OC Dems Condemn Anaheim Councilman for Latino District Vote

The Orange County Democratic Party Monday night condemned Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman for voting to exclude a Latino majority City Council district from the city’s first districts-based election in 2016.

Brandman, also a candidate for U.S. Congress, last week joined the council majority in a split 3-2 vote choosing which council districts go up for election in 2016, and which will have to wait until the next election in 2018. Latino activists all requested that the city’s only majority Latino citizen voting age population district go up for election in 2016.

The all-white council majority rebuffed that request and instead chose to put up a district on the west end of the city, arguing that fewer council members have been elected from that area in the past. They also argued that Councilman James Vanderbilt, who was elected at-large and is half-Latino, was enough representation for the Latino district.

Anaheim’s move to district elections was the result of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Latino activists alleging that the city’s at-large elections prevented Latinos from electing the candidates of their choice to the council.

After the council vote, Jeff LeTourneau, a Democratic Party Central Committee member, introduced a resolution at Monday night’s party meeting condemning the council majority’s vote. According to LeTourneau, the resolution passed by acclamation, meaning none of the delegates voiced opposition.

“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied and by scheduling District 3 elections in an off- election year with historically lower Latino voter participation this action will further serve to suppress Latino political enfranchisement at a critical time in Anaheim’s move toward full equality,” the resolution reads.

The resolution also calls on Brandman to reverse his vote when it comes up for a second and final reading at the council meeting next Tuesday.

In an interview with Voice of OC, LeTourneau said Brandman was pitted between campaign money for his congressional race from political heavyweights like Disneyland and ex-Mayor Curt Pringle, who is Anaheim’s most influential lobbyist, and the democratic aspirations of working-class Latinos. Brandman chose the money, he said.

“If Jordan is smart, he’s going to support the mayor’s original motion,” LeTourneau said in a reference to Mayor Tom Tait’s proposal to put the Latino majority district up for election in 2016.

Brandman in the past had received the local party endorsement. But LeTourneau said Brandman has repeatedly voted in league with the council’s Republicans against marginalized communities in Anaheim and suggested that Brandman change party affiliations.

“I doubt he’ll ever get [a Democratic party endorsement] again,” LeTourneau said.

Brandman couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: @adamelmahrek