The Seal Beach Sun provides a letter that refers to a recent story that I cannot seem to locate on its website. I’m providing the letter to point out two items. The first is that the reference to incompetence should have been directed to the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office (Robert L. Citron), and not the Assessor’s office. The second is that SoCalPBS will have a segment this evening on another topic that the writer concludes with, that can be seen at http://video.mountainlake.org/video/2341188764/.
Letters to the Editor
Supervisor Moorlach termed out is a loss to OC
Your editorial discussing Supervisor John Moorlach and the “Super City” on Feb. 28, (“Kaiser on a Roll: Super city will likely die without Moorlach”) appropriately noted his support of the Super City concept, and what the end of his term will mean to the idea.
His being termed out of the supervisor’s office, however, represents a far greater loss than that, to the citizens of Orange County.
Moorlach is the only supervisor, probably the only elected official in California, with real understanding of government finance, and the future implications of current actions.
He has proved this over and over, most notably, probably, with his nationally recognized campaign to save the county from our 1994 bankruptcy, stemming from bad investments of an incompetent Assessor’s office. At the same time, he is the only Orange County supervisor with the courage and strength to confront the county’s powerful special interests, and effectively support the public’s interest.
His support of citizen interests extends to cleaning out corrupt and incompetent government officials, as was recently demonstrated in Orange County, when those who ignored or enabled Carlos Bustamante’s depredations were shown the door.
With any luck, Moorlach will run for governor, the California public will recognize these attributes, and Orange County’s loss will be the State’s gain.
FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS
The LA Times allowed me to submit an editorial on the state of California’s efforts to commemorate its 150th anniversary of statehood. It was the “Orange County Voices” submission in the Sunday Commentary section and was titled “Let’s Make Sesquicentennial Special.” They printed a trimmed down version of my editorial, which was in response to a February 26 lead editorial, titled “A Rush to Save Gold Rush Gala.” After spending a considerable amount of personal time and funds, I was getting frustrated with many of the miscues that were hindering a worthy effort. So I vented. This was a very frustrating “Sacramento” experience, but worth the price for the friendships that I gained, including that of Huell Howser. For the historians, next year with be Orange County’s quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary, as a county of the state of California.
Gov. Pete Wilson’s ill-advised directive to not cooperate with Democrat-controlled investigatory panels created awkward newspaper accounts of the activities of the Sesquicentennial Commission and Foundation. It was irresponsible for the panel to imply impropriety. No funds were misspent or misappropriated, and all tax returns have been filed.
Wilson issued the executive order establishing the "Gold Discovery to Statehood Sesquicentennial" (150 years) in 1994. Noted historian Sylvia Sun Minnick spearheaded the project. The celebration started on Jan. 24, the day of gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill, and will run through Sept. 9, 2000, the date of statehood in 1850.
No seed money was provided other than our own personal contributions and some assistance from state parks personnel. We were charged with raising the funding for a commemoration for a state with 33 million people. California funded the centennial commemoration with several million dollars, equivalent to some $25 million today when adjusted for inflation.
We pursued incorporating, creating a logo, legislation to issue a sesquicentennial license plate and other things.
The original 14 members of the official commission were not installed until March of 1996. The delay was the result of the governor’s failed bid for the presidency.
The Assembly passed license plate legislation, which in Iowa provided almost all the funding for its sesquicentennial in 1996. However, Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco), chairman of the Transportation Committee, refused to release the legislation to the Senate floor. He cut off the most natural public-private funding source, resulting in lost revenues of more than $2 million. It was a tragic failure.
Kevin Starr, the state librarian, showed leadership by contracting the foundation for services in the amount of $350,000. These funds were used to pursue the tasks outlined. Unfortunately, funding and patience ran out. In spite of this, the state staff was properly utilized to organize, compile and publish sesquicentennial events around the state. Within days of a significant financial involvement with Dayton-Hudson, the parent company for Mervyn’s California and Target stores, an investigation was launched. Now Dayton-Hudson has backed off, with the potential loss of funding in the range of $3 million to $5 million.
Together, the elected Republicans, Independents and Democrats in Sacramento have hindered a wonderful and special commemoration. The sesquicentennial should be a memorable occasion. In spite of the limitations and the high personal costs, none of the commission or foundation members have resigned.
We’re dedicated to the cause. With committed bipartisan effort, we can make this event something special. Sacramento, let’s show some leadership.
John M.W. Moorlach is vice president of the California Sesquicentennial Foundation, and is Orange County’s treasurer-tax collector
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