The Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee has finished its work and its report will be forward to the Anaheim City Council a the end of this month.
There’s a great deal to be said about this entire process, but I won’t try to put it all in one post. I would like to offer some initial thoughts and observations.
First, of all: who writes the OC Register headlines? The OCR’s article is headlined:
“Group recommends districts for Anaheim, larger council”
That isn’t true. The CAC was split on the question of single-member council districts. last month, CAC members were asked to vote on whether they want to elect council members at-large or from single-member districts – and split 5-5 on the question. Last night, five CAC members — including one who voted for single-member districts last month — wanted to discuss the option of recommending the system used by Santa Ana, Newport Beach and the Orange Unified School District: running from a council district but being voted on at-large.
The progressive bloc on the CAC successfully fought off further discussion because CAC member Keith Oleson inexplicably joined them in opposing considering of the at-large districts alternative. I say “inexplicably” because Oleson opposes single-member council districts, leaving many scratching their heads as to why he would ride to the rescue of the pro-single member district bloc.
Resolute Minority Beats Disorganized Majority
Which brings me to my next point: the advantage that organized, determined minorities have over disorganized, uncoordinated majorities. That is something the Left understands very well, and it showed throughout the CAC process.
OCCORD, UNITE-HERE and their other union and Democratic allies, worked this process from the get-go. They got their allies appointed to the CAC by Mayor Tom Tait and Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, and they took the reins of the chair and v ice-chair spots. This progressive bloc — Vivian Pham, Bill Dalati, Martin Lopez and Larry Larsen — started their service on the CAC as staunch supporters of eight single-member council districts proposal being advocated by the OCCORD/UNITE-HERE coalition. It was a goal they resolutely pursued from beginning to end.
The other six members were uncoordinated, unorganized and lacking in political sophistication. Unlike the Tait/Galloway bloc, they didn’t have a set agenda and a union machine turning out bodies to voice a coordinated, scripted message. For most of the process, they naively assumed they were supposed to approach their charge with an open mind and arrive at a recommendation based on the evidence and information presented to them. Half of them resigned a half-way through the process and had to be replaced.
The Tait/Galloway bloc, on the other hand, had a job to do: get a recommendation to put eight single-member council districts on the ballot. At the crucial April 18 meeting, the Tait/Galloway liberal bloc lucked out and picked off CAC member Vic Real.
Last night, Vic Real was among those wanting to discuss a compromise option – at-large districts. But since they already had what they wanted, the Tait/Galloway bloc shut down debate – even as some of them cynically voiced their contempt for the process at the very end.
Bottom line: the left-wing minority knew what it wanted and went after it in single-minded fashion. The disorganized majority didn’t rally until it was too late, and was undone by unsteady Vic Real on April 18 and then by Keith Oleson’s weird assist to the single-member district bloc at the end.
At the end of the day, this is a skirmish in a longer battle.