The controversy surrounding Council District 5 candidate Mark Lopez has continued for more than a week, since the ideologically flexible candidate’s response to a question about whether Anaheim should be an sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.
While his fellow members of the Tait Slate of council candidates (Jose Moreno and Arturo Ferreras) unequivocally supported making Anaheim a sanctuary city, Lopes was careful to avoid using that precise term. Instead, Lopez expressed his support for the elements of that status – including prohibiting Anaheim police from checking the immigration status of arrestees. The upshot is criminal illegal immigrants could commit crimes in Anaheim with no fear of deportation.
Lopez’s left-wing stance caused an uproar among Republican activisits. OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker took the step of suspending aid to Lopez, who had managed to convince OC GOP Central Committee members he was a conservative Republican.
Lopez Goes Into Damage Control Mode
Lopez has been engaged in vigorous back-pedaling and damage control ever since – calling party leaders and claiming his remarks had been taken out of context. Obviously worried about how such a politically toxic position would impact Republican voters in District 5, Lopez recorded a campaign robocall claiming he opposed sanctuary city status for Anaheim:
“This is your Republican candidate Mark Lopez. I’m the only candidate for District 5 city council who will join with Mayor Tom Tait in opposing the city council’s $500 million tax giveaway to hotel developers. [Inaudible] developers are sending out last-minute campaign mailers with false attacks about my position on sanctuary city status for Anaheim. The attacks are a big lie because I oppose Anaheim becoming a sanctuary city. If you have any concerns about my views on this issue, please call me personally at 714-768-7169.
I am proud to have earned the endorsement of our Republican Mayor Tom Tait. Help us fight back against the corrupt hotel developers by voting for me, Mark Lopez, for Anaheim City Council.”
Ironically, Lopez records a robocall claiming he is being lied about by telling a lie of his own: he is not the only District 5 candidate who opposes using TOT tax rebates to attract 4-Diamond hotels to Anaheim. In fact, three of the four District 5 candidates – Lopez, Sandra Angel and Donna Acevedo-Nelson – all oppose that policy. Lopez’s claim to be the only anti-subsidy candidate is manifestly, provably false, and undercuts the credibility of his denials. Furthermore, this spring – around the time he moved into Anaheim from Westminster to run for city council – Lopez was proclaiming his support for the TOT tax rebate policy in an effort to secure the political support of the “corrupt hotel developers” he is now vowing to fight.
Lopez’s robocall begs the question: if he opposes sanctuary city status for Anaheim, why didn’t he say so when asked that very question? It would have been simple: “No, I would not support a resolution declaring Anaheim a sanctuary city for undocumented residents.” Boom. Simple. Clear. Unambiguous.
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