Linda, Queen (or Actually Interim City Manager) of the Andals, First of Her Name, Ascends to Power




The best screen shot of Anaheim’s new Interim City Manager Linda Andal from the Redistricting Commission video shows her with some Anaheim logos superimposed — which, come to think of it, is just about perfect for today!

As we’ve noted in our previous post, the fate of City Manager Paul Emery was to be decided today by 5:00 p.m.  It took an extra hour — why that is, in a moment — but at the end of that time the Council came in with reports of three votes:

  1. Paul Emery’s resignation was requested and accepted on a 4-3 vote, with James Vanderbilt joining Mayor Tait, Councilman Moreno, and Councilwoman Barnes.
  2. Paul Emery was granted an additional two months of severance — a bit upwards of $50,000, though I think under $60,000 — as a settlement to fend off a lawsuit.  This was on a different 4-3 vote: James Vanderbilt joined Councilmembers Murray, Kring, and Faessel in voting Aye.  Aside from this cash, on top of the $150,000-plus he’d already received for the past half-year, the most significant aspect of this is probably the content of the settlement agreement between the parties — which I doubt will be made public.  If (as I presume) it contains a bilateral confidentiality agreement, and possibly a non-disparagement agreement as well, that could be a problem for transparency (which was probably the basis of the votes against it). I wonder to whose benefit it ultimately operates.  If Emery is willing to give up any confidentiality and non-disparagement agreements that may exist, I hope that the City will do so as well.
  3. On a 7-0 vote, City Clerk Linda Andal was named the City’s Interim City Manager.  This certainly wasn’t on my radar — I expected to be seriously irritated by the appointment of Christine Ridge or slightly deflated (with some hopes remaining) by the appointment of Greg Garcia — either of whom were more plausible than Matt Cunningham’s agitating about the prospect of Mike Matsuda taking the position.

I’ve spent the past almost four years suing Anaheim on behalf of CATER and Cynthia Ward in part for acts that came out of her office — although I suspect that those acts was ordered by the City Mgr./City Atty/Council Majority and their patrons rather than by her — and EVEN I think that this was an inspired choice!  The City will find out whether she has the skills to be a great City Manager — it surely would not surprise me — but at a minimum she’s someone she is someone who can steer the “Ship of City” until a permanent replacement can be found.

(Best screen cap of Andal from the video I could get without the superimposed image.)

I’ve dealt with Andal primarily in two contexts: in the context of California Public Records Acts requests, one of which being the subject of the part of the lawsuit mentioned above, and the other with her work on the Election Districts process, where she got to “spread her wings” a bit, especially in dealing with the Judges’ Advisory panel.  My opinion of her is that she’s neither friend nor foe to me or to anyone else.  She’s fair, smart, competent, polite, and professional.  That and fundamental honesty — and while I don’t know what to expect of her under pressures she’s likely never faced before, I have no reason for doubt in hers — is all the city can reasonably ask of a City Manager.

Between Council factions, between the city’s wealthy interests and its reform activists, she has never hinted that she is on anyone’s side except, dispassionately, that of the public.  I cannot stress enough how unusual that has been among City officials.  What this gives her is credibility.  If she believes that something is right for the City, she is guaranteed — at least until strong indications that she doesn’t warrant it — the attention and consideration of the City’s activists.  I’d like to think that the same will be true of the monied interests that have held sway in the City for so long.

This is not to suck up to Interim City Manager Andal.  It’s something even better than that.  I don’t think that there’s any POINT in sucking up to Linda Andal — or in trying to score points with her based on anything other than the merits.  She doesn’t seem to be the type who wants it or rewards it.

That’s GREAT news for fans of good governance. That’s exactly what I look forward to seeing City Manager Linda of the Andals, First of Her Name*, can do in aid of a City with a great past and — at this moment — perhaps a brighter-than-imagined future.

*(It’s a Game of Thrones reference.  Season 7 premieres on Sunday night, and the Andals are one of their main ethnic groups.  Just roll with it.)

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.)