Anaheim Voter Guide, November 2014

Anaheim Voter Guide November 2014

Today is election day and I couldn’t be happier that this will be the final day of this hideous season.  I’m tired of being bombarded with negative campaign mail, sifting through lies, and sorting through bullpuckey.

Anaheim has been a pretty special place the last three years.  It’s had more than its fair share of crisis, including several episodes of the manufactured variety.  It’s time for this to stop.  Today is your opportunity to be part of the solution.  Get out and vote.

Here are my recommendations, in descending priority of importance.  I’ve kept it short.

Number One

Vote for ANYONE but Kris Murray

In front of every single manufactured crisis in Anaheim over the last three years, there has been Kris Murray.  The only thing worse than her litany of artificial problems cooked up by the Chamber of Commerce has been her consistent application of the same solution: Throw your money at it.

Got a friend who needs a hotel built?  Throw your money at it.

Pension woes?  Throw your money at it.

Convention Center’s future not looking so rosy?  Throw your money at it.

Arte Moreno and the Angels are pitching a fit?  THROW YOUR MONEY AT IT.

I’ve watched Kris Murray throw, or attempt to throw, ONE BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayer money and property at phantom problems under the guise of economic development.  While I’d love to sit here and pontificate on what I think are the inadequacies of her decisions, what matters is her record.

If Kris Murray is elected to another term, I guarantee you that she will vote to throw your tax dollars at anyone complaining loudly enough to her friends over at the Chamber of Commerce.  If you honestly believe it’s the job of your elected officials to run around town expanding government and writing as many checks as possible in the name of “growth”, by all means, vote for Kris Murray.

If you want to vote for a public steward, vote for anyone else.  It’s that simple.

You get two votes for city council today.   I’d suggest you vote for James Vanderbilt.  He’s built his personal life and career on a foundation of putting others first.  He’s the right candidate at the right time for Anaheim.  You have plenty of choices depending on what you believe Anaheim’s focus ought to be.  Don’t vote for Murray.

Number Two

Vote “NO” on Measure N.

Measure N does two things.  First, it forces everyone in Anaheim to pay more for electricity.  By law, every city owned utility must operate on a non-profit basis . . . which means you should be paying as little as possible for electricity.  Measure N allows Anaheim to legally charge a profit, to transfer that profit back into the general fund, and to spend your overpayment as it sees fit (i.e. payroll and pensions.)  In other words, a vote for measure N is a vote to tax yourself.

Second, Measure N will allow the City Council to grant discounted electric rates to businesses.  If this Charter Amendment passes, you can look forward to subsidizing the light bills in the name of “economic development”.  Expect a line out the door of the Chamber of Commerce and some fuzzy math supporting businesses who just happened to write a campaign check to their favorite subsidy loving councilperson.

If you vote in favor of Measure N, you’re voting to tax yourself and to subsidize well connected businesses in Anaheim.  I think that’s kinda stupid, but to each his own.

Number Three

Re-elect Mayor Tom Tait.

Tom Tait has put his political future on the line to protect the best interests of Anaheim.  Not only has he opposed bad deal after bad deal, he’s done so largely on his own.

I don’t know about you, but if I had to go into work every day knowing I was going to be viciously attacked for standing up for what I thought was right, I’d be pretty desperate to find myself a new job.  Mr. Tait is doing exactly the opposite.  He’s asking for another four years of punishment,  not because it’s good for him or his health, but because he believes it’s the right thing to do.

I have no doubt that Tom Tait has his fair share of flaws.  Courage and integrity aren’t among them.  This guy has taken lump after lump on the chin to stop some of the most egregiously bad  uses of public assets that I’ve ever seen.  If any one elected official in Orange County is deserving of reelection, Tom Tait is it.

Number Four

Vote Yes on Measure L.

This particular item is all kinds of ugly.  We’re talking about district elections.

There is a wealth of information on why this is either right or wrong for Anaheim.  Quite frankly, I empathize with both sides of the argument here.  But, after considering the issue for many months, I can’t help but answer one question the same way every time . . .

Does the current at large system encourage diversity of thought on the city council?

Absolutely not.

The current system encourages candidate mills that end up producing advocates who talk the same, walk the same, think the same, and who more often than not live in the same part of town.  Not only does this allow the same problems to fester, it’s just plain undemocratic.

Will elections by district necessarily change this?  No.  It won’t.  It might though, and I know that “might” is a better option than “definitely not.”

Finally, Number Five.

Vote for or against Measure M

How many flapping heads do you want in local government?  Four or six?

No recommendation.  Assuming Measure L succeeds, perhaps that’s enough change this time around.  If L fails, I can see how adding two additional seats might do some good.

Regardless of how you chose to vote in Anaheim today, it’s your responsibility and privilege to be part of your city’s future.  This year, the ballot in Anaheim presents the electorate with widely divergent visions.  It’s not about campaign signs, mailers, or television ads– it’s about what you think good government should be.

Be wise.  Vote.

About Ryan Cantor

Our conservative columnist, raised in North Orange County, works as an auditor.