The Usual Goon Squad Shows Up for Anaheim Council Special Session

angry-mob-playsetTuned in a few minutes ago to the Anaheim City Council’s special meeting on amending council policy regarding how councilmembers agendize items.

I just missed the public comments, but judging from the jeering and hooting from the peanut gallery, it’s pretty clear the usual suspects showed up to spew their hysteria and hyperbole.

What is striking is these some people go completely ape if they perceive someone has been rude to Mayor Tom Tait, but feel completely free to act like goons toward anyone who disagrees with them. Their hypocrisy is astonishing. Last week, one of these usual suspects equated being rude to the mayor with attacking democracy itself (and then within minutes, was jeering other councilmembers from the audience).

One has to wonder how these folks will start behaving once the Year of Kindness is over.

UPDATE: The city council ultimately approved a substitute put forward by Councilwoman Lucille Kring.

Councilman Jordan Brandman’s original proposal was to amend council policy as follows (proposed changes in red):

“It is the policy of the City Council that any member of the City Council may, during the City Council Communications portion of a City Council meeting, request that an item be placed on a future City Council regular meeting agenda. So long as there is assent or concurrence by at least one additional member of the City Council, the item will be agendized.”

Councilwoman Kring suggested they instead require that when the mayor and/or councilmembers want to place an item on a future council agenda, they simple make the request during council communications.

It’s my understanding that under this revision, the mayor will no longer be able to unilaterally place items on the agenda at any time.

There was much sturm and drang during the special council meeting, including claims this will cripple the mayor’s office. Barring future revision of council policy, it is true the mayor will not be able to place items on the agenda at anytime. For example, I believe last week’s discussion item on the Angels negotiation was agendized by Mayor Tait the day before the agenda was posted,.

However, I think it is a real exaggeration for anyone to say this change will cripple city government.  Based on my observations of city government in Anaheim, what is far more damaging and destabilizing is trying to bend City Hall to every outburst and demand from a small but vocal faction of headache collectors and left-wingers who holds themselves out as embodying the Will of the People of Anaheim.

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  1. Don’t these folks have jobs? Donna Acevedo….really!!? I thought she was busy yelling at APD.

  2. If they think they can do a better job running the city, they should run for council…..

  3. Teaching their children the concept of mob rule!

  4. Without question, Anaheim HOME hit a new low (and that’s truly saying something for those who watch Council meetings regularly.) He was an embarrassment to the entire Anaheim community. Unbelievable.

  5. If Mayor Tait is looking for someone to blame for what happened this morning, he should find the nearest mirror. He has proven himself so inept as a mayor and leader that he has managed to unite his entire council, including a colleague who wants to be mayor herself, to circumscribe the mayor’s powers.

    I wonder if the mayor engages in any self-reflection? Or does he blame it all on “greedy special interests” like his leftists allies do? Does he ever ask himself if he bears any responsibility for the dysfunction in City Hall?

    Tait whines about having a special council meeting at 8:00 AM on a Monday, complaining the “public” can’t attend to voice their opinion. Who does he think is going to show up? Tait had no problem calling a last minute special meeting last year on GardenWalk on a day when he knew three of his colleagues couldn’t be there to hear the from the “public,” which was totally hypocritical when he said the reason was for the council to hear more from the public on the issue.

    There are plenty of local elected officials who are able to disagree with their colleagues about serious issues while preserving the ability to work with those colleagues on other issues. Why can’t Tom Tait? Why does he choose to work with radicals and crazies to tear the city apart rather than work with council colleagues who agree with him on most things?

    • The GardenWalk vote didn’t take place at 8 am!

      • So what? This wasn’t remotely comparable to GardenWalk.

        My point was Tait called that infamous GardenWalk special meeting of even when he know three of his colleagues could my attend. He could have scheduled it for a day when all five could attend, but he didn’t. He chose to embarass them instead. He’s been alienating them ever since. He could accomplish so much more if he’d act like a grown up leader.

  6. I thought that this whole thing was an over-reach by the council super-majority, and seems to have been designed to further embarrass Tom Tait, a good man.

    The idea that the Mayor, elected citywide, should not be able to add items to the council agenda, while the City Manager (who no doubt tilts to the wishes of the aforementioned super-majority) may do so is just wrong.

    If you were going to change the policy, it should have been in the opposite direction — to allow any individual Council Members to add items to the agenda as long as they notify the City Staff in time for those items to be included in the agenda that goes out to the public.

    I actually took the time to travel down to Anaheim City Hall to express my concerns directly to the council, for what it is worth. (I was not one of the off-camera voices you heard, though I understand the frustration that many of those folks felt).

    When this sort of thing happens, then it causes this watchdog of government to ask the obvious question — what is being hidden from voters, residents and taxpayers?

    There are a lot of controversial things going on in Anaheim, about which I have not written. But I will now take a closer look. And this action leaves me very distrustful of the methods and motives of the Council majority (some members of which are people I would consider friends).

    • I really really hope you do take a closer look into what is happening in Anaheim. While Tait was once regarded as a “good conservative,” he has largely come unhinged and the remaining council members are left trying to keep the city moving in the right direction. Hard truths are not easy but I am excited that more people (especially you) are starting to pay attention and hopefully understanding the unbelievable potential and challenges in Anaheim’s future. I look forward to what you will find.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Jon: Different city councils in different cities have different rules about how to place items on the agenda. Some are more restrictive, some less so. They are legislative bodies and free to set their own rules.

      Prior to yesterday’s meeting, every member of the Anaheim city council was free to request the placement of items on upcoming agendas during council communications.

      After yesterday’s meeting, they were still free to do so. The only change is the mayor can no longer, unilaterally, at any time, place an item on the agenda (subject only to staff’s ability to print the agenda in time to comply with Brown Act noticing requirements).

      Reasonable people can disagree on that action. What is unreasonable are the claims that Anaheim city government will not be able to function if the mayor does not have this power. “Unreasonable” is an understatement — such claims are just absurd. Does anyone honestly think City Hall will grind to a halt, collapse or seize up if the position of mayor cannot agendize items in between council meetings – a power Mayor Tait himself said he has only used a few times?

      Has everyone forgotten that Anaheim has a city manager? Is no one aware that prerogative has only been an official one for less than 18 months – and was previously an informal power? Did any reporter or media outlet bother to ask Anaheim last two mayor’s how often they agendized items in between council meetings?

      Jon, I also think it was very unfair to characterize the proposed change as a lack of courage. Believe me, one thing that is NOT lacking from Anaheim city council meetings is the free expression of ideas and their vigorous debate. if there is any silencing of expression going on, it is by the goon squad you saw yesterday, who jeer and boo anyone who expresses an opinion contrary to their groupthink – and I need not comment on whose side they are on.

      If one takes the time to watch the long , sharp-toothed parade of speakers yesterday, what really comes through is not so much the defense of Tom Tait’s power to agendize items but a collective and admirable devotion devotion to Tom that is beginning to look more like a cult of personality. I listen to their rhetoric and hear that devotion evolving into the belief that the mayor’s office rules the city and it is the duty of the council to bend to the mayor’s will. None of them seem to take a moment to reflect on how things have come to this. Rather than tracing events back to confront how and when things began to fracture and unravel, they instead they blame “greed’ and “special interests” and Curt Pringle and anything else that seems a convenient scapegoat. Consequently, any policy difference with Tom Tait is turned into an attack on him.

      I didn’t intend to write such a long comment when I started, Jon. And at the end of the day, I think those folks who vented their spleens at the council majority yesterday were making a mountain out of a molehill, and reducing important issues down to personality conflicts.

  7. Anaheim Conservative

    Mr. Fleischman – I’m perplexed why you would engage on an issue as mundane as agenda setting and totally ignore imporant GOP issues that have gone unchecked as Mr. Tait has aligned himself with Jose Moreno and the ACLU. These are people who not only want to divide and conquer a Republican council majority, impose worker retention, gate taxes and living wage ordinances, stop further contracting out, and limit pension reform (which Tait also opposed after voting for 3 at 50 as a member of the council) – but are suing to divide the city into LA style districts. And you ride in today as some sort of conservative calvary to protect special agenda powers for this mayor? I once had respect for you and your conservative blog but lost it watching the council meeting today when you compared amending agenda policies to the demise of democracy in Anaheim. No wonder the the state and county GOP are losing the war. BTW, did you even give one of the Replican council members who you consider “friends” a heads up that you were attending and planned to disparage them in public in a room full of progressive liberal attack dogs?

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