There’s something about being a zealot that obliterates perspective and self-awareness.

Case in point: gadfly Jeannine Robbins, who (along with her husband Mike) haunts Anaheim City Council meetings and expressing her disagreement with both councilmembers and members of the public by jeering and heckling them. The Robbins own a business that sells tobacco products and drug paraphernalia.

Tonight the Anaheim City Council will appoint someone to fill the District 2 vacancy from a pool of 10 applicants. The vacancy was created by the August 5 resignation of Councilman Jordan Brandman.

Robbins is throwing mud at the sole Latina applicant, Gloria Ma’ae, a 42-year resident of District 2 with a long, broad record of community leadership and voluntarism.

Gloria Ma’ae doesn’t share Robbins left-wing politics or views on city priorities, and so Robbins is slinging mud. In an e-mail sent to the city council, Robbins accuses Ma’ae of physically accosting her at a 2018 campaign press conference – in which Ma’ae was a participant – that Robbins and her band of radical activists tried to shut down using physical intimidation tactics.

The business-labor coalition opposing Measure L – which would have hiked the minimum wage at targeted Anaheim businesses to the highest levels in the nation – had planned a press conference at Maxwell Park in west Anaheim.  They arrived to set up and were spotted by one of Robbins’ activist comrades, who happened to be there to oppose city efforts to trim the park’s trees because the homeless slept under them.

The word went out to Robbins and the usual suspects, who arrived and proceeded to physically disrupt and shut down the anti-Measure L press conference.  For example, gadfly Wes Jones used his large physical frame to bodily prevent the press conference leader from using the podium.  Robbins and other activists stood in front of the press conference participants, holding up their sings to prevent the medal from photographing the anti-Measure L folks and their signs.

Robbins freely admits their purpose was to shut down an opposing viewpoint. In fact, she is proud of it. In her e-mail to the city council, Robbins writes:

“When the cameras turned up we stood with our signs – “Prevent Homelessness With a Living Wage,” “Housing is a Human Right”, and “Yes on Measure L” next to the group protesting the living wage ordinances This was to block their signs from the cameras view.”

“Gloria Ma’ ae, one of the people currently applying for the District 2 seat, was next to me with her opposing views. She began shoulder shoving me and telling me to get out of the way. She began hitting my sign with hers as mine was blocking hers from the cameras.”

I contacted Gloria Ma’ae, who dismissed Robbins’ j’accuse as untrue. For anyone who knows or has observed both women, Robbins’s allegation is unbelievable.

Not only does Robbin’s claim lack credibility, but it shines a spotlight on her zealot’s lack of perspective and self-awareness.

Robbins admits – boasts, actually – that she was physically interfering with other citizens’ free exercise of their 1st Amendment right to free speech, merely because she disagrees with them. She admits to physically blocking Gloria Ma’ae and other Measure L opponents in order to shut down their right to free speech in a public place – and then complains that they didn’t like it. She exhibits no remorse, sees nothing wrong with her actions. She silences opponents, then tries to paint her victims as the villains.

As noted, this is part and parcel of Robbins’ pattern of behavior. She has a record of heckling speakers during public comments, restricting respectful treatment for those who share her agenda.

I have known  Gloria Ma’ae for many years. She is an independent thinker who is committed to her community and has a long track record of actual neighborhood leadership to improve her community in concrete ways. She also has a track record of treating others with civility and respect, even while on opposite sides of an issue or debate.

It’s appalling that rather than citing her political and policy reasons for opposing Ma’ae’s application, Robbins (and by extension her band of gadflies) instead resorts to flinging manufactured mud in a desperate attempt to derail Ma’ae.