Anaheim Insider here.
TheLiberalOC.com’s Dan Chmielweski published a follow-up to his earlier post about Mayor Tom Tait’s engineering company taking hundreds of thousands in taxpayer subsidies to give his employees computer training. Dan contrasts that with Tait’s vote in 2012 against $40,000 to fund a computer literacy program at the Ponderosa Library in a heavily Latino neighborhood:
Last week, we detailed how Tait & Associates received hundreds of thousands of dollars in state grants for employee computer training from 2004 to 2010. But when it came time to authorize $40,000 for computer training and education programs at the Ponderosa Library, a program designed to help Anaheim’s poor and working class families gain new skills for better jobs, Tait was the only member of the city council to vote no (slide to the 3:12 mark of the June 19, 2012 meeting and watch the vote). Democratic candidate for Mayor, Lorri Galloway, voted yes for this program.
Taxpayer funded computer training is OK for me but not for thee.
The Ponderosa Library reports that the computer training classes surpass capacity every week, It can easily be considered among the Library’s best attended and most successful programs provided by all of Anaheim’s libraries with a direct benefit to the predominantly Latino families in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
For those keeping score at home, Tait & Associates got $320,000 in taxpayer funds to train employees at a private company. The Ponderosa Library computer training grant he voted against in 2012 was $40,000 a year and is designed for people seeking to improve their skills.
That was the night the council majority voted to establish parity among the budgets the mayor and councilmembers use to hire their assistants. The mayor’s budget had been $100,000 compared to $60,000 for his colleagues. Lorri Galloway voted against reducing the mayor’s budget, but once it passed she supported using the $40,000 difference to fund the Ponderosa computer literacy program. Tait voted against it. I don’t believe he’s against helping Latino kids become computer literate. But it was a dumb vote, and the contrast with his company’s application for those government computer subsidies looks really bad.
The Office of the Mayor Has Survived
Remember the clamor over the city council’s vote to end the mayor’s (recently acquired) power to put items on the council agenda between meetings? Tait partisans complained it would render the mayor powerless. They said it would “stifle” and “silence” him and attacked the rest of the council as “monsters” and “despicable.”
It’s been four months and the mayor hasn’t collapsed into a powerless heap and the wheels of government are still turning. Tait has been busy placing items on council agendas. He certainly hasn’t been stifled or silenced. The only difference is he can’t slip things onto the agenda out of the public eye but has to do it in full view of the public during council comments, just like his colleagues have always had to do. The mayor can’t wait until the last minute to put something on the agenda and ambush his colleagues, but is that such a loss?