MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — April 26, 2010

It’s a rare honor to be recognized by the Orange County Business Journal in their annual OC 50.

In last year’s edition of the OC 50 I was included in the “Honorable Mention” box accompanying the article.

This year I’m out of the box!  (It looks like I bumped out the Honorable Curtis Layne Pringle, the world famous and very accomplished Mayor of Anaheim, as the other individuals included below the opening article were included in last year’s listing.)

I must have gotten lucky.

Between my excellent staff and my supportive family, we have made many accomplishments this current term.  

We’re looking forward to getting much more done in my next term.

With all of the sacrifices that we’ve made, it’s nice to receive recognition from such an highly regarded weekly publication.

Newcomers, Subtle Shifts for Power Elite

ECONOMY: Class of 2010 includes top executives, academics, politicos


OC 50, the Business Journal’s annual who’s who of business and beyond in Orange County, continued its subtle evolution for 2010.

The section, which starts on page 27, is the Business Journal’s annual profile of the most influential people here. It includes key businesspeople plus academics, politicians and others who impact business here.

Familiar faces dominate: Irvine Company’s Donald Bren, Broadcom Corp.’s Henry Samueli, businessman George Argyros and Emulex Corp.’s Paul Folino among them.

As always, there are newcomers.

Some are upstarts—Vizio Inc.’s William Wang and Volcom Inc.’s Richard “Wooly” Woolcott. Others are new to posts long represented on OC 50, as with Disneyland’s George Kalogridis and Gary Schoenfeld of Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.

For others the stars seemed to align (county Supervisor John Moorlach, turnaround guy Ken Campbell of Standard Pacific Corp.).

With each newcomer, others departed OC 50. Some left key positions here. For others, it just wasn’t their year. Some from previous years now are honorable mentions.

Our selections admittedly are subjective. But this year’s group includes all the names you’d expect. There actually are 63 members this year, including joint entries. There are 52 honorable mentions.

Members are selected and screened in a variety of ways: company size, community involvement, political activity and significance within their own industry.

A note on the writing style of OC 50: It’s what’s called telegraph style, which Forbes uses for its annual Forbes 400.

The sentences are choppy and truncated, with most articles and some verbs dropped. With 50 entries, the goal is to provide quick-yet-detailed looks at the most influential here.

Some longtime readers may notice a small change in the entries. We’ve dropped the middle names and birthdates.

In past years, those details were fun for readers and some in OC 50. But for the thinned skinned, trying to get their information was like pulling teeth, leaving us to find out on our own, when we could.

The result was a mix of entries with full details and a few without. So, for consistency, fairness and out of concerns for privacy, we’ve gone with names with just middle initials and ages alone.


Lawrence A. Agran

Councilman, city of Irvine

Chairman, Orange County Great Park Corp.

Born in Chicago, age 65

Lives in Irvine (University Park)

King of Irvine politics, driving force behind city’s ambitious (and controversial) Great Park project at former El Toro Marine base.

Democratic maverick, masterful political strategist. Lauded as can-do visionary by admirers, as partisan “machine boss” by detractors. Republi-cans this fall again face uphill battle to unseat Agran, topple his 3-2 control of City Council. Ally Beth Krom running in long-shot congressional bid against incumbent John Campbell.

Leader in effort that killed proposed El Toro airport. More than $100 million spent so far on 1,400-acre Great Park (envisioned by Agran as bigger version of New York’s Central Park). But estimated $1.4 billion project stalled by real estate crash, recession. City spending $65.5 million to develop 200 acres for sports, cultural activities.

Expanded development rights granted to Lennar offshoot Five Point Communities (run by OC 50er Emile Haddad). Housing density upped by 1,200 homes to 4,800, golf course scrapped, hotel, shops added. Early work could start this year.

Park CEO Mike Ellzey oversees ice rink, concerts, rides aloft recently brightened orange balloon. Cirque du Soleil lured by free rent, drew sellout crowds.

Civil grand jury looking into allegations of lax financial oversight at Great Park. Agran shrugs off critics as “mostly pro-(El Toro) airport, anti-Great Park partisans.”

Government activist: led city efforts on childcare, affordable housing, recycling, open space preservation that have won Irvine national recognition.

Envisions Jamboree Road as urban center, with ecofriendly buildings, more bikes, pedestrians, mass transit. Has negotiated often with powerful Irvine Company (see OC 50er Don Bren). Ran for president in 1992 Democratic primary.

Majored in history, economics, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley. Gradu-ated with honors from Harvard Law School.

Served as legal counsel to state Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. Taught at UCLA School of Law, UC Irvine’s Merage School of Business. During 1990s led nonprofits: Local Elected Officials Project, Center for Innovative Diplomacy, CityVote.

Wife, Phyllis, pediatrician. Son, Irvine lawyer Ken Agran.

Rick Reiff

James L. Doti

President, Chapman University

Born in Chicago, age 63

Lives in Villa Park

Runs county’s largest private university; school’s foremost cheerleader.

Chapman has 6,100 students, strong business ties. Doti’s forged bonds with executives, philanthropists who’ve become major supporters. Counts $280 million endowment.

Trustees include OC 50ers Paul Folino, David Pyott, Jim Mazzo, alums George Argyros, Loretta Sanchez.

Presided over long-running expansion. Last year, paid $22 million for Irvine Spectrum building for administrative offices, classrooms for Brandman University. Offshoot school targeted at adult learners formerly known as Chapman University College, rebranded after $10 million donation by philanthropists Saul, Joyce Brandman.

Raising money for filmmakers’ village, science building, performing arts center.

Saw Argyros School of Business rank No. 46 on BusinessWeek list 2009. Tough

economy has boosted MBA enrollment 29% to 253 students as some seek education in downturn.

Law school ranked 93rd in nation, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2011 rankings.

Serves on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s economic advisory council.

Delivers widely watched annual economic forecast with flair.

Born in Chicago’s Little Italy to immigrant parents. Mom made hats, dad sold shoes. Undergrad degree from University of Illinois, economics doctorate from University of Chicago, trained under Milton Friedman, George Stigler. Joined Chapman faculty in 1974. Dean of business school, 1985. President since 1991.

Cohosts “Dialogue with Doti and Dodge” interview show on KOCE-TV. Recently hosted Mazzo, OC 50ers Mike Mussallem of Edwards Lifesciences, Joe Kiani of Masimo on topic of healthcare reform. Past guests have included Salman Rushdie, Mitt Romney, Kenneth Starr, Maria Shriver.

Fitness buff, climbed seven of tallest mountains. Conquered Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Russia’s Mount Elbrus, Antarctica, where he planted school’s flag atop 16,000-foot Mount Vinson last year.

Runs marathons, qualified for Boston Marathon five times, ran it last week. Listens to books on iPod on 20-mile weekend practice runs. Enjoys cooking, watching Food Network.

Wife, Lynne, Chapman business professor, holds Stone Professorship in Economics. Banking expert. Couple has two grown children, Adam, Cara. Grandfather. Adopted dog from German Shepherd Rescue.

Michael Volpe

Michael V. Drake


University of California, Irvine

Born in New York, age 59

Lives in Irvine

Realized dream last fall when University of California, Irvine School of Law opened.

Law school major goal of Drake’s since his 2005 arrival, is first public law school in California in 40 years. Sixty-two students make up first class; school covering their entire tuition.

Other accomplishments include addition of engineering, behavioral science, biological science, social science buildings, six-story Bren Hall, renovated Rowland Hall.

Pending projects include Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

Last year, opened $556 million University Hospital, big expansion of UCI Medical Center, teaching hospital in Orange.

Recently elevated interim hospital chief executive, medical school dean to permanent spots.

Fifth leader in university’s 45-year history.

Praised for handling of hospital, campus expansion. Dealt with share of challenges: recent state budget cuts, heightened Jewish-Muslim tensions this year, 2005 issues with UCI Medical Center’s liver transplant program.

Business, legal, philanthropic support continuing in tough economy. Last year, school raised $84 million in donations.

Served as vice president of health affairs for UC system before taking chancellor’s job. Responsibilities included oversight of UC health sciences academic, research programs.

Associated with UC since the 1970s, first as medical student. Holds two undergrad degrees: bachelor’s in African, African-American studies from Stanford; medical degree from UC San Francisco. Ophthalmologist by training.

Belongs to several national scientific, scholarly societies.

Father also a physician. Grew up in Englewood, N.J. Later moved to Sacramento. Wife, Brenda, is public interest lawyer, foundation executive who he counts as key adviser. Two adult sons (one’s a lawyer, other a business school student).

Couple’s schedule is busy: events 300 days out of the year. Fans of Formula 1 open-wheel racing. Once visited Monaco to watch races. Took road trip to Baseball Hall of Fame with kids.

Enjoys cycling (rides Italian-made, carbon frame bike), travel, music, track and field, stargazing.

Vita Reed

Milton A. Gordon


California State University, Fullerton

Born in Chicago, age 74

Lives in Fullerton

Head of county’s largest school by students, navigating state budget fallout.

Cut courses, professors in early 2009 as state cut $54.5 million in funding. Partially restored some cuts with $3.75 million in federal stimulus money later in year. Faces prospects of cutting this year when federal money runs out.

Other cost cutting moves include hiring, pay freezes, furloughs, enrollment cuts.

No students added for spring. Also expected to turn away newcomers in fall.

School’s 36,000 students make it largest in OC, largest in Cal State system, second largest in California after UCLA.

Largest accredited business school in California, fourth largest in the country. Major source of recruiting for regional accounting firms.

Has turned to fundraising to cut state reliance. Raised $50 million in past few years, $34 million from alum Steven Mihaylo. Money funds professors, programs, $88 million business school building that opened in 2008 with Mihaylo name.

Renamed performing arts center for Joseph A. W. Clayes III after $5 million donation. Art gallery renamed for $1 million donors Lee, Nicholas Begovich.

Construction boom that started last decade still playing out. Student housing project set for 2011 completion. Funded by CSU revenue bonds backed by student fees.

Runs satellite campus in Irvine at former El Toro Marine base. Long-term place in base’s conversion to Great Park unclear. Lease deal with base owner Lennar runs through August.

Grew up few blocks from old Comiskey Park in Chicago’s rough South Side. Saw Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson play.

University’s Titans team, consistently in top 10, source of pride for longtime baseball fan.

Father worked for old Santa Fe railroad, mother high school graduate, pushed three kids to college.

Gordon taught kindergarten while working on doctorate in Illinois.

On several academic, nonprofit boards, including Orange County Workforce Investment Board, Orange County Business Council, Pacific Symphony. Chair of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

Mathematics doctorate, Illinois Institute of Technology. Math master’s, University of Detroit. Bachelor’s in math, secondary education, Xavier University of Louisiana.

Wife, Margaret Faulwell Gordon, dean of College of Extended and International Education at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Couple lives at El Dorado Ranch, hillside Fullerton estate once home to city pioneer C. Stanley Chapman Sr., donated to CSU in 1989.

Has blended family of grown sons: Patrick, Vincent, Michael, three grandchildren.

Enjoys traveling, dining out, walking, movies, photography, sports.

Michael Volpe

John M.W. Moorlach

Orange County Supervisor, Second District

Born in Groningen, Netherlands, age 54

Lives in Costa Mesa

A champion (and sometimes lonely crusader) for fiscal responsibility in government. Efforts to rein in public employee pension costs could have state, national implications.

Popular with voters, even “St. John” to some. “Public Enemy No. 1” of many union officials, bane of some consultants, lobbyists, fellow officeholders.

Rose to prominence, acquired political “Teflon coating” after warnings about then-county treasurer Robert Citron’s risky investments in 1994 proved true. Citron had defeated Moorlach in that year’s June election. But before year was out, OC declared historic bankruptcy. Was appointed as Citron’s replacement, revamped the office.

Elected treasurer in 1996, re-elected twice. Wanting a bigger say in county policy, easily won election in 2006 to lower-paid, term-limited seat on Board of Supervisors. Unopposed for re-election this year.

Says he was “fooled” by his hand-picked successor as treasurer, Chriss Street, who has been beset by legal issues; called early for Street’s resignation.

Oft-quoted expert on municipal finance. Doomsayer again, now over rising public employee pension, benefit liabilities. Warns California technically insolvent, some local jurisdictions headed for bankruptcy. Spearheading county’s legal challenge of “retroactive” pension boost granted to sheriff deputies by prior board—first round in Superior Court went to union. Lone vote against new deputies’ contract, said not enough concessions. Cooperated with county’s non-safety union, headed by Nick Berardino, to help negotiate two-tier pension arrangement.

Honorary member, Orange County Noble Vikings. Six-foot-five, bearded Dutchman with booming voice, hearty laugh. Auto buff—has Avanti with license plate DULL CPA, Impala with plate SKY FELL, tweaking pre-bankruptcy headline in OC Register that doubted his warnings.

History buff, traveler, shutterbug. Christian who collects books about Western States Jewish history. Board member, OC Transportation Authority. Former chair, Orange County Employees Retirement System.

Former vice president of local accounting firm Balser, Horowitz, Frank & Wakeling. Graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 1977, passed CPA year later.

Wife, Trina. Children, Sarah, Caleb, Daniel, all now working or in college.

Rick Reiff

Loretta L. Sanchez

47th District of California

U.S. House of Representatives

Born in Lynwood, age 50

Lives in Garden Grove

Orange County’s most powerful Democrat.

Gave up idea of running for governor, instead seeking eighth term in district that includes Santa Ana, Garden Grove, part of Anaheim. Could be her toughest race: Likely fall opponent is Assemblyman Van Tran, big vote-getter in Little Saigon. Stands to test Sanchez’s carefully cultivated ties in Vietnamese community. Moreover, Democrats nationally face prospect of voter backlash.

Reputation for taking independent stands, but has toed party line in supporting healthcare reform (“probably the most difficult vote I’ve cast”), cap-and-trade bill. Voted against the TARP bank bailout.

Pays careful attention to constituent service while gaining influence on Democrat-run Capitol Hill. Vice chair of Homeland Security Committee, chairwoman of Terrorism Subcommittee. On House Armed Services Committee, member of Joint Economic Committee, co-chair of Congressional Caucus on Vietnam.

Opposed Iraq War, but works for local defense contracts. Member of Blue Dog Coaltion, New Democrat Coalition, Women’s Congressional Caucus. Won seat by deposing “B-1” Bob Dornan in 1996. With Rep. Linda Sanchez (south Los Angeles County), Congress’ first “sister act.”

Energetic, photogenic, flirtatious. Loves cameras. Funny video by shows her emptying her bottomless purse.

Touts her business background. Was financial manager with Orange County Transportation Authority, assistant VP at Fieldman Rolapp & Associates, associate at Booz Allen Hamilton. Also ran consulting practice.

Trustee of her alma mater, Chapman University, where she earned economics bachelor’s, was voted Business Student of Year. Business master’s from American University. Past president, National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

Single. Spicy Christmas cards featuring her, cat Gretzky an annual hit; last December’s card went digital, spoofed former GOP leader Tom DeLay by showing her “Dancing with the Stars.”

Rick Reiff

Richard “Rick” D. Warren


Saddleback Valley Community Church

Born in San Jose, age 56

Lives in Trabuco Canyon

Influential worldwide as headlining pastor of 120-acre Lake Forest-based megachurch.

Saddleback church averages more than 22,000 attendees per week across five campuses in Southern California.

Says evangelical future is in Africa, Asia, Latin America.

Recently celebrated 30 years of Easter at Angel Stadium with Jonas Brothers. Considering purchase of 20-acre Crystal Cathedral retreat center in South County.

Mentors, leads other pastors. Best-selling author. Rocketed to national stage in 2002, thanks in part to book “The Purpose Driven Life.” Sold more than 30 million copies,

making it best-selling non-fiction hardback

in history. Paperback version back on New York Times Bestseller list. New book,

“The Hope You Need,” expected in November.

Listed among “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine, “15 People Who Make America Great,” by Newsweek. Preached to Hurricane Katrina evacuees at Astrodome. Has appeared on “Oprah,” “Larry King,” “Meet the Press,” “The Colbert Report,” among others.

Sought by politicians, corporate leaders for religious, moral, ethical guidance. Convened with Rupert Murdoch, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Tony Blair. Friend of Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton. Delivered President Obama’s inauguration invocation.

Wife, Kay, founder of church’s HIV/AIDS Ministry, initiated, helps lead ministry around world. Travels, addresses poverty, disease. Cancer survivor.

He teaches Scripture in everyday language. Church welcomes “come as you are” attire. Choir rocks to Christian music.

Brings together churches, businesses, governments through his Peace initiative. Founded, forum for pastors, offers sermons. Big user of Facebook, blog. Tweets regularly.

As entrepreneur, fan of Peter Drucker’s management style. Drucker once noted: “Saddleback church is the Bell Laboratories of Christianity.” Forbes called Saddleback Google or Starbucks of churches.

Works from a 50,000-square-foot church administration building. Arrived in OC at 26, out of Fort Worth, Texas, seminary school with wife, baby, little money.

Founded Saddleback in 1980. Congregation first met at Laguna Hills High School. Bought 72 acres from fellow OC 50er William Lyon in 1987 for $3.5 million, acquired 40 more acres later. In 1989, proposed church development project. Battled opposition to development of rural area.

In 2000s, fought IRS, won on behalf of all ministers regarding “parsonage allowance.” New legislation clarified law, allowing clergy to deduct certain expenses.

Gives away 90% of income. Lives in four-bedroom Trabuco Canyon home.

Bachelor’s from California Baptist University. Master’s of divinity, Southwestern Theological Seminary. Doctorate of ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary.

Three grown children, Amy, Josh, Matthew. Grandfather.

Sherri Cruz


April 24


The OC Register’s second editorial in their Sunday Commentary section provided a compliment and a grim reminder.  I had mentioned in a previous Update that at that time I had tried hard to recommend serious changes with the ARBA (Additional Retiree Benefit Account) at the Orange County Employees Retirement System earlier in the decade.  It was to no avail.  All to say, you can see that I’ve been trying for some time to address post employment benefits.  Here’s the entire editorial:

One hand clapping 


Kudos to supervisors on bankruptcy debt; raspberries for action on retiree benefits



Orange County Supervisor Jim Silva has correctly been praised by his colleagues and other county officials for his efforts to set aside millions of dollars each year to pay off the county’s bankruptcy-related debt. Those efforts made it feasible for the county to approve a refinancing plan that will pay off the debt a decade earlier and save county taxpayers as much as $400 million.


Good work, although we do need to rain a bit on the parade.


The same week that Mr. Silva was championing the refinancing savings, published reports show that an expected hike in health care benefit costs for retirees will consume a good bit of it.


The county might need to come up with $110 million a year to cover the health care costs, according to a Los Angeles Times report, which pegged the problem to 1993 when county supervisors spiked health care payments for retirees without fully considering the long-term costs.


County Treasurer John Moorlach in 2001 wrote a letter to then-county CEO Michael Schumacher that suggested moving health care funds into a segregated account that would shield them from market losses. Nothing was done, and the current problem has emerged. Had the county taken action in 2001, Mr. Moorlach said the current retiree health care shortfall would be $600 million, rather than $1 billion.