Ahead of today's special council meeting at Anaheim High School's Cook Auditorium, the Disneyland Resort has backed the scrapping of at-large elections in the city in favor of a new district system, but not without throwing its dos centavos in as to how that should come about.
In a letter dated yesterday addressing Mayor Tom Tait and other city officials, George A. Kalogridis, President of the Disneyland Resort, plainly writes, “We believe that city leadership should reflect the diversity of its entire population,” in echoing popular sentiment behind the call.
On behalf of the Resort, Kalogridis goes on to acknowledge that there are many means by which to make the change to district elections in Anaheim but notes a charter amendment on the ballot as the “most responsive way.” A potential ballot measure calling for six council members to be elected
by districts just happens to be an agenda item up for discussion in today's meeting.
The lawsuit filed in June alleging Latino voter disenfranchisement by way of the at-large system is not mentioned at all, even though a community coalition urged city officials last week for the creation of eight districts and a quick settlement.
Should the lines of Anaheim's political map literally be redrawn one way or another, the Resort wants to wield a pen in the process. “The city could begin an open and transparent, citywide dialogue,” Kalogridis goes on to writes in the letter, “with an independent, unbiased and equitably distributed group of Anaheim residents and
employers to determine the number of seats, district
boundaries and a new governance structure for the city.” [emphasis mine]
It goes without saying that employers who live and do business in Anaheim are residents, so the reference is to entrepreneurial outsiders with vested interests in the city who already wield an enormous influence on local government with copious campaign contributions.
All of this comes after Mayor Tait asked the president of Disneyland to take “a leadership role” alongside the city's two major sports teams coming out of the social unrest that exploded alongside the theme park's fireworks in Anaheim two weeks ago.
In backing district elections, the Disneyland Resort is putting on its “good corporate citizen” mouse ears, but I smell a rat!