The city of Anaheim is set to name a new city attorney at this week’s city council meeting. After a national search and more than two dozen applicants, Arturo Fierro, an assistant city attorney in Chino and a Latino, would begin work Wednesday. He was previously, a city attorney in Coachcella and Cudahy; he’s a Harvard Law School graduate and is a partner in a Chino Law Firm.
The Voice of OC reports Fierro’s son and daughter-in-law have ties to Anaheim Council member Jordan Brandman, as Fierro’s son Danny is Brandman’s campaign manager and Fierro’s daughter-in-law is Brandman’s policy aide, and the usual critics are screaming conflict of interest and ignoring Fierro was hired via a process that garnered 25 applicants. This is a disservice to Fierro’s experience as a lawyer and his track record of providing good legal work for his clients as well as to his children who are adults with professional lives of their own.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait isn’t happy about this and is pulling his best Mitch McConnell impression to deny the appointment of the city attorney now on the grounds that there’s a election coming up. Progressive Democrats should see the obvious connection to the US Senate’s refusal to even hold hearings on the appointment of Judge Merrick Garland to the US Supreme Court pending the outcome of the election — perhaps praying for a Republican victory for Donald Trump so he could appoint more justice’s like Antonin Scalia. The time for Tait to object was when the process began, not after an applicant who’s gone through the robust selection process was chosen. But if you’re outraged that McConnell won’t even hold hearings, you ought to be outraged that Tait wants to do basically the same thing.
Here’s Tait’s quote in VOC: “For the at-large-elected council majority to appoint a new city attorney on the eve of district elections is outrageous,” Tait said. “They’re trying to cram the decision in.”
And this from the VOC story:
Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said the city has no reason to believe Brandman will need to recuse himself from voting on the appointment.
“We are unaware of any city policy that would require Council Member Brandman to recuse himself from the selection process,” Lyster said.
Brandman said he disclosed his connections to Arturo Fierro to other council members and is “confident there is no conflict of interest.”
So Tait was disclosed at the beginning of the process; Fierro himself is best positioned to tell Brandman when a conflict exists. The process was begun to find and hire a new city attorney post haste. And Tait is using this as a dog whistle to rev up the pro-Tait militia to descend on the council meeting to speak out against the appointment of a new Latino city official.
For the Democrats running for City Council positions in Anaheim who eagerly accepted Tait’s endorsement, a reminder. He has endorsed Young Kim for AD-65 who is running against Sharon Quirk Silva in about three weeks. He’s endorsed Ed Royce for Congress. Now please explain how you benefit from the endorsement of someone who backs some of Orange County’s most anti-Latino candidates for State and Federal Office?