San Diego Offers Some Insights into Anaheim’s Possible Future

Anaheim is the largest city in California with a Republican city council, and the drive for single-member council districts is about undoing that reality (the good-government protestations of some districts advocates notwithstanding) and shoving political center of gravity of City Hall to the Left. Democratic interest groups understand that, which is why they have lined up in favor of single-member districts; county Republicans are divided, distracted or oblivious.

This article by Chris Reed about the Los Angelization of what used to be a GOP-run city — San Diego — also serves to give us an idea of the kind of policies we might expect should single-member districts be adopted and more liberals are elected to the Anaheim City Council:

The city’s school board was taken over by the local affiliate of the California Teachers Association in 2008, when union muscle elected a new board majority that instituted policies that drove away an acclaimed reformer superintendent and yielded an operating budget in which an astonishing 92 percent of funds goes to employee compensation. The CTA control of the school board only increased with the 2010 and 2012 elections.


Now the same thing is happening with the City Council. Union-favored Democratic candidates — such as Alvarez — are increasingly likely to beat Democrats with independent streaks. As recently as 2011, there were Democrats on the council who occasionally would take on unions — politicians with backgrounds in engineering and small business, as well as party members who appeared eager to hear out business interests’ concerns.

But now the union muscle-flexing not only has Alvarez near an improbable mayoral victory, it has prompted hard-left decisions by the City Council in the months since Filner quit — decisions supported by formerly semi-independent Democrats who see the writing on the wall.

Last fall, on a party-line 5-4 vote, City Council Democrats approved increasing fees on commercial development by at least 377 percent to provide more funds for affordable-housing programs — even though the programs have a horrible record of actually getting people in homes.

And on another party-line 5-4 vote, council Democrats approved a restrictive new master plan for a job-rich shipyard industrial area adjacent to the Barrio Logan neighborhood in Alvarez’s district. They did so despite dire warnings from many CEOs and business owners that it would give leverage to environmentalists and community activists to shut them down.

You can read the whole article here.

The drive for council districts is being led by unions and union-affiliated non-profits, and supported by the Democratic Party. “Retention” ordinances, inclusionary housing mandates, minimum wage hikes and prevailing wage requirements, ordinances to “encourage” businesses to unionize and other such anti-business policies will more likely become reality.  This isn’t conjecture; these are policies that elements of the single-member districts coalition have been demanding. Pretending Anaheim can have single-member districts without greatly increasing the likelihood of such stifling policies is to live in a fool’s paradise.

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  1. “Pretending Anaheim can have single-member districts without greatly increasing the likelihood of such stifling policies is to live in a fool’s paradise.”

    Whoa whoa whoa.

    That has merit, but let’s not ignore the corollary. Pretending Anaheim can oppose single-member districts without greatly increasing the likelihood of obliterating the long term interests, values, and influence of Republican party is to live in a fool’s paradise.

    The blue-ing of San Diego has more to do with the GOP’s inability to engage and influence a demographic shift than does gerrymandering. The same old political rules apply there: Do something stupid, get kicked out of office.

    That’s why San Diego just put a Republican, a moderate Republican, in the Mayor’s seat. A Democrat did something really really stupid.

    Make no mistake– opposing districts as a Republican is an incomplete story. Without redefining the party’s outreach campaign to be more inclusive of shifting priorities, opposing districts will be a rather stupid terminal decision for the GOP by 2020.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Ryan, such outreach by the GOP is necessary, independent of the issue of single-member districts. But it’s a mistake to think that opposing single-member districts undermines the GOP among Hispanic voters and assumes that the same dozen or so people that OCCORD and UNITE-HERE muster to speak at council meetings somehow speak for all Hispanic voters, or that districts are a even a priority for Latino voters.

      • “But it’s a mistake to think that opposing single-member districts undermines the GOP among Hispanic voters . . .”

        Well, that depends on the content of the opposition.

        I’d suggest that (at least given what I’ve seen) this position lends itself to putting one’s foot in one’s mouth.

        BUT, with that– I concede your points.

  2. Holy crow batman! What a wonderful surprise to read this story followed quickly by intelligent discourse. Thank to both Matt and Ryan for showing us you can disagree but debate without hostility or zero sum game character bashing.

    Matt is correct in his description that Anaheim will go the way of other cities torn asunder by the far left prostelizing of the districting panacea. And Ryan is correct that it’s conservatives own fault for not embracing the new demographic realities of California and adjusting.

    Thank you both for the chance to read and discuss minus the animosity!

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