MOORLACH UPDATE — Butt Out — June 13, 2015

I had a fun, full and busy Friday in the District. I continued a tradition that started when I was County Supervisor of being the Master of Ceremonies at the annual Daily Pilot Community & Service Clubs 2015 Hall of Fame Luncheon. The Daily Pilot covers it as their lead story in the first piece below.

One of the recipients was Ed Romero. Unfortunately, his name was misspelled in the program, so I called him Ed Romeo throughout the lunch., Ed is a former California Teachers Association negotiator and every time I speak to the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor, we have colorful debates. The good news? This wonderful Democrat and former public employee union rep has become a friend and he even voted for me. Regretfully, the typo in the program worked its way into the article and related photos. Not to single out one recipient too much, but Ed Romero, congratulations!

And, yes, that’s me with this year’s Fourth of July Reyn Spooner shirt, which is covered in our nation’s flag. With that, allow me to wish you a great Flag Day tomorrow. Display it proudly.

The second piece will be in tomorrow’s Daily Pilot, but is already on their website and getting some very positive play on social media. The polite course of creating legislation is to find a need in the local area and requesting a legislator to craft a solution and present it in a bill. Unfortunately, way too many solutions are created in Sacramento and being foisted on local governments. I decided to provide a few of them that are impacting Orange County and being audacious enough to ask my colleagues to butt out. (For a tutorial on COIN, see MOORLACH UPDATE — COIN — May 2, 2014 May 2, 2014May 2, 2014 John Moorlach.)

Speaking of Flag Day, last evening we attended the 16th Annual Flag Day Salute with keynoter U.S. Senator Rand Paul. CBS 2 and KCAL 9 were there and provide the third piece below. Also see I do not concur with Senator Rand on Proposition 47, which I opposed. But, his commentary on the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments was excellent and a discussion you may want to listen to if it is available on YouTube.

BONUS: On Monday the Senate votes on the State Budget. I debate it first in Budget Committee, on which I serve, and then on the Senate Floor. It will be an interesting day. You can see from the graph below, that State spending now far exceeds the growth in population and inflation. You will also observe that in less than two short decades the general fund budget has doubled. Perhaps we can thank Gov. Gray Davis for this phenomenon. He approved pension benefits and prison guard raises, among a few other missteps, during the "dot com boom," that have been permanently impacting future budgets. Instead of trying to rein the spending in and attacking the liabilities these prior poor decisions have created, the Legislature just wants to keep on going as if everything is fine. It’s not.

Daily Pilot

Daily Pilot luncheon honors service club members

Ed Romeo, salutes Daily Pilot editor John Canalis and state senator John Moorlach, as he is inducted at the annual American Legion Community & Service Clubs Hall of Fame awards luncheon on Friday. (Don Leach, Daily Pilot / June 12, 2015)

Honorees and guests gathered Friday at American Legion Post No. 291 on the Balboa Peninsula for the Daily Pilot Community & Service Clubs 2015 Hall of Fame Luncheon.

Awards were presented by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), the master of ceremonies, Helen Stainer of Learning for Life/Exploring and Pilot Editor John Canalis.

The event was organized by Al Rasch of the legion, Lane Calvert of the Newport-Mesa Interfaith Council and several others. The luncheon raised money for Learning for Life, a police explorer program. Police explorers and their advisors addressed the crowd and also helped organize the event.

This year’s honorees were James Peter Schabarum of the Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa; Bill Zeller of the Rotary Club of Newport Beach; Jack Mills of the Kiwanis Club of Newport Beach-Corona del Mar; JoAnne Holman of the Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa; Ed Romeo of the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor; Joan Parks of the Harbor Mesa Lions Club; and Dan O’Sullivan of the American Legion Yacht Club.

The Hall of Fame Luncheon, which was started by former Pilot columnist Jim DeBoom, is in its seventh year. Recipients were treated to a buffet lunch and given gift bags at the legion hall on 15th Street.

A similar event will take place June 19 to honor service club members in Huntington Beach.

Inductees JoAnn Holman, James Peter Schabarum, Shelli Zeller (for husband Bill Zeller), Jack Mills, Joan Parks, Ed Romeo, and Dan O'Sullivan, stand following the annual American Legion Community & Service Clubs Hall of Fame awards and luncheon on Friday.
( Don Leach, Daily Pilot / June 12, 2015 )

Inductees JoAnn Holman, James Peter Schabarum, Shelli Zeller (for husband Bill Zeller), Jack Mills, Joan Parks, Ed Romeo, and Dan O’Sullivan, stand following the annual American Legion Community & Service Clubs Hall of Fame awards and luncheon on Friday.

Sacramento needs to butt out of local affairs

By Sen. John Moorlach

I have now spent 12 weeks representing California’s 37th District as a state senator, and I have noticed the state Legislature enjoys meddling in the affairs of Orange County.

It often happens that a local government will go to elected officials for a legislative "fix" that would allow the local entity to implement a locally desired policy.

Unfortunately, an unpleasant trend has emerged — using the legislative process to outlaw local policies that have been approved and are supported by the local community. I am particularly concerned about the punitive draft legislation I have seen directed toward my county.

For example, last year a budget trailer bill, Senate Bill 854, mandated a change only to Orange County’s internal audit structure. This attempt apparently did not go far enough, and the change came back this year in the form of yet another, more intrusive budget trailer bill.

This is a policy question that should be heard by legislative committees in both houses and not slipped into the massive budget bill without a single hearing. If this is a reasonable and necessary change, then introduce a bill and let the process work. Unfortunately, this is a stealthy and far-too-common meddling strategy to avoid the scrutiny of the legislative process.

On Wednesday, the budget committees rejected this last-minute maneuvering. But on the larger issue, Orange County should politely tell the Legislature to butt out.

Then there is Assembly Bill 1217, which would require that the Orange County Fire Authority board be reduced from 25 members to 13. Downsizing the board would mean that some of the contract cities served by the Fire Authority would no longer have a critical seat on its governing body.

The Fire Authority was formerly overseen by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. On Dec. 6, 1994, the supervisors voted to split it off as a separate joint-powers authority.

Having every contract city represented on the Fire Authority board is the appropriate and cooperative approach. Every stakeholder has buy-in, helping the system work. If the board is unable to operate effectively, it must answer to the cities it serves, not the arm-chair quarterbacks in Sacramento.

Why should the state Legislature care about the number of members? The rule of thumb is if you’re not helping, you’re meddling. Again, Orange County should politely tell Sacramento to butt out.

Meanwhile, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee will hear, for the second time, a rejected request for the California state auditor to review the recent audits of the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

The goal is to get the answers to nine specific questions. The estimated cost to California taxpayers for this audit-of-the-audit request will be $250,800 (for 2,280 hours at $110 per hour, or $28,000 per question).

Such meddling does not come cheap.

Clearly, the Great Park fiasco has been pushing the envelope for too long. That is why the Irvine City Council took the proactive step of retaining accounting firms to scrutinize the Great Park budget and determine why, after spending more than $350 million, only 6.5% of the park has been developed. During this review, the parties involved in designing the Great Park were not forthcoming. Consequently, the costs escalated, but the resulting information obtained by the audits was damning.

One contractor involved in the Great Park debacle became uncomfortable with this level of scrutiny and came to the Legislature for a state audit of the Irvine City Council’s audit, which presumes that Irvine’s auditors somehow violated procedures.

Why is the Legislature being used as a tool for retaliation against whistleblowers? Let the city of Irvine get to the bottom of this alleged misappropriation of funds. Irvine should politely tell the state to butt out.

Even more fun, several California municipalities have boldly approved Civic Openness in Negotiations, commonly known as COIN, which opens public employee union contract negotiations to public review and oversight. This is long overdue since public employee unions have garnered, in closed-door sessions, unsustainable pension enhancements and expensive retiree medical benefits.

Opening up the collective-bargaining process is good government. But the public employee unions don’t like it, and to stop this emerging good government movement, they ran to Sacramento to meddle.

Senate Bill 331 would require all local agencies that have adopted COIN to also enact something dubbed CRONEY, the Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act. The County of Orange happens to be one of the counties to have proudly adopted COIN.

So what could a COIN adopter be saddled with? SB 331 mandates the hiring of an independent auditor to review any proposed outsourced service contracts with private, non-union companies in excess of $50,000. Two public meetings would be required before a contract is approved, after the auditor’s detailed report has been released to the public for more than a month.

Basically, it grinds to a crawl the gears of government.

CRONEY is more than meddling. The real purpose of SB 331 is to dissuade other legislative bodies from considering the adoption of COIN. Although the Legislature wants to stop bullying in schools, it is perfectly acceptable to bully elected representatives of local agencies with state mandates.

If CRONEY is good for the governing bodies that adopt COIN, which it is not, then it should be good for every municipality. It’s simply meddling at its worst. Again, Orange County should tell the state to butt out!

If these four separate incidents were not enough, now coming down the pipeline is a proposed State Constitutional Amendment, SCA 8, that would require urban counties to have seven, not five, members on their boards of supervisors. Talk about expanding government.

This is what meddling looks like and, yes, it is expensive. Sacramento, your meddling is unnecessary and unwelcome. Local government needs you to butt out!

Republican JOHN MOORLACH is a state senator and a former Orange County supervisor. He lives in Costa Mesa.

CBS 2 KCAL 9 Logo


‘We’ll Look For Votes Out Here In California,’ Says Presidential Hopeful Rand Paul

Dave Bryan

Dave Bryan

IRVINE ( — Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul is endorsing the results of Proposition 47, which lowered some minor drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors in California.

Paul said in an interview before the annual Orange County Republican Party Flag Day dinner that the proposition so far has been successful in addressing overcrowded jails and prisons by diverting offenders to treatment and rehabilitation programs.

“California’s actually done some good things,” he said in Irvine. “Proposition 47 about a year ago or six months ago took some of the minor drug felonies and made them misdemeanors and, from my understanding, you have more room in your prisons now for violent criminals. They’re not getting out early.”

“The states are actually doing a better job on some of this than Washington is doing,” said Paul, who explained to KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan that he has introduced a bill in the Senate he says would have a similar impact on federal crime.

Paul said he is speaking in O.C. because he believes he could compete with the Democrats next year.

“We think that these liberty issues that I talk about will resonate,” he said. “We’ll look for votes out here in California. We look to win.”

Jon Fleischman, founder and publisher of, invited Paul to speak at the O.C. Republican event.

“Everyone is in Iowa. Everyone’s in New Hampshire. And once again, Rand Paul with his, ‘I’m gonna be different strategy’ is sitting here in Southern California,” Fleischman said.

Paul also says the War on Drugs must be fixed because he says it’s contributing to the impression that law enforcement across the country has a racial bias.

“In many big cities, we’re arresting 15 poor kids for every kid that lives in the suburb. Mostly black kids versus white kids. So, the War on Drugs has to be fixed,” he said.

Councilmember Al Murray (R-Tustin) says he’ll make up his mind about whom to support on the basis of important domestic issues.

“I have a young family and I’m concerned about them from a standpoint of security. I’m concerned about them from a standpoint of economy,” Murray said.

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) says it’s been a long eight years out of the White House for Republicans.

“And hopefully we get a good, conservative voice that can articulate our values and our principals. I think a lot of us don’t want to see Hillary as our next president so I just hope someone will stand up. The cream will rise to the top,” Moorlach said.

As Bryan reports, Paul isn’t the first candidate to think California may be in play in the presidential election year. However, if the numbers don’t start changing soon, Bryan says Paul and the other candidates will be looking to others states that have a more direct bearing on their futures.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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