The Voice of OC posted this story today on the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community participation. I was struck by this passage about CAC Chair Vivian Pham:
Chairwoman Vivian Pham said city staff has refused to provide information relevant to forming council districts by ignoring her requests for specific speakers to present information. Latino activists and an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit have demanded council districts to better represent Latinos.
“I feel that the presentations we have had are more fluff. I feel like they’re distracting us from the real issue of districting,” Pham said. “We can’t make an informative decision because they won’t give us the information.”
Fluff? Has Ms. Pham been paying attention at these CAC meetings, which have featured a parade of experts sharing data, information and experiences directly relevant to the CAC’s mission (which is not solely focused on districts).
Or is Pham, an appointee of Mayor Tom Tait, just impatient with all that stuff and just eager to get down to the nitty-gritty of drawing up a plan for single-member council districts without being bothered with all that information and input. I mean, what does OC Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley know about elections, anyway? I have seen that Ms. Pham has been a less-than-capable committee chair who seems to forget it is her job to conduct the meeting; at the January 31 CAC meeting, I watched in amazement as the guest presenter, Steve Chessin of Californians for Electoral Reform, effectively took over the running of the meeting, re-opening the proceedings for public comments and recognizing members of the audience.
Then there’s this comment in the article from Eric Altman of OCCORD:
“From the beginning, council member Murray has claimed to have an open mind and to be looking for what is best for the people of Anaheim for this committee,” Altman said. “If her appointees have come into this process with preformed opinions, even though she claims not to have a preformed opinion, then I think that pretty much predicts the outcome.”
Say what? Is this complaint that Murray’s appointees has “preformed opinions” the same Eric Altman who in December went before the CAC and asked them to take a position in favor of the ACLU’s lawsuit to force a switch to single-member districts? Or is the propriety of a pre-formed opinion depend on the nature of the opinion?
I just watched the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting from last night on the city website. I couldn’t believe that Chairwoman Vivian Pham restated what she is quoted as saying in the VOC article mentioned here. She basically attempted to undermine the committee by raising questions about its validity and then outright accused the city of deliberately concocting the creation of the group as a delay tactic. Holy toledo! She is the Chairperson! This is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the mission of this group.
I could care less if Pham is for districts or that she gave $80,000.00 to Occord through her position at Wells Fargo. She can believe or give to whoever she thinks worthy, I suppose.
But, if she doesn’t believe in the very purpose of the CAC, she should definitely then not be serving on the committee – let alone chairing it!