ACLU Lawsuit Against Anaheim Over Latino Voters Distorts City History and Whitewashes Role of Vendidos
I'm all for reminding Orange County of its nasty racist past, present, and future--hell, I do a weekly series exposing all the OC pioneers who were Klan members. What I'm not for is distorting the historical facts, especially when said distortions are used to further a nebulous lawsuit, like what the ACLU is currently doing in Anaheim regarding the city's Latino voters.
Their lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court alleging that the city is violating the Civil Rights Act because Anacrime conducts at-large elections instead of by wards, is a fascinating study in how the ACLU writes its cases: relying solely on the plaintiffs' version of the story, no matter how much bullshit they're peddling the august organization. In the ACLU's Anaheim case, what we have is plaintiffs Amin David and Jose Moreno of Los Amigos and their allies trying to rewrite the city's racist history to not only overstate their case, but to also whitewash their convenient alliances with said racists in the past to make Latinos appear the perpetual victim of evil gabachos.
The lawsuit starts off by trying to rationalize how two Latinos (Bob Hernandez and Richard Chavez) were elected to the City Council as recently as 2002, an inconvenient fact that alone undermines the lawsuit's assertion that Mexis can't get elected in Anaheim. The ACLU's assertion? The two won because "both were decorated ex-firemen elected in the first City elections after the September 11 terrorist attacks, which generated a national wave of gratitude and admiration for firefighters and other first responders."
HA! Actually, Chavez was a fireman before he won the election, retiring only upon securing the victory. You can look it up. And if that were the case, Steve Stavely would have placed better in the 2002 Anaheim mayoral election than a measly fourth place, Manny Ontiveros would've nabbed the third council seat that year, as well--you know, because the two were law enforcement.
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From there, the suit launches into a brief history of racist Anaheim so shoddy that even Wikipedia does a better job of chronicling it. Anaheim didn't just have "at least three councilmembers" who were Klan; there were four (and that Klanaheim trope they breathlessly cite is not only worn out, it's inaccurate). The ACLU claims that Anaheim "did not desegregate its Mexican schools until 1957," which is an outright lie: there's a hilarious section in One to Twenty-Eight: A History of the Anaheim Union High School District talking about the opening of Western High School in 1954 where the author fretted that "an influx of East Los Angeles students did not mingle well with the cloistered Anaheimers who did not have 'gangs' who were on police files," all code for "Mexicans."
While the lawsuit correctly brings up the segregated pool policy of Pearson Park during the 1940s, they try to make the razing of a barrio in the 1950s to make way for a parking lot for Glover Stadium at La Palma Park seem part-and-parcel with the city's modern-day Big Business-friendly policies when they mention La Palma Park was where "the Philadelphia Athletics held their spring training." Get rid of Mexicans for out-of-towners, you know? Except...the squad of Connie Mack (not the Florida politician, you sports-hating progressives, you!) trained there only from 1940-1943. Oops! It also tries to paint a 2005 annexation attempt by Anaheim of unincorporated neighborhoods in the western part of the city--some barrios, others not--as a Latino issue, when gabachos fought against annexation efforts just as hard. And the annexation efforts were actually launched by the county, which has been trying to push out its unincorporated areas to cities for years--just look at Sunset Beach (also? There was no vote in the 2005 Anaheim effort, as the lawsuit claims: residents signed a petition that blocked said vote. You can look it up).
Those are just the hilarious mistakes. Far more nefarious is the ACLU's attempt to erase the alliances Los Amigos and its favored politicians made with the city's racists.
For instance, the lawsuit brings up the shame that was the Anaheim Police Department have migra at the city's jail. Except...there's no mention that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez supported it (Los Amigos did criticize Sanchez on this, it must be noted). The lawsuit brings up the Gigante supermarket controversy, but lies when it claims the Anaheim Planning Commission "opposed the store attempts to do business in Anaheim." No, they opposed granting them a liquor license because the area where Gigante wanted to set up shop was already over the legal limit on such permits, a perfectly plausible position that David and Los Amigos supported just a year earlier.
And on that Gigante angle is brought up former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle. The lawsuit only refers to the Great Whore of California as the man behind an infamous 1988 poll guard incident. What it doesn't mention is that Los Amigos not only made their peace with Curt for Gigante, but that David himself praised the former bogeyman as "masterful."
David (at left, with the mustache), with Pringle during the Gigante days. Why wasn't Amin calling Curt a racist then?
Photo by Gustavo Arellano
As I wrote before, Anaheim wouldn't be in the abysmal council situation it is today if Los Amigos hadn't sold its soul for Pringle a decade ago. Betcha they won't bring up that in court, or ever.
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