Jordan Brandman’s Bald-faced Districting Lies


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

.

.

.

jordan lying 1

Anaheim councilman Jordan Brandman has been unusualy friendly to me lately.

I’d mentioned a couple times, though you may not remember, that for years he wouldn’t say a word to me, would pretend I wasn’t there.  Actually all he’d say was “I do not recall that incident.”  Once I complimented him on a guayavera he was wearing at some peace march and asked where he got it, and he really responded, “I do not recall that incident.”  I figured that’s what he’d been ordered to say to Mean Vern, and I’d heard that adherents of Curt Pringle are under strict instructions not to communicate with his critics, so I didn’t take it personal.

But then a little while back he started being really friendly with both me and Donna – smiling, waving from the dais, going out of his way to say hi.  And since this was not long after his coming out as gay, I sort of drew a connection there.  I thought maybe he was just more comfortable in his skin without having to carry that big secret around, and I also entertained the theory that:  Having defied Pringle (as I understand) by coming out, he felt free to break some of Curt’s other more onerous strictures, as long as he kept doing Curt’s IMPORTANT work.

Well, it’s pretty smart of a politician to be real friendly to a blogger.  It makes it difficult for the blogger to be as SCATHING as he or she needs to be when, for example, the great bulk of a politician’s work consists of robbing hundreds of millions from future generations on the most bullshit of pretexts.  But then, it gets easier again to be SCATHING when a blogger has to sit there, twice in a week, and hear that friendly politician tell the most BALD-FACED LIES, lies that they KNOW you know are lies, with perfect fake sincerity.

The biggest of those lies were about:

Last Holiday Season’s Districting Sabotage.

jordan lying 2Jordan’s actions from last November 17 until January 12 regarding Anaheim’s new voting-districts map and its voting “sequencing” (which districts get to go first in 2016, which have to wait till 2018) were witnessed by hundreds in person, by thousands on television, made it into numerous news stories and blog posts, led to his unanimous censure by the Democratic Party of OC, and still exist on video.  Which makes it breathtaking that he can try to change the whole story, right in front of people who were there.

When questioned about it NOW by Democrats at both the Anaheim Democratic Club meeting August 6 and a OC Young Democrats forum a few days later – (and remember, districting in Anaheim was strongly endorsed by the Democratic Party of OC as being the right thing, legally required, and good for Democrats and Latinos) – Jordan claims that the following is ALL he did, and that he has “no regrets”:  

  • Some time between the meetings of Nov. 17 and Dec. 8, jordan lying 3he came into receipt, during closed session, of the troubling information that the People’s Map’s District 3, the one district that was supposed to be the Latino-majority district, had dipped down in the latest census to just-under 50% Latino.  
  • At the Dec. 8 meeting, unable to let the public OR interested Latino voting-rights groups know this earth-shattering fact, but sure that it would leave the city wide open to more lawsuits, he selflessly and single-handedly (with his trusty klepto-Republican allies Kris Murray and Lucille Kring following his lead) stopped the process in its tracks, and moved to go back to the drawing board for a new map.  
  • And then JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT at the Jan. 12 meeting (insert Underpants-Gnomes ellipsis) he happily went back to embracing the People’s Map, with the people’s preferred voting sequencing, and we all lived happily ever after, for Jordan Brandman had SAVED THE DAY!

underpants gnomes

How much is missing, wrong or dubious in that explanation of how Jordan Brandman earned the unanimous condemnation of his party?  Let’s see…

1. Nov. 17: Shutting out District 3 and Dr. Moreno.

Well, for starters there was his first controversial move of November 17, which he just glosses over like it never happened, the move that actually earned him the DPOC censure later that month – his refusal, joined by his two klepto-Republican allies Kring and Murray, to let the most Latino district of all, District 3, (in which Jordan lives), vote in Presidential election year 2016.

The hated and dangerous Dr. Moreno.

The hated and dangerous Moreno.

This was a shocking new twist that NOBODY was expecting – so far, since the lawsuit finally being settled and Anaheim voters having resoundingly approved Measures L&M, everything was going smoothly – Oscar Reyes’ “People’s Map” had been approved by the five-judge panel and then unanimously by the Council, and strains of Kumbayah were heard floating through chambers and town.

When we showed up to the November 17 meeting to see which four districts would get to vote first in 2016, and which two would have to wait till 2018, nobody was sure which the lucky first four would be, but we figured they’d probably include the three Latino districts – the Latino majority 3 and the Latino plurality 4 and 5 – and FOR SURE it would have to include the most Latino district of all, #3.  After all, Latino under-representation was the whole legal basis behind the successful lawsuit, and the activists pushing for the reform were largely Latino.

But Jordan and his two allies had come armed with a pocketful of bogus reasons that District 3 should have to wait till 2018, and District 2 should go first.  Look! they cried.  Councilman James Vanderbilt is a Latino, cuz his ma is from Peru (which hardly anyone knew or could tell) and he lives in District 3 – thus, District 3 already DOES have Latino representation!

Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt.

Poor James, unaccustomed to being used as a Latino, protested in vain that he’d been elected AT LARGE by the whole city, NOT by District 3 whose first choice in the 2014 election had been Dr. José Moreno.  Too bad, the klepto majority had just decreed James Vanderbilt the Official District 3 Latino!

Also, the kleptos pointed out, it’d been a long long time since the area now known as District 2 had been represented on Council.  Well, that may be true, but nobody from District 2 had ever been heard to complain about that, unlike in the Latino areas of town – the Republicans that District 2 voted for generally won, no matter where they hailed from.  (I should also note how surreal it felt to be lectured on the spirit and purpose of district elections by Kring and Murray, who spent millions of our dollars fighting to stop it from even happening!)

Both pretty weak EXCUSES to make the most Latino district wait two more years, for a low-turnout, non-Presidential election year, for their chance to vote.  LET ALONE a compelling reason to INSIST on #2 over #3, over the near-universal outcry, opprobrium, and legal threats that immediately arose.  It was clear to all thinking observers that what was really happening was Jordan not wanting to run against the popular and effective Dr. Moreno in a Latino district this year; Jordan was according to many reports planning to move (in the likely event he lost the Congressional race he was in) from District 3 to District 2 where he would have no well-known opponents;  and Jordan’s handlers also wouldn’t have to worry about an activist Dr. Moreno on Council till 2018 at least.

occam's razor

Sorry if I’m boring you, you probably already know all this, because it only happened nine months ago.  But Jordan thinks you’ve forgotten.

2. November Aftermath:  Censure and Sputtering.

One of the immediate reactions to this brazen, petty and stubborn maneuver was a censure at the next Democratic Party of OC meeting, written by activist Jeff LeTourneau.  Passed unanimously with not one single Democrat speaking up in defense of Jordan’s actions, the resolution read:

JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF ORANGE COUNTY
MOTION TO CONDEMN COUNCILMEMBER JORDAN BRANDMAN

WHEREAS: On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, the Anaheim City Council, led by Democrat Jordan Brandman, voted to postpone elections in District 3, the city’s ONLY majority Latino District, until 2018 and

WHEREAS: This decision clearly obstructs the intent of decades of community activism and violates the spirit and intent of the recent settlement of the California Voting Rights Act lawsuit filed by Dr. Jose Moreno, Amin David and Consuelo Garcia which led to District Voting in order to politically enfranchise Anaheim’s Latino residents, and

WHEREAS: Justice Delayed is Justice Denied and by scheduling District 3 elections in an off- election year with historically lower Latino voter participation this action will further serve to suppress Latino political enfranchisement at a critical time in Anaheim’s move toward full equality.

LeTourneau.

LeTourneau.

BE IT RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Orange County does hereby condemn the actions of the Council majority of Brandman, Kring and Murray, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Democratic Party of Orange County does hereby urge Democratic Councilmember Jordan Brandman to support the Party Platform call for full enfranchisement of ALL voters by reversing his vote at the time of the second reading of the resolution.

Respectfully Submitted By:
Jeff LeTourneau
DPOC Delegate AD 55

And of course the pro-Jordan excuses kicked in on the two klepto-apologist blogs, Matt Cunningham’s Chamber-funded Anaheimblog, and Dan Chmielewski’s ironically named “Liberal OC,” the latter of which dutifully printed Jordan’s sputtering retort to his Party’s unanimous censure.

Chmielewski, Jordan's most reliable spinner.

Chmielewski, Jordan’s most reliable spinner.

That retort confirmed what most of us suspected – that Jordan’s refusal to let Anaheim’s most Latino district vote this year was based mainly on a petty personal feud with Dr. Moreno, outrageously stating that Moreno “believes he should be granted a seat on the Anaheim City Council without having to earn community support and work for it,” a textbook case of projection lampooned by Greg Diamond and others here.  It also included the pathetically truthy spin that Latinos should be happy they got districts 4 & 5, because they have a 68% and 62% Latino population respectively – knowingly irrelevant figures that include children and non-citizens, while the relevant “Citizens of Voting Age Population” (CVAP) of those districts is 47% and 44%. 

Meanwhile the community prepared for a showdown at the next Council meeting, at which an estimated 300 pro-democracy activists planned to show up to either get Jordan to change his vote or take to the streets.  Notice how EVERYTHING I’ve related so far has been WIPED CLEAN from Jordan’s current version of events.

3. The Dec. 8 Shark-Jump

12-8-2015 crowds 1

Here’s an instructive contrast in both style and respect for the public:  First chance Councilman Vanderbilt had at the Dec. 8 meeting, he announced that he was planning to move to District 2 (closer to his work) and run from there in whatever year, 2016 or 18, thus depriving the kleptos of one of their main arguments against District 3 getting to vote this year.

Jordan, on the other hand, a lover of theater and being in control of things, made the hundreds of concerned voters wait for hours to see if he would relent and let District 3 vote, knowing the whole time that he would ultimately pull a House of Cards Frank Underwood move.  (“If you don’t like how the table is set, then kick the table over!”)  From his brief Dec. 8 statement, dutifully transmitted by the “Liberal” OC:

“…In the time since [Nov 17], it has become clear to me that it is not the sequencing of the districts but the map itself at issue. While everyone has worked in good faith to see a map approved that guarantees representational equity, the proposed map is the epitome of the perfect being the enemy of the good. [Ugh inapplicable cliche.]  It forces this council to choose between ensuring that historically underrepresented communities have the opportunity to vote for their candidate of choice in 2016 and geographic equity.

“Furthermore, upon further review and conversations with several community leaders, I believe not having a map with two Latino majority CVAP districts on the ballot in 2016 could expose the City to further lawsuits, as the recent letter from MALDEF contends. Therefore, since this map has led us to an impasse, I move we postpone indefinitely the consideration of the proposed ordinance before us. Instead, I propose that we direct to staff to set up hearings beginning in January 2016 for further consideration of maps that were already submitted to the Advisory Committee on Electoral Districts where the map included 2 or more Latino majority CVAP districts. I believe there is a sufficient number of alternatives in the maps that have already been submitted…”

12-8-2015 crowds 2

Jordan wants us to believe now that his radical move, which would have led to several months’ delay and possibly put off district elections ANOTHER two years, was solely due to his concern over the new District 3 census numbers leading to another lawsuit – a concern he could not communicate to the public or anyone else.  But is there any evidence that was his real motivation?  There was plenty of faux-worried chatter from the Klepto 3 over lawsuits from MALDEF (the dread Mexican-American Legal something something) or others, provoked by a MALDEF letter, but a few problems there:

  1. The MALDEF letter said nothing about suing over the possibility of the “majority” district briefly slipping under 50%, the sort of thing that’s transitory and common;
  2. The klepto majority’s kabuki angst was over MALDEF supposedly threatening to sue if there wasn’t MORE THAN ONE Latino majority district… but MALDEF had made no such threat.  (Although they did have a slightly awkward sentence somewhere in the middle of their letter vaguely regretting that there was only one majority district, a sentence that even klepto-loyal City Attorney Michael Houston would only go so far as to call “ambiguous”);
  3. The following month was marked by a spirited klepto search for an acceptable map containing TWO Latino-majority-CVAP districts, along with the constant suggestion that this showed that they care TWICE AS MUCH about Latinos as anyone else does, blithely ignoring the fact that any possible two-majority Latino map would have two fatal flaws: 1) locking Latinos into a permanent minority on council in a way that a 1-majority/2-plurality map wouldn’t, and 2) hacking apart communities of interest like Ponderosa and The Colony;
  4. The MALDEF letter contained only one CLEAR lawsuit threat, in its VERY CLEAR final sentence:  “In order to avoid costly litigation and potential liability for intentional discrimination, we urge the Council to order that an election be held in District 3 in November 2016.

12-8-2015 crowds 3

But by that point, the Council had moved on to entirely new vistas of discrimination, with Lucille and Kris unquestioningly following Jordan’s lead on this issue in just the same way that Jordan and Lucille follow Kris’ lead on corporate giveaways.  The huge overflowing audience erupted, chanting “SHUT IT DOWN!”  Mayor Tait had to gavel the meeting over prematurely, the crowd poured outside to chant and demonstrate, and all council members left the dais with the sole exception of Jordan, who stayed up there glowering all alone for a while, as memorialized in the famous Voice of OC “gaunt and lonesome” shot:

jordan grim

4. Boy Wonder Gets Blowback!

Did I mention that, at this time, Jordan was, for some damn reason, running for Congress, against Lou Correa, Joe Dunn and Bao Nguyen, all vying to take over Loretta Sanchez’ seat?  Well, he was, but his actions on districting that we’ve been describing precipitated a hemorrhage of endorsers, as those Democrats who formerly loved him now raced to unendorse him.  When he finally lost his most prominent and loyal endorser, Sharon Quirk-Silva, he threw in the towel on the race.

So it was THAT important to him or his handlers, to keep Dr. Moreno off the council (I’m sorry *snark* I mean to protect Anaheim from lawsuits based on the vicissitudes of census data *snark*) important enough to sacrifice his Congressional ambitions.

The people now had a month to plot, to weigh our options.  Some of our plans were quite dramatic.

5. Jan. 12 – The Kleptos Cave … pero Why?

The first meeting of 2016 was historic, unforgettable, and went till a few minutes past midnight.  I’ve just sat through watching the WHOLE thing again, for a clue as to what finally made Jordan reverse himself.  I don’t want to call a dude a “bald-face liar” unless I’m really sure, you know.  But I saw absolutely no evidence that 1) his real concern was the District 3 census data, or that 2) anything came along to re-assure him during that meeting that there WOULDN’T be a lawsuit over District 3 being just under, instead of just over, 50% Latino.

Kring as depicted by Disney.

Kring as depicted by Disney.

What I saw was, as that famous song has it, “Lucille was the first to drop,” losing Jordan his anti-democracy majority.  I have no idea what happened in Lucille Kring’s head around 11:30pm.  There sure were dozens of VERY effective, sensible, and PASSIONATE speakers (especially check out Mirvette’s great performance); maybe they sincerely convinced her, maybe they just wore her down.  They promised to come back in force until they got what they wanted and keep EVERY MEETING going until 2am if necessary.  There was talk (on social media but not on the mike) of demonstrating at the NAM convention – a huge money-maker that was going on at that time (my wife Donna was approached about leading such a demonstration but didn’t have to.)  Did Lucille receive a mysterious text advising her to relent?  We see that sort of thing sometimes.  All we know is that Tom made a motion to bring back the People’s Map, and Lucille stunned the room by amending that to include the people’s preferred sequencing of 1-3-4-5, undoing in one fell swoop Jordan’s November AND December mischief.

And you can see Jordan throwing up his arms in a gesture of exasperation.  Mayor Tom asked if he wanted to say something, and he didn’t.  He quite uncharacteristically couldn’t think of ANYTHING to say until nearly half an hour later.

The Misunderstood Ms. Murray

The Misunderstood Ms. Murray

Then Kris, as the song has it, “questioned Dr. Moreno,” quite repetitiously and boringly as is her wont, mostly on WHY did the nice judges pick a map for us but not tell us how to sequence the voting?  José answered patiently and thoroughly.  Next, Kris called up the MALDEF representative to re-assure the Council that they were not courting a MALDEF lawsuit by not giving Latinos TWO MAJORITY DISTRICTS.  Again it was repetitive and the guy answered patiently that no, nobody was ever asking for two Latino-Majority Districts.  Obviously Kris was trying to make her planned retreat look thoughtful and conscientious.  But the MALDEF guy did make a very clear statement that should have made Jordan quake with consternation if he was really concerned about the census data:  He said that the only thing that would bring a MALDEF lawsuit is if there were not ONE LATINO MAJORITY DISTRICT.  And Jordan knew there really wasn’t one.

When Jordan finally spoke he was surprisingly relaxed and jovial.  I can’t help but notice he has one hand on his lap and had just been looking down.  A text perhaps?  (“Just go with it buddy, it’s okay.  Talk about unity.”)  And Jordan quite confusingly smiled and rhapsodized about how nice it was for the whole council to be unanimous again, just like they were once two years earlier.  As I remember, there was a nice song written about the whole episode:

And yes, the people rejoiced.  And it wasn’t until February that this “Jordan was just secretly concerned about the new secret census data leading to another lawsuit” excuse got trotted out on the Liberal OC.  And nobody believed it, and I have found no new reason to believe it.

Jordan’s pre-2015 record on districting

It’s not true to say, as one writer did on this blog recently, that Jordan’s words and actions have been consistently anti-districting.  His record has always been mixed and confusing, just as you would expect from a politician who is trying to please various constituencies, some of whom want democracy, some of whom want plutocracy.

It’s probable that his signing his name onto 2014’s pro-Measure L&M arguments right underneath the hated Tom Tait helped those measures get their amazing 70% success.  Which led to cognitive dissonance over Democrat Brandman’s 2014 endorsement of anti-districting Republicans Murray and Eastman over Party-endorsed Democrat Moreno, Murray and Eastman who were at the time continuing to squander $3 million of taxpayer money AND two years of democracy unsuccessfully FIGHTING AGAINST districting – over Dr. Moreno, the HERO of districting.

I remember well Jordan’s first public pronouncement on the subject; he trembled as he stood in the scary post-riot August 8, 2012 Cook Auditiorium marathon meeting, reading somebody else’s words that were nearly identical to an open letter Disney leadership had put out that morning, singing the praises of democracy, inclusiveness, diversity, bla bla, but emphasizing how important it is not to just JUMP IN to a reform as big as district elections, and how vital it is to first study it from every conceivable angle for several years, which is what happened.  And this was exactly the argument of the anti-districting majority trio of THAT year – Sidhu, Eastman and Murray, below – as they voted to fight the lawsuit stubbornly and indefinitely (while Tom Tait and Lorri Galloway wanted it on the ballot post-haste.)  So how do we say Jordan wasn’t one of them?

sidhu-eastman-murray
Anaheim Kleptos 2012 edition.

In an effort to make Jordan a credible Democrat that fall for his Council run, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez took him by the sleeve and escorted him into the scary, scary Los Amigos lion’s den, where among other things he sort-of agreed to agendize settling the districting lawsuit whenever he had a chance – it was like pulling teeth for Loretta, José, everyone.  You can review the videos for yourself at that link if you like.

And he pretty much kept to that promise through 2013-14, safely in the minority with his enemy Mayor Tait.  But there was one telling moment Tom pointed out to me at the June 11, 2013 meeting, when it looked like the occasional “weak link” Lucille was starting to get convinced by pro-districting arguments, and Jordan panicked and “called the question.”

UPDATE:  Hat-tip Tom, HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN – immediately upon taking office at the end of 2012, Jordan had an opportunity to name (along with fellow new councilwoman Lucille) a replacement member of the Citizens’ Advisory Committe on District Election, because one of Sidhu’s appointees had resigned.  Who did Jordan pick?  West Anaheim’s AMANDA EDINGER, who was not only OUTSPOKENLY OPPOSED to districting, but is also an obsessed anti-immigrant extremist, as confirmed daily, for years, on her Facebook wall.  HOW BIZARRELY INAPPROPRIATE, both for a councilman who supposedly supported districting and supposedly as a Democrat sympathetic to Latinos and their enfranchisement.  We have NEVER received a satisfactory explanation for the Amanda Edinger pick.

Well, that’s it, that is Jordan Brandman’s VERY mixed record on district elections.  Don’t believe anything else, I was there.  Sorry this is so long, I have to run now to catch a meeting to find out how we can stop him from helping foist POSEIDON on us, from his perch on the OC Water District.  Laterz…

UPDATE:  Democrats, behold from Jordan’s initial 2012 council run (thanks Jeff)

brandman-pringle ad


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist 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.