The SOAR Wars Begin: First Lying Anti-Moreno Mailer, August 16.




Allegedly risky “group home” The Lighthouse, brought to you in 2004, not by Moreno but by MITCH CALDWELL (Inset.)

It’s gonna be a bitter two and a half months in Anaheim’s District 3, as SOAR has just, in mid-August, sent out its first mailer against the councilman they most hate and fear, Dr. Jose Moreno.  As we won’t tire of explaining, SOAR (Support Our Anaheim Resort) is the PAC created by Disney and other large Anaheim resort companies to maintain their stranglehold over Anaheim politics, a stranglehold that was somewhat weakened by our first district election in 2016, but which they’re trying HARD to re-establish. 

Now before you tell me that it was not SOAR, but some “Anaheim Neighborhood Association” (ANA) that sent this flyer out (front, back) let me disabuse you of that distinction:  the return address is the “Historic Beck House” at 319 North Harbor, the home of Michelle Lieberman (Planning Commissioner appointed by SOAR councilwoman Lucille Kring), and the location that just two weeks ago hosted a SOAR fundraiser, at which we protested and from which we reported.   (SOAR fundraisers are more traditionally either at The Catch restaurant or at the million-dollar home of Mitch Caldwell, the candidate SOAR has chosen to run against Moreno.)  So, color me simplistic, but I’m saying ANA is an arm of SOAR.

Let’s get back to this mailer.  We’d predicted a while back that fear and revulsion against the homeless would be one of SOAR’s main tools in this campaign.  This mailer purposely conflates a few different things and tries to blame them on Jose: the homelessness crisis, the phenomenon of “group homes” for people overcoming substance abuse issues, and, as you’ll see below, recuperative care facilities which are completely different.  But in any case, the image at the top of this story sets the stage for SOAR’s lies – it is of “The Lighthouse,” a group home at 1300/1310 W. Pearl St. which was approved in 2004 long before Moreno was on Council, and was actually granted its permit (CUP) by a previous Planning Commission led by Mitch Caldwell himself.  [Pause for contemplating the hypocrisy…]

Front, bottom half … the deceptions continue…

So, apparently group homes are the new bogeyman du jour? Well, for those keeping score at home ESPECIALLY IF YOUR HOME IS IN DISTRICT 3:  There are about a dozen in your district.  ALL BUT ONE of them predate Moreno’s tenure, and ALL BUT TWO of them required no permit from the city, as long as they have a maximum of six residents (though they could break the law, but that’s not Jose’s or Mitch’s fault.)  The Lighthouse, which is the largest of all (and hence most ideal for fearmongering) has 40 beds and thus needed and got approval from Mitch Caldwell’s Planning Commission, and subsequently a unanimous Council … in 2004, twelve years before Moreno got onto Council! (Correction – even worse.  It was approved in 2004 with TEN beds, and needed permission in late 2016, which it got from Mitch’s Planning Commission – to expand to FORTY beds.)

During Jose’s tenure on Council only ONE group home has been approved:  “Grandma’s House of Hope” on the west side of Harbor, with ten beds.  There was no controversy over it, and apparently it’s not scary enough to be featured on this flyer.  And yet we’re to believe that the frightened masses are calling out as one:

Back, top half.  LOL.  Do you see now how ridiculous and deceitful this flyer is?

Okay, now we’ll get to the really big lies, which they’ve warmed us up for.  These have to do with the 75-bed Recuperative Care Facility that was planned by Moreno and others on Wilshire Ave, near the 5 and the Super-Walmart:

Back, bottom, and scraping the bottom. Click for larger image.

First of all, with all SOAR’s talk here of “the homeless,” “group homes,” “drugs” and “property crimes,” you’d be excused for not realizing that this was planned specifically as a “recuperative care facility,” for elderly, ill, and injured people who need acute care and daily medication, people recently released from Anaheim Regional or the VA.  They are not going to be breaking into your damn house, and from that location they do NOT have easy access to the Westmont neighborhood which SOAR is trying to frighten into voting Mitch, or any schools.

When SOAR complains about the “little or no notice to residents,” they’re referring to the town hall meeting Jose held regarding this facility, for which only neighbors in a 300-yard radius were notified, a meeting we also reported from.  Mitch Caldwell and realtor Paul Kott were among the SOAR members in the audience that night, whipping the attendees up into a frenzy with the same lies they’ve printed here – this was going to be just another obnoxious “group home” that Jose wants to foist on the neighborhood, while Mitch knew full well that he is much more to blame for group homes than Jose.  Hence, the image of Mitch with devil horns, which I hope to improve.

But getting back to that 300-yard notice – Jose DID listen to residents’ concerns, and DID try to take action, attempting to change the notice required for such meetings in the future to 500 yards … but the rest of the Council found that too burdensome and over-ruled him.  So SOAR can take that “doesn’t listen, doesn’t take action,” and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

THIS ELECTION is near-existential for the SOAR forces, and we have to treat it the same way.  We are likely to get a Mayor we can trust if we push hard enough for her;  and we are probably doomed to a new SOAR councilman from District 6 (the Hills.)  So, mathematically, we are SCREWED if EITHER Jordan or Mitch wins in District 2 or 3 – all the modest reforms of the past two years will be undone, and the looting and pillaging of 2001-16 will resume, apace.

Vern out.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.