As previously reported, last Thursday District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno and 20 union and left-wing activists illegally shut down the intersection of Katella Avenue and Harbor Boulevard. They were arrested by Anaheim police for loitering, cuffed and transported to a mobile command unit deployed for the purpose of booking Moreno and the other participants in the carefully choreographed “civil disobedience.”
This act of political theater – conducted for the benefit of the media – carried heavy price tag for the city. More than 50 police officers were on the scene, and more department personnel in support roles. Police cars, transporting Moreno and his comrades in the police department paddy wagon to the mobile command post for booking, etc. Anaheim police Department spokesman Sgt. Jeff Mundy called it a “significant drain on police resources.”
Not to mention the havoc wreaked on conventioneers (the rally and arrest were timed to coincide with tens of thousands of NAMM Show attendees converging the area), tourists, residents and Resort workers. OCTA buses were re-routed away from these busy corridors – impacting those who depend on public transportation. As commenter David Michael Klawe summarized:
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…
Perhaps a member of the city council can ask for an accounting of how much it cost the city to cope with this orchestrated lawbreaking.
Moreno posted this justification on his Facebook page:
Not exactly “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.”
So, last week, Councilman Moreno willfully broke the law of his own city – and justifies it. Yet just a few days before, speaking to his Chicano Latino Immigrant Democratic Club of Orange County on January 15, Moreno accused the OC Sheriff’s Department of violating SB 54, the Sanctuary State law. Moreno cited a report by Resilience OC, a radical political group that favors open borders, the abolition of ICE and opposes deportations.
“We have to mobilize to fight to make sure these local municipalities in Orange County follow the law,” said Moreno. “They always tell us to follow the law, so follow the law.”
Unless you’re Councilman Jose F. Moreno, I which case it is apparently OK to violate the law when it is in your political interest.
Let’s note for the record that the OCSD is acting in compliance with SB 54. The Sheriff’s Department – in order protect the public – publishes the names and release dates of all inmates – including criminal illegal immigrants – being released from jail. ICE is able to use that information to pick up criminal illegal immigrants – which Moreno and Resilience OC oppose.
So, when criticizing the Sheriff’s Department’s policy, Moreno declares that we must “follow the law.” But when it comes to his participating in an illegal action at great cost to city taxpayers, then he doesn’t have to follow the law.
Another aspect of the thinness of Moreno’s rationalization is that he needed to break the law and get arrested in order to “stand with our workers.” He’s a councilman in the 10th largest city in the state. He has plenty of public platforms available to him. There’s nothing stopping him from marching in a legal picket line with UNITE-HERE Local 11. As a councilman, he ought to have cautioned against such a rash, unnecessary and illegal action that only serves to needless consume public resources and inconvenience the public.
If Moreno is truly concerned about investments in neighborhoods, he wouldn’t join in an effort to deliberately disrupt the NAMM Show – which actually, really does generate tax revenues that pay for investments in neighborhoods.
Maybe the arrestees from last week’s protest see themselves as taking a strand for civil rights. They weren’t. This is a labor dispute, not an civil or human rights issue.