The Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) showed their true colors last night at their Central Committee meeting when they voted to oust Greg Diamond as their Vice Chairman. He lost by one vote and it should be noted that the woman he helped to elect in the 65th Assembly District, Sharon Quirk-Silva, abstained, leaving Diamond dangling in the wind when he needed her the most.
Diamond, the Democratic candidate for Orange County District Attorney, angered the unions who run the DPOC by not supporting his fellow Democrat, Lorri Galloway, who is running a ridiculous campaign for Mayor of Anaheim. She is running against an incumbent, Mayor Tom Tait, who has fought the Curt Pringle machine that gave away millions of tax dollars to a wealthy hotel developer so he could build a hotel at the failing Anaheim GardenWalk.
If the Democrats want to punish someone in Anaheim for working with the Republicans then they ought to be crucifying Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman, who is advised by the same guy who is advising Quirk-Silva. Brandman is firmly entrenched in the Pringle machine and he is a consistent supporter of his Republican Council Members, as they continue to throw money at corporate interests.
Daniel Lamb tackled this subject over at the Orange Juice Blog this week. Here are a few excerpts from his post – where he arrives at the same conclusion I have arrived at – namely that this move by the Democrats could backfire and cost them their grip on Central Orange County:
Attacking Diamond for his support of Mayor Tait, if you can indeed call it that, is curious given the skeletons piled high in DPOC’s own closet. Will DPOC publicly censure Lou Correa for endorsing Republican Councilwoman Gail Eastman in 2010? Or Jordan Brandman who endorsed both his Republican fellow council members: Eastman and Kris Murray. Where was the outrage when Jose Solorio embraced Tea Party darling Senator Ted Cruz at a Republican fundraiser? Of course, the hypocrisy can be credited to how Diamond feels about the crony corporatists, not any Republican. DPOC’s unflinching support for Anaheim Council Member Jordan Brandman, the protege of Republican uber lobbyist Curt Pringle, reveals the patent insincerity of the assault on Diamond.
While I can’t speak for Diamond, I feel comfortable speculating that he opposes such corporate welfare projects because: 1) the sweet-heart deals are obviously the products of a Council Majority beholden to the city’s elite business interests; 2) the projects depend on public money not otherwise available to the politically unconnected, thus giving insiders an unfair competitive advantage; and 3) the financial burden being foisted upon present and future taxpayers is obscene in scale, for example, a tax subsidy given to developers worth $158 million.
The aggrieved union cronies are threatening to pull support from DPOC candidates. An empty threat given their support is spread about town. The Trade Unions have already thrown-in with Republican Kris Murray, for example. I suspect that Diamond is under siege specifically as a result of his role in CATER, a group currently fighting the city in a lawsuit that threatens to unveil the corruption behind corporate welfare projects. DPOC, Vandermeir in particular, has demonstrated an eagerness to protect Anaheim’s old guard. And in doing this, Democrats have been more than willing to trash the grassroots effort that has formed around Mayor Tait, and which stands opposed to corporate welfare and the crony Council Majority.
OCGOP has been quick to capitalize on DPOC’s willful failure to appreciate the situation in Anaheim. Late last year, I called on my fellow Republicans to condemn the crony capitalist in Anaheim, most of whom claim to be Republicans. While cronyism lingers in many quarters, the Republican Party in Orange County, led by Chairman Scott Baugh, has clearly come down on the side of Mayor Tait and grassroots activists in Anaheim. While shunning the cronies, the party unambiguously embraced Mayor Tait by giving him the local elected leader of year award. At the same time, OCGOP has positioned itself in a similar position in Irvine, where Council Member Jeffrey Lalloway is waging a celebrated crusade against the recently dethroned Larry Agran machine, an infamous group of cronies specializing in corporate welfare projects in Irvine’s Great Park.
As if things could not be worse for local Democrats, they are also on the wrong side of history. As this is Obama’s second-term, Republican’s are widely expected to make significant gains in the midterms. Orange County’s largest city with a significant Latino and working class demographic, DPOC’s botched job in Anaheim puts prominent Democrats in high profile races in serious danger. A mere drag in Democratic turn-out in the city of Anaheim could very well spell doom for Jose Solorio and Sharon Quirk-Silva, who are in tight races with Janet Nguyen and Young Kim for seats in the senate and assembly respectively. Moreover, if the Democratic Party turns its back on Anaheim, Anaheim voters will have the opportunity to embrace a competitive (read: diverse and moderate) Republican slate.
The Democrat’s could see an even more terrifying scenario if Anaheim’s Latinos unite in mass to punish the Democrats. The politics of race in Anaheim are, sadly, alive and well as many Latinos feel they are in a struggle with a “white” power structure. Prominent progressive and leader of the grassroots organization Los Amigos, Jose F. Moreno is a central figure in the movement challenging the crony Council Majority. He maintains that Diamond is guilty only of “joining Latinos and working class families in Anaheim by standing up, speaking out and using constitutionally protected legal rights to stop the fleecing of our City by Corporatists and their paid for Anaheim City Council Majority.” A thinly-veiled reminder of his leverage, the dissent of a pivotal Latino leader raises a specter that could haunt local Democrats this year and in many years to come as Latinos confront the “white” power structure behind the Democrats.
The other outcome of this mess? The unions are not in agreement about Diamond. The SEIU doesn’t like what the Pringle faction has been doing in Anaheim. And labor boss Julio Perez, I assume, is still with Diamond, who was his biggest supporter when Perez ran for the 69th Assembly District in 2012 – Perez lost to yet another tool of corporate interests, Tom Daly.
The SEIU members ought to vote for Iglesias against Daly, in the 69th Assembly District, and Young Kim instead of Quirk-Silva. It is time for them to teach the DPOC a lesson they won’t soon forget.