Whither Jordan?, Part 1: Rolling Over Sharon Quirk-Silva; Rolling Over the People’s Map

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Whither Jordan pt 1

[Editor’s Note: This post contains two different stories in one package — which are themselves part of a larger single set.  Go ahead and read just one story within this post at a time, if you prefer.  That way it may not seem as overwhelming.  Or you can read all of the stories in all of the posts right after another all at once, once they’re up, if you enjoy being overwhelmed!]

1. Roll, Jordan, Roll

That was fast!

Sharon Quirk-Silva had been agonizing for weeks (if not longer) about whether to pull her endorsement of Jordan Brandman for Congress, where she was his most prominent endorser.  Vern has been regularly in touch with her, as I have not, holding the story of her imminent withdrawal of her endorsement until she finally and absolutely decided to pull the trigger.  After Jordan’s tragicbetrayal of her good-natured sympathy for him and her confidence in his word at Tuesday night’s Council meeting, she had given him all of the second chances she could give.  She decided to go ahead and tell him of her decision.

It was first reported on Wednesday morning.  Before the light was done fading from Wednesday night’s sky, he had departed the race to succeed Loretta Sanchez for the 46th Congressional District seat.

The Liberal OC opined of Quirk-Silva that “[I]t’s believed that she was under intense pressure to yank the endorsement from activists upset with Brandman’s motion to restart districting maps in Anaheim.”  Oh, please.  Such pressure existed, but it was not intense — nor was it even really lobbying.  She got feedback from people (the person who was most open about it was our own Chairman Vern) who really do care about her and her political fortune and told her that she was hitching her wagon to a yak headed straight for a cliff.  That’s not a threat, it was a justified warning of impending political disaster to be imposed by others.

Sharon gave Jordan every opportunity to justify his actions and follow through on his promises to “do the right thing.”  What she probably learned on Tuesday night, more than anything else, was a lesson about Jordan’s character.

He’s a taker, not a giver.  And he had no compunction about dragging her over a cliff with him.  (Imagine if Sharon had waited too long to pull her endorsement until after he had withdrawn!)  After all, he had a safe place to land — and he didn’t really care whether she did or not.

In pulling her endorsement, Sharon risked the wrath of the county Democratic Party’s “Old Guard” — I like to call them the “O.G.s” — who care approximately one-million-and-three more times about Jordan’s future electoral success than Sharon’s.  (A guy with Jordan’s lack of apparent qualifications doesn’t get to be then-County Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly’s communications guy (allowing him lavish pay for meeting and charming the County’s power brokers — or the District Director for Ian Calderon, the friendly second generation of the Gateway Cities “Business Democratic” family business — without important people greasing his skids and giving him lots of gentle-but-firm pushes.)  The O.G.s care much more about J0rdan even than they do Loretta — without whose leading around by his belt Jordan would not even supported districting in the first place — who needs their help right now as their choice to take down liberal Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris in the race to succeed U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.  Jordan’s the guy who, in their plans, they could call upon to do anything they wanted, following plans designed by some of the brightest advisors around, once he got into Congress.

But, unless he finds another Congressional race somewhere in the state — and beware the conservative Democrat + Republican coalition that was going to throw Ron Calderon at you before all that previous unpleasantness began in 2012, Linda Sanchez! — that’s not going to happen this year.  So whither — “to where,” for those of you who don’t know or like the King’s English — now, Jordan?

Jordan has for years had some of the best political thinkers around making his decisions for him and cutting through the thickets through which other candidates must crawl.  (I have great respect for his devoted advisor and guide Melahat Rafiei’s intellect, experience, shrewdness, and perseverance, for example.  That is, obviously, only a partial compliment.)  Lifting him by the elbows and racing aside him, they often make him look like he’s floating forward on air at tremendous speed.  Politicking isn’t my profession, so I can’t pretend to be their equal — less so that of all of them at once — but I do know the lay of the land pretty well and so I believe that I can anticipate what they may be thinking now.  (And no, asking them directly is pointless; it would generate only bullsnot.)  This short series represents my best guess of their thinking.  And it will include pictures.

2. Another Council Race Under the Judges’ Recommended (aka “People’s”) Map?

The most obvious course for Jordan would be to seek another term on Anaheim’s City Council.  The prospect that he’s thinking along those lines may explain why he reversed not only his former support for “The People’s Map,” but also his intention to try to push through a change that would leave the man whom he hates and fears the most, Dr. Jose Moreno, unable to run for election to Council until 2018.

(Does that sound petty?  It is, as you’ll see from evidence in Part 2, that personal with him.  Dr. Moreno doesn’t actually seem to hate Jordan; he just wants him to shape up.  But, with Gollum-like force, Jordan hates Dr. Moreno.)

“Moreno in 2018” is too soon for Jordan (as well as whoever’s pushing him): the prospect of their sharing a Council dais for two years, with Jordan possibly in the minority, must make him sick.)

(An aside on that last note: lots of people who were inside the room, which I was not, have noted that Jordan did look quite sick and haggard on Tuesday night — the phrase I kept hearing independently from people was that “he looks like he’s lost ten pounds this past week.”  (Could this be a delayed aftereffect of strep throat?)  As a lefty softie, I hope that he isn’t sick — although if he is, and if it’s due to stress, he would have brought it on himself.  But if that’s the case, then at least if might be curable!   I’ve said in print as well as to his face years ago that I considered myself to be “fighting for his soul” — and if stress is harming him  then I hope that he’ll enjoy watching some seasonal stories on TV, like maybe A Christmas Carol?  “Watch and heal!“)

If the “People’s Map” remained in force, and if Jordan stayed put, Jordan could expect to run against both Dr. Moreno and Gail Eastman.  If that happened in 2018, he might have a shot (especially if Eastman faded away), but that could mean two years entirely out of office.  Unacceptable!  If he caved and went along with the “1, 3, 4, 5” plan that almost every speaker before the Council has favored, then (1) he’d have caved, and (2) Dr. Moreno would probably kick his butt back to the City of Orange.

So, the likelihood has long been that Jordan would not stay put.  He’s said that to too many people for him to credibly deny it now.  (Not that “credibly” is a huge concern of his.)  Where on the People’s Map would he go?

The strong suspicion has been that he’d go to either District 1 or District 2.  District 1 includes the residence of his protege Connor Traut, who recently took over the West Anaheim Neighborhood Council in a well-executed partisan putsch that left many longtime activists there quite angry.  Connor said after that that he would not run for District 1; prior to that he had been privately telling people that he would not run if Jordan runs.  At this point, we just don’t know.  Anyway, that’s safe territory for Jordan to land.

The smart money back in November was on District 2 — but that was before James Vanderbilt’s announcement that he would be moving to District 2 (where he works) to give it representation in the upcoming year.  (It also better suits him politically.)  Vanderbilt — if he were willing to give up two years of Council eligibility — would probably beat him there (especially given that he is now beloved in the Latino and Arab communities. for his strong stands in the past month’s fights, as well as in his own party.)  My own guess is that Jordan would move to the more Democratic District 4, where second-tier Pringle Ring member Lucille Kring lives (uneasily eyeing her electorate), allowing her to move to the more favorable territory of District 2.  And then he could have been the City Council Representative for Disneyland!  That doesn’t seem like the sort of title that Jordan would want to pass up!

Jordan could also move to District 5 — a pretty suitable one for him, although our sources tell us that Steven Albert “Chavez” Lodge has now moved to the area in the Reyes Map between Lewis and State College that belongs to that District, and Jordan wouldn’t run against his friend and Pringle Ring stablemate Lodge — or even District 6 if he doubts Tom Tait’s power to destroy him there.  (Hey, go for it, Jordan!)

But as Jordan himself said on December 8, following the condemnation of his vote by the Democratic Party, “the problem is the map.”  And the problem with the map is not that it leaves District 2 unrepresented — at least not after James Vanderbilt announced that he had moved there.  The problem is that, under that map, (1) Jordan doesn’t have a really great district to run in, and more importantly (2) Latinos in Central Anaheim — the main “community of interest” in the City — are kept undivided within the same district.  And, as they have shown, an undivided district of Latinos is unacceptably likely to elect Dr. Moreno, who cleaned up among District 3’s voters in 2014.

They would elect him, that is, IF his home is within that district.

Unlike other political figures in the county, Dr. Moreno is not likely to cheat on that sort of thing, or anything else. (District Attorney Tony Rackauckas may look toothless regarding political wrongdoing in our county, but he still does have ravenous — though highly selective — tastes.)  So Moreno can be evaded.  And that brings us to the December 8 meeting, in which Brandman (illegally) tried to narrow down the maps that the Council could consider to a small number of mostly lousy maps — of which the most serious ones shared one striking characteristic.

You just might be able to guess what that characteristic is.  We’ll discuss that in Part 2.


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.)