Retired Judges Assemble to Initiate Anaheim’s Redistricting Process; Five Meeting Dates Set


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From left to right: Judges James Jackman of Orange, Nancy Wieben Stock of Fullerton, Vice-Chair Judge Stephen Sundvold of Placentia, Judge Thomaas Thrasher of Villa Park, and their Chait Justice Ed Wallin of Anaheim itself.

Your Advisory Committee on Electoral Districts!  From left to right: Judges James Jackman of Orange, Nancy Wieben Stock of Fullerton, Vice-Chair Stephen Sundvold of Placentia, Thomaas Thrasher of Villa Park, and their Chair Justice Ed Wallin of Anaheim, getting up to speed on using the Council Chambers microphone system.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard more requests for information about what happened at a public meeting that I have in the hours since the inaugural meeting of the Anaheim’s Advisory Committee on Electoral Districts.  So, well aware of the narrow scope of the likely audience for this one and the stinging repartee that it no doubt headed my way for writing about it to slake my friends’ inexorable search for knowledge, I will tell you the story.

First: they met.  Most of what you need to know is in the photo caption.  Most of what isn’t there can be found on the brand new page on Anaheim.net, which will be found at www.anaheim.net/districts.

It seems like a decent and well-intentioned group of volunteer public servants — and I suspect that, by the end, some of us may regret that all of their efforts are merely going to be advisory.  But, the better job they do, the harder it will be for the Council to change their result.

The Committee was guided through the process by City Clerk Linda Andal, getting a rare chance to appear in the Council Chambers in more than a cameo role and doing a good job of keeping the jurists on track.  They were also assisted by Ben DeMaio, a former Counsel with the County of Orange who had an air about him of being tasked to keep close tabs on the process, and a competent-seeming demographer from San Diego named Justin Levitt.

Levitt’s report was quite helpful in introducing the legal and technical issues at hand between now and early October, when the report must be finalized and submitted to the Council.  With this meeting, the Committee entered the second stage of its process, which goes beyond “getting ready” to “getting going” before reaching “getting everything done.”

Part one of this stage involves getting information from the public about what they care about, which when it comes to districting largely involves identifying their “communities of interest.”  In other words, if you live at the intersection of South and West streets — ha ha, trick hypothetical, they don’t intersect! — who else nearby you do you consider to be the people with whom you share your concerns about what is happening in the city, so that you ought to be part of the same voting district.  It could be people with whom you share recreational or shopping facilities, ethnic or political ties, or whatever else strikes you as a reasonable answer to that question.

So: you’re going to go to their next few meetings and tell them what you think about that.  Or, you aren’t — if the future meetings are going to be like this one was, the turnout will not be overwhelming.  (But hopefully that will change.)

All meetings, thus far, as set for 6:30 p.m., but they are trying to vary the days and may eventually have a Saturday meeting or two for those who have difficulty making it otherwise.  The first three meetings are on May 27, June 4, and June 9; the June 4 meeting is tentatively scheduled to be somewhere outside in the wild community somewhere, such as the Western part of the City.  Then the demographer will start to prepare his proposals in light of community feedback, and these will be presented at two meetings on July 1 (in Council Chambers) and July 8 (where they are aiming for a site in South or East Anaheim), prior to the neighborhood Council meetings in the third week of July.

Over the next month or so, at a minimum, people will be allowed (even encouraged) to submit their own districting proposals.  The City has set up a software program that you can use to do this.  If you take on the challenge, you will assign “census block groups” to six districts, using a map like this as a guide:

Anaheim Whole City Map for Districting

Because these maps will be the first ever used to set up Anaheim’s city voting districts, their influence is expected to be especially strong.  They will be used in elections through the 2020 election cycle as well as special elections up until the 2022 general election.

I spent quite a few joyful hours romping with the system since it was announced last night — and it’s pretty cool.  (I’m not showing you them yet — soon, it will be soon.)  So good luck, figure out your communities of interest, and get going!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)