Michael Houston

It was announced at this week’s Anaheim City Council meeting that Mike Houston of Cummins & White has been named interim City Attorney, reported the Voice of OC the other day.

The council approved the choice 5-0.

I have known Mike for 20 years. He is a very good, very smart attorney of the highest integrity. Anaheim made a terrific choice.

Naturally, the VOC frivolously attempted to reduce the entire matter to former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle — and reducing Mike’s entire career to a 1996 gig as a campaign staffer under Curt when he was Assembly Speaker. The intended inference: somehow, Mike Houston is under the sway of a nefarious confederation of lobbyists and Republicans and the business community! It’s becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to deny that the VOC actively seeks and injects a Pringle aspect to any Anaheim story, whenever it is remotely possible.

Let’s leave aside the fact that many capable individuals have worked for or with Curt Pringle over the years. many of them remain active in public affairs because Curt has a talent for identifying and developing talent.

What lazy labels like “with ties to Pringle” demonstrate is a lack of institutional knowledge and awareness of Orange County politics. Over time, most people active in OC government and politics have ties to most other people active in OC government and politics.

During the course of the past two decades, I have worked as a staffer or consultant for John Lewis, Curt Pringle, Tom Tait, Darrell Issa, Jim Silva, Tony Rackauckas, Pat Bates, John Campbell. That’s just paid work off the top of my head. I guess that makes me a consultant with “ties to Lewis/Pringle/Tait/Issa/Silva/Bates/Rackauckas” regardless of how long ago I worked for them.

For that matter, any paid staff with the VOC could be labeled, with equal validity, “a journalist with ties to Orange County largest government employee union.”

Both Tait & Associates and Cummins & White were Bronze Sponsors of the 2012 Orange Catholic Foundation Conference on Business and Ethics:

Tait Cummins White

Aha! A “tie to Tait”! And to add weave another tie into this knot, the Cummins & White/Tait & Associates-sponsored conference honored Anaheim White House owner Bruno Serato, whose restaurant has been the location of Tom Tait and Curt Pringle fundraisers! There MUST be something there! There are infinite layers to this onion!

Of course, all this appellation of “ties” is ridiculous, and serves to muddle rather than illuminate. But that’s the point.

All that said, Houston will do an excellent job for the City of Anaheim. Good luck to him.