Yesterday, Anaheim voters spoke on three proposed amendments to the city charter that emerged from the Charter Review Commission process. A bundle of largely technical fixes and updates to the charter (Measure C) won handily. The prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks was repealed, and a proposal to change the mayoral term from four to two years failed:
Measure C has caused great angst among the loud-but-little knot of blog-based conspiracists who think everything is a well-orchestrated back-room deal. They convinced themselves Measure C was a sinister scheme by “special interests” to loot the city treasury – which begs the question of why that powerful (but imaginary) cabal didn’t mount a pro-C campaign if so much was at stake.
As for Measure D, one can look at the result a few ways. Generally speaking, it’s more difficult to convince voters to cast a “yes” than a “no” vote. The average Anaheim voter (who actually cast a ballot) who cast a “no” vote would likely say he/she voted that way because they didn’t think there’s enough reason to make the change. Food for thought for the left-wing coalition gearing up to convince Anaheim voters to junk the method by which they’ve always elected their city council – on an at-large basis – in favor of single-member council districts.
The message from “No” campaign – basically, IEs from the Tait re-election committee — was Measure D was an attempt by special interests to weaken Mayor Tait. On one hand, the results can be interpreted as a victory for the mayor. However, if the result is viewed through that filter, then by the same token almost 46% of the voters in a low-turnout, more conservative electorate sided with “the special interests.”
The fight over Measure D didn’t really engage until late in the game: the first of two “Yes on D” mailers didn’t hit until almost three weeks after the OC Registrar of Voters began sending out VBMs. Prior to that, voter contact on D was limited to the sample ballot, a robocall from the mayor and slate cards (which were about evenly split between “Yes” and “No”). A precinct-level breakdown of the vote result will yield more useful insights. To the extent the Measure D results have bearing on the upcoming mayoral election, it’s that it will be tougher and closer than many had heretofore thought.
Anaheim voters did join the county-wide trend toward cities legalizing the sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks. Measure E was a big victory for freedom, traditional celebrations of Independence Day and community and youth organizations – as well as for TNT Fireworks and FSB Core Strategies, which ran the Yes on E campaign. As I noted above, it generally isn’t easy to convince voters to cast a “yes” vote, and in this case the Yes on E campaign had to contend with how the Bernardo fire in San Diego County would influence voter decision-making on whether to end the city’s prohibition on legal fireworks.
This was on an extremely low turnout election; 64,885 vote-by-mail ballots were issued in Anaheim, and by Election Day only 14,000 had been returned. According to the numbers above, fewer than 18,000 Anaheim voters cast ballots, and that number probably won’t increase much after late VBMs and provisionals are tabulated. Since turnout in November will be significantly higher, the extent to which the June results can be used as a predictor for November has its limits.