Running SOARs: Is Disney Shelving Support of Lucille Kring for Mayor in Favor of Lorri Galloway?

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My wife and one of my daughters were driving north on Harbor Blvd. this weekend, between Sycamore and North, when they saw a collection of big candidate signs.  You’ll see a series of five photos of them at right.  The signs reminded me of an exchange I had with Lorri Galloway at the August meeting of the Democratic Party of Orange County, when she and I were endorsed for our respective offices over the objections of some of the other’s supporters.

I had spoken against endorsing Galloway because of my concern that the likely effect of such an endorsement might be to elect Lucille Kring as Mayor.  Kring, with her complete disdain for civil rights and victims of police violence — her best shot for victory this year would be precipitating another protest-turned-riot, so everyone keep cool — and her utter contempt disdain for Latino political aspirations,  and her willingness to give anything to the wealthiest powers in Anaheim so long as they back power to her, would be a disaster as Mayor; under the City’s view of its powers under JPA agreements, she could literally be fatal to its General Fund.  By any legal means, she just can’t be allowed to win.

GalEasMur Signs 2Galloway, a longtime ally of Mayor Tom Tait (in substance if not in style), seemed likely to be competing for the same “reform-minded” votes as Tait.  And so I spoke against her not out of antagonism, but out of pure political practicality.  Like Tait, Kring has been campaigning hard all year — and Galloway, frankly, has not.  That’s just not a pathway to victory.

Within the previous week or two, interests aligned with Disney (presumably, SOAR-PAC, the “Support Our Anaheim Resorts” group intent on squeezing every possible dime out of the City’s residents and presenting them as offerings to Disney, the Angels, and the like — had done a phone survey on the race, asking questions assessing attitudes towards Mayor candidates Tait and Kring, City Council members Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, and Council challengers James Vanderbilt and Dr. Jose Moreno.

They didn’t ask even a single question about Lorri Galloway.

That, to me, seemed to be the banshee’s howl that Galloway’s campaign was as good as dead.  If they were no longer factoring her into the race, then why should the Democratic Party?  Under those conditions, our responsibility would be to, if anything, tacitly support the least objectionable Republican: Tait, by a mile.

On the major issues of the day — the Angels Stadium (and environs) leases, the Convention Center expansion, the Streetcar project, the move to district elections, etc. — it’s hard even to know what if any Galloway’s position on these issues are.  (She was an early and strong opponent of the Gardenwalk Giveawaythe issue that dragged me into Anaheim politics in the first place, at the repeated request of Galloway’s assistant Joanne Sosa — but this valiant stand against the voracious Resort District, which cost her her own position as Mayor Pro-Tem, no longer seems to play a role in her campaign.)  At one time, I had thought that her positions on these issues were similar to those that have been championed by OCCORD and CATER — opposing giveaways and favoring the district elections that might focus more attention on the interests of voters outside of the Resort District and Anaheim Hills — but if she still holds those beliefs she is being quite circumspect about them, at least outside of speeches to select audiences.

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Kring, who had shamelessly lied about her commitment to take positions that had earned her the endorsement of Mayor Tom Tait, justifying her dishonesty with the classic line that (and I’m paraphrasing)  “she hadn’t put such pledges in her campaign literature,” had done every slavish thing she could to lock up the support of both Anaheim’s Police Officers Association and SOAR.  If all that Galloway could do was to siphon votes away from Tait to Kring, supporting her was like putting our head in a noose.

Galloway came up right after me and gave a blistering and crowd-pleasing speech, using the tent revival sorts of cadences and themes that I have since come to find quite disturbing coming from her.  They are not merely “my way or the highway,” but “my way as God’s ordained next Mayor of Anaheim or the highway,” which, as I pointed out in a story linked here, raises the stakes an awful lot.

Galloway pointedly refused to “dignify my allegations about her lack of viability with a response” before she, naturally, responded.  (My position was a lot more nuanced than that.  Originally, I thought that Tait might be persuaded to drop out of the race in favor of a City Council seat.  I didn’t care which of them was Mayor and which on the City Council, I just wanted both of the candidates whom I thought were taking good positions on the City Council.  Of course, at the time I thought that Galloway was taking good positions.  Now — who knows?)

In other words, up through about February or so, I thought that Galloway was quite viable.  Then … she just disappeared from public debate.  To me, that was the end of her viability.  Anaheim has been in a crisis this year; a small crew of us volunteers (largely associated with CATER) have been fighting with the enormous powers of the City on the above issues — and she was just gone.  It looked like chickenshit to “abandon one’s post” like that.  I suspected that perhaps she had thought better of running at all — and I was a little surprised when she finally did file.

But back to the podium at that DPOC meeting: Galloway said something that struck me deeply at the time — but I didn’t have time to write about it.  Seeing these pictures of signs reminded me of it.

She said, and while this is a paraphrase I think that it’s substantively accurate: “I know why Disney did those polls and it was not because they thought that I wasn’t viable!”

It was an aside — but it’s awfully telling.  Let’s presume that she’s right about this.  Why would Disney/SOAR-PAC  leave Galloway out of its telephone survey if it thought that she was still viable?  They’re trying to figure out how to spend their money — wouldn’t they want to know?

GalEasMur Signs 4Some people muttered last spring that Disney was going to convince Galloway to come into the race as the attack dog against Tait, the deal being that the four-person Anaheim majority — Kring, Murray, Eastman, and the sole Democrat Jordan Brandman — would then appoint her to fill Kring’s Council seat.  I didn’t think that that was likely — and she doesn’t seem to have done so.  Her attacks on Mayor Tait have essentially been that Anaheim needs a woman Mayor pronto — I’ve never once heard her address the obvious point that Kring is also female — and that she, unlike the Mayor would have the power to win the Anaheim City Council majority to her side.  (This is, of course, the same majority that kicked her out of the Mayor Pro-Tem position after she took a principled position on the GardenWalk Giveaway.)

If this was her being an “attack dog,” she was doing a pretty poor job of it.  She attached me more effectively in eight minutes at DPOC than she had attacked her election opponent Mayor Tait in the previous eight months.  And, so far as I recall, she didn’t attack him — or Kring, on the issues.  The issues didn’t seem to matter; her divinely ordained destiny did.  Maybe she did speak out on behalf of protecting poorer people, opposing Kring — but I don’t recall it.

So what could have been the reason that Disney left her off of the poll?  The only reason that comes to mind is that they were checking to verify their suspicion that Kring’s campaign was dead in the water — and that pouring their money into supporting Kring would be a waste.  In other words, if Kring was doing SO BADLY that her loss was a foregone conclusion, then it might just make sense to switch to Galloway even without knowing her poll numbers.

GalEasMur Signs 5But, no matter how effective and irritating Tait has been when it comes to opposing the Resort District’s wildest desires, what price would Galloway have to pay for that?  She’s have to favor the Streetcar, presumably; probably the Convention Center Expansion as well.  Would she have to do an about face on her previous opposition to the Gardenwalk?  What about her position on the Stadium Lot Giveaway — which it looks like Arte Moreno has gotten rid of without her?  If the notion is that SOAR — which already came out strong for Murray and Eastman, but which has distributed no literature on the Mayor’s race at all — is going to support her simply out Anaheim-flavored “kindness,” let’s just say that that would be unusual.

The answer might be in these signs.

Some most likely low-level grunt did put a small Murray sign in front of Galloway’s big one, spoiling its carefully styled visual effect, but the overall effect here seems pretty clear.  Whether Galloway and the two City incumbents are running on a slate or not, the effect of three huge signs in a row on a major thoroughfare — with nothing from Kring, Tait, or any other candidate around — is to make it seem like a coordinated effort.  How Lorri Galloway can possibly reconcile her being on a de facto slate with Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, I do not know — and how the Democratic Party would react to it, given its support of Dr. Jose Moreno, is another mystery.

Signs that huge are not ones that one generally hands out for the asking; their placement is well-planned in advance.  Maybe Galloway got there first and left the trailing spots to her competitors.  Or maybe the tableau you see here (except for the irritating, from Galloway’s perspective, small Kris Murray sign) was planned.  I haven’t seen much evidence until now to suggest that SOAR-PAC and its minions (wait … can a minion have minions?) are abandoning Kring for Galloway — but this again brings that possibility to mind.  There’s an old saying: “When nothing else is working, try panicking!”

If that’s what happens to Lucille Kring, well, normally I’d console someone by saying that “at least you fought the good fight.”  But she didn’t.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)