Mayor Tait sets the record straight regarding Kris Murray's Register editorial

Read the transcript below after watching this must see video.

The City of Anaheim is currently engaged in a lawsuit regarding the issue of whether to continue electing leaders at large, or whether we will enact district elections. Last Thursday, Councilmember Murray wrote an editorial in the Orange County Register, which misled the people of Anaheim by sharing information about this issue that was inaccurate and untrue. I will give Councilmember Murray the benefit of the doubt and assume that she did not knowingly lie to the public; instead, I will assume that she simply misread the plain words of a state statute and was reckless with her printed words. As Mayor, I believe it is my duty to speak up when I think the people of Anaheim are not getting accurate information, and I would like to set the record straight. 

Councilmember Murray falsely stated in her editorial “As it turns out, 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.”

Councilmember Murray misstated AB 1344 in her editorial to readers of the Orange County Register. The section of AB 1344 that Councilmember Murray refers to is Government Code Section 34458 (b), where it refers to a mandate to hold at least two public hearings. The law is referring specifically to “a proposal to adopt a charter.”

Again, the section is addressing the situation where a general law city proposes to adopt a charter. The statute simply does not apply to a proposal to amend the charter of an existing charter law city.

The intent of the law, which Ms. Murray did point out, was to keep public officials from slipping a new charter past voters without public hearing, as they did in Bell. Anaheim has been a charter city for some time, and the requirements to amend the city charter by placing an initiative on the ballot for a vote, are not the same as the requirements for a brand new charter.

Incidentally, the City of Santa Ana had a charter amendment on the ballot last election and did not conduct two public meetings prior to placing it on the ballot. They complied with the law.

And, if last November we had placed my proposed charter amendment on the ballot for Anaheim voters to decide, we would have also complied with the law.

In falsely stating that the city would have violated state law if the council followed my proposal to put the question of districting to the voters, Councilmember Murray misinformed the Register readers. In referring, by innuendo, that my attempt to place the question on the ballot was in any way similar to the situation in Bell, was not only false, but I believe, an attempt to damage my name and credibility. In addition, Councilmember Murray’s, at best reckless statements, also damaged the professional reputation of our good city staff who facilitated putting the item on the agenda.

I tolerate the personal attacks because frankly, I believe I have the truth on my side. I am not here to be popular or even particularly liked. I am up here to do the right thing for the people of Anaheim.

But I very much care when someone elected to public office uses the media access granted to them based on their position as a public servant, and then abuses that access by sharing falsehoods to the people they are sworn to govern.

I believe that Councilmember Murray needs to submit a retraction in the Register to set the record straight.