Analyzing Mayor Dan Griset’s Defeat at League of Cities

Santa Ana Mayor Dan Griset, a Democrat, has attributed his defeat at the League of Cities for reelection to the Orange County Transportation Commission and Transit District to outright partisanship by Republican-registered City Council members. But is was support from Republicans, coupled with near-unanimous support from Democrats, that made Griset’s defeat the squeaker that it was.

Extensive telephoning and City Council votes before the election have provided an accurate record of whom each City Council member was supporting in this contest. Griset had the expressed support of 53 council members--35 registered Democrats and 18 Republicans. This means that 90% (35 of 39) of Democrat-registered council members supported him, while fully one-third of his support also came from Republicans.

The contest between Griset and the eventual winner, Councilman Dick Edgar, was actually decided on the basis of resonant issues facing all council members--growth, mass transit, road improvements--as well as contrasts in leadership style between Griset and Edgar.

If the sole criterion had been partisanship, Griset would have been overwhelmingly defeated. Indeed, he would never have been elected to the transportation positions four years ago, in the first place.




Jim Hayes is a Stanton City Council member.