Measure D – Rebuttal to Argument in Favor

Continuing our series of posts (here and here) on what will be the most contentious measure on Anaheim’s June ballot – Measure D – we present the “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Measure D (which changes the mayor’s term from four to two years):

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

Vote “NO” on Measure D.

An overwhelming majority, over 70% of Anaheim, has already decided the mayor should have four years to speak for the people.

So who’s wasting our time with a question to which we already know the answer?

Special interests.

Why?

Their best argument is that two years is how they do things in the fine cities of Orange and Irvine. They say it increases accountability.

Well, accountability means something. Accountability means getting things done. It means taking four years to focus on the needs of residents from all corners of Anaheim. It means making sure that the city is running well.

So what do the special interest lobbyists really want?

They want a mayor who’s too busy campaigning and hosting fundraisers to keep an eye on the city. They want to make it easier to give away your tax dollars to their wealthy friends. They don’t want accountability to you, the taxpayer.

They want the mayor to be accountable to them, not you the taxpayer. That’s just wrong.

Let’s not give them any more power. Let’s get to work repairing our streets, keeping our communities safe, and our parks clean. Let’s promote fiscal responsibility and a transparent open government.

Say “NO” to the special interests trying to rob Anaheim residents of their hard-earned tax dollars.

Vote “NO” on Measure D. We need a mayor with four years to do the job.

Tom Tait
Mayor of Anaheim

James Vanderbilt
Anaheim City School District Board Member Trustee

Jose Moreno
University Professor

Steve McKay
Anaheim Canyon Community Coalition

Helen Myers
Orange County Historic Commission

“The voters already decided this issue” in 1994 isn’t a strong argument, especially when you consider that all the signers are in favor of single-member districts. The voters decided that issue in 1964 when they approved the city charter – and with it the at-large council election system these signers want to replace. Voters also decided they wanted a four-member city council, and the signers of this rebuttal want to change that, as well.

If they’re going to adopt the “voters have already decided” principle as an ersatz Brezhnev Doctrine for municipal elections, then consistency demands they abandon their quest toss out at-large council elections.

The signers tell us that “accountability means getting things done;” that it means “taking four years to focus on the needs of residents from all corners of Anaheim.” Actually, accountability doesn’t mean any of those things. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it means “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions” and that willingness exists independently of whether a mayor faces the voters every four or two years.

Then there’s the “it’s the special interests who are behind this” argument. Who are these “special interests”? The signers never say, and instead leave it to the imagination of voters.

Although they are apparently unable to tell us who these “special interests” are, the signers seem  o know precisely what they want: 

“They want a mayor who’s too busy campaigning and hosting fundraisers to keep an eye on the city. They want to make it easier to give away your tax dollars to their wealthy friends. They don’t want accountability to you, the taxpayer.

I suppose the only reason the “special interests weren’t also accused of wanting to flouridate the water supply or to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids was the 300-word limit on ballot argument length.

The more one thinks about these arguments, the more absurd they become. Imagine the mind-boggling frequency with which a mayor would have to hold fundraisers and “campaign” in order to be unable to “keep an eye on the city” (as if the mayor were a more a nightwatchman than an elected policymaker). Does anyone honestly — honestly — think that would happen with a two-year mayoral term?

Does anyone honestly think a two-year term would ;lead to a mayor being so totally engrossed in fundraising and campaigning that he or she would suddenly look up and exclaim, “Good Lord! I’ve been so busy campaign that I didn’t notice these greedy special interests giving away tax dollars to their friends! What have I done?”

“They want the mayor to be accountable to them, not you the taxpayer.”

The signers actually argue that requiring the mayor to face the voters more frequently somehow makes the mayor less accountable. 

The signers then go on to tell us there is s direct correlation between the length of a mayoral term and whether or not roads are repaired, parks are cleaned and government is fiscally responsible.

This rebuttal argument is tub-thumping that doesn’t work on the level of logic, factuality or common sense.The question is whether it will work politically with voters? Will they believe this is all a diabolical plot by mysterious special interests bent on hauling away the city treasury in order to deny the good people of Anaheim clean parks and well-paved roads?

52 comments

  1. Did you seriously quote the dictionary?

    Automatic F. You know why, even if your readers don’t.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Channeling Eccleston at me, eh? Incorrect!

      Does that mean you DON’T use a dictionary to determine the meaning of a word?

      • Indeed I am. I look forward to your future citations of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

        Of course, the real beauty in your using it? Websters defines two-year as TWO WORDS.

        Skadoosh.

  2. Two year terms work just fine in Irvine.

    • Indeed. I bet Forde & Mollrich would agree with you.

      • Matthew Cunningham

        Another powerful argument. “I don’t want campaign consultants to make a little more money.”

        • First, $20,000,000 is not a “little more money”. It’s an ungodly amount of money.

          Second, thank you for demonstrating EXACTLY what the problem with this ballot measure is. It’s about creating opportunities for money to change hands to influence politics.

          Much appreciated.

          • Matthew Cunningham

            Ryan, your claim about the reason for Measure D is not only phony, it is utterly detached from reality.

            • Speaking of detached from reality . . .

              I sent your write up to a few composition professors I know. We had a nice chat regarding your overreliance on “reducio” to get your point across.

              One of them asked what this was all tied to, so I showed him a copy of the argument in favor of the change. He thought it was so bad that the ballot write up is going to be used next semester as an example of fallacious argument.

              Thought you might enjoy that. Someone got paid (I assume) to put something going to Anaheim voters that’s so poorly written that it’s literally going to be study material for how not to write.

              • Matthew Cunningham

                Oh my. I’m sure the “No on D” campaign will feature that in a mail piece.

                Did you also send them the anti-D arguments?

          • Matthew Cunningham

            Also, what is the $20M you mention, and what does it have to do with Measure M?

          • What a stupid, stupid thing to say, Ryan. How does a two-year term do that?

            • Basic math, Rabblemonger. I’m sorry if that’s too stupid for you.

              A two year term doubles the maximum allowable contributions from individuals, organizations, and PACs. It’s the principle reason those supporting the change have signed their name to the arguments in favor of the change.

              Approving this charter change doubles their influence. These are folks whose profession is to extract as much public money from government as possible. By doubling their influence, the risk of cronyism increases accordingly.

              • Matthew Cunningham

                I think you mean “principal.”

                But to your argument, which is purely speculative in addition to being absurd: the mysterious special interests who’ve supposedly orchestrated Measure D are going to all this trouble so that candidates can bug them for money TWICE AS OFTEN? Because raising money is so easy that raising twice as much is as simple as switching to a two-year term?

                Please tell me you don’t really believe what you are saying, Ryan. These arguments are laughable.

                • Indeed I do, thank you. +1 for you.

                  Another reducio, Matt? Any other tools in that belt?

                  I have no problem believing that the Chamber of Commerce will continue to spend the maximum legal amount on the candidates of their choice. Ditto for Disney and the cacophony of PACs like SOAR, OC Biz Pac, et al.

                  So yeah, Matt. It’s that easy. They cut the cycle in half and they double the amount of money they funnel to the candidate of their choice. It ain’t that hard to understand.

                  Meanwhile, the private citizen now has to double the amount they spend to stay relevant. Given the finite limit of personal finances, it’s not exactly an absurd leap to make . . . the base upon which candidates support their campaign is going to shrink in size. Wealthy donors will simply donate more, every day donors will donate the same amount– but their influence will be halved.

                  This makes allegiance to special interests much more important. Running against the stated interests of the Chamber, SOAR, Disney . . . it’ll be near impossible.

                  • Matthew Cunningham

                    Ryan: it’s “reductio” – and that’s not what I am doing. I am simply stating your argument – which is, I repeat, laughable.

                    I can see where what you’re saying might make superficial sense to someone who has no actual experience in politics and campaigns. I suppose it’s easy to swallow the bilge you are ladling out if one’s political experience is confined to reading and commenting on blogs.

                    Raising money is difficult. Indeed, that is one of the arguments your side makes in arguing for single-member districts. There’s a reason you don’t find political donors clamoring to eliminate candidate contribution limits; they limit how often candidates can bother them for money.

                    But in this case, you are tacitly making the opposite claim.

                    • By tool, I didn’t mean ad hominem. You’re welcome to attack me all you want, but my credibility and experience have no relevance to the argument. Try another.

                      So which is it, Matt? Fundraising is difficult, which will require a mayor to spend more time focusing on it and less time on running the city . . . or fundraising is easy, so we don’t have to worry about how much time Anaheim’s mayor spends on fundraising. You appear to be trying to get it both ways.

                      Try this: It is in fact hard, unless of course your allegiance to special interests makes it easy. You vote the way they want you to vote, not only do you have to spend less time fundraising, you can actually spend less time running the city because you’re being told how to vote. Deviate from their expectation? Well, now you’ve got to spend more time campaigning to match their spending against their candidate of choice.

                      Of course, that’s exactly what special interests want isn’t it? They either want a candidate they support with their money who does what she’s told or they want a candidate too busy raising money to raise public opposition to the schemes they want to implement. This is a perfect tool to do it with.

                      I’m sure to a political insider, this is pretty simple stuff. I guess that’s why the only people supporting this change are themselves political insiders.

                      Gee, I wonder why. Maybe they have something to gain.

                      Here’s what the argument boils down to, Matt. The proponents case for change is this is how other cities, smaller cities with smaller issues and smaller budgets, choose to govern.

                      I think that’s failing to make a case. I guess we’ll see.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      You can’t escape the quick sand of your argument by trundling out a straw man version of mine.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      And I didn’t attack you personally. But your lack of political/campaign experience is relevant when you declare with certitude that “special interests” contrived Measure D so they would have to give MORE money to candidates.

                    • That’s not a straw man, so no.

                      You attacked the credentials of the person making the argument, which isn’t the same as making it personal. I never represented myself as an expert, which makes your attack logically irrelevant. (Incidentally, you didn’t characterize my political experience correctly.)

                      I really don’t know why you’re dancing around this as something other than punishment for Tait. I don’t see the big downside for you in acknowledging that.

                      As the song goes, Let it Go.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “I never represented myself as an expert, which makes your attack logically irrelevant.”

                      That makes no sense. Not representing yourself as having expertise is not a defense of not having expertise.

                      What I’ve done in my comments, Ryan, is to criticize your claims about the consequences of a two-year mayoral term, which are speculative and run counter to experience and common sense.

                    • Of course it’s not a defense, Matt. I’m not going to defend against your fallacious and irrelevant attack. My expertise has no bearing on my argument, which makes what you’re saying a waste of both my time and your readers’ time.

                      No, Matt– what you did was needlessly take a swipe at me. An inaccurate one at that. I’ll excuse the former as it’s not really a big deal. The later is just you being lazy, which is up to you to tolerate I suppose.

                      But hey– I think you’ll agree we’re drifting way off topic. Please continue to inform your readers about how this isn’t an attempt by the Chamber of Commerce to get more leverage in Anaheim politics.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      It wasn’t fallacious and it wasn’t irrelevant, and it wasn’t a swipe at you.

                      And it isn’t an attempt by the Chamber to “get more leverage.” Ascribing invented motives to opponents doesn’t equal thoughtful argument, Ryan. You’re just throwing poorly-aimed darts at a dartboard.

                    • OK. It was, it was, and it was. Effective, right?

                      While the darts might be poorly aimed, they sure seem to be hitting you in a soft spot. I’ll call that on target enough.

                      Anyway, back to more about how the Chamber cares oh so much about voter accountability, in spite of it’s long established history of doing the exact opposite. All ears, bro.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      “While the darts might be poorly aimed, they sure seem to be hitting you in a soft spot.”

                      Jeez louise, Ryan. Dream on. You haven’t come close to making a sensible argument in this whole comment thread.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      There you go again, Ryan: making a speculative claim and then demanding someone prove you wrong.

                    • Not an argument, not an argument, and still not an argument. Talk about sensibility . . .

      • Ryan, the Republicans in Irvine could have taken the Mayor’s seat back every two years but could never put together a good candidate. I am hopeful the Democrats will come up with a strong candidate to take out Steven Choi who is an embarrassment and looks completely lost on the dais.

        Secondly, I’m not sure where you got the $20 million figure from. I think it was more like $8 million but remember, F&M did the RFP that brought the Solar Decathlon to the Great Park. I believe the revenue estimates from that event (poorly marketed by the new council majority) where in the neighborhood of $11 million to $20 million — so any way you slice it, F&M was a good ROI for the city because they did quite a bit of work in addition to the Solar Decathlon.

        • So . . . they would agree that it’s a good thing, right?

          • Dan Chmielewski

            Voters can keep or toss the mayor every two years. If they perform, they stay. If they don’t, they are gone.

            A two year term is what works for most of OC biggest cities (HB has a rotating basis).

            • Third time’s the charm? Maybe capital letters.

              SO FORDE AND MOLLRICH WOULD AGREE, RIGHT?

              Anyway, is this another official Galloway position or has she not said anything (again), yet?

              • Dan Chmielewski

                I have no idea whether they would agree or not Ryan; why don’t you contact them and ask. I live in Irvine. We vote for mayor every two years. I have never seen a mayor not re-elected but have seen former mayors lose to other candidates. There is greater accountability and with two council seats in play every election along with the mayor’s seat, there’s an opportunity every two years for the other side to take control.

                I don’t speak for Lorri Galloway; her positions on issues are stated on her website and there’s an ability to reach out and ask her a question or the ability for you to come to one of her events and talk with her.

                For what it’s worth, Santa Ana has a two year system for mayoral elections and how long has Pulido been in charge? He didn’t even have his first fundraiser last election until after Labor Day. So there goes the argument for the need to non-stop fundraise (although with 40 people a pop, Tait needs a lot of fundraisers).

                Your argument in support of 4 year mayoral elections in Anaheim is easily debunked elsewhere in OC in cities where the mayor is directly elected.

                • Why would he have to fundraise? It just skims a couple hundred grand off of property deals connected to city issued contracts. Pays for a campaign right there!

                  Anyway, I’m glad to hear you don’t speak for Lorri Galloway. That’s good news for her. You should still ask. I wonder if she’ll still run if the term is reduced to two years? I wouldn’t if I were her . . . Hope you aren’t helping torpedo her candidacy. But, as usual, I appreciate another highlight of an issue that Galloway has no opinion on.

                  I think you need to reconsider those comparison to directly elected mayors. So far you’ve brought up two– Irvine and Santa Ana. Irvine is issuing subpoenas to investigate city contracts connected to political operatives (Forde and Mollrich above, who I suspect will likely agree with how you’d like to do things) connected to the mayor at the time they were issued and Santa Ana is investigating a potential conflict of interest between the mayor and a major city vendor.

                  My argument is that a two year term in a city this large and with this many problems creates too many opportunities for money to change hands to influence politics. You’re two for two in demonstrating that point.

                  Again, the principal (<– thanks, Matt) argument in favor of this change is this is how other, smaller, cities in Orange County choose to govern. That's a pretty pitiful case for change and I think it fails on its face.

                  What this really does is make it harder for an elected official to focus on implementing an agenda and easier for special interests to use money to influence politics. Doubling the time a mayor spends campaigning and doubling the amount of special interest money involved in elections does not make for increased voter accountability. It makes for less.

                  • Matthew Cunningham

                    “Again, the principal (<– thanks, Matt) argument in favor of this change is this is how other, smaller, cities in Orange County choose to govern."

                    Wait a minute, Ryan – yesterday you said the principal reason was so “special interests” could give make campaign contributions more often.

                    • . . .

                      And that folks, is how a straw man is done correctly.

                      No, Matt. I did not. That’s a deliberate misrepresentation of my argument.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      And I quote you, Ryan:

                      “A two year term doubles the maximum allowable contributions from individuals, organizations, and PACs. It’s the principle reason those supporting the change have signed their name to the arguments in favor of the change.”

                      I didn’t misrepresent your argument one bit.

                    • That’s why it’s a straw man, Matt. You’ve removed the appropriate context to make an argument appear that no one is actually making. Text book.

                    • Matthew Cunningham

                      I did no such thing, as anyone who reads that comment can see. If you want to maintain that you didn’t really say what you said, that is your privilege.

                    • I don’t really care about “everyone”. I know you’re better than that.

                  • Dan Chmielewski

                    Ryan — Lorri would run for mayor if the term was two years or four years. I am pretty sure the length of time doesn’t concern her, thought when Lorri beats Tait, I’m sure your friends will be glad they only have to wait two years.

                    Skimming money off of property deals? Wow.

                    You seem to miss a major point; the mayor has two years to show the voters something or he/she is out.

                    I feel like I should be writing to you in crayon and with a reading primer.

                    • Well, I was overdue for a personal insult from Dan “I’m so classy” Chmielewski. I’m stupid, I’m obtuse, I’m childish, I have no balls, and now I have the literacy level of a first grader.

                      I don’t know who bullied you at what age, but I hope that at some point you choose to define yourself by how you lift people up. You spend way too much of your time putting people down. I assure you, what you say reflects more on you than it does me.

                      Anyway– be sure you ask Lorri about the term. Maybe in three to four weeks we can get a response after you’ve drawn it up in the magic world of Crayola for us. If she’s really excited to run for a two year term, let’s hear all about it.

                      To your point, put more correctly, given that the campaign season is about six to nine months long, it’s really about a year to deliver an agenda. Given fiscal years being in the middle of the year, it could realistically be closer to six months to plan, budget for, then execute an idea.

                      But, really, what this is all about is special interests having opportunities to boot people they don’t like on a more regular basis. After all, if it really were for some other reason, we wouldn’t have the gaping bright red flag hanging out there that asks: Why this change now? If it’s so great, why wasn’t put in place much much sooner?

                      Ah. Right. That’s because there is no actual case for change. It’s just how other, smaller, cities do it. Yeah. People will believe that. Nevermind that this just happens to coincide with the first time the Chamber isn’t having it’s way with the mayor’s seat in Anaheim. Nevermind this wouldn’t be on the table if Pringle were in office. Heck, nevermind the commission also wanted to eliminate term limits. Nevermind Pringle almost had a seat on the Charter Review Commission itself . . . this isn’t about revenge at all! It’s about voter accountability and NOTHING spells voter accountability like m-a-c-h-i-n-e.

                      Please Dan, go on about how I lack a pair of testicles, how I’m illiterate, stupid, obtuse, or whatever your insult of the day is. I’m sure that’ll make you feel bigger, er, better.

                      Stay classy.

    • BigBoxOfRedWhine

      “Every other OC City with an Elected Mayor” is ONLY 5 OTHERS OUT OF 34- And from the table below, without City Police, Fire, or an Owned Utility and Tourism Infrastructure, few to NONE demand comparable Management responsibilities or breadth of Oversight. But from the Great Park Audit surprises, I guess that reduced level “works just fine” for you? In Anaheim, not so much.
      __________________________________________________________
      City Anaheim Irvine Santa Ana GGrove Orange Wstmstr
      __________________________________________________________
      Popultn 341361 215529 329427 173470 138409 91064
      Type CHRTR CHRTR CHRTR GNLAW GNLAW GNLAW
      Police City City City City City City
      Fire City OCFA OCFA City City OCFA
      Utility City SCE SCE SCE SCE SCE
      Empl 1847 984 1492 867 766 287
      BudgetGF 236.8M 139 M 196.5 M 87.8-91?M 93M 48.7 M
      BudgetTot 1488 M 414M 409M 204M 228M
      Debt/pCpta 4766 2 5116 106 2 96

      • BigBoxOfRedWhine

        “without City Police, Fire, or an Owned…” should read “without City Fire, or an Owned..” I’ll save someone the trouble of calling it to my attention.

      • The proper answer to you is “So what?” You haven’t demonstrated that a shorter term translates into reduced oversight, because it doesn’t. Tom Tait is ineffective because he’s a poor leader unable to work with his colleagues. That’s true regardless of whether his term is two or four years. Curt Pringle would still have been an effective mayor if he’d served two-year terms.

        As the pro-Measure D argument said, effectiveness depends on the person, not the length of term.

  3. WE must uproot 150 years of electoral process because we need to increase accountability!!!!! What’s that? You have a suggestion on increasing accountability that could impact Tait? No, that cant be. Suddenly I think the status quo provides plenty of accountability.

    -Seemingly everyone in support of districts

  4. “I don’t know who bullied you at what age, but I hope that at some point you choose to define yourself by how you lift people up.”

    For some reason, I cannot directly reply to your reply Ryan, but I was never bullied at any age. And I actually do define myself by how I life people up starting with my 30-year marriage and my relationship with my kids. My community service also stands for itself. I was a HOA president for eight years, ran cub scouts (a den and a pack), was a coach and commissioner for AYSO and NJB, coached Little League, and I’m active in a number of other neighborhood organizations all designed to make my community a better one.

    What I don’t get from you is that in spite of presenting evidence that a two year mayoral term, which is not a problem in my city, is somehow a problem in Anaheim. Anaheim already has assembly reps and Congressional reps on a 2-year cycle, but all hell breaks loose if the Mayor has to run every two years.

    You continue to defend a mayor who has lost control of city council meetings, cannot control members of his own party on “conservative matters,” runs business interests often hypocritical to votes he takes himself, and has presided over an increase in gang violence in the city known to host the Happiest Place on Earth. Fine. I get it. Tait is your horse. You will defend his honor no matter how often he votes no on union contracts negotiated in good faith, no matter how many times he fails to support his own police force, no matter how often he holds his gavel and refuses to lead. Tait’s hypocrisy when it comes to kindness is the reason I’ve lost all respect for him

    • Well, Dan, you can either make comments that are emblematic of the service organisations you represent or you can make comments that aren’t.

      You tell me how exclaiming to the world that my lacking a pair of testicles is a tribute to your thirty years of marriage, your relationship with your kids, your community service, your HOA, your den and pack, your soccer team, your basketball team, your baseball team, and your community AND THEN we’ll talk policy in Anaheim.

      Tell me about how all your life experience tells you that calling someone, who for all intensive purposes is a nobody to you, is stupid, illiterate, a child, and obtuse is acceptable. Tell me how that is exemplifies not bullying, but service.

      Don’t confuse your hypocrisy when it comes to kindness with someone else’s.

      • Your belittling and belligerent tone warrants a like response. I wouldn’t complain about the mud I threw at your clean white shirt while you have dirty hands from slinging it yourself son.

        • Ah, so it’s my fault.

          Said the bully.

          Again, stay classy, Dan. Be sure to tell those kids you coach that it’s OK to put people down if they deserve it. I bet it’ll go over really well.

  5. What a crybaby you are Cantor. Please do defend gangbangers over the police more

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