Rebuttal Arguments on By-District Elections Initiative Now Online

council districts good jobsThe Anaheim City Clerk has published the rebuttals to the arguments for and against the November initiative that could bring by-district elections to Anaheim. Let’s start with the rebuttal signed by Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jordan Brandman:

Measure does not take away your voting rights or carve up Anaheim. Opponents are trying to confuse and mislead you. What voting for Measure ____ does do is make your vote count for more. Measure ___ gives you the power to:

  • Elect someone who truly represents you and your neighborhood;
  • Make your voice better heard at City Hall; and,
  • Elect a representative council member who will fight for faster and more responsive city services that meets your needs.

The entire City Council agreed that Anaheim deserves to have neighborhood representation, and that is why we unanimously placed Measure ____ on the ballot for your consideration. Measure ____ creates true neighborhood districts that will better serve Anaheim residents, while continuing our tradition of choosing a Mayor in a citywide election to provide a vital, unifying voice on the City Council. Having a council member from, and elected by, your neighborhood means they will understand your local needs and respond quickly to local concerns like traffic, crime, potholes, graffiti, and broken sidewalks. This means safer neighborhoods and stronger property values.   Measure ____ reduces the influence of outside special interests and promotes stable city finances, good jobs, and a better future for our community by guaranteeing that you are heard at City Hall. Vote YES on Measure ____ to keep our great city moving forward as an exceptional place to live, work, and raise a family. Tom Tait Mayor of Anaheim Jordan Brandman City Council Member

Wow – by-district elections will make your neighborhood safer and increase the sale price of your home! Who knew? It’s the Vitameatavegamin of government policies! Not only is this rebuttal as intellectually dishonest as the ballot argument in favor, but some of its claims go beyond misleading to outright untrue.

“Measure _ does not take away your voting rights or carve up Anaheim.”

Untrue. Currently, Anaheim voters can voter on anyone running for all council seats, at every election. This measure reduces their choices to only candidates within their geographic district. And in order to have by-district elections, it is necessary to carve Anaheim in districts.

“What voting for Measure ____ does do is make your vote count for more.”

Really? By what electoral hocus-pocus does an Anaheim citizen’s vote “count for more” when only one councilmember — instead of four – will give a hoot about his or her vote?

“Measure ___ gives you the power to:

  • Elect someone who truly represents you and your neighborhood;”

The logic here being that a citizen of Anaheim cannot be truly represented by someone who is elected at-large. As officials who were themselves elected at-large, it’s hard to believe either Mayor Tait or Councilman Brandman believe that they do not truly represent their constituents.

  • “Make your voice better heard at City Hall; and,”

Let me get this straight: each Anaheim voter has a greater voice at City Hall when you reduce from 4 to 1 the number of councilmembers who need that citizen’s vote? Is this Common Core math?

  • “Elect a representative council member who will fight for faster and more responsive city services that meets your needs.”

Again, the logic of this claim only serves to indict the signers of this statement,  and I do not believe either of them think they do not fight for faster, more responsive city services because they were elected at-large.

“The entire City Council agreed that Anaheim deserves to have neighborhood representation, and that is why we unanimously placed Measure ____ on the ballot for your consideration.”

The first part of this sentence is untrue. When the council voted last year to switch to a from-district system – councilmembers have to live in a geographic district but are still elected at-large — Tom Tait voted against it. The claim about unanimously placing this measure on the ballot is extremely misleading and designed to fool voters into thinking the mayor and city council support by-district elections. The truth is the council agreed to a settlement with the ACLU and Jose Moreno and company – one of the provisos of which was to place the by-district elections question on the November ballot. This spring, the mayor and the city council unanimously voted to place the question of a two-year mayoral term before the voters – but that didn’t mean Tait supported the idea.

“Measure ____ creates true neighborhood districts that will better serve Anaheim residents, while continuing our tradition of choosing a Mayor in a citywide election to provide a vital, unifying voice on the City Council.”

This statement crosses the line into fantasy. On what planet is 90,000 people a “neighborhood”? However, the signers at least concede that electing the city council at-large has a unifying effect.

“Having a council member from, and elected by, your neighborhood means they will understand your local needs and respond quickly to local concerns like traffic, crime, potholes, graffiti, and broken sidewalks. This means safer neighborhoods and stronger property values.”

This is just pure hucksterism — empty promises tossed out in hopes of purchasing votes. Perhaps the mayor can explain how electing councilmembers from districts will lead to the city more quickly filling potholes, painting out graffiti, fixing sidewalks, ameliorating traffic or combating crime? Do phone calls to the city manager from councilmembers elected by-district travel faster and impact harder than those from councilmembers (or mayors) elected at-large? Perhaps we can ask some realtors if by-district elections will, indeed, increase property values?

“Measure ____ reduces the influence of outside special interests and promotes stable city finances, good jobs, and a better future for our community by guaranteeing that you are heard at City Hall.”

As they used to say, “That and a dime will buy you a cup of coffee.” I mean – by-district council elections will create “good jobs”? Really? Honestly, if proponents are simply going to invent arguments out of thin air, why not really pour on the snake oil and tell voters it will cure cancer and restore hair loss?

“Vote YES on Measure ____ to keep our great city moving forward as an exceptional place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Finally, at the very end of the rebuttal argument, we find a kernel of truth: Anaheim is an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family – a state of affairs that will be jeopardized by taking city government down to road to Los Angelization per the wishes of by-district elections proponents.

2 comments

  1. Lifetime Anaheim resident

    Thank you for pointing out the purposefully misleading statements these two elected officials are making. Very disappointing they would essentially lie to Anaheim residents to sell this measure. If they truly believe this is best for Anaheim on its merits than why not speak to it from that perspective. Clearly it is self incriminating based on their arguments – I have no choice but to believe that neither is representing me today because they were elected at large. In fact for the history of Anaheim, we have never been represented by city hall. And if that’s the case, how did Anaheim become a great city they proclaim at the end of their statement?

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