Luck of the Draw Gives Moreno Short Term on Anaheim Council

Jose F. Moreno, a college professor who came to the United States as an unauthorized immigrant, stood proudly while being sworn in Tuesday as Anaheim’s District 3 city councilman, his family by his side and a crowd of elated supporters filling the River Auditorium.

Moreno, who was the plaintiff in a 2012 California Voting Rights Act lawsuit that ultimately forced the city to transition to district elections, recalled the years of work by his mentor Amin David, a longtime Latino activist and the founder of Los Amigos of Orange County who died earlier this year. 

He drew the crowd to its feet with a speech that paid homage to both the struggle of Anaheim Latinos to gain representation on the City Council, and his early years in the United States “living in the shadows” as an unauthorized immigrant.

Then came the ironic twist.

Because of the switch to district-based elections, one of the four council members elected last month has to stand for re-election in just two years instead of four, so subsequent elections can be on the right schedule.

After the swearing-in, City Clerk Linda Andal determined who would serve the short term by drawing numbers out of a hat.

Guess who’s number came up?

If you guessed the Latino guy, who had to sue the city for equal representation on the council, you are correct.

Andal took pains to avoid the appearance of favoritism, carefully showing the crowd four blank wood chips before numbering them for the district of each of the new council members.

Before depositing the chips in a black cloth bag, Andal turned the bag inside out to show it was empty – prompting one member of the audience to mutter “we know what magic tricks look like.”

She shook the bag in front of a microphone so members of the audience could hear the chips jangling inside.

The half of the auditorium that had cheered and clapped for Moreno throughout the ceremony groaned in unison when Andal pulled the number three from the bag. After the draw, a reporter inspected the wood chips and found each to be smooth, without a noticeable difference in feeling.

Before listing the issues that he would tackle at the next council meeting on Dec. 20, Moreno quipped that, in light of his shortened term, he should “accelerate” some of his policy proposals before his time runs out in 2018.

Contact Thy Vo at or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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  • Cynthia Ward

    If this was anyone but Linda Andal I would say the black bag came from a magician’s prop shop and had a wood chip in a hidden pocket, in the vein of a magic trick pulling something out of an otherwise “empty” bag. I fact, the bag LOOKED like one used for a magic trick. But I believe Linda Andal’s integrity to be solid and she is an honest person trying to do her job while dodging the bullets of political cronyism that has been running the City for too long. If nothing else she KNOWS the Hell that would be paid, had someone inspected the bag and found a hidden pocket and/or one too many “3” chips. I believe the selection to have been solid, if ironic. The funny part is this hurts the establishment more than it hurts Moreno. This year showed that District elections WORK to even the playing field and give a grass roots candidate a chance to win against big money. As Jose put it Tuesday night, they couldn’t reach mailboxes so they showed up on front doors, often 2 or 3 times. So he can overcome money with his campaign, and can do it again in 2 years. With the power of incumbency comes the easier fundraising. It is sick, but a fact of life. Those doing business with government rarely say no to a fundraiser for a seated leader. Unless you are Disney then feel free to attack and insult a seated leader. So Jose has the grassroots army AND fundraising this time around.

    BUT…as he campaigns to retain his seat, he ALSO hurts the establishment candidates who will be vying for Districts 2 and 6 and an open Mayor’s seat. His campaign is certain to highlight benefits to the community enacted in the years of 2016-18 under the “new Majority” undoing whatever damage can be undone from the old Murray Majority. And THAT kind of advertising is NOT going to help an establishment candidate run for Mayor or the open seats. This was the worst thing to happen to the Kleptocracy. And if I did not already believe Linda Andal to be above reproach in her conducting of the process Tuesday night, I also believe there is no benefit to the establishment that would prompt them to try funny business through the Clerk. I believe we can take confidence in the process as fair, and we simply need to do this again in 2018. Another contentious election cycle, right here in District 3. Because we have nothing else to do with our lives….

  • LFOldTimer


    Does Putin have any ties with the City of Anaheim?

    Did anyone bother to check whether there were four #3’s?

    The OC Dem Party needs to investigate.