Anaheim Insider here.

In October 2015, a few days before the Advisory Committee on Electoral Districts recommend the map being aggressively pushed by a group of liberal and Democratic special interests, the chair of that Advisory Committee headlined a political fundraiser for the Democratic Foundation of Orange County (DFOC).

The advisory committee was composed of retired judges, and chaired by retired Court of Appeals Justice Edward Wallin. Wallin headined a political fundraiser for the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, which is sort of the Democratic counterpart to the conservative Lincoln Club of Orange County. According to the DFOC website, “Our Members meet and interact with the most prominent Democratic Leaders of the day.”

On October 2, DFOC members interacted with Justice Wallin at a DFOC fundraising luncheon:

jacobson wallin captioned

According to the ActBlue online payment form, “Funds raised through this event support Democratic Foundation of Orange County – Federal.”

Click on this link to photos from the even and you’ll see a photo of Eric Altman and Claudio Gallegos. Altman has been at the forefront of the by-district elections in Anaheim project from the beginning. Altman ran OCCORD from its founding until 2014; he left to run the successful campaign to pass Measures L and M in November of that year. Gallegos is a districting-savvy Democratic political operative who is in involved in this issue in Anaheim, Buena Park and Garden Grove.

Others Democrats who have headlined DFOC events in recent months: 46th Congressional District candidate Lou Correa; 29th Senate District candidate Sukhee Kang and U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Justin Wallin is, in fact, a member of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, the stated mission of which is electing Democrats:

The Mission of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County is to Elect Democrats in Orange CountyThis includes electing Democrats locally and seeing to it that statewide and nationwide candidates do well in Orange County.

A few days later, on October 6, Justice Wallin and the rest of the advisory committee voted to recommend adoption of the Reyes map (aka “The People’s Map). As it happens, this map was the culmination of a coordinated effort to alter Anaheim council election rules in order to elect more Democrats, few of whom were successful under the at-large system.

Wallin’s membership in the DFOC should have been taken into consideration when vetting applicants for the Advisory Committee. How appropriate was it for a member of a group dedicated to electing Democrats to local, state and federal office to chair the drawing of council districts in OC’s largest city? If a Lincoln Club member had chaired the Advisory Committee, the OCCORD-led group would certainly have protested. And given the charged political atmosphere surrounding the task of drawing council districts and the unavoidable impact of partisan politics,  it certainly undermines the presumed impartiality of the Advisory Panel that a few days before delivering the key final vote on a preferred map, the panel chairman was helping a Democratic Party group raise money to help elect Democrats in Orange County.

The deal is done. The map and sequencing is approved. But it is progressively harder for anyone to deny the whole campaign for by-district elections was directed by political interests allied with the Democratic Party.