City Council Makes Their Charter Review Committee Appointees

Last night, Mayor Tom Tait and the members of the city council named five of the seven members of the Charter Review Committee (CRC). Each has one appointee to the CRC; those five will then name the remaining two -at-large members from the current pool of  applicants. Here are the appointees:

Mayor Tom Tait: Tom Dunn

Mayor Pro Tem Gail Eastman: Keith Oleson

Councilmember Kris Murray: Craig Farrow

Councilmember Jordan Brandman: Curt Pringle

Councilmember Lucille Kring: Amanda Edinger

Brandman iterated that he wanted the CRC to take up “general governance in addition to a line-by-line review of the entire charter…particular council administration responsibilities, there needs to be some updating of the charter.” He also stated he’d like the CRC to look at refining term limits, referencing some “glitches” (possibly a reference to how Anaheim’s term limits prohibits a councilmember from running for mayor in the middle of his or her second term). Brandman also expressed a desire for the CRC to look at standardizing city boards and commissions, and wants to take council districts off the table for the CRC, since the council is already dealing with that issue.

Kring disagreed with the last point and said she’d like council districts and council structure to remain within the CRC’s purview.

Mayor Tait asked to have the resolution creating the CRC brought back at the next council meeting to add a provision requiring CRC members to fill out a Form 700. Since the CRC is an advisory body of temporary duration, members are not required to completed these invasive forms. I don’t believe there is any reason to require it because the CRC is, as stated, advisory and temporary. It has no authority over the expenditure of funds, awarding of contracts, imposition of regulations, etc. The city council can take or leave its recommendations as it chooses.

No Form 700 filing requirement was imposed on members of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee, and its charge was just as serious and central to the nature of Anaheim city government. So why the CRC and not the CAC? That’s a recommendation that should be politely rejected.

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  1. Indeed, we should have to demonstrate a need and the value gained by requiring transparency . . . you know, rather than assume its benefit like they do in democratic institutions.

    Oh, wait, this isn’t Communist China? WE HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST? This is outrageous! What’s next? Campaign finance reform?! The ridiculousness!

    Come on, Cunningham. If you want to defend opacity in public government, at least do better than claim: “Well, she didn’t do it . . . why should I?” We’re talking about a short form that discloses potential conflicts of financial interest for those charged with the responsibility for developing the framework supporting local government’s authority to govern. Small effort for a large benefit.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Come on, yourself. Government shouldn’t be arbitrary: “Oh, we don’t require advisory committee members to file a Form 700…except this one.”

      What is really going on is this proposed requirement is (I believe) being aimed at a single individual for political purposes. That’s arbitrary.

      • Great, go back in time and get them from the CAC.

        Or better yet, lets hope to see a solid recommendation on a threshold for consistent application of 700 collections from either the council or CRC. While your concern is legitimate, it’s not a sufficient reason to “politely reject” public disclosure of material conflicts.

        “It’s not fair” isn’t an argument, Matt. Do better. Tell me why collecting the 700 form doesn’t add value because I think disclosure of one’s potential conflicts of interest isn’t a bad thing.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Or you, as a supporter of this additional and not legally required imposition, can explain what legal conflict of interest this additional requirement would identify or prevent? I don’t think simply saying “transparency” suffices as an argument.

          • Really? I thought a bias towards transparency was a requirement for a small government Conservative. My bad, I guess.

            Fine. Here you go:

            Form 700

            “Public officials are, under certain circumstances, required to disqualify themselves from making, participating in, or attempting to influence governmental decisions that will affect their economic interests.”

            Filing the form doesn’t create any new obligation for any member of the CRC. What it does do is grant the public a means of ensuring compliance with the law.

            It’s about faith in the system and doing the right thing, Mr. Cunningham. It’s not about meeting the minimum bar for legal acceptance.

            Politicians do that, right? I mean go above and beyond the bare minimum. Are you stating the call to public service means only doing what the law requires of you?

            Transparency. That suffices for my argument. Tell me again that I’m wrong.

  2. Read about my criminal record here.

  3. Why didn’t Mayor Tait appoint a Latino to the Charter Review Committee? He wants to totally up-end how we elect the city council in order to get more Latinos elected to it, but when he has a chance to appoint a Latino, he doesn’t?

  4. Tait is playing politics with the 700 form and that is sad. I don’t know most of the names up there but how many are OCCORD/Unite Here? I’m guessing none and that is why Tait wants the 700 now but not before.

    It will be interesting to see Tait’s 700 whenever that comes out. How much do the unions give him or has this all been free?

    • They’re filed annually. Go ask for one.

      • I don’t care about last year, I want to know what he is getting now that he has fully committed to union and ACLU causes.

        • So you’re accusing the mayor of being on a union’s payroll? That he’s making decisions in exchange for compensation?

          That’s a fairly substantial accusation. One you should probably put your name on.

          • Ha! I’ve seen the council meetings and how people who try to have their voice heard over the union are treated. I’m not jumping in front of that. My comments can speak for themselves.

            • Pony up A714. Either go all the way and make the claim or say nothing at all. Skirting the line on defamation is the coward’s way out.

  5. I agree with Matt that it shouldn’t be arbitrary – if its required of this advisory board, it should apply to all and all standing boards and commissions as well that have been formed this year and going forward. The CAC is still an active advisory board so they should be required to fill it out.

  6. Jose Solorio
    “Anaheim is a diverse city. Especially given all the discussion about representation, one would think a more diverse set of appointees would be selected by the Councilmembers. Any thoughts, reactions?”

    From Jose Solorio facebook

    • Is this all that matters anymore – changing how the city elects its council and selecting appointees based on race? What’s next – in addition to conflict forms, Anaheim boards and commissions should have racial quotas? Mr. Solorio should focus on Santa Ana and stay out of Anaheim politics.

      • Sick of Politics

        Exactly! What happened to selecting a person based on knowledge and qualifications? Race and gender have no bearing.

  7. This isn’t simple transparancy – the 700 form was put in place primarily for elected officials and people serving on boards that regulate or oversee taxpayer funding. The process requires exhaustive financial records for the appointee and their spouse, a list of all gifts (even birthdays and holidays from anyone doing business in that jurisdiction), land holdings, rental properties, etc. If you are not 100 percent accurate, opponents of your decisions can file FPPC complaints resulting in legal expenses. Is Anaheim really going to require this of volunteer citizens who have no authority over funds or regulatory actions – who are simply volunteering to serve on a temporary advisory board? Shame on you Mr. Tait.

    • No, it doesn’t. It take about an hour to complete. Don’t be ridiculous. There’s actually a holiday exemption included right on Schedule D provided you’re actually exchanging gifts and not using December as an excuse to collect your tribute.

      I’m pretty sure anyone who has enough money to cause more than an hour’s worth of work can afford to pay their financial advisor to populate the form for them for less than $100.

      Your hyperbole has not gone unnoticed.

      • My comment was not about the time it takes, it was about exposure for the appointee and their spouse. Why are you so lit up on this one issue – if the city is going to do it – apply to all and inform those volunteering in advance of this process in its totality. Are you advocating for all in your city who volunteer to fill out this form as well – hell, let’s whip up those who serve on non-profit boards and faith based organizations because the city contributes to their charitable programs. Where would you recommend it stop?

        • Hyperbole, hyperbole, hyperbole . . . faith based organizations? For starters, that’d be illegal.

          “The process requires exhaustive financial records for the appointee and their spouse . . .”

          Well, that’s simply not true. Let’s start with what the form actually does and does not require and work forward to a sustainable position from there.

          • You are the one choking on hyperbole … and conveniently omitting answers to legitimate questions. It simply is true that you have to disclose all sources of financial income, gifts, and legal holdings – including your spouse. How would it be illegal for non-profits and faith-based organizations to add this requirement for their board members if those organizations accept public funds? Make your case with fact.

            • I think City Employee is on to something – let’s definitely go after the non-profits and faith based organizations – starting with the one that claims to be both – Eli Home! I would love to see the financial background of those board members – they’ve been milking the city for years for all of their events yet I’ve never seen any public audit or records of that group – lead by the high fashion priestess Lorri Galloway!

            • There are specific exemptions to income, gifts, and legal holdings– so no, one does not have disclose all of them. Furthermore, using the term “exhaustive” is a purposeful misnomer used by you to make the request to populate a Form 700 appear cumbersome.

              It’s an hour’s worth of work. End of story.

              Form 700 only applies to public officials. It’d be illegal to mandate a non-profit or religious institution to populate one. If you want to change your claim to something completely different to something like a voluntary adoption by a private body’s own governance structure– well perhaps they already do that. It’s really up to them . . . but that’s not what you said:

              “Are you advocating for all in your city who volunteer to fill out this form as well – hell, let’s whip up those who serve on non-profit boards and faith based organizations because the city contributes to their charitable programs.”

              The qualification is a representative of the public, not how contracts are awarded, which isn’t part of the FPPC– more specifically in this case how a governmental organization asserts to exercise it’s authority over its citizens.

              • Your claim “asserts authority over the public” as a qualifier doesn’t hold water for an advisory board any more that it does for a board member representing a non-profit that provides services to the public with taxpayer money. I think you and the City Employee agree – this shouldn’t apply. Volunteers on an advisory board have zero authority over the public – they make recommendations and only the Council can act on them. You fail to make a valid argument for your rapid defense of forcing this process on the city’s volunteers who step up for our boards and commissions. I personally agree that the public utility and planning commission may be viable exceptions and the 700 would be useful because some of their actions are independent of the city council and affect regulations and pricing of services for those who work and live in Anaheim. Other than those two and certainly in the case of pure advisory boards, it’s a ridiculous request and action.

                • The comment above isn’t an argument in favor of applying a 700 form to the CRC. It’s related to a discussion on the applicability (or non-applicability rather) of using a form 700 to force a private institution to report, which isn’t legal.

                  It sounds like you’re using the criteria already established by the state to assert that the minimum bar for transparency is the appropriate bar for transparency.

                  In this case, we’re not talking about a body with limited authority to make decisions or research a narrow and specific issue– we’re talking about a body with a significant number of meetings who hold substantial influence power.

                  As I stated further above, the form creates absolutely no new obligation to members of the CRC. They’re already bound by existing law (and hopefully their conscience) to report a conflict of interest. All the form, an hour’s worth of work, does is grant the public a means of verify compliance through transparency.

                  Your claim this is ridiculous ignores that other commissions, particularly ad-hoc commissions, have substantially less potential to create a conflict of interest due to their narrow scope. In the case an ad-hoc committee were to have such broad powers that a potential conflict was likely, a 700 form would absolutely be appropriate.

                  This is an hour’s worth of work. No new obligations. The request is hardly ridiculous. It’s only ridiculous if you really believe sixty minutes spent on generating good faith and trust doesn’t benefit Anaheim constituents.

      • Matthew Cunningham

        Ryan: I don’t think you’ve ever completed and filed a Form 700. if you are an inactive hermit with no assets and a single source of income,l it can be filled out quickly. For a successful businessman with multiple investments, incomes sources, it takes significantly longer. Other factors make completing them accurately even more time-consuming and complicated.

        What you and others defending this arbitrary and completely political proposal fail to do is think like the average person. The average person — whose involvement in civic affairs transparency advocates generally claim to champion — views their finances as their own private business, and the idea of having to put them out their for potentially the world to see is a disincentive to serve. And in Anaheim, there is a much greater risk that information will be used to hurt the filer based on their political views, or possibly even hurt their business.

        • I filled one out about 8 months ago. You? Took me a grand total of 25 minutes. Want a copy?

          You’ve got a pretty big fat contradiction there, Matt. So who are we thinking about here? An average person (exactly like me, who needed 25 minutes to do it right) or a successful business person?

          The public has an absolute right to understand exactly what conflicts of interest that successful business man or woman has. Thanks for pointing that out.

          Heads up for the rest of you, “personal finances” on a 700 form amounts to disclosing if you have more or less than $100k tied up in something. We’re not talking about tax returns, we’re talking about gross measurements of information that really isn’t that personal. Mr. Cunningham would like you to believe that this is a big deal.

          It’s not. It’s a few minutes worth of work, unless you actually have the potential to have real conflicts of interest. In that case, we have a right to know and to ensure you’re not slanting the scales at our detriment for your benefit.

  8. City Hall Insider

    Tom Tait is such a vengeful person to do this to Anaheim residents who want to volunteer their time because he’s lashing out the person who worked so hard to get him elected – God knows the OCEA, OCCORD, ACLU and Los Amigos didn’t lift a finger to help him. It’s interesting how he rarely mentions kindness in his speeches anymore – the hypocrisy must even be too much for him to stomach!

  9. Read about my criminal record here.

  10. Read about my criminal record here.

  11. Why is everybody so worked up over this? Tait is a weak and silly mayor squirming for relevance when he has none. Hell, his Einstein moment last night had to be when he wasted everybody’s time and then ridiculously stated that he, “didn’t realize the Pringle Wimbledon Courts were in the budget and then didn’t realize they weren’t.” In other words, he NEVER studied the budget before, during or after. Really Mr. Mayor? You embarrass and bring shame to yourself every time you open your mouth. Please go cut another ribbon from your predecessor’s hard work. Leave the hard thinking to the others.

  12. Is it just me or is it painful to hear Mayor Tait speak…he can’t complete a sentence for the life of him…he’s always inserting “uhh” and “umms” throughout his speech….he just looks confused out there…embarrassing that he’s representing Anaheim when he goes to mayors’ conventions and stuff…geez

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