Jose Moreno’s Intellectual Dishonesty on Ethnicity and Representation

A belief that genuine representation in government is a function of ethnicity and race underlies the campaign to divide Anaheim into single-member council districts. This is obvious to anyone who has observed this issue unfold over the last year.

It is equally obvious that those leading this campaign are aware that the great majority of voters don’t like race-based policy-making and are offended by the idea of their government seeing them as white, black, Latino or Asian or whatever (not to mention these racial and ethnic classifications are increasingly meaningless in a state like California with its high rates of ethnic and racial intermarriage). That’s why you see and hear them slipping back and forth between saying the demand for single-member districts is about electing more Latinos and saying that Latinos doesn’t need to be represented by Latinos in order to be represented. This continuous shifting is politically savvy and intellectually dishonest.

Here’s an example from the June 11, 2013 Anaheim City Council meeting. Dr. Jose F. Moreno is the highly race-conscious lead plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit seeking to force single-member districts on Anaheim residents who have never asked for it. Watch as Moreno, in the space of mere seconds, takes intellectually contradictory positions on race and representation:

First of all, the complaint about the dearth of Latino’s elected in “150 years” is a dishonest debate point given that the great growth of Anaheim’s Latino population is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Still, it is the basis of Moreno’s claim that his vote – and by extension, that of Anaheim’s Latino voters — is “diluted.”  By that reasoning, the greater the number of Latino councilmembers in Anaheim, the less the Latino vote is diluted and the greater their representation. Moreno makes the ethnicity of councilmembers to standard by which we are supposed to judged whether or not Latinos are represented on the Anaheim city Council.

In the next breath, Moreno says just the opposite: that representation for Latino voters isn’t “simply about electing other Latinos.”


If that’s true, then Moreno’s arguments about the number of Latinos elected to the Anaheim city council is irrelevant.

I don’t know if this is textbook cognitive dissonance or a sophisticated attempt to accommodate the fact that most voters are repelled by setting government policy according to racial considerations.  Look at it this way: anytime California voters have been given the opportunity make their state government more color-blind, they have taken it.

It reminds me of a Facebook conversation I had a year ago with Moreno and OCCORD’s Eric Altman after the filing of the ACLU lawsuit. Moreno kept insisting the lawsuit was not about re-structuring the council election system according to ethnic considerations — despite the fact that the lawsuit of which he is the lead plaintiff states, in black-and-white, that its goal is to elect more Latinos. [let me point out my objection is to configuring government representation in order to achieve desired racial/ethnic outcomes.]

At one point, I pointed out to Moreno and Altman that my children are half-white and half-Mexican and asked if one of them were elected to the Anaheim City Council, would she be a Latina councilmember or a white councilmember? Despite, my repeated attempts, neither one of them would answer the question. Given Moreno’s demonstrated exactitude regarding the various aspects of ethnicity, I found his reticence odd.

My point was to illustrate the ultimate silliness of their philosophy of race and representation, akin to California Voting Rights Act author Robert Rubin’s creepy quibbling about whether or not Lorri Galloway is a Latina.  How much Latino blood is necessary to qualify as such? 50%? 25% This may seem silly, but that is the road down which the philosophy of the CVRA and the ACLU lawsuit inevitably lead us. The differences with Native American blood quantum laws or the old Jim Crow “one drop” rule are of degree, not of kind.

The great majority of fair-minded Americans, believing that all men are created equal, abhor that kind of political racialism. It’s my belief that the leading advocates of single-member council districts in Anaheim are aware of that and couch their public rhetoric accordingly.


  1. Sick of politics

    His assumptions assert that Latino council members wouldn’t represent non Latino residents. It also assumes that any race is a homogenous group and thus all prescribe to the same philosophies. Isn’t assuming all of one race think a certain way inherently racist?

  2. Anaheim Avenger

    I rarely agree with the man but, Gustavo Arrelano over at OC Weekly gets bonus points for the most succinct characterization of the ACLU’s lawsuit and the driving force behind it…Jose Moreno:

    “…we continue to maintain that the lawsuit is just a charade to get a certain type of Latino–progressive, union-friendly, Disney-hating, and answering to Los Amigos–on the council, as opposed to truly caring about minority representation leading Anaheim.”

    The saddest part of the above statement is that the Mayor is probably truly concerned about honest representation but is acting like a willing stooge for the likes of Moreno. The rest of the Council sees it for what it is and is right to fight this action tooth and nail.

    • Gustavo Arellano

      We are the only truth-tellers in this whole sordid mess. Matt can’t say anything that deviates from the Pringle line of no council elections (which we support) at all costs. The Los Amigos crowd, on the other hand, will twist history to suit their own needs and obfuscate at all times. Thanks for nothing, everyone.

  3. Sick of Politics

    We agree avenger

  4. Dr. Jose Moreno, the illustrious hypocrite, remembers race only when convenient to him. Did the board member listen to the Latino parents from Juarez School? Did he support the appointment of Dr. Roberto Baeza to the high school board? Does he support Latinos of all origins? There have been numerous opportunities for the 2012 Member of OC’s Scariest People list to support his peeps. But to do that would have meant going against his own political agenda, or even vindictive agenda. Jose Moreno is a menace to our city. He tarnishes and maligns all that is good while pretending to help. Moreno is a situational racist.

    Jose, don’t they have vacancies on the Oxnard political councils and boards so you can go home?

    • Recall on Moreno

      Moreno you continue using those guayaberas! No, you are not more Mexican by doing so. You have betrayed la raza by not supporting us when the Juarez community asked you along with the other board members to allow Dr. Roberto Baeza to continue at Juarez. You never represented us. Actually you did, you represented the few dual imersion parents that wanted to run the di program and wanted to make two schools in one. Leaving out the regular students, was it only because the wife’s of a Anaheim city councilman or a Jr. high principal Did not like Dr. Baeza and wanted the VIp treatment. those few ladies are on your side Jose Moreno, however the community is NOT we want you out of ACSD. Go back to Oxnard or even better go back to Sinaloa.
      The community would have supported you, if you Jose Moreno would have helped us so Dr. Baeza would have stayed at Juarez. It would have been so different and you would have succeeded in all your projects because you would have had all of the parents from Juarez supporting you even Dr. Baeza, you guys could have done great things to help the students but that is something you don’t do. You just want to look good politically but like someone told you once we see you as our enemy, for not standing up for the community that once gave you their vote. That’s why I say RECALL on MORENO. No sirve para nada. The community knows what your about and we hope your term as a school board member soon comes to an end.

  5. My Mexican and Mexican American friends in Orange County and Los Angeles expressed the opinion that Jose Moreno is only interested in getting something for nothing and not earning his way through life like the rest of us. They also believe Jose Moreno is a Latino Supremacist and they don’t like it. I personally feel that he is an ungrateful and jealous individual.

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