Anaheim Insider here.
A few days ago, a trove of documents was provided to your insider: e-mails and texts among a variety of City of Anaheim officials and political activists going back as far as early 2016. There are probably 1,000 or more in all, and it will take some time to sift through this thick pile. I will post nuggets as they surface, such as this February 11, 2016 e-mail from progressive activist Arturo Ferreras to Mishal Montgomery, consigliere to Mayor Tom Tait.
Some backstory is in order.
At the time, it was widely expected in Anaheim political circles that Martin Lopez, a paid political organizer for the hotel workers union, UNITE-HERE Local 11, would run against Councilmember Lucille Kring in newly-created District 4. Ferreras, an Ecumenical Catholic priest and progressive political activist, was active in effort to ban STRs. So was, Lopez.
A lot of STRs began operating in the condo complex where Lopez lives, plus banning STRs was and is a major UNITE-HERE political priority since STRs owners generally don’t use unionized housekeeping services. UNITE-HERE formed a close alliance with the anti-STR homeowners in hopes of gaining their political support for ousting Kring.
Ferreras’ e-mail confirms Mayor Tait was going to endorse Lopez, a left-wing Democrat who supports forced unionization pacts as a condition of approval for hotel projects.
It also reveals divisions among Anaheim progressives. Ferreras tells Montgomery:
“I choose the community, I will forget about politics as a career and will support Martin Lopez since he is the Choice Candidate of my Labor Union Allies, so he can have what he is always paid to do and will not do if not paid. I will not complicate Mayor Tom’s plan of endorsement…”
Talk about a back-handed endorsement.
Ferreras tells Montgomery what he thinks of their mutual union allies:
“At least I know how these “so-called leaders” see our communities, a mere means to justify their end, a gap filler to advance their labor campaign. They are a group of “hired servants” who have no genuine concern for real representation but only their agenda. Unfortunately, they are our allies and we need each other, for better or for worse.”
Subsequent conversations must not have gone well, because Ferreras changed his mind and two weeks later filed his intention to run for Council District 4.
Lopez announced his candidacy few weeks after Ferreras:
However, at some point during the next couple of months, Lopez (who never officially filed as a candidate) dropped out and Ferreras took his spot as Mayor Tait’s candidate in District 4.
During the campaign, the progressive priest put on a happy face and publicly made common cause with the people he privately criticized as “hired servants” with no real concern for the community members but “only their agenda.” Here he is with one of them, UNITE-HERE Local 11 co-president Ada Briceno:
Despite the public unity, his “for better or for worse” allies, especially UNITE-HERE, expended most of their efforts on electing Dr. Jose F. Moreno in District 4. Tait donor Howard Ahmanson paid to put progressive Democrats Ferreras and Moreno on the various slate cards distributed by conservative Republican consultant Jim Lacy’s Landslide Communications, but Ferreras mostly self-funded with $20,000 of his own money. Fascinating how the OC GOP’s “Local Elected Official of the Year” was working hand-in-glove with progressive activists and a far-left union to elect liberal Democrats in the OC’s biggest city.
Ferreras lost to Kring 42.3% to 29.7%.