The City Selection Committee met this evening, as they do every November, to make appointments to certain regional bodies such as the Orange County Transportation Authority.
Mayor Tom Tait is in the middle of a two-year term. Since he is leaving office on December 4, it’s necessary to appointment a replacement.
Some background: The OCTA Board of Director is comprised of the five county supervisors, the CalTrans District 12 director, and 10 city councilmembers – two from each supervisor district. The city representation from each supervisor district consists of a population-weighted seat and a one-city/one-vote seat. In each population-weighted seat, a city’s voting power corresponds to its share of the supervisor district’s population.
Tait occupies the population-weighted seat for the 4th Supervisor District. Since Anaheim has 47% of the 4th District’s population, the mayor of Anaheim can virtually dictate who has that seat on the OCTA Board (as long as he/she get’s the vote of another 4th District city).
Tait wanted to appointed his left-wing Democrat colleague, Councilman Jose F. Moreno, to succeed him. According to sources who were there, Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee had given his proxy to a council colleague. When the mayor realized that person was highly unlikely to support Moreno, Tait convinced Chaffee to come to the City Selection Committee meeting, take back his proxy and vote for Moreno. Since Anaheim and Fullerton combined have the lion’s share of the 4th District population, Moreno’s appointment to the OCTA Board was a done deal.
Moreno will be on the OCTA Board until November 2019, when his term expires and Mayor-elect Harry Sidhu will control Anaheim’s vote.
Readers will remember that in November 2016, when the Anaheim City Council voted on hiring Arturo Fiero as city attorney after the general election had taken place. Tait asked the council to delay the vote until the newly-expanded council had been seated, and was furious when his request was refused.
Now, on his way out the door and with a new mayor and council majority on their way in, he appoints his political ally to the OCTA Board without consulting the mayor-elect. Granted, this is how the City Selection Committee has functioned for a decade: outgoing mayors making appointments. At the same time, tonight’s action throws the disconnect with Mayor Tait’s past rhetoric into sharp relief.