The Voice of OC’s narrative-based reporting on Anaheim elections continues with today’s article on campaign finance reports for the mayoral and council elections.
“In the wake of an explosive FBI affidavit alleging deep corruption at city hall, the same interests called out by federal agents for influencing policy making are spending huge sums for the November election, heavily backing their preferred candidates.” states the ledge paragraph – as if, in a free country, anyone who has been “called out” by a powerful federal agency should refrain from involvement in the democratic process.
And what exactly does it mean to be “called out by federal agents” – a phrase the Voice now uses reflexively in its Anaheim coverage? Is that a legal term? Of course not. It’s journalistic legerdemain to make it seem as if Resort businesses are guilty of something when they are not.
Think about the implications of the lede’s paragraph’s careful phrasing: that it is OK for federal law enforcement agencies to chill political activity by throwing shade on people and organizations for legally exercising their 1st Amendment rights. And the Voice of OC only concern appears to be the refusal of those people and organizations to be chilled. So much for holding the powerful accountable.
In the second paragraph begins with the obligatory incantation that “Disney’s already spent at least $1.3 million on its main political spending vehicle, the Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR) political action committee, to back the entertainment juggernaut’s preferred candidates.”
A) Is that really news anymore after the umpteenth time it is has been reported over the last 10 months?
B) $1.3 million has not been spent. $443,688.82 has been spent so far. That’s a lot of money. But it’s also just 34% of SOAR PAC’s cash on hand. And the article doesn’t even get that right – reporting SOAR PAC has spent $120,000 “so far.”
The Voice of OC article does the reverse when it comes to the “huge sums” – $275,000 – that Resort union special interests have poured into two independent expenditure committees “heavily backing their preferred candidates” – Ashleigh Aitken for mayor and Al Jabbar and Carlos Leon for council.
Instead, the article reports on the sums spent to date. Way down in Paragraph 28, the article mentions the labor PAC has spent “roughly $27,000 to support Aitken.” Actually, the amount is $37,852.28, according to the most recent campaign report filed October 10.
Further down, in Paragraph 43, the article gets around to reporting the “Helping Working Families Get Ahead PAC had spent nearly $20,000 to support Leon as of Oct. 3.”
In paragrah 50, the article notes that “Anaheim Resort Workers for an Honest City Council PAC has spent just under $2,000 to help bolster Jabar’s campaign.” Actually, that number is $6,619.93, according to the PAC’s October 10’s filing.
Resort-based businesses have traditionally spent significant amounts on council elections. But Resort unions are jumping in to the council races in a much bigger way than they have in years. Talk about burying the lede.
District 6 Candidate Hari Lal’s Tax Avoidance – Down The Memory Hole
In its section on the District 6 council race, the Voice of OC article faithfully reports that Natalie Meeks “supported the Angel Stadium land sale.”
In virtuous contrast, the Voice of OC writes, “Meanwhile, Shankar Lal has been showing up to city council meetings and calling out council members following the corruption probe going public in May.”
However, the Voice of OC scribes fail to report that Lal failed to pay his property taxes for nearly four years, and only ponied up the $146,377 he owed the County after the Anaheim Observer reported on it (and his fantastic explanations for the failure).
The Voice also omits that Lal falsely claimed endorsements from Assemblyman Tom Daly and Councilman Avelino Valencia.
If any of Anaheim’s “resort-friendly” candidates owed more than $146,000 in property taxes or was caught making up key endorsements, does anyone doubt the Voice of OC would find a way to write a dozen articles about it?