Our Chat with Dr. Jose Moreno on the Anaheim City Council Race

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Dr. Jose F. Moreno (Photo: Dan Chmielewski)

On Thursday, I had what was supposed to be an hour conversation with Dr. Jose Moreno about his candidacy for Anaheim City Council.  It was supposed to be an hour meeting that turned into a nearly three hour chat and very worthwhile.  We covered a lot of ground.  I had a long list of questions which Dr. Moreno somehow answered in the context of answering other questions.  I was satisified by some of the answers and dissatisifed by others.  But there is no question he is convinced he will be elected to the Anaheim City Council this November, and if he is not, he sees his mission as building a strong bench of Democratic candidates to represent Anaheim in future elections.  We both fondly miss “The Tasty” in Cambridge, Mass, so that got things off on the right foot.

Q.  You did pull papers for re-election to the Anaheim City School Board, what made you decide to pull papers for City Council.

A.  I have to thank Matt Cunningham and his blog.  I pulled papers for school board on July 17, but I was not 100 percent sure to run again period. But many people have been urging me to run for city council..I pulled papers but kept my options open.  After reading a post about me on Matt’s blog, I called the Registrar of voters to check on everything and they were confused because the other Jose Moreno had pulled papers for the Anaheim High School district and they thought it was me.  My candidacy for city council is not a head fake.  I was urged to run for city council because of my track record of bringing people together.  I checked with my wife and my kids because of the demand of this sort of race.  And we made the decision.  I have my work cut out for me especially in fundraising.

Q.  There are two Jose Moreno’s on the ballot for city council; what are you doing to do to make sure voters are voting for you.

A. Ballot designations are important here.  I will distinguish myself by using my title and my middle initial, which I wouldn’t have done if he (Jose “Joe” Moreno) wasn’t in the race.  My campaign team will be making huge efforts to associate the title and middle initial with my identity for voters.

Q.  There’s a charge that your ballot statement has an incorrect title; a claim you are president of a school board that doesn’t exist.  Can you explain?

A.  This is a brand new campaign and a brand new team,  The copy was submitted before the mistake was caught.  It’s a mistake.  An honest mistake.

Q.  Why the sudden change to be a Democrat of which there is some criticism that you’ve become a Democrat to gain the benefits of party affiliation without the “sweat equity.”

A,  I became a Democrat because I felt the beliefs of the party aligned with the belief of my heart.  It coincided with the first time I went to the DPOC to address the party.  The timing was just right.  As far as “have I paid sweat equity to the party,” did I do it when I walked neighborhoods for Sharon Quirk Silva?  Did I earn it when I volunteered to register new Democrats at the DPOC booth at the Orange County Fair?  Or did it do it when I endorsed Democratic candidates, walked neighgorhoods for them, endorsed them for office?  I believe I can contribute to the party and I believe I can help Anaheim build a strong bench of Democratic candidates for elections to come.

Q. You championed districts for Anaheim. What’s wrong with the district-based at large elections like they have in Santa Ana?

A. That’s a colonial based form of government that we fought a war against more than 200 years ago.  It’s not effective and it’s not what the people want.  Santa Ana should adopt what we are trying to do in Anaheim.  To use the Santa Ana method of district elections further disenfranchises Latino voters.  While we make up the majority of the city’s population, we are only 32 percent of the electorate so we cannot affect change or even influence elective races even if we want too.  That’s the basis on a California Voting Act for which we filed the lawsuit.  This is issue number one for me.

Q.  While ACSD schools have made tremendous strides since you joined the school board, the test scores are still below state average. Can you point to specific policies that have helped.

A.  We have modernized every school and placed an emphasis on learning, not test scores. So critical thinking skills are very important.  We have 16,000 to 19,000 kids in our schools, so we’re working with parents and teachers to involve them in how the schools are run.  I helped start, as a parent, a successful bilingual language program that benefits Spanish and English speakers alike to give more kids the opportunity to become more bilingual and biliterate. and we have expanded this program since I have been on the school board.  We have made tremendous strides but still have some work to do.  But we are on the right path.  Its important to develop programs that keep elementary school kids away from gangs, we need to have youth leagues where the cost of affordable so a kid will play on a team instead of not being part of something positive.

Q.  There’s talk that you’re a Tom Tait support even though there is a strong Democrat running for mayor. Please explain your position.

A.  I gave my endorsement to Mayor Tait back in January and I gave money to his campaign because he has been fighting for things that matter to me.  Mayor Tait fought harder than anyone on the council for district elections.  My endorsement of the mayor will stay with him as long as he wants it.  He has fought giveaways of large taxpayer subsidies when critical public benefits for the project still weren’t identified. Mayor Tait has fought for re-investmentin our neighborhoods (we pointed out the last two budgets seemed to offer significant budgetary improvements for these neighborhoods which Moreno maintains hasn’t happened yet).  And the mayor has fought for strong and appropriate police oversight.

(We pointed out that Lorri Galloway, the only Democrat declared for Mayor, actually supports all of these things, Moreno insisted he gave Tait his word in January, before Galloway announced.  Galloway announced her intentions to run for Mayor in Spring 2014.  We also pointed out Anaheim council member voted for districting (and we have documents of Brandman introducing a review of data for districting dating back to December 2012 using the same careful mechanisms that Moreno used himself on the Anaheim Board.  But in Moreno’s view, Brandman didn’t fight hard enough or lend this voice  to the districting campaign well enough for Dr. Moreno.  But the record clearly reflects Brandman spoke out on the issue well before Tait got involved.

We had a fact check call with Dr. Moreno Friday afternoon and we pointed out the discrepancy in his endorsement timeline. Moreno said Tait asked for his endorsement before Galloway made her plans known in November and, being a person of integrity, Moreno will not withdraw his endorsement of Tait unless the mayor asks him to do so.  Think about that OC GOP central committee members.  Your “Elected Official of the Year” proactively sought the endorsement of one of Anaheim’s best known progressives who while being a DTS clearly doesn’t embrace Tait’s conservative agenda.  And this endorsement of a conservative mayor who has flip flopped on a number of issues, hates unions, and cannot control the chamber during council meetings remains a head shaker for many Democrats.

Again, we chatted for three hours.  Dr. Moreno is convinced he’ll be elected but he’s running a race before the parameters of districting have kicked in.  School board races didn’t require a lot of money to run and he’s way behind the Tait slate and Kris Murray and Gail Eastman when it comes to the funds needed to mount a battle of messaging and the cost those things require.  His base isn’t exactly in a position to help him raise a lot of money, and one gets the impression that if he’s elected, he’ll side with Mayor Tait more than Democrat Jordan Brandman.  You also get the sense that there’s bad blood between him and Democratic Mayoral candidate Lorri Galloway, because even though her views are closely aligned with Tait, Moreno is all in for the mayor in spite of being a newly minted Democrat.

More details on others issues later.  It was a three hour chat and we learned a lot about each other.

  14 comments for “Our Chat with Dr. Jose Moreno on the Anaheim City Council Race

  1. August 22, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I can’t believe this laughable nonsense has been sitting up here for five days, and nobody else has called Dan C on it – so it falls to me? Someone’s gotta do it:

    “…we have documents of Brandman introducing a review of data for districting dating back to December 2012 using the same careful mechanisms that Moreno used himself on the Anaheim Board. But in Moreno’s view, Brandman didn’t fight hard enough or lend this voice to the districting campaign well enough for Dr. Moreno. But the record clearly reflects Brandman spoke out on the issue well before Tait got involved.”

    Well, that’s what happens when you jump in and pontificate about a city you’ve never paid attention to before, and all you know is who you love and who you hate. But, let’s see, where to start … Lorri backed districting from the start (although she didn’t say or do much about it until the lawsuit happened.)

    Tom Tait, at the beginning of his mayorship, opposed districting, feeling that the council “was doing its best to represent all the residents.” But over the course of 2011, as he saw the growing unprecedented influence big money was having on his three Republican colleagues, he started to change his mind, and became an enthusiastic convert to districting by the end of 2011. THE END OF 2011, Dan.

    And in late July 2012 (the meeting that was interrupted by the riots) and then August 8 ( a gigantic historic meeting at a high school auditorium that Tom insisted on for that specific purpose) he agendized putting districting on the ballot. Both he and Lorri, and dozens of audience members, spoke out passionately in favor. JODAN CAME AND COUNSELLED DELAY, using the same language as the Republican council majority. “This shouldn’t happen right away, this should be studied first by several committees.” And that’s what the majority passed. Tom and Lorri were right – justice delayed is justice denied. This is well-known history Dan – read something and learn, boy:

    http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2012/08/anaheim-council-majority-shoots-down-everything-that-is-good-except-puppies/

    Later that year, when Jordan was running for council and trying to get some Democrat, progressive, and latino support, he came to Los Amigos under the protection of Loretta – but he had to be dragged kicking and screaming by them into promising that he would agendize settling the districting lawsuit. Again, well-known history and not that long ago:

    http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2012/10/the-contortions-of-jordan-brandman/

    Once he got onto council, it seemed like he’d gotten permission to keep that promise, since there was still a safe majority to keep fighting AGAINST districting, but he never said much besides mumbling that he was “in favor of it” and joining Tom for one more 2-3 vote. Nobody knows what “document” Dan is talking about from Dec 2012, but it’s probably the little request for study he put out there for districting on the high school board and never followed up on – something much different and less crucial than city elections districting.

    In any case, Dan – Tait a champion as of early 2012, Brandman a mumbling supporter as of early 2013. Faceplant.

    • One Who Knows
      August 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      “and became an enthusiastic convert to districting by the end of 2011.”

      If Tait is telling you that Vern, then he is not telling you the truth. I know someone who discussed the issue with Tait in summer 2012, after the ACLU law suit was filed. Tait said he could make just as strong a case AGAINST districts as he could against it, but thought the council should put it on the ballot.

      • August 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        Even if your friend is remembering right, Dan is still way off to say that Jordan predated Tom on districting support or was ever stronger than him. But I don’t know – what I wrote above is based on a combination of what Jose, Tom and Cynthia seem to recall. But I know when *I* first met Tom in JULY of 2012 he was very enthusiastic about districting, and drew me a map to help explain to me how important it was. And THEN he went to the mat for it, July 24 and August 8. So how ambivalent could he have been in “the summer” of that year? I suppose people sometimes go back and forth in a transition.

        Looking again at the quote from Dan, “we have documents of Brandman introducing a review of data for districting dating back to December 2012 using the same careful mechanisms that Moreno used himself on the Anaheim Board”, it’s obvious that he’s conflating the districting ideas for various school boards with the much more weighty districting of city council races.

        And one anecdote I left out that is so illustrative of how enthusiastic Jordan was about the issue even in the spring of 2013: (I’ve got to find the meeting video, the point in it, and hopefully get Jason to YouTube it) Tom speaks for districting, Jordan indicates his support, the three Republican ladies speak against it, but then … Lucille starts to speak ambivalently, looking like she might be having second thoughts, looking like she might be thinking of joining Tom and Jordan in a vote to at least put it before voters… and Jordan PANICS and “calls the question!” It was such a revealing moment, I promise to find it.

        • Dan Chmielewski
          August 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm

          Vern, where did I say Brandman’s support of districting pre-dates Tait’s. You’re such a Tait suck up you are reading things into stuff I’ve written that I never said. That said I don’t believe Tait was for districting until he lost control of his Republican council members. It’s Tait’s way or the highway.

          • August 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

            I quoted you verbatim, doofus. “But the record clearly reflects Brandman spoke out on the issue well before Tait got involved.”

            And Tait’s best allies on council have traditionally been Democrats – Lorri a few years ago, Richard Chavez before that. You are blinded by Tait-Hate, and hobbled by a knowledge of Anaheim that goes back WEEKS.

            • August 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

              Vern —
              I searched Google high and low when I wrote this and found no reference from Tait in support of district elections; I looked again and found one story on the fourth or fifth page of Google from ABC 7’s website from July 2012 where Tait references support for a district voting plan, but its a far cry from fighting for it as Dr. Moreno suggested and at best represents the same position Brandman has even thought Brandman was not an elected member of the city council by then. It doesn’t change the fact you praise Tait and trash Brandman for doing the exact same thing on the same issue.

              • August 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

                The exact same thing?

                August 8 2012 Tait called a SPECIAL MEETING at Cook Auditorium for the specific purpose of putting districting on that November’s ballot, because, as he said that day, he thought it was too important to wait another two or four or six years.

                August 8 2012 Jordan Brandman showed up at the same meeting to encourage the council to vote NO on putting districting on that November’s ballot, because it was better to study the hell out of it, and have another two or four or six years before it could ever happen. And Murray, Eastman and Sidhu were right on board with that.

                And it’s the “exact same thing?” And I’m the one who’s wrong to praise Tait and criticize Brandman? Just drop it, Dan, you’re wrong, and you don’t know Anaheim.

                • August 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

                  Lorri Galloway was calling for single member districts when Pringle was mayor

                • August 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm

                  … and I said as much. Now as always, you get the last word … GO!

  2. August 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

    On moderation eh? Figures. you really don’t like hearing what I have to say do you Dan? Well, I had to laugh when you had the stones to ask Jose about what sort of “sweat equity” he had built up in the Democratic Party, and he was able to respond:

    “Did I [earn sweat equity] when I walked neighborhoods for Sharon Quirk Silva? Did I earn it when I volunteered to register new Democrats at the DPOC booth at the Orange County Fair? Or did it do it when I endorsed Democratic candidates, walked neighgorhoods for them, endorsed them for office?”

    The rest of us ask, what sort of sweat equity has Dan ever paid? The sweat of the bulky, unpleasant, faux-liberal blogger?

    • Dan Chmielewski
      August 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Vern, you’re questioning my sweat equity in the party at the same time you promote a conservative Republican for re-election. You also mention in several posts on OJ how key figures in the party and key elected seem to shun you these days. I don’t get that. Ever. Ponder that.

      • August 22, 2014 at 11:40 am

        The answer, dear Dan, is precisely that I take issues seriously – progressive and good government issues – more seriously than clubs, parties, personalities. That’s why Jose and I are better Democrats than you’ll ever be, even at the times when we’re not technically registered as such. And also the reason I piss some people off, which a good blogger should do.

        • Dan Chmielewski
          August 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm

          Vern, I piss people off too but then tend to be conservatives. But you have zero right to question my fitness as a Democrat while you aren’t registered as such.

  3. August 22, 2014 at 9:44 am

    (OK, I think the moderation of my first more important comment was due to a couple of links. I’ll try taking them out.)

    I can’t believe this laughable nonsense has been sitting up here for five days, and nobody else has called Dan C on it – so it falls to me? Someone’s gotta do it:

    “…we have documents of Brandman introducing a review of data for districting dating back to December 2012 using the same careful mechanisms that Moreno used himself on the Anaheim Board. But in Moreno’s view, Brandman didn’t fight hard enough or lend this voice to the districting campaign well enough for Dr. Moreno. But the record clearly reflects Brandman spoke out on the issue well before Tait got involved.”

    Well, that’s what happens when you jump in and pontificate about a city you’ve never paid attention to before, and all you know is who you love and who you hate. But, let’s see, where to start … Lorri backed districting from the start (although she didn’t say or do much about it until the lawsuit happened.)

    Tom Tait, at the beginning of his mayorship, opposed districting, feeling that the council “was doing its best to represent all the residents.” But over the course of 2011, as he saw the growing unprecedented influence big money was having on his three Republican colleagues, he started to change his mind, and became an enthusiastic convert to districting by the end of 2011. THE END OF 2011, Dan.

    And in late July 2012 (the meeting that was interrupted by the riots) and then August 8 ( a gigantic historic meeting at a high school auditorium that Tom insisted on for that specific purpose) he agendized putting districting on the ballot. Both he and Lorri, and dozens of audience members, spoke out passionately in favor. JODAN CAME AND COUNSELLED DELAY, using the same language as the Republican council majority. “This shouldn’t happen right away, this should be studied first by several committees.” And that’s what the majority passed. Tom and Lorri were right – justice delayed is justice denied. This is well-known history Dan – read something and learn, boy:

    (Google: Anaheim Council Majority Shoots Down everything good except puppies)

    Later that year, when Jordan was running for council and trying to get some Democrat, progressive, and latino support, he came to Los Amigos under the protection of Loretta – but he had to be dragged kicking and screaming by them into promising that he would agendize settling the districting lawsuit. (A great video that you can watch below. Also, the DPOC districting resolution pushed by Diamond and LeTourneau made it hard for him to avoid support.) Again, well-known history and not that long ago:

    (Google – the contortions of Jordan Brandman)

    Once he got onto council, it seemed like he’d gotten permission to keep that promise, since there was still a safe majority to keep fighting AGAINST districting, but he never said much besides mumbling that he was “in favor of it” and joining Tom for one more 2-3 vote. Nobody knows what “document” Dan is talking about from Dec 2012, but it’s probably the little request for study he put out there for districting on the high school board and never followed up on – something much different and less crucial than city elections districting.

    In any case, Dan – Tait a champion as of early 2012, Brandman a mumbling supporter as of early 2013. Faceplant.

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