Let’s give Councilwoman Lucille Kring the first word this time around:

On that note, The Sidhu-Faessel majority’s inexorable drive to silence the two Latino members of Council took two huge steps forward at the last two meetings – October 29 and November 5 of 2019.  But first let’s go back to the beginning of the kleptocrats’ clampdown on free speech and debate, December of last year…

That’s when the Sidhu-Faessel majority made their first move to shut up Dr Jose Moreno and Denise Barnes by requiring THREE votes rather than two to get an item onto the next meeting’s agenda.  (Yes, despite the new majority’s whining of equivalence, the 2017-18 Tait-Moreno majority DID allow Kring and Murray to agendize items with only two votes.) 

It was thought that, since Jordan Brandman usually sides with the kleptocratic majority, this would generally be an insurmountable hurdle for Jose and Denise to overcome.  And sure enough, even though Jordan had promised the DPOC (when seeking their endorsement) to always at least help Jose get items on the agenda, it has not been something Jose can usually count on. 

However, recently we’ve seen that when Jordan is unhappy with his fellow kleptos he IS willing to give the minority a third vote for agendizing, a development which Jose happily took advantage of on Oct. 22, getting FIVE important items onto the agendas for Oct. 29 and Nov. 5: 

  1. An emergency rent cap to protect the seniors being gouged by John Saunders in the Rancho La Paz mobile home park; 
  2. Emergency protections for the next two months (till AB 1482 takes effect) for renters facing no-cause evictions;
  3. A public review period for whatever deal council secretly makes with Angels baseball; 
  4. Setting a date for releasing the appraisal of the Angels Stadium, the Anaheim public’s most valuable property;  and
  5. A package of much more comprehensive campaign finance reform than we have now. 

This would not stand.

You probably already know what the Sidhu-Faessel Majority did to silence the Latino minority on October 29.  Even though the minority had cleared the three-vote hurdle, and over 150 residents had showed up to speak in favor of the above items, Mayor Sidhu “TABLED” each one of them, forbidding any discussion or debate on issues so important to so many in Anaheim.  And the Mayor was backed in this draconian action by a gleeful Trevor O’Neil and Lucille Kring, as well as a silent, grim Stephen Faessel

What was Sidhu’s reason for this extremely anti-democratic action?  Although he made it clear that he didn’t even need a reason and could do whatever he wanted, he offered a bullshit reason anyway:  supposedly all five items had already been discussed and debated at length, and rejected.  Surprise, this was a lie.  The only item that HAD been discussed at all was #1, the emergency rent cap for senior mobile home parks, and Jose had only brought it back again because there was a NEW CONTEXT for it in the wake of AB 1482’s passage.

But this was still not enough suppression of the Latino minority – more was yet to come…

The November 5 meeting was Trevor O’Neil‘s turn to shine – Trevor the Councilman from the Hills, Trevor who is beginning to resemble less a 60’s sitcom genie husband and more a budding tin-pot dictator.  Trevor’s contribution to the disfranchisement of the Latino council minority was a new SIX-MONTH RULE:  if Moreno or Barnes fails to get an item agendized, OR if that item doesn’t pass, they have to wait six months before they can bring it (or anything similar) back to Council again.  And naturally Trevor’s anti-democratic move was backed by a gleeful Sidhu and Kring, as well as a silent, grim Stephen Faessel.  (Sophist-for-hire Matt Cunningham ridicules the idea that this rule (or December’s rule either) was directed specifically at Moreno and Barnes, but of course it was – it would almost never affect the lockstep 4-to-5-member majority.) 

The Council minority sure looks Latino to me.

But.  Am *I* out of line to keep bringing up the fact that the suppressed two-member minority is Latino?  Some will say that has nothing to do with it.  On the other hand, it IS, simply, true – Moreno and Barnes are Latino, while the other councilmembers are not.

But there’s a truth BEYOND that, to this observation, a historical sort of truth:  Our city’s greatest political reform in a century, district elections (which 70% of Anaheim voters embraced) was first brought forth as a remedy for the disfranchisement of Anaheim’s Latino majority. Our first district election (2016) resulted in a two-year period in which the city’s power structure briefly lost its stranglehold on the city, a stranglehold which they barely managed to regain last year by QUADRUPLING their campaign spending to $4 MILLION.  This history gives context to the majority’s current suppression of the minority, as the next desperate chapter of keeping Anaheim’s Latinos and working class down.

And look at the five rejected items above for a sample of what our Latino council minority strives to accomplish – all would have benefited or protected Anaheim’s working class, and/or discomfited the power structure with unwelcome transparency.  Conversely the majority’s initiatives only benefit the wealthy and well-connected – even Trevor’s vaunted “senior safety net” bleeds our public coffers to subsidize the greed of rent profiteers, only incidentally and briefly helping the occasional struggling senior.

Anaheim’s Two Parties

I’ve repeatedly said, since washing up on these Anaheim Shores, that there are two political parties in Anaheim, and they are not Republican and Democrat, or even conservative and liberal.  It’s what this blog calls the Kleptocrats, versus … it’s hard to know what to call the rest of us, but we’re conservatives, moderates and liberals who believe in good government of, by, and for the people, as well as a relationship between government and big business based on mutual respect rather than symbiosis.

Mayor Tait once described it to me, I thought maybe simplistically, as “Those who are in it for the people of Anaheim, vs. those who are in it for themselves.”  I’m sure that sounds real self-righteous to Sidhu voters, the most loyal of whom were organized last year into an astroturf congregation called Anaheim First.  But, take a look at Anaheim First’s omnipresent logo, emphasizing the words “I’m First!” and think of Tait’s formulation of “In it for themselves.”

Well, what can I say?  That is their logo.

I’m sure there are a lot of nice people in Anaheim First.  No, I KNOW there are nice people in Anaheim First, but I think they are wrong or naive about how a city should work.  Those of them who are not directly profiting off the Disney-Chamber Axis’ continuous plunder are either:

  1. Dazzled by theme parks and glossy mailers;
  2. FEARFUL, fearful of our biggest businesses leaving us if we don’t give them EVERYTHING they demand, fearful of minorities and the homeless, and unquestioningly worshipful of law enforcement;  AND/OR
  3. Faithful in the long-discredited voodoo economics of TRICKLE-DOWN THEORY, which is the kleptocracy’s go-to argument every time.

Another thing we should ALL remember about AnaheI’m First and the kleptocrat politicians they elect is that they have been wrong, wrong, wrong, i.e. on the vastly unpopular side of issues, numerous times in the past, for example: 

  1. AGAINST DISTRICT ELECTIONS, which 70% of Anaheim voters WANTED.  On the current Council, Sidhu and Kring both voted to waste $2 million of your taxpayer dollars in a losing fight to keep you from even having a vote on the question, while anyone in AnaheI’m First who has a record on the issue opposed it, even if they might lie and try to change their record as Mitch Caldwell did. 
  2. They backed all the outrageous and unpopular nine-figure subsidies to Disney and the hoteliers, from the $158 million “Gardenwalk Giveaway” to the guaranteed 45 years without a gate tax for Disney. 
  3. And to a man or woman they opposed last year’s Measure L, feeling it would be unfair and dangerous to make Disney and other subsidized Anaheim businesses pay their workers a living wage – again not only a shameful position backed by lies, but one that failed spectacularly at the ballot box.

But the fact is most Anaheim citizens, even if they vote at all, pay hardly any attention to what the city’s two factions do.  It may be time to start a Facebook page called “Anaheim Free Political Forum,” where both sides can have their say and maybe more voters will be able to form an informed opinion.

Oh, and the next Mayor should bring back the City Of Kindness ideal.


P.S.  While I was writing this piece,  Mayor Sidhu (or his handlers) published a Register column entitled “Anaheim Leads With Jobs, Affordable Housing & Senior Assistance.”  It’ll take a while to sift through this hunk of propaganda, but our first impression was – just like Trump with Obama – Harry takes all the credit for a LOT of good things Mayor Tait and his 2017-18 majority started.

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 vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.