Of all the concerns and issues of importance affecting Anaheim — like transparency, officer-involved shootings, violent crime, poverty — its latest city council meeting yesterday evening fixated around a motion to strip councilwoman Lorri Galloway of her 'Mayor Pro Tem' title.
The latest spat over the 3-2 vote in late January to complete a controversial $158 bed-tax giveaway for a GardenWalk hotel project was rehashed in a cynical display of petty politics. Galloway, who, alongside Mayor Tom Tait, voted against it, was targeted for using the title to promote a 'Let the People Vote Charter Amendment' that would put transient occupancy tax subsidies on the ballot.
Public comments commenced on a strange footing with resident James Robert Reed's racist screed comparing the Latino community in Anaheim, under the flimsy guise of railing against gangs and graffiti, with bonobos–cousins to chimps. After the baboso stopped blabbering about bonobos in an uninterrupted display that would make an early 20th century eugenicist blush, the majority of speakers took to the podium to address the impending title takeaway.
Larry Larsen of the Take Back Anaheim coalition spoke against it saying “we are the Anaheim tea party” and later another gentlemen excoriated councilwoman Kris Murray as being of the 1% in the language of Occupy. A teamster would retort claiming the mantle of the 99% while supporting the hotel trio, as the President of Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR) had done before, flipping the slogan from “let the people vote” to “let the people work.” Anaheim politics sure are making for strange bed(tax)fellows these days.
Council members Murray, Gail Eastman and Harry Sidhu were also admonished by an elderly board member of the Anaheim Senior Center who said, “you're acting like spoiled children who want their own way and not the people's way. I think it's about time the three of you grow up!” The raging granny's advice was not heeded and the outcome was as predictable as could be.
After public comments, Murray made a motion to have Harry Sidhu become Mayor Pro Tem as his finishes out his term claiming, “the only recourse available to this council to keep that ceremonial title from being put on a ballot and voter pamphlet materials is to reappoint the position.” As the move was framed as retaliatory by critics all meeting long, the councilwoman added,”This is not personal.”
Sensing what was coming, Galloway said, “I have never needed a title to stand up for what is right,” as she stood up to the applause of her gathered supporters. Eastman seconded Murray's motion– no way!–and the same trio that voted for the giveaway secured another 3-2 vote to strip Galloway of her title. Shocking!
Now Sidhu, who Voice of OC reported as having been the benefactor of campaign contributions from the hoteliers in question, is once again Mayor Pro Tem.
“I'm very disappointed with the vote tonight,” Tait said in his closing comments. “I think it hinders us moving forward.” With that, he thanked Galloway for her services performed under the title that she now no longer retains.
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.