As promised, the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) held a press conference outside Anaheim City Hall yesterday announcing they were going to sue Anaheim to create council wards in the idea that such a ploy would result in a fairer political representation of the city's demographics. "Through its at-large electoral process, the city has made it nearly impossible for Latinos, who make up more than one third of the electorate, to be fairly represented on the city council," reads the press release, which follows with a solemn quote from Anaheim City School District trustee Jose Moreno, who says, "The tragedy is that, after so many years of struggling to be heard, so many of Anaheim's Latinos have simply lost hope...It was time to do something. This is our home, and we have a right to have a voice in what happens here."
Bullshit, all of it.
It's intellectually dishonest to say there's a systematic lack of minority representation on the City Council, or that the avenues of democracy are blocked in Anaheim for minorities. Oh, this story is going to get national play very soon--Anaheim! Home of Disneyland and the Angels! Racist Jim Crow politics! But as someone who actually knows the politics of Anaheim, I'll just stand by the sidelines and laugh as everyone falls for the ACLU's blatant, unnecessary race-baiting.
Since 2002, the Anaheim City Council has had at least two minorities on the council, so to claim a recent shutout of minorities is preposterous. In 2002, Richard Chavez and Bob Hernandez were elected--look! Two Latino councilmembers! At the same time! In 2004, two other minorities joined in the fun: Lorri Galloway and Harry Sidhu. Which means that from 2004 to 2006, the council had four minorities--Lorri Galloway, Harry Sidhu, Hernandez, and Chavez. The only gabacho was Mayor Curt Pringle, who I guess counts as two gabachos, if you really think about it.
But think about that figure: as recently as six years ago, the Anaheim City Council was 80% minority, with an at-large electoral system. Next to SanTana, this is probably the most-diverse city council in the history of Orange County. Of course, the ACLU and its allies won't bring up this point because three of them weren't the right type of minorities: Galloway is Filipina, Sidhu, a Republican Indian, and Hernandez a Republican Cuban. As for Chavez? He came from Los Amigos, one of the groups involved in the ACLU's suit, and was a union hack who shilled for the race-baiting Gigante supermarket chain, so that was okay.
Mark my words: you will never see such a minority-dominated Anaheim council again. And the only reason this 80% minority council didn't last to at least 2010 was because Chavez and his supporters--Aztlanistas, public unions, and other unions--stupidly thought that his Hispanic surname was enough to guarantee a victory in 2006; it wasn't, and former councilmember Lucille Kring got back into office. Chavez finished third, behind Hernandez. And then he pleaded guilty to tax evasion, and that was that.
Still: through 2010, Anaheim had a minority-dominant City Council. Even now, Sidhu and Galloway (who are termed out this year) remain on the council--if you're playing that ugly percentage game, it's 40% coloreds, for a city that's about 60 percent minorities. Not perfect, but not far off--and hardly wide-scale disenfranchisement. How do you explain Chavez and Hernandez, ACLU and supporters? But instead of railing against the true culprits against representative democracy in Anaheim--the Democratic Party of Orange County and its love for corporatists gabachos to rule over Anaheim ala Tom Daly and current candidate Jordan Brandman--the lawsuit filers decide to go the easy route: rail against institutional whitey, because no one on the Left in Anaheim has the balls to go after the Dems except us.
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How soon the lawsuit filers forget that their detente with Pringle in 2002 for his support of Gigante for their support of his mayoral campaign got Anaheim into the corporatist mess they're in today! That was, by far, a bigger betrayal of Anaheim's Latinos than anything this current council has ever done. Maybe the ACLU should sue Los Amigos?
Don't get me wrong: I despise this latest Anaheim City Council--it's a sad commentary when the best one of the lot is Mayor Tom Tait, a Republican insider if ever was one. And I do love this lawsuit, if only because we get to see the laughable spectacle of Hispandering at its worst from both sides unfold in the next month. I'm not even necessarily opposed to ward elections, although I hardly think they're a panacea for Orange County politics--look at the mess over in SanTana with all their vendidos, and don't forget that Pringle connection: Anaheim's so-called Latino leaders will sell out wabs in a second for their own gains. But we at this paper cannot stand by a lie, even if it puts us against our friends. Truth is truth, and the rationale behind this lawsuit is filled with more fantasy than Disneyland.