Everyone figured that Tom Tait was just going to be Curt Pringle's puppet when the former replaced the latter as Anaheim's mayor in 2002. He certainly fit the right profile: a Republican, and not just any Reep but from the family that officially kept longtime GOP chair (and current Satan water boy) Tom Fuentes employed for years. And he got off to the expected start, talking about freedom this and Resort District that.
But in this past years, Tait has done the impossible: not just yanked the collar from Pringle's leash, but turned into a great, nearly radical mayor, the type of which Anaheim hasn't seen in decades. And because of this, the very Republicans and douchebag Democrats who once adored him now loath the man.
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It wasn't just Tait's disapproval of a million-dollar subsidy to hotel developers earlier this year that burnished his reputation among city residents. Nor was it his tacit approval of a proposal to remake Anaheim's council elections from its current at-large status into one incorporation a ward system. But with the recent furor over the shooting deaths of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo, Tait has shown decisive, even radical leadership. It first started with his immediate declaration that Diaz's death would be investigated by the attorney generals for California and U.S. It continued with his visit yesterday to the Anna Drive neighborhood where Diaz was gunned down, where he listened to the complaints of residents.
And it'll continue next week with a special city council meeting next Wednesday at Anaheim High School's Cook Auditorium starting at 4 p.m. (but betcha that'll change), where Tait and his councilmembers will allow residents to let him have it.
Now, Tait isn't perfect--some of this is too much, too little, too late. But considering his pedigree, and considering he was the one who defied Pringle (who has not tried to hide his disgust), Tait's recent actions make him into the greatest, most radical mayor in OC history since the pre-corrupt Larry Agran. Bravo, Mayor Tait: now, do us a favor, and don't become a community sellout like former mayor John Seymour. What am I talking about? Pick up the Weekly mañana for more...