Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle

Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle recorded a robo-call urging residents to oppose the civilian police oversight commission proposed by current Mayor Tom Tait. Here’s a transcript of the call:

Hello.  This is former Mayor Curt Pringle.  When it comes to keeping Anaheim safe, the City of Anaheim is at a crossroads.  Which way will we go?  You can follow the ACLU, and others including Mayor Tom Tait, who are pursuing a terrible plan to establish a politically-driven Civilian Review Board of our Police Department.  Or you can stand with me and the overwhelming majority of Anaheim residents, families, businesses and the men and women of the Anaheim Police Association who are dedicated to fighting gangs and crime in our neighborhoods and protecting all of us and our families.  

Civilian Review Boards have not been successful.  Often they are made up of political appointees who have an agenda and don’t reflect the residents of a community. 

We don’t need a politically motivated Review Board.  We already have real police oversight – and that is from the Anaheim city council – who we the people elect. 

The ACLU and other liberal activist groups are taking advantage of recent gang activities to try to establish this review board, so that they could control it, and thus control our police department. 

After the unrest last summer in Anaheim and the increase in gang activity in the city in the last two years – I feel more than ever that we need to have a strong police department – focused on policing and protecting our community, not one worried about an ACLU driven oversight board. 

I am calling you today to ask that you make your voice heard. 

I am proud to stand with the majority of the Anaheim city council, community and business leaders, former Anaheim Mayor and now- Assemblyman Tom Daly, former Anaheim Mayor and US Senator John Seymour and Kerry Condon, the President of the Anaheim Police Association…in opposing this so-called Civilian Oversight Board. 

On the other side, the ACLU, liberal activist groups and sadly, current Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, want to put the power of overseeing our police department in the hands of an un-elected group of political appointees.  

The choice is clear.  If you agree that we need to continue to move our city forward, and then please visit the Anaheim Police Association website at, access the Facebook page, and sign the petition to tell Mayor Tom Tait and his liberal supporters to stop hurting our public safety. 

From that website, you can send the entire City Council an email. I encourage you also make a phone call and even show up to a City Council meeting and let your voice be heard! 

Thank you for your time and support of Anaheim. 

This message is paid for by your own Anaheim Police Association.

Pringle’s message is direct, correct and respectful. There is no grass-roots movement in Anaheim for a civilian oversight commission. This is an artificial issue that is only coming before the city council because, for some strange reason, the blame-the-police elements in Anaheim politics have the ear of Mayor Tait. Outside of ACLU-Los Amigos circles, a civilian police oversight commission is not seen by the average Anaheim resident as necessary or any sort of priority.

Matt Cunningham made the point yesterday that the same people behind this proposal want to put all their other issues, the GardenWalk hotel deal and single-member council districts, to a vote of the people – but not a police oversight commission. I think that is because they know it would lose. It seems the belief in letting the people decide what kind of government they want only goes so far.

There are already four level of oversight in place regarding citizen complaints and uses of force, deadly and otherwise. As Pringle  pointed out, the City Council is the ultimate oversight commission. It’s a core responsibility entrusted to them by the voters.

As Curt Pringle noted in his robo-call, it is sad that Tom Tait stands with the ACLU on this issue. Many who enthusiastically supported him for mayor are deeply disappointed in his action on this and several other issues.

The reality is if Mayor Tait’s proposal became reality, he would appoint Amin David, Jose Moreno or someone like that who would use it as a pulpit to push their political agenda. Instead of deliberation and respect for due process, you’d have Commissioner like David or Moreno at press conference with the shooting “victim” demanding justice and decrying police actions. The process will be more politicized than transparent.

Judging by the over-the-top reactions of Cynthia Ward and “Luke Skywalker” of the “Orange Juice Blog,” you’d think Curt Pringle had called Tom Tait an axe-murderer.

“I wouldn’t be so brazen as to presume to speak for the majority of Anaheim residents,” Cynthia says, a laughable statement since anyone who reads her online opinions known she brazenly does just that on a regular basis. Cynthia is a big supporter of civilian police oversight because Tom Tait. If he changed his mind tomorrow, so would she.

Cynthia says she “truly believes the vast majority of law enforcement professionals are decent men and women who show up for work day after day wanting to do a good job.” Next, she makes this nonensical statement:

“It sends a mixed message to claim that officers do not want to shoot young men on the street, and then claim that the system we have in place works just fine.  If the system worked fine, why are there twice as many shooting victims at the hands of Police over the last two years than officers killed in the line of duty in the entire history of the Police department?

That random factoid is totally irrrelevant. It is an idiotic thing to say. Does Cynthia think the ratio should be 1:1? It sounds like Cynthia is saying her factoid indicates that Anaheim police officers do want to shoot young men. Cynthia hasn’t thought of obvious explanatory factors such as: police officers practice marksmanship, and criminals not so much. So when a criminal fires on a police officer, he usually misses. The cops don’t. How about the higher incidence of stupid, dangerous behavior from criminals? Or cases of “suicide by cop.” And how is someone who is shot after firing at police or civilians a “victim”?

In  her post, Cynthia accuses Kerry Condon, the president of the Anaheim Police Association, of lying. She doesn’t really back that up, and even does some lying herself about the issue of the budget for Mayor Tait’s council aide:

The Mayor was not trying to increase his budget, he was only trying to restore it, after his office staff was the only budget cut requested by Council in a $1.4 billion plan following a generous union giveaway to other City employees in the same budget.  The cut left Tait without the ability to pay his 30-hour-a-week Policy Aide Mishal Montgomery, who carries a Master’s degree in her field, and is neither personal nor political in her assistance to the Mayor of the 10th largest City in California.

Cynthia is being dishonest, as explained in more detail here. Cynthia doesn’t like it, but the truth is Mayor Tait’s council assistant budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 was set at $60,000 by the vote of the City Council. He and Montgomery didn’t accurately monitor the burn rate and ran out of funding a few months early. The Mayor’s request last month was to increase his lawfully established budget. Cynthia’s claim it was “restoring” his budget is absolutely false. It’s pure spin, and Montgomery’s master’s degree is irrelevant. Mayor Tait has plenty of city staff on the 7th Floor he can rely on for the rest of the fiscal year.

Cynthia knows Montgomery needs to hit the 10-year mark so she can vest and get her city employee pension. She omits this key point, a lie of omission. Cynthia rags on Kerry Condon for not knowing the APA’s office manager was embezzling funds, but it doesn’t bother her that the Mayor and his council aide had no idea they were burning through his budget early.

Cynthia Ward’s hypocrisy is easy to point out, but it’s not the main point of this post: the civilian oversight commission has no broad popular support. It is the pet issue of a liberal faction in city politics with which Mayor Tait has allied himself on this and other issues. Pringle, the APA and the other civic leaders mentioned in the robo-call are not only allied with genuine public opinion, they are right on the merits of the issue.