Now They Tell Us
A Thy Vo article published today in the Voice of OC focuses on long-time Democratic politico Claudio Gallegos as “The Man Behind The Maps.” Vo writes about what has long been an open secret: Gallegos is the true author of Anaheim’s council districts map, dubbed “The People’s Map” by its promoters:
In Anaheim, 24-year-old substitute teacher Oscar Reyes was the front man for the so-called “People’s Map,” a district map that a coalition of advocacy groups and organizers successfully pushed through the city council.
Vo’s reporting here is refreshing in that it’s more detached than preceding VOC coverage of Anaheim, whether it was Adam Elmahrek’s participatory stories or Nick Gerda’s proletarian paeans.
Gallegos’ authorship of the map wasn’t exactly a secret – OC Daily noted it in a July 2016 article, and the genuiness of Reyes’ authorship was being questioned even earlier. Given the Voice of OC‘s heavy coverage of the districting issue in Anaheim, why is this only being reported now? On the positive side, it’s additional confirmation of that the districting campaign was an intensely organized political project that was orchestrated by progressive interest groups and activists, more so than the popular movement of residents and “neighborhood advocates” popularized in the Voice of OC’s hagiographic coverage.
However, the “People’s Map” was the eye of the political storm for the last few months of districting process, and was being promoted by a well-orchestrated political and media campaign. Yet, the authenticity of Reyes’ authorship received no scrutiny from the Voice of OC. Such coverage would certainly have thrown a monkey wrench into the public narrative being constructed around “The People’s Map.”
Sour Revolutionary Grapes
The headline notwithstanding, Vo’s article is more focused on the back-and-forth between Kim Bernice Nguyen and Rickk Montoya, the two Democrat activists vying in Garden Grove’s District 6. Gallegos’ is Nguyen’s campaign consultant.
Montoya has run unsuccessfully for city council in the past, and he was the plaintiff in the California Voting Rights Act that forced Garden Grove to shift from at-large to by-district council elections. Nguyen submitted the council district map that was eventually adopted by the city. In the article, he contrasts his age and years of involvement with Nguyen’s relative youth and inexperience – which is all fair game.
However, Montoya goes beyond that to take a cheap shot at Nguyen’s character:
“To find out that the only contribution that she’s given didn’t actually happen is pretty disappointing.”
Montoya’s attack has the contours of a straw man argument, since the Gallegos role in helping Nguyen with her map. OC Daily spoke with Gallegos about the matter back in July; he said Nguyen had reached out to him, and he helped her improve a map she had already designed. This writer has known Gallegos for years: we seldom agree politically, but he has always been truthful. Neither he nor Ms. Nguyen have sought to conceal his contribution to her map.
Democratic sources attribute this line of attack to Orange County Labor Federation staffers. While the OCLF has dual-endorsed in District 6, its staff are hard-Left and favor Montoya – which comes out in their conduct. According to one source, for example, Montoya was quickly and directly notified of the endorsement, while Nguyen found out by accident via social media. OCLF Executive Director Julio Perez is open about his desire for a progressive-Left Democrat to challenge the more centrist Democrat Assemblyman Tom Daly. Our sources say those hopes are invested primarily Jose F. Moreno defeating Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman and using that office as a platform to primary Daly – but Montoya is viewed as Plan B if Moreno loses again.
That Was Then, This Is Now
In his September 12 column, Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana writes about Chris Nguyen leaving Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s staff to work for Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery:
“Nguyen’s move is an open acknowledgement that the place to make a real difference today in public policy across Orange County seems to be at nonpartisan elected offices or the bureaucracy itself…not at a county supervisor’s office.”
That’s an interesting change in perspective.
Last year, the Voice of OC waged an intense media campaign portraying the movement of board aides into the county bureaucracy as venal, corrupt and terribly unfair to OCEA members. Now, it is a manifestation of a desire to truly impact public policy.