Councilman Vanderbilt Discusses His Move To West Anaheim On Local Listserv

A friend of this blog forward this January 9 commentary by Councilman James Vanderbilt on the Mother Colony e-mail listserv. The topic was the online petition created by West Anaheim residents asking to have their council districts 1 and 2 on this year’s ballot, and Vanderbilt discusses his recent move to West Anaheim and the recent controversy engulfing the map process:

One aspect I have always appreciated about the Mother Colony listserv is the discourse of important city issues from many individual’s points of view. It is import for any elected official, including myself, to know “the pulse” of the people that I represent and reading the conversations of district elections in the Mother Colony Yahoo Group for the last several years has shaped my personal opinion (I can elaborate on this further at the next council meeting as a matter of public record).

But for now, I feel it is important to weigh in on this discussion because there is some assumption that I moved into West Anaheim. Depending on who you speak with, West Anaheim is generally considered to extend from Brookhurst Street to the western city limits. In fact, I did a Google search and I see that Wikipedia defines West Anaheim in this way. To give some perspective, I live about three blocks from the Anaheim Plaza and that’s about two miles due east from the Linbrook Bowling Alley on Brookhurst St. and Lincoln. While I consider that walking distance, it would still take me about 30 minutes to get there from where I live now. So, while I moved west, I did not move to West Anaheim.

My neighborhood is the very Anaheim neighborhood where I grew up for more than 10 years and later worked as a teenager for 3 years. My closest elementary school is Adelaide Price which is where I was a student for 1st through 3rd Grades. In fact, I live on the same block where my childhood classmate and best friend “Robbie” lived when I was a kid. We played on different teams of the La Palma Little League at the park I now live closest to (John Marshall off of La Palma near Servite High School). I also lived about 3 long city blocks from the location where my parents got my first bank savings account in 1970 at the branch of Security Pacific Bank near what is now Smart & Final. My parents were very much a blue-collar couple in late 60’s and early 70’s, so they impressed upon me the importance of going to the bank every week to deposit something and I think that is why I have very vivid memories of that experience. I lived in my current neighborhood long enough to have been a frequent shopper to the Anaheim Plaza and Wal-Mart when it first existed as an outdoor mall and Sav-on Drug Store, before they became an indoor mall and then again an outdoor mall.

Of course all of this explanation would be meaningful, if I could let you know what Anaheim electoral district I live in now and for how long, as well as those I have lived in before and for how long, but unfortunately, most of my colleagues decided to scrap the consensus map that so many people in the community pushed for. I thought this was especially saddening because I believe that our council should encourage broad public participation by being responsive to the wishes of all of those who took part in putting the map together. I was truly impressed by the participation of so many and by having a panel of independent retired judges decide. I was especially careful to stay outside this process to make sure it was as organic as possible. But now that the council wants to unilaterally revisit the district boundaries, it will have a very hard time assuring the public of a clean process moving forward. Of course, I believe it is perfectly understandable to have questions of why I have moved recently and suggest that I may not know much about the area where I reside. The reality is that it is much more personal decision and given the sentiments I am reading here it seems important to clarify my history and experience of where I live. I believe I did so as a candidate when I stated in my city council statement in 2014 that I have lived in many parts of the city including where I now live.

Certainly, I look forward to following the continued debate about districting both within the Mother Colony group and throughout the city. But, without a map that defines how neighborhoods are combined or divided, questions of a person’s history with a district-yet-be-known” seems to take the focus off the more immediate question of what map do the people want. What I think would be a point for the group to seriously debate is the real possibility that the Colony gets divided into three separate districts as has been proposed by some at our last meeting. Any and all feedback is welcome.

James Vanderbilt



  1. Is this the same listserv where Gail thanked God for the riots saving her and her colleagues from an embarrassing vote in 2012, and Lucille celebrated a “win-win” for Robert Moreno getting summarily executed and “saving us the cost of a trial” in 2014? Extra free-speech props if you print this comment!

  2. The same Robert Moreno who held a gun to the head of a 10 year old kid while he threatened his terrified family into silence. The same Robert Moreno who hid in a plastic garbage can and shot at police. It wasn’t a summary execution Vern.

    • Yeah, yeah, Robert may have had it coming, we don’t know, we weren’t there. But the important thing was Lucille thought it was funny and cool that we “saved the cost of a trial” by killing him on the spot.

      • No, the important thing is your claim Moreno was summarily executed even though you admit you really don’t know, and then you veer back to your pre-disposition to believe that every person who is killed by a policeman is the victim of an execution.

        What we see here is your sloppiness, your casual disregard for the truth, and a prejudice against the police. You’re a creature of the fringe, Vern. That is what comes out of your comment.

    • But Dan, don’t you know those are all just lies made up by racist police?

  3. Wow Vern just said Moreno “may have had it coming.” Allow me to provide you with the facts of the case and the name of an eyewitness who saw everything Vern.

    •Seven interviews were conducted and 46 witnesses were contacted in the investigation.
    •Moreno was one of three males seen by police who fled when police approached them; officers recognized a standing Moreno as one of the trio who fled the scene. When Moreno was asked what he was doing by a police officer, Moreno fled down an ally, stopped and pulled a handgun, firing on an Anaheim police officer. At least three shots were fired by Moreno as officers took cover.
    •Moreno fired one more shot while making his way behind an apartment complex.
    •Anaheim Police used a PA system with warnings in English and Spanish that a police dog had been deployed in the area and to stay inside their homes.
    •Moreno hid in a trashcan. When K-9 Bruno used his nose to lift the lid, Moreno shot the dog once; the bullet remains lodged inside the dog near his heart and cannot be removed.
    •Moreno continued firing at the three officers on the scene who returned fire. As soon as Moreno stopped firing, the police called a cease fire and called to Moreno to surrender for medical attention; with no word from the trash can, officers approached it to discover Moreno had suffered a fatal head wound and his weapon had fallen out of the trash can. Moreno suffered 23 gunshot wounds resulting in his death.
    •The entire initial incident was witnessed by Jaime Gonzalez, a probationer interviewed by police who positively identified Moreno as the person who fired on police officers.
    •Moreno had traces of methamphetamine and other drugs in this system.

    I seem to remember Greg suggesting it was possible Moreno tried to surrender and was shot by cops which isn’t backed by evidence or witnesses.

    Tell me Vern, do you care at all for that 10 year old who knows what its like to stare down the barrel of a gun? City of Kindness.

  4. The worst thing about this was what Lucille said? No it wasn’t. The worst thing about this case is a thug holding the gun to the head of a 10 year old kid and shooting a gun in a neighborhood. What an amazingly stupid thing for you to say Vern.

  5. When it comes to Vern, stupid is as stupid does.

  6. Fine. My first comment, which I can’t edit, should have specified that Lucille used the KILLING of Moreno to celebrate the idea of summary executions as “saving us the cost of a trial.”

    Point is, fascinating and revealing listserv. Have fun ankle biters!

    • Once again, the ex post facto “this is what I REALLY meant to say” revise-and-extend from Vern.

    • It wasn’t a summary execution or the idea of a summary execution. The evidence points to a person who shot at police, struck a police dog, and threatened families who was killed by return gunfire. His death did save taxpayers the cost of a trial which he certainly would have be found guilty based on eye witness testimony.

      No compassion at all for the family held at gunpoint. Pathetic response, but in your words “he had it coming”

  7. Hey Anna Drive! Vern says “Lil Clumsy Probably Had It Coming.”

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