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.