Laura, wife of Matt Cunningham, takes over Anaheim Chamber.

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As far back as we can remember (at least until 2012), the President and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce has been Todd Ament (left.) The majority of the Council that has been in power since those days (with the short exception of 2017-18) have always taken and take their instructions from Todd’s Chamber (Disney’s top member), and they have always shown up to meetings with their instructions and fully digested talking points. It was rare and dramatic for a member to deviate from his instructions and thwart the plans of the House, as when Steven Faessel firmly proclaimed his 2020 vote against cannabis dispensaries as a “legacy vote”, giving the impression that he was fighting off a group of bullies in order to follow his conscience.

Still, if you paid attention, it never really looked like the clumsy Todd actually called the shots either, but took orders from someone himself. Since former mayor/lobbyist Curt Pringle loudly “left” Anaheimthe man who gives orders to Ament and the House seemed to be Jeff Flint (right), the Anaheim lobbyist and viceroy of business whom Pringle left behind to keep his plans on track — the two have been close colleagues since the bad old 1980s (Santa Ana Polling Guards, Fake HB Candidates.)

Also, for about a year now, none of us have seen the skin or hair of Todd Ament, who quite regularly attended Council meetings, smiling and slapping people. There were two rumors, not contradictory either: Todd had left town, and Todd was/is under some sort of corruption investigation by the FBI. But you can’t exactly confirm these things with the Chamber, which is as secretive as the FBI itself.

And then yesterday the House released THIS on their social networks:

Welcome to our new President and CEO!

Spring is a time of growth and change, and the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce is no exception. As many of you know, the Chamber has recently experienced a leadership transition as longtime President and CEO Todd Ament has taken on a CEO role in the healthcare industry. The board of directors hiresd Senior Vice President Laura Cunningham will take the reins as President and CEO. She brings new energy to the position and a wealth of experience. Laura looks forward to working with our members.

So, congratulations to Mrs Cunningham, I imagine. She will still report to the same bosses and special interests as her predecessor, but she might like to pass on instructions to Mayor Sidhu and the other five puppets on the dais.

We don’t know as much about Mrs Cunningham as we do about her husband Matt. As mentioned in the above statement, she was the Chamber’s ‘Senior VP’ for a few years and was a hands-on organizer with the ‘astroturf’ ‘neighborhood group’.AnaheI am the first,» which now seems to be over (nothing new on their site since October.) At the time (2012?), we sometimes saw her as an excellent klepto-helpmeet to her husband, such as handing out talking points to speakers at Orange council meetings when Matt was hired by developers to pave the way for condo construction on that town’s last remaining open space.

But one thing that is impossible to forget about Mrs Cunningham is this: during The success of the 2008 Prop 8 campaign banning same-sex marriagea campaign funded by right-wing Republicans, out-of-state Catholics and Mormons, the Hispanic Laura Cunningham was hired to lead the outreach in Spanish. Amusingly, the aforementioned lobbyist Jeff Flint, to whom Laura will report again, was the lead consultant for the anti-gay measure; Meanwhile, Matt C. laid out all the specious arguments against same-sex marriage on his then “Red County” blog. I remember him singing, in disturbing debates of cordiality with the Dan Chmielewski of the Liberal OC, that the anti-gay measure would help get Republicans to the polls that year. I don’t know if that means anything, but it’s very curious that the faction that controls the economy of this very democratic and gay-friendly city so much started by demonizing and (temporarily) stopping same-sex marriage. Do people know that?

Wither away Jubal?

If Ms Cunningham earns as much from the House as her predecessor Todd, it should be about $200,000 – not bad for the Jerbal house! But as I said, we know a lot more about Matt (who used to write under the pseudonym Jubal which some “ankle biters” eventually corrupted to “Jerbal”.) We had fun with him as a sworn enemy for nearly two decades, and our readers can easily provide a long list of his misdeeds ranging from ridiculous to the horriblealways engaged in zeal to please his powerful patrons.

But I’m curious if Matt will continue as Spokesperson blog for the Anaheim chamber and related power structure. Since 2012, it has shaped and disseminated House arguments while receiving money from them, first as “Anaheim Blog” and later changing to “Anaheim Independent” (a richly ironic name) , and now under another name which I will not mention. His last three stories at his new digs are:

  1. an announcement of Avelino Valencia’s candidacy for the Assembly (primarily Avelino’s press release);
  2. a press release from the city of Anaheim that selects recent statistics to give the impression that our economy is doing well, and
  3. a celebration of Judge Hoffer’s bizarre ruling in favor of the city on the Stadium Brown Act suit.

Well, I’ll tell you what, this lucky couple from the city of Orange definitely have their hands on all over Anaheim! Is it a conflict? Probably not, the Chamber is not a government organization, even though it controls the government of our city, and anyway we are dealing with people who do not see the conflict. Perhaps with his wife in charge, Matt will be paid even more to sing the praises of the Anaheim House and the ruling class. Maybe he’ll even be allowed to go back to calling his blog “Anaheim Blog” or “Anaheim Independent.”

I think I’m going to end with one of my favorite quotes that Matt wrote – he wrote it about THIS blog in 2013, and I’ve included it in our masthead for several years:

“Rarely have I seen such a venomous, grandiose, smug group of ankle-biters.”

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