Another Bad Idea from Los Amigos

Dr. Jose F. Moreno

Dr. Jose F. Moreno

Los Amigos of Orange County has proposed another bad idea: a series of “community forums” for selecting Anaheim’s next city manager.

Here’s the e-mail sent to the Anaheim City Council on Monday by Los Amigos President Jose F. Moreno:

Good Monday Morning Mayor Tait and Councilmembers:

This past week, in their search for a new City Manager, the Santa Ana City Council announced various community forums they are hosting as an opportunity for residents, community organizations and stakeholders to provide input in the characteristics that their city needs in a new City Manager.

We thought the idea of open and inclusive community forums a grand idea for our great City of Anaheim as we begin the search for our new City Manager!

Please accept this as our formal request that as our Mayor and City Council, you convene various community forums across the city to gather  input on the characteristics sought / needed for a new City Manager in Anaheim. 

You should know that current City Manager Bob Wingenroth was truly respected for his hard work, acumen and openness over the past couple of years. Mr. Wingenroth’s openness was a breath of fresh air for many parts of the City that have too often been left behind or simply ignored. Mr. Wingentroth’s good work has raised our expectations for transparency and collaborative work and we trust that as Mayor and City Council you will continue that ethic through an inclusive search process for the next Anaheim City Manager. As such, below are a few questions we thought important to ask that are essential, but certainly not exhaustive, that we ask you provide responses to. In this way we can inform our community on the status of the search and the City Council’s plan for assuring an open and inclusive process as possible:

1. Timeline for the Search
2. Will a search firm be hired? and will this be a competitive bid process?
3. Will the search include a search committee or will City Council serve as the Committee?
4. Will there be opportunities throughout the City for public input?
5. Will the job description be reviewed and/or updated in public? and Will this include public input?
6. Will the City Council discuss in public session the characteristics and qualifications that are considered “minimal” and “desired”?
7. How will the City Council assure a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates?

As always, if we can be of any help in this process we are Ready, Willing and Able to provide whatever is necessary to support the ability of residents, community organizations and stakeholders in Anaheim to participate and contribute to this most important of processes. As has become quite clear throughout Anaheim, the selection of a City Manager is a decision that will impact the lives of all those who live, work and play in Anaheim.

If you have any questions or would like to meet further to discuss our request I can be reached via email at Morenojo@sbcglobal.net or via cell at 562.397.9451. And of course you are always welcome to join us for breakfast at our weekly Los Amigos meetings on Wednesdays at 7:30am at the Jagerhaus Restaurant 2525. E. Ball Road (just west of 57 Fwy).

We look forward to an affirmative response.

Jose F. Moreno
President, Los Amigos of Orange County

Where to start?

As a general rule of thumb, practically-insolvent Santa Ana isn’t the place to look for examples of good governance.  That truism aside, Los Amigos’ call for a series of city-sponsored community forums on what kind of city manager Anaheim residents want is both absurd and self-serving.

First of all, it is easy for those citizens of Anaheim who have given any thought to what kind of city manager they’d like to register their ideas. They can e-mail their councilmembers. They can tell their councilmembers face-to-face during public comments at council meetings (a community forum that takes place at least twice a month). They can sound off at a neighborhood council meeting.

And every two years, there’s a city council election, and voters for whom the city manager selection is an issue can manifest their satisfaction on the issue (or lack thereof) in how they cast their votes.

Left-wing groups love community forums because they’re adept at exploiting to stage a made-for-media mirage of popular support for whatever nostrum they’re peddling.

Hey pig! Is there a plan for an open and inclusive city manager selection process?

“There’d better be a plan for an open and inclusive city manager selection process, man!”

And that’s what Los Amigos want: the opportunity for their members, and OCCORD, and UNITE-HERE, to run a human-wave drill in front of an audience of reporters who will write stories saying Anaheim residents want their new city manager to “look like” the community and support council districts, the “living wage,” retention policies, and whatever else is on their political agenda.

This is a play by Los Amigos to sucker City Hall into granting them an quasi-official role in choosing the next City Manager.

Here’s a passage from Moreno’s e-mail worth scrutinizing:

In this way we can inform our community on the status of the search and the City Council’s plan for assuring an open and inclusive process as possible:

1. Timeline for the Search
2. Will a search firm be hired? and will this be a competitive bid process?
3. Will the search include a search committee or will City Council serve as the Committee?
4. Will there be opportunities throughout the City for public input?
5. Will the job description be reviewed and/or updated in public? and Will this include public input? 
6. Will the City Council discuss in public session the characteristics and qualifications that are considered “minimal” and “desired”?
7. How will the City Council assure a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates?

“Open and inclusive”? As opposed to a “closed and exclusive” search process?

“…will this be a competitive bid process”? What? Anaheim is hiring a city manager, not sourcing a new IT vendor. Moreno is a school district trustee whom I hope would know the difference between hiring and purchasing.

The answers to these questions generally self-evident or stand to reason. It’s a pretty good bet the hiring of the City Manager will be a public act. There are state laws governing what aspects of this process must be conducted in open session, and what must be done in closed session. Los Amigos members will have the same opportunities as anyone else to voice their opinions as to who the next city manager should be, or what qualities that person should have — and a series of city-sponsored community forums aren’t necessary for that purpose.

But at the end of the day, hiring a city manager is the job of the city council. Anaheim citizens elect them to run city government, and hiring (and overseeing) the city manager is one of those responsibilities, and not one that can or ought to be shirked in favor of government-by-community-forum.

11 comments

  1. Stand for Anaheim

    This is a bad idea. This is why we have policy makers. I wish Los Amigos would do something relevant instead of complain and bully everyone!

  2. It seems like some of these political thugs will do just about anything to to gain control of City Hall in order to benefit the public employee unions.

    It has gone from odd to plain crazy. When is our Mayor going to stand up and do his job? Because our Mayor is AWOL, these union thugs think they can hijack City Hall, just like they did when they organized politically motivated riots in our streets.

  3. Gustavo Arellano

    Yeah, heaven forbid government be as transparent as possible. For the Cunninghams of the world, government transparency only works when it protects their own interests.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      You are such a predictable hack. This Los Amigos ploy has nothing to do with transparency — unless you believe the Anaheim City Council actually has the legal ability to hire a City Manager in complete secrecy. Then again, you published an “authoritative” orange grove map claiming there was an orange grove in Featherly Park (which there isn’t). Details, shmetails.

      As I pointed out, there are no shortage of avenues for people to express their opinions about what kind of city manager they want. This letter is an attempt to have the city organize community forums that Los Amigos can exploit to advance their own agenda. I’m surprised you can’t see that.

  4. Moreno asks for transparency???? What a hypocrite! He is a tyrant and a showman. Last week, it was announced that the principal of Benito Juarez Elementary School in the Anaheim City School District would be transferred to another Anaheim school. Dr. Roberto Baeza is just now reaching his 5th year as our principal. If you look up the test scores of our school, which is the current gauge for current accountability efforts, Juarez has had an upward trend since Dr. Baeza arrived at the school. I mention test scores only because progress as measured by test scores is evident under the leadership of Dr. Baeza. But that is not all he has achieved in his 5 years as principal. Parent engagement is up. The children love our principal. He is connected to them and it is evident as you walk the campus with him. We, the parents, trust this man to be in charge of our children’s education. His rapport with all in this community is evident in how approachable he is to children and adults alike. He has rid our school of mediocre teachers and is vigilant about our children’s safety. Two years ago, he was told he would be opening up the second of the dual-language immersion programs in the Anaheim City School District – the first was opened at Price Elementary. Well, Dr. Baeza has exceeded the expectations because he has chosen amazing teachers and keeps a watchful eye on the instruction happening in these classrooms as well as all of the other classrooms. However, Dr. Jose Moreno, a meddlesome and selfish Board member has an ax to grind with our principal. It was known this was true as Dr. Baeza was considered for appointment to the Anaheim Union High School Board and did not receive the support of Dr. Moreno who is suing the city for lack of Latino representation. This is interesting because the AUHSD Board doesn’t have Latino representation either, yet Moreno remained silent. Now with the help of a new superintendent, Dr. Linda Wagner, Moreno is behind the removal of our principal. She has been superintendent of the Anaheim City School district all of 24 days. She had not been in our classrooms, knows nothing about our school, can’t remember people’s names, and had promised to “learn and listen over the next 100 days.” This was decided in less than 19 days. What happened to the 100 days? She then placed the Palm Lane principal who she alluded was not so good at Roosevelt. Why are mediocre principals being re-assigned and our great principal punished because he truly does what is best for kids. While she has the authority that a divided Board of Trustees gave her, this woman has no credibility in our community. She is arrogant and now has stopped taking all parent calls. Moreno demands that parents always be considered but now he doesn’t care about our Juarez parent community because we support a man he can’t control and has maintained a strictly academic dual immersion program rather than allowing Moreno and his allies to turn it into a Latino indoctrination program. Dr. Moreno, we need your help in exposing this unfair action by this disconnected superintendent and we need you to stop being an evil and callous Board member who dominates the others. We have a parent meeting scheduled tonight at Juarez Park to rally support not only for Dr. Baeza but most importantly to highlight the lack of respect and care this know-nothing woman has demonstrated towards us parents. She wrote a book entitled the SAVVY SUPERINTENDENT. Yet her reckless behavior demonstrates the opposite. How did 100 days turn into 18 or 19 days, which is when the decision to transfer Dr. Baeza was made? While we acknowledge that Dr. Baeza may not remain with us much longer, we resent the arbitrariness and arrogance of this woman and the apparent pushing out of a principal who does what is right even when it is not popular.

  5. Mr. Cunningham, why is this back in it’s unedited form? Where are my comments from earlier this week? Why is it necessary to slander a perfectly innocent bystander, who has nothing to do with Mr. Moreno or Anaheim City politics?

    Why did you go back on your word to remove the cyberbullying aspect of this posting?

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Whoa! Hold your horses! First, I edited the comment after I reproduced it iin its own post. But I forgot to come back to the original comment and delete the reference to Palm Lane. It didn’t go “back to its uneditted form” but I have made the fix here.

      Please don’t be so quick to assume the worst.

  6. Ok, so I was tough on you. But you are the author of this blog, and therefore responsible for its content—even the older versions. I must admit I have some sympathy for you in dealing with the technology, it’s easy to miss something — but on the other hand, I do believe you should have edited the piece before it was ever published. Just a while ago I posted a comment regarding the same subject in another stream, or link, or whatever you call it. Please read it. I would be interested in having your comments.

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