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:
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.