Bringing Some Civility To Council Proceedings

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman

The OC Register reports some rules of decorum will be applied Anaheim City Council meetings starting this Tuesday:

The recent spate of unruly behavior during council meetings prompted city officials to establish new decorum rules, which start at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Part of democracy is attending a council meeting and decorum is a part of that,” City Councilwoman Gail Eastman said. “I think that the better we can educate our citizens, the more productive meetings we’ll have.”

Pamphlets printed in English and Spanish will be distributed during council meetings, reminding attendees that they may be asked to sit down or leave the room for using “personal, threatening, abusive, slanderous or profane remarks to any member of the Council, staff or general public.”

Those refusing to leave the meeting peacefully or voluntarily may be removed by a police officer and face misdemeanor charges of disruption, according to the City Charter.

The taunts reached a vociferous crescendo May 14, when the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to approve a $158 million tax break for the developer of two luxury hotels at the GardenWalk outdoor mall.

Several people shouted over the council’s lengthy debate. Others mimicked council members who they did not agree with.

Good. Those a totally reasonable rules. Filling out speaker cards won’t impede anyone’s right to speak and will obviate the need to people to stand in the aisle waiting for their opportunity. I’d be curious to hear from anyone who believes the rule against being threatening  abusive, profane or slanderous limits their ability to speak their minds?

The big test will be when the odious William Fitzgerald takes to the podium on Tuesday. I doubt he’ll be able to open his mouth for more than 10 seconds without violating the new rules.

What is left unsaid in the OC Register article is the impetus for these rules comes primarily from the often goonish behavior of council audiences members mobilized by UNITE-HERE Local 11, OCCORD, Take Back Anaheim and other progressive pressure groups. I’ve seen it not only at city council meetings but during meetings of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee. Anyone expressing opinions they support is met with respectful silence, followed by applause; those voicing counter-revolutionary thoughts are treated to rumblings, snickers, laughter and sometimes taunts and jeers.  OCCORD Organizing Director Noel Rodriguez seems to have difficulty governing himself during pubic meetings.

The irony is these groups proclaim themselves advocates of transparency and citizens empowerment,  but the hostile mob mentality they display at public hearings is a disincentive for ordinary citizens to attend council meetings or other public hearings. Most people find it intimidating to speak at a council meeting – and doing so in front of a bunch of people wearing union t-shirts and waving placards and using their 3 minutes to scream at council members only makes the prospect more nerve-wracking.

Kudos to Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman for her initiative to infuse some order and civility into the proceedings, and in so doing make council proceedings more truly open to the public.

No comments

  1. Sick of politics

    It’s about time! This s a step in the right direction.

  2. Let’s see if trouble-maker Jose Moreno will follow these new guidelines by not instigating his people all the while he sits in the back rubbing his chin in wonderment because he’s not man enough to confront himself.

  3. wake up Anaheim

    Thank Goodness for this – Thank you Gail!
    We have a Mayor who won’t drop the gavel to promote order, Dennis Fitzgerald holding dialogue with the Council Members from his seat, OCCORD reps running around the room organizing, and the circus like atmosphere from all the rest. City Council meetings have been ‘closed’ to the regular folks aka /the silent majority for some time – who would want to subject themselves to heckling and jeering to speak at the podium. We all have issues from time to time but we approach our elected representatives with respect even those with whom we disagree with – it is just common courtesy!
    My only worry is that we have a Mayor who won’t still be able to call ORDER……because now he’s trying to gather votes.

    • This is a hard fiction to conjure, isn’t it? Mayor Tait is doing what he’s doing in order to “gather votes.” … And yet what he’s doing is SO unpopular with the vast silent majority! Please elaborate… um, anonymous commenter?

  4. Violence is also a problem during public comments with Downey resident Damian Ramirez and Fullerton resident Teresa Smith kicking speakers in the leg as they walk from the podium up the aisle to leave the building. Soldiers from their group also harass speakers and pound on their vehicles as they drive through the parking structure exit.

  5. Anaheim Avenger

    I must respectfully disagree with you Matt, Fitzgerald is not the test. Everyone knows Fitzgerald is a known quantity crack pot. What is leaving most Anaheim residents in abject disbelief is our Mayor, Tom “kindness” Tait.

    The mayor continuously allows Fitzgerald to call council members whores, thieves, and more. My question is whether The Kind Mayor will man up, put kindness into action and protect those he disagrees with as well as those he supports.

    The good mayor should take a page from Supervisor Nelson’s book an shut down abusive speech without question

  6. 1. I hereby volunteer to fill out Reverend Cecil’s card for him each meeting!

    2. I am not looking forward to… well, looking forward darkly to … how Fitzgerald deals with these.

    3. James Robert Reade: Whine, whine, whine. Mommy, she kicked me!

  7. Threading the needle on a Brown Act violation . . . We’ll see how they do next week.

    • You all can’t be serious. Maintaining order and insuring order during these proceeding does not preclude anyone from using profanity, racial slurs, petty personal insults, or playing the harmonic for three minutes if that is what a taxpaying American citizen wished to do at the podium. Read The Brown Act. Such speech, even vicious attacks, nonthreatening, is protected by state and federal law. A citizen has every right to point fingers, make baseless accusations, and chastise elected officials for their conduct official or not if that is their desire. The City of Cotati passed me over for an appointment to the city council due to a recent vacancy. I was the most qualified applicant and came in fourth in the last race for three seats on the council. My supporters packed the room the night of the appointment. The council appointed the most inexperience person in town who continues to file frivilous complaints against me to the FPPC that go nowhere, all baseless….. This man is the unofficial town drunk who has been permanently evicted from three bars in town for his irresponsible behavior in public. I refer to him as a drunk and a Marxist on the record. Even if this was not true, it is completely legal to make these accusations and within my rights. If you begin to evict citizens from your council meetings based on your idea of what is and is not rude language, you will be facing lawsuits you don’t want and can’t afford. Be careful what you wish for.

      Former Cotati Councilman George Barich

      • Sick of politics

        I think you should review section 415 of the penal code. Disturbing that you believe shouting racial slurs during a public meeting is acceptable.

        • I never said such rude or abrasive comments are acceptable. I said they ARE LEGAL. There is a huge difference. Please make note of it and do the research. A city cannot eject citizens from public meetings because they lodge racial slurs, sexual slurs, or profanity. Shouting is another matter and clearly disruptive. Wearing too much perfume or cologne may be deemed disruptive. A baby crying in the chambers may be disruptive… But threatening council members of recall, boycotts of their businesses, and launching complete disgust on elected officials during public meetings for their acts and omissions is completely legal and fair game. Maybe you noticed what happened in Wisconsin where unruly conduct went on for days by the mob, nothing. Free speech is one of the most honored and protected civil rights. To try to sanitize politics will not end well for Anaheim. When I was on the city council, members of the NAACP showed up to remind me that I am “WHITE”, because photos surfaced of my Motown Halloween costume from a decade earlier. Being called WHITE is race baiting. Anyone who thinks that taxpayers can be ejected and removed from a public meeting for making outrageous and petty insults against elected officials is not only wrong, but an attempt to pervert the Constitution and Penal code 415. To actually threaten city officials of bodily harm would be grounds for charging the offender under PC415. Go to Berkeley and see how they been handling this sort of thing for 50 years so as to not bankrupt the city with lawsuits.

          • Sick of politics

            Threatening bodily harm is a whole different boat. Free speech comes with restrictions. Ie yelling fire in a crowded theatre. I am not advocating that residents not be allowed to voice their disgust. But racial slurs and profanity are not appropriate, especially when televised. I do believe that 415.3 deals with those issues. I can only assume that council members consulted with the city attorney prior to issuing the statement. Further, every resident should feel safe while attending a meeting and free to speak at these meetings without being subjected to harassment while walking to their car. There is a right way and a wrong way to voice your discontent.

            • You seem to be confusing free speech with the crime of physical assault. Of course no one should be physically assaulted or the eardrums broken by shouting residents or crying babies. But hurting the precious feelings of elected officials is not protected by law. In fact, the law recognizes that if anyone should be able to handle the heat in the room, it is elected officials across the land. Town Hall meetings are exactly the place in America to lodge the most vile, most vicious verbal attacks on anyone and anything that comes before the electorate. Even slandering someone during a government proceeding suffices as a defense to a cause of action of defamation in a court of law. You can slander elected officials until the cows come home at city meetings and rest assured you are within your rights. Yelling fire in a crowded council meeting falls under inciting a riot by clear intent to do so. Public intoxication is also prohibited during council meetings, but I have seen people clearly intoxicated on more than one occasion in my 16 years attending all these council meetings. I have sat next to people who wreak of body odor or booze. Complaints were made and overlooked by city staff. Profanity is allowed. Some people tend to confuse city council meetings with courtrooms. In courtrooms, a judge has such discretion the behavior, dress, and language used. This is not the case under The Brown Act. You can come dressed in a string bikini, and call city councilmembers, WHITIE, BLACKIE, or Wacked Out Perverted Lunatics if that is your desire. It’s the law. The first person physically ejected from an Anaheim council meeting for such conduct will not have to work the rest of their lives if they get the right attorney. On second thought, maybe I should take a road trip….

              • Do it, Barich! Bring Karraker, make it the 446 miles and I got you a place to stay. Bacirh and Karraker in the house!

                • I mean, really. These opponents to abusive criticism of government officials, their financial contributors, and their city staff (the puppet masters behind the scenes) need to take a time out, grab their Teddy Bears and do their homework. Part of the job of a city leader is taking abusive and hostile comments from the public on the chin and then saying, thank you sincerely. That’s leadership. Hell, as an elected official who was making good on my campaign promise early on to try to turn our sinking ship around, I had card carrying Marxists point their fingers at me and tell me on the record they wanted to take me outside… (because of my personal letter to Obama in early 2009 asking him not to continue any more bailouts). Yet their comrades on the city council did nothing but smile and egged them on. See, the left can dish it out but really can’t take it. They often turn to the power of the state to quash free speech they don’t like where there is clearly no imminent danger or threat of bodily harm. If subtle intimidation and threats of running YOU out of town by their henchmen in the audience doesn’t work, they will try to use the police chief to do their dirty work for them, the folks signing their paychecks. We saw this in Novato, CA where a local attorney who had repeatedly been given the silent treatment over many months simply turned his back on the city council during his time to speak and remained silent. The council had him immediately arrested in full view of the TV cameras. I know people are very polarized right now and patience is running thin. But let the system work itself out and let people blow off steam. Man up Anaheim council members. Show some backbone. Stop acting like little nazis and more like real Americans. It’s your duty to take and rise above it.

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  That’s about your level of civic maturity, Vern.

              • Sick of Politics

                I am not confusing the two nor am I proponent of quashing free speech. If our elected, on any level, are not acting what we believe to be our best interests, we ABSOLUTELY have the right to speak our mind. That being said, I am of the opinion that we should all have to ability to conduct ourselves as adults. Other residents should not feel fear in attending meetings (as many residents have expressed). You obviously disagree and I can respect that. What I would like to point out that you and I disagree on a subject. Yet we are able to have a CIVIL discussion about it. IT CAN BE DONE.

                • @SOP Of course. But ponder this: Who will determine what is “in our best interest” ? Who is to say what is, and is not, adult behavior? How many residents complaining about the lack of civility will it take to constitute a “general fear” in attending public meetings? Who will be the gatekeepers and morality police inside the people’s house we call our City Hall? That’s the problem, SOP. Plus, civility is a term of art and interpreted differently around the country. In California, I would suspect the term to be liberally applied and bad news for your mayor. From my experience, those elected to public office wield their power selfishly and use their power to crush any and all opposition in an attempt to retain power. Therefore, those in power should never have the right to determine what is, and is not, harassment, juvenile behavior, racist comments, vile comments, etc. Often they will change the rules depending how it serves them, their special interests, and their ability to control others. Our Founding Fathers were versed in how power corrupts in this regard as are many today who follow in their footsteps. One in Anaheim should continue to have the right to use their allotted time before the council to be silent, pray, sing a song, show a video on the projector, complain, chastise, criticize, praise, make funny faces, take a walk down Memory Lane council’s usually don’t like to hear, etc. The telecast of the meetings should begin with clear warnings: Program May Not Be Suitable for Children. View Discretion Advised. Also see: http://calaware.typepad.com/

  8. My friend George Barich is absolutely right. I have personally seen the Mayor of Cotati lie to the public and to the council in city council meetings. As a concerned citizen, I have every right to call him a lying weasel.

    Ironically, as a libertarian, pro-business, anti-regulation type, I probably agree with the Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem’s political views. But I cannot tolerate her squashing of free speech.

    • Greg, I doubt you would agree with much of what Gail Eastman does. She’s a wasteful doler-out of corporate welfare who opposes democracy on several fronts and bizarrely justifies much of what she does by her religious beliefs. You would probably agree much more with the usually-isolated conservative mayor Tom Tait, one of whose great achievements has been streamlining business regulations.

      Thanks for your input.

  9. First off, I agree that the environment has gotten out of hand, and we need to reign in the cheering etc, between speakers. It is unproductive to the process and encourages a more contentious atmosphere.

    However, any attempt at censoring the speech that we as free citizens are permitted to share at that podium (other than physical threats of harm which are already illegal) tap dances with the Constitution in a way that I for one will never stand for. Yes, some of what is said up there makes my blood boil.I gave up counting how often Fitzgerald has shocked me to the core. But until he threatens someone, I will defend with my dying breath his right to say what he says, because to take that right is to enable taking mine. No, we often don’t care for what Fitzgerald says, and I detest the antics of James Robert Reade. However, I also believed Reade when he said he was harassed by officers acting in defense of Hunter (seeing Craig’s operation up close myself) and I was glad he got his justice in the end. So while I can’t stand his new spin on all cops being the angelic beings that he wants them to suddenly be now that he cashed his check, his right as an American to say it cannot be taken from him. That is the essence of what makes us Americans.

    Who makes the determination of whether what you may or may not say is acceptable? We have a Council majority that has proven they are capable of using their power block to silence those who disagree with them, now we give them power over the microphone, the last vehicle that the average citizen has with which to bring grievances to Council? and if we allow City Council to pull the plug on what they believe to be slanderous statements, does this standard also apply to those on the other side of that wooden barrier wall? If I can prove that staff or a Council member has made an untrue statement, may I as a citizen, officially oppose their right to continue speaking? Or have them removed from the Chambers? I seem to recall Mayor Tait pointing out that Kris Murray’s misinterpretation of State law was potentially libelous, and he asked for a retraction-one she has not yet printed and added to by insisting she stood by her statements, without even stopping to check her assumptions. So is Kris Murray subject to those same rules? How about staff? They just presented a power point showing numbers for the Gardenwalk that have zero guarantee built into the agreement. That less than factual info stands to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, impacts that far exceed hurting someone’s feelings. Is there a penalty of any kind for lying to the people of Anaheim? Or are the rules only for the unwashed masses?

    As far as speakers’ cards,they fall into the catch-all category of Brown Act and the whole open meetings thing. You may request them, but you may not require them. We KNOW that residents have come to Council, begging for help from what they see as the body of authority that represents THEM within the structure of City Hall. So the answer to people too afraid to deal with the process of complaining at PD headquarters is to make them fill out a card with all their information before they can appeal to the only place they see might help them? Well that is going to make Council meetings much more quiet I guess, but only until someone else contacts the ACLU for yet another lawsuit in which taxpayers get to pick up the tab for the inane mistakes of our elected leaders. Want the left to quit suing us? Quit giving them so much reason to file!

    So much for Compassionate Conservatives. That whole consent of the governed thing implies we may revoke our consent as well. If our leaders want to fuss and whine about how they are not being treated with the respect they feel is due them,. they might try considering whether their own behavior has earned the respect of the people they were elected to represent. Kerry Condon and Curt Pringle have said far worse things about Tom Tait, and broadcast that ugliness into peoples’ homes, but he has not whined about making new rules to shut up his opposition.

    I see this backfiring in so many ways that will be far uglier than what is trying to be accomplished here. But by all means, they are welcome to create the sound bites for use by the opposition come next fall. Go for it.

  10. People are angry that city council ignores ALL their requests…such as redistricting. It is very clear that city council allows for public comment only because they have to, but they do not care what the public thinks…about anything! It is clear that they work for the Mouse and the APD are their enforcers. Respect is two-way street!

    • Matthew Cunningham

      An absolutely tiny fraction of Anaheim residents have asked for council districts. The City Council are the elected representatives of the entire city, and not bound to bow to the demands of organized pressure groups that muster several dozen people to a public hearing.

      I’ve noticed those on the political Left have a tendency to conflate their demands as being synonymous with the Will Of The People.

      • Great. Clearly you have nothing to worry about. Put it to a vote.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          That’s flippant and absurd, Ryan. By that logic, every such demand should be put to a vote. The bill for the election costs can be sent to you.

          • Actually, THAT is flippant.

            You’re damn right every such demand ought to be put to a vote.

            The cost to tack this onto a general election is marginal at best. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re actually collecting more from whomever pays you to bottle up the will of the people than it would actually cost to hold a vote.

            Yes, Mr. Cunningham, I think that the demands of the people particularly those demands like this one that substantially meet the requirements to qualify an initiative, a constitutionally protected right in this state, ought to be put to a vote.

            Flippant. Wow. Thanks for the name calling, chief. I’ll keep that in mind.

            • Matthew Cunningham

              Ryan, i’m not calling you a name, i’m referring to your argument, which i find shallow.

              What the is the standard for the city council to put an issue on the ballot?That is not a flippant or idle question. Is every demand to be out in the ballot? Should a retention ordinance be put on the ballot? A “living wage”? Is the City Council to be limited to less weighty matters?

              It’s easy to say “put it on the ballot!” I’m asking where you draw the line?

              • Sick of politics

                If most issues are to be put to vote, why elect city council?

              • Yeah, you did Matt. Don’t be obtuse. You called me a name and then ran and hid behind your moderated comments. A horrible way to treat a fellow Friar, might I add. I expected better.

                The standard for the city council putting an issue on the ballot is defined by the state. You know it is. Why you’re pretending that you don’t is odd.

                In this case, citizens collecting signatures for their initiative came substantially closer to completing their assignment than Jordan Brandman did on his county contract. He got paid for incomplete work; I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t pay it forward and assist in getting this business before the people.

                Any of the issues you list could be on the ballot. I’m sorry that causes you, what appears to be, undue angst. I’m happy to support your call for a curtailment of direct democracy in California. We’ll put it to a vote and see who wins. Neither you or I draw lines on how the people qualify an initiative or referendum. Why would you ask where I would restrict the public’s constitutional right?

                @sick, California has an odd relationship with direct democracy and representative democracy. I don’t think you’re looking for a serious answer, but if you are, it’s easier to answer the reverse: We do not elect a city council to subvert our right to direct democracy when the matter at hand is substantial enough to warrant it.

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  Ryan: again, I did not call you a name. I said your comment was flippant and absurd – not that you are. There is a difference, you know.

                  I wasn’t asking you what the legal requirements for qualifying a ballot measure. I was asking you what would stipulate as the threshold for the city council placing an issue before the voters? Just because the city council has the ability to place a measure before the voters doesn’t mean that it must do so – do you disagree with that?

                  • Asked and answered.

                    The threshold for direct democracy is the exclusive purview of the electorate. Neither you or I have the authority to restrict it.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      That’s not an answer, Ryan. That’s an evasion. Let’s try it this way: do you think the city’s budget, following adoption by the city council, ought to be put to a city-wide vote?

                    • What is this? A bad rerun of Tom and Jerry? It’s actually a direct answer to your question, for the second time.

                      I’d have to look at the Charter for your question for any automatic trips (i.e., incorporated bond measure, etc.), but if there’s something in it so controversial that a reasonable person would conclude that given adequate notice, funding, and opportunity that an initiative or referendum would qualify– yeah, the council should do everyone a favor and put it to a vote.

                      Are you suggesting the converse? That a councilperson who thinks that his or her decision will ultimately be subjected to an initiative or referendum ought to take whatever steps possible to avoid public participation in the decision?

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “…given adequate notice, funding, and opportunity that an initiative or referendum would qualify – yeah, the council should do everyone a favor and put it to a vote.”

                      Ryan, that would be an unworkable standard in practice. Given enough time and money, just about anything can be qualified for the ballot — so by the standard you just put forth, the city council would send a lot of time larding up the ballot with initiatives after advocates make the case that they COULD qualify their issue if they had enough time and money.

                      The reality is there usually isn’t enough time and funding – regardless of the relative merits of the issue. It is not the job of the City Council to do others work for them when it comes to qualifying initiatives or referenda.

                      To answer your question: no, I am not saying that. It can’t even be inferred from anything i have said.

                    • Down the rabbit hole we go . . .

                      “It is not the job of the City Council to do others work for them when it comes to qualifying initiatives or referenda.”

                      It’s the city council’s job to represent the interests of all their constituents. If their constituents are interested in qualifying an initiative or referenda, you had better believe it’s their job to help out.

                      That assumes, of course, you don’t believe that the council should just be representing their favored special interest groups who are well funded by non-citizen groups.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      We do need to exercise judgment about what issues merit being put on the ballot. And I we have the capacity to have an informed opinion on such maters, and on whether direct democracy is something which is too quickly and frequently resorted to. That’s all I’ve asked you to do. Your response has been to point out something everyone already knows — the law allows the voters to place issues on the ballot.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      If this is the “sick of politics” comment you to which you were responding:

                      “If most issues are to be put to vote, why elect city council?”

                      …then my point remains: you are claiming the city council is subverting direct democracy, but without explaining how.

                    • You’ve asked me to supply a condition in which I’d supplant my own wisdom and judgement for that of the electorate.

                      There isn’t a condition I’d do that, so while you might not like my answer, it stands. I’d rather be an enabler of the people’s will than an obstruction. It’s looking like you’re preferring the later.

                    • I’m making no such claim, nor did I claim that most issues ought to be put to a vote.

                      This is getting tedious and more importantly difficult to read. If you want to continue to exchange pleasantries, I suggest starting a new comment thread– or better yet a new post.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “It’s the city council’s job to represent the interests of all their constituents. If their constituents are interested in qualifying an initiative or referenda, you had better believe it’s their job to help out.,/i>”

                      How would that work in the real world? How many constituents are we talking about? 10? 20? 100? How does the council gauge the level of interest? If UNITE-HERE Local 11 musters 20 people to the council meeting, two or three council meetings in a row, demanding that a retention ordinance be put on the ballot, must the council do so? If OCCORD orchestrates two dozen residents to call on the council to place a “living wage” on the ballot, must the council oblige them?

                      Does the council have to schedule a special election? Or wait until the next regular city-wide election.

                      What else it is the city council’s “job to help out”? Funding for signature gatherers?

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Ryan, all I’ve been asking you to do is elaborate on your rhetoric and apply it to real world politics – and my efforts have been disappointingly and unexpectedly unsuccessful. In that sense this exchange has been a waste of time.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “I’d rather be an enabler of the people’s will than an obstruction. It’s looking like you’re preferring the later.”

                      Oh, good grief. Really? Might I suggest you take a look at the Constitution, which was designed to :obstruct” the people’s will.

                      I am a limited government conservative, Ryan. Guilty as charged. I do not subscribe to the progressive belief (which is a rejection of the Founders’ philosophy) that government is a living thing, and that it should be structured such that it is continuously enabling the people’s will (whatever the people’s will may be at that moment in time).

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “You’ve asked me to supply a condition in which I’d supplant my own wisdom and judgement for that of the electorate.

                      There isn’t a condition I’d do that, so while you might not like my answer, it stands.”

                      I was just re-reading that statement of yours, Ryan. What you are saying is you would never disagree with the electorate. Ever. So if a candidate you support loses and a candidate you think is horrible wins, you would not say, “I think the voters made a mistake”?

                      That is what you are saying here.

                    • Blah bla bla blah blah blah blah!

                      Matt, perhaps you should sit down with the great State of California’s constitution. Clearly, you could use a refresher.

                      This isn’t a “living document” argument, sir. The impetus for this entire thread is that if you’re really so confident that no one in Anaheim supports redistricting, you ought not be afraid of putting it to a vote. Ideology really has nothing to do with it.

                      You’ve put an undo amount of time into making that suggestion look silly. If you’re really concerned with wasting your time, perhaps you ought to look into the mirror on this one.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Oh boy, another psychic who thinks to know what I’m “really” thinking. The tactic you just used is the same as the kid on the playground who calls another kid a “chicken” for not going along with what he wants to do: “What are you, a scaredy cat?”

                      But for the record, I am notAnd in what way has the city council “subverted” our right to direct democracy? Because a council majority isn’t heeling to the loud voices in the council chamber? That is a baseless claim. Is there anything preventing UNITE-HERE or OCCORD or the mighty Orange Juice Blog from trying to qualify a referendum of the GardenWalk vote? afraid that single-member districts would win at the ballot. On the contrary.

                      Also, I didn’t use the term “living document.” I referred to the progressive view of government as being a living thing, always evolving in purpose and structure and expressing the contemporaneous will of the people, rather than as a mechanism for securing our natural rights. Although the progressive view of the Constitution as a living document stems from that view.

                      I have devoted considerable time to the issue of single-member council districts for Anaheim because I think it is a terrible idea and an important issue. Whether you think it has been “undue” attention is irrelevant, not to mention totally subjective.

                    • I hardly know what you think, Matt. Just what you type. No one is reading this . . . move it to a new thread or a new post. Come on back out of the rabbit hole.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      If you hardly know what I think, then don’t claim that you do.

                    • OK, I won’t. *Head smack*. Also, I didn’t.

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  And in what way has the city council “subverted” our right to direct democracy? Because a council majority isn’t heeling to the loud voices in the council chamber? That is a baseless claim. Is there anything preventing UNITE-HERE or OCCORD or the mighty Orange Juice Blog from trying to qualify a referendum of the GardenWalk vote?

                  • You should take up the subversion argument with the ACLU. I believe they have an opinion on the matter.

                    Re: GardenWalk, no restriction. If folks in Anaheim are upset about it, that’s something they should have been working on for the past two weeks.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      The ACLU isn’t arguing the council is subverting direct democracy, Ryan. But since you’re the one who made the claim – not the ACLU — then lease explain how the council is subverting direct democracy?.

                    • No, Matt. I didn’t make that claim. Read it again.

                      I don’t speak for the ACLU. You’ll have to ask them how they feel about the council’s actions regarding not taking a vote on redistricting.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      This is what you wrote:

                      “,We do not elect a city council to subvert our right to direct democracy when the matter at hand is substantial enough to warrant it.”

                      Unless I am mistaking your meaning, you are claiming the Anaheim City Council acted to subvert direct democracy.Perhaps you can elaborate on what you meant.

                    • Yes, you are mistaken my meaning. It was a reply to @sickofpolitics. You’re taking it out of context.

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  And frankly, I think you’re overreacting a bit with the “ran and hide behind moderation…” and the other slaps at me. What is up with that? I didn’t cast aspersions on you as a person. I’m surprised how quickly you took that route.

                  • Yeah, you did, Matt. You took a swipe at me and then restricted my ability to defend myself without your explicit approval. If you don’t like how your swipes are being interpreted, perhaps you ought to be more careful with how you swing your fist.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      No, Ryan, I took a swipe at your comment (and given the tenor of your rhetoric on Orange Juice Blog, you’re not in much of a position to be offended). I do not think you are a flippant or absurd person.

                      As for your comment, I don’t know why it went into moderation. Contrary to the conclusion to which you leapt, I took no specific action to put it in moderation – and I didn’t edit you comment in the east.

                    • My tenor? OK, Matt. Good luck with that one.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      Ryan, what does that even mean?

                    • OK, this really is a bad rerun of Tom and Jerry . . .

                • Sick of politics

                  I understand the argument you’re making. However, there is NO way that our elected can truly represent ALL of the people. We all have competing interests. So who wins? If we are both residents of Anaheim, and have different goals, who gets their way? Generally speaking, only one of us can. I can contact Gov Brown daily about the failings of AB 109 and it is highly unlikely he will sway his view. So how do we decide what issues to out on a ballot? If we as a city have elected out council and mayor to run our city, shouldn’t we let them do that? It is a very serious question. If we want to put all issues before the people, why even bother electing officials? Come 2014 we will be voting new members in and the majority will rule, meaning there will be a group of residents (which may include me) that will have a council member that may not share the same opinions about how to run our city. Does that make sense?

                  • Yes, it make sense; however, keep in mind that an elected municipal representative has a substantially easier task of representing all their constituents than the executive head for the third largest state by area and largest by population. The same concept applies to at large municipal representation vs. single member districts.

                    While it is not possible for a councilperson to agree with all their constituents, it is far from impossible for a councilperson to represent each of their constituents. There are a variety of ways to demonstrate engagement and empathy that do not include a vote for one side or another.

                    The smaller the district, the easier it ought to be to demonstrate engagement with the community. This gets complicated by how diverse and disparate the opinions within the community are, but one can reasonably assume that representing diversity in districts with larger geographic boundaries and larger populations is more complex.

                    Redistricting may or may not be in your political best interest, but I don’t think that the council ought to be deciding this specific issue. It’s a bit too “fox guarding the hen house” for me . . .

                    • Sick of politics

                      I can see some of your viewpoints. I just disagree that districts are the answer. However, I am always open to respectful dialogue on the issue….or any issue for that matter.

          • Or to you if you lose?

            There’s a pinche June primary next year anyway so stop exaggerating the costs!

            • Matthew Cunningham

              Be quiet, Vern. I was making a rhetorical point regarding Ryan’s argument, which is a silly one.

              • ME be quiet? But YOU’RE the one making meaningless “rhetorical points” you now claim not to mean.

                If you really think support for districting is so weak, then you my friend are a victim of your own propaganda, and limited social circle (aka “bubble.”)

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  No, Vern, I’ve devoted a good deal of thought, reflection and research to the matter, and I have concluded that single/member council districts are a terrible idea for Anaheim.

                • Matthew Cunningham

                  And I notice you spend an awful lot of time commenting over here on what you erroneously call an “echo chamber” – a term more accurately applied to your blog and the half dozen people who slap each other on the back on how smart they are.

  11. Sick of politics

    There are many people against districting. Many do not attend meetings based on what’s noted above. City council members were voted in by the people. If we don’t approve of them, we vote them out…

  12. Who really cares what Vern thinks? He’s a semi-employed loser from Huntington Beach with an overpowering need to feel important. So he’s hooked up with Donna Acevedo who deals with the cards life dealt her son by re-inventing herself as some kind of social crusader. Does anyone know anything about her? The media doesn’t ask any questions.

    Ignore Vern. It’s the rational thing to do.

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