MOORLACH UPDATE — Redistricting — June 8, 2011

The Voice of OC provides its perspective on yesterday’s Board meeting agenda item discussing the Performance Auditor’s Report on Human Resources.  It is the first piece below.  (Forgive me for my subject line error in yesterday’s Update.)

Jack Wu submitted an editorial with the Newport Beach Independent on local redistricting, which is the second piece below.  His insights provide a common sense approach to where the County’s process may end up (with tongue in cheek comments to make it interesting).

The final piece is Jim de Boom’s weekly column in the Daily Pilot which starts with an announcement concerning next week.  I’ve decided to include a little more of his piece to provide other local events you may find of interest.

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Supervisors Appoint Committee to Study Human Resources Department

Orange County is not the City of Bell.

That was the theme Tuesday as county supervisors debated a controversial audit that found top executives granting themselves raises and promotions while rank-and-file workers and services were being cut.

Based on the disclosures, first published by Voice of OC last month, labor leaders asked supervisors to refer all questionable raises to an independent third party.

County supervisors resisted those calls, instead appointing an ad hoc committee to study the Human Relations Department. Supervisors Shawn Nelson and Pat Bates, CEO Tom Mauk, Performance Auditor Steve Danley and Human Resources Director Carl Crown will review the audit findings. The audit was performed by Danley’s office.

Nick Berardino, general manager for the Orange County Employees Association, told supervisors the disclosures over raises put a dark cloud over the relations between OCEA and the county.

"For the first time in our county there’s a lack of moral authority to continue to bargain with us in good faith," an emotional Berardino told supervisors Tuesday.

Berardino said the "executive abuses" in Orange County were similar to those seen in the cities of Bell, Vernon and Laguna Hills. The county pay raises are part of a recent pattern of big salaries and perks for executives while public workers are handed criticism and layoffs, Berardino said.

Berardino called the OC raises the "most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen."

He then disparaged supervisors for mention of the anniversary of D-Day, World War II, in the morning invocation.

"Do you think there’s one commander who would have stood and told those men I will drink before you drink, I can eat before you eat," said Berardino, his voice cracking.

Questioning the morality of the county leadership didn’t draw a direct response, but the comparisons to Bell did.

"I react negatively to making a comparison to Bell, since what we’re trying to do is do things in the open," said board Chairman Bill Campbell.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson concentrated on allegations made by Danley that the CEO’s office wasn’t fully open during the audit because it gave answers to the news media that didn’t match the information given to the audit team.

"Did you get full cooperation in your effort to get information? I need to know," Nelson said, adding that he would confront any department that resisted calls for information.

"Yes and no," Danley answered. "Mostly we got cooperation. Toward the end, there was instances of information being put out that we didn’t get in advance. In those few instances, there was a problem."

Nelson said Danley’s answer was a "softer response than I got privately."

While Danley emphasized in his report that unfavorable state audits of the Human Resources Department were never shown to supervisors, he didn’t seem to know the legal impact of hiding such information.

Responding to Supervisor John Moorlach questions on that point, Danley said he would get back to him.

Moorlach – who said reading the auditor’s report felt like being punched – criticized upper-level managers for having no backup documentation for many raises and promotions.

He seemed to react sympathetically to allegations made by Berardino that other departments, like the Orange County Sheriff ‘s Department, balanced their budgets without handing out raises to top managers.

Moorlach put Mauk on the hot seat, asking him to directly respond.

"Were there reclassifications and promotions going on [during layoffs]? The answer is yes," Mauk said. "Was it just managers and executives? No."

Mauk said it was unfair to concentrate on 75 cases of executives and managers being reclassified when more than 1,900 general employees were reclassified in recent years. Raises and promotions are important as retention and recruitment tools, he said.

He noted that the county’s director of finance had recently been instrumental in obtaining a refinance package for county bonds that netted the county significant savings.

The debate over executive raises was preceded by presentations to top managers taking part in the county’s leadership academy. The academy prides itself in referring to the "leader as servant."

Please contact Norberto Santana, Jr. directly at nsantana@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/norbertosantana. And add your voice with a letter to the editor.

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Forum, My Turn

By: Jack Wu

Look Kids! Redistricting!

After weeks and weeks of continuing Newport Beach Lifeguard fun, I’m going to bring this column back down to where it belongs…mired in obscure political machinations.

But if you are a political junkie like me, this topic will excite you to no end because of its wondrous possibilities of drama, political paybacks and scorched-earth campaigns that only happen once every 10 years.

It’s called Redistricting.

You see, with every Census that is done, a corresponding adjustment of Political Districts are also done in Congressional Districts, State Senate and Assembly Districts, County Supervisors’ Districts, and heck, even Newport Beach City Council Districts.

But while Orange County and Newport Beach’s Districts are drawn by the folks who benefit the most by drawing favorable District boundaries, the Supervisors and the Councilmembers, this year…oh boy…this year, the Congressional and State Senate/Assembly Districts will be drawn up by “normal” people, who have no (supposed) partisan interests in creating crazy, and Gerrymandered, districts.

And this “normal person” redistricting committee will have its new lines drawn up by Friday June 10!  Ya!

So while Newport Beach enjoys TWO Congressmen (John Campbell in most of the City and Dana Rohrabacher in Santa Ana Heights) and TWO State Assemblymen (Allan Mansoor by Superior Ave and Don Wagner in the rest of the City), maybe Newport Beach will logically be represented by only one Congressman and one Assemblyman.

What that means?  Well, since Newport Beach already is predominately in Campbell’s Congressional District and in Wagner’s Assembly District, probably nothing.  At least nothing that Redistricting will probably change (although their seats might be precariously threatened by the Open Primary…but that’s for another column).

So let’s look at the Gerrymander-able County Board of Supervisors.  The dynamics in that one don’t necessarily affect Newport Beach immediately, but it might affect someone Newport Beachians (Newport Beachites? Newport Beachlings?) will be familiar with, former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.  You see, Chuck is running for Supervisor Bill Campbell’s termed-out seat against the guy who used to occupy that seat, former County Supervisor and former State Assemblyman Todd Spitzer.  The current Supervisors (most of whom have already endorsed Spitzer) can draw up that District’s borders to favor Spitzer’s Orange base, and include less of DeVore’s Irvine base.  See how fun that is for politicos like me?

BUT…those supporters of Newport Councilmembers Leslie Daigle and Keith Curry who would like to see them rise to the Orange County Board of Supervisors might like to know that Supervisor Pat Bates’ District was drawn in 2001 to include the then-unincorporated Newport Coast, which just happened to be annexed by Newport Beach in 2001.

What does that mean?  If common sense dictates the Supervisorial Redistricting (I know…common sense involved with Politicians?), then Newport Coast will be included in whatever Supervisorial District includes the rest of Newport Beach, meaning Newport Beach voters will not be split and will have MORE influence in the election of their County Supervisor.

And guess which County Supervisor terms out in 2014?  Yup, John Moorlach from Costa Mesa.  A fully intact Newport Beach might become more a player in Moorlach’s 2nd District that currently includes Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, and Costa Mesa.  Maybe.

Now, to the Newport Beach City Council Redistricting.   If you knew I existed before the Lifeguard article, you’d know that I previously wrote about the crazy 3,000 to 5,000 registered voters advantage that District 6 (Corona del Mar) has over any of the City’s six other districts.

Let me quote myself…

“Corona del Mar’s Sixth District (Mayor Pro-Tem Nancy Gardner’s) had 12,369 registered voters in the 2008 election and 12,543 in 2010, making up 20 % of Newport Beach’s electorate in 2008 and 19% in 2010.

“And Newport Beach has Seven City Council Districts.

“Meanwhile Mayor Mike Henn’s First District had 7,444 registered voters in 2008 and 8801 in 2010 and Rosansky’s Second District had 7,195 registered voters in 2008, 8,028 in 2010.”

So with that said, the City’s Redistricting Committee made up of Councilmembers Steve Rosansky, Curry and Nancy Gardner (of District Six) really have their work cut out for them to re-draw City Council districts to spread out Newport Beach’s registered voters evenly among the City’s Seven Districts.

Are any of the Councilmembers in danger of being redistricted into another member’s City Council District?  Probably not.

But perhaps evenly dividing the Districts might prevent situations like what happened in 2008 with Councilman Steve Rosansky’s re-election win.  Rosansky lost his own City Council District 2 by 104 votes, lost in the neighboring District 1 by 513 votes, but won in Corona del Mar’s District 6 by 993 votes.  In total, Rosansky received 4,360 votes from District 6 alone, which is just a bit under the 4,958 total votes cast in his own District 2.

Regardless of how West Newport and the Peninsula voted, the 6th District’s 5,000-voter advantage in 2008 and 4,000-voter advantage in 2010 would have dominated any election.

Anyway, the 2011 “Year of the Redistricting” should prove froth-worthy for politicos like me for bringing excitement in the State and County, but also for providing fairness amongst the City’s Seven Districts.

Either that, or I move back to Corona del Mar to be part of the Majority again.

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Community & Clubs: Nominations are in for Hall of Fame

By Jim de Boom

At least six people active in local community service will be inducted into the Daily Pilot Community & Clubs Hall of Fame during a special luncheon at noon June 17, at the Newport Beach American Legion Post 291, 215 E. 15th St.

Nominated to date are Jerry Nininger, Exchange Club of Newport Harbor; Tim Brown, Rotary Club of Newport Beach Sunrise; Sandi Schaefer, Harbor Mesa Lions Club; Bill Hossfield, Rotary Club of Newport Balboa; and Edward J. Kohlmeier, Exchange Club of Corona del Mar.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach will serve as the master of ceremonies while the induction of honorees will be done by me, Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis and City Editor Imran Vittachi. Proceeds will benefit Exploring, a program of the Orange County Council of Boy Scouts of America.

The public is invited to attend the luncheon. Reservations at $50 per person can be made by calling Lane Calvert at (714) 546-8558 ext. 181 or by e-mail at lanec@oclfl.org. To nominate a candidate from a service club, community group or congregation, contact Calvert or myself at (949) 689-4443.

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Mr. Irrelevant Week 2011

The weeklong event, which honors the last pick in the 2011 National Football League draft, will kick off from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 20, with food, drink and music at the Newport Dunes bay front.

"We’re looking for the public to come out and show their great Newport Beach support and hospitality to Cheta Ozougwu, this year’s honoree," Irrelevant Week Chief Executive Melanie Salata said in a prepared statement.

"As in the past, we have a fun-filled evening planned with some surprises that will make it memorable," she said.

The week will honor Ozougwu, the 254th and last pick of the 2011 NFL draft, who was selected by the Houston Texans.

The Newport Beach Fire Department will be on hand to prepare hot dogs, hamburgers and chili for the Texas-themed event. Put on your cowboy duds for the welcome party!

The 36th Irrelevant Week All-Star banquet is June 22, at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

The fun-filled evening typically features Irrelevant Week founder Paul Salata and a dais filled with sports celebrities and former NFL players roasting Mr. Irrelevant.

One highlight is the presentation of the Lowsman Trophy. Tickets are $125 per person. For tickets to the Arrival Party and the All-Star Banquet, call (949) 263-0727.

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New exhibits at historical society

The Costa Mesa Historical Society is having the premiere of two multimedia exhibits from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The first, "Costa Mesa Stays in Tune," integrates the city’s history with milestones like Edison’s talking machine, the early era of the recording industry, ragtime, jazz and the 1968 Newport Pop Festival.

"Transitions: 250 Years of Agriculture on the Mesa" highlights Costa Mesa’s farming from its Native American roots to the present day.

Two speakers will be talking about the 1960s and ’70s music scene: Bill Hunker, the Estancia High School band director, is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m., followed by James Adams of Mission Studios, who will speak at 2:30 p.m.

Admission and refreshments will be free. The Costa Mesa Historical Society is at 1870 Anaheim Ave. The phone number is (949) 631-5918.

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Thought for the day

"It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer."

— Albert Einstein

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