LeTourneau: Democrats Should Rebuke Brandman Move to Disenfranchise Latinos in Anaheim

Democratic public officials, as well as candidates, must be held accountable for their political actions when they flagrantly undermine our party platform.

There can be no more brazen example of this disgraceful behavior than Anaheim’s only Democratic city council member and 46th Congressional District candidate Jordan Brandman.

At a time when arguably the most marginalized residents of Orange County are poised to end years of political exile and exploitation, Councilman Brandman has once again sacrificed his integrity and the integrity of the Democratic Party for his own political gain as he panders for political contributions and Republican votes for the upcoming non-partisan primary election.

Tonight, we will once and for all begin the process of holding Brandman and others accountable for their actions by introducing an emergency resolution condemning his vote to delay Anaheim’s Third District residents from holding an election until 2018, in flagrant opposition to the spirit and intent of the entire move toward electoral reform!

I’m issuing a call to action and urging all Orange County Progressives to attend tonight’s Democratic Party Central Committee meeting, starting at 7 p.m. at 1916 Chapman Ave in Orange at the Carpenters’ Union Local 2361.

I have been informed by Chairman Vandemeir that he will attempt to block the resolution but he too will and must be held accountable for efforts to disenfranchise the governing body should he be foolish enough to try.


After decades of community activism, a two-million-dollar citizen and ACLU lawsuit instituting district elections, an overwhelming electoral mandate through Measures L, a well vetted judicial-led establishment of new districts led to the acceptance of “The People’s Map.”

With near unanimous show of public support for new election district boundaries, it appeared that the long marginalized Latino residents of Anaheim would finally have a voice in their civic affairs.

Gone would be the all white (maybe) 4-1 Republican elected council at large.

For one short moment, it seemed that justice had prevailed and a new day had arrived in the land of Disney.

Ahhh, but such was not to be the case.

To the shock and utter amazement of those gathered to voice their support for the final implementation of the transition, the conservative city council majority – led by the lone Democrat, (DINO) Jordan Brandman and his fellow Disney/Curt Pringle toadies Kris Murray and Lucille Kring – voted to delay elections in the ONLY majority Latino district (District #3) until 2018, a non Presidential election year with historically lower Latino turnout.

Under the majority’s laughable arguments, Councilmember Vanderbilt who apparently is half Latino as his mother is Chilean, lives in the district (as does Brandman) and therefore these folks were already well represented. Forget the fact that Vanderbilt is not Mexican and has not lived the immigrant experience, and forget the fact that the very essence of this long struggle was directed at the most politically and economically marginalized residents who reside in the barrios of District Three Flatlands which a 2012 Anaheim Youth Assessment found to be the most impoverished and devoid of youth opportunities in all of Orange County.

So let’s take a look at what really happened.

Since 1955, Disney has had a firm lock on the political will of the Anaheim Council.

No clearer example is needed then the recent 45-year gate tax moratorium which disenfranchised the next 4 generations from raising revenue needed to address the city’s horrific neglect of its inner city parks, schools, homeless crisis and dilapidated slumlord owned housing. The thought of a resident inspired political uprising, perhaps led by Dr. Jose F. Moreno, Amin David, Ryan Ruelas, Al Jabar, Los Amigos, O.C.C.O.R.D and others was more than the puppeteers could handle.

Add the steady move to a $15.00/hr. resort District minimum wage to break the Disney imposed cycle of poverty forced upon it’s workers and you can see where they had to pull out all of the stops to buy more time to loot what is left of the city coffers not already promised to hotel developers, trolley makers, the Angels etc. etc. etc.

Add to the equation the (former Mayor) Curt Pringle political machine, a longtime supporter of the council majority, which demands a taste of each new development project subsidized by city coffers and you can see the pressure was on to call in a contortionist to draft an argument to support the denial of the political empowerment the whole process was most designed to address.

For those wondering how the lone Democrat on the Council, Jordan Brandman can be at the front of this parade of brazen injustice, you don’t have to look very far.

At Saturday’s Democratic Party Truman Awards Dinner, where Brandman was slated to give the opening remarks before he decided to skip the event, the talk of the evening was how the Democratic party was being sabotaged by those within our ranks who voted for political self preservation over the principles outlined in our Party Platform.

It seems clear that the only way for Brandman to prevail in his near laughable congressional campaign to replace Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, is to court business and Republican donors while having the audacity to profess he is a progressive Democrat.

If this is the case, then it becomes the responsibility of the Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) to hold the party standard bearer accountable for his transgressions.

Easy enough you say, until you realize that under the leadership of Chairman Henry Vandemeir the once vibrant Resolutions Committee, now under the Chairmanship of Ray Cordova (who hasn’t attended a Central Committee meeting in more months than I can remember) has been called to order only once in the past 11 months.

Thankfully, the DPOC By-Laws allow for a resolution to be raised from the floor to address time sensitive matters such as this.

The presentation of this resolution, condemning the actions of Councilmember Brandman and calling for a reversal of his position at the 2nd reading, will take place tonight, Monday, November 23 at 7 p.m. at the DPOC monthly meeting held at 1916 W. Chapman Avenue, Orange CA 92868.

I have been informed by Chairman Vandemeir that he will move to block attempts at a floor motion, preferring to call a special meeting, which is sure to be ill attended due to the short notice and holiday season.

Noting the irony of the County Chairman moving to disenfranchise the governing body as it attempts to address Brandman’s move to disenfranchise Central Anaheim residents, I call on all progressive individuals and organizations to be present tonight and again at the second reading in Anaheim and to let your voices be heard!

Being a Democrat should mean something!

Jeff LeTourneau serves on the Democratic Central Committee and ran for party chairman in 2013.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana Jr. at nsantana@voiceofoc.org.

  • Paul Lucas

    Has Jordan ever claimed to be a progressive? I cant recall him ever making that claim.

    • Greg Diamond

      Yes he has. HIs positions on social issues are progressive. His positions on education are progressive. But they tend not to motivate most of his votes on Council. There, it’s support for cronies — usually tied to his patron Curt Pringle — including Disney, seems to be the motivating factor again and again. Remember: the organization of his main campaign person Melahat Rafiei — who apparently considers him her top electoral priority — is called “Progressive Solutions.” The term has as much (or as little) meaning as people using it want it to have.

  • RyanCantor

    “Being a Democrat should mean something!”

    Oh, it doe$. DPOC has done a fanta$tic job in letting u$ all know what they $tand for.

    • Greg Diamond

      Not really DPOC, Ryan. DPOC itself is relatively impoverished (especially in comparison to OCGOP.) The Democratic Foundation and Frank Barbaro’s Victory Fund are much more well-heeled. So are Republican groups that like to meddle in Democratic primaries on behalf of “business-friendly” Democrats like JOBSPAC — funded largely by Philip Morris and Chevron — which got Tom Daly the Democratic nomination over Julio Perez in June 2012.

      (Your $ide is $till very much on the $ide of $ickne$$!)

    • RyanCantor

      Oh, I’m $ure that little union $nit fit last year concerning your activity had NOTHING to do with money.

      I can’t $eem to $top.

  • David Zenger

    “Councilman Brandman has once again sacrificed his integrity”

    You can’t sacrifice what you don’t have. This is the same person who was given $25,000 to do a ridiculously useless, largely plagiarized report by another “Business Democrat” stalwart – Tom Daly.

    And a correction: there is NOTHING remotely conservative about the Murray-Kring-Eastman philosophy of misdirecting public resources into the pockets of their wealthy corporate political donors after they have cooked up some lame argument or doped up a phony report that really doesn’t say anything at all.

    This corporate welfare is the legacy of Redevelopment and in California includes as many Republicans as it does Democrats – regardless of how they caracterize their own philosophical propensities.

    Unfortunately conservatism on Anaheim’s Council is in a minority – and that minority mostly seems to be one guy – Mayor Tom Tait. Democrats and self-styled liberals should take note of how in Tait’s case conservatism is pretty easily blended with fairness, respect and defense of minorities who feel themselves disenfranchised and are typically the recipients of police misbehavior.

    And P.S. you Dems should really quit honoring hacks like Truman and vicious racists like Woodrow Wilson. It doesn’t really look too good.

    • Greg Diamond

      Yeah — but he’s pretty unusual among Republicans, David. Point to even one GOP Presidential candidate this year who shares his political views. (I can, alas, point to a Democratic candidate who seems to share Brandman’s, but I’d still vote for Jordan over Lupe Moreno.)

      • David Zenger

        “Point to even one GOP Presidential candidate this year who shares his political views.”

        I expect a lot more from my local candidates than I do presidential ones, but I do apply the same litmus test: which candidate would approve giving away untold millions to corporate billionaires? In this the Dems and the Republicans are essentially soulmates.

        Can I see Hillary Clinton voting with Kringle and Murray? Damn straight I can.

        There is no influence on Earth that would cause me to vote for the cipher Brandman.

        The author of this opinion piece has captured the utter nothingness of Brandman with aplomb. When you peel away the onion skin-thin, transparent facade, there is nothing behind it.

        • Greg Diamond

          I am willing to vote for lesser evils. It’s not because I like lesser evils; it’s because I hate greater evils.

          • RyanCantor

            I hate greater evils.

            There’s an epitaph if I ever saw one. Nicely done.