Vern’s August 2019 Newsletter to Anaheim Democrats


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Photo credit: Mark R. Daniels, which is the only reason he isn’t pictured here.

Happy Dog Days of August, Anaheim Democrats!

The best way to start this month will be coming to the Haskett Branch Library on Saturday August 3, 12:15 pm  – we’ll have, along with our usual fellowship and piercingly witty conversation:

  • a special guest speaker on Orange County’s new voting centers,
  • the People’s Councilman Jose Moreno with an update and answering your questions about all the latest shenanigans in Anaheim,
  • and – although they’re not on the agenda – Mike and Jeanine Robbins will be talking about STR’s (Short-Term Rentals) – a local controversy which we thought had gone away but which the new Council majority has brought back with a vengeance.  Jeanine has also just announced, at our latest brewery social, her candidacy for 4th-district councilperson next year, where she will take the place of Republican STR-lover Lucille Kring.  On that subject we’ll also be voting on the following resolution:

WHEREAS Short-Term Rentals (STR’s) negatively impact the integrity of Anaheim neighborhoods, causing disruption in the lives of the residents who’d purchased homes in a regulated R-1 zone;

WHEREAS the Anaheim City Council previously voted, in the interests of residents, to BAN STR’s from R-1 zones;

WHEREAS the current City Council majority corruptly, having received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from STR owners, overturned the will of the electorate and the previous Council’s ban, and will now allow indefinite operation of Anaheim’s 200 existing STR’s with a monopoly;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

  • The Anaheim Democratic Club calls for an immediate re-instatement of the ban on STR’s in our city;
  • And that until then existing STR’s must be subject to stringent regulations enforced in a timely manner;
  • And that a public list of each STR must be made available online including any infractions and permit revocations.

But you heard enough in our last missive about the jawdropping corruption of the (mostly Republican) current Anaheim Council majority.  Let’s talk this time about some of the good things happening up in Sacramento, mostly being pushed by our fellow Democrats, to address some of our time’s screaming injustices… and what YOU can do to help!

First, let’s check in with Club member and Anaheim Elementary School District trustee Juan Gabriel Alvarez, on a couple of bills protecting our public education system and budget from an increasingly greedy and parasitic charter school industry:

Juan writes: “Assembly Bill 1505  by O’Donnell and Bonta ensures local school communities control the authorization and renewal of charter schools, and repeals provisions allowing the State Board of Education to approve new charter school petitions. It also allows local school boards to consider the fiscal impact of a charter school applicant on students in neighborhood public schools to ensure that a new school will not harm existing services, programs, or academic offerings.

“Its companion bill, Assembly Bill 1507 by Smith, closes a loophole in current law which allows a charter school to operate outside of its authorizing district.”

These bills both passed the full assembly in early May with the support of OC’s Sharon Quirk-Silva, Cottie Petrie-Norris, and Tom Daly (Tom wasn’t present for one of the votes though.)  In early July they went to the Senate Education Committee, and we asked you to call our senator, Republican Ling-Ling Chang.  Thanks for the calls, but unsurprisingly Ling-Ling voted to support charters, and the bills barely passed the committee 4-3 – another reason we need to replace her with Josh Newman next year!

Now they go to the Senate Appropriations Committee where we hope it doesn’t get watered down with hostile amendments.  Democratic lawmakers are usually good on education, but…

It’s amazing and depressing how many excellent bills have been getting WATERED DOWN to near meaninglessness by the special interests in California, EVEN THOUGH WE DEMOCRATS HAVE A SUPER-MAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSES.  (I’m sorry, I began this newsletter more optimistically before further research.)

For example, there’s AB 392 which we fought so hard for, which would change the standard for when police officers use deadly force to “strictly when necessary.”  We are happy that this bill passed, with the votes of all our OC Democrats, but first it was heavily watered down after the usual intense opposition from police unions – the word “necessary” changed back to “reasonable” so that there is nearly no change in the status quo.

And we’d been looking hopefully toward AB 1482 to provide relief from the rent gouging of greedy landlords (and help prevent more homelessness) – it barely passed the assembly (with the help of Sharon) and is going through the Senate now, but it has also been weakened to near meaninglessness at the insistence of the powerful realtors’ lobby.  This is especially infuriating to us Anaheim Democrats, as one of the excuses the Council majority made for their own inaction on rent gouging was “Sacramento is going to do something about it.”  (A companion bill we were cheering on, AB 1481 outlawing no-cause evictions, never even made it to a vote.)

Apparently we need to NOT ONLY elect Democrats into the legislature, but Democrats who will stand up to the Special Interests – special interests like the California Association of Realtors, the charter school industry, and police and sheriff unions.  And out-of-town STR owners.

At least there is still hope for a bill creating oversight committees of county sheriff departments, something the OC desperately needs, given our historically corrupt and brutal sheriff department.  So far the only OC legislator to support the worthy AB 1185, however, is a Republican, Senator Moorlach, who also happens to be the only Republican statewide to support it.  (He mentioned his experience with trying to keep corrupt OC Sheriffs Carona and Hutchens in line when he was Supervisor.)  Let’s urge Sharon, Cottie, and the Toms to vote yes on this bill when it comes to them – our Sheriff Department is the laughing stock of the nation.

SO AGAIN, WE HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE SATURDAY AUGUST 3 MEETING!  Keep the faith!

PS. Also be sure to make your voices heard at the next three City Council meetings:  Tuesdays July 30, August 13 & August 27, at 5 pm!

 – Vice President Vern.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer 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.