The Moreno-Murray Radio Interview (Because I Can’t Access the July 2 Meeting Video)


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First — and tangentially — I’ve now been waiting for the video from the July 2 Anaheim City Council meeting for two weeks including holidays.  (I already downloaded the MP3, but it’s easier to find when people are speaking using the video.)  And, curious thing for such an important meeting, it doesn’t seem to be available to me. Apparently it’s “still processing.” Here’s what I get normally, on the left, and for this meeting, at right:

Anaheim -- videos of council meetings

Surely the City of Anaheim has no reason to make it harder for people to see what went on at the meeting where it rejected the Citizens Review Committee proposal to put real voter-residency districts on the ballot, right? I mean, this IS the meeting where they saw and commented on the Demographer’s Report! There must be some innocent error.

Is this happening to you too?  Will people now need Microsoft Silverlight (which crashes my desktop) in order to see the recordings of council meetings?  Check in and let us all know whether you’re getting the video for July 2, whether you get the video for June 18, and whether you have Silverlight installed.

Now onto another radio program.  If you’re interested, you’ll want to listen to the first 16 minutes.

On July 8, Dr. Jose Moreno and Councilwoman Kris Murray — wh0m not-at-all-happy-clown-like Gustavo Arellano described as “the two clowns that have emerged as the figureheads for each side of the argument” over Anaheim redistricting — took part in a joint interview on Warren Olney’s “To the Point” on KCRW.  I’ve embedded the audio recording above — but I know that most of you are not going to listen to it (and that those of you who are deaf can’t anyway.)  This is an important opportunity to compare and contrast the two political leaders and their causes; I think that a transcript will help us both understand and critique what is being said.

These quotes are transcribed, mostly but not entirely verbatim.  I tried to be fair to both Moreno and Murray in translating spoken language into written sentences.  I don’t think that making them verbatim would change much except to make them look like they were speaking less well due to, for example, the tendency to use “run-on sentences” when speaking, so I’ve broken long statements into sentences and added punctuation.  (In doing so, I think that I’m doing much more of a favor to Murray than to Moreno.  Listen and judge!)

To save time and space, in most cases I’m using Studs Terkel’s interview transcription technique here – presenting only the answers without Olney’s questions.  This seems to work just fine for the most part; where I include a summary of a question, it’s in bracketed italics.  (If anyone wants to volunteer to transcribe the entire interview verbatim, I’d be happy to substitute that for this.)

The numbers in brackets are the points to which I plan to return in my comments below.

KCRW’s “TO THE POINT” with Warren Olney, JULY 8, 2013

MORENO: We have an at-large voting system in Anaheim.  We know historically an at-large voting system tends to dilute the vote on minority protected classes here in California as well as nationally.  So what we’ve seen in the 150-plus year history of Anaheim is we’ve had three Latinos elected over that period.  They’ve been recently elected, but nonetheless they were folks elected who were tied to the larger polarized voting element of Anaheim.

The controlling elements of the city tend to be the corporate tourism of Anaheim, as with many resort areas.  You have big money interests, political interests, who have a huge stake financially in assuring that the City Council protects their interests.  So what we’ve seen in Anaheim is that it increasingly costs a lot more money for regular folks to run for office – anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 to run a campaign – so what ends up happening is that if you’re not tied into representing the monied interests of the city, you get very little financial support to run for office.  In an at-large system, you can’t get your message out to 300,000+ residents in Anaheim, so you end up succumbing to the inadequacy of funding.  As a result, the vote is polarized along racial terms here in Anaheim.

[Having districts] would make it less expensive to run, but also it would allow voters in neighborhoods to understand who the candidates are, to really engage them in what their platforms are, to really reflect the interests and needs of that neighborhood – and who could best articulate those needs to work with other City Council members than Council members from across the city, to bring the city together.

I live right in the central part of Anaheim, 92801, about one mile from Disneyland between the 5 and 91 freeways.  We have pockets of our zip code here who are active, engaged voters, but the majority of the zip code is relatively low income.  [In our] Anaheim City School District, 86% of our children are low-income children and 86% of the children are Latino.  What we see here in our neighborhood, as well as throughout the city, is that we have high-density neighborhoods, which is surround the neighborhood that I’m in.  We see that those neighborhoods are often neglected when it comes to decisions made by the city.

For example, recently the City Council appointed a Charter Review Committee, which is essentially the constitution of the city, to review all elements of governance for the city.  [All five] of the members appointed by the City Council were Anglo.  One [Curt Pringle] pulled out because of other interests.  They replaced that person with a Latino member.  Nonetheless, there are three zip codes represented in that Charter Review Committee.  Essentially, 45% of the residents of Anaheim are not represented … [in] the constitutional process for our city.

Anaheim Hills is not a monolithic area, but nonetheless they do tend to garner more resources per capita.  For every 50,000 residents in the hills, there are 1.8 libraries.  In the flatlands, it’s less than 1.8.  For every 50,000 residents in the hills, there are 208 acres of parks.  In the flatlands, it’s 59 acres.  In the flatlands about $156 was spent per person on community resources in 2004 compared to $170 per person spent on community resources in the hills.

MURRAY: I think it’s important to underscore that services are spread across our city across the board.  [1] The prioritization over the past few years has actually been in the downtown, central, and western parts of our city [2], in particular the budget that was just adopted a couple of weeks ago unanimously by our council. [3]  We are re-investing millions of dollars in our Downtown and Western areas with a high priority on parks and libraries and additional community policing.  [4] So I think it’s a misnomer to say that there are increased services in one part of the city over the other.

This city, Anaheim, like many other cities across the state of California, have just weathered a deep recession.  City services were stretched very thin.  [5] To look at a narrow window over the recession versus the length of history is just not an accurate assessment to make.[6]

[Q: So are Prof. Moreno’s figures wrong?]  I think you can look at statistics in a number of different ways to get a desired outcome.  [7] I will say that we are putting tremendous prioritization on our downtown and central parts of the city today.  [8]  I’ve also asked for the city manager to come back within the next 30 days with a full assessment of all city services and how they’re allocated by community so we actually have that benchmark, and we’ll know shortly.  But I believe that the information will come back that there is a tremendous amount of equalization of services across our city.  [9]  What would, currently, today, with this latest budget the preponderance of our focus in downtown, central, and underserved communities.

MORENO: It’s ironic to say that we can have whatever outcome we want based on statistics because Councilman Murray relied on statistics at the Council meeting to determine that actually Latinos do vote folks into office.  So she can’t have it both ways.  [10]  … I think things are getting better in the sense that people are becoming more aware of what’s happening in the city.

[Q: But are more resources going into underserved Latino areas?]  There’s certainly more rhetoric to that effect.  We’re all looking forward to the report that Councilman Murray requested. [11] That actually serves the point for us as to why at-large elections are so difficult for us.  Those reports should be done annually and on a regular basis to make sure that all parts of the city are served consistently each year.  But that report is only being requested now by Councilman Murray even though she’s been on there for two budget cycles. [12]  So really, what’s happened is that resources maybe began to flow, but we’re not yet clear if they’re sustainable – if they’re grant-based “soft money” or if they’re really general funds money coming to the neighborhoods. [13]

MURRAY: [Q: How does having at-large elections with candidates coming from different districts solve the problems that Moreno identifies?]  I think it does on a number of points.  The Council action that was adopted last week kept faith with our Citizen’s Commission in that they recommended several things as regards our election model. [14]

Their first recommendation was either districts or at-large be put before the voters [15], however more than a majority of the members came to the Council at our last public hearing and said that they did not support single member districts.[16]  So the support was not there on the Citizens’ Commission from a majority standpoint [17], but nonetheless we chose to move forward with a district system that is adopted in the state of California that sets up residency requirements so candidates will run within each residential district area [18], but residents across the city will be able to vote and also have a Council that’s attributable and accountable to them as a body as a whole.[19]  So we kept faith with our Citizens Commission as well as with the tremendous amount of feedback we’ve received from residents.[20]

In addition the Commission moved to ask the Council to put before voters and increase in the Council.  They said “of six or eight”; we chose six.[21]  And then last to keep the Mayor elected at large.  So, we did that as well.[22]

[Q: Is this designed to keep the corporate tourism interests on top?]

(1) It ensures the neighborhood representation that many of the people requesting districts are calling for.  It ensures that neighborhood representation is there and that geographic representation is even in each Council election.[23]  Even though the pendulum has swung back and forth, today the majority of our members live in the flatter areas of the city.  In some councils previously the majority have lived in the hills.   This will ensure certainty geographically and by neighborhood across the city.[24]

[Q: Do you feel that you represent people who live in different parts of the city from where you live?]  I absolutely do.[25]  In fact, it has been the high prioritization of my tenure on the Council which is just a couple years now.  I have focused tremendously on our Downtown areas,[26] starting with our Ponderosa community and partnering with our schools on our education programs there, working with light (?) eradication programs[27] and increasing code enforcement [28] and making sure there has been a reprioritization for funding of our parks and libraries in our downtown communities.[29]  So yes, I absolutely do feel I’m attributable to them[30] and I don’t feel that the color of my skin[31] is a barrier to the public service of all communities in Anaheim.[32]

MORENO: I’d question that record and I’d invite Councilman Murray to walk the neighborhoods that she says she represents so well and see if they even know her name, see if they actually know what she has done.[33]  I think that a lot of the things we are talking about are simply about “do the neighbors know who’s representing them?”, “do they have access to those folks?”, and “are their interests really being considered duly at the table?”  A lot of the measures that have been outlined that have happened here in Anaheim in some of our most distressed neighborhoods are often reactionary budgetary items that have occurred.  I think our staff work diligently in the city, they work really hard with minimal resources to serve our neighborhoods, but the priorities haven’t been there in a sustainable way.  If you live in a neighborhood, you know whether the police are treating citizens with respect, because your neighbors tell you that the next day.  If you live in a neighborhood you know whether the parents walking their kids to school feel safe and secure.[34]

MURRAY: I have walked our neighborhoods and I have been engaged in our neighborhoods.[35]  It’s unfortunate to make allegations that aren’t substantiated.[36]  We have all of our communities and particularly those in downtown that have been afflicted by increasing gang violence that are asking us for increased public safety and we’ve made that commitment.[37]  During the recession we had to generalize services but we are reinstituting community policing and a number of youth programs that I do believe will make a difference.[38]

(Done!  Whew!   Here’s something for you to enjoy after you listen to the interview and before you get to my footnote-coded analysis, just beneath it.)

 

[1] One interesting exercise in politics is to see how someone can be saying something technically true that is substantively misleading.  So: what does “services are spread across our city across the board” actually mean?  Pretty much nothing.  What it implies – equality of service provision down to the neighborhood household level – is almost certainly false.

[2] When she says “downtown” and “central” – does she mean the resort area?  Is she talking about the neighborhoods where people live – or primarily the commercial interests in and around the Resort District, which is in the flatlands?  And how does the “last few years” claim fit with the following paragraph?

[3] Hang on – “the last few years, particularly the budget that has not yet been implemented?”  Is this consistent with “we haven’t been doing anything for the neighborhoods, but now that we’re being called on the GardenWalk Giveaway and the city had a riot and such we’ve suddenly reformed ourselves – and that should count”?

[4] “A priority on parks and libraries.”  I’d like to see numbers.  Wouldn’t you like to see numbers?

[5] That raises the question of the spending on the GardenWalk Giveaway and other similar items quite strongly, doesn’t it?

[6] Fair point in theory.  So does this mean that the numbers are significantly different if we look at the “broader window” of history?  (She did check – right?)  And by the way – if this argument it true, why did the poorer neighborhoods where households were already hit most deeply by the recession take the worst hits in city services?

[7] No wonder she thinks so, given the Demographer’s Report!

[8] Could she swear, right now, that she’s not going to later say that she was talking about services to businesses rather than to residents?

[9] “Equalization”?  Really?

[10] She’s a Master of the Universe, Dr. Moreno.  Of course she can have it both ways!

[11] As well as to the termination of whatever staff member doesn’t produce the results that Councilwoman Murray wants.

[12] If this is true, then she really has no basis to say what has been happening over the past few years.  How does she do so without such a report?

[13] This is a critical point.  If the just-passed budget includes some “one-time” expenditures based on grants, then it does not prove anything about the current structure of the Council being sufficient for the needs of Latinos.  Watch to see if the Murrjority addresses it.

[14] As you can already tell, this comment is going to be an absolute master class in misleading and outright lying.

[15] “Districts” means something.  It doesn’t mean “candidate-residency” districts alone; it means “voter-residency” districts.  If what Murray claims the Commission proposed was a real move to “districts,” it could not have been accomplished with an ordinance.  She knows this.

[16] Three points: (1) It doesn’t matter whether they personally support it.  What matters is whether it gets onto the ballot.  (2) The CRC was stacked by the Council with people who would vote the Council’s way – to leave the Hills and the commercial tourism interests in control! – and they still ended up with only a tie vote: 5 for real districts, 5 for no change.  (3) The delay in the hearing before Judge Miller was to allow to city to enact a real reform, such as putting real districts on the ballot.  Anaheim taxpayers will be paying lots of money for Murray’s lie.

[17] Nor was there majority support for the status quo, and the CRC barely discussed a Santa Ana style system at all.

[18] As a matter of legal definition, these are not voting districts.  (The contempt for voters on display here is amazing.  Tait explained this to her at length on July 2)  That such a system exists in Santa Ana and Newport Beach and the Orange Unified School District doesn’t change that.  What is important is that, in similar lawsuits, court have specifically and explicitly rejected the adequacy of such a plan.

[19] The entire point of Murray’s proposal is to keep each member of the Council “attributable and accountable” solely to the majority in the city, not to the various parts of the city.

[20] Those residents to whom they’ve chosen to listen, anyway.

[21] Anaheim has 330,000 residents.  Six districts means one representative for each 55,000 voters – an area about the size of Fountain Valley.  You’re going to read a lot soon about “neighborhoods.”  Tell me: is 55,000 people “a neighborhood”?

[22] Does it strike you that leaving something the same when no one said it should change is not actually a concession?

[23] Again: 55,000 people per district.  Does this ensure anything even approaching “neighborhood representation”?  Which is worse: that she believes this or that she doesn’t?

[24] To the extent that this makes any sense, it’s not even true.  She doesn’t note the possibility of gerrymandering.  One could draw each of the six districts so that it includes part of Anaheim Hills, like strips of a banana peel all being joined up at the same area.  In voter-residency districting, this would be terrible for Anaheim Hills: a district could have 10% AH and 90% other, and the “other” voters would likely win.  But in these non-district districts, it’s fine – because the whole city votes on each race.

[25] Do you get the sense that maybe she’s not the best judge of this?  (The court certainly will.)

[26] How much of this is commercial?  To the extent that it’s residential, how much of the area in need does it cover?  It’s pretty easy to create a nice little “show” area for a few lucky people while neglecting the rest.  How much was spent here as opposed to on corporate giveaways?

[27] Or “rat” eradication?  I couldn’t make out what she was saying.

[28] One can “increase code enforcement” in ways that put a greater burden on landlords to keep property up to standards (such as making sure that rails on stairways are secured), OR in ways that put a greater burden on residents (such as making sure that there aren’t more people living in an apartment than is allowed and forcing some people onto the street.)  Which does she mean?

[29] “A reprioritization of funding” with no numbers offered.  Couldn’t she come up with anything more vague?

[30] So far as I know, attributable doesn’t mean accountable.

[31] Look!  This is an actual instance of playing the race card!  No one is saying that white people CAN’T do a good job.

[32] No, it’s not a barrier.  She’s just not doing it — despite the absence of a barrier.

[33] She’s going to need a really good map and a guide.

[34] Again, I think that Moreno is being too generous here.  With six districts, there still won’t be much representation at the neighborhood level.  Eight districts gets you into the ballpark.  Ten would be better.

[35] Which neighborhoods are those?  Engaged how?  Maybe she has records she can show us.

[36] Wow.  She says this after celebrating the Demographer’s Report?

[37] OK, this is important: one thing that conservatives like to do is to spend money on public safety to the exclusion of social services.  Telling a poor community “Oh, you’re bad off?  We’ll send you a bunch more cops to keep you in line” is not helping them improve their lives.  Extra need for policing may be appropriate, but it should not be counted along the monies that a city spends on parks, recreation, libraries, etc.  It is not a substitute.

[38] “Are reinstituting” = “the process has begun.”  “A number of” = “as few as one.”  “I do believe” = “I want you to think”

OK, anyone want to help me transcribe the audio of what Murray says at the July 2 meeting?  As I recall, it’s even worse!


About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney and General Counsel of CATER. His anti-corruption work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, leading them to work with the Democratic Party of Orange County Chair and other co-conspirators (who had long detested the internal oversight his presence provided) to remove him from the position of DPOC North Vice Chair of in violation of party rules and any semblance of due process. He also runs for office sometimes. Unless otherwise specifically stated, none of his writings prior to that lawless putsch ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Beautiful Bountiful Brea, but while he may brag about it he generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for candidates including Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and (except where noted) without compensation.