OCEA’s perplexing Brandman Endorsement : the Chuck Reed excuse.


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Brandman - Muir "the hammer" - pension hardliner Reed.

Brandman – Muir “the hammer” – pension hardliner Reed.

First I thought that the glossy Jordan Brandman endorsement in the mail was the usual OC Trade Unions supporting the politicians who make deals that generate mostly temporary jobs, regardless of the deals impact in the larger community.  I know, I receive all those mailers from the Disneyland’s resort group supporting the supposed “Pro-Jobs City Council Members.”  Even in a middle class neighborhood like mine, in East Anaheim, it is hard to believe that many residents and neighborhoods benefit from the city’s subsidies provided to the resort district.

I was surprised though when I read that my association, the OC Employees Association (OCEA) is among the endorsers. The last time I heard former OCEA chief Nick Berardino speak was at the “Our Dreams for Anaheim” people’s convention meeting in 2015. He eloquently spoke about the importance of district elections, and electing candidates who would really represent the interests of the community. How did my association ended up endorsing somebody who dragged his feet on districting, creating havoc until the last minute, to keep hispanics from having a relevant representation in the council?

I needed to vent and try to understand the rationale of the endorsement, so I contacted the association.  I expressed my disappointment and outlined Brandman’s history of pushing huge hotel subsidies, the Angel’s Stadium bogus negotiations, opposing police brutality reform, extending Disney’s veto on future gates fees, and generally being a Curt Pringle protégé.  (I forgot to mention getting paid for plagiarism.)  The explanation was basically that the AMEA supports Brandman, and that the OCEA’s Board of Directors agreed with their recommendation .

I had forgotten that OCEA represents the Anaheim Municipal Employees (AMEA.)  I brought up Tom Tait’s name, as the Mayor has had a conflicting history of contracts negotiation with the city employees.  AMEA had settled a contract during the first giveaway subsidy dispute, with the support of the “job creators” council members.  Getting a 2% increase at the beginning of their recent contract, although welcome, pales in comparison with the $550 million dollar giveaway that the “job creators” approved to build 4-star hotels.

Tait’s involvement with Chuck Reed, a prominent critic of negotiated pensions, was brought up.  The rep asked me how active I am in Anaheim’s politics and whether I knew Dr. José Moreno, who is running in the same district as Brandman. When I mentioned that once in a while I write for a blog, the conversation ended.  It was bad enough that Rick Reiff’s putting down public employees in his television program had left a lasting impression on me;  having my own rep questioning my participation in civic affairs, left me with a similar second-class citizen feeling.

chuck reed 2Chuck Reed is a former mayor of San Jose, a Democrat.  He is a controversial advocate of pension reform, linked to anti-union ideologues, such as billionaires John Arnold, a former executive of the Enron company, and the Koch brothers.  Although reforms had already been implemented in some places, he continued with his plans that have been labeled a “pension killer.” Mayor Tait was one of the few mayors who supported Reed’s initiative.

The “job creators” coalition is expanding their campaign to discredit their opposition, and they imply that opposing them has left “the dignity of our working people” unprotected.  The pension reform advocates in Orange County, mostly driven by ideological rather than pragmatic reasons (see this VOC article on the Orange County Employees Retirement System) add fuel to this anti-labor image attempt.  This is intended to cast a shadow on those who oppose the subsidies and support the Mayor on this issue.  It is not a coincidence then that Brandman got the endorsement of this coalition of labor and lobbyists as his main rival, Dr Moreno, has been an ally of Mayor Tait in the give-away battles.  As expected, the powers that opposed district elections would cleverly adjust their strategy to keep their control of the council.

Another endorser is the AFSCME Council. One of their officers is a colleague who had just come back from Philly, and did not know about the endorsement. He is a Bernie or Bust fellow, and not pleased that his union had endorsed a Clintonite over a Bernie brother, whom I support. He remembered the riot when Brandman tried to delay the implementation of district elections. So he is going to question the endorsement.  I hope that the “Hammer of OC labor,” my association, reconsiders this as well, and “really use this powerful tool for change by providing a voice for people who don’t have one.”

jennifer muir


About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/