Duane-RobertsLast week, Orange Juice Blog proprietor Vern Nelson posted his elaborate theorem on why the departure of Cristina Talley as Anaheim’s city attorney unavoidably involved race. Naturally, I disagree.

Vern concocted a narrative re-inventing Talley as an advocate for the Anaheim’s Latinos.  Nobody is really buying it, which isn’t surprising.

The most entertaining part, however, was reading left-wing Anaheim gadfly Duane Roberts take Vern’s narrative apart at the sinews. Here’s Roberts’ comment:

I don’t know the exact reason why Cristina Talley resigned her post, but there is no factual basis to some of the claims you’ve made in this article. Besides presenting wild speculation as fact, there is hard evidence which completely contradicts your assertions.

For example, at the March 6, 2012 meeting of the Anaheim City Council, Talley told then-Councilman Harry Sidhu that it was her opinion the city DID NOT violate the Brown act on January 24th when the vote was made to kick back $158 million in TOT revenues to subsidize Bill O’Connell’s Gardenwalk development.

From the minutes:

“Council Member Sidhu inquired whether the City Council had followed all procedures on the hotel subsidy agreement and had it been announced properly. Ms. Talley remarked there were no violations, to her knowledge, as well as no Brown Act violations regarding the January 24th decision.”

See the following link:


Lest ye think that the City Clerk made a typographical error, this exchange was recorded on video and is available online.

In regards to the argument Talley was pushed out because the “Brandman majority” was unhappy she offered an opinion that the City of Anaheim was in violation of the Voting Rights Act, I suppose its possible. But expressing that opinion doesn’t make her a zealous advocate for the interests of the “latino community” any more than if an attorney for Al Capone was a zealous advocate of alcohol prohibition when when advising his client that it was illegal to sell hooch.

I’ve dealt with Talley in the past when she was a Deputy City Attorney and saw nothing to indicate she was anything more than just a highly-paid lackey of the tiny handful of rich white people who run this town. She certainly fought me tooth and nail when I tried to force information out of the Anaheim Police Department about a highly unusual police operation that took place in the working-class Mexican neighborhood of Jeffrey-Lynne, that’s for sure.

Vern responded as best he could, which Duane met with this riposte (which includes Vern’s response):

“Well, it’s good to hear your experiences. I’m reporting what I hear from five or six other people who have known her and worked with her, and whom I trust.”

It’s an undeniable fact then-City Attorney Cristina Talley told then-Councilman Harry Sidhu on March 6, 2012 that his January 24th vote to give Bill O;Connell a $158 million TOT kickback for his Gardenwalk hotel project was not in violation of the Brown Act.

That your “sources” did not disclose this very critical piece of information to you calls into question their credibility. It also demonstrates that you do not do your homework to check their veracity.

“Interesting about what she said in March about the Brown Act. Do you dispute that she called the Jan 31 meeting in order to fix that problem,”

Got proof Talley called this meeting to order ostensibly for that purpose? If so, where is it? Understand that rumor, conjecture, and wild speculation about what goes on behind closed doors does not constitute evidence.

By the way, it was widely reported Mayor Tom Tait–not Talley–called the Jan. 31st meeting to order. He may have been concerned about a possible Brown Act violation. But if Talley felt the same way, there is no record of it anywhere.

“and that the meeting fell through due to the Murray-Eastman-Sidhu boycott?”

Do you think it’s quite possible they didn’t make an attempt to show up to that meeting partly because Talley never said anything to them about the Jan. 24th vote being in violation of the Brown Act?

“What’s my “wild speculation?” That the real reason for her firing was her CVRA opinion? That’s the impression of people who would certainly know, or have a very good guess – not exactly wild.”

The wild speculation I’m referring to is the grandiose narrative you conjured up suggesting Talley was this staunch advocate for the disenfranchised here in Anaheim because she allegedly believed the city was in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Finally, after some additional back-and-forth, Roberts closed with this right upper-cut to what he aptly termed Nelson’s “fanciful narrative”:

Not only was your response speculative, but it wholly contradicted the fanciful narrative you conjured out of thin air that former City Attorney Cristina Talley was an honest and ethical public servant.

If Talley privately advised the council prior to the Jan. 24th vote.on the hotel subsidy that it was in violation of the Brown Act, but told Sidhu at a later meeting it was not, that means she openly lied to the public.

On the one hand you assert Talley was a “stellar” attorney who worked on behalf of Anaheim’s downtrodden. But you’re now hinting she will lie on her employer’s behalf to keep her $250K a year job.

Duane Roberts and I share little, if any, common ground in terms of political philosophy. But he masterful deconstructed Nelson’s attempt to spin Talley’s exit into some sort of racial incident.