The Voice of OC reports the left-wing political advocacy group known as OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) is suing the City of Anaheim in an attempt to invalidate the city’s economic assistance agreement with the GardenWalk hotel project developer.
Cory Briggs, a left-wing environmentalist attorney from San Diego, is serving as OCCORD’s counsel on this idiotic lawsuit. Readers will remember that last summer, Briggs and OCCORD asked state and county prosecutors to go after ever member of the council (except Mayor Tom Tait) over the May 2013 GardenWalk vote. In their fevered imaginations, mere membership on the SOAR advisory board constituted a conflict-of-interest, because they know GardenWalk developer Bill O’Connell, Sr. who is also – gasp! – a member of the SOAR Advisory Board!!
According to the Voice of OC, the lawsuit filed by OCCORD and Briggs alleges that Councilmembers Lucille Kring, Gail Eastman, Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman voted for the May 2013 GardenWalk agreement because Bill O’Connell gave to their campaigns. Never mind that Bill O’Connell Sr. has been one of their political supporters for years. Never mind that Eastman and Murray had already voted for the original GardenWalk agreement, which Brandman had also publicly supported. Never mind that the terms of the 2013 agreement Kring supported differed from the 2012 agreement. Never mind that all four councilmembers have in practice always supported the principle of such economic assistance agreements.
No – in the imaginations of Cory Briggs and OCCORD, the only possible explanation for these councilmembers to cast a vote entirely consistent with their public records is receiving contributions that amount to a small fraction of what their campaign raised.
If GardenWalk developers had struck a deal with OCCORD’s sponsor and funder UNITE-HERE Local 11 for it to organize GardenWalk hotel workers, OCCORD wouldn’t be filing this lawsuit. If the developer struck such a deal now, and threw in a “living wage” provision and some “community benefits”dreamed up by OCCORD, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the lawsuit dropped altogether.
Is that an unfair thing to say? Not according to the “he who pays the piper calls the tune” logic of OCCORD’s lawsuit. OCCORD rents office space in a Garden Grove building owned by UNITE-HERE Local 11, which provided the seed funding for UNITE-HERE organizer Eric Altman to found OCCORD. UNITE-HERE Local 11 sub-commandante Ada Briceno has been chair of the OCCORD Board of Directors since its inception. UNITE-HERE Local 11 has been OCCORD biggest and most faithful funder; from 2009 to 2012 alone, UNITE-HERE Local 11 gave OCCORD at least $217,500 – and the fund transfers more closely resemble payroll than a grant.
So, let’s suppose UNITE-HERE (which also uses Cory Briggs’ legal services for representational services) let it be known the Briggs-OCCORD lawsuit would go away if it was agreed that GardenWalk hotel workers would become dues-paying UNITE-HERE members, along with the provision of sundry “community benefits”. It wouldn’t be a hollow offer. After all, if we’re asked by OCCORD to believe the council majority voted for the GardenWalk agreement in exchange for contributions equaling a fraction of their fundraising, then how can one not believe OCCORD would drop its lawsuit if told to do so by its biggest funder and landlord?