With much fanfare last February, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait spelled out his vision for the city of Anaheim in front of a sold out Chamber of Commerce function. The year 2013 was to be “a Year of Kindness.” It has been anything but. Disneyland is in Anaheim and may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but the city remains bitterly divided. If this is a “Year of Kindness,” Mayor Tait has failed to lead.
One merely has to read the Twitter feed from the Voice of OC at Tait’s appearance at the December 18 Los Amigos meeting to see some disconnects.
Mayor Tait: You don’t want government to limit speech at public meetings, but I can also call out hate speech when it occurs. #LosAmigos
Terrific; except for sort of telling William Fitzgerald “I wish you weren’t such a jerk,” Tait doesn’t call out hate speech. Not from the dias and his strongest statement was via his Facebook page four days after Fitzgerald launched an anti-Semitic and homophobic rant against council member Jordan Brandman. And lost in the furor over the AnaheimBlog post by Matt Cunningham, was Fitzgerald suggesting the three women on the dias derive sexual pleasure from the Homeless ordinance that the council passed on a 5-0 vote.
Then there’s these two:
Mayor Tait: @AnaheimChamber is funded by city. One group that shouldn’t be funded by city gov’t is business community.
Mayor Tait: When a business group is funded by city. it becomes an “arm” of the council majority.
Tell that one to Beth Krom, Larry Agran and Suhkee Kang in Irvine. The Irvine Chamber is funded by a combination of member dues and a hotel bed tax collected by the city yet this Chamber never lifted a finger to help that council majority. Case in point: Chuck DeVore and John Campbell were named “Legislators of the Year” by the Irvine Chamber for basically voting “no” on everything. Tait is mistaken about the Chamber’s role. But that all said, the Chamber of Commerce’s core tasks are economic development and job creation, and for some, the context has to be “Is Tait actually against any sort of city investment in economic development?” Because that’s what it sure sounds like.
Matt Cunningham wrote a post that offended a lot of people. He has since apologized. There were calls by union leaders to have Todd Spitzer fire Cunningham from his county commission seat. Cunningham resigns. There are calls to have OCTA and the Anaheim Chamber sever their ties with Cunningham’s firm by some of the loudest critics. The OCTA placed one contract on hold and won’t renew another. Now there’s a candlelight vigil lead by Julio Perez for Monday night. Is it really a vigil or is he gathering 10 people to light torches and march on Cunningham’s residence? I’m waiting for calls for an angry mob drag him from his home and hang him from the nearest tree.
I’d be very interested to see how many people actually come out for this vigil. What I’d be more interested in seeing is a single Latino candidate emerge for City Council or Mayor. Gail Eastman is running. Tom Tait is running. Lucille Kring is running. Lorrie Galloway is running. Kris Murray is running. Everyone save Galloway has held a fundraiser. Council districting is an eventuality in Anaheim. Where are the Latino candidates emerging to give voice to 54 percent of the population? So who’s going to challenge Eastman? Who’s challenging Murray? Step up to the plate and take your swings please. Redistricting means nothing if candidates don’t step forward?
You have to love that no matter how many times representatives of the Anaheim Chamber and Cunningham state the chamber has nothing to do with the blog nor is Cunningham “paid to blog,” critics refuse to believe it and demand proof. This blog is pro-union, with the exception of ill-timed statements on primary night over one too many Coronas by one union official now gone and our publisher is a union representative on the county’s retirement board. The OCEA, the OC Labor Feb and the Trade Unions do not financially support us (I wish they did). But I can’t prove that to anyone because I don’t have access to our bank accounts and if I did, I wouldn’t share any contractual information with anyone. Care to guess where most of this blog’s financial support comes from?
Jason Young asked me in comments to another post to ask Cunningham directly if he’s paid to blog. I have. Cunningham told me he isn’t. Cuningham and I will never agree, but I have never known him to lie to me. I then asked Young who pays him to blog. Crickets…..
We’re all human and we all make mistakes. I am reminded time and again via phone calls not to mention certain facts least they hurt someone’s feelings.
Perez, a candidate for assembly, was derailed when details emerged about lawsuits filed against him for non payment of credit card bills. it was debt incurred for paying for a relative’s medical expenses. Probably the most expensive debt one can take on. I don’t know if he ever sat down with a banker to discuss a personal loan that carries a lower interest rate. And after assuming the debt, didn’t pay. He now leads OC’s Labor Fed and is undergoing a candlelight vigil as part of Labor’s social justice efforts.
Jason Young of “Save Anaheim” tracks Facebook likes, provides the contact information of various members of the Anaheim Chamber as a public service; wonder if he tells his new clients about his 2004 arrest for second degree burglary, identity theft, and fraudulent use of an access card, for which he’s since paid his debt to society. Would you hand your credit card over to him for payment of a service?
Vern Nelson of OJ, one of OC’s most talented pianists, has been a guest of the county too; but humming a few bars, drinking in bars, and spending time behind bars didn’t stop him from playing piano for Mayor Tait’s Monday fundraiser. An in-kind contribution by Nelson to the Mayor or a paid gig? I don’t know. But what I do know is mentioning this is going to get me several phone calls asking me not to bring this up. How many of these calls are going to be asking Nelson if he’s getting help for his problem.
Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly missed a promised speaking engagement at a college commencement and continues to apologize for it. That’s good. He also continues to appear on an Internet radio show hosted by a batterer who regular maligns women. He’s the editor-in-chief of a publication that derives income from advertisements for strip clubs, massage parlors, phone sex and escort services. So degradation of women is A-OK. I can’t wait until he’s a father of a daughter. It changes how you think. I sure hope it changes him.
William Fitzgerald uses his three minutes of free speech for anti-Semitism, homophobia and outrageous anti-feminist commentary; he’s part of Team Tait’s email chain to promote blog post talking points. It appears his organization has no members, no board of directors, and that all hate speech uttered is directly from him.
Greg Diamond, a DPOC officer and Tait cheerleader, makes Republicans cringe with every endorsement of Tait’s “Democratic Values” which include signing on a ballot measure to hurt public employee union pensions and failing to call out those who commit acts of downright unkindness. Greg’s last couple of OJ posts which use cheesecake photos of “Canadian” models and a presented defense of what to say if you’re busted by police while engaging in an act of prostitution make me wonder if he needs to spend more time at home with his wife. And Diamond expresses no shame for his puppet show in front of the council (which still makes a number of Democratic Party members cringe when referencing it) because everyone knows the way to get a council to listen to and consider your position strongly is to belittle them. While I was pleased Diamond called for the appointment of Jordan Brandman to serve as Mayor Pro Tem, I don’t believe there was an ounce of sincerity in that motion other than to satisfy those in the DPOC critical of Diamond’s devotion to Tait.
Now Cynthia Ward is part of this crew. I have enormous respect for Cynthia. I consider her a friend. My gripes with anything Cynthia has to say are done via a phone call. It’s civil. We hear the tone and inflection of our words. We agree on a number of things and disagree on others. But I’m not airing those here. If I want to complain about something Cynthia said, I call her and we talk it out. Cynthia is the closest one to adhering to Tait’s call for kindness.
Then, there are frequent commenters Dave Zenger, a fired Shawn Nelson aide suing the county for a six figure job or a million dollar payday. Paul Lucas, a failed candidate for Garden Grove city council and state assembly, who laments against “people like Cunningham” while having issues of his own. Art Pedroza just chimed in to criticize the Voice of OC for adding Cunningham to their editorial board. A fascinating collection of folks to say the least.
This is Team Tait.
Does he encourage their actions? Does he encourage their tactics? Does he approve of how they have conducted themselves? We don’t know because he doesn’t say anything. He seems to lack the ability to speak off he cuff. The “I wish you weren’t such a jerk,” comment to Fitzgerald is as close as Tait has come.
And I’m told the person who sits next to Diamond at the council meetings is Tait’s wife which again lends credence to my position that when it comes to leading by example on the “Year of Kindess,” Tait’s failed miserably. Since that February 2013 address, Tait has said precious little about kindness in Anaheim. So Voters will have a change to elect someone in the Kindness Business with Eli Home’s Lorri Galloway. The kindness her team at the Eli Home shows to abused children every day is part of her DNA.
The AnaheimBlog teddy bear post and reaction is the punctuation on the year of unkindness in Anaheim. A new year awaits everyone and with in a new chance.
There are no angels here. No one. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. We learn from them. They humble us. The only Angels you’re going to find in Anaheim past the age of 5 play baseball in a stadium near the 57 Freeway.