OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

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.

21 Responses to “Anaheim Is Beachhead In Union Campaign to Control OC Cities Via CVRA Lawsuits”

  1. Editors Note: This comment has been redacted due to the off topic nature. We are not going to get involved in the “blog wars” here at OC Political. If you want to argue on things not relevant to the post please take it somewhere else.

    • Dandelion said

      Editors Note: This comment has been redacted due to this habitual commenter constantly lobbing attacks on people not relevant to the post.

    • Matt Cunningham said

      Editors Note: This comment has been redacted due to the off topic nature. We are not going to get involved in the “blog wars” here at OC Political. If you want to argue on things not relevant to the post please take it somewhere else.

      • Editors Note: This comment has been redacted due to the off topic nature. We are not going to get involved in the “blog wars” here at OC Political. If you want to argue on things not relevant to the post please take it somewhere else.

    • Vern,

      I am leaving your original comment up in order to respond to you without looking like a crazy person responding to a redacted comment.

      The “blog wars” are obviously an issue that started not that long ago between Dan and Art and I choose to not get involved. You, Dan, Art, or anybody else for that matter can say anything you want about me and I will never utter a negative word about any of the other blogs. I wish everybody the best of success and am working on making this blog better, not tearing down anybody elses blog. This is the reason that we have a slightly draconian policy when it comes to redacting comments that deal with the “blog wars.”

      Matt, gave me my start in the Republican blogosphere and I am happy to have him aboard here at OC Political.

      I did offer one of your Republican bloggers an opportunity to cross post here and that offer still stands if she wants to blog here.

      • Aw, Chris… and I thought we were having fun.

        Anyway, like I told Matt, I’ll respond to this piece, as well as Kris Murray’s Register piece, on my blog this coming week, and give them the thorough fisking they deserve. In short though, it’s nonsense and propaganda that there’s anything “left wing” about districting.

  2. OC Insider said


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

    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.

    As a sponsor of the DPOC’s resolution on this matter, I had no idea that the stakes were so huge. Single-member districts will “almost certainly” lead to Anaheim “becoming a mini-Los Angeles”? (What does that even mean? We get a basketball team?) The GOP hold on power is so tenuous that simply not electing every single member of the City Council on an at-large basis drives out all but the Democrats? Does the OCGOP really have such a terrible glass jaw? (It’s OK with me if you do, but I’m surprised that you’d advertise it like this.)

    First of all, Anaheim already has a Democratic plurality in registration, 46,243 Dems to 43,331 Repubs as I write (with 26,631 NPPs & about 5,000 other parties), so I presume that the huge crisis Cunningham mentions is that that plurality might someone transform itself into a Council majority. This seems to be an assertion that the GOP depends on preventing popular control in order to stay in power. Again, I can understand why one might think so, but I’m surprised to hear it coming from a Republican.

    Don’t worry: if Democrats ever gain control over the Anaheim City Council, the city will be fine. Disneyland may have a harder time siphoning public funds into its coffers, but the city might have to spend less or military arms for its police force, so it all balances out.

    (Note to the Chrises: when someone is promoting a policy position for money, it’s customary to include a disclaimer. I believe that Matt claims that he gets no compensation from anyone to produce anaheimblog.net; I tend to think that he’s dissembling. I hope that you’ll ask him to verify the lack of need for any disclaimer, because if and when the time comes when we learn otherwise, I want you to be among those who were fibbed to directly. It will give more of us something in common. Kumbaya.)

    • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

      Incidentally, when I proposed the resolution, it specifically included an invitation for the Republican Party to join us in calling for such elections. I take no joy in the Republican Party continuing to arouse lasting distrust and hostility from minority communities who just want to be treated fairly. It’s not your best feature and the best among you (along with some of the less best) understand that. Just let us have fair elections, OK?

    • Some gems in this comment of yours, Juice Brother. But still you’re falling into Matt’s trap of making this partisan whether you realize this or not. His goal, knowing that the majority of Anaheim voters are Republican and conservative, is to make districting look like the opposite of that.

      But you would also appear to be mistaken thinking a Democratic-majority Council would be any better than the current one when standing up to corporate interests (which is not just Disney) and other status quo interests like the police union. What’s so fascinating about Anaheim right now is how little Party is a predictor of position on the important issues facing the city.

      Of the current politicians and candidates who had a snowball’s chance last November, the only ones with the guts to stand up to the powerful interests were Republicans – Mayor Tait and John Leos. After that you have to go down to Green maverick Duane Roberts. Meanwhile the only Democrat – Brandman – is as bad as, or worse than, anyone on the Council in regards to corporate welfare, fair elections, and police oversight. Not exactly an inspiration for anyone to vote Democratic, there.

      But why should it? Who cares what Party an Anaheim Councilperson is? With districting the voters will know where their person stands on the important issues, without them having to depend on the corporations and unions to get their “message” out to the tune of $200 to $400 K.

      By the way, Matt has never denied being paid to manufacture the arguments he does on his blog, in fact he has admitted it – he just won’t say who pays him. What he has denied, strenuously, is that it is Curt Pringle, and so I believe him, he’s a good Catholic boy like me who wouldn’t lie. So it is probably SOAR – the “Save Our Anaheim Resorts” PAC – which he has not denied.

      Chris, you’re a mensch to let us hash these things out here. This is not blog wars though. Just a very passionate – but fun – search for the truth.

      • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

        I don’t think I’m “falling into Matt’s trap.” It’s not a “trap” of any kind; it’s an explicit charge to try to make this into a partisan issue. I’m mostly pointing out that this should NOT be a partisan issue. I was proud to see my county party support this resolution and I would be highly gratified to see the OCGOP do the same. Given that Matt seems to be putting the interests of his paymasters above those of his party, I think that the OCGOP should seriously consider agreeing with the DPOC on this. Otherwise, I think is going to end up looking bad, to most of Anaheim’s non-committed-Republican voters, as being a roadblock to reform.

        I’ll be up front about this: I will, of course, do my best to help MAKE the OCGOP look bad if it IS a roadblock to reform — not because I’m slavering for some partisan advantage, but because if they’re going to be a roadblock they deserve to get smacked for it. There’s no ACTUAL need for them to be on the wrong side here; the smart move is for them to follow Tait’s lead, take it off the table, and spare people like me a juicy rallying point. (It’s not like Disney won’t be able to survive Anaheim’s having a more representative government; it’s also not like it wouldn’t survive not getting huge public tax benefits for purely private gain. It’s a big company — a great company! It can compete quite nicely, thanks, in the free market — don’t you think?

        As for Councilmember Brandman — oh, just LOOK at the time, GOT TO GO!

        Seriously, although I think that Jordan favors districting of SOME sort, a failure on his part to support the DPOC position (i.e. real substantive districting) would be of the reasons that the OCGOP really WOULD have a potential opening to make political hay on this issue. (As a partisan Dem, you can imagine how happy that makes me.) Luckily, if I did want to turn this into a partisan attack, I guess that Cunningham’s obstructionism-for-rent would come to my rescue. Ahhhhhh, I just imagine sending people out door-to-door in West, South, and non-Colony North Anaheim to explain what’s going on to voters — including in Spanish. (So sweet!) But I’d REALLY rather have the bipartisan successful reform than the partisan issue; there are plenty of better things about which those of us who aren’t getting paid for it to disagree.

      • Matt Cunningham said

        Let’s see, single-member council districts are being pushed by:

        – The Democratic Party of Orange County

        – The OC Labor Federation (a de facto Democratic political organization)

        – UNITE-HERE Local 11 (another de facto Dem organization)

        – OCCORD (another de facto Dem organization)

        – Los Amigos (a lefty group run by lefty activists who back Democrats)

        But no — it isn’t a partisan issue in the least, Vern.

        Vern, you can try to explain all this away with one of your interminable tsunamis of verbosity, but it won’t change the reality on the ground (that I have been wtnessing frst hand, unlike you). Now let’s see if you can actually manage to grow up just a little and address the issue without taking personal shots at me.

        • My favorite part of a Matt response is cataloguing all the points he DOESN’T respond to because he CAN’T. Here I hit a plus-80% I believe.

          But what DOES he say? Sure, there are left wing groups that support stronger democracy. Whether on principle or because they think it’ll further some of their progressive goals, whichever. I believe I will shift to channeling Diamond now, and ask, WHY would putative “conservatives” like Matt (or, his funders) fear the judgment of local neighborhoods as to who could best represent their interests? Is it that certain that it wouldn’t be them? WHY WOULDN’T IT?

          And ooh, that hurts – that I haven’t been able to go to any CAC meetings because I work Thursday evenings — still I bet I spend a hell of a lot more time (and money) in Anaheim than you do.

          • Matt Cunningham said


            Your posts are so needlessly long and verbose that responding to every single misstatement or example of erroneous thinking is just too time–consuming.

            As I said, I have been closely monitoring this process and those engaged in it. You haven’t. It is not simply a few left-wing groups that just happen to be supportive of single-member council districts in Anaheim. These groups are leading the effort, and expending a great deal of time and energy — starting with getting their people appointed by Tom Tait and Lorri Galoway — into lobbying the CAC to support the OCCORD/UNITE-HERE/OC Labor Fed/DPOC position. You consistently respond with a variation of “move along, nothing to see here.”

            I have made my objections to single-member district abundantly clear, and will do so again on Anaheim Blog (and here) for the benefit informationally-challenged like yourself. And doo us all a favor: check your completely unjustified blog ego at the door. Why does every Orange Juice Blog proprietor succumb to an overblown sense of self-importance?

        • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

          It shouldn’t be a partisan issue, Matt. It IS one, to the extent it is, mostly because SOAR (or whomever) is paying you to try to make it one — and too many people are falling for it. Again: I’d love to see the OCGOP not follow you and your sugar daddies over this particular cliff.

  4. TheMarshallPlan said

    Why is this some big shock. Democrats have been doing this since the 1980s with San Diego and Pomona, or through race challenged redistricting like Los Angeles County.in the early 1990s. They’ve even tried it recently with Garden Grove. The OCGOP and CRP should have seen this coming over decade ago. I just shocked it’s taken this long for the Dems to try this.

    • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

      To “try this”? To try WHAT, exactly. Objecting to a system that in principle allows a 51% majority to control 100% of the seats in a city — especially when parts of that city receive far, far less in city services?

      You don’t need to look for a sinister or even partisan motive here. That sort of arrangement is unfair. It’s — if you’ll pardon my borrowing a phrase from the Birchers — “un-American.” It’s worth our Democrats opposing it for that reason — and it’s worth REPUBLICANS opposing it for the same exact reason. You don’t need to rig the political game to win — right? (Right?) If anything, all we’ve done is made what’s going on more transparent. Your party would be wise to climb on board and try to neutralize the issue — which would be FINE WITH ME — the way that some national Republicans are now doing with marriage equality and immigration reform. Let’s have a system that isn’t rigged.

      (By the way: our resolution calls for district lines to be written by a panel of retired judges, so any worries about gerrymandering should take that into account.)

      • TheMarshallPlan said

        First off, any system in principle allows for absolute control. Democrats in California don’t have have 50% registration, but they have over 2/3 of the legislature and 100% of partisan statewide office. Unless you have some type of proportional representation based on registration, that’s how it will always be.

        There are parts of Anaheim that are underserved, just like any city so what. There are a variety of ways why, but to act as if district representation wil change that is laughable. Do you think that the council district in South Central L.A. receives the same tyoe of services as the one in West L.A.. Heck no.

        Second, who says it’s unfair. The people not in control. Just as you see it as a system that is rigged, because it affects you, allows others who will be affected by this to see this as being rigged against them.

        Finally, who cares if retired judges are to draw the lines. They can’t be biased? However, there is a reason why the racial/ethnic excuse is used, and that is so there can be”legitimate gerrymandering”, based on race/ethnicity. If you are trying to create districts on race, then there has to be disticts that are overwhelmingly majority of one race/ethnicity.

        • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

          (1) Why would one base representation based on registration? This is about voting, right?

          (2) There are parts that are underserved, but it’s cavalier to say “just like any city.” It’s not “just like Brea,” it’s not “just like Irvine,” it’s not “just like Cypress,” and I can offer several other examples. One can compare these cities’ lack of representativeness using at least some reasonably objective measures.

          (3) No, I don’t think that South LA receives the same services as West LA. But, here’s a thought experiment. If all city offices were at large, do you think that South LA would have any representation at all? It would be worse off than it is.

          (4) Who’s to say what’s unfair? Interesting point. So, let’s say that we use the legal process to confiscate all of the property of the wealthy and sign treaties with other governments to extradite you when you flee. You protest, and I say: “Who’s to say it’s unfair?” I’ll answer your question when you answer mine.

          (5) Can’t judges be biased? Yes, they can, but a local analogue of the state redistrict commission may be going overboard. Generally, this is considered to be a relatively benign solution; judges don’t want to look biased.

          (6) No, you are trying to create districts that treat minority interests fairly. This does not necessarily involve districting along racial lines at all; mostly, it involves not going out of your way to disadvantage them. Ironically, given your comment, packing all of the minorities in an area into one district is itself a classic way to disadvantage them.

      • Matt Cunningham said

        So, Greg: if Anaheim adopted single-member council districts drawn by the council, would the DPOC then come out in opposition? Get real. The “retired-panel” assurance in your reso is meaningless.

        • OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

          Personally, I’d oppose single-member districts drawn by the council. (Yes, I know that it happens in Santa Ana. Nonetheless.) That statement alone shows that having the districts drawn by retired judges with set non-partisan guidelines is NOT meaningless. I wonder if anyone is reading you critically enough to wonder why you’re trying to convince them that retired judges are just as partisan as active politicians. It’s sort of a longshot for you, don’t you think?

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