MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Register’s Current — January 8, 2009

One of the joys in my life is that I have regular speaking engagements throughout the year.  Sometimes a group will invite me back on a regular basis.  One outstanding group that does and that I enjoy speaking to is the Newport Harbor Exchange Club.  Having been a Rotarian for some 13 years (10 of them with perfect attendance), I am a big fan of service clubs.

Apparently the OC Register’s “The Current” weekly columnist must have been in attendance when I last spoke to the Exchange Club on December 17.  His Friday column, published today, hit the Register’s website earlier this week.  Here’s what I e-mailed him.  This will give you the published remarks and my observations in one fell swoop.

Mr. Michaels,

If I were to edit your piece for Friday’s “Current,” here’s what I would recommend:

On the web:

Supervisor John Moorlach told Newport Harbor Exchange Club members that much of California’s economic problems can be blamed on unions. California, he said has a two-party system, "the Republican Party and the labor union party."

The supervisor cited such things as the automatic pay raises given government workers when they reach the age of 50. He claimed the raises are unconstitutional, not based on merit, and declared he’d do all in his power to see they’re overturned.

My take:

Supervisor John Moorlach told Newport Harbor Exchange Club members that much of California’s budget problems can be blamed on public employee unions. California, he said has a two-party system, "the Republican Party and the labor party."

The supervisor cited such things as the recent retroactive pension benefit to public safety employees, providing a formula increase, from “2% @ 50” to “3% @ 50,” when they reach the age of 50.  He claimed that granting a retroactive, unfunded benefit is unconstitutional, and declared he’d do all in his power to see that they are rescinded if they are not funded.

I hope that helps.

John M. W. Moorlach, C.P.A.

OC Board of Supervisors

Second District


January 10


The Daily Pilot had the following in their “Bulletin Board” column under the heading “Mesa Republicans to meet.”

                “The California Republican Assembly” is the topic for the meeting of the Costa Mesa Republican Assembly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

                Guest speaker will be Corona del Mar resident Rena Godshall, secretary to the CRA and candidate for its presidency.

                Those who wish to attend the meeting should call Trina Moorlach.


The lead article for the OC Register’s Local section, by Norberto Santana, Jr., was “Pension solution is O.C. priority—Benefits have increased and a shortfall looms, so supervisors will order an analysis.”  Ironically, the title of the continuing portion was “Some say stock market might resolve shortfall.”  Right.  Well, five years later, I guess I can legitimately say, “I told you so.” 

For those who have been reading the LOOK BACKS, you may have noticed a trend, especially during my 1994 campaign against Citron.  This trend of having my fiscal warnings referred to as “political rhetoric” should tell you something about those who aren’t grasping the severity of the situations.

                Elected officials such as Treasurer-Tax Collector John Moorlach argue that supervisors may be placing the county government on a road to fiscal meltdown because of the way they have increased pension benefits for sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and other county workers.

                Others, such as Supervisor Tom Wilson, argue that Moorlach overstates the crisis, which Wilson believes is a temporary spike in costs caused by a weak stock market.  He believes the market will rebound over the next several decades, erasing the unfunded liability.

                Both sides of the issue believe that . . . a review will prove them right.

                “It must be done,” Moorlach said.  “I don’t believe the board really appreciates the magnitude of some of the decisions that have been made with regard to enhanced retirement benefits.”

“I’m confident that once the facts are known, it will cease the political rhetoric being spewed by political opportunists who are trying to confuse the voters in order to garner votes in upcoming elections,” said Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association.  He was referring to Moorlach, who plans to run for the Board of Supervisors in 2006.

The OC Register’s “The Buzz” column, by Martin Wisckol and Jim Hinch, had this fun segment on the OCTA board.

Think campaign season’s over?  Have a look at the race for the two public seats on the board of the Orange County Transportation Authority.  More than 20 people have applied for the 17-member board, which is otherwise made up of city council members and county supervisors.  Four candidates are actively lobbying the current board members, who could make a selection as early as today.

Greg Winterbottom, who holds a public seat, is campaigning and is a favorite to get picked again.  Also campaigning are El Toro anti-airport activist Len Kransner and former Irvine Planning Commissioner Scott Peotter.

But making the race most interesting is Marilyn Brewer, a Republican who served on the Assembly Transportation Committee during her stint as legislator.  Brewer told the Buzz that she misses making public policy – and is also eyeing a 2006 supervisorial bid.  She would likely face Assemblyman Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, and county Treasurer John Moorlach for the seat being vacated by Jim Silva.

However, at least three board members – Bill Campbell, Lou Correa and Carolyn Cavecche – are considering a rule that would force Brewer to resign from OCTA if she were picked and subsequently took out papers for elective office.  The sentiment is that the public seats should not be used as a political springboard.

If selected, Brewer would be the fourth former Assembly member on OCTA, joining Campbell, Correa and Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle.  If Brewer runs for supervisor, look for Pringle, an Assembly ally, to be a key backer.

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