OK, so it wasn’t a straw, it was a wooden chip with the Number 3 on it drawn by newly sworn in council member Jose F. Moreno who experienced the Ecstasy of being sworn in to the Anaheim City Council and the agony of an “unlucky” draw of a two year term.
It’s ironic that Moreno, who led the lawsuit for district-based elections and was involved in determining that one of the districts in the 2016 election would be for a two year term, would draw the “short straw.”
The Voice of OC documents the extraordinary steps taken to ensure the randomness of the draw. From the story:
After the swearing-in, City Clerk Linda Andal determined who would serve the short term by drawing numbers out of a hat.
Guess who’s number came up?
If you guessed the Latino guy, who had to sue the city for equal representation on the council, you are correct.
Andal took pains to avoid the appearance of favoritism, carefully showing the crowd four blank wood chips before numbering them for the district of each of the new council members.
Before depositing the chips in a black cloth bag, Andal turned the bag inside out to show it was empty – prompting one member of the audience to mutter “we know what magic tricks look like.”
She shook the bag in front of a microphone so members of the audience could hear the chips jangling inside.
The half of the auditorium that had cheered and clapped for Moreno throughout the ceremony groaned in unison when Andal pulled the number three from the bag. After the draw, a reporter inspected the wood chips and found each to be smooth, without a noticeable difference in feeling.
Now there’s is some actual justice in this draw that might be hard to see. Moreno’s 72-vote margin was the tightest of the four council races, so on that basis alone it’s fair that District 3 is the short straw district for election in 2018. It’s worth noting Moreno agreed to this provision in the settlement for District elections.
I’ve had several conversations with Dr. Moreno over the past few years about the difficulty in getting Latino voters to the polls in midterm elections (and for special elections). He, correctly, states that this isn’t a problem just for Latino voters but one for Democrats in general. Perhaps Moreno on the ballot for 2018 will be the catalyst that draws Latino voters to the polls in Anaheim for 2018. There’s still considerable confusion among voters about districts, so other district elections could get a spillover effect. But being on the ballot in 2018 means Moreno needs to start working on turnout now.
There is also a Mayoral election in Anaheim in 2018 and some have speculated Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait was grooming Moreno to be his replacement. If true, Moreno will need to decide whether to run for re-election for District 3 or make a try at the Mayor’s seat.