Pro- and Con-Arguments on Expanding Anaheim City Council to 6 Members

The other initiative on the November ballot, placed there by the city council on the recommendation of the Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement, asks Anaheim voters if they want to expand their council from four to six members. According to the impartial analysis:

This Charter Amendment Measure: This proposed measure amends Charter Section 500 to increase the number of City Council members from four (plus the Mayor) to six (plus the Mayor). As a result, there would be seven elected City officers. The increase in the size of the Council proposed by this measure would take effect beginning with the November 2016 election.  This measure provides a process to transition the elections for the two newly-created City Council seats into the Charter’s existing City Council election cycles. The measure states that at the November 2016 election, four Council seats (comprised of the two new Council seats created by this measure and two existing Council seats) would be up for election. Following the November 2016 election, lots would be drawn and one of the four Council members elected at that election would be randomly selected to serve a two-year term (not a four-year term as otherwise provided by the Charter); the other three Council members elected at the November 2016 election would serve four-year terms. Thereafter, the three Council members elected to four-year terms would be elected each fourth year thereafter (i.e., 2020, 2024, etc.). The other three Council members (including the Council member randomly selected to serve a shorter two- year term) would be elected in November 2018 and each fourth year thereafter (i.e., 2022, 2026, etc.). To account for the increase in the City Council’s size, this proposed measure also amends Charter Sections 507, 508 and 511 to adjust the number of affirmative votes by Council members that are necessary to approve specified Council actions.

The argument in favor of expanding the council to six members is authored solely by Mayor Tom Tait, and is basically a re-has of the argument in favor of by-district council elections:

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE____

Leaders of Anaheim’s neighborhood groups, small businesses, and civic organizations agree:

Vote Yes on Measure ___ for better city services and for a more accountable City Council.

Anaheim’s 340,000 residents deserve a City Council that is accountable to the people and can help you and your neighborhood get the best possible city services.

But Anaheim currently elects only four City Council members to serve the entire city. Each of the four are responsible for serving 67,000 people – more than any other city our size in California. The sheer number of people each council member represents makes it difficult for them to get you and your community the city services that you need and deserve.

Voting Yes on Measure ___ adds two seats to the Anaheim City Council. Together with Measure ___, voting Yes will bring local government closer to the people and our neighborhoods.

With two new seats, your council member will have more time to meet your needs and the needs of your neighborhood, making it easier for them to fight for you at City Hall.

Voting Yes on Measure ___ and reducing the number of residents each council member represents:

  • Will reduce the influence of special interests at City Hall by making it easier for neighborhood-based candidates to run. 
  • Will mean better representation for you and your neighborhood. 
  • Will ensure more responsive city services, from public safety to parks, from traffic control to street repair. 

The independent Anaheim Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement unanimously recommended expanding the City Council’s capacity. Anaheim’s neighborhood groups, small businesses, and civic organizations say VOTE YES ON ___.

Join us and vote Yes on Measure ___ for better city services and for a more accountable City Council.

Tom Tait Anaheim Mayor

I am not opposed to expanding the city council to 6 members. I think a solid argument can be made in favor of doing so. Unfortunately, this is an logically and factually flawed statement largely sacrifices sound argument and common sense in favor of sound bites and baseless claims.

It is simply untrue to claim expanding the size of the council will “reduce the influence of special interests” or make it easier for “neighborhood-based candidates to run.” How does adding two councilmembers “mean better representation for your neighborhood”? And how on Earth does adding two councilmembers “ensure” better city services? This is just unsubstantiated bosh. One might as well claim adding to councilmembers will end the drought.

Furthermore, the claim that each councilmember currently “represents 67,000 people” is an untruth. Anaheim has no districts. Councilmembers are elected at-large, and each councilmembers represents every resident. Telling voters otherwise is dishonest.

It’s likewise untrue to say adding two councilmembers will result in them having more time to discharge their duties. How? Is it possible to add hours to the day simply by amending the charter? Whether there are four council members or six, the number of hours in the day and residents in Anaheim remain the same.

While ostensibly arguing for expanding the size of the council, the mayor implicitly argues against at-large elections, claiming they cannot ensure the effective delivery of city services due to the “sheer number” of constituents a councilmember represents. However, that must also hold true for whomever is mayor, since the office is also elected at-large. If being elected at-large undermines effective representation and diminishes the delivery of city services, then the logic of this ballot statement argues for abolishing the directly-elected mayor and instead rotating mayorship among six council members elected by-district.

Then there is the official Argument Against. Rather than an intelligent brief, Anaheim voters are treated to this foolishness:

Argument Against Measure ___

The “fine print” of Council Resolutions # 2014-17, and #2014-18 establishes a possible “either-or” situation between the two Anaheim Ballot Measures on the November 4, 2014 Ballot. Section 3 (c), Competing Measures, Complementary Measures, both Council Resolutions state: (If) this Charter Amendment measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes than any other such measure…this Charter Amendment measure shall control in its entirety, and said other measure or measures shall be rendered void and without any legal effect.

There is something rotten in the State of Anaheim, vote no on #___.

Denis Fitzgerald, Member of the Board of Directors Anaheim H.O.M.E, Home Owners Maintaining our Environment

Fitzgerald’s primary accomplishment with this intellectual spasm will be to leave readers wondering if there was a misprint that accidentally omitted the rest of the argument.

6 comments

  1. “Each of the four are responsible for serving 67,000 people – more than any other city our size in California.”

    Mayor Tait, that’s a lie. You and the four city council members serve every Anaheim citizen. So much for the Boy Scout image. Tait will say anything.

  2. Ryan Cantor was having a cow when the Measure D campaign said it strengthened term limits. Is he going to call BS on the lies and baseless claims Tait makes here?

  3. Tom Tait is not fit to be mayor – he signed his name to a statement that is loaded with blatant lies and false claims. Finally he is exposing himself to the general public as manipulative and malicious and not the freedom and kindness mayor he proclaims himself to be. Silence from Cynthia ward and the others he’s aligned with to sue the city.

    • Lifetime Anaheim Resident

      The Chamber should run a full page ad titled, STOP THE LIES!

      Tait and his looney group of supporters can no longer distinguish between fact and their own self-styled, world-class hypocritical fiction.

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