MOORLACH UPDATE — HAPPY NEW YEAR! — December 31, 2009

The Daily Pilot, in their weekly Political Landscape column, provides the new year’s resolutions for many of the local elected officials.

I was introduced to my first box of monthly Day-Timers somewhere around 1977.  I’ve been a loyal customer ever since.

One of my annual rituals is to see if I can be more efficient and effective with my time.

Dealing with appointments, telephone calls, responding to e-mails, preparation for scheduled board and committee meetings, reading my mail and reports, projects, you name it.  I’m always trying to improve my approach in order to make sure not one specific area falls behind.

I use the electronic calendar at the office.  But, I also still use my Day-Timer.  Sometimes, staff has to schedule appointments for me with the condition of “if he hasn’t scheduled something on his calendar that he hasn’t informed us of.”  I want to make this a rarity in 2010.  But, letting go of my Day-Timer and only relying on my electronic calendar?  I don’t remember saying that.  Me?

Hoping your self-improvement efforts in 2010 are achieved and that your resolutions are accomplished.

Happy New Year!

The Political Landscape:
Pols consider resolutions for 2010

From better time and money management to unseating opponent, elected officials discuss their plans for the new year.

By Brianna Bailey and Mona Shadia

New Year’s resolutions are a lot like campaign promises — hard to keep. But like many people, local lawmakers are looking ahead to 2010 and what the coming year will bring.

In 2010, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher vows to keep a close eye on his pocketbook.

Rohrabacher said his New Year’s resolution this year is “to be as frugal with my own money as I am with the taxpayers’.”

Rep. John Campbell never makes New Year’s resolutions, he said, because nobody ever keeps them, including himself.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore will have a lot on his plate in the coming year. The lawmaker will face off with former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina in the June Republican primary in hopes of taking on Sen. Barbara Boxer in the mid-term election.

In 2010, DeVore said he vows to “work hard to balance California’s $21-billion budget deficit without new taxes while campaigning diligently to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer — and be a good husband and father at the same time.”

Assemblyman Van Tran said he views the new year as more of a time for reflection. He’s hoping to unseat Rep. Loretta Sanchez in 2010.

“Around the holidays, I count my blessings and think about what has happened over the past year,” Tran said. “Once I get into the new year is when I make a New Year’s resolution.”

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach is hoping to manage his time better and also get with the times in 2010.

The supervisor will start using an electronic calendar instead of his day-timer.

“I’m just making some minor adjustments, and we’ll see how they work in 2010, nothing dramatic,” he said.

Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley intends to help stop the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds in 2010. But that’s not it for her. She plans on laughing and dancing more with her family, and launching an action sports management business.

Foley’s goal is also to “create as many job opportunities as possible to help families in our community to have a more prosperous 2010.”

Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor and Foley don’t often see eye-to-eye, but they are united on the fairgrounds’ issue.

Mansoor said he doesn’t usually make new year’s resolutions, but he has goals.

Another one of his goals is to be as effective as possible with his remaining time on the City Council, he said.

Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece said she’ll apply this year’s lessons to 2010.

“This last year has been a really hard year for the city, and we learned a lot of lessons and my resolution would be to apply those lessons to the new year and continue to work hard, even though our challenges sometimes seem insurmountable,” she said.

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

December 29

1994

Rob Wells of the Associated Press continued his analysis of the investment pool activities with “Short loans to troubled fund jumped Orange County risk.”  His piece appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune.  It’s unfortunate that this type of journalistic work wasn’t done sooner.  Here are the first and last two paragraphs.

                Amid criticism that the Orange County investment fund had lost more than $1 billion, former treasurer Robert L. Citron compounded the danger by obtaining shorter-term loans, county treasury documents show.

                These loans, which carried the risk of increasingly higher interest payments, also suggest that the affluent California county’s investment bankers had grown nervous about the fund’s financial condition.  They wanted to limit their exposure by reducing the time for repayment, experts said.

                To [John] Moorlach, [a Costa Mesa accountant,] the shorter loan terms were yet another sign that Citron’s bet on lower interest rates was destined to fail.

                “It certainly would tell me the lenders thought interest rates were rising.  And they probably were thinking they did not want to be this far out in this environment,” said Moorlach.

December 30

1999

Its year end and the retrospective pieces are coming out.

The Daily Pilot selected “Marian Bergeson – A political education” as the “2000: Newsmaker of the Decade” in a front-page story by Tony Dodero.  In doing so, it listed the “Past Newsmakers of the Year:”  1990 – Orv Amburgey; 1991 – Jim Slemons; 1992 – Mr. X; 1993 – Mac Bernd; 1994 – John Moorlach; 1995 – Joe Erickson; 1996 – Bob Caustin; 1997 – The Irvine Avenue Crash; and 1998 – Robert Barbot.  This piece did mention her failure to support me during my 1994 campaign for county treasurer.

An accompanying piece addressed the “Top 10 Stories of the Decade” with Number 5 being the “Orange County Bankruptcy.”  Here are the first and last two paragraphs.

                On Dec. 6, 1994, Orange County’s perfect little world came crashing down.

Moorlach was reelected in 1998 after running unopposed.  With a more conservative and well-documented investment strategy, which also includes a four-member oversight committee, he is trying to put the past behind him and move on.  The public agencies that were affected say they are now virtually fully recovered from the bankruptcy.

                But one thing is certain:  No one in this county will ever forget that day.

The OC Register, in their weekly The Breeze, provided a “Timeline” of the last 100 years.

                1994:  The county declares bankruptcy.  John Moorlach, who warned the county about the risky investments, also convinces city officials to withdraw their money before the bankruptcy occurs.  Costa Mesa is better off than most cities when the county goes into the red.

December 31

1999

The Daily Pilot had a column titled “The Year In Quotes – What you had to say in 1999.”  Under the subheading, “The Name Is Bond, School Bond,” was the quote below from me.  Now that the voters in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are really feeling their property tax payments, one wonders how the District has done in upholding the criteria that gave them an “A” grade for their bond measure.

                “We’re getting a message from the voters that’s loud and clear.  Education is the No. 1 issue.”

January 1

1995

Erick Schonfeld of Fortune Magazine did a brief piece, titled “Behind the Orange County Curtain,” in their January issue.  Of the five paragraph article, I was in this middle one.  Remember, if you’ve been reading the December 1994 Look Backs, I never carped “I told you so.”

The debacle brought a chorus of I-told-you-so’s.  When John Moorlach ran against Citron in the race for county treasurer last summer, he did in fact warn the chairman of the board of supervisors that the investment pool might ‘implode’ if interest rates continued to rise.  Laments Moorlach, now plying his trade as a CPA:  ‘Everyone looked at me like I was Chicken Little.’

2000

In their “Countdown to 2000,” Greg Risling did a front-page piece titled “1990s – Good and bad – The dastardly seemed to dominate the decade, but the bright did shine.”  In recounting a number of various personalities, this sentence was slipped in.  I take exception to it, of course, as Citron was well known for seeking advice from psychics and fortunetellers.  I have not.  To modify a famous phrase from the movie “The Sixth Sense,” “I see trends.”  And, if you can see a trend, it will give you big clues about the future.

                John Moorlach, now county treasurer, proved fortunetelling does have some merit.

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