Anaheim Council Sends Minimum Wage Hike to Voters, but Vanderbilt Unveils a Late Compromise


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The Council’s decision to put the minimum wage on the ballot now versus later was supposed to be a big deal. but hardly anyone was around in the few minutes before midnight when it happened.  Kris Murray got the video she wanted of Mayor Tait finally lowering the boom on her while she claimed (absurdly) that he was hammering his gavel on democracy itself when she kept pushing to ask dilatory questions of the City Attorney in the waning minutes before midnight, by which hour a public hearing had to commence.  It was “Fake Oppression” — I’m surprised that she didn’t squawk “‘Elp, Elp, I’m bein’ repressed! — but it will probably work in campaign videos, as most of the media won’t call bullshit on it.  That’s what you get when — as is the case with Murray, your paid city staffer is a PR person rather than a policy person.

Anyway, Kris, the reason the Mayor doesn’t have to recognize you for just a brief “clarifying question” to the City Attorney — which will inevitably turn out to be your shoehorning in one last bit of lobbying for your side — is that you no longer have a shred of credibility remaining about what you will do when permitted to ask such a point of order or information at the end of a debate!  The City’s meeting archives are freaking BRIMMING of your pulling this exact sort of stunt before, while the Mayor lets you get away with Lucy-ing his Charlie Brown time and again — and it will make a GREAT montage.

What the City effectively did, by approving something that had to be approved anyway— was to avoid holding another circus a month from now.  The real conflict was about whether the City should fund a report on the economic consequences of the initiative … wait, no, that’s not quite it!  What Disney and the Building Trades and other jackanapes want is NOT an impartial report, but a report summarizing all of the previous reports — because only the previous reports are biased pieces of suck.  I offered, in public comment, to debate either Swill Spice or Blonde Robot Spice on the details of some of the City’s old reports — which, as I’ve noted previously, “suck” — and we’ll see if either of them take me up on it.  The one I’d like to take on is the one that “proves” that a 4-star hotel (uhm, “hotel with 4-star amenities)” will boost Anaheim economically.  I remember that I never got around to publishing the piece I was writing on it because it quickly became moot — but it was the kind of thing that would make any actual data analyst giggle until the onset of vomiting.  Bring it on, Spice Councilwomen!  I will bring with my my coterie of statisticians!

On its budget, the City postponed approval on some quality-of-life-related “impact fees” — which may or may not still leave it an imbalanced budget, it is not clear to me — as both staff and council members were too drained in the 1:00 hour to do justice to a proper debate.  The council did agree to vote on “user fees,” which was not passed despite three aye votes.  While the City Manager selection was on the closed session agenda — which is why your humble author stayed up past 1:25 a.m. to post first word on it — the Council apparently took no action, and none was reported.

In Council Communications at the end of the meeting — last five minutes of it, I’d say, if even that! — Councilman Vanderbilt asked for an item to be presented at the next meeting that would ask for the City Manager to hold or facilitate or invite — we’ll have to wait until the video is up to clarify — discussions with affected hoteliers about whether some compromise plan was possible, along the lines of the minimum wage plan in Los Angeles, and removing the City Manager as the final arbiter of disagreements of whatever kind.  That would not prevent the current initiative for an increase from appearing on the ballot — but might well suck the air out of it.  Nice surprise for the twelfth hour of meetings (including closed session) in a row!  James, if you’ve got something like that up your sleeve, you really might want to be more sporting and broach the comment before Jimmy Kimmel goes off the air.  A lawsuit-avoiding compromise might be useful — but it’s more likely to make the people who have put roughly a billion hours into this initiative hate you for blindsiding them.  Brainy and compromisey as you may be, people love being derailed by those with zero skin in the game less than you might imagine.

More as it develops.

Update: Here’s what the LA Times’s view of the story was before Vanderbilt’s closing comments, which don’t yet seem to have been noticed.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 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. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. 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. A family member 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.)