MOORLACH UPDATE — Horses — August 21, 2013

I usually don’t comment on the choice of headlines, but the one selected by the Daily Pilot in the first story below seems a bit melodramatic. Currently, property owners in Santa Ana Heights who own three to six (the maximum allowed) horses and/or ponies are required to apply for a use permit every year. The Board voted yesterday to eliminate this annual requirement from the Santa Ana Heights Specific Plan. Should the city of Newport Beach find a property containing more than six horses, then the city can cite the property owner for a zoning code violation. But, for those who keep three to six horses on their properties, the annual burden of submitting one more document to a governing body has been eliminated.

The Daily Pilot and the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot announced the progress that one candidate is making in her quest for a Congressional seat that is opening up in the second piece below. I’m invigorated by the thought of possibly enjoying a very competitive primary race. The article fails to mention that the State Senator’s family home is also not within the District’s boundaries.

Supervisors kill horse-ownership code

By Emily Foxhall

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to eliminate a code that required certain Newport Beach residents to acquire a permit if they own three to six horses for non-commercial use.

The vote comes several months after a letter was accidentally sent to Santa Ana Heights residents in May warning them that the horse permitting might soon be enforced.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach said the permit code, which rolled over from when the area was unincorporated, was inconsistent with city policy that limits the number of horses one can own to six.

The vote serves largely to reduce unnecessary burden, he said.

"It kind of extracts government bureaucracy out of the lives of these people," Moorlach said.

The decision to eliminate the code will return to city officials for review, but Mayor Keith Curry said he agrees with the supervisors’ move.

The more permissive policy on horse ownership has been in place for at least several years, he said.

"Now the county is just cleaning up its paperwork on the same issue," the mayor said. "We’re not going to require horse permits."

Walters picks up more endorsements

State Sen. Mimi Walters announced more endorsements this week in her campaign for the 45th Congressional District. The election is set for next June.

Walters, whose 37th District includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and portions of Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, is looking to succeed U.S. Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine).

U.S. Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), Paul Cook (R-Yucaipa), Jeff Denham (R-Atwater), Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), Darrell Issa (R-Vista), Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) and Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) are among Walters’ California-based endorsements.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Supervisors Pat Bates, Shawn Nelson and Janet Nguyen have also endorsed her.

Supervisor John Moorlach, a Republican and Costa Mesa resident, has also said he’s eyeing a run for the congressional seat. The District 2 representative doesn’t live in the 45th Congressional District, though federal law does not prevent him from running for the seat.

Campbell, who is finishing his fifth term, said in July that he will not seek reelection.

Cities in his 45th District include Irvine, Tustin, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo and portions of Anaheim and Orange.

Walters was elected to the state Senate in 2008 after serving in the state Assembly. She began her political career on the Laguna Niguel City Council in 1996.

—Bradley Zint


August 20


Allow me to give you a glimpse behind the scenes at CalOptima. The Hospital Association of Southern California and the Orange County Medical Association both perform services for the Orange County Health Care Agency. But, both were constantly battling with the management of CalOptima. With this flurry of activity and the aggressiveness of it all, I became a bit perturbed and decided to propose a continuance in order to do a little analysis of the cause of the divisiveness. Unfortunately, my colleagues did not afford me the opportunity. My premise at the time was: Why should the County pay a vendor that is frustrated with one of our sister agencies and taking it to a more serious level? After some public dialogue by all the parties involved, I lost one of my two votes to continue the matter. Consequently, I decided to move on, let go and vote with the majority. It was my hope that both OCMA and CalOptima could address these matters in a more professional manner in the future. Unfortunately, what eventually occurred at CalOptima was a complete managerial change which still seems to be shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Christian Berthelsen of the LA Times covered the Board of Supervisors’ side of the story in “O.C. supervisors wrangle over doctors’ funding – Board chairman Moorlach sought to hold back $54,000 from a medical group involved in a dispute with a county health program for the poor. His colleagues balk.”

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach sought to withhold nearly $54,000 in funding from a doctors group Tuesday because it recently filed a request seeking records from CalOptima, the county’s version of the statewide MediCal program.

Fellow supervisors balked at his request, with one calling it "antagonistic" and another saying it amounted to retaliation. The funding measure ultimately passed with the doctors’ funding intact.

The money was part of the Medical Services Initiative, a $70-million program administered by the county that contracts with private medical service providers to care for the poor. As Supervisor Janet Nguyen noted during the meeting, the county program has no connection to CalOptima.

The doctors group, the Orange County Medical Assn., has been frustrated with Cal-Optima because, among other things, it cut the fees paid to doctors for treating patients at the same time that it raised salaries for the agency’s administrative staff.

Michele Revelle, a lobbyist for the group, told the board the group filed the official document request after more informal efforts were stymied.

Moorlach sits on the CalOptima board. He said at Tuesday’s supervisors’ hearing that the Public Records Act request did not seem appropriate "if you have a partnership and are working together."

Countered Supervisor Chris Norby: "I don’t see what that has to do with this. That’s pretty thin gruel to deny" funding.

"It seems it would be even more antagonistic of us to say, ‘OCMA, because you asked for this information, we’re going to withhold your money for a month,’ " he added later.

"I don’t think we want to send a message that . . . we are going to retaliate if you pull public records," said Supervisor Janet Nguyen.

Moorlach sought a vote to pass the spending package with the exception of the funding for the doctors’ group, and to vote on the doctors’ portion when the board resumes session in September.

Supervisor Bill Campbell moved the request and Supervisor Pat Bates seconded it, but she withdrew her second after hearing from other supervisors, staff and lobbyists. Campbell then moved to pass the original package as recommended by staff, including the funding for the doctors. It passed unanimously.

August 21


The Daily Pilot had a photo from a Newport Harbor cruise event that included my well-dressed son, Daniel.

Enjoying a cruise are John Moorlach and his son Daniel, Dana Rohrabacher and Tom Riley.


One of the fun projects that I took on early in my first term was addressing boundary concerns between Orange and LA Counties. Jaimee Lynn Fletcher and Serena Maria Daniels of the OC Register provided the initiative in “Parts of O.C. could become L.A., and vice versa – Orange and Los Angeles county supervisors consider redrawing boundary lines along Coyote Creek flood control channel.” Regretfully, after years of work on this project, the issue of major concern to the Cerritos resident mentioned in the article would not be resolved. Only certain parcels which did not include residents would be addressed.

Six Orange County cities could adopt parts of Los Angeles County or be given a new zip code if officials approve a plan to tweak county boundaries.

The Los Angeles and Orange County boards of supervisors will look at redrawing boundary lines along the Coyote Creek flood control channel, which extends from Seal Beach to Brea.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach said both boards will work with residents and business owners to determine where to draw the new boundaries.

"This is one of those deals that we need to listen to the stake holders," he said.

Buena Park, Fullerton, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach would be affected by the changes, along with five Los Angeles cities including Long Beach and Hawaiian Gardens.

The Local Agency Formation Commission in June issued a report to recommend shifting the boundaries to follow the flood control channel more precisely.

Over time, improvements to the flood channel have changed the creek’s course, the study shows.

Coyote Creek has been the counties’ boundary since 1889 and, since then, there have only been three minor boundary adjustments.

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors on Tuesday instructed LAFCO to study what minor adjustments would need to be made that would make sense geographically.

Moorlach said the next step is to start devising a formal plan.

"No one needs to fear anything," he said. "It’s just one of those things that’s been sitting there… and we want to get it a little more orderly."

Jim McMahon, 54, a real estate attorney, lives in a 65-home housing tract in Cerritos that borders La Palma. When he bought the house before the housing development was completed, the deed was listed in Orange County. When the homes were ready for people to move in, the community was considered within Los Angeles County borders.

He said that every year when it’s time to pay property taxes, he receives a bill from both Los Angeles and Orange counties. He pays the Los Angeles County bill and sends a copy of the check to Orange County.

"We’re just in a state of limbo, we’re not in Heaven and we’re not in Hell, we’re just stuck," McMahon said.

Problems arise when he is in urgent need for services like police and utilities.

"One time we called police,” McMahon said, "Neither Cerritos nor La Palma came. It was Cypress. Another time, Long Beach police came to our house for an emergency.

"When you’re in an urgent situation and you need utilities or paramedics or the police, people tell you, ‘No you don’t live in Los Angeles, you live in Orange County."

A date for supervisors to discuss the proposed boundary changes has not yet been set.

Disclaimer: You have been added to my MOORLACH UPDATE communication e-mail tree. In lieu of a weekly newsletter, you will receive occasional media updates, some with commentary to explain the situation, whenever I appear in the media (unless it is a duplication of a previous story).

I have two thoughts for you to consider: (1) my office does not usually issue press releases to get into the newspapers (only in rare cases); and (2) I do not write the articles, opinions or letters to the editor.

This message should appear at the bottom of every e-mail you receive. If these e-mails should stop arriving in your mail box, it will be because your address has changed and you did not provide a new one. If you do not wish to receive these e-mails, then please e-mail back and request to unsubscribe.