This January, Councilman Jose F. Moreno joined UNITE-HERE Local 11 leaders in an expensive (for Anaheim taxpayers) bit of political theater: shutting down the busy intersection Katella and Harbor on the opening day of Anaheim’s biggest trade show. Moreno, a progressive Democrat, and 20 others – mainly union staffers – were arrested for blocking the intersection (loitering), a misdemeanor offense.
Normally, the Anaheim City Attorney’s Office prosecutes misdemeanors committed in Anaheim, but in this case it would be a conflict of interest since Moreno votes on City Attorney Robert Fabela’s employment. Thus, the case was referred to the Orange County District Attorney for possible prosecution.
That nearly six weeks ago. Last week, Anaheim Blog reached out to the OCDA’s office regarding the status of Moreno’s arrest and potential prosecution. Spokesperson Rebecca Moss responded that “This matter is still under review with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.”
Moreno’s is the third arrest of an Orange County politician to land in the D.A.’s lap during the past several months.
Last September, Fullerton City Council candidate Paulette Chaffee was caught on surveillance videos stealing campaign signs attacking her candidacy. Chaffee is the wife of then-Fullerton Councilman Doug Chaffee, who subsequently was narrowly elected 4th District Supervisor.
Mrs. Chaffee, a Democrat, was charged with petty theft and pled guilty on December 20 and her sentencing is scheduled for March 20. Chaffee will pay restitution of $20 and a $150 state restitution fine, plus another $150 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund. She will also have to complete 20 hours of community service.
If Chaffee completes 60 or more hours of community service by the sentencing date, the DA’s office may reduce the charge to an infraction.
Last October, while she campaigned for Buena Park City Council, progressive Democrat activist Sunny Youngsun Park was caught on video stealing campaign signs criticizing her for being a carpetbagger. Park had only moved into Buena Park in 2017, and spent more than $200,000 to run for city council against incumbent Virginia Vaughan. Park garnered 34.9%, edging out Vaughan by a mere 6 votes.
Park was arrested and charged with petty theft. She has retained criminal defense attorney Julie Anne Swain and is scheduled to be arraigned on March 20.
The orchestrated, illegal shutdown of Katella and Harbor by Moreno and his union allies not only severaly disrupted traffic and commerce in the heart of the Anaheim Resort, but was also “a significant drain on police resources,” according to Anaheim Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jeff Mundy. More than 50 uniformed Anaheim police officers in riot gear had to be deployed, and supported by numerous rear-echelon department personnel. The APD had to roll its mobile booking station and jail bus, and otherwise deploy very expensive law enforcement machinery to deal with a union negotiating stunt.
New OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer promised a more rigorous approach to prosecuting campaign and political wrong-doing while campaign last year.