Councilman Moreno Arrested For Joining Illegal Union Protest Action

Photo credit: Jeff Gritchen, OC Register

Last night, Councilman Jose F. Moreno joined militant UNITE-HERE Local 11 protesters in closing down the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue in the heart of the Anaheim Resort – leading to Anaheim police arresting Moreno and 20 other union and left-wing political activists in a carefully staged act of political theater.

The entire episode represented “a significant drain on police resources,” according to Anaheim Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jeff Mundy.

UNITE-HERE Local 11 represents hotel workers, primarily housekeepers, employed by the Anaheim Hilton and the Sheraton Park Hotel. Those two hotels – plus the three Disney properties – are the only unionized hotels in the Anaheim Resort.

Housekeepers at those two hotels make $17 on hour.  UNITE-HERE Local 11 is demanding an increase to $25 an hour by 2023, and at the same time reduce their workload – the same deal they’ve wrung out of 14 luxury hotels in Los Angeles. However, the economics of the two situations is very different: the LA hotels charge significantly higher room rates than the Anaheim Hilton and Sheraton Park Hotels.

Moreno In Political Debt To UNITE-HERE
Interestingly, UNITE-HERE does not publicly specify its wage demands, and instead talks wanting “fair wages.” What is clear is their intent to take Anaheim’s biggest convention event – The NAMM Show – hostage in an attempt to use this unrelated trade show as unwilling leverage in the union’s negotiations with the Anaheim Hilton and the Sheraton Park Hotel.

The NAMM Show is second only to Anaheim’s theme parks in terms of its positive economic impacts for Anaheim. The revenues it generates pay for staffing at city parks, libraries and other community benefits. The Anaheim Convention Center is a city-owned asset that generates tremendous fiscal and economic benefits for the city treasury. There’s considerable consternation among Ansheim civic and community leaders that a sitting councilman would ignore that reality by helping disrupt a major trade in hopes of giving a political ally a leg up in labor negotiations.

It’s fair to say Jose F. Moreno owes his council seat to UNITE-HERE Local 11, which is run by his close political ally (and new chair of the OC Democratic Party) Ada Briceno.  When Moreno first ran for the District 3 seat in 2016, UNITE-HERE went against county labor federation rules and flooded District 3 with precinct walkers. Moreno barely edged out then-Councilman Jordan Brandman by 72 votes.

Moreno was re-elected last November and is prevented by term limits from running again in 2020. It is rumored Moreno is planning a primary challenges against either Rep. Lou Correa or Assemblyman Tom Daly, whom the leftist academic disdains of “corporate” Democrats.

Arrest Event Choreographed, Well-Organized
The protest was highly-organized. UNITE-HERE Local 11 was by Workers United Local 50, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (a union auxiliary of left-wing clergy), and a number of Democratic Party officials and progressive politicians and activists.

The protest’s “designated arrestees” – including Moreno – and their handlers were first to arrive at the Katella-Harbor intersection, wearing orange safety vests. Their numbers grew steadily as more protesters walked over from the GardenWalk parking structure. The crowd reached its expected size once the main body of protesters had made their way over from picketing in front the Hilton. Union organizers communicating via headsets deployed groups of protesters to each corner of the intersection, intermixed with bewildered conventioneers on foot who were taking photos and videos of the hubbub with their cel phones.

Although the event’s official purpose was protesting perceived injustice, the mood was festive as progressive politicos from around Orange County greeted each other, chatted and joked. Among those mixing and mingling were Fullerton Councilman Ahmad Zarah, Aliso Viejo Councilwoman Tiffany Ackley, Anaheim Elementary School Board member Juan Alvarez and Al Jabbar, Board member of deputy chief of staff to Supervisor Doug Chaffee – just to name a few. If you were a member of OC’s progressive-Left establishment, this was the place to be and be seen. Once you’ve covered enough of these protests in Orange County, you realize it is the same people, different issue.

As Ada Briceno and other protest VIPs conducted media interviews, the main body of protesters remained in a holding pattern around the bus shelter in front of a CVS pharmacy, keeping their engines revved with standard labor chants.  Once a sufficient police presence was in place and the media interviews wrapped up, organizers signaled the pre-positioned protester platoons to enter the cross-walks. Arms out-stretched and holding hands, these safety-vest clad protesters assumed somber dignity-in-the-face-of-injustice expressions while blocking the oncoming traffic sections of the cross walks.

Bu this time, the Anaheim police had already blocked off north-bound Harbor Boulevard and deployed a skirmish line of officers in basic riot gear, with a flying platoon held in reserve.  Organizers sent the main body of protestors marching through the crosswalks in a circuit around the intersection, chanting and banging drums. Once that was done, a white work truck pulled up on south-bound Harbor. Briceno and other UNITE-HERE officials, as well as Councilman Moreno, clambered onto the truck bad to harangue the crowd over a loudspeaker.

At that point, the Anaheim police announced over a loud speaker asking the demonstrators to clear the intersection, citing the municipal code they were violating. The 21 designated arrestees subsequently walked the center of the intersection and sat down in a semi-circle, holding signs and chanting standard protest chants.  The police repeated the warning to disperse over the loudspeaker before moving in. The officers surrounded the protestors, and then arrested and removed them one by one. The protestors hands were placed behind their backs and secured with zip tied handcuffs.

The process was very business-like – and then again, it had been mapped out ahead of time for the police. The union even had an attorney on hand holding a banker’s box labeled “arrest materials.”

You can watch Anaheim Blog’s Facebook Live videos of the protest:


and the arrests here:

Here is Councilman Jose F. Moreno being arrested:


Moreno and the others were walked to a police bus a couple hundred feet up Harbor Boulevard. From there, they were bused to the APD mobile command center – which was specially deployed for this purpose.

Since the protesters were arrested for a misdemeanor offense, the decision to prosecute will be made by the Anaheim City Attorney’s Office – with the exception of one arrestee: Jose F. Moreno.  Moreno’s status as an Anaheim councilmember makes it a conflict for City Attorney Robert Fabela, so Moreno’s case is being referred to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office – where the decision to prosecute will presumably be made by newly-elected DA Todd Spitzer.

A Taxpayer-Subsidized Union Negotiating Tactic
As Sgt. Mundy said, the police resources consumed by this protest were substantial. All told, there were more than 50 Anaheim police officers in the skirmish line and on the scene – and that’s not counting support personnel backing them up. Other costs included deploying the mobile command center to process the arrests of Moreno, Briceno and their comrades – not to mention a number of officers were certainly being paid overtime.

The union’s illegal shutdown of the Katella-Harbor intersection forced the OCTA to re-route buses along those busy corridors – inconveniencing workers who depend on public transportation.

If a charity or event or other private entity wanted to shut down a public street to hold a rally or an event, it would have to reimburse the city for the associated costs – not to mention obtaining a permit.  Disneyland is the target for much invective by Moreno and his political allies – but Disneyland cuts a check to the city to cover the costs of providing police and emergency services to its theme parks.

UNITE-HERE Local 11 – with the active participating of Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno – illegally shuts down a busy intersection in the economic heart of the city – and its Anaheim taxpayers who are picking up the tab. It’s ironic given constant harping by Moreno and UNITE-HERE Local 11 about taxpayer “giveaways.”

Anaheim would be in its rights to send UNITE-HERE a bill.

Few Of The “Designated Arrestee” Protesters Are From Anaheim
Of the 21 individuals designated by the union to illegally occupy the intersection and thus invite arrest, only 6 – including Moreno – are from Anaheim. This is emblematic of the protest itself: despite claims this demonstration was held to support working Anaheim residents, relatively few Resort workers live in Anaheim.

Here’s a list of the arrestees:

At the end of the day, this was a well-organized and calculated attempt by UNITE-HERE and Moreno to take a trade show that is vitally important to Anaheim and drag it unwillingly into labor dispute in which it has no part. This isn’t surprising behavior from the brawlingly radical leadership of UNITE-HERE. They don’t care about negatively impacting the city. What’s disturbing is that a sitting Anaheim councilman would go so far as to intentionally violate the law of the city he helps govern, in order to further the political agenda of a campaign supporter.

33 comments

  1. Completely staged and rehearsed with police knowing who would be arrested. He is such an embarrassment to Anaheim.

    I FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE THAT CAN SEE THROUGH THIS.

  2. Two things now that I read Matt’s story:

    This whole thing was not intended to hurt NAMM, and did not hurt NAMM. The NAMM attendees didn’t see the protest until they were already leaving that day’s events, and dozens of them stayed around, talked to us, enjoyed the whole spectacle, and generally supported us.

    Also, I fail to see the irony or inappropriateness of the “arrestees” being from all over the County, when as you admit, the hotel workers also live all over the County. Nobody said this was a protest against Anaheim.

    • “This whole thing was not intended to hurt NAMM, and did not hurt NAMM.”

      This illegal disruption was deliberately planned for the opening day of NAMM. The president of NAMM drove up from San Diego the week before to tell the council of his concerns about how it would impact NAMM. Moreno – no doubt aware of what his UNITE-HERE allies had planned – sat there mute and unresponsive.

      “The NAMM attendees didn’t see the protest until they were already leaving that day’s events, and dozens of them stayed around, talked to us, enjoyed the whole spectacle, and generally supported us.”

      They had little to know idea what the protest was about outside of flyer UNITE-HERE passed around vaguely stating their goals as fair wages, access to healthcare, reliable pensions and protection from sexual harassment. Who doesn’t want those things? It’s so vague as to be meaningless, so to say NAMM attendees who read that flyer were supporitve of union demands doesn’t really tell us anything.

      It was a spectacle. NAMM conventioneers who saw it were taking photos with the cel phones, as people are wont to do nowadays when they come across something unusual, interesting or out of their normal everyday experience.

      But as David Michael Klawe explained (and anyone with an ounce of sense could see) UNITE-HERE’s and Moreno’s action to shut down the Katella-Harbor intersection just as the NAMM Show floor was closing and disgorging tens of thousands of attendees into the immediate vicinity was tremendously disruption to conventioneers, workers and tourists. It was a reckless and selfish action.

      “Also, I fail to see the irony or inappropriateness of the “arrestees” being from all over the County, when as you admit, the hotel workers also live all over the County. Nobody said this was a protest against Anaheim.”

      Briceno, Moreno et al were making this direct action all about Anaheim. The disruptions and agitation are all about furthering their political agenda for Anaheim.

      The arrestees are illustrative of the cadre of radicals-at-large who flit about Orange County trying to change the politics of cities in which they don’t live. The local media is too lazy or uninterested to include this realty in their coverage of Orange County politics. I think its important readers are aware of this. Take one of the arrestees – Joe McLaughlin, for example: He’s a left-wing Democratic activist from Irvine (to which he apparently moved three years ago from New York, where he worked for a left-wing political advocacy group). Two days before participating in the illegal shutdown of Katella and Harbor, he was at the Orange City Council meeting, demanding that left-wing activist Betty Valencia be appointed to the council vacancy. In fact, he’s been at the last few Orange City Council meetings making the same demands – and never identifying himself as a resident of Irvine.

      • Add in the disruption to the residents of Anaheim using any of the area around this area. Those living in Anaheim will bear this cost eventually. It is not right that those that don’t live here come in and cost/disrupt our city.

        This should not be tolerated, if so bad precedent to set.

      • Hey Matt, thanks for joining us at the demo and for helping to publicize the fact that Hilton, which makes billions in profit, is seeking to keep its Orange County employees in poverty.

        I’d return the favor, by joining one of your buddies demos, but I’m not a fan of torchlight parades.

        Also dude, I believe *every time* I’ve spoken at the Orange City Council I’ve mentioned being from Irvine, look at the video :). And you know both Orange and Irvine are in Orange County, so yeah, just like you, I care what happens in Orange, even though neither of us live there.

        I hope you have the cojones to actually publish this, not sure you do 🙂 .

        • Joe:

          Thank you for traveling up from Irvine to help impose needless costs on Anaheim taxpayers and drain the city’s law enforcement resources to subsidize Ada Briceno and Jose F. Moreno’s political demonstration.

          The Anaheim Hilton does not make “billions in profit.” And it is not “seeking to keep its Orange County employees in poverty.” Those are unthinking leftist rants. But at least your true to radical Left form by equating any dissent from your viewpoint as tantamount to being a Nazi or Klansman (not sure which stupid comparison you were reaching for).

          As for Orange – while you didn’t ID yourself as an Irvine resident last week, it turns out you did so at the previous two council meetings. I strand corrected. However, your repeated claim that Valencia would have been elected in November had there been a third seat on the ballot doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. And I do live in Orange. I was born in Orange, and have lived there my whole life.

          • Matt, thank you, again, for covering our action!
            The Anaheim Hilton certainly is seeking to keep its Orange County employees in poverty.
            Thanks also for correcting your error, and my error about your city of residence, Orange, not Anaheim.
            I suppose if you can attend a demonstration in Anaheim, while living in Orange, I can live in Irvine, and do the same.
            Oh and dude, your forgetting about your sojourn in DC. That was a part of your life too.
            I hope you get more ad dollars with all the additional engagement here from your coverage of our action. You’re welcome.

  3. David Michael Klawe

    The NAMM Show did increase security due to the protest. The ART and private buses that travelled the area had to be rerouted, stranding attendees. I talk to some on Harbor at Convention Way directing them to the nearest stop. But they had no clue why the buses weren’t coming. Also the Bus Stop at the Disneyland Resort was shut down from 4 to 10 PM, impacting tourist and resort workers. Same on Katella. Closure was between Ball and Orangewood on Harbor, and between Anaheim and Walnut on Katella.

    And yes, UNITE HERE SPECIFICALLY picked the opening day of The NAMM Show.

    So let’s say we use the going rate Disney is charged for using Police Officers on city streets, around $100 per hour, to cover the overtime wage plus benefits, equipment and supervision. And between planning time, stage before the event and filing reports, 6 hours per officer. That is $300,000 that had to come out of the City’s General Fund to cover the expenses. And then the add the costs to OC Bus, Anaheim Resort Transit. The costs to those stuck in traffic and had no idea what was going on. Taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers, and I could keep going.

    Sorry, but maybe a pre-planned event would be better. But then, the Unions would have to pick up the costs to the city…

    Looking forward to seeing what DA Todd Spitzer decides. I hope he prosecutes Dr. Moreno, and not ask for jail time or community service, but a large fine to reflect the costs the city had to pick up.

    • DMK: Agree with you but it was pre-planned. The police arranged the arrests. The plan was laid out and is posted. The parking and route was posted as well as the schedule of activities. It was a completely staged show. To those that say it was not to disrupt NAMM and use NAMM’s attendees as pawns, wrong.

      It was staged at that location and at that time to garner the most publicity and send Anaheim a message that “they are not going away;” A NAMM official even spoke at the city council meeting trying to not let happen at the NAMM show. It was done anyway, with callous disregard.

      They used the location, one of Anaheim’s busiest, most public intersections, at the busiest time of day, during Anaheim’s largest convention, to do JUST that EMBARRASS Anaheim. They did not care about any of the disruption they caused to Anaheim’s residents, workers, tourists/visitors. Many people were very inconvenienced by the organizers/attendees actions. It was to force/intimidate concessions.

      If they weren’t using Anaheim/NAMM this way why did they not go in front of the location they were protesting?

      It is relevant that many attendees/arrestees do not live in Anaheim and most living in Anaheim would agree that we don’t appreciated the city we live in being disrupted this way. It involves our daily lives.

      The organization involved should be billed. Those arrested should be fined. Jose Moreno should be held accountable with all the force the laws allow, including but not limited to being fined.

      If Anaheim stands down and allows this behavior without consequence they will be back.

      Anaheim’s streets “belong” to those living in Anaheim.

      I believe Harry Sidhu will study the situation and then have a plan of action for Anaheim going forward.

      Todd Spitzer, Harry Sidhu, Anaheim Police should follow through with using the full extent of the law in this and all further actions.

      The city of Anaheim and those living in Anaheim should not have to bare this disruption and more importantly the cost of it.

  4. Preemptively, sorry for the errors but it does not negate the content. Hurried commenting can often be due to the emotion of the commenter, as this was the case in my last post. I live in Anaheim.

  5. Fine then and look into dropping Moreno from Council. He has a right to protest, however, on his own time and not representing his district. What a stage show. Resign Jose and continue your protests as a private citizen.

  6. Why were the homeless advocates there (Lou noble) instead of at the homeless count, why are they never there when they ask for volunteers to help build a shelter or pitch in in any way? This angers me so much, they run around causing troubke, following someone like Jose Moreno making things worse.
    NAMM has nothing to do with them.

    • I hope Todd Spitzer throws the book at Moreno. Moreno please (pot favor) step down as District 3 council member. You are an embarrassment to your district. You have made your political agendas clear and you should pursue it it not on the heels of the council.

      We need a representative of all our district. Step down you are a fool and a disgrace. Stop teaching kids that money is a dirty word. You are a fool.

    • A living wage keeps people from being homeless that is a priority as there are several thousand homeless people in OC but 70,000 waiting for affordable housing.
      70,000 possible homeless people coming up soon?
      An important part of the whole puzzle “living wages”.

      • Mike:

        What’s the hourly amount? If it is really as simple as the government dictating wages to businesses, then how much should that wage be?

        • How much indeed?
          I am working on an op ed

          I am amazed at how little a hotel maid gets for back breaking work. Just look at your bathroom and shower and compare to any even moderate priced hotel. I have no idea how they get it that clean, my toilet has never looked that clean and my shower even after a hour of scrubbing does not look like the shower in a nice hotel. Does a woman or man scrubbing down our their knees all day deserve a percentage of the profits? Do we deserve a nice clean room on vacation?
          How important is it to the hotel to have nice clean rooms?

          The name is profit sharing. In this case the company is making a fortune and sharing little with the workers.
          If the workers do not make enough we all pay through our taxes for those workers NOT making a living wage – health insurance, food stamps, housing subsidies and more.

          I believe that the union looked at the bottom line and asked to raise the wages. That is the way it should work or should work…

          In LA unite here got the deal for the Hilton workers a few years ago – a dish washer is making minimum $18 an hour. The important note after the change was that they raised the room rates 0. They were making enough to cover it with no change in pricing.

          So economically the wages have to fit the region and the profitability of the company. There is more to it I am sure but without asking Daniel my economist adviser that is the best I can do.

  7. Jose Moreno fought for years for district elections. The fight was for equal representation on the city council for all people, or why our great revolution began almost 250 years ago.

    Pay back?
    The Disney candidates have taken $10 mil in just the last 2 elections from the resort industry. In return Disney got 0 tax for 45 years worth around $1 billion or more.
    That is a 100 times return on their money. Good trade…

    But should Moreno go to jail or be punished for supporting his allies in a righteous cause – those union members that helped him get elected – and then of course does that also apply to the President of the United States…???…

    • Moreno deliberately violated the laws of the city who was elected to help govern. Implicit in being a councilmember, and in his oath of office, is an obligation to respect the law, and be an example to the citizenry of respect for the law. His actions on Thursday were the opposite of that.

      • How can we recall Moreno? MC are his actions enough to get this started? How many have had enough? We must require our elected officials be an example of lawfulness who uphold their oath.

      • Great leaders put their lives on the line for change.
        OK maybe he is not Martin Luther King or Caesar Chavez but he put it all out there.

        I do not remember them charging King for the march on Washington.
        Or protesters during the Vietnam war, they just shot them…

        I have been asked to get arrested also but am just to delicate in my old age to think to being handcuffed and thrown in a cell with a hard seat or hard bed. Wimp for sure.

        Maybe if I thought peoples lives were on line and the protest would work I would do it? Why I haven’t done it for the homeless people, I just do not think it would work in our favor.

        Kuddos Jose

  8. Jose Moreno does not represent all people. Yes he should be accountable for his participation as should the others. But, he is an elected official who is “running business out of our community”. He is costing the very city he is supposed to be representing.

    I hope Todd Spitzer decides to hold those participating to every law that applies.
    I hope the city bills those involved for the cost of this show.
    I hope Mayor Sidhu comes up with a plan to work with all agencies so this type of event does not take place again.
    I hope Mayor Sidhu conveys to NAMM officials that this is not Anaheim and that we welcome their business.

    Sad day for Anaheim

  9. I don’t question Dr. Moreno’s First Amendment right to protest, Heck, I can even extend that same courtesy to Ada Briceno, despite her not even living here.

    But, for sure, UNITE HERE 11 should be held financially responsible for the police costs and associated expenses. As for the common man whose evening was disrupted, or the family who had their hard earned vacation interupted, that aspect reflects on the classless and selfishness of these people protesting.

    Anaheim Hilton reported less than 8% of its workforce have an Anaheim address, that puts an even uglier spin on these antics.

    • The last paragraph makes zero sense. Protesters came from across the county, to support workers who live across the county, at a hotel that happens to be in Anaheim.

      What exactly is weird, or wrong, or “ugly”, about that?

      • The fact that this is not Anaheim’s responsibility to pay for it. That’s the point genius.

        Vern do you think UNITE HERE is financially responsible?

  10. I find it truly disturbing that anyone would be upset or complaining about People coming together to protest something they do/don’t believe in. Perhaps it delayed someone’s day or caused a little annoyance , I would rather have that then to continue to see So many people not saying anything about things that are important and should lbe called out and voiced. We have become so complacent about things that it starts to become scary. I say if they were not destroying property or really hurting anyone why shouldn’t they voice how they feel . Kudos to them for standing up for something they believe. I wish more people would get off there asses and do the same.

    • They were protesting the Sheraton and Hilton but blocking a major intersection which was nearer to the NAMM Convention that to said hotels. It was done to force concessions and it came at great cost to the city, which trickles down the residents who actually live in Anaheim.

      Why did they not picket in front of the hotels they are differing with?
      It was much more than a little annoyance and caused more than a little delay.

      It used city fund/resources, hurt businesses and delayed both tourists and residents.

  11. It seems the unions in fact are not doing enough of this stuff to equalize wages with low unemployment rates and high corporate profitability.

    From CNBC
    How could it be, with unemployment so low, that workers aren’t demanding and receiving more pay?

    Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called the issue “a bit of a mystery” just last month. And it’s an issue the U.S. economy has been dealing with for years — a big missing element of the recovery since the Great Recession.

    Some economists point to less worker bargaining power as a potential reason. Between weaker unions and increasing market concentration across a number of industries, it’s harder for employees to boost their pay.

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