Yesterday afternoon the Anaheim City Council met in an emergency closed session under the pretense of discussing an ACLU lawsuit alleging California Voting Rights Act violations. After the meeting we learned what they really wanted to do was find a way to delay any meaningful action as long as possible. Voice of OC reports that:
…the council majority is formulating its own alternative to the ballot initiative seeking to establish council districts, with council members on Thursday agreeing to agendize a proposal from Councilwoman Kris Murray that would instead create a citizen commission to review “the electoral process in Anaheim.”
Murray’s plan is simple, form a commission to study the electoral process in Anaheim so that they can ask the court to do nothing while they study the issue. Then in two years, once they’ve dragged the discussion on and on through a seemingly endless process of review, they can put a Charter Amendment on the ballot in November of 2014 to establish districts in 2016. In effect they will give themselves another four years to continue the process of lining the pockets of Murray and Eastman’s developer buddies with free money from the taxpayers of Anaheim. Eastman and Murray figure that if they can get time to implant their ally, and SOAR poodle, Jordan Brandman on the council in November, they’ll have an effective majority to maintain business as usual for at least two, and possibly four, more years.
The City Council has several options when it comes to the lawsuit filed by the ACLU. 1) They can willingly put forward a ballot measure asking the voters to decide whether to establish council districts and district level elections; 2) They can do nothing, fight the suit in court and gamble that they can show that district level elections are not needed; or 3) They can study the matter in order to drag out the process.
Dragging things out is the best option for the council majority and the worst for the voters of Anaheim. Even if the end result is a recommendation to establish districts, they can claim that holding a special election before the 2014 primary or general elections would be too expensive for a cash-strapped city. Representation delayed for the minority and underrepresented communities of Anaheim will be a payday for Murray, Eastman, and their political donors.