Judging from the OC Register coverage and Facebook photos, the single-member council districts rally organized by the left-wing non-profits OCCORD and OCCCO, it was a case of the choir preaching to the rest of the choir. The Register pegged attendance, which seems a tad generous judging from photos posted by organizers, but OK.
If the point of the rally was to enlarge the circle of citizens who support carving Anaheim into single-member districts, then it’s hard to judge the rally a success. I doubt there was a single attendee who was not already fully-committed to the single-member district cause.
If the point was the gin up the troops – well, it can be difficult to gauge enthusiasm from photos.
Mayor Tom Tait was billed in the pre-rally hype as the guest speaker, but must have been unable to attend since his council assistant Mishal Montgomery spoke in his stead:
Jose Moreno – who sued the city with the ACLU demanding single-member districts NOW even as he slow walks them in his own school districts – tried to cast the campaign in David v. Goliath terms (per the OC Register):
[Opponents] are going to spend millions of dollars to oppose election districts,” said Jose Moreno, president of the Anaheim City School District board and a rally organizer. “But we’re going to raise an army.”
Millions? Really? What planet is he living on? Total spending on Anaheim mayoral and council races don’t approach the “millions” level even in a competitive cycle. Moreno’s claim is also disingenuous because, as he himself has noted, a key (if not the key) factor on the pro-districts side will be the unions; and the unions are among the biggest political spenders around. The Orange County Employees Association alone has dumped hundreds and hundreds of thousands into Anaheim municipal elections in just the last couple of cycles. The Bob Cratchit campaign act isn’t playing.
The messaging from the pro-districts camp is nothing if not malleable (again from the OC Register article):
Having council members from specific parts of the city would ensure that the entire population’s concerns are equally addressed, supporters say.
Really? Last year, the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 (Mayor Tait dissenting) to change from the current at-large system to a from-district system – under which the four council members would have to be nominated from geographical districts while being voted on city-wide – thus ensuring “having councilmembers from specific parts of the city.”
And how did these same folks now taking up geographical representation react to that reform? They attacked it ferociously, denouncing it as “fake districts.” Moreno and the other ACLU plaintiffs also rejected the from-district system. They aren’t reality concerned with ensuring that different areas of Anaheim are represented on the City Council. These folks want “authentic representation” i.e. councilmembers who espouse a progressive political philosophy. In the final analysis, this left-wing coalition’s tactical rhetorical zig-zagging notwithstanding, is what this campaign is about – shifting Anaheim government to the Left.