued for violating the California Voting Rights Act of 2002 because citywide voters have never not elected an Asian to the City Council in 31 years and the Council’s redistricting plan presents a major “cracking” of the Asian population?

Posted in Anaheim, Santa Ana | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Creating Wards In Anaheim Would Be A Mistake

Posted by Chris Emami on July 3, 2012

It has been brought to my attention that some misinformed people are pushing for a system that would separate Anaheim into different wards for the City Council races. I will disclose up front that I am a resident of Anaheim Hills and an appointed member of the Anaheim Housing Commission. The concept of putting wards in place is simply a waste of time and resources.

Only 3 other Cities use a Ward system in Orange County (Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and Seal Beach) and Santa Ana has a bizarre system where the entire City votes for the Councilmembers despite the fact that they have to live in the wards.

Anaheim currently has 4 members of the Council (including the Mayor) that live in Anaheim Hills and one minority on the Council. These members were all fairly elected to the Council by the entire City, whether you like them or not they and according to the 2010 Orange County Registrar of Voters Statement of Votes Kris Murray, Gail Eastman, and Tom Tait all won the area covered by the Anaheim Union High School District (http://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/user_upload/sov/gen2010/sov-web.pdf).

Lets take a look back at the winning candidates for Anaheim City Council/Mayor going back to 2002:

2002- Curt Pringle, Bob Hernandez, & Richard Chavez (All 3 did not live in Anaheim Hills)
2004- Lorri Galloway & Harry Sidhu (Both do live in Anaheim Hills)
2006- Curt Pringle, Lucille Kring, &  Bob Hernandez (Only 1 lived in Anaheim Hills)
2008- Lorri Galloway & Harry Sidhu (Both do live in Anaheim Hills)
2010- Tom Tait, Kris Murray, & Gail Eastman (2 live in Anaheim Hills)
(All data comes from http://www.ocvote.com/)

These numbers show that both candidates from Anaheim Hills and the flatlands win races for the City Council and Mayor. It is not some conspiracy that has been put together to keep candidates on the City Council that only live in Anaheim Hills as 2010-2012 is the only time frame i the past 10 years where we have seen 4 Councilmembers living in Anaheim Hills.

Voters should  have a right to vote for the best candidates running for City Council regardless of where they live and what race that they are. In my opinion this not only should be the rule for Anaheim but any City including Santa Ana, Seal Beach, and Newport Beach.

Arguably the 2 front-runners for Anaheim City Council in November are Lucille Kring and Steve Chavez-Lodge (neither on lives in Anaheim Hills). Much like the stock market Councilmembers in terms of where they live are cyclical. Sometimes candidates from the flatlands win and other times candidates from the hills win.

I can’t believe that I am saying this but one of the better articles that I have seen on statistical reasoning against switching to a ward system comes from Gustavo Arellano at the OC Weekly who penned this http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/06/aclu_anaheim_lawsuit_latinos.php. He and I may not agree on much in terms of policy but he absolutely hit it out of the park with this story even though I don’t agree with some of the ways he expressed his position in the article.

Hopefully the system in Anaheim stays the same and we can continue to simply vote for candidates that will represent all of Anaheim not just their specific wards.

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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