The Contortions of Jordan Brandman.




So last week, termed-out assemblyman Jose Solorio took me aside, offered me a drink, and tried to bend my ear as to why I should start supporting Jordan Brandman in the Anaheim City Council race.

Wait, let me back up a little.  This was at a recent fundraiser for candidate John Leos, a “labor Republican” backed by an unlikely combination of OC Labor, the OC Register, Mayor Tom Tait, Lou Correa, Jose Solorio, and me.   John gave his little speech, the Mayor gave his, and Jose said a couple of words, concluding “and sometimes I get in trouble for supporting a Republican like John, but that’s all right!”

Without missing a beat, I chimed in, “John’s the closest thing we have to a Democrat in this race.”  I wasn’t expecting the laughter and applause I got for that interruption, or the high fives afterward.  I realized, that even though I hadn’t thought it out that way, my comment really WAS a slap at Jordan Brandman, the nominal Democrat in the race.

And Jose realized that too.  So he called me over to the bar, offered me a drink (I wasn’t drinking that day) and proceeded to tell me why I, as a Democrat, should behave and support the registered Democrat in the race.  “Sure, you’re not going to agree with everything he does.   But think about issues like abortion rights, think about gun control, don’t you want a Democrat in office doing the right thing on those issues?”

“What does abortion and gun control have to do with this race?  The Anaheim City Council isn’t gonna make abortion illegal or roll back gun laws!  But this Jordan fellow IS gonna keep giving away taxpayer money to corporations and billionaires, just like the worst Republicans, but slicker and with a smiley face!”

“You SHOULD be wanting to help a Democrat get ahead, and thinking about those other issues – this can be a steeping stone to getting another Democrat in the Assembly, in Congress some day…”

Yes, exactly the concern.  I don’t know how well I expressed the fact that it’s precisely BECAUSE I’m a Democrat that I want to see THIS Democrat defeated, defeated by two decent Republicans (or a Republican and a Green if that’s possible.)  Jordan’s power-kissing corporatism is precisely what I don’t want my Party to stand for.

And one funny undertone was that any criticism I could lob at Jordan also applied in spades to Jose Solorio, and he knew it.  In fact it wasn’t long before he was all, “You guys are always trashing me for being MODERATE…  The Party needs MODERATES like me…”

Really, it’s time to either define or stop using this loosie-goosie word MODERATE.  I do not call it “moderate” when a Democrat stands firm on certain.. ok, essential, but ancillary issues like women’s reproductive rights, but regularly sells out the economic interests of the people he’s supposed to represent in favor of the corporate interests with the campaign money, persuasive lobbyists, and rotating-door keys.  A Democrat’s or progressive’s NUMBER ONE PRIORITY needs to be looking out for the people’s needs OVER that of insurance, Big Pharma, the prison-industrial complex, banks, etc.   Brandman, Solorio, Daly, should not be called MODERATES, but CORPORATISTS.  And as a progressive Democrat, I’d prefer that they’d go and be MODERATES in the Republican Party instead.

And then, at Los Amigos…

So then, when we read in The Voice of OC Monday that Jordan ventured over to last week’s Los Amigos meeting, under the protection of Loretta Sanchez, and made them a couple of shiny liberal promises, we get the impression that, having seen the recent polling showing Jordan in danger of coming in a losing third, his handlers have ordered him to shore up his progressive and Democrat base.  And I wish Loretta wouldn’t squander what progressive cred she does have helping out this notably unprogressive young politician.

Dr. Moreno sees it a little differently – his impression is that Loretta thinks Jordan’s election is in the bag or likely, and she wants to take one final opportunity to wring some progressive concessions out of him before it’s too late, in front of a crowd that will hold him to his word.  Both could be true.  But this crowd – the stubbornly non-partisan progressives at Los Amigos, who helped him get on the School Board four years ago – don’t trust Jordan as far as they can throw him, having been burned by the ambitious hack quite enough already.

It’s a little cringeworthy how afraid Jordan was to set foot in the Los Amigos meeting without hiding behind Loretta’s skirts – reminiscent of how Claudio Gallegos had to drag him to last summer’s Peace March and promise to be his escort.  Watch Dr. Moreno set the record straight on Jordan’s recent record of snubbing the group, and see the embarrassing intercessions of his protective chaperone:

What Jordan got out of this uncomfortable visit, at the least, was a Voice of OC headline letting Anaheim Democrats and progressives know that he “Vowed to Support Living Wage and Council Districting.”   But what really did these vows, both of them extracted painfully by Loretta, add up to?

He was ALREADY “faux in favor” of districting, and I think you’ll agree after watching the great video below, it’s hard to see how his highly hedged position has changed.  I watched him give that August 8 speech on districting that he constantly references.  For one thing he didn’t write it and stumbled over the words.  For another thing it was nearly identical to the statement that Disney had put out that morning – both were written by Curt Pringle.  Both consisted of nice words in praise of the idea of districting, followed by a plan to study the hell out of it for a year or two so that it MAY finally go into effect by Nov 2014 or 16, while we continue to waste money fighting the ACLU over the same matter, and the current power brokers stay in power.   And it’s exactly what the Council majority actually set in “motion” that day –  Districts SOME DAY.  Until then, the status quo.  Jordan and his handlers understandably don’t feel the URGENCY about this that progressives like Los Amigos do – they’re doing just fine under the status quo.

Watch this video, thoughtfully taken by Hoagy Holguin – it begins with a concise list from Dr. Moreno of progressive grievances against Jordan;  it paints a priceless portrait of a waffling politician, and it ends – keep your ears open – with Loretta scolding “Just stop while you’re ahead, Jordan!”

So we got Jordan’s vague, confusing promise to proceed with districting, extracted by Loretta, versus Leos and Kring’s pledge to settle with the ACLU (extracted by Mayor Tait in the case of Lucille.)  And with Leos and Kring we also have the promise to put hotel subsidies to a vote of the people, which we would NEVER get from Jordan.

Then, what about this pledge to support a “Living Wage?”  Dr. Moreno called that “huge” in a friendly moment, but is it?  The Voice’s Adam admits that “what a living wage ordinance would look like isn’t yet clear,” but even if Jordan were allowed by his handlers to “agendize” the item, which is all he promised, it wouldn’t get more than Jordan’s and John Leos’ votes – Mayor Tait ain’t THAT liberal.  So, no danger really of Disney and the resorts actually having to cough up extra money for their workers.

One more short video of my friend Alejandro Moreno questioning why Jordan wouldn’t show up without the protection of Loretta:

Police brutality?

WHAT police brutality?

The most astonishing, revealing part of Adam’s article was this:

Moreno asked Brandman whether he believed that “police brutality” existed in some neighborhoods.

Brandman first reacted with shock. “Police brutality?” He asked in a befuddled tone.

The candidate then said that he has heard stories, but hasn’t “firsthand observed this.” He said that when on the City Council, he will have access to the police chief and police reports to make his judgment.

Some attendees criticized Brandman for relying so heavily on police officers’ version of the events…

…  “To say that I don’t know it’s happening means you’re not living in the community,” Moreno said.

You think?  It wasn’t just one brain fart either – last night at the Anna Drive forum he repeated his belief that there’s no police brutality in Anaheim.  ON ANNA DRIVE HE SAID THAT!  Even the three Republican recipients-of-police-money candidates Leos, Chuchua and Kring admitted there’s police brutality, Chuchua offering a tale of HIS OWN SON who was told by Anaheim cops to “run so they could shoot him.”  (hat-tip Ricardo)

Why does Jordan think there was even a forum on Anna Drive?  Why does he think there was a Peace March that Claudio dragged him to?  Why does he think the August 8 meeting was held at the high scchool?

What Anaheim does Jordan Brandman live in?


Meanwhile, on the Investigation into Misuse of School Board Resources Front:

So, yesterday, the DA began looking into the long-festering allegations that Brandman, a school district trustee, has been improperly using district resources for his campaign.  Fellow trustee Katherine H. Smith, one of the main driving forces behind the investigation, is frustrated beyond words at claims of political timing – the fact is, she’s been blowing the whistle on Jordan for months but has constantly been stonewalled by higher-ups.

Katherine feels that what she’s doing is the best for Jordan;  she has known too many politicians who think that rules don’t apply to them, and believes that if he doesn’t learn his lesson now, he’ll be getting in a lot more trouble once he gets higher on the ladder he’s so intent on scaling.

And this is a lot more than the mere usage of a laptop which was the only item Jason was able to report on a few weeks back.  Namely the DA is looking into three allegations:

  1. Contributors to Jordan’s campaign meeting with the District to do business with them, at Jordan’s referral;
  2. the use of a rarely-used air-conditioned “side office” belonging to the District for both business and campaign purposes;  and
  3. something Cathy has no firsthand knowledge of, but has long been rumored and is being investigated – the work of district staff, possibly including the Public Information Officer, on Jordan’s campaign.

We’re accustomed to nothing coming of Tony Rackaucka’s “investigations” into well-connected OC politicians – does that category include Jordan Brandman?  Will anything come of this?  Probably not before the election, but let’s see.  You heard it on the Orange Juice first!

Bless Jordan’s heart, but…

Bless his heart, but he shouldn’t be a politician.  He does obviously want everybody to love him, but he’s naturally most strongly drawn to and identifies with the most powerful interests in town – right now that’s Curt Pringle, Disney, developers, the police.  If he gets to Sacramento next decade, if he gets to Washington later, it could be anyone.  Katherine Smith is right that for all of our sakes this political career needs to be nipped in the bud.

If you are a Democrat or progressive in Anaheim who wants to vote for the two candidates who most share your values, you should vote for Duane Roberts and John Leos.  If you are more pragmatic and your priority is defeating Jordan and helping break Anaheim out of the “Pringlehold” it’s been in, you should vote for the frontrunners, the Mayor’s choice, Leos and Kring.

And that’s my endorsement!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.