As an extended subsidy to a hotelier was being blessed at city hall, the home of former Anaheim city council hopeful Belal 'Bill' Dalati played host to a fundraiser Tuesday evening for current candidate Jordan Brandman. The invitation for the event asked members of the Arab-American community to join Hussam Ayloush, Nahla Kayali and Rashad Al-Dabbagh in support of the Anaheim Union High School District Trustee's latest campaign.
All are prominent players noted for their good work in the city's unofficial Little Arabia enclave. Ayloush is the Executive Director of the local Council on American-Islamic Relations; Kayali heads the non-profit Access, which held an event yesterday at Pearson Park in Anaheim for World Refugee Day. As faithful readers will recall, Al-Dabbagh is a young activist involved in the movement to officially designate Little Arabia.
So why are all these gada'a people supporting the douche Brandman?
Brandman's boosters like to brand him as a bridge builder in the community who reaches across party lines, but his detractors see him in a different light as an ambitious Demopublican insider whose real interests resides in climbing political ladders. After all, he counts among his listed supporters former Anaheim Mayors Tom Daly and Curt Pringle–and anyone supported by Pringle should be viewed as sleeping with the devil. So why are important Arabheimers backing his bid to claim one of two open city council seats this November?
“I think he's going to win,” Kayali says confidently. “He is a friend we can rely on.” She recounted that Brandman was open, but without commitment, to a number of important ideas including increasing diversity among city staff, opening a multi-ethnic community center in West Anaheim and officially designating Little Arabia. “He's coming from a school experience,” Kayali adds noting that her support, like that of Ayloush, is as a private person and not as head of an organization. “He understands the needs of families and children.”
The last point is a view not shared by Amin David, emeritus chair of Los Amigos, who earlier this year threw down an ultimatum for Brandman to resign as trustee or halt his city council campaign. The longtime activist harshly criticized him for using the position as a springboard for higher political aspirations and took him to task for voting to defer developer fees as detrimental to cash-strapped Anaheim schools.
Brandman's public support of the now infamous $158 million GardenWalk hotel
project tax giveaway is sure to not carry much favor with the Take Back Anaheim crowd, either, especially when developer Bill O'Connell and councilman Harry Sidhu are counted among his backers.
If followed through on, a community center and official designation would be welcomed additions to the city, but Brandman on the council would be–pardon my French–more of la misma mierda.
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!