District 1: Denise Barnes’ Campaign of Unkindness

It’s usually pretty easy to figure out the front runner in a campaign: it’s the candidate whom all the other candidates are attacking.

By that measure alone, Steve Chavez Lodge is the front-runner in District 1.

That was the case at last night’s candidate forum sponsored by the West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council (WAND). And from numerous reports from District 1 residents, that’s the modus operandi Denise Barnes campaign. Not content with knocking on doors and giving voters positive reasons to vote for Ms. Barnes, Barnes supporters unleash a healthy dose of attacks on Lodge: falsely accusing him of not living in District 1 or being owned by Disney, etc., etc.

Given how frequently Ms. Barnes talks glowingly about “kindness” and paying homage to Mayor Tait’s “City of Kindness” initiative, it’s truly ironic that her campaign reflects and employs so much unkindness.

Ironic – but not surprising. The double-standard employed by members of Team Tait has become almost a running joke; the “kindness” is limited to feel-good campaigns in local schools. Anyone with the temerity to criticize the mayor’s actions and statements is treated with the same kindness Tonya Harding showed to Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecap.

The ferocity with which hard-core Tait supporters lash out at those who look at the mayor cross-eyed is reminiscent of how members of a personality cult react when their object of their devotion is criticized. The hostility extends to anything associated with any of the Mayor’s opponents. For example, Barnes supporters were recently attacking Measure U on online neighborhood forum. Measure U is simple and straightforward: it would require a two-thirds council majority to place a tax measure on the ballot rather than the current simple majority. The intention is make it harder for the city to impose new or higher taxes.

Yet, because it was sponsored by Councilwoman Kris Murray, these folks say it has nothing to do with taxes but instead an evil Disney plot! That kind of deluded vitriol is really no different than conspiracy nuts who (depending on their politics) believe the Bilderbergers or the Koch Brothers are behind everything.

Rather than misleading or downright false attacks on Steve Lodge, a better use of time and energy for the Barnes campaign might be educating their candidate. At candidate forums, Ms. Barnes comes across as woefully unprepared to serve on the city council of California’s tenth largest city, struggling with to respond to questions with more than platitudes. At last night’s WAND forum, she read prepared answers to anticipated questions off of her iPad, and had difficulty with questions for which she didn’t have a pre-written response.


  1. Troubling that this is Tait’s hand picked candidate.
    She generally makes incoherent statements and needed the iPad to answer basic questions.
    It’s clear she will only serve as a Tait mouthpiece.

  2. A Real West Anaheim Resident

    What I find interesting is that she failed to mention that her highest contributors were the Tait Family. She instead decided to omit that piece of information or the fact that all of her contributions are from outside sources. I guess she’s okay with giving false information on that too! Saying your highest contributors are friends and family from a kickoff of about $1500.00, is a lie when its clearly reported that the Tait family all donated $1900.00. Sounds like she is in the pockets of the Mayor. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Least Disney puts money back into our parks, which the city doesn’t even do.

  3. Great points, Real.
    Should she win, does Barnes plan on bringing her iPad to every council meeting?

  4. Does Barnes support Mayor Tait’s idea to give property in the district to the homeless population to allow them to erect tents? We’ve seen first hand how unsuccessful that has been in Santa Ana, yet Tait wants Anaheim to follow down that same destructive path!

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