What Is OCCORD? Part 3: Hugo Chavez, Socialist Hero.

[CORRECTION: Although the Staff page on the OCCORD website lists her as Lead Organizer, it has been brought to my attention that Alejandra Ponce de Leon no longer works there — which doesn’t alter or invalidate the underlying point of this post].

“Personnel is policy,” as the saying goes. By the same token, politically active individuals tend to gravitate to organizations that are sympatico with their political beliefs.

OCCORD isn’t any different.

For example, take this sentiment expressed by former OCCORD Lead Organizer Alejandra Ponce de Leon on her Facebook page when Venezuelan strong-man Hugo Chavez died earlier this month:

Ponce de leon chavez VOC

“R.I.P Comandante Chavez“? A brutal strongman who intimidate, jailed, beat and sometimes killed his critics? An avowed enemy of the United States? A thug who packed the courts and the government with his cronies, squashed most of Venezuela’s free and independent press? A caudillo who greatly diminished liberty, violated human rights, and allied himself with the odious autocracy of the Castros and the oppressive, terrorist-sponsoring theocracy of the Iranian mullahs?

Then again, left-wingers will generally overlook an awful lot of oppression as long as the oppressed get free health care.

[Among those “liking” that graphic tribute to the fallen dictator was Lori Condinus, VP of UNITE-HERE Local 11  – another pillar of the left-wing coalition pushing for dividing Anaheim into eight single-member council districts].

Note the “Hasta Siempre Comandante” phrase in the heroic artwork of the dead dictator: it is a reference to a famous revolutionary ode to Che Guevara, the bloodthirsty Communist guerilla. [Oh, and note another link from the same day to the Voice of OC story on the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee].

Former OCCORD Lead Organizer Ponce de Leon also paid tribute to the dead socialist ruler by posting this Hugo Chavez quote – “don’t change the climate, change capitalism” — and this lovely photo on her Facebook page:

Hugo Chavez meme

Ho ho! A little anti-American, left-wing humor!

It’s a free country and everyone is entitled to have and express their opinions. The point here is that someone who mourns the death a socialist thug — and that’s what Chavez was — is also attracted to OCCORD and the ideas and causes for which that organization stands.

Alejandra Ponce de Leon, fan of Hugo Chavez and council districts for Anaheim.

Alejandra Ponce de Leon, fan of Hugo Chavez and council districts for Anaheim.

As we learn more about the actions and animating philosophies of the people and groups comprising the pro-council districts coalition, it ought to give pause to those who adhere to a belief in limited government as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

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  1. Your coup-de-grace, stupid stuff people post on Facebook.

    • What do you think is “stupid,” Vern? Ponce de Leon’s esteem for a socialist thug? Or that she is open about her esteem for Hugo Chavez?

      I’m not making any of this up, Vern. You seem uncomfortable with an open examination of OCCORD’s left-wing orientation and its push for single-member council districts in Anaheim within the context of that orientation.

      • Both are stupid. I don’t know Ponce de leon. I doubt she agrees with all of Chavez’ actions. But it was a stupid thing for her to post, and you caught her, so hats off. I’m not sure it’s enough to discredit her organization though.

        • She doesn’t agree with Chavez’s action, but posts a few fond farewells to Comandante Chavez? The more likely response from someone with mixed feelings toward Chavez would be no response, not hosannas to the Comandante.

          And who uses the term “Comandante” as a term of respect in a political context, other than hard-core lefties?

          So, can we conclude that in your opinion, she should keep her leftism on the Q.T.?

          Furthermore, it’s relevant to OCCORD’s political orientation and mission. It says something about OCCORD that a fan of Hugo Chavez would want to be a part of OCCORD’s mission.

          • I said I doubt she agrees with ALL of his actions. Hell, I applaud SOME of them. “If the climate were a bank, the US would have already saved it.” That’s a good one.

            I’m guessing that she applauds his bringing education and healthcare to Venezuela’s vastly poor majority and his standing up for his own country against outside imperialism and the ravages of multinationals, but if you reminded her of his imprisoning of political opponents, shutting down of opposition papers, and friendships with even worse people like the Castros and Ahmadinejad, she’d probably say, “well, except for all that.”

            Like I said, “stupid stuff people post on Facebook.” I remember being a young zealous lefty myself, and admiring figures I shouldn’t have. But then, I don’t know Ponce de Leon, so I shouldn’t say any more.

            This is in any case very slim grounds – well, really, NO grounds – for criticizing what OCCORD actually does. Jason Robert Reade loves your blog, but I don’t think that makes you a psycho racist.

            • Vern, your rationalization readily applies to a white supremacist applauding Hitler because he put Germans back to work, restoring their self-esteem and his emphasis on physical fitness…except for all that other stuff like starting WWII and liquidatiing European Jewry.

              Either way, Matt’s point that Ponce de Leon is a leftist who works for a leftist group, still stands.

              • Well, sure, to a much smaller degree – Chavez was not Hitler – but still, sure. That’s why I didn’t say anything when Chavez died. Dumb things people sometimes post on Facebook.

                Still this doesn’t have much to do with OCCORD. In what way are the things OCCORD actually does and says, “leftist?” And is that necessarily bad? And how do you (I assume) rightists disagree? Every day I notice things that left and right could easily agree on, or at least admit the other side has a good point.

            • Vern, my point is that OCCORD is a left-wing activist group. And that an individual who sees Hugo Chavez in a positive light is attracted to OCCORD’s mission, speaks to the nature of the organization.

              And your argument that Ponce de Leon may be a Chavez supporter despite his oppression BECAUSE of his government social welfare and anti-American policies only buttresses my argument.

              • Well we’ve both said our thing, I just want to quickly quibble with your usage of “anti-American.”

                When I, and many other Americans, see another country’s government sticking up for the needs of its own people against the economic interference of OUR government – interference that generally isn’t on the behalf of us regular Americans but on behalf of big corporations – not to mention, often multinational corporations who have no loyalty to America themselves but somehow manage to use OUR government as an enforcer no matter which Party is nominally in charge at the time ….

                When we see another country’s government standing up against that, we tend to say “BULLY FOR THEM!” I don’t think that’s anti-American at all. In fact those countries are taking a page from us and behaving like Americans! Don’t we have a long grand American tradition of rooting for the little guy?

                Now, KILLING Americans on the other hand – THAT is a policy I would call anti-American.

  2. Chavez established military relationships with Iran and Cuba aimed at the undermining U.S. national security interests. I’d call that anti-American — and there’s a significant segment of the Left that likes that sort of thing.

  3. gabriel san roman

    FYI: Alejandra doesn’t work at OCCORD anymore. Hasn’t for a long time. Your “in-depth” look is based on an out of date website and (purposefully?) lazy Facebook gleaning!

  4. gabriel san roman

    I know you did. Hence ‘out of date’ website. You’ll have other posts to correct as well. As to her FB, she’s up in the Bay Area. Did you conveniently gloss over that? Oakland to OC is a hell of a daily commute! Here’s another lead for you. There’s this guy named Tom Tait. He’s a Mayor. He likes capitalism and Ronald Reagan. He thinks districts are a good idea (though fewer) for Anaheim. He also expresses an affinity for Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Hop to it!

    • Gabriel, you don’t know jack. I took it for granted the OCCORD site was up-to-date, and didn’t look at that part of her FB (that notwithstanding, people’s FB pages can be out-of-date, as well).

      By the way, your OC Weekly colleague R. Scott Moxley thinks it is fine to rely on out-of-date websites, as he defended doing when ginning up a completely baseless story in 2010 claiming the OC Board of Supes had awarded Scott Baugh a lobbying contract.

    • Anaheim Conservative

      Oh yeah, San Roman thinks Tom Tait’s support proves something. Sorry. Tom Tait supporting council districts doesnt sprinkle magic conservative pixie dust on it and make it a good policy. OCCORD and Los Amigos support districts because they think it will elect more liberals to the city council. They use Tom Tait like camouflage.

      • gabriel san roman

        Ahhh I see, so single districts is a tactic to get more liberals onto the Anaheim city council. I thought, based on this post, that an ex-employee who expressed sympathy upon Hugo Chavez’s passing well after leaving OCCORD conflates socialism with the organization’s position on districting. Que pendejadas!

        • Instead of being deliberately obtuse, you could try reading all the OCCORD posts and the conclusions should be apparent, even to you.

        • Gabriel, you’re one of those book-readin’ leftist intellectuals, who sees a meaningful distinction between liberalism and socialism. Not so most of the crowd here, who will be left scratching their head after reading this comment of yours.

    • You’repointing to Tom Tait? On council districts, he’s like a dashboard Jesus in a car full of gang bangers. Jesus is wonderful, but it doesn’t change who is driving the car.

      • I have to admit that’s a funny image, Anaheim4ever. But Tait is only the most prominent conservative/Republican in Anaheim to support districting; far from the only one. There’s really nothing left or right about it.

        Cunningham thinks he’s hit the mother lode because leftist OCCORD enthusiastically supports it. I’m not surprised they do; they strongly oppose the endless waste of hundreds of millions of dollars on corporate welfare, which would likely (not certainly) come to an end with districting. Many real conservatives oppose corporate welfare too, and back stronger democracy (i.e. districting.)

        I’m not sure who the rest of you are, but Matt is being paid to come up with the arguments he makes by people who want to keep the status quo. There’s no way to know if Matthew really believes what he writes. He claims to believe districting will lead inevitably to more “leftwing” policies. I’m not sure of that. It’ll make it easier for anybody to run, left right or center, without depending on the big money interests in town – the corporations and the unions. It’ simply the right thing to do.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Vern, I don’t owe you or Cynthia Ward or Jason Young or any other ankle-biter any explanations regarding who has or has not engaged my professional services on anything. But in this instance, I will say that no one is paying me to argue against council districts. I think they are a terrible idea for Anaheim and will saddle the city with worse governance.

          OCCORD’s stated purpose is to move Orange County to the Left, politically, and persuade Orange Countians to accept a larger, more intrusive government. Single-member districts fit into that mission. Lefties like you may think that is great, but I think a majority of Anaheim residents would feel differently.

          Typically, your response is to ignore that, and yammer that I must be getting paid — a crutch you inevitably lean on to avoid dealing with arguments and information I put forward.

          Arguments are factual or not, true or not – regardless of whether the person(s) putting them forth is a paid advocate. Your blogging is a strictly volunteereffort, but that has no impact on whether or not the things you are true. Personally, I distrust what you write because I have seen you get it wrong way too many times.

          • Okay, fine, fine, you believe what you say then. I still think you’re wrong.

          • And I said a lot more than that. Maybe read my second and third paragraphs again. I don’t believe districting is left or right wing, simply because some left wing people support it.

            • Matthew Cunningham

              You think I’m wrong, Vern. Fine. I expect as much.

              Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you are correct that districting is neither Left nor Right. That is still beside the point. What matters is what OCCORD, UNITE-HERE, the OC Labor Federation and other left-wing groups are hoping to accomplish by divding the cty into eight single-member council districts, and I don’t there can be any doubt they see it as a means to elected more liberals to the Anaheim City Council and shift city policies to the Left. Withg all due respect to my friend Tom, he is just wrong on this issue, and his support enables this left-wing coalition to pretend theirs is a mainstream effort.

  5. Anaheim Conservative

    This is awesome. Thank you, Matt Cunningham!

    Vern Nelson reduced to spluttering that this woman shouldn’t have let it be known she’s a radical. The best this San Roman jerk from the Weekly has is that this Ponce de Leon doesn’t work at OCCORD anymore! BFD! San Roman’s editor writes columns about people who lived a hundred years ago and thinks it proves OC is racist. That must be different.

    Keep up the good work, Matt.

    • Well, that’s not exactly what I said. I said I doubt she supports everything Chavez did and that if that’s the case it was dumb to pass along a big Comandante tribute to him. Maybe she IS that radical, I don’t know. In any case she’s not in OCCORD any more.

  6. APdeL served her purpose in OC. She got out the crowds to dominate OCCORD’s issues for the last 4 years – moved to Anaheim to validate her position having demonstrated and rallied on the streets of LA prior to that for Unite Here! Had often wondered who paid the salaries – so keep digging Matt. The sad thing is the poor folks being led by these people are used and abused for the so called greater good. I know nobody whose life has been changed for the better by this group of left wingers.

  7. Anaheim Conservative

    Now Vern is saying conservatives are stupid. You’re a real ace debater, Vern.

    • Do YOU see a distinction between liberalism and socialism? If you do, you stand out in your crowd. Matt apparently doesn’t, as Gabriel subtly pointed out.

      • Matthew Cunningham

        Vern, who here called Alejandra a socialist? Who here equated liberalism to socialism? Try sticking to responding to arguments and points someone is actually making, instead of knocking down straw men.

        • Please refer to your own title, good sir.

          • Matthew Cunningham

            “Hugo Chavez, Socialist Hero.” That means Hugo Chavez is a socialist, Vern. Maybe I should have gone with the longer, clumsier, “Hugo Chavez, Socialist Who Is A Hero To American Leftists,” just so you wouldn’t be confused. I don’t think anyone else was confused.

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