Lucille Kring and Tom Tait Spar over District Elections. OJB says Yes on L & M!


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We strained forward in our seats to hear tiny Lucille Kring, speaking in the hushed tones of a shocked gerbil, describe a nightmare dystopian vision of a future Anaheim under district elections:

“Let’s not fool ourselves, this is all about getting Democrats into power!  In a few years, under districts, this council will have a Democrat majority, because that’s what the voters in the flatlands want.  And you know what comes next…”  Then, in an oddly unemotive monotone, the mayoral candidate catalogued the horrors to come, the features of an Anaheim beyond recognition:  “A Disney gate tax.  A living wage!  Unionized hotel workers!  Rent control!”

I wonder how many of those assembled Republicans (Wednesday night, at the Anaheim Republican Assembly meeting) thought uneasily to themselves, “If the majority of Anaheim voters want Democrats on the council, why aren’t there any?  And what is it about at-large elections that prevents the majority of Anaheim voters from getting the representation they prefer?  And is this right, and American, for us to hang on to a system that keeps the majority of Anaheim voters from getting the representation they prefer?  And are we not (if we fight against this reform) a sort of shrinking, dying aristocracy desperately staving off the day of our inevitable obsolescence?”

Or how many thought, “Is this necessarily so?  What if we Republicans had a few ideas and/or candidates that the Anaheim flatlanders liked?”  In any case, Mayor Tom Tait dismissed Lucille’s partisan fearmongering:  Partisanship is NOT the reason for the reform, and “So what if our Party loses a few seats, it’s not the end of the world, we’ll just have to try harder!”

As notable as the arguments was the difference in style between the Mayor and the wannabe-Mayor:  Lucille, having broken every promise of consequence she made before her election onto council, including the promise to support districting, weakly recited her newly-memorized anti-democratic talking points, a pintsized packmule unburdened by conscience or scruple.  While Tom, a man who has thought the issue through for several years and is absolutely sure where he stands, was able to comfortably and joyously extemporize.

Matt Cunningham’s Chamber-funded AnaheimBlog, while not widely read, seems to be the place where new arguments are tried out for the klepto class to use, in their efforts to keep the rest of Anaheim down.  And sure enough, all of Lucille’s talking points were ripped from that den of hackery: 

  • Districting is a leftist or Democrat scheme to get more power.
  • It will tear the city apart into competing fiefdoms.
  • You are better off now with 4 or 6 councilmembers you can talk to than you would be with just one.
  • And SOME cities that have district elections have gone bankrupt.

The Mayor made quick work of each of those canards.  Bankrupt cities:  Where’s the correlation?  There are cities with districts that have gone bankrupt, there are cities with districts that are doing just fine, and there are cities with at-large elections that have gone bankrupt.  The poster-child of bankruptcy, Detroit, has only just NOW switched to districts.  Before the bankruptcy, when Detroit’s elections were at large, it was impossible to get into government without wedding yourself to either big business or big labor.  Sound like a California city we know?

District elections will bring the people closer to their government, and bring the city closer together, insists the Mayor, and I agree with him.  When a governed area becomes too large, its officials naturally answer to the biggest power and money in that area, not to the people who elected them.  Tom named off example after example of all Anaheim’s resources going to the Resort District and the wealthy hills (which predictably led to denial from Lucille.)  West Anaheim Republicans stood up to attest to the truth of Tom’s claims.  “If California weren’t divided into assembly and senate districts, then Bob Huff [the senator representing Anaheim]  probably wouldn’t even take my call,” contended the Mayor.  “He’d be too busy paying attention to the rest of California.”

The Mayor went further:  “Our Founding Fathers gave us district elections.  It was after a lot of debate, and it was the right thing to do.  Yes, our states are districts.  If they hadn’t done that, then ALL of America’s affairs would be run by Wall Street, much more than they are now.  And when states became too large they were broken into districts as well.  And now it’s time for Anaheim.”  [As always my paraphrase.]

The Orange Juice Blog obviously agrees with Mayor Tait on this [and his position is the same as the other two mayoral candidates, Galloway and Fitzgerald.]  And we urge Anaheim to vote YES on both Measures L (district elections) and M (expanded Council.)


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.