Anaheim Insider here.
Who has seen today’s online article in the OC Register, featuring the mayor and the city council giving their opinions on council districts and the ACLU lawsuit? Here’s what Mayor Tait had to say:
“The people of Anaheim should be given the choice on how they are to be governed – either an at-large system or by districts. The majority of the council has refused to put the choice of district elections before the voters. Sadly, their refusal to do so may cost the city potentially millions of dollars in needless litigation costs. The bottom line is that a district-based system brings the government closer to the people.”
First, it takes nerve for Mayor Tait to say Anaheim voters should be “given a choice on how they are to be governed — either an at-large system or by districts” when the only choice he has voted to put before the voters is single-member council districts. The Citizens Advisory Committee recommended putting both choices on the ballot. When the mayor asked staff to bring back resolutions based on the CAC report, he deliberately omitted asking for one incorporating the CAC recommendation for asking the voters if they want to keep at-large voting.
Mayor Tait even voted against asking the voter if they want to increase the council to six members. For all his talk about “letting the people choose,” the only choices he has supported giving them are ones he favors.
Also, if the city does lose the lawsuit and incur millions in legal fees, it will partly be the fault of the mayor. He undercuts the city’s legal case by publicly stating he the city is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, while the City Attorney and the rest of the city’s legal team are trying to convince Judge Miller of the opposite. At every turn, he echoes the arguments of the plaintiffs suing his city.
Finally, how do single-member council districts bring “government closer to the people” when the mayor’s plan would restrict those same people to having a voice and vote on just one out of six councilmembers? Mayor Tait’s plan actually takes most of city government (the elected part) farther away from the people they govern.