The Biggest Political Story of 2014

The Biggest Political Story of 2014

Anaheim and its ex-mayor won’t disclose his emails and texts, so we took them to court. (Courtesy of the Orange County Register)

In 2010, when voters approved a $650 million stadium for the hockey team that would eventually be Anaheim’s new home, they also approved “amnesty” and legalized marijuana.

The former mayor of Anaheim, Dave Noland (who went to prison in 2000 for being an accessory to murder after the fact), would go on to be in the running to become the first openly gay mayor of a major American city. That same year, when voters in nearby Huntington Beach approved “Compassionate Care, a city initiative that allows the city to be sued if it fails to provide medical marijuana,” Noland was tapped to be its board president.

Those two campaigns became the cornerstone of his run for mayor in March 2014.

And, as he was running, he was posting emails on his website, one that said: “I love my town, and I’m running for mayor.”

Noland’s campaign for mayor, which he had since 2012 put up $400,000 to fund, has been one of the greatest political stories of 2014. The Orange County Register recently spoke with more than a dozen ex-mayor, former council members, and current council members about his years as an mayor and the role that marijuana reform played in shaping the mayor’s agenda.

Here’s what we found:

1. It would be hard to measure the impact of marijuana on Anaheim’s culture

One would have to look at the numbers to know for sure, but we can think about how the drug has shaped the world of sports in Orange County over the last 50 years. For 50 years, Anaheim had no professional team. The city’s only major league affiliate, the California Angels, played at Anaheim’s old baseball stadium, which opened in 1961. But for the past decade, it has been considered nothing more than a place for young people and families to go to have a good time in the sun.

The Angels and the Ducks are on the verge of becoming the latest team to move their home games to Anaheim. The city is also debating the fate of a new hockey arena in Old Town that will cost $340 million and be the site of a new professional hockey team.

The idea of a pro hockey team is just about the only thing that makes

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