Councilman Jose Diaz Should Resign in Protest

An Open Letter to Anaheim Councilmember Jose Diaz:

Anaheim Councilman Jose Diaz may not have realized if before reading this, but he has a hard decision to make.

I do not believe that we have ever met, or even corresponded. I endorsed against you in the latest election, not because of you but because of my respect for your opponent, Denise Barnes, whom you beat by fewer than 800 votes out of 18,441 cast. My understanding of you from others whom I respect is that while you are quite conservative, you stand apart from many of the members of your Council majority in that you are a decent and honorable man.

And that is why I am now calling upon you to resign. Not because I know there to be anything wrong with you or your character, but because your honor demands it — and I suspect that you may act honorably.

You haven’t done as good a job as Denise Barnes did, mostly because you did not know the truth of what was really going on in Anaheim as well as she did. You believed sources whom you thought were credible; you took their instructions because you thought it was good for the city. And I’m sure that you were both flattered to be chosen for support by what we now know as “the Cabal,” and eager to be a good representative and role model for the Cuban community.

Here’s why I’m inclined to trust in your honor: because Todd Ament, who of course wanted you to overcome any sense of honor that might make you less, uh, “reliable,” did not trust you, perhaps due to your honor. Ryan Cantor posted a piece today identifying you as Council member #7, in the context of whether to invite you to a cabal meeting — and here’s what Todd Ament said about you:

AMENT: To me, I don’t think [Elected Official 7], I think this would be a lot for him to absorb in his first week [as an elected member of the Anaheim City Council]. It’s kind of like when S.O.A.R. took how the sausage was made to the S.O.A.R. Board to show them how polling works and how we manipulate it. That’s when half of S.O.A.R. kind of went off the deep end. … We’re part of the manipulation. I think it’s too early for [Elected Official 7] to get into this level of detail.

You dodged a bullet there! It’s a good sign when you’re not trusted by a criminal to be a good accomplice! And that is why I am asking you — and not asking Trevor O’Neil, Steve Faessel, Gloria Ma’ae and Avelino Valenciato resign. If you think about it for even a moment, you’ll know that it is the honorable thing to dobut not because of what you have done. Unlike your colleagues named above, and your Mayor, your main “sin” (if one would even call it that) is a venial one of credulity rather than a mortal one of corruption. You don’t deserve to stand with them — and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.

Here’s why you should resign. Your eyes have been opened to the painful fact that your seat was an ill-gotten gain for the Cabal. It was purchased with independent expenditures — which you probably welcomed, not yet understanding their moral cost — by the very sorts of people who were in the cabal and its corporate sponsors.

This should distress and disgust you. I believe (unless shown otherwise) that you truly did not have an idea about how corrupt things really were. Denise Barnes did — and that’s why they used you, cynically, to get rid of her. Now, you should finally understand and respect why she did what she had been doing. It was brave and noble — much as I’m sure you see yourself as being.

Lots of people — Avelino and Faessel being the most transparent, O’Neil the most clumsy — have belatedly distanced themselves from Mayor Sidhu and, they would at least like us to believe, the Cabal. This is too little and too late. You’re still the new kid — newer, even, than Ma’ae, who while a later addition to the Council has been an avid servant of the Chambers’ organizations far longer than you’ve been in office — so you actually have a better excuse for ignorance than anyone else on the Council. But you’re still going to be lumped together with them absent something dramatic.

Resigning is dramatic. It is a more eloquent statement than anything you could say on Council. As such, it frees you to run for the District 1 seat when it is next open without the stench of what is, and what is yet to come, clinging to you. I’ll still endorse Denise, but I will have respect for the stand you would be taking now. It would throw into stark relief the fact that people much more culpable than you — Faessel, Ma’ae, O’Neil — who really should resign in shame, will not resign — because they have so little honor, and honest regret, to begin with.

Your resignation would clear the way for the five remaining members of Council (because Sidhu is toast) to choose Denise Barnes to fill your seat on the Council, as she frankly would have were it not for the Cabal-associated interests pummeling her (and to a lesser extent promoting you) with their incessant glossy mailers. They may not do it — but that retention of ill-gotten gains would be a very ugly look for them. (Even … a suspicious look.)

You may be tempted to say that you can just stay where you are and try to act morally, like Denise Barnes would. I’m sorry to say that that isn’t likely. The pressure on you to capitulate to the remaining corrupt forces in Anaheim will be constant and increasingly frenzied and mean. Those forces believe that they bought you and now own you. Anyway, Denise Barnes wasn’t the woman we know now when she first came to the Council; it took her longer than you’ve been on Council, and in better conditions, to gain the knowledge and drive to become a real fighter against corruption. You can’t just snap your fingers and assume her mantle — though if you decide to stay, I guess I hope you try and succeed.

Anyway, this is just my perspective. You’ll do what you want. But as I noted at the outset, this is an open letter to you — and the purpose of an open letter is to make it harder for someone to do what’s wrong and easier to do what’s right.

Good luck with your choice. I hope that you prove to be the sort of man I’d like to think your are.

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.)