There is a fine line between conceit and arrogance. Conceit assumes that you know better than all others, that your way is best. Arrogance presumes not only that your way is best, but that the rest of us are ungrateful curs for not readily thanking you for that brilliant leadership. Arrogance rubs your nose in the funky-spot of the bad decisions made to the detriment of others. Arrogance was displayed with a hey-nonny at tonight’s Anaheim City Council meeting. [July 2, 2013]
Tonight a 3-2 vote of the Council majority, Eastman, Kring, Murray, essentially told the people of Anaheim “Up Yours.” There is just no other way to say it. OK perhaps substituting the F word… (which I did repeatedly while watching their arrogance on my computer screen but we won’t go there.)
Following through on their previous meeting’s discussion, they were now able to agendize the Santa Ana model of voting, to be put on the upcoming ballot. As usual, the mild-mannered man we voted to lead us as the independently elected Mayor tried to inject some level of wisdom into the discussion, and as usual the deliberate, intentional stubbornness of the majority prevailed. Mayor Tait pointed out that what they were offering was a “choice” between the At-Large system we have now or the At-Large system they are promoting, which really is no choice at all. Oh, and by the way, it is not really a Charter change, because it is really not “District” elections; thus voting for this on a ballot is superfluous because the change can simply be enacted by Ordinance. But they voted 3-2, Tait and Brandman against. Then they put the REAL Districts up as the next Agenda item, and while Tom Tait challenged them to explain why leaders would not allow voters to actually have a say in how we will be governed, they arrogantly voted…surprise! 3-2, Brandman and Tait voting for Districts, Eastman, Kring and Murray voting against.
I have to echo the thoughts of Mayor Tait. Why would any leader in a truly free society not allow their constituents to choose how we are to be governed? And because I am nowhere near as nice a person as Tom Tait, I will answer that rhetorical question:
I think their stranglehold on the election system of Anaheim is rooted in fear, a fear so deep it wakes them up at night, sweating, panicked. They know — despite the assurances of their PR team and Curt Pringle and Lucy Dunn — how utterly resented they are in some areas of Anaheim. And after the latest hypocrisy that resentment may very well turn to hatred. They do not dare allow us a voice or our shouts will be heard out to San Bernardino, with the echo of “Throw the Bums OUT!”
So they cling to the last vestiges of power they have left, like an abusive boyfriend standing in front of the door after the battered woman has finally had enough, snarling that we are not going anywhere until THEY say we can go. They have no clue that the relationship is over, that barring the door just makes us all that much more determined to get out. They are too self-centered to understand that the only way to win that relationship back is not to beat their love into submission, but to shower, shave, swap the stained wife-beater tank for a shirt and tie, and maybe get a job. Instead of buying flowers they pay for ads in the local paper, or email blasts congratulating themselves on the wisdom of what they have done on our behalf. It’s not enough to walk all over the people of Anaheim, they have the stones to demand that we also learn to like it.
What makes me nuttier than my most liberal of neighbors is what their behavior does to the Republican party. This is the face of conservative politics for many of my neighbors. The crony capitalism of Curt Pringle, the policy-wonk speech about nothing that numbs the ears when listening to lifetime-staffer Kris Murray drone on about getting computers for Ponderosa’s library, as if to say “look at all I do for poor kids, why don’t you love me?” Lucille Kring’s backflips, depending on who last wrote her a debt reduction check, and Gail Eastman’s insensitive public statements – the gift that keeps on giving (as long as you are a blogger looking for a headline or the ACLU looking for evidence for court.)
These people do NOT represent the Republican party’s standards, despite their status as endorsed candidates. And yet, they are the public face of the party, as the only in-person example many of my neighbors will ever know. So it is little wonder that my neighborhood in Central Anaheim, tarted up with the moniker of “historic district” but really just gentrified inner city, has been drifting to the left since the Gray Davis recall, with wider gaps gaining in every subsequent election.
It is the detested behavior of the “Let them eat cake” crowd wearing their GOP lapel pins that is handing my neighborhood over to the liberals, and even conservatives are leaving the party in droves with Decline to State voters becoming the fastest growing segment of Anaheim’s voter registration. It is this heartless, relentless pursuit of growing government and taxes for the benefit of their buddies that makes the left dig in their heels that much harder and makes the right hide in shame, muttering “I knew them not” while slinking out of the garden. And it is that hated behavior, NOT the ACLU or Los Amigos, which will hand Central Anaheim over to the liberal wingnuts, never to be colored red again.
There is hope, if those brave leaders in Central Committee will stand up, grab these spoiled children by the scruff of the neck, and make it clear that they have sullied the good name of the party of Reagan. Should the GOP of Orange County find the courage to defend and promote the one truly principled, conservative leader on that dais, the one who actually resonates and connects with residents from all backgrounds, we could win some of those votes back, or at least prevent further slide to the left. But when we get Scott Baugh serving on Kris Murray’s host committee alongside general fund-gobbling union leaders like Kerry Condon, what hope is there for rescuing what is left of our conservative reputation? Is there even a Baugh Manifesto anymore? Or is it simply the Baugh gentle-but-non-binding suggestion?
I have to wonder how long the arrogance will last, once the judge gets a hold of tonight’s video, and witnesses the smug satisfaction of people completely out of control with power hold tightly to their control of power. I think the Anaheim City Council majority just handed the lawsuit, the City coffers, and a future election cycle, to the ACLU. Now Matt Cunningham can use his Chamber of Commerce-funded hate festival to blame Jose Moreno and Amin David when we are forced to lower the flag over our castle, but the reality is that they would have no support for this lawsuit if some segment of the population did not, on some level, agree with them. This lawsuit would not have built the momentum it has gained on both left and right, if this leadership currently in place and following in the footsteps of 2 terms of Masters of the Universe (beta test) had not been treading on our freedoms for years in the name of economic development that looks more like the system of serfs on tenant farms than American entrepreneurship.
Forgive me if for tonight I am bitter, and tired. Tonight my leaders (four of whom I have campaigned for at one time or another, all of whom have been guests in my home) completely blew the opportunity to show American citizens the courtesy of allowing us to participate in the most basic and sacred of our rights-the right to vote for how we will be governed.
Those who rule with arrogance rule from a position of fear…and I hope that Eastman, Murray, and Kring all take a moment to consider WHY they fear the voters of Anaheim might want to remove them from office if given a chance for our votes to truly count. That would be well worth thinking about…
[photos of Murray and Eastman by Chris Prevatt, Liberal OC]