Radical Group Tries To Criminalize Policy Differences Over GardenWalk

OCCORD Director Marisol Ramirez holding Party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying "Police Are George Zimmermans With A  Badge."

OCCORD Director Marisol Ramirez holding Party for Socialism and Liberation sign saying “Police Are George Zimmermans With A Badge.”

The Left in Anaheim must be getting desperate, today’s press release from radical left-wing group OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) is any indication:

DA Urged to Prosecute Anaheim Council Members for Conflict of Interest

Council members received contributions from PAC tied to developer, then voted for $158 million hotel subsidy, says letter by CA attorney.

Contact:  Eric Altman, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (714) 392-0959 or ealtman@occord.org

Anaheim, CA – A prominent California attorney alleged that members of the Anaheim City Council violated state law when they voted on behalf of a $158 million hotel subsidy, after accepting contributions from a PAC tied to the project’s developer. Attorney Cory Briggs urged California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to prosecute the council members in a letter sent Thursday. Briggs’ request for prosecution was made on the behalf of a community organization, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, and a private Anaheim resident named in the letter.

The letter alleges that Anaheim City Council members Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman had an illegal conflict of interest when they voted for the Garden Walk Hotel subsidy in May, within months of accepting donations from the political action committee formed by Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR.) Hotelier Bill O’Connell, who benefited from that subsidy, sits on the SOAR Advisory Committee. The letter also names council members Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, who voted in favor of the subsidy and are SOAR Advisory Committee members. Eastman and Murray did not disclose their business relationships with SOAR and O’Connell at the time of the vote, as required by law.

The request for prosecution issued by Briggs is a required legal step before the filing of a private lawsuit. A potential filing would result in another in a recent series of lawsuits faced by the city council on behalf of residents. Last month, a judge ordered a trial in a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of Anaheim voters, alleging that the city’s election system violates the California Equal Voting Rights Act.

The Garden walk subsidy caused controversy, even before the allegations made last week. The subsidy was first passed in January 2012, but that vote was voided after a Superior Court Judge ruled that it violated the Brown Act, California’s open government law, because the public did not receive proper notice.

This is typical of the Left’s approach to politics: if you can’t win in the court of public opinion, then sue! Or in this case, ask government prosecutors to go after your opponents.

Furthermore, judging from the press release, OCCORD’s case is thin, tenuous bunk.

OCCORD’s mission is to “reframe the debate…about the role of government in our society,” and as their track record of policy advocacy makes clear, OCCORD wants to radically increase the role of government (yes, it’s hard to believe there is room to make government even bigger).

Is this the sort of militancy OCCORD’s funders support? Do the James Irvine Foundation, the Orange County Community Foundation, Wells Fargo, the California Endowment and other non-profit funders support having their money used to call for government prosecution of elected officials who don’t tow the OCCORD line?

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  1. OCCORD and this Cory Briggs better break out their checkbooks-

    Cal Code Civ. Procedure 128.5: Every trial court may order a party, the party’s attorney, or both to pay any reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by another party as a result of bad-faith actions or tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.

  2. This is Tait/Moreno/Ward working to discredit the council – lending some perceived weight to their call for single member districts. Their belief being that if they can create enough smoke, the judge will agree with their flawed logic that districts are “closer to the people.” Another stunt from a desperate group of strange bedfellows.

  3. What is most disgusting with these continued poltical stunts from Tait’s camp is that they publicly denegrate the city as much or more than the council he is attempting to discredit so he can “elect the council he didn’t have last time” and likely to try and keep Kring out of the race against him for Mayor. I used to think the world of Tom Tait – now I just hope he leaves at the end of his term so these attacks on our city can stop.

  4. Matt – the Anaheim public who reached out to City Hall were overwhelmingly against this giveaway. I have records that show over 100 people contacted City Hall opposing the deal and only 5 were for it.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Jason: key words “who reached out.” You’re assuming the automotons turned out by OCCORD and UNITE-HERE are actually representative of Anaheim’s public.

      And are you saying that each of those people who contacted City Hall in opposition to GardenWalk is actually a resident of Anaheim? I doubt it.

    • Jason you moron. There were over two hundred emails to the council in favor of this vote, passed by the majority of the elected council. The problem is that you spend so much time plotting your idiotic schemes that your requests for information are made far too late to have been saved. A simple phone call to the city clerk confirms this. Your requests for records come in weeks or months too late for old correspondence to be available. If you weren’t so focused on the tearing down of a city YOU DO NOT EVEN LIVE OR VOTE IN, you could actually do a little good with your life. But first why don’t you get a life and stay out of my city and its business

    • Jason, even if what you say is true, the reason we elect leaders to make decisions is because they can make the unpopular decisions that serve the greater good. Go reread Federalist #10 and see what it says about insulating the decisions of government from the passions of the public. This is a case when the Council majority thinks that the deal they have struck is better for the City as a whole than not having such a deal.

      If the majority of the City’s voters didn’t agree with the Economic Assistance Agreements, they wouldn’t have voted for a Council candidate that was clearly and strongly in favor of the deal. You cannot say, with any credibility, that the majority of Anaheim voters opposed the GardenWalk deal when they voted Jordan into office last November. If the majority of Anaheim voters were truly opposed to the GardenWalk deal they would never have voted for Jordan based on the platform he ran on.

      We have an election system that allows us to change our elected representatives when they don’t do what we, as a community, want them to do. After the GardenWalk deal was done, we didn’t change our elected leaders in a meaningful way when it comes to Economic Assistance Agreements. And, if you want to say that the voters of Anaheim do not represent the residents of Anaheim, that’s the fault of the people who don’t get to the polls to vote. If OCCORD spent nearly as much time getting people to the polls as they do dragging the City through the mud, they’d be able to accomplish their goals and would have more allies (including myself) along the way.

      • Amen!!!!

      • Don’t quote the Federalist Papers when discussing local government. Not at all the same animal.

        What was Mr. Brandman’s platform re: Gardenwalk during his campaign?

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Ryan: while the proximate issue the Federalist Papers attended to was the new Constitution, the principles the authors drew upon are universal and applicable to local government. I doubt they believed local government should be held in the sway of public passions of the moment.

          As for Jordan’s platform: he supported GardenWalk. In fact, the OC GOP, the Orange County Employees Association and the Tait family all paid for very harsh mailers attacking him for that support. And he was the top vote-getter.

        • I’m going to take the second part of your comment first. Quite simply, Jordan supported the GardenWalk Economic Assistance Agreement. There is even a video of him, posted by Save Anaheim to YouTube, talking at a City Council meeting in support of the Agreement, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDPejlfoIIk.

          While Federalist #10 was written to support the provisions in the Constitution for the Senate, what it says about insulating the decision making of the government from the passions of the people is applicable to all levels of government within a republic. We elect leaders to look out for the public good and some times, often times, the public good is unpopular. That is especially true when a faction is attempting to misconstrue, warp and outright lie about the actions being taken by our elected leaders.

  5. Sick of politics

    I think it’s time to ask their donors why they continue to support such a cause.

  6. Matt – Perhaps we should get together and go through the list and weed out OCCORD and UNITE-HERE members versus residents.

  7. Gustavo Arellano

    [Blah, blah, blah, waaaaaaah!]

    • You use “blah blah” as your stock answer to a lot of postings on these blogs. Is that the only answer you come up with when a reasoned and intelligent reply is beyond your mental capabilities? Go register a voter and encourage them to speak out at the polls as is their right. Suing people because you don’t get your way is truly the desperate act of a group who not only doesn’t play by the rules, but doesn’t even know what the rules are.

      • Matthew Cunningham

        Diana:

        Actually, I substitute the “blah blah” for Gustavo’s comment, because he says the same, venomous, lie every time.

  8. Diana – my request was very specific and covered the proper timeframe. There were only 5 correspondence supporting the GardenWalk deal and over 100 opposing. I’ll be sure and post the documents soon.

    • Jason, seriously?

      So if I pack a room with people demanding something and the council doesn’t bend over backward, then THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE is DENIED?

      At the next council meeting I’m rounding up a group to demand the city buy every resident a puppy to celebrate the year of kindness. If in 2 weeks I don’t have a puppy how about you and I start a blog and picket line?

  9. Stand For Anaheim

    OCCORD is funded by OCEA. Tait hates GardenWalk and cannot let it go. This is BS and political mud slinging. Sad really because everyone knows that you do not have to disclose a campaign contribution UNLESS you financially gain from the contribution (and even then it is hard to prove). Here, Gail, Kris, Jordan and Lucille never financially benefited (personally) from Bill O’Connell or SOAR. Clearly a stupid political tactic by OCEA, Tait, Cynthia Ward (ICK!) and Moreno to try to discredit good people like Bill O’Connell and SOAR. Yes, attorneys fees and recoverable against OCCORD. I hope Bill O’Connell and SOAR will GET THEM. This is truly pathetic.

  10. Well, Disneyland and the Resort community is partly to blame the Radicals are defending the poorer Hispanic community whether its legal or not. The resort community pushed for lower skilled hotel jobs and restaurant jobs where a lot of Hispanic immigrants work. Anaheim has even in the past 10 years grown faster in the Hispanic immigrant population than LA. If it wasn’t for the East side Hills the City would be Santa Ana the second. Santa Ana developed also because of the demand for cheaper labor for manufacturing jobs like sewing and so forth. I worked temp factory jobs years ago in Santa Ana and this brought the illegal immigrant Mexican population to Santa Ana before they got into the service jobs there.. Granted, not all factory work in Santa Ana hires them but many did and created the problem.

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