City Council Votes To Establish Residency-Based Districts, Expand Council to Six members

After a long and tumultuous meeting last night (and there’s much more to share from the night’s events in other posts), the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 (Mayor Tom Tait dissenting) to approve Councilwoman Kris Murray’s motion to move immediately to residency-based districts while retaining the at-large voting system, and in favor of asking the voters to weigh in on expanding the council to six members.

Murray’s adopted motion directs staff to bring back an ordinance creating residency-based districts for a vote at the July 2 council meeting. This effectively creates a system like that used by Newport beach, Santa Ana and the Orange Unified School District (the last of which includes Anaheim Hills)

Staff was also directed to bring back for a vote two charter amendments to be placed on the June 2014 ballot:

– One asking the voters to approve or reject the system of at-large election of councilmembers from residency-based districts.

– A second charter amendment asking voters to approve or reject expanding the council to 6 members.

Prior to that vote, the City Council voted 3-2 (Tait and Councilmember Jordan Brandman in the minority) to reject  placing on the ballot proposed charter amendments asking voters if they want single-member council districts, and 6 or 8 councilmembers (plus a consolidated version proposed by Mayor Tait that included establishing a districting commission).

More to come on all this.

No comments

  1. gabriel san roman

    The Newport Beach model? Like the one Lucille Kring spoke against at a CAC meeting as being problematic and ineffective (the very video of which was posted on this blog) LOL!

    • Matthew Cunningham

      No, what Lucille Kring did was point out an aspect of Newport Beach’s system that she didn’t care for — but at the end of the day she agreed to a compromise solution.

      Contrast that more statesman-like approach with the members of the OCCORD/UNITE-HERE goon squad, who yelled and stomped out like spoiled children when they didn’t get their way.

      it was the difference between grown-ups and arrested adolescents.

  2. Read about my criminal record here.

  3. It’s called compromise, something the mayor knows nothing about. If he didn’t adopt such a “my way or the highway” attitude about every single issue in the city, maybe we could make some forward movement, instead of watching these long contentious council meetings where he behaves likes a spoiled child, misusing his position to silence those who have a differing point of view than his.

    • Diana, it is more correctly called “The Santa Ana Compromise.”

      • Junior – the system council approved is also in place in Orange Unified School District, which represents all of the eastern neighborhoods in Anaheim – we already have this system in place for our schools and it works well. I understand Newport Beach has the same system – and it beats the hell out of reducing my access to City Hall to one member of the council. Do you even live in Anaheim?

        • Anaheim First,

          It’s just a lame joke on my part – don’t be hyper-sensitive. And no, I don’t live in Anaheim – I live in Santa Ana.

          • Thank you for clarifying – we’ve had so many attacks on our city by OCCORD and union organizers from outside our city I assumed wrongly you may be one of their supporters. I’m not supportive of any districts but if we have to move in that direction, the option proposed by Council is my preferred choice.

        • I believe that I was one of the first to suggest “The Santa Ana Compromise” on this blog.

  4. It is very sad for me to watch. Mayor Tait gets so frustrated that he mentally and physically shuts down and other city council members step in to help him out by speaking what his thoughts were going to be. I feel bad for him. But he did this to himself. He needs to snap out of this brainwashing by Jose Moreno and Amin David. I know that may sound weird but its true.

  5. I study and write about local government. Currently, I am observing local democratic processes throughout Southern California. I attended the public hearing on Tuesday evening in Anaheim. Note: I do not live in Anaheim and I do not know any of the council persons personally nor have I done business with any of them.

    I left the public hearing with many observations and will offer a few of my thoughts: 1) the city council did not follow the recommendations of the council appointed Citizen Advisory Committee; 2) Lack of support by a majority of the council members for the recommendations of the Citizen Advisory Committee was not backed by a strong, logical argument, but rather a “hanging thread” of an argument; 3) Councilperson Murray came to the meeting with the intention of proposing the residency-based districts, which was evident in her posture, desire to counter every comment made by a citizen with a different opinion (although this approach was not permitted by the Mayor), and her announcement before the first vote (to adopt the recommendations of the Citizen Advisory Committee) that she had an alternative proposal. Unfortunately, the Anaheim Council was “transparent”, but not as intended in good government practice.

    Important questions for the residents of Anaheim are: Does the residency-based districts model, which retains voting at large rather than by district, address the main issue in the current law suit (the alleged defect in the process according to the CA Voting Rights Act)? If the likelihood is reasonably high that it does not, how much (more) will Anaheim have to pay in court costs (both the City’s and the plaintiff’s by law) because three of the council members do not support district elections currently? Although a lot of information, allegations, and misdirection occurred during the hearing from all sides, the content of the discussion was not helpful in answering these fundamental questions.

    I am thankful for this case as it raises a number of important issues for our representative democracy. The vulnerability of democratic processes to authority is one and, related, the perverse twist in a democratic process that allows process to deny access to informed, and like-minded, representation. I look forward to following this case through to its conclusion.

    • Mar – You sound like an 8 year undergrad.

    • Sick of politics

      Representative democracy is never truly 100% representative as we do not agree on all issues. As such, there will always be at least two sides to an issue and a party that prevails. People ultimately speak when they vote. And the people did so in 2010 and 2012. The council and the mayor are who we as a city selected.
      Of course Murray came to the meeting prepared. Should we expect less from our government?

  6. I am pleased the City Council voted to place District elections on the ballot. Very odd that in the end Mayor Tait voted against it.

    If approved by the voters, the District measure will limit council member representatives from Anaheim Hills.

    Actually made its not that odd after all. Tom Tait lives in Anaheim Hills, maybe that was probably his plan all along. Tait talked a lot about who he “wanted” District elections, but in the end he silently voted against it.

    He was the only person to vote no. Thankfully it passed 4-1.

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