MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Register Endorsement — February 15, 2015

The Sunday OC Register has three pieces of note.

The first one below is an endorsement of my candidacy for State Senator by the OC Register’s Editorial Board. This is big news. And it continues the string of recent endorsements from those that have truly been observing my actions over the past twenty years of public service (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Tom McClintock — February 13, 2015, MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Endorsements — February 10, 2015,MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — CRA Endorsement — February 10, 2015, MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait — January 30, 2015, and OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson Endorses John Moorlach for Senate). I am most grateful for the OC Register’s vote of confidence.

The second piece provides an overview of the campaign. For a personal perspective, I decided to run in late November. I then spent December concluding my term as Supervisor, with the farewell events and the packing and moving. In January we put the team together and started our fund raising efforts. The article is missing the February fund raising results, as this past week’s event was standing room only. For those who attended, including radio host Hugh Hewitt and "Crazifornia" author Laer Pearce, thank you for your support. More than $40,000 was raised and more commitments are coming in.

We are narrowing the gap. But, if you have not already done so, I still need you to contribute. Go to and lend me a hand. We have a very short campaign period, so contributing today would be very helpful.

The third piece is about Laura’s Law, an initiative I pursued while a County Supervisor (see .MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law Journey — August 11, 2014). It is a lengthy and thorough update on its implementation, but I’ve only provided the concluding paragraphs. My collaboration with former State Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg allowed Orange County to be the first county to follow Nevada County in making this assisted outpatient treatment program available. Subsequent to this effort, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yolo, Placer, Mendocino, San Diego, and Contra Costa Counties have followed Orange County’s lead.

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John Moorlach for state Senate District 37


In the 37th state Senate District special election March 17, former Second District Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, Assemblyman Don Wagner and Naz Namazi look to replace Mimi Walters, now in Congress.

While each offers a strong resume, we find Mr. Moorlach possesses a track record as a knowledgeable truth teller willing to rock the boat on behalf of the taxpayer. Mr. Moorlach, therefore, has our endorsement to represent a district that includes Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Lake Forest, Laguna Woods, Tustin, Villa Park and sizeable portions of Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Orange.

Mr. Moorlach entered politics in the early 1990s in an attempt to avert looming financial disaster, predicting Orange County’s 1994 insolvency, the largest municipal bankruptcy in history at that time.

It was a politically unpopular prognosis that lost him the election for Orange County treasurer-tax collector, and earned him the nickname “Chicken Little.” But by the next year, the county’s municipal bond portfolio was in ruin and Mr. Moorlach had been appointed to fill the vacated position he had sought.

Mr. Moorlach was instrumental in putting the county back on an even fiscal footing, serving nearly 12 years as treasurer-tax collector before joining the supervisors.

On the board, Mr. Moorlach was a reliable voice for good fiscal stewardship and instituting much-needed pension reforms, including pushing, and ultimately passing, a Civic Openness in Negotiation ordinance for new contracts with the county’s employee unions.

Now, Mr. Moorlach can bring those talents to Sacramento, which is much in need of his style of fiscally prudent governance. There is much still to do to reform employee pensions and retiree health care costs, lower taxes, reduce regulations, improve the state’s business climate, foster school choice and more local control of schools, and audit state spending, he told us.

Though the Legislature has often doled out tax credits to preferred industries, such as Hollywood and “green-energy” companies, Mr. Moorlach finds such favoritism distasteful. “I’m not an advocate of special incentives,” he said.

Mr. Moorlach also told us he will be an unwavering voice for the county, and will work to secure a fairer formula for state funding of county government, which has seen our county give far more to the state than it has received for decades.

John Moorlach has accomplished a great deal of good for those he has represented, and we think he achieve a great deal more. He has our endorsement in the 37th state Senate District.


Fundraising could decide state Senate race


You’d be hard-pressed to slide a sheet of paper between the policy positions of the two veteran conservatives vying to fill the state Senate seat vacated by now-Congresswoman Mimi Walters, so slight are the differences.

The most obvious distinctions have nothing to do with ideology: Former Supervisor John Moorlach’s name is better known, but Assemblyman Don Wagner holds a ninefold edge in fundraising.

“The conservatives have already won,” said Jon Fleischman, publisher of the conservative Flash Report website. “There’s very little difference between them on that front.”

Mail ballots begin going out Tuesday and are expected to account for most votes cast in Senate District 37, which extends from Anaheim Hills to Newport Beach. Election Day for the race is March 17.

First-time candidate Naz Namazi, who portrays herself as even more conservative than her opponents, rounds out the field. Namazi, who just moved into the district in January and has yet to report any fundraising, is expected to finish a distant third.

But if she gets enough votes to prevent either of the other candidates from winning a majority of ballots, there will be a top-two runoff May 19. Republicans have a 13-percentage point advantage in the district’s voter registration, a key reason no Democrats have been motivated to enter the race.

A year’s preparation

Wagner, who will be termed out of the Assembly in 2016, started laying the groundwork for his Senate bid in early 2014. That’s when it had become clear that Walters was the heavy favorite to replace retiring Rep. John Campbell and thus likely would be vacating her Senate post.

Wagner also had to run an Assembly re-election campaign last year, but he drew no GOP challengers and breezed past his Democratic opponent by more than a 2-to-1 margin. That enabled him to save his money and focus his energies on the Senate bid.

As a result, he had raised $230,000 to Moorlach’s $25,000 as of Friday’s reports. He also corralled the vast majority of endorsements, including the support of Walters, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Senate GOP leader Bob Huff and three of Moorlach’s former colleagues on the Board of Supervisors.

Allan Hoffenblum, whose Target Book handicaps California elections, said the mailers and phone calls that Wagner’s money will buy should offset Moorlach’s advantage in name recognition.

“Voters will definitely know who Wagner is by the time they vote,” Hoffenblum said. “Moorlach will need to raise more money. If he doesn’t, his name ID advantage goes away.”

Wagner, 54, and Moorlach, 59, share an advocacy for smaller government and lower taxes. Both oppose the state’s high-speed rail project and both support a proposed statewide ballot measure that would allow local governments to negotiate reduced pension benefits for public employee unions.

Wagner, an Irvine lawyer, said his chief advantage is experience with the workings of Sacramento and the ability to garner bipartisan support to get bills passed in the predominantly Democratic Legislature.

Moorlach, a prominent advocate of reducing public employee pension costs, has criticized Wagner for accepting campaign donations from public employee unions. Wagner counters that he has never solicited union contributions.

“They’ve come to me and I’ve accepted it,” he said. “But unlike local governments, we in the state Legislature do not negotiate contracts with the unions. The governor does that.”

‘Finger in their eye’

Moorlach said issues with public employee unions in Sacramento go beyond contract negotiations. He noted that there are numerous bills before the Legislature that unions lobby on and said his policy of not accepting union contributions inoculates him from any appearance of favoring the groups.

Indeed, he has made a reputation of fighting the unions. That includes establishing a county measure – opposed by unions – of making public all offers and counteroffers in contract negotiations. Even Wagner expects the unions to get more involved in defeating Moorlach.

“It would surprise me if they did nothing because Moorlach has poked his finger in their eye so many times,” Wagner said.

But more than his union-related efforts, Moorlach is known for forewarning of the county’s 1994 bankruptcy and for taking over as county treasurer – and later county supervisor – as the county recovered. Although the bankruptcy was 20 years ago, a low-turnout special election like this one typically features a disproportionate number of older voters.

“I take some comfort in the fact that a high percentage of (likely voters) were voting in 1994,” said Moorlach, a certified public accountant who lives in Costa Mesa. “If they are 40 and over, I think they know who I am.”

Moorlach briefly entered the congressional race against Walters before dropping out and didn’t begin raising money for the Senate race until January.

Namazi, on the other hand, has neither a known name nor the campaign funds. She acknowledged that she’s a long shot but said her candidacy is the result of “a calling.”

“There’s a political-industrial complex among the Republicans here in Orange County, and they pick our candidates, and I don’t like it,” said the former Laguna Niguel resident, who moved to Irvine last month. That’s about the same time Namazi began working as a district aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa. Her candidacy is even more peculiar given her boss’ endorsement of Wagner.

Namazi, 47, said neither of her opponents is tough enough on unions and the pension issue. She pointed to the union contributions to Wagner and a 2007 vote by Moorlach to increase the county’s contribution to the 401(a) retirement accounts of elected officials, including himself.

But Moorlach said the increase was necessary to meet federal requirements for local governments whose employees aren’t part of the Social Security system.

Contact the writer: mwisckol

So far, no compelled psychiatric treatment under Laura’s Law in O.C.

County uses Laura’s Law to encourage people to enter voluntary care.


Watching with great interest from the sidelines is John Moorlach, a former county supervisor. Moorlach, a conservative who found himself playing against type to get Laura’s Law adopted before he left office, worked with liberal Democratic state Sen. Darrell Steinberg to push a bill through the Legislature allowing counties to fund Laura’s Law.

“The solutions or remedies are multidimensional, and Laura’s Law is just one of many options,” said Moorlach, who’s running for state Senate. “Another tool in the toolbox. The great news is that parents of children 18 years or older have an alternative for assistance.”

This e-mail was sent by the Moorlach for Senate campaign —