Council gadfly-turned-mayoral candidate Cynthia Ward has a history of flip-flopping. For example:
She used to believe the Disneyland Resort was of such paramount importance to Anaheim that it must be protected at all costs. Now she views it as an albatross around the city’s neck.
She used to oppose by-district council elections as a recipe for corruption and ward politics, then embraced them as tonic for Anaheim governance and politics.
When Tom Tait ran for mayor in 2010, she dismissed him as a corporate tool, then later became perhaps his most devoted acolyte in Anaheim.
The latest example is the $18 minimum wage initiative sponsored by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions. When the union coalition first unveiled it at a rally on February 28, Ward was there and was quoted in the OC Weekly:
“I think they should have asked for $20 per hour,” Ward, a Republican ally of current mayor Tom Tait, told the Weekly. She agreed with the study’s argument that low wages equated to a monumental loss of purchasing power that could have been spent in the economy, a popular notion held by sectors of the business community that favor minimum wage increases. “If anybody can make that happen, it’s the people in this room. There’s a very powerful feeling in this room that I’m very proud of.”
Ward gushed about the union effort on Facebook that evening:
In a comment on the OC Weekly story a few days alter, proletarian polemecist Ward said:
In this case we DO have a responsibility to step in and stop the exploitation and abuse of the natural resource of our community–the people who provide human fuel for the economic engine.
A few weeks later, Ward was arguing against the union initiative in a series on Facebook comments on March 13. Her opposition centered an aversion to inserting the city into a wage dispute between Resort unions and Resort businesses and apprehension the initiative will subject the city to expensive litigation.
“I am not sure why the voters of Anaheim and the power of government are being dragged in to retroactively negotiate a private labor agreement on behalf of a voluntary exchange of labor for compensation.”
“But I have issues with using the power of government to renegotiate a labor agreement voluntary entered into by free and willing Americans…”
“By dragging the citizens of Anaheim into a private commercial transaction between employer and employees, it will be the City of Anaheim that the companies will sue when opposing the ballot measure.”
Ward also questions why the union initiative isn’t extended to all Resort businesses:
“Why are only the workers paid at subsidized locations subject to the referendum? Are workers making below poverty wages at non-subsidized locations any less valuable as people or less in need of sustenance? Or is this about political opportunity and punitive action against the corporate giant sucking through our tax dollars?”
Ward never mentions the negative economic impacts of the $18 minimum wage. Indeed, she again questions why the unions aren’t seeking a higher minimum wage:
“Why is the union referendum only asking for $15 an hour to start, rolling up to $18 an hour over time? Why drag the entire City through yet another acrimonious campaign season…when the outcome STILL does not provide what is needed for the survival of the Resort workforce?”
As her comments make evident, Ward largely buys into the narrative advanced by progressives like Jose F. Moreno that the Resort “creates poverty.” She also keeps the door open including “living wage” requirements as conditions of city economic assistance agreements for future development projects:
“While I pray we can prevent future subsidies from being approved, if we want to discuss putting these demands for survival pay into new agreements for future subsidies, so that future Council leaders are limited in their gifts of public funds without return on investment to the taxpayers, that is a different argument, but retroactively imposing terms of a contract already in place (as much as I objected to those subsidies) is a problem for me.”
Now, however, Ward has shifted to a position of official neutrality, per this June 5 Facebook comment:
Commenting on a June 4 OC Weekly story about the Bernie Sanders rally, Ward stated “I haven’t come out for or against the ballot measure, for legal reasons…” An unusual rationale with an unclear provenance, and Ward never explains what these “legal reasons” are. When Jose F. Moreno and the ACLU were suing Anaheim to force a shift to by-district elections, Mayor Tom Tait made no secret of his support for the lawsuit and its goal. He even gave a congratulatory pep-talk at the ACLU press conference immediately after the settlement was announced. Ward never took issue with the mayor taking a very public stand on that issue.
Mayoral candidate Ashleigh Aitken is an attorney. Not only that, but her law firm has been involved several lawsuits against the City of Anaheim. Yet, she feels pretty safe taking a strong position in favor of the $18 minimum wage initiative.
Mayoral candidate and businessman Harry Sidhu has also taken a strong stance on the Resort unions’ initiative – in his case in opposition.
Perhaps Ms. Ward could share the specifics of the “legal reasons” for avoiding telling voters where she stands on this critical issue.