Of Which School Board is Jose Moreno the President?

moreno anaheim school boardThe candidate statements of Anaheim’s mayoral and council candidates have been posted on the City Clerk’s website. This passage from Jose F. Moreno’s statement jumped out at me:

“I am Dr. Jose F. Moreno….President of Anaheim’s School Board”

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of “Anaheim’s School Board,” it’s because it doesn’t exist. There is no Anaheim School Board. In truth, Anaheim is served by seven school districts

Moreno knows that. He could have said “President of the Anaheim City School District.” That would have the advantage of being true. So why tell voters that Anaheim has a “school board” and you are its president? If Anaheim City School District is Anahem’s school board, does that mean AUHSD – or Magnolia, or Centralia, or Savanna — are not?

Absent from Moreno’s ballot statement is any appeal to ethnicity, which is noticeable in that virtually the entire focus of Moreno’s academic and political career is on ethnicity and race. His public comments on Anaheim government and politics for the last few years have centered on racial and ethnic issues. He has stood before the Anaheim City Council and claimed the existence of racially polarized voting; asserted that Latino voters are disenfranchised; that his vote as a Latino is “diluted;” that the votes of Latino voters should be accorded greater weight than those of other voters; argued with council members about which local elected officials are “real” Latinos, whole making sure to point out that he is Anaheim’s only “Spanish-speaking, Spanish-dominant, Latino-surnamed” local elected. His academic writings are all about ethnic diversity among college students, diversity among college faculty, the benefits of diversioty, hwo to each more divserstiy, etc.

Moreno filed a lawsuit against the City of Anaheim because seeking the imposition of by-district election in the belief it will produce more councilmembers of a specific ethnicity, and through his lawyers, opposed putting this to a vote of the people by claiming at-large elections disenfranchise Latinos (which raises the interesting point that Moreno is running for council under a system he believe is racially-polarized and discriminatory against Latinos).

But when it comes to directly asking Anaheim voters for their support, Moreno totally omits his central public message of the last two years. He doesn’t tell Anaheim voters he thinks they engage in racially-polarized voting. He doesn’t inform them that he believes the system under which he is seeking their vote disenfranchises him and other Latinos. He doesn’t let them know that his single biggest impact on Anaheim city government was to sue the city and demand by-district elections. Generally speaking, council candidates (especially non-incumbents) stuff their candidate statements with references to how they’ve served or or impacted the city.

Ultimately, everything in a candidate statement is calculated to win votes. Moreno’s conspicuous omission of the central raison d’etre of his civic activism is a tacit admission that is not what most Anaheim voters want for their city government. 

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