UPDATE: Campaign Poll Indicates Tait is Assembling Council Candidate Slate for 2014?

Anaheim City School District Trustee James Vanderbilt

Anaheim City School District Trustee James Vanderbilt

UPDATED at the end of the post with additional information from another source.

One of the questions about this November’s election is who Mayor Tom Tait will recruit to run for city council in an attempt to build a majority and end what will be three years of isolation from his council colleagues. A telephone survey of Anaheim voters conducted this morning gives some indication of who those candidates might be.

I was briefed on the questions asked by a source who was surveyed this morning, and judging by the nature of the questions it seems very likely it was commissioned either by Tait’s mayoral campaign or by a person or organization interested in supporting his re-election.

The survey ran through a predictable array of issues, followed by asking respondents if Tait’s stance on the issue made them more or less likely to vote for him. For example, respondents were told Tait was the only vote against the GardenWalk deal or the Angels negotiation framework, and then asked if that made the respondent more or less likely to support Tait. Other issues used in this way were Tait’s support for requiring a city-wide vote on using TOT-rebate programs to encourage luxury hotel development or for single-member council districts.

The survey also tested messages against Lucille Kring and Lorri Galloway; for example, saying Kring reneged on a promise to oppose the GardenWalk deal and then asking if that made the responded more or less likely to support her.

The survey also probed voter attitudes on the Angels negotiations; for example, asking respondents (according to my source) if they were supportive of the framework if it were the only way to keep the Angels in Anaheim.

The survey also tested Tait’s potential vulnerabilities: respondents were informed about his firm’s contracts with the City of Garden Grove on its heavily-subsidized water park project and whether that made them more or less likely to support Tait’s re-election.

Also tested were voter attitudes toward several past, actual and potentially future council candidates: incumbents Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, Brian Chuchua, Rudy Gaona, Linda Linder, John Leos, Jose Moreno, Paul Kott, James Vanderbilt and Roger Trapp.

Sometimes respondents were asked for a yes or no on a candidate while being given nothing but their name: John Leos, Paul Kott, Brian Chuchua, Rudy Gaona and Linda Linder fell into this category.

Jose Moreno was described as a member of MEChA, a radical movement seeking to push Latinos into “Chicanismo.” Tait and Moreno are close, and this was probably inserted to see if Moreno’s radicalism makes him a non-starter as a council candidate.

According to the person I spoke with, the poll focused more attention on two candidates than on any others: Anaheim City School District Trustee James Vanderbilt and someone named Roger Trapp. Before being told their names, respondents were read descriptions of two unnamed candidates: one a local school board member and Iraqi War veteran (Vanderbilt), the other a business VP and life-long Anaheim resident (Trapp). Among things, respondents asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for Vanderbilt and Trapp for council if they were endorsed by Mayor Tait – a question not asked of any other candidates. It stands to reason the sponsor of the poll has more interest in determining the viability of these candidates more than the others.

Both Vanderbilt and Trapp are Republicans. Vanderbilt is a former member of the Anaheim Planning Commission and was first elected to the ACSD Board of Trustees in 2004 (when he ran as James Vanderbilt-Linares). His endorsement history is pretty establishment: John Koos for council in 2002 (Koos’s public affairs firm has been engaged by the Tait campaign); Jordan Brandman for AUHSD Board in 2010; Tom Daly for Assembly in 2012.

As for Trapp (I’m assuming my source heard the name correctly – the person conducting the poll mangled the names of a few individuals, according to my source): I don’t know anything yet, but will update the post when that changes.

Assuming this poll was sponsored by the Tait campaign (and I think that’s a pretty safe bet), it indicates Tait is focusing on the November council election much earlier than in 2012 – when he reneged on one given endorsement (Steve Lodge) and on a promised one (Jordan Brandman) a few months before the election and endorsed two candidates who were already in the race (John Leos and Lucille Kring). Judging from this poll, it sounds more like the mayor is engaged in recruiting candidates rather than picking from what’s available.

UPDATE: Another source who was polled expressed little doubt it was sponsored by the Tait for Mayor campaign, saying the wording was biased and seemed to designed to suggest the “correct” answer. The GardenWalk agreement was characterized as a “tax give-away” and the Angels negotiations described in “billionaire vs. residents” terms.

Again, that sounds like message testing to see if such messaging resonates with the voters, and gives an indication of what Mayor Tait’s re-election themes will be.


  1. Well done Matt. Clearly Tait is gearing up to attack TWO incumbent Republicans with other Republicans. How is this OK in the Republican world? Someone should ask Scott Baugh, the central committee and the Lincoln Club. What a disgrace and liar Tait is!

    • It is always best to replace bad apples with a better Republican! Face it that’s politics!

      • Matthew Cunningham

        Is this the same Allen Wilson who recently told me that Republicans should stick together not divide the house itself for personal agendas and deplored Republicans attacking each other?

        Nice double standard, Allen.

  2. Kudos for monitoring that comment Matt.

  3. The difference, Stand for Anaheim, is that Kring was challenging an incumbent Mayor, and Republican in GOOD STANDING with the GOP. The discussion that night (and I have it all on video if you want to see the train wreck of the Central Committee meeting) was all about calling Murray and Kring on the carpet for very non-Republican viewpoints, including a violation of the GOP platform which specifically calls out crony capitalism, and the CC challenged Lucille and Kris on the Gardenwalk deal and now the stadium. Also they called Lucille out on reneging on her promise to let voters decide future TOT subsidies, and then backing off once she got elected (and collected big bucks from people who had opposed her rather viciously mere months earlier) and she did not even have the class to own it, she defended herself by saying, “well I didn’t put it on any of my campaign literature” which lit Baugh up like a Roman candle. Also Kris wanted to get into the evils of District elections and Tait as the tool of the ACLU, to which Baugh reminded all that he personally backed an attempt for districts in HB, believing that the harbor and downtown were getting all the love from City Hall and the city needed to be divided for more manageable representation. Baugh shared the same view many of us have come to believe, (including Lincoln Club leaders) that breaking a large, unmanageable government into smaller, more reactive pieces is precisely in line with GOP principles.

    Oh, and for all their blustering against Tait when bravely perched at the dais surrounded by their majority votes and enabled by the City Attorney dancing to their tune, it was shocking to see how quickly Murray became Tait’s new best friend when faced with a roomful of Republicans who clearly don’t share her disdain for the Mayor, people who clearly LIKE Tom Tait, wish to have his back against challengers who would make life difficult for him while he takes a stand for truly conservative principles, and frankly have very little use for Pringle’s Princess. Suddenly Kris Murray was all about agreeing with Tom Tait, claiming it is the exception rather than the rule when they disagree, she nearly sang KumBaYa up there, in her insistence that she and her friends are not in fact voting the Mayor out of his staff and parliamentary powers. Now this was really, really interesting to me, because if you truly believe that Mayor Tom Tait is such an evil guy who needs to be stopped by any means necessary before he ruins your community, then would you not throw out every example imaginable of the misguided, misinformed, and divisive behavior of that mayor, in order to educate the GOP primed to endorse him? Is the Central Committee not the perfect place to find compatriots of like mind who might offer you sympathy, a warm shoulder, and perhaps a promise to put that nasty anti-business baseball hating Tom Tait in his place? If you really believed that the guy is so bad for the City that you make nasty remarks at every opportunity during Council meetings, WHY would you then get up before the very people who might help you reign him in, and instead do a big, fat, backpedal into “we are the world”…..Just wondering.

    So the difference here….well Kring is challenging a Republican incumbent IN GOOD STANDING, and it looks like maybe Tait has found some Republicans in good standing to challenge a couple of incumbent “Republicans of convenience” who use the GOP platform as a door stop to hold the back gate open on the way to lunch with the lobbyist whose views are much more closely followed than the principles of the party they think they get a free ride off of.

    Republican in good standing. That is the phrase y’all are missing out on.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      When did you become the arbiter of what is and isn’t in-line with the GOP platform or rules, Cynthia? The GOP platform is also against same-sex marriage – a position you have ridiculed. You’re more of a Cafeteria Conservative, and your taste preferences change frequently.

      But there’s nothing like making up the rules as you go along, is there, Cynthia?

    • Were you a mean girl in high school, Cynthia? You sure act like one now.

      • Old House- Cynthia was the one that no one paid attention to and now she bullies people behind the keyboard and feel empowered. She is a nothing in Anaheim. Watch out because Cynthia turns on EVERYONE at some point. Watch your back because this unfaithful, disloyal lady will be out to get you!

    • Cynthia- How much is Tait paying you to spew that crap!?!? Seriously!?!? You are so pathetic.

  4. Mr. Vanderbilt may be eager to jump ship since the unsavy and unprofessional superintendent continues her destruction in ACSD. For a superintendent that hasn’t kept promises, she looks to be keeping this one….to get rid of principals! The principals at Guinn, Madison, Palm Lane, Roosevelt, Sunkist, and Westmont are all on her list to go!

    • Cynthia -what you and Tait can’t seem to grasp is that Kris Murray won’t play your attack dog games in public. She disagrees with him on some not all policy and moves on. I applaud that she doesn’t get up in public and make personal attacks. It’s that kind of behavior that is hurting our city. Tait on the other hand goes to local meetings and from what I hear got up in front of the GOP and called the council members crony capitalists and other names that imply they are corrupt. How is that helpful to governing our city? How is that kind? Especially when Tom voted for most of the programs he’s criticizing them for when he was last on council. I remember the original GardenWalk vote that included splitting sales tax for the parking structure. I thought it was too far but I didn’t hear anyone call Tom names over it. Now we know his company works on these same deals down the street and he’s making accusations against council members who are doing a lot of good for my neighborhood whether you agree with GardenWalk and Angels negotiations or not. You in particular Cynthia used to rail against Curt Pringle for rolling back code enforcement but you can’t see through your hatred to admit it was Murray who lead the effort to get a serious program in place to hold slum lords accountable. Murray has done more for neighborhoods than any council member from the Hills since Fred Hunter, including Tait. I’ve always liked Tom but his attacks on council, coupled with the thugs he surrounds himself with have made me reconsider my opinion of him.

    • No- Jose Moreno is destroying that district!

    • A Great Place To Work

      Superintendent is Jose Moreno PUPPET. She barks to all administrators that she going to make everyone accountable. But, turns a blind eye to employee misconduct and harasses administrators for making employees accountable because they go to Jose Moreno. Administrators are trying to do their job and are getting harassed by her cabinet members who are pushing her agenda. Now, she want to build big amphitheaters. But, what about the school that need construction work? How about the kids at Edison that are eating lunch in the sun?? How about the Students at Sunkist, Roosevelt that have a hard time listening in the classroom? How about listening to your employees and not Jose Moreno who is pushing for his own agenda. Don’t be afraid of him, just because he is holding your evaluations over your head.. More to come… I will not stay quite anymore.

    • What the heck is wrong with Superintendent Wagner and the school board? It’s like our schools are pieces in a game for them! It isn’t about making sure my kids have a good education. If that was the case, then our school wouldn’t be in turmoil again. It’s time for someone to call the ACLU, and I know it won’t be Mr. Moreno this time!

  5. This the same guy that keeps trying to get elected.

    He even changed his name to James Vanderbilt-Linares, trying to appeal to hispanics.

    Clearly Mayor Tait is getting desperado.

  6. Will be interesting to see if Cynthia Ward files suit against James Vanderbilt for using his birth name on a previous ballot like she did with Steve Lodge. I’m betting no since this guy will be endorsed by Tom – and given their consistent streak of hypocrisy.

  7. Good, interesting article by the way.

  8. MC: When did you become the arbiter of what is and isn’t in-line with the GOP platform or rules, Cynthia? The GOP platform is also against same-sex marriage – a position you have ridiculed. You’re more of a Cafeteria Conservative, and your taste preferences change frequently.
    But there’s nothing like making up the rules as you go along, is there, Cynthia?

    Matt, the arbiter of what is and isn’t in line with the GOP platform would be the GOP Central Committee, and I was repeating what took place at their January meeting, when they took Anaheim’s leaders behind the woodshed. But since you question that discussion, I include for you below a link to the GOP platform, which is not a product of my imagination, but a product of the Republican party, and which was specifically cited by members of the Central Committee in holding Kring and Murray accountable for their voting records. I have disagreed with the party in some areas, generally related to social issues-but then I am not a candidate looking for party approval. No, I was repeating the very openly spoken views of Scott Baugh and other members of Central Committee, and they were clear about what Republican principles they were calling the ladies out for, I have no need to make it up.

    The platform is right here, Matt you might want to re-read it, since it calls out all kinds of stuff you promote here at Anaheim Blog http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/

    But I believe the section specifically referred to in challenging the majority’s policies was this;

    “Tax Relief to Grow the Economy and Create Jobs (Top)
    Taxes, by their very nature, reduce a citizen’s freedom. Their proper role in a free society should be to fund services that are essential and authorized by the Constitution, such as national security, and the care of those who cannot care for themselves. We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs, or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.”

    I do have that Central Committee exchange on video if anyone wants to watch it, and the written transcript is offered here below for your reading enjoyment.

    And of course last month’s GOP dressing down was followed up by recognition of Tait as Local Elected Leader of the Year….but I guess that is just me inventing fictional support for Tait that does not exist, right?

    As far as calling me “mean”…really, I am sorry but the people whose views I respect have the courage to put their names on their statements, as do I, (although wordpress keeps switching me out to thinkoc account here) so I hope you understand why I am not terribly concerned with an anonymous screen persona who thinks I am “mean” for calling out elected leaders for squandering precious public resources in ways contrary to the principles offered voters when they ran for office. I will leave you with this thought though, just to make myself clear. If a contractor is hired to rehab my house and instead tears it apart before taking off with my money, am I to be concerned with whether I am kind to him when reporting him to the contractors’ board? How about the thug in the park mugging a little old lady, do I concern myself with whether I might hurt him while trying to pull him off grandma? Because that is the category I openly place these people in. They have spent public money under false pretenses, they have buried information and covered for staff when we presented clear evidence that information was being misrepresented or buried, and when the public has objected to that wasteful spending we have been dismissed and mocked. I have no obligation to be “kind” to people I believe are destroying my community, and knowing that some here at this website got cut in on the payday makes it all the more offensive to many of us.

    Here, read the exchange at GOP Central Committee for yourself and tell me what part of that I made up…oh, and have a nice day.

    (27:30) (Baugh steps up to mike)
    Scott Baugh: “OK, Thank you, then, are you any more illuminated on this issue? You maybe want to go for some private conversations. One final question I have is related to the TOT, you know, the $158 Million, You read about that one? OK. Tom Tait was over there fighting against that, I think he voted against it, the issue that concerns me, Lucille, because you are challenging Tom Tait, he’s an incumbent in good favor with this Party, you campaigned on allowing the voters to decide on the TOT, (inaudible) OK, I will..but you can answer it, too…so you campaigned on allowing the voters to vote on any TOT, because the first one was invalidated because of the Brown Act violations, right?…and then it came back to the Council…in the interim, you got elected, then you voted, without going to the voters- why did you do that?”

    (28:44) (Kring takes mike) “On the face of it, and actually a person who was here earlier, she agreed with me….When you have something as large as the City of Anaheim, and you are looking for people and businesses to come in and develop, you are trying to reduce regulations, and reduce the amount of money it costs, to go from here, to final approval, you want to be as helpful as you can. If anything that comes to the City, had to be voted on, if somebody wants to build a hotel, and you want to give them a rebate, which we’ve done in the past, as that article will testify, you… if every time you do that, you have to go to a vote of the people, are you going to do a special election? Who’s going to pay for the special election, the taxpayer, or the developer? Or, are you going to wait until the next election comes, either June, November, or whatever, but it’s going to be every 2 years…You will absolutely stop development in its tracks.. and we’ve had history of development, particularly hotels, going to Garden Grove, because Garden Grove, to this day, still does, free land, TOT rebate, and Sales Tax rebate. Anaheim has never done that, we did it once in the early 2000’s, and we gave 50 percent of TOT for new development, and one hotelier took advantage of that.(30:10) But, Anaheim does not give everything away that Garden Grove does. and I just think, if you had a ballot, you had to vote, on every single issue, that came to you, you would stop progress.(30:24)”

    (30.26) (Deb Pauly off camera) “Oh, my God!”

    (30:27) (unidentified) We have a question-

    (30.26) (Pauly off camera) “Oh, my God! Just, you know, just because someone else is affecting bad policy, doesn’t make bad policy OK in your city.”
    (audience applause)

    (30:38) (Kring) “I never said it did.”

    (30:40) (Pauly) “You did – you think just because Garden Grove, is giving away more than you’re giving away, makes the fact that you’re giving away taxpayer dollars, OK. My question is this- I got a couple of them. I’m going to read from the Republican Party’s platform, under the Economic plank of that platform, one specific sentence,” the Government should work to insure that markets are free, and that there is genuine competition”, that is what the Republican Party believes. Now, from what I see here, from what I understand, and maybe you can correct me if I’m wrong, I do think it’s wonderful that we have women in elected office, so I applaud you for that, you’re a woman…

    (31:25) So, $158 Million for one hotelier, how does that facilitate fair competition? and, it appears to me, that Jordan Brandman, who’s a Democrat, he voted yeah, yeah, let’s give this away, he’s voting in lockstep with you, Eastman…Murray… Mayor Tom Tait is the one who’s voting in accordance with Republican principles. Now, you stated when you were up there, that the development agreement, changed dramatically. Please, just tell me, number one… how does this facilitate fair competition, and number two, how did it change dramatically enough, that one person gets the benefit, and not everyone else? If you wanted to give everybody else the rebate, I’d say, “Go For It” You know, I say do that, but not just one hotelier.”

    ( 32:16) (Kring ) “Well that’s (?can’t understand?) ,and it’s coming back to Council, and we said, if any body, any hotelier, any developer, wants to go to a 4-star, we will give you a similar thing, if you need it. Remember, the economy is getting a little stronger, the economy has been pretty bad, the last couple of years, and, you’re right, the Garden Walk _________ should never have been listed until it’s been built. I absolutely agree with that, but because so many businesses left, because of the economy….the agreement that was initially done, then was overruled by the Court. That was an 80% TOT, and I told the developer, that there’s no way that I could support that, because I did think, that 80% to a developer, was inappropriate. So they worked with us, they said, we’ll get 70% of the TOT, remember, if these hotels are never built if nobody stays there, and if they don’t build in a 4-star, they’re not going to get penny one.,and they also,… the City gets 10%, and 20% goes on to pay for the Resort bonds, which have been in effect since the mid-90’s, when the City redeveloped the whole Resort area, which was $500 Million in bonded indebtedness, and they also promised Anaheim workers would get the jobs first, and the Construction people about ___? percent unemployment…..”

    (33:53) (Baugh) “On the point, can I ask you answer the original question, before you answer…ask the next one… Did you campaign, on the promise to submit these TOT’s to the voters?”

    (34:06) (Kring) “I….never put…It was never in my literature..”

    (34:10) (Baugh) “WaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWait..whether you put it in writing or not, did you campaign on it, yes or no?”

    (34:15) (Kring) “I..I told a few people, I would do it, that was not, a big issue, the big issue for me was public safety.”

    (34:23) (Baugh) “So you told a few people, you would put it on the ballot?…and you committed that, to Tom Tait, as well, right?”

    (34:28) (Kring) “Right.”

    (34:30) (Baugh) “And then, you…didn’t…you just voted on it.”

    (34:32) (Kring) “Well, the fact of the matter is, you needed 3 votes, and I knew when nobody seconded it, there was not a third vote.”

    (34:38) (Baugh) “Okay, so you did, vote it out, OK.”

    (34:41) (Baugh, pointing) “Them, and then, Allan.”

    (34:45) (Pauly, off camera) “I’m paraphrasing you, you’re saying,’ if they need it’, so you’re saying that the developer comes in, and they need, $158 Million of taxpayer money, that you think you should give it to them, you, think they should, I can tell you, from listening to people in Anaheim, they disagree with you on that. The thing that concerns me the most about this, because, is that it appears, if that is the point, where a huge rift was created, amongst the Republican majority, that should be governing by Republican principles,..”

    36:25) (Allan Bartlett) “Lucille, I have a quick process question. I disagree, first of all, with your crony capitalism, but beyond that, you’re running as a Republican, against an incumbent Republican, who’s in, in my opinion, and I think a lot of other people on this committee, very good standing. And there’s one Democrat running, so are you planning on splitting the vote, and electing Lorri Galloway right now?”

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