Why this Progressive Democrat is Supporting Cynthia Ward For Anaheim Mayor.


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It’s the same question I, and many other progressive Democrats, get so frequently about why we’ve supported conservative Mayor Tom Tait for two terms.  The question comes from folks who don’t really understand what’s going on in Anaheim.

So let’s start here:  There is no left or right in this town.  There is no Republican or Democrat in this town.  Rather, as Tom explained to me once, there are those who enter politics to help the people, and those who enter politics to help themselves (and their funders.) And like any such sweeping statement, this one is about 75% true, which means, good enough to work with.

The first thing you need to remember is that the story of Anaheim, for most of the past two decades, has been a story of ROBBERY.  Insatiable special interests, led and typified by Disney but by no means confined to them, became expert here at draining the public treasury through a series of bought-and-paid for mayors and councilmembers of BOTH Parties, to the tune of billions of dollars, while managing to convince just enough of the voting public that they were doing us a favor.

“A lot of these things are not a natural, normal thing for any city to do.” – Tait to the LA Times.

And one side-effect of this was to bring together public servants from the left and right who were NOT on the take.  We’ve found that the traits that distinguish “left” from “right” in normal politics can seem much less important, as discussions and compromises over the allocation of our public resources can happen at leisure and in a civil manner, AFTER honest left and right have united to make sure those resources still exist!

We were BARELY able to achieve our People’s Majority in 2016 – again, honest representatives of both left and right who put the interests of our city and its people over that of big money.  We would NEVER have been able to manage that victory without the highly popular reform of District Elections – and voters should never forget how hard the Establishment fought, how much of our money they wasted, to put off the day that we could have District Elections.

The People’s Majority still hangs by a thread – by one vote – and that is one reason we desperately need Cynthia in the Mayor’s seat.  We know that Sidhu is on the Establishment’s side, and nobody can really say where Aitken stands, as she is apparently still learning about this town and has no record to point to.  But we do know for sure that Cynthia Ward is on the People’s side, and has been for years.

And, in great contrast to her rivals, Cynthia can proudly point to…

A Lifetime of Service to Anaheim.

At last Dec 21’s “Longest Night” Homeless Memorial Day event, Anaheim Cemetery

In between making a living at her area of expertise – historian and archivist – along with her husband’s technical writing for a major corporation – Cynthia has for years used her spare time in various volunteer capacities serving her beloved town.  For example:

  • Served as President, Vice-President, at-large director and member of the Anaheim Historical Society since 2000, identifying and preserving historic structures and recording oral history programs.
  • With the “Cemetery Angels,” successfully listed the 1867 Anaheim Cemetery  as a County Historic Site.
  • As a member of the OC Cemetery Board, put a lot of time into helping make the OC Veterans’ Cemetery a reality in Irvine.
  • Served on the Anaheim Arts Council 2007-9, riasing funds for grants and scholarships and organizing the Children’s Art Festival.
  • Curator of the Mother Colony Household, 2005-8.
  • Helped with the Anaheim General Plan, 2003-4.

And there’s just the everyday things she never talks about, that only her friends and family know. Like Mayor Tait, she is the kind of Christian who doesn’t believe in bragging about all the good she does. Try to visit her in the early evening, and she’ll be out with her husband and two corgis picking up all the trash in her neighborhood. Very few of us know that she regularly comes to our barrio of Anna Drive with art & school supplies for the local kids. (Ashleigh FINALLY made an appearance here for the holidays, and made a photo op of it – Yesenia getting her over here was like pulling teeth.)

Personally I think that her greatest service to Anaheim so far has been the lawsuits by her taxpayer advocate group CATER (Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility.)  These suits were SUCCESSFUL, resulted in Cynthia getting documents that were being illegally withheld from her by the government, documents that showed that the corruption in our city was even worse than any of us had previously imagined, put the final nail in the coffin of the Council majority’s mystifying attempt to give away the Angels’ parking lot to billionaire Arte Moreno for 66 years, and earned Cynthia the bitter enmity of the Establishment here.  I’ll be writing a lot more about these suits in the months to come.

I will also be writing about Cynthia’s ideas for dealing with the Homelessness crisis, her ideas on Police Accountability and Oversight, and her plan to bring Disney back to the table with the City in a spirit of Mutual Respect.  But I’ll wrap up today with a typical contribution from Cynthia, from just last Thursday:

Defeating the Lincoln Widening Last Thursday.

Readers of this blog (and not many more Anaheim residents) know that for three years Anaheim Public Works (in order to qualify for a $20 million OCTA grant) has been trying to get a terrible project approved known as the Lincoln Widening, and not going about it in a very straightforward honest way.  This would have entailed widening Lincoln near Harbor by razing the beloved front porch of St Boniface Church where so many special photographs get taken every day, getting rid of Visser’s Florist and other neighboring businesses on the north side, and cutting down a LOT of Anaheim High School’s beautiful front lawn, just so the Lincoln traffic could go faster and closer. 

It made no sense.  But as of Thursday evening three out of five of the Anaheim Union High School District members were ready to vote to approve this folly.  Nine of us showed up to speak against it, and one of the most eloquent speakers was our next Mayor, Cynthia Ward (a speech you can hear below.)  Together we managed to change the minds of the trustees so that what was going to be a 3-2 vote in favor of this terrible project became UNANIMOUS AGAINST.

Later some of us asked, “Where was Ashleigh?  Where was Harry?  Where was any other candidate for Mayor?”

And we laughed.  It was a rhetorical question.

Cynthia Ward should be our next Mayor.


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.