Anaheim approves city council voting districts, ending system that silenced Latinos

From Fox News Latino:

Voters in Anaheim passed a measure on Tuesday that should pave the way for the city’s majority Hispanic population to have a voice on a city council which has only seen three Latinos serve in its history.

In a move expected to improve Latinos’ chances of getting elected to the Anaheim city council, voters in the California city of 354,000 approved Measure L on Tuesday with an overwhelming 68 percent of the vote.

Council seats have been determined in at-large votes, which allows anyone in the city to cast a ballot for any candidate. Now the city will be divided into seven districts, and each one will choose its own representative.

The city was sued earlier this year by the American Civil Liberties Union, with support from Latino community leaders, for discriminating against Hispanic voters and violating the state’s Voting Rights Act.

Anaheim was the largest city in California to still use at-large voting. Proponents of Measure L contend that the system silenced the city’s Latino community.

Measure M also passed on Tuesday, expanding the city council seats from 5 to 7.

About 54 percent of the people in Anaheim are Hispanic, but only three Latinos have ever served on the city council in the city’s 157 year history, the lawsuit pointed out.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a committee of three retired judges will decide on the new district boundaries.

"All this time, to not have anyone on the council representing us is a shock — and unacceptable," Ada Tamayo, a teacher for 17 years, told the LA Times.

“It was an overwhelming display by the voters that it was time to modernize our electoral system,” José F. Moreno, president of the Anaheim City School District told the Orange County Register,“and provide a voice for residents who have felt neglected, ignored and disrespected by the current system.”

Lucille Kring - TRAITOR of Anaheim - Part 3

As you know, council member Lucille Kring cannot be trusted. Why do I say that? Because she promised to support districting, civilian oversight, and Mayor Tait's proposal to allow the voters to approve future hotel subsidies and then turned around and:

a. voted against districting over the recommendations of the CAC.

b. remained silent when Mayor Tait asked for a 2nd to move his initiative to allow the voters to approved future hotel subsidies. 

c. voted for the $158 million GardenWalk Hotel giveaway

d. came out against civilian oversight

Then today I discover that she came out AGAINST the outrageous at-large residency based election model that Kris Murray proposed last night and that she subsequently voted in favor of (see video below):

I'm personally concerned that council member Kring may have some form of mental illness.  

 

Equal Voice for Every Neighborhood

Comments by Cynthia Ward: 

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Kris Murray's proposal to mimic Santa Ana with leaders representing Districts but elected at large is the worst of all possible worlds, combining the limited candidate pool of resident representation with the big money stakes of having to reach voters all over the city-using expensive mail. Anaheim's current system has created the train wreck (Resort streetcar wreck?) of seeing elected leaders beholden to the corporate interests who spent enough money on mail and advertising to get them elected.

This is how we end up with deals like the Gardenwalk hotel giveaway of $158 million to one already rich developer, look at who paid for all that mail that elected the current majority, you will find his money in every single one of those campaigns! Enough already!

Give us true representation with voting by district and within the district, no it is not perfect, no system is going to be, but at least a grass roots candidate could cover a smaller district with volunteers and get their message out, perhaps getting elected without owing their souls to the big money of Anaheim's political machine. That Murray and her ilk would even consider the system that maintains their base of power and money tells you exactly what she thinks of Anaheim voters, she does not seem to want you to have the voice in how you are governed, as proposed by Mayor Tait!

They denied the right to vote on this last year when they had the chance, before cubic bucks had been spent on the lawsuit. They denied the right to vote on tax giveaways like Gardenwalk. Even when they insist on forming a citizens advisory committee as a stalling tactic to try keeping their seats a little longer, when the answer they came back with matched the answer the Mayor proposed a year ago, they now dismiss it and come up with what they want anyway.

Are they afraid that unless their friends can shut out opponents with money and advertising the people of Anaheim might very well choose someone else to lead us? You better believe it! 

 

OC Register enables Kris Murray to LIE to the people

A few days ago an article appeared in The OC Register written by Kris Murray regarding districting. In the article, Kris Murray falsely claimed that "if the council had approved the ballot initiative proposed last year by Mayor Tait to divide Anaheim into single-member districts, it would have been a violation of state law."

Kris Murray

Kris Murray

The truth is that CA government code 34458 only applies to adopting a new charter not amending the charter as the initiative brought forth by Mayor Tait would have done. The City of Bell didn't amend their charter they adopted a new one. 

(b) Prior to approving the submission to the voters of a proposal to adopt a charter, the governing body shall hold at least two public hearings on the matter of the proposal of a charter and the content of the proposed charter. 

Murray went on to state "In the wake of the city of Bell corruption scandal, state law was changed requiring charter cities, like Anaheim, to engage their citizenry in a broad public process before any changes to the charter can be put before voters. Assembly Bill 1344 became effective Jan. 1, 2012, and requires extensive public noticing and a minimum of two hearings before the council may consider and approve initiatives changing the city's charter. None of these steps occurred before Mayor Tait's ballot initiative was agendized for council consideration last September."

The law again specifically speaks to adopting a charter not amending it. Therefore the public hearings would not be necessary. The law only requires that 88 days have passed before the election when proposing changes to the charter.

Former Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley, who wrote the staff report regarding Mayor Tait's initiative, also made no mention of any  potential conflicts. Click here to read the staff report:

Talley2.jpg
 

Anaheim Committee Deadlocks on Plan for Council Districts

From The Voice of OC:

The Anaheim committee charged with studying whether to change the City Council electoral system from an at-large format to council districts could not reach consensus on that issue Thursday and indicated it will recommend the question go before voters.

Committee members did, however, agree on increasing the size of the City Council. They recommend changing the five-member council to either seven seats or nine seats. Under both recommendations, one seat would be reserved for the mayor.

Curt Pringle - speaking to his faithful followers

Curt Pringle - speaking to his faithful followers

The 10 voting members of the Citizens Advisory Committee are scheduled to consider final approval of the recommendations at its May 9 meeting. It is then up to the City Council to decide on whether to implement the committee's proposals.

The proposal to put the question of at-large or district elections to a citywide vote wasfirst offered by Mayor Tom Tait last August before the committee was formed. The council majority at the time, however, voted against Tait's proposal, arguing that the city's electoral system needed to be studied by an advisory committee in order to make an informed decision.

Now in many respects, the City Council is back to where it started on the issue.

Read the full article here:

http://www.voiceofoc.org/oc_north/article_7e51c6a2-a952-11e2-90f1-0019bb2963f4.html

Anaheim's Citizens Advisory Committee Recommends Districts

From The OC Weekly:

There were more empty seats and less acrimony inside the Council Chambers of Anaheim City Hall last Thursday evening. Long the scene of political turmoil over the course of last year during council meetings, the mood was lighter as the location played host for the second-to-last gathering of the citizens advisory committee, group established after the former council majority passed a resolution during a special post-riot meeting on August 8, 2012 that tasked it with studying and making recommendations on the city's electoral system. The move countered Mayor Tom Tait's failed proposal at the time to put the question of six council districts on last November's ballot and was seen as a delay tactic by critics

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AUHSD considering Districting issue

From The OC Register:

Voters in the Anaheim Union High School District could soon choose their school board members by district rather than by at-large.

Right now, members of the Board of Trustees are voted on by the entire district's electorate and do not represent any particular area within the district. Should the board decide to switch, it would establish trustee areas that are represented by a board member, who would be voted on by people within that area.

AUHSD board member Al Jabbar

AUHSD board member Al Jabbar

Anaheim Union is the fourth-largest school district in the county, with 32,000-plus students. It covers 46 square miles and includes portions of Anaheim, Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma and Stanton.

Of the five board members, three live in Anaheim, while the other two live in La Palma and Cypress.

The district began examining the possibility of changing the election process at the end of last year at the request of a community member, said board President Brian O'Neal. At its last meeting, the board hired a demographer to look at voting patterns within the district.

The demographer's study should come back to the board within a couple of months. Then, the district could decide to pursue changing how elections are conducted.

"I think we're open to the idea," O'Neal said. "In all instances like this, I think we have an open mind."

Board by-laws say the decision to change elections could be the board's alone or could be sent to the voters, depending on what the board thinks is best, O'Neal said.

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The district's discussion mirrors one continuing for the city of Anaheim elections: A Citizens Advisory Committee is studying whether to recommend that city elections go from at-large to districts in an effort to gain more Latino representation. More than 50 percent of the city's population is Latino but there are no Latino City Council members.

Members of the League of United Latin American Citizens have asked the school board to consider switching to districts so that minorities have a better chance of being represented, said Art Montez, a member of LULAC and a former member of the Centralia School District Board of Trustees.

More than 40 languages are spoken within the school district, and more than 80 percent of students in the district have an ethnicity other than white, according to the district's website. But, Montez said, that diversity is not apparent on the school board.

The Anaheim Union has a white majority.

"The only way to curtail a lot of that is to get districts down to a small size, so that people have the ability to run no matter what their economic status is," Montez said. "We're asking the board to do the right thing."

OC Register - do you do your homework?

Today the OC Register finally reported on the resignations of 3 Anaheim Citizen Advisory Committee Members. It took the OC Register a whole two weeks until they finally got around to reporting this important matter. Unfortunately, OC Register reporter Art Marroquin, clearly didn't do his homework. Below you find the article with Save Anaheim's comments in bold:

Three members have resigned from a panel charged with charting the future of Anaheim's elections in hopes of increasing voter participation and engagement.

Peter Agarwal, David Diaz and Joseph Karaki stepped down from the 11-member Citizens Advisory Committee, formed last summer to study how City Council members should be elected to Orange County's most populous city.

Community activists Sandy Day and Keith Olesen were appointed by City Councilwoman Kris Murray to fill two of the vacancies. Newly elected council members Jordan Brandman and Lucille Kring will work together to find a replacement for Agarwal, appointed by former Councilman Harry Sidhu.

Keith Olesen peeking out from behind Kris Murray.

Keith Olesen peeking out from behind Kris Murray.

The trio of out-going members stepped down last month. The committee was formed after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last June, calling on city leaders to carve Anaheim into a series of City Council districts as a way to ensure better representation of the city's burgeoning minority communities – particularly Latinos.

Art fails to mention that Anaheim is in violation of the CA Voters Rights Act which is why the suit was brought forward by the ACLU. Anaheim's former City Attorney Cristina Talley also agrees with the ACLU's assessment according to The Voice of OC. In addition Art fails to mention that Anaheim is the only city of it's size without district elections.

Such a move would require a successful ballot measure or a court order, moving Anaheim away from its longstanding practice of holding citywide "at large" elections for the mayor and for the City Council.

"In light of the lawsuit and the unrest last year, we understand changes need to be made somewhere, somehow," said Karaki, who stepped down because of increasing business commitments.

The unrest had nothing to do with the election process Mr. Karaki.

"How, what and where the changes are needed, I honestly don't know," Karaki said. "Maybe something good will come out of all this, and I hope the committee will be able to resolve it."

Losing three committee members within a few weeks of each other was an "uncanny coincidence," particularly considering the group is expected to release its findings in May, Murray said.

Day and Olesen applied to be part of the committee last summer and regularly attended meetings, even though they were not initially selected, Murray said.

I know for a fact that Sandy and Keith Olesen do not regularly attend these meetings.

Day declined to discuss what she would like to accomplish, but said in an email that it would be "disrespectful" and "damaging to our mission if we were to share individual opinions" before a final recommendation is made.

Art, if you had only googled Sandy Day or Keith Olesen you would have found that the both have publicly come out AGAINST districting. This has been reported by numerous blogs and news organizations. But instead of the facts you allow Sandy Day to lie and state that "it would be "disrespectful" and "damaging to our mission if we were to share individual opinions" before a final recommendation is made."

Here is Sandy Day stating she is against districting:

Agarwal, Diaz and Olesen did not respond to interview requests. "I know a lot of people think otherwise, but the creation of this committee is not a delay tactic" in deciding how to deal with Anaheim's elections, Murray said. "We need to make sure that our residents are engaged in deciding how and why a city the size of Anaheim needs to change the way it's governed."

The committee is a delay tactic. The CIty of Anaheim is in violation and will lose the lawsuit against the ACLU. Kris Murray simply wants to keep her stranglehold on the city so she can continue to waste our tax dollars on hotel subsidies, streetcars to shuttle Disney guests, etc. . . Would have been nice if you had spoken to Mayor Tait and got his take on Murray's sham committee.

Oh, and the total cost to taxpayers to fight this losing battle is $287,000 and counting.

Kris Murray, Anaheim Council-Pendeja

From OC Weekly:

Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray is one of those hilarious Republicans who insist we live in a color-blind society, who rail at people who bring up race as Aztlanistas and political opportunists--and who turn around and do the same thing when politically convenient and decry any criticism as racism.

Kris Murray

Take a recent move by Murray that switched out her delegates on an Anaheim advisory committee to determine whether the city should have district elections for city council. Murray has been downright contemptuous of the idea of district elections, claiming the idea reeks of racialism. So what did Murray recently do?

She brought on the racialism, baby. 

Read the full story here:

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/03/kris_murray_anaheim_councilmember.php

Murray's Election Committee is Rigged

Kris Murray appointed Keith Olesen and Sandy Day – both vocal opponents of council districts -- to replace two committee members who abruptly resigned six meetings and four months into the process because of scheduling conflicts, according to a city news release.

Kris Murray replaces Committee Members - MUST SEE VIDEO

Kris Murray in her zeal to get what she really wants, which is no council districts, has replaced her appointees to the Citizens Advisory Committee. This comes after upwards of 6 meetings have already taken place. How are these new "impartial" members, Sandy Day and Keith Olesen going to catch up? I say impartial with my tongue in cheek.

Watch as Steve Perez, a friend of Save Anaheim, lets the other committee members know where Sandy Day and Keith Olesen stand on the issue of districting:

Here is Sandy Day, who we loving refer to as the Cheerleader of Crony Capitalism, voicing her distaste for district elections at an August 2012 council meeting:

"It breaks my heart that today is a day when so much emphasis is placed on skin color,” said resident Sandy Day, referring to the contention that Latinos are underrepresented. I want five council members accountable to me, not just one.”

Keith Olesen - is making demeaning comments about your neighbors on the committee an example of exemplifying the spirit of Mayor Tait's "Hi Neighbor" program?


Democratic Party supports districting. . . .

DPOC Calls On The City Of Anaheim To Enact Elections By Single-Member Districts 
 
Santa Ana, CA – 2/21/2013 – The Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) calls on Anaheim to enact elections by single-member district for the 2014 election cycle. 
 
In June 2012, Anaheim community leaders and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the City contending that Latinos are effectively shut out of the current electoral process.  Currently, council and mayoral elections are conducted through an “at-large” system.

Lord Pringle instructing Kris Murray on how to stop district elections with Jordan Brandman by his side. (click to enlarge)

 “The DPOC reaffirms the California Democratic Party’s support of single-member district elections in cases where underrepresented groups’ electoral success would be enhanced by the adoption of single-member districts. It is time for the City of Anaheim to settle the lawsuit and place a districting plan on the ballot as soon as possible,” stated DPOC Chair Henry Vandermeir.
 
Until the November 2012 election, at least three of the five members of the council lived in the eastern part of the city known as “Anaheim Hills.”  Moreover, the area of the city west of Euclid Street, known as “West Anaheim” and where more than 125,000 people live, has not had a resident elected to the council since 1998.
 
2012 DPOC- endorsed candidate and now Councilmember Jordan Brandman, has called for the City to move to single-member districts for the 2014 election cycle.
Vandermeir hopes that, “The entire Anaheim City Council will join Councilmember Brandman and others in calling for single-member district elections and develop a system that promotes equal representation among its residents.”
 

Kring supports 6 Council Districts

During a packed Los Amigo meeting, Anaheim councilwoman Lucille Kring stated that 6 council  districts is the best way to assure a strong voice for all communities in Anaheim.

Lucille Kring

Lucille Kring

Lucille Kring joins fellow Republican Mayor Tom Tait in his commitment to Latino civil rights and quite frankly the rights of all those disenfranchised by the council majority.  A majority more concerned with the pocketbooks of wealthy developers and Disney then the residents.

Murray and Eastman appoint DISNEY cronies

Today the list of appointments to the Anaheim Citizen Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement were announced.

Transient

Kris Murray and Gail Eastman have chosen folks closely connected to Disney and the interests of the business community.

Kris Murray chose:

Joseph Karaki

Joseph Karaki sits on the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee along with Disney lobbyist Carrie Nocella. The chamber strongly supports giving away TOT revenue to support their well connect business friends in the resort.

Joseph Karaki also donated $200 to Kris Murray's campaign in 2010.

Click to enlarge.

Gail Eastman chose:

Gloria Ma'ae 

Gloria Ma'ae sits on the SOAR advisory board along with council member Gail Eastman and GardenWalk Hotel developer Bill O'Connell.

(more to come)

Anaheim Hills vs. Anaheim

Source: The OC Register

The four council members from Anaheim Hills each raised more than $100,000 for their last elections, outspending their opponents by tens of thousands of dollars.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said he supports the creation of voting districts, pointing to the expense of running for office in an at-large system in a 50-square-mile city.

"You have to get votes from a population of 350,000 as opposed to 50,000," he said. "I think the district elections will connect people closer to their representative.... I think there's areas of our city that frankly deserve more attention."

Jordan Brandman has already raised $150,000.

The Liberal OC exposes Murray's plan

Below: Kris Murray on right with SOAR director Jill Kanzler.

Please read the full article here:

http://www.theliberaloc.com/2012/08/03/anaheim-councils-murray-wants-to-study-the-electoral-process-not-fix-it/

"Murray’s plan is simple, form a commission to study the electoral process in Anaheim so that they can ask the court to do nothing while they study the issue. Then in two years, once they’ve dragged the discussion on and on through a seemingly endless process of review,  they can put a Charter Amendment on the ballot in November of 2014 to establish districts in 2016. In effect they will give themselves another four years to continue the process of lining the pockets of Murray and Eastman’s developer buddies with free money from the taxpayers of Anaheim."