Orange County is a donor county. It was also robbed several times by Sacramento, when the Capital ran short of funds. The most recent and most contentious was the Vehicle License Fee grab with SB 89 (2011). Here are a few links for your reading pleasure:
When SB 107 came up for a vote, I was torn. The legislation pitted cities against counties and cities against cities. It is very awkward to have winners and losers. So, I stood up on the Senate Floor to let them know that as someone who came from the County level of government, I was not amused with the way the State and the Governor could pick the pockets of counties and cities. I strongly urged the Governor to focus on restoring relationships between Sacramento and the other layers of local government.
The bill had enough different components that it probably should have been four separate bills.
I favored rectifying the unfair property tax allocation, or negative bailout, faced by a number of central valley counties, like Stanislaus (similar to the OC’s situation).
I have supported legislative efforts for the past few years to correct how SB 89 also impacted four new cities in Riverside County. After each bill was put on his desk, Governor Brown would veto them. This bill addressed the matter one more time.
AB 107 was supported by the Urban County Caucus, which I chaired in 2013, and the California State Association of Counties, of whose board and executive committee I served for many years. In this role, I had the privilege to serve with Supervisor Vito Chiesa, who has become a dear friend and someone who played a key role in my decision to run for State Senate.
The unpalatable component of the bill dealt with debt issuance for low income housing in San Francisco County. However, I confirmed that the San Francisco component would not come out of the State’s general fund during my questioning of the Department of Finance at the Budget Committee.
The bill’s main focus was Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) and their awkward demise by Governor Brown. To be direct, it was about money. Some cities would benefit and some would not.
As a County Supervisor, I closed down the RDA in my District, Santa Ana Heights, long before the turmoil of terminated RDAs started (see the LOOK BACK in MOORLACH UPDATE — County Executive Officer — July 26, 2012 John Moorlach). Those who may have utilized them too aggressively may still be dealing with the hangover of doing so.
My decision to support the bill is provided by the Modesto Bee in the first piece below. One can only hope that someday Orange County will be treated fairly by Sacramento.
The Voice of OC provides its editorial perspective on CRONEY (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Winsome Session — September 12, 2015 John Moorlach) in the second piece below. It also refers to the SB 89 dust up (see above). And it is an honor to have a media outlet quote from one of my UPDATEs.
The third piece is from Corona del Mar Today and will be dated in a few minutes. If you open this e-mail quickly and have no lunch plans, please join us. In case you get frustrated by the late notice, I did mention it earlier (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Road to Consensus — August 17, 2015 John Moorlach).
Governor’s signature on ‘negative bailout’ bill would mean almost $3 million annually for Stanislaus County
Chiesa hopes governor will come to town to sign bill
AB 107 won’t have big impact on Modesto
Supervisors have not talked about spending the extra money
By Ken Carlson
No one is sure how many times local and state representatives tried to appeal or change a state law that robbed Stanislaus County of an estimated $72 million in tax revenue over 35 years.
A bill that will end what’s called the “negative bailout” was finally approved on the last day of the legislative session, with the Senate vote coming at 10 p.m. Friday.
Proponents still need Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill that’s intended to settle disputes between the governor’s office and cities over the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. State Department of Finance staff wrote the original bill, which was amended by a legislative working group in the past two months.
Remedies to fix local government tax inequities, such as the negative bailout for Stanislaus, were included in the 104-page bill to persuade legislators to support it.
County Supervisor Vito Chiesa said the county would like to host the governor for a bill-signing ceremony.
“This is the first time I can recall that four of the five members of our legislative delegation were all rolling in the same direction,” said Chiesa, who made calls up until the vote Friday night to seek support for Assembly Bill 107.
He gave much of the credit to Assembly Members Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, and Sens. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, and Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres. “They were all whipping votes,” Chiesa said. “They were working hard and the county’s lobbyists were on the ground all day long. Unless you have your whole delegation working at the same time, your chances are minute.”
The county has sacrificed up to $3.4 million in annual revenue because of legislation intended to bail out counties that lost revenue to Proposition 13 in 1978, which put a limit on property taxes. The state’s formula for allocating the bailout money to counties actually forced Stanislaus and five other counties to give up more revenue.
Olsen said she made it a top priority to right the wrong, as did previous lawmakers from the county such as Republican Dave Cogdill.
Olsen said she started working one on one with Assembly members Friday morning, explaining how the bill would affect their districts.
“When we got the 43 votes, we asked for the bill to be taken up immediately without moments to spare,” Olsen said. “It demonstrates that persistence eventually pays off. … It is a significant amount of money (for Stanislaus) over the long term. We could have provided a lot of services, a lot of deputy sheriffs and a lot of road projects if we had been able to keep that $70 million in Stanislaus County.”
The League of California Cities opposed the bill, even though recent amendments to the original proposals were less objectionable for cities. Cities stand to lose interest on loans they had made to their redevelopment agencies before RDAs were dissolved by state law in 2012. AB 107 is not expected to greatly impact Modesto.
Galgiani said that 17 Democrats and one Republican, Cannella, were for the bill when it was taken up in the Senate, but at least 21 votes were needed. Two key votes were secured from Republicans Mike Morrell of Riverside County and John Moorlach of Orange County, after Moorlach had spoken against the bill on the floor.
The bill was approved on a 24-15 vote, with 10 of the 14 Senate Republicans opposed. Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, did not vote after local representatives begged him to support it. Berryhill’s district includes Fresno, which will lose interest money from the limits on RDA loan repayments.
“It was so long ago that Stanislaus was put at a disadvantage and it is unbelievable it has taken so long to correct it,” Galgiani said. “I am pleased the Valley caucus worked closely together and we got it done.”
Ray Simon, who served eight terms on the county Board of Supervisors, said he never thought the state would correct the negative bailout. “We appealed it year after year and of course it fell on deaf ears,” Simon said. “I thought once they had their hands on the money they would never give it up. These people who battled for it deserve a lot of credit.”
The remedy will give the county slightly less than $3 million in additional revenue each year. No funds will be reimbursed to the counties.
Simon suggested the money be spent on public safety and reducing the number of homeless people on the streets. The county could provide a place for the homeless to live or job retraining. “It is becoming overwhelming,” Simon said.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Terry Withrow said Monday that county leaders have not discussed how to spend the additional money.
“We will see,” Chiesa said. “We have plenty of needs in the county.”
Is the OC a Croney County?
By Norberto Santana, Jr.
After watching a year long, bare-knuckled political fistfight in Sacramento over the funky nickname, it now comes down to one man’s call.
Gov. Jerry Brown.
Orange County supervisors started the brawl last year by adopting that very standard for their labor contracts with the Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance.
Soon after, local labor partnered with State Sen. Tony Mendoza — presenting their own counter-offer for public discourse, the Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act, or CRONEY.
The two sides have been rumbling ever since throughout state legislative committees and the floors of both houses.
The State Senate narrowly approved CRONEY and presented it to Brown at about 10:45 p.m. last Friday.
Orange County supervisors have been freaking out over the legislation from day one, with officials such as State Sen. John Moorlach (the former county supervisor who introduced COIN) and State Senators Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen (two other former county supervisors who supported COIN) taking deep offense at the implication that public contracting in their backyard is corrupt and essentially for sale to the highest campaign bidder.
They have denounced CRONEY as nothing more than political payback for efforts to shed light on labor negotiations, which are indeed difficult to track publicly given the nature of the state’s collective bargaining rules.
Media institutions such as the Los Angeles Times and First Amendment groups like CalAware have both applauded efforts to shine more light on labor talks. The same kinds of groups push for similar transparency when it comes to corporate contracts.
In an email update this week to supporters, Moorlach took direct aim at Brown, characterizing his potential support for CRONEY as evidence of payback and public employee dominance of Sacramento.
“He (Brown) should want more public scrutiny of the negotiation process, as he’s not doing so well in this critical area…The Governor knows that I was critical of his efforts on addressing retiree medical liabilities. I would call it "reform-lite," as it only makes the pension problem worse (more on this at a later time). All to say, I’m sure that the Governor will sign SB 331 in retribution, which seems to be the theme here. But, the taxpayers will lose, again, thanks to the dominance of the public employee unions.”
OCEA General Manager Jennifer Muir doesn’t agree that payback accurately describes what’s in play here.
“Evenly applied transparency,” is how she publicly describes CRONEY.
If you want to have hyper-public labor talks, you should have hyper-public private contract talks, Muir argues.
Note that CRONEY doesn’t apply if you don’t adopt or if you repeal COIN.
County supervisors had a chance to back up from that confrontation earlier this month after a judge ruled they had improperly adopted their COIN ordinance. Yet despite the public urging of their County Counsel, county supervisors have to this date stood steadfast in their desire to keep the tenets of COIN – public labor negotiating.
Supervisor Shawn Nelson has openly aired concerns that if CRONEY were enacted, it would bring public contracting at the county of Orange to a halt.
“It’s just going to make doing anything difficult,” Nelson said, noting that if that standard is necessary for Orange County, it should be used in other counties.
All this again prompts the key question: Is Orange County markedly different – more infected by Cronyism – than others?
Keep in mind, these are the same county supervisors who when they found themselves short on property tax money because of their 2006 bankruptcy refinancing, scrambled to convince the local auditor controller to give them $73 million in tax dollars set aside for local community colleges. Brown successfully sued supervisors in court to get the tax money back.
Once again, answering whether Orange County is different comes down to one guy.
Brown should call Steve Danley.
He’s the former Director of Human Resources for the County of Orange, who traveled to Sacramento years back when OCEA had another bill – sponsored by Lou Correa – attempting to take hiring away from the county HR department because of instances of politicized hiring.
Back then, Danley – who was one of Nelson’s favorite executives as board chairman – told Sacramento that Orange County was bringing its situation under control.
That same guy just abruptly retired in protest because the situation is not under control.
If all California counties are run like Orange County, then maybe business as usual should indeed grind to a halt.
Again, it comes down to one person.
Consider last week’s Orange County supervisors’ meeting, where David Carr got up to thank supervisors because his firm, ECORP Consulting, had won a contract against a politically-connected vendor for a South County landfill contract.
Yet despite ECORP winning out in the public bidding process, County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett changed all that with one quick motion that reversed the public process and kept the current vendor, and of course was approved unanimously at the dais without any kind of debate.
The winning vendor – LSA & Associates – has earned numerous headlines in Voice of OC and other media since 2010 for it’s storied role in the attempted privatization of the Orange County fairgrounds as the firm that facilitated the hiring of lawyers and lobbyists by questionably amending a fairgrounds parking lot repaving contract on their own.
According to a quick records check, the firm directly gave out $3,700 in campaign contributions to county supervisors since 2010.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas cleared LSA & Associates last year of any criminal wrongdoing in the fairgrounds saga.
Yet under this kind of contracting and hiring environment, people like Steve Danley and David Carr – who don’t play ball and aren’t giving to campaigns — seemingly have no chance.
It’s now up to Gov. Jerry Brown to tell us whether they should.
CORONA DEL MAR TODAY
Today is Deadline to Reserve Spot at Chamber Lunch
A few seats remain available for Tuesday’s Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce’s networking luncheon, featuring California Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) as guest speaker.
Tickets are $30 for chamber members and $40 for guests. Check-in and networking will take place from 11:30 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch and the program until 1:15 p.m.
Moorlach, an event flier said, will deliver a “State of the State” address.
The event will take place at Fig & Olive at 151 Newport Center Drive.
For more information or to reserve a spot, call (949) 673-4050. The deadline to reserve a spot is today, a chamber representative said.
This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.
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