LAL BEATS CABAL: Meeks Nephew’s Nuisance Lawsuit Faceplants.

Oh, the Flop-sweat of the Kleptocracy. We love the smell of it in the morning, redolent of Victory!

Nobody knows how Anaheim’s Council / Mayor elections will turn out, after the revelations of May. After the FBI reports, the resignation of Mayor Sidhu, the overturning of the Stadium Giveaway. After the public found out that the small group of unelected insiders running Anaheim call themselves not only “The Masters of the Universe” but also “THE CABAL!

Will the voting public finally realize that all us loud gadflies were right all along, that these politicians who call themselves “pro-business” are actually SELLOUTS to Disney and a few other special interests, subservient to those special interests and indifferent to the rest of us, our city treasury, and even most Anaheim businesses? Does the public care? Or will they just vote all these crooks back into office again, because they love all those glossy mailers, and they claim to be “pro-business?”

Or will it be a mixed result? The people of Anaheim need to sweep all four races, to make any positive change. We need Ashleigh, Hari, Al and Carlos, the supporters of Clean Elections, to beat the Cabal choices Trevor, Gloria and the two Natalies – after which we’ll get to also pick Avelino’s replacement and have FIVE. Anything less is stalemate, or the dirty status quo.

Well, the kleptocratic establishment sure seems worried that this could happen – ESPECIALLY in Anaheim Hills Council District 6! For an honest, anti-corruption candidate – one who’s not even a Republican! – to take this seat would be unthinkable! It would be like Alaska electing a Democrat, or like Kansas voters coming out in force to protect women’s reproductive rights! But then, this is an unthinkable year, so the establishment can’t be too careful.

The Guerilla War in the Hills against an Honest Hari.

And the Cabal does seem especially worried about reformist candidate Hari Lal taking District 6. In July I wrote about some of the petty harassment he was already getting – the unsuccessful attempt to keep him out of the July 4 parade, folks showing up at his public appearances to yell and falsely accuse him of misrepresentations, the California and OC Bar Associations getting DOZENS of fruitless inquiries into whether the consumer advocacy lawyer had EVER been accused of legal misbehavior. (He has not!)

In recent months somebody has been carrying out a war on Hari’s campaign signs. 310 of the 400-something signs COGS had posted for Hari have been removed over the month of August, many of them found dumped and vandalized. Some were mutilated, torn up, defaced with red paint, some dumped in big piles in a ditch. Reaching out, Hari received an anonymous tip that one “Richard Reddish” was one of the vandals.

And then last week, at the last minute, a couple days before the ballots were due to be printed, while Hari was up in Vancouver at a family wedding, a Richard Reddish sued to get Hari off the ballot, claiming that his serving on the Santiago “GHAD” (Geological Hazard Abatement District, tasked with preventing further landslides in Anaheim Hills) would be some kind of conflict with serving on Council. Turns out Reddish is a nephew of Hari’s opponent Natalie Meeks, and he wanted the Hills to have no choice in this election, but for his aunt Natalie to be installed as their Councilwoman.

But, who is this Meeks?

Will she actually “inherit the earth?” And why should Hills voters NOT vote for her this year?

Natalie Meeks is probably a nice lady, but she has been a city hall insider for decades, now living on a $146,520 pension for her time as Public Works Director. Inseparable from former Mayor Curt Pringle, who’s never given up on controlling and profiting off Anaheim even after moving to Tustin Hills, she has taken it as her life’s work to push through all his pet projects, and it’s Curt who’s been escorting her around the Hills lately, introducing her to all and sundry.

  • Meeks’ biggest claim to fame has been pushing through the $182MM ARTIC station. Unnecessary, an eyesore, and did we mention, $182 million dollars. By now we’ve grown accustomed to it as we drive past it on the 57, but if you recall, we already had a perfectly fine train station closer to State College. Pringle and Meeks had a VISION, they were certain California’s High Speed Rail would pass through right there, and you and I paid $182 million for that vision. And even now, the place is almost always empty, echoing inside, and a real hassle when you have to use it. Not good, to have as your biggest claim to fame.
  • The controversial (and abandoned) Angel Stadium Giveaway passed through the Planning Commission while Natalie was there, the appointee of Trevor O’Neil; most of the commission’s votes on that Swindle took place while she was chairperson of the Board. And not only did she unfailingly vote in favor of it, uncritically, but according to Commissioner Steve White, she pushed through those votes while silencing any dissent she could, just like Sidhu did on the Council.
  • On the Planning Commission, Meeks, always obedient to Cabal masters Jeff Flint and Curt Pringle, okayed at least two projects that were SO UNPOPULAR IN THE HILLS that even Sidhu and O’Neil ended up voting against them – the high-density housing project on Serrano Street (lobbied for by Flint), and the huge, fire-hazardous Holden Senior Living Facility that Pringle wanted to build where a Mormon “meeting place” now stands. All you Anaheim Hills activists who came to Council and stopped those two projects, remember that Planning Commissioner Natalie Meeks approved them!

While Meeks enjoys her six-figure pension, Mr. Lal’s extensive public service to Anaheim Hills, unremunerated, includes over a decade on the Anaheim Hills-Santiago Geological Hazard District (GHAD), during which time he has overseen the improvement of our dewatering wells and fought to protect his neighbors’ homes from landslides and erosion. Which brings us back to…

That Nuisance Lawsuit

Meeks’ nephew, Mr. Reddish, claimed (at the last minute) that Hari’s service on the GHAD would conflict with his service on Council. This was highly debatable, and Hari quickly wrote a brilliant 20-page brief debating it – if ever a rare Council vote could conceivably conflict with GHAD business, of course Hari could recuse himself.

But… to tell the whole story, as of last week, Hari was running for both offices – for election onto Council and for re-election onto the GHAD board. To simplify things, Hari agreed to drop out of the race for GHAD, but, as Mr. Reddish had no doubt been told, at that point it was impossible for Hari to remove his name. “So remove Hari from the Council race, your honor!” pleaded Reddish’s lawyers.

But instead, the Honorable Judge Craig Griffin did Hari (and Anaheim Hills voters) a solid by issuing a Writ of Mandate removing Hari from the ballot for GHAD. Part of his reasoning was that that would disfranchise a whole lot less voters than removing Hari from the Council race. Well reasoned!

Meanwhile, on that Friday afternoon, September 2, hours before the ruling came down, several drivers on Nohl Ranch Road saw a HUGE BANNER HUNG UP (coincidentally near where Richard Reddish lives) reading “LAL REMOVED FROM BALLOT!” A little premature, that. Donna and I rushed up to the Hills but the ruling had just come out and the banner had already been removed, so alas, we have no photos to gloat over. We’ll just have to make do with this chestnut:

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, or 714-235-VERN.