MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Fair Christmas Present — December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas! The Orange County Fair Board just gave an excellent Christmas present to the veterans of Orange County – a permanent veterans’ exhibit. Thank you, Fair Board Directors and Merry Christmas to you and yours. I’m only sorry that my father-in-law, a Purple Heart recipient and World War II veteran, is not here to appreciate the good news (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Service To Country — July 3, 2013). In memory of my father-in-law, it was easy to vote for Supervisor Nguyen’s recommendation to make the OC a Purple Heart County this year and to vote again this past Tuesday for OC cities to consider doing the same. This cheerful news is brought to you by the Daily Pilot in their piece below.

Should this be my last UPDATE between now and next Wednesday, please accept my warmest wishes for a wonderful Christmas spent with family and friends!

Fair Board approves veterans exhibit

It is set to be located west of Centennial Farm, possibly in the old Memorial Gardens Building.

By Bradley Zint

The onset of World War II transformed Costa Mesa’s quiet farmland into a military zone preparing for battle.

This, it was noted during Thursday’s Fair Board meeting, forever changed the area and paved the way for the population growth to come.

And so it is only fitting, veterans’ supporters have contended, that there be something signifying the efforts of servicemen and women within the Orange County Fairgrounds. The land was once part of the Santa Ana Army Air Base, which existed from 1942 to 1946.

Those folks got their wish after the Fair Board approved a permanent veterans’ exhibit at the 150-acre state property.

The exhibit is slated to be located just west of Centennial Farm — a prime location, fairgrounds Chief Executive Doug Lofstrom said, because the farm is used year-round for educational purposes by thousands of schoolchildren. The area is also near the weekend swap meet.

The exhibit could find itself in the Memorial Gardens Building, a former Army barracks and one of the few remaining base structures, when it moves to its permanent location.

The building was slated to be demolished earlier this year, with its historical pieces salvaged, to make way for a new entrance to the Pacific Amphitheatre.

After some outcry from veterans’ groups and preservation interest from the Costa Mesa Historical Society, Supervisor John Moorlach and Fair Board member Nick Berardino, the board voted in July to move and preserve the nearly 70-year-old structure.

In September, the two-story, 4,800-square-foot Memorial Gardens Building was relocated temporarily to Lot G, on the eastern edge of the fairgrounds property.

Berardino, a Marine veteran who served during the Vietnam War, said the exhibit has received some interest from Sacramento politicians, including Gov. Jerry Brown, who appointed Berardino to the board.

"I thought it was pretty doggone nice," Berardino said, "and he too lends his support for the project. We’re moving this along, I think, in a very positive direction."

Cornell Iliescu, founder of the Noble Cause Foundation, also gave his support. His foundation aims to preserve the legacy of the Greatest Generation.

"I’ve been dreaming this for a long time," Iliescu said. "I’ve lived in Costa Mesa since 1975, but I couldn’t believe that this would happen."


December 20


Bill Lobdell’s entre into the “Religious” reporting arena, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Homelessness Review — December 19, 2013, drew an immediate and jovial response from LA Times columnist Dana Parsons, with “Chapter 11 and Verse From Good Bookkeeper.”

Orange County Treasurer John Moorlach, who when he’s not wearing his glasses and Bermuda shorts kind of looks like a young Methuselah, says the Bible is his most important resource when it comes to sound financial investment. One presumes he always skips Chapter 11 and turns immediately to the Song of Salomon Brothers.

In an interview published in The Times’ Saturday Religion section, Moorlach credits the Good Book with providing more than 2,000 tidbits of financial advice, which is about the standard weekly output from the average television astrologer.

The Bible is free and much more reliable, Moorlach says, citing such verses as Proverbs 22:7: " . . . the borrower is servant to the lender." If people just followed the Bible’s simple but practical teachings, Moorlach says, they could avoid financial trouble.

The man is no false prophet.

He was the modern-day Isaiah who tried to warn us in 1994 about the impending county financial crisis. Nobody would listen until our walls of Jericho finally tumbled.

After the bankruptcy, the supervisors had little choice but to give Moorlach the treasurer’s job, although he made it abundantly clear he’d settle for two goats and a burnt offering.

Since assuming office, though, he’s won two subsequent uncontested elections while managing to keep his light under a bushel basket.

By touting the Bible as a financial guide, however, Moorlach seems to be implying that his ill-fated predecessor, Robert Citron, could have benefited from a little more catechism.

I’m not so sure. Citron wasn’t openly religious, but I sense he relied heavily on the Bible when dealing with Merrill Lynch, being especially intrigued by the part where the lamb dwells with the wolf.

Citron also must have been a fan of Ecclesiastes: "To every thing there is a season . . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to skim, and a time to be scammed."

By the time he pleaded to several felonies and finished serving time for his mishandling of the county’s finances, Citron’s favorite book of the Bible probably was Lamentations. One wonders how many times he recited from Chapter 3, Verse 46: "All our enemies have opened their mouths against us."

With the Lord as Moorlach’s shepherd and his investment banker who leadeth him beside the still waters and away from risky reverse repurchase agreements, the county seems to be renewed.

A devout Christian, Moorlach is hip to the secular world that surrounds him. He doesn’t try to force-feed his beliefs onto county government, not that it couldn’t use some divine inspiration now and again.

You have to wonder, for example, if Moorlach shouldn’t have ministered to Supervisor-infidels Todd Spitzer and Tom Wilson earlier this year before they went head-to-head with County Executive Officer Jan Mittermeier.

Moorlach might well have gone to a knee with both men and read to them from Proverbs 21:19:

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and an angry woman."

And is there a supervisor–or City Council member anywhere, for that matter–who wouldn’t love to utter Psalm 35 before every meeting: "Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me; fight against them that fight against me."

Beats the Pledge of Allegiance, doesn’t it?

The point is, Moorlach’s religiosity as the backbone of his public life is nothing to fret.

Indeed, readers may be asking themselves if this column couldn’t benefit from Scripture. Well, if you must know, II Timothy 2:16 has long guided this column:

"But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness."

I can hear the readers’ chorus now: "Amen!"

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