Council gadfly and political activist Cynthia Ward is apparently an unofficial candidate for mayor of Anaheim. She asked for feedback in a Facebook post published last week:
It’s not a terribly surprising development in light of her ongoing public make-over: dressing and sounding more candidate-like during public comments, attempts at restraining her generally venomous style of discourse.
If she pulls the trigger, Ward will join a mayoral candidate field consisting of former Councilmembers Harry Sidhu and Lorri Galloway; OC Fair Board member Ashleigh Aitken; Anaheim Boys and Girls Club Executive Director John Machiaverna; and Robert Williams, an also-ran candidate for council in 2016.
Sidhu, Machiaverna and Ward are Republicans; Galloway, Aitken and Williams are Democrats.
Her announcement set off rejoicing among the progressive Democrat activists and their GOP collaborators, anti-police agitators and other gadflies whose lives revolve around the public comments portion of Anaheim City Council meetings. The Mike and Jeannine Robbins, homeless advocates who compare Anaheimers who don’t want the homeless living in public parks to Nazis and Klansmen, were enthusiastic in their support.
Constancy Not A Constant
Constancy has not been a hallmark of Ward’s politics. When Disney battled developer SunCal over building housing in the Anaheim Resort, she was Disney’s most vociferous advocate, arguing the Anaheim Resort – created by the 1996 agreement between Disney and Anaheim – was the city’s most valuable asset and that SunCal’s project would jeopardize the future of city finances. Today, she is a vociferous critic of Disney and argues the 1996 agreement was a con job of city taxpayers that jeopardizes the future of city finances.
When Tom Tait ran for mayor in 2010, Ward denounced him as a tool of special interests and support former councilmember Shirley McCracken. By the mid-point of his first term, Ward gushed over him as heaven-sent.
Ward strongly supported Kris Murray’s council candidacy in 2010. About the same time she executed her about-face vis-à-vis Tait, Ward began attacking Murray in the most scathing and often personal ways. Ward heaped similar treatment on Councilmember Gail Eastman, whom she also strongly supported in 2010.
When Jordan Brandman ran for council in 2012, Ward attended his kick-off fundraiser and supported his campaign – and this was well after he had spoken in support of the GardenWalk Hotels agreement which Ward likes to demonize. As with Murray and Eastman, Brandman become a frequent target of demonization by Ward.
When the Jose F. Moreno and the ACLU sued Anaheim in 2012 to force a transition from at-large to by-district elections, Ward opposed district elections as divisive and saying they would result in special interest pork and make Anaheim more like Los Angeles. Two years later, she and her husband were featured on political mailers urging voters to support a ballot measure – funded by unions and wealthy San Francisco progressive activists – to switch Anaheim to district elections. From vocal opposition to vocal support for by-district elections in less than two years. Steadfast.
The list goes on. The point is Cynthia Ward’s political positions are a moving target. Voters are entitled to some assurance of constancy when it comes to candidates. Electing someone shouldn’t be a crap shoot as to what course they’ll pursue from year to year.
Suing Anaheim and Promoting Conspiracy Theories
Besides her instinct for going straight for the jugular with personal attacks, Ward is probably best known for her litigation against the City of Anaheim, both as an individual and as president of CATER. She created CATER as a vehicle for filing lawsuits against the city in the name of transparency. While none of her lawsuits have been successful, Anaheim taxpayers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending against them.
Ward is also prone to conspiracy theories. She has publicly stated her belief that efforts to establish the Bridges at Kraemer Place homeless shelter – and the community opposition to it organized by this writer – were in reality a giant conspiracy to divert into the pockets of developers the tens of millions in homeless funds being held by the County of Orange. Her evidence? Nonexistent – unsurprising considering the kooky nature of her supposition.
Most recently, she has posited that the 2014 ballot initiative which re-legalized safe and sane fireworks in most of Anaheim was actually a scheme by fireworks makers to sell more fireworks that are legal in other states but in California. She wrote on her Facebook page that she had been devoting time and energy to researching this bizarre theory, even asking FB friends for help in going down this weird rabbit hole.
Being mayor of California’s 10th largest city is a serious job, not a platform for kooks.