As Predicted, Jordan Brandman Betrays Latinos and His Nominal Party By Endorsing the Pringle Candidates

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[Editor’s Note: this story originally appeared late Friday night, but it is being republished to find a larger audience.]

I wish that I and others had been wrong in predicting that, no matter what he said, Jordan Brandman would ultimately betray the interests of Latinos and Democrats in the Anaheim City Council election by supporting the two candidates from his true party — the Pringle Ring.  If I had been more bold, I would have predicted that he’d do so after promising not to do so — and at the sneakiest and worst possible last-minute time for the endorsed Democratic candidate, Dr. Jose F. Moreno.

I should have made the bolder prediction, because that’s what has happened.

The Mailer Sent to Democrats — to Destroy Democrats

This is the mailer that is intended to turn the election by bringing Democrats into the Murray/Eastman camp.  It’s also the mailer that is intended to divide the Democratic Party and to suppress Latino votes — perhaps enough to defeat Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva and to kill Measure L, the districting proposal.  Loretta Sanchez and other Democratic and union leaders essentially arm-twisted Brandman to support districting, and he has talked a vague good game in favor of it, but politically he is personally better off without it.  He’d like access to votes from Anaheim Hills voters, who know that on the issues that matter to them he’s a de facto Republican as Murray and Eastman, to go with those of Democrats who presume that with his choirboy looks and “golly gee gosh!” manner, he just can’t be as two-faced and treacherous as he is.  But — he is.

Any Democrat, any progressive Latino, who has ever bought into trusting Jordan Brandman’s word: read it and weep:

Brandman Betrayal (full mailer)

If that’s not clear enough, here’s one focusing on just Jordan and Murray’s half of the mailer:

Brandman Betrayal (Murray) 600 px

False “Choices”

In case anyone reading this is not clear on the concept, Gail Eastman and Kris Murray are NOT “the choice of local Democratic and Labor leaders” — except in the sense that there is probably more than one of each in their camp.  They could claim to be “the choice of Latinos” by the same logic — there are some pro-Pringle Latinos, after all — but calling them “the choice of local Latino leaders” would probably have been too hard for people to swallow.

Murray and Eastman are running against the endorsed choice of the Democratic Party, Dr. Jose F. Moreno.  (No one received the COPE Labor endorsement in the race.)  Murray, a leading figure countywide in promoting so-called “pension reform,” is particularly antagonistic to labor interests — with the exception of the Public Safety unions (the ones who get the huge pensions, whose symbols you see there at the bottom) and some of the Building Trades unions, who are willing to sacrifice anything on the alter of “more jobs now,” without worrying about whether it bankrupts the city.  Teachers unions, public employee unions, other unions — no thanks.  Their dismissal of Latino interests in clear in their opposition to Prop L, and in their automatically favoring ANY level of police reaction to suppress Latino organization; I don’t think that either has either seen an instance of deadly force that they didn’t like.

Now that’s fine for them — they’re Republicans, after all, and they don’t need the Latino vote.  But for Brandman, coming out for them over Dr. Moreno is a huge betrayal of Latinos.  Take away districting, though, and he can survive that.  And he can always move to West Anaheim and run for Sharon Quirk-Silva’s seat, if this act of treachery on his part helps to defeat her.

Why It Is a Betrayal

The Democratic Party of Orange County has endorsed two Democrats for the City Council dais: aside from Moreno for City Council, it endorsed former Councilmember Lorri Galloway for Mayor.  (It did so over my strenuous objections, grounded in the concern that Galloway would siphon off enough Democratic votes from Tom Tait to elect the horrific Lucille Kring.  I still think that that’s possible — although I’m no longer so confident that former Tait ally Galloway would mind.)  A while back, DPOC Chair Henry Vandermier held a meeting to broker a deal between Moreno (who admires Tait) and Brandman (who has endorsed Galloway, but if Curt Pringle wanted Kring he would surely go along with that.)  I know about this meeting because Moreno was invited to bring someone to be in his corner, as Democratic fundraiser and regular Brandman campaign manager Melahat Rafiei would be in Brandman’s.  (There was one exception: he could invite anyone except me.  I take that as a compliment.)

At that meeting, all parties agreed that, in exchange for some concessions from Moreno (I vaguely recall it being that he was not allowed to attack Galloway — and he hasn’t), Brandman would not endorse Murray and Kring.  But that he now has — and at the time and in the fashion designed to have the most impact.

Brandman justifies this treachery on the grounds that Moreno was supposedly talking behind his back — lumping him in with the other rotten City Council incumbents at one forum and questioning the strength of his position against charter schools (as Murray in particular has desperately tried to engage charter proponents as polls have shown her slipping behind.)  I have no personal knowledge about whether either is true — but it does seem that “don’t criticize Brandman” was not part of the deal, so it doesn’t matter.  And that’s why he stabbed Dr. Moreno — and Vandermier (though he may diplomatically deny it), and maybe even Melahat, as well as other Democrats, and particularly Latinos — in the back.

Brandman huffed in an email that no one should EVER question his commitment to public education.  For what it’s worth, I do question it.  It’s not that his positions haven’t been good; they have.  It’s that those good positions do not seem to represent a true core value for him.  Helping, and being helped by, Curt Pringle and his pals are his core values; his changing course in THAT respect would be huge and shocking.  For now, supporting teacher’s unions and trade unions benefit him politically by giving him Democratic cred where little else would; if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see him marching arm-on-arm with nominally Democratic teacher-hater Gloria Romero — a vicious critic, by the way, of Dr. Moreno.

But What About Correa?

Yeah, former Anaheimer Lou Correa is on there too — and he still holds some sway with some Latino Democrats, and probably more with non-Latinos.  I don’t think that people consider this quite the same sort of betrayal because expectation of party loyalty from Correa are not set very high.  He’s terrible on anything related to police and prisons and he’s bad on anything related to hospitals and doctors; these public interests are his big money patrons — and he stays true to them.  Other than that, Correa can be reasonable — sometimes even a useful leader, as on some political transparency issues.  But my guess is that Democrats receiving that mailer see Correa’s photo, see the Public Safety logos, and figure that that explains it.  Correa’s support can be explained away much more easily than can Brandman’s.  For those who don’t have much direct experience of him, Brandman’s opinion here would come as a shock.

So What Happens Now?

Let’s start with Jordan Brandman’s future.  Have you heard that Jose Solorio doesn’t seem to be doing so well in SD-34?  To some extent, that’s due to his working so hard to keep Julio Perez out of the State Assembly in 2012 — the best recent precedent I can think of for this treachery — recruiting both Tom Daly and Michele Martinez into the race.  Most of Julio’s supporters do formally favor Solorio — but hey, there are a lot of races in the county and they’re not inclined to spend time and effort on that one.  That’s Jordan Brandman’s future.  He’ll do OK as a Democrat until he runs into a Republican that Republicans really want to support — and then bam, out like a light.  An eventual party shift, or a de facto party shift a la Gloria Romero, would not be at all surprising.

As for the party itself this year: well, this is going to hurt.  This is the kind of bullshit that leads many Latinos to think that they simply can’t trust the Democratic Party in OC.  Somehow, some way, some betrayal will occur to prevent progressive Latinos — men and and women of the people — from succeeding in elections.  It is much much harder to turn people out to the polls under such circumstances.  If Moreno can do it, that will be a strong testimony to the power of his community ties.

  • It hurts Sharon Quirk-Silva in Anaheim — which is the part of her district that she needs to put her over the top.  You would think that that would stop Brandman from taking such a destructive path, but again — he may think that he’d be better off without her ahead of him in line.  I’m told (not by Moreno) that Moreno’s efforts to help Quirk-Silva’s campaign largely haven’t been reciprocated — one possibility being that her campaign includes a lot of pro-Brandman people.  Live and learn.
  • It hurts Measure L — which, again, is probably just fine with Brandman.
  • The added effort that Moreno now needs in the last 84 hours of his campaign will attract nearby local activists, probably hurts Bao Nguyen of neighboring Garden Grove, running against nominal Democrat Bruce Broadwater for Mayor.  (Thanks, Jordan!)
  • It definitely hurts Solorio — anything that reminds people of his own actions sandbagging Perez leading up to June 2012 hurts Solorio — but he was going to lose anyway.
  • In the longer term, it hurts the longstanding Democratic efforts to reach out to and activate Latinos.  Landing Moreno as a Democrat earlier this year was a real coup for the local Democratic Party; having the Democrats’ Golden Boy be the one to stab him in the back may undo those gains — and maybe even reverse them.

Not too shabby for one stupid piece of paper, is it?

The magnitude of any future effect depends, of course, on who wins the Council seats — which in turn depends on how well Latinos are able to organize and get the word out to voters, in the 84 hours between Saturday morning and Tuesday evening,  that this mailer is not to be believed and not to be trusted.  If Moreno nevertheless wins, it will be a major accomplishment of Latinos — and a source of longstanding pride and motivation.

If Moreno had lost without this betrayal, it would have been a spur for Latinos to keep on working harder, as demographics are on their side.

But if Moreno loses after this betrayal — hard to swallow.  The DPOC might be able to mitigate with actions — but not likely with mere words.

What may be needed, over this weekend, is public posting of graphic rejection of the flyer for all to see.  Collect them from people who received them and turn them to good use.  Here, I have an idea — maybe it could be something like this.

Brandman Betrayal (full mailer) 600 px Red X

There!  That looks MUCH better!


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.)