Councilmembers Murray and Eastman Cost Anaheim Taxpayers $2 Million
Posted by Allen Wilson on January 8, 2014
The protracted issue regarding how Anaheim councilmembers are elected has come to an end but with a steep price.
Councilmembers Kris Murray and Gail Eastman has cost the taxpayers of Anaheim at a tune of $2 Million.
The City of Anaheim has already racked up $1.2 Million to defend itself and now must bear the cost of paying the litigants legal bills of over $1 Million, the ACLU and Anaheim Community Activists, who brought the issue to it’s head two years ago.
The Orange County Register reports that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait says, “the cost of fighting the lengthy lawsuit could have been avoided if the City Council in August 2012 had approved his call for similar ballot measure.”
The two councilmembers joined with then-Councilman Harry Sidhu in 2012 as council majority stubbornly rejected Mayor Tait’s proposal.
The issue centers around Latino activists who echoed the need to change how councilmembers are elected from at-large to districts, because no Latino currently sits on the dais and 52% of the community are Latinos.
The settlement was agreed upon from a case Moreno, et al. vs. City of Anaheim that was slated to go to trail on March 17, 2014 regarding the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).
The Voice of OC reported that Councilmember Murray called the deal “a win for our citizens, for our residents, for the taxpayers of Anaheim.”
Ironically, the Orange County Register reports that Councilmember Murray says, “I am still opposed to a form of single-member district election. I think this lawsuit and the fees attached to it are unfortunate for this city.”
In the January 8th, 2014 edition of The Anaheim Blog contributor Matthew Cunningham asserts that the ACLU and Jose Moreno are at fault for costing the taxpayers huge legal bills: “The fault lies with the plaintiffs’ stubborn insistence on bypassing the voters in favor of the imposition of single-member districts by judicial fiat.”
Frankly, Mr. Cunningham forgets that Councilmembers Murray and Eastman have an fiduciary duty to protect the city’s assets such as taxpayer funds and settle the issue back in 2012 as suggested by Mayor Tait to let the voters decide how their councilmembers are elected.
Councilmembers Murray and Eastman should realize that the buck stops with them and they have the power by finding a consensus with Mayor Tait instead of fighting against him and the community.
The bottom line is this: consensus is cheap, litigation is expensive.