Will SoCal Insider host Rick Reiff invite Good Government activist and DA candidate, Greg Diamond, onto his show? He certainly should.
Last Labor Day weekend, the news about an upcoming Angel’s Stadium lease negotiation raised suspicions among many activists in Anaheim. At the following Council meeting a pair of negotiators abruptly proposed leasing Angels’ owner Arte Moreno 155 acres for 66 years at $1 annually, along with several other outrageously generous offers. These negotiators’ forceful manner in challenging Mayor Tait’s objections was typical of negotiators trying to get the best deal for their client. The problem was that, even though they were nominally the City’s negotiators, they behaved as though they were representing the team owner, not the City!
The activists left the meeting up in arms, and the rest is history. This ragtag group, forming themselves as CATER, has successfully challenged the blatant diversion of municipal resources to developers and lobbyists. In the name of “job creation”, the majority of the city council influenced by the powerful lobbyist Curt Pringle, his firm Pringle & Associates, the Chamber of Commerce and the Disney’s support group SOAR have become what the activists aptly call a “kleptocracy”, a government characterized by rampant greed and corruption. In the words of one of the activists, the president of the police union is their praetorian guard.
Business, union leaders and their political allies benefiting from shady deals have unleashed a revenge attack on CATER. A combination of pro-business democrats and crony capitalist republicans targeted the group’s lawyer, Greg Diamond. As a result, he was removed as vice-chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC.) His DA candidacy seems to have been another factor in his removal, as several influential Democratic officials are happy with their relationship with current DA Tony Rackauckas.
Greg has earned a reputation for his politics and style. He has injected a much needed alternative vision in Orange County, where the sharpest, most well-educated political commentators are overwhelmingly conservatives. This intellectual hegemony has prolonged the Republicans’ dominance. Diamond forcefully pursued a principled agenda inside the DPOC, one meant to benefit the middle class and disenfranchised communities. At the same time he has shown a sophisticated combination of principled politics with a pragmatic non-partisan attitude, when common values are shared with people of different political philosophies.
His role in presenting the arguments against the illegal financing procedures to expand the convention center, and his contribution to questioning the Angels’ negotiation terms have been widely recognized. The withdrawal of Citibank may result in a better plan to finance the center’s expansion, as the long term financial responsibilities and benefits for the residents will be clearly stated. The Angels debate has finally resulted in an appraisal of the land being offered to Moreno, which has in turn encouraged the need to resume negotiations on fair terms for both the city and the Angels. Greg’s participation in the veterans group lobbying for a veterans cemetery in Irvine has earned him accolades. He has also articulated the concerns of the Anaheim’s poor neighborhoods on their distrust of the APD.
He has been criticized for both, politics and style. He has been nick-named the “Bloviator”, due to his long expositions on a variety of subjects. Many are put off or bored with his posts, which keep them from actually getting his message. This has also become an easy excuse for his adversaries to avoid discussing content. His debates with the OC Weekly‘s Gustavo Arellano and R Scott Moxley have been colorful, on issues ranging from district elections to the role of the alternative media. He became the punching bag of the now-defunct FFFF blog, partly on his dissenting views on the Kelly Thomas case.
His politics is perceived by many as too partisan when dealing with political adversaries or issues of political principles. His style has been criticized as pompous, self-centered, always having the ultimate correct position on a discussion, always having to prove that he made the best decision even when he’s been defeated or proven wrong. Even his sense of humor is criticized. Some consider him an establishment apologist due to his dismissal of third political parties.
He has garnered the ire and respect of both liberals and conservatives.
An example of this recognition was posted by conservative commenter “Beelzebub” in the Voice of OC, on May 21:
…I am either for voting for Mr. Greg Diamond for DA or writing-in Elmer Fudd. I haven’t decided yet. It’s really up to Mr. Diamond and what progress I see from him in the final couple weeks prior to the election. I don’t mail-in my absentee ballot until a day or 2 prior to the election. So Mr. Diamond may get my vote if I think he’s worth more than Elmer Fudd. And his recent victory over the Wall Street bankers in Anaheim raised his value IMO. Elmer still has a slight lead. But with a final push over the next couple weeks Mr. Diamond could be victorious with me and earn my vote. That’s yet to be seen.
SoCAL Insider is a popular TV program broadcasted from Orange County. The OC Weekly recognized it as “the best local public affairs program.” It is hosted by conservative Rick Reiff. According to the SoCAL Insider’s website, he features interviews with newsmakers and trendsetters, spirited panel discussions, and in-depth field reports. Reiff is also the editor of the Orange County Business Journal, and was, just like Greg, once named one of the Weekly’s “Scariest People in Orange County” (for his position on El Toro airport.)
Greg would make an fascinating guest. His challenge to Tony Rackauckas is a good enough reason, as nobody else had dared to challenge this complacent incumbent during the last 12 years. Diamond also has the quality to engage in a spirited discussion, and can be a trend setter on government transparency and accountability, on exposing government corruption, and on formulating sensible policies to foment economic and community growth.
Rick Reiff should invite Greg Diamond onto his program. ASAP. Before June 3.