As the 2016 city elections approach, Anaheim remains a fascinating case study of strange political bedfellows that somehow create unusual informal alliances.
TheLiberalOC has spoken with three sources on the condition of anonymity regarding the campaign of Mark Lopez, a staffer for County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who is running as a Republican in District 5 after having been a longtime Decline to State voter and having pulled ballots for the 2008 and 2012 Democratic presidential race. Sources say Lopez, who was endorsed by the OC GOP, is running in order to set himself up to replace his boss on the County Board of Supervisors in 2018. Whether that’s true or not, and Lopez will certainly deny it, its time to drop the other shoe.
Lopez, who is backed by Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and is part of the Tait slate that includes Democrats, is expected to benefit from IEs paid for by Howard Ahmanson who is closely aligned with Tait. Ahmanson, a multi-millionaire, is a financier of many Christian conservative cultural, religious, and political causes. We’re told Flash Report publisher Jon Fleischman will be working on the IEs on behalf of Ahmanson; I asked Fleischman several weeks ago if he was working directly or indirectly on this Fall’s election for Tait and he said no, but handling the IEs to benefit the Tait slate must have slipped his mind. My sources tell me Fleischman confirmed his involvement with key OC GOP influencers so it’s not exactly a secret.
So here’s where it’s tricky.
Fleischman, who is also the California politics editor for Breitbart.com which gives voice to the racist Alt-Right movement on behalf of Donald Trump, is in a position through his work for Ahmanson to benefit Tait-slate members who are liberal Democrats — Arturo Ferraras in District 4 and Dr. Jose Moreno in District 3. For a guy who put on an ice cream social for Young Republicans at his community college while Young Democrats were holding a hunger strike, how is Fleischman going to square backing two progressive Democrats over Republicans for City Council? And worse, why would progressive Democrats accept the help of someone 180 degrees away from their core political beliefs?
It’s all about the money, money, money.
Want a weirder connection? On the issues of Angels negotiations Fleischman is on the same side as OJ blogger Greg Diamond, as evidenced by this Facebook post from last month:
Whether he knows it or not, by reminding friends in San Diego against financing of a new stadium and convention center expansion in San Diego (paid primarily through new hotel occupancy taxes) via Measures C & D might inadvertently help Anaheim score the coveted and revenue-rich Comic-Con Expo.
The Comic-Con organizers have come out against Measure D which might be the easiest to pass and there are warnings that if Measure D passes, Comic-Con isn’t long for San Diego. And who is pushing for the passage of Measure D? Diamond’s and CATER’s legal ally Cory Briggs, who did his level best to try and stop the expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center which is ideally poised to take on Comic-Con because of its expansion.
If Anaheim gets Comic-Con, the economic impact will be immediate and significant. From CNBC on the 2016 show:
The San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), otherwise known as Comic-Con, is widely considered to be the premier event of its kind, where tickets often sell out in minutes. According to Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University who recently crunched the numbers, this year’s SDCC is expected to have a whopping $150 million in economic impact on the region, representing an injection of at least $80 million in direct spending.
“Comic Con is very important to San Diego,” Copic told CNBC in an email, adding that it was also the largest convention of the year for the city. On average, its 130,000 attendees will spend over $600 per person, Copic’s data shows.
San Diego plays host to 34 million visitors annually, according figures from to the city’s tourism bureau, pulling in more than $700 million in state and local tax revenue. Last year, San Diego’s Convention Center saw about 553,000 individuals total—meaning that SDCC makes up more than a quarter of the year’s traffic by itself.
Fleischman to Ahmanson to Tait to Ferraras to Lopez to Moreno to Diamond to Briggs….like I said, strange political bedfellows.