Councilmember Denise Barnes Officially Running For Re-Election In District 1

Anaheim Councilmembers Denise Barnes and Jose F. Moreno listen to UNITE-HERE Local 11 boss Ada Briceno.

District 1 Councilmember Denise Barnes has effectively ended any doubts she would seek re-election, filing her intent to run paperwork with the city clerk on Friday, July 17.

Barnes was narrowly elected in 2016 with 27.3% of the vote, edging out Steve Chavez Lodge by 291 votes. She was plucked out of obscurity by former Mayor Tom Tait as his hand-picked candidate. During the first two years of her term, she sat next to Tait on the dais and took her voting cues from him. She rarely spoke from dais except from prepared statements.

After Tait was termed out in 2018, Barnes has functioned as political wingman to the other remaining member of the short-lived Tait majority: left-wing Councilman Jose F. Moreno.  She has moved left-ward politically herself: supporting rent controlcalling for new taxes, standing and clapping at a Bernie Sanders rally, attending Anaheim Democrat Club meetings, accusing council colleagues of “racism” when they don’t support her motions, and making common political cause with the effort by leftist Councilman Jose F. Moreno and his political coalition to seize control of the council in the November 2020 elections.

Barnes had been a lifelong Republican until last month, when she switched to the Democratic Party.  The Democrats have a large voter registration edge in District 1:  48.3% to 23.8%, with 23.2% registered as No Party Preference (NPP). That is actually a relative improvement in GOP registration, which has been narrowly lagging behind NPP.

The only other declared candidate is Anaheim Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Balius, who is also active in the West Anaheim Neighborhood Development committee.

This is first bid for elected office by Balius, a long-time member of the Anaheim Parks and Recreation Commission who is active in the West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council (WAND). First-time candidates without a deep background in political activism often struggle with a key aspect of running for office: fundraising.  Few people like asking for money, and fundraising is often an area in which otherwise solid candidates fall short.

Balius, however, was able to raise nearly $10,000 in the last part of 2019. That total is more impressive considering he put it together from smaller contributions of $100 to $200 dollars.

By contrast, when current District 1 Councilmember Denise Barnes was recruited to run in 2016 by then-Mayor Tom Tait, most of the first $15,000 she raised come from five $1,900 contributions from the Tait family and one of their rich allies.


  1. Mo from West Anaheim

    Denise Barnes hasn’t done anything for West Anaheim. She is a waste of time.

    • Denise hasnt helped west Anaheim.Her very first item on the agenda when she won was to give Mayor Taits aid a HUGE raise.
      And Ryan seems to support turning us into little Arabia. I’m for diversity. I want better businesses, clean up beach Blvd by finally closing the motels due to their amount of code violations. None of that’s been done.
      So tell me. Do we even have anyone?

  2. Don’t let her presence hide the amount of work and research she has done for WA. Denise is dedicated to serving the people in Anaheim that often do not have a voice. She fights for the rights of homeowners dealing with parks overrun by those that find themselves homeless and then fights to protect human life rights too. She fights for the rights of seniors making sure they continue to share in the services provided not only by our city but also by county and state. Denise stays up to date and involved with Sinkin Lincoln, 39 Commons, quality housing, and prostitution on Beach Blvd. She is more than a one pony show also protecting youth sports and opportunities for adults with disabilities. Denise and her family share opportunities to support community events for over 20 years. Denise fought to support opportunities to increase the city’s budget. Her newsletter keeps the community updated on what’s happening and she is available to talk with those that need to contact her. Don’t lump her in with Jose Moreno as the Anaheim Blog continues to bend the truth. Denise has been a worthy member of our council and doesn’t find herself taking political sides as her votes are based on what is best for all of Anaheim. She has earned your votes.

  3. How many critical votes concerning West Anaheim did Barnes oh so conveniently not show up for? Way too many. It’s her stock in trade. it’s better not vote at all than piss off too many people at once. A leader she’s not.

    Judi says Denise doesn’t take sides. Obviously Judi’s got her head in the sand.

  4. Michael Coughran

    Can’t trust anyone who switches parties as a tactic.

  5. Judi,
    No one needs to read your inaccurate info,
    All votes and videos of what shes actually done (or not done) are public records.
    Even better, look around.

  6. Where has Judi been living? Certainly not West Anaheim! Did Denise fight for us when the county placed 100 transients at the Baymont, most with mental health issues? Nope.
    What has she done to improve the quality of life for our community? All you have to do is drive around to see what the answer is. Judi’s vote for Denise just condemns west Anaheim to 4 more years of a ‘do nothing’ council members. No thanks. I’d prefer to see progress.

  7. West Anaheim resident

    Denise adores Jose Moreno and follows him like a puppy. She just replaced Tom Tait with him as someone to tell her how to vote.
    We never should have had district reps, it’s done more harm than good.
    What a waste.
    I wish we could have representatives that actually did something to help west Anaheim.
    Do YOU see any difference?

  8. Dan Chmielewski

    going to be uinteresting to see if she seeks the DPOC endorsement for this seat; there are no other Democrats. But is she pro-choice or pro-life? Pro-ACA or pro Medicare for all? I’;m inclined not to support her endorsement because she hasn’t carried any Democratic party values as a council member.

  9. West Anaheim resident

    Judy, Denise dhowed up late to the party tegarding the 39 commons. That was started WAY before her, and the residents who fought for it should be given en the credit not her. Residents fought really hard before she ever became a council member.
    How misleading you are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *