UPDATED: Eric Altman Leaving OCCORD to Run Campaign For Single-Member Council Districts


Ada Briceno (L) and Eric Altman (R)

Ada Briceno (L) and Eric Altman (R)

For those still under the false impression that the push for single-member council districts (aka by-district elections) in Anaheim is not a political project of the Left, here’s some news: Eric Altman, founding executive director of left-wing advocacy group OCCORD, is leaving that post to run the campaign for the by-district initiative on the November ballot.

A message from Ada Briceno, chair of OCCORD (and second-in-command of radical UNITE-HERE Local 11, from whence OCCRD sprang) on the OCCORD website announces the news:

Dear Friends:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of OCCORD, it is both with great sadness and with great hope that I write to inform you that Eric Altman, the founding executive director, has decided to step down after nine years of successful leadership. Eric Altman will transition from his role as executive director in July 2014 to focus on the Anaheim campaign for district-based elections. We thank him for his time at the helm of OCCORD and look forward to continuing to work with him to empower low income residents and create a more inclusive Orange County.

You can the read the rest here.

Altman will presumably be paid by the “Committee for District Elections, sponsored by One Anaheim,” for whom the treasurer is the OCCORD operations manager and which seems to have the same address.

Altman was a senior organizer for UNITE-HERE when he founded OCCORD in 2005. The two groups are closely intertwined and even have offices in the same building in Garden Grove. In 2012 alone, UNITE-HERE funded OCCORD to the tune of $66,000 (OCCORD also received $2,500 from the Nurses Association of Canada).

OCCORD goal is to move Orange County leftward, politically – and single-member council districts are a vehicle for achieving that goal.  The advocacy group has advertised itself to prospective employees as “a leader in the emerging movement to reclaim Orange County, California, from the extreme laissez-faire policies” that aims to “reframe the debate about our regional economy and the role of government in our society.” Let’s just say OCCORD’s view of the “role of government in our society” bears little resemblance to that of the Founding Fathers.

OCCORD has been laser-focused on bringing single-member council districts to Anaheim. It lobbied the Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections intensively, to the point where Altman was allegedly texting talking points and instructions to CAC Chair Vivian Pham during the CAC meeting where recommendations to the city council were voted on. As Briceno’s announcement put it:

“After a two-year organizing and advocacy campaign in Anaheim, OCCORD’s grassroots leaders and coalition partners won a major victory when the City Council agreed to put the issue of district elections before Anaheim voters in the November 2014 general election.”

OCCORD itself states that “Our programs, which began in Anaheim, are designed to be replicated in cities throughout Orange County.”

Who knows – at some point, Republicans outside of Anaheim might finally wake up to what the Left is up to in Anaheim (with the regrettable collaboration of a few Republicans), and what the consequences of failing to oppose this campaign will have for Republicans and conservatives county-wide.

It’s interesting that Altman isn’t taking a leave of absence, but leaving OCCORD altogether, since the left-wing advocacy group is advertising for a new executive director and lead organizer. Perhaps that means “One Anaheim” is going to be a permanent, full-time political advocacy operation with Altman at the helm, or perhaps he has something else lined up post-election.



  1. “Who knows – at some point, Republicans outside of Anaheim might finally wake up to what the Left is up to in Anaheim . . .”

    Says the guy who just linked back to TheLiberalOC for the 3,000th time this year before posting this story.

    Just sayin’, Matt. That’s a really strange coincidence.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Guilt by association? That doesn’t even rise to the level of a valid point.

      And coming from a guy who comments on a liberal blog like OJ. You know – just sayin’.

      • Well, it wasn’t a valid point, Matt. It was a valid observation of something interesting. You’ll note the lack of a conclusion or any premise in my comment.

        Are you asking for one? Happy to give you one if you really want to trade barbs on this one.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          A blog about Anaheim politics links to a story about a gadfly who is active in Anaheim politics. Yeah – that’s reaaally strange and suspicious.

          You’re new to the scene, Ryan, so you’re probably unaware that during the 10 years I have been blogging, I have never shied away from linking to a story just because the blog it is on is of a different political persuasion.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Not interested in helping you change subject.

        • Revealing how Ryan has nothing substantive to say about the post, just trivial, beside-the-point needling.

  2. Stand For Anaheim

    Wake up OCGOP!!! Tait and the OCCORD and Los Amigos? Hardly so something Tom Fuentes and others would be proud of. Stop supporting Tait because of his father’s history with that party and support REAL republicans in the county!!!

  3. Thank you for continuing to inform what’s really going on with this blatant, liberal movement in Anaheim led by our “Republican” mayor. I’m sick of GOP leadership sitting on the sidelines because of Taits family connections and wealth. OCGOP has failed everyone they claim to represent in Anaheim. The party is failing and districts will be the nails in the party’s coffin in OC.

  4. We are Republicans living within a Democrat super-majority. Of course we need to look to the left if we ever hope to govern the state. One will soon be able to say the same thing about the county. It is, quite literally, basic math.

  5. anon@gmail.com

    The OC GOP is not “sitting on the sidelines.” Even worse: the party is at least indirectly providing active support to Tait’s crusade to hand Anaheim’s Council to the Democrats.

    The numbers in Anaheim are clear: four districts means 2 Democratic seats, 1 Republican, and 1 lean Democratic seat in Anaheim. Since districts are drawn based on population, not registered voters, Tait’s plan will stuff all the high-turnout Republican voters in the Hills into just one seat. That will leave the Democrats in the flats safe to dominate the Council. And six districts are even worse, with 3 or 4 safe D, 1 safe R, and 1 or 2 tossups.

    And GOP leaders wonder why the party’s registration is collapsing in CA and why the party lacks good statewide candidates? Someday the party will learn that shooting oneself (metaphorically) in the head is not a good party-building strategy — or the party will disappear.

  6. BigBoxOfRedWhine

    Cumulative Voting and Ranked-Choice (Instant Runoff) Voting, two still-marginalized alternatives to district elections, would remove the threat of further litigation against the City, satisfy (per the Court) if not silence those clamoring to end “underrepresentation” and save continual costs of implementing, maintaining, and dispute resolution over boundaries of, a district system (thus preserving scarce finances for the Community Improvements, District advocates claim being denied), while avoiding the Balkanization and voting rights loss that, while ignored, is Districting’s inescapable consequence. Wouldn’t a single up-front change to counting method, and some education, be preferred to continual disputes and expense?
    In California, IRV is used in SanFrancisco, Oakland, and San Leandro, and CV is used in over 50 locations in the US. Wikipedia has informative articles on both.
    Who knows, elections might instead be won by communication and effort, instead of legal and political maneuvers? With whichever method, restoring the Public Candidate forums (previously cancelled by the Chamber of Commerce and other groups around the City), can only help, also.

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