Anaheim filled its vacant District 2 seat on the city council on Sept. 14 with Gloria Ma’ae, a local neighborhood advocate who has served on various city commissions and boards.
Ma’ae was chosen out of a selection of 10 applicants applying for the seat, which came after former Councilman Jordan Brandman resigned in August.
Ma’ae was approved in a 4–2 vote, with Councilmen Jose Moreno and Avelino Valencia disagreeing on how the applicants were interviewed by individual councilmembers, rather than with the entire council together, saying the process was unfair to the candidates.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of searches over the years,” Moreno said during the council meeting. “And one of the things that’s an important ethic in searches is that all candidates are actually sitting and interviewed by the people making the vote together so that everyone is hearing the same responses, everyone’s getting the same questions, so that it’s fair, and it’s inclusive, and it’s equitable.
“So this process was very difficult and very much counter to what I consider to be ways of being fair to all candidates. For example, I have no idea what you were being asked by other council members, and I have no idea what you said to them.”
After disagreements arose, the council asked the ten applicants, who were present at the meeting, various questions and took their answers into consideration, although Ma’ae was ultimately nominated for what councilmembers agreed was because of her extended experience helping the community.
“[With] Gloria, her 20 years of experience of working with the community … Gloria, from her heart, trying to do best for the community, for her neighbors, so she would be my nomination,” Councilman Jose Diaz said.
“Gloria stood out as having the best balance of experience with the city knowledge and understanding of city-wide issues, and a proven track record of advocacy and results in West Anaheim,” Councilman Trevor O’Neil said.
“Gloria comes with a long list of community involvement already. She understands the importance of Anaheim’s tourism economy, and ultimately how that drives revenue back into neighborhoods. And the unique perspective that she brings on neighborhood issues, I believe, would complement the work that we do very well.”
Ma’ae is anticipated to be inaugurated into the council at the next meeting on Sept. 28.
Former Councilman Jordan Brandman’s resignation came following “career and personal reasons” after vulgar text messages he had written to another colleague about former Councilwoman Denise Barnes were made public.
Additionally, Brandman led an effort to remove former sister cities commissioner Larry Larsen in April after Larsen refused to partner Anaheim with Pudong, China.
Larsen had said previously that he was shocked by the commission’s consideration of a Chinese city, given how the CCP had lied for weeks about having the virus before informing the World Health Organization.
“It’s called the China virus. The city of Anaheim is in the tank, and we’re going to invite them into our house?” Larsen said during a Feb. 22 commission meeting.
Larsen said that every industry in China is tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and that Anaheim shouldn’t even consider doing business there, especially after the CCP virus pandemic.
“I believe that what was said at the February and March meeting by the commissioner in question does not represent what Anaheim stands for,” Brandman said during an April 27 meeting.
“He was given the opportunity to resign. He chose not to do so. It is incumbent upon us as an example, to do what we think, within the commission.”
Larsen addressed the council during the April 27 meeting; Brandman didn’t attend the public comments and arrived late to the city council meeting.
“Jordan Brandman has accused me of the most vile thing a person can be accused of, and that’s being a racist,” Larsen said.
“He raked me through the mud in trying to destroy my stellar reputation that I’ve worked my entire life in this city to develop. And then he doesn’t have the nerve to show up.”