Weekend Open Thread: Vern’s October Letter to Anaheim Democrats.




So, I have SOMEHOW morphed, despite myself, into the de facto leader of the Anaheim Democratic Club (which is meeting tomorrow – Saturday Oct 6, 12:15pm, at West Anaheim’s Haskett Branch Library – EVERYBODY is invited.)

This means I have new severe strictures placed upon me – when I am wearing the hat of the Anaheim Democratic Club.  I can’t speak well of a Republican candidate – even one in an R-R race (*cough*Todd*) who is night-and-day better than the Republican he’s running against (*cough*Tony*).  When there’s a DPOC-endorsed Democrat in the race, who I think sucks, I cannot speak ill of them, or well of their opponent(s), be they Republicans, independents, Greens, Libertarians, or even better Democrats!  Hell, as far as I know I’ll even get my ass kicked for expressing a different opinion on an initiative than the official Party position, whatever that might be.

But all these strictures only apply when I’m wearing the “Anaheim Democratic Club hat.”  And the days and nights are long, and I will not always be wearing that hat.  Here’s my October newsletter to the Club:


Hello Anaheim Democrats!

What a crazy time we’re living in, aren’t we? The worst President in US history, allied with a majority Party that mostly despises him but uses him because he’s invaluable to their overarching decades-long project of enriching the rich, impoverishing the poor, strengthening the strong and killing off the weak.

The nation’s eyes are focused on Orange County which, it is hoped, could provide FOUR red-to-blue seats that will enable Congress to drag the nation back to goodness, light and humanity. We don’t need to worry about our own Congressman, Lou Correa – he’s completely safe (and could afford to take more chances than he does.) And it’s looking good in the rest of the County for Harley Rouda, Katie Porter, and Mike Levin to beat their respective Trump enablers.


But right here just a couple of miles north and west (Fullerton, Buena Park etc.) we have the closest of our races, that of worthy Gil Cisneros against the horrific Young Kim. Young Kim’s campaign has been attacking Gil with nonstop grotesque, false ads, based on a misunderstanding he had with a young female politician which is now cleared up, but which the Republicans have exaggerated into a horror story. If some of us want to travel a few miles (across the 91 or Beach) and volunteer to help someone who deserves to be in Congress, that might be the best way you could fight Trump.

Gil’s political director Martin Medrano will be at our meeting Saturday (left) to sign you right up.  Let’s get Gil on the Hill!


Who else is coming to our meeting? So glad you asked – we will have Monika Broome over explaining to us the 12 initiatives that will be on our ballot this November. Actually 11 because the one for dividing California into three parts got thrown off. Some of these 11 are more interesting or important than others. I think the one we have to fight hardest for, as it’s not only most important but the rich liars are fighting against it the hardest, is PROP 10 for Rent Control.

So it was good to see a big group of folks out walking recently for both Prop 10 and our best Council member in history, Dr Jose Moreno. That is a natural fit – the councilman who has done the most for housing and the homeless, along with the initiative that will allow towns like Anaheim to finally introduce rent control before out-of-control rent hikes add even more to our homeless population.

If you are walking and campaigning for the good Doctor or ANY OTHER of our Democratic-endorsed candidates, you are officially NOT wasting your time! Or, as Tom Paine would put it, “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

What about the Anaheim measures J, K, and L? Well, we all know that we’re in favor of L – a living wage of $15 and rising for the hard-working folks who labor for our resort industry – Disney, Wincome, and the Gardenwalk hotels – companies that have received hundreds of millions in subsidies from us Anaheim taxpayers.

Except it’s getting very complicated and confusing. What companies will L end up applying to? Disney has just recently thrown a spanner in the works by suddenly giving a decent raise to a large FRACTION of their workforce, while giving up their most recent subsidies – the July 2016 one for the hotel they’re building, as well as the 40-year moratorium on Anaheim ever charging a gate tax at Disneyland. On their own, those gestures are surprising and appreciated. But are they really just trying to shield themselves from having to pay the Measure L Living Wage? Is it really so burdensome to pay a living wage that you would give up all those other perks? On the other hand, we have been reminded of a huge 1996 subsidy that Disney is STILL enjoying. It’ll come down to lawyers and judges to argue and decide, when L passes, if it applies to Disney or not.

And then to make things even more confusing, there is J and K. All we get in the mail is pro-J and K literature from Hong Kong-based hoteliers The Wincome Group, proclaiming dishonestly, “J and K ask you a simple question – do you want better newer hotels in Anaheim or older worse ones?” Of course that’s not the question and it’s NOT simple – the real question is do we approve the subsidy ($400 million plus) that the 2016 council tried to give Wincome Group for these two hotels? And to make it more complicated, I would assume if we vote NO on J and K, and Wincome doesn’t get its subsidies, then whether they build those two hotels or not, they will ALSO not be covered by Measure L. Which kind of sheds light on why nobody is out there advertising AGAINST J & K.

These hotel subsidies were bad for the people to begin with, a robbery of Anaheim taxpayers and residents, and so many of us are voting no on J & K, yes on L, and THEN we’ll see who L will actually cover. But maybe our Saturday guest from UNITE-HERE, the celebrated Ada Briceno, can help us sort it all out, and let us know if the unions (which originally also put J & K on the ballot) have a position on them any more!

IN ANY CASE – please come to this Saturday’s meeting, 12:15 at West Anaheim’s Haskett Branch Library (on Broadway near Magnolia) and hear Gil Cisneros’ Political Director, Monika Of the Initiatives, and UNITE-HERE’s Ada #1 … and have a lively discussion as always! See you there, and keep up the struggle! 



About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.