MOORLACH UPDATE — Alumni and Recognition — June 7, 2017

The online version of the OC Register announces the hiring of Costa Mesa’s Assistant City Manager to serve as the new assistant director of John Wayne Airport. Rick Francis is one of my alumni and it is great to see JWA recruit such an excellent manager. The news is in the first piece below.

The Orange County Breeze was kind enough to print our selection for this year’s Small Business of the Year for the 37th Senate District, at an annual celebration hosted by the California Small Business Association, in the second piece below.

Two years ago I selected Zov’s Restaurants (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 593 — June 10, 2015 june 10, 2015 john moorlach). Last year it was the Orange County Business Journal (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Taxportation Chronicles — June 4, 2016 june 4, 2016 john moorlach).

Costa Mesa assistant city manager taking high-level position at John Wayne Airport

By lcasiano | Orange County Register

COSTA MESA – Assistant City Manager Rick Francis, who led the city’s efforts to help the homeless find housing and much-needed services, is leaving this week to take a high-level position at John Wayne Airport.

As the assistant airport director, Francis said he will oversee the airport’s daily activities and its five operational areas.

“I’ll have an opportunity to really just do some new and innovative things over there,” he said.

John Wayne Airport is in the middle of a three-year, $101.8 million modernization project for Riley Terminals A and B. Other renovations include opening a nursing mother’s lounge near Gate 12, upgrading restrooms, new restaurants and adding charging stations for electronic devices.

Francis’ last day with the city is Friday, June 9, and he begins work at the airport the following Monday.

Airport officials did not return calls or emails for comment.

City officials have not said who will replace Francis or how a search for a new assistant city manager will be conducted.

“Rick had a very high-visibility role with the city and we will be doing our best to fill those shoes,” said city spokesman Tony Dodero.

Francis came to Costa Mesa in 2012 as part of the city’s executive management team, where he was tasked with addressing major quality of life issues, such as the city’s rising homeless population, blighted motels, dilapidated apartment communities and sober-living facilities.

During his tenure, he helped create and supervise the city’s Network for Homeless Solutions, a group comprised of city staff, volunteers and nonprofit groups such as local churches to help Costa Mesa’s homeless.

“He’s kind of irreplaceable in some ways,” Councilman Jim Righeimer said. “A lot of the issues we’ve had in the city with regard to the homeless… the sober-living homes, he’s kind of led the charge on that. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

The group has placed over 270 people in permanent housing since 2013, Francis said. Another 2,300 have received mental health and substance abuse counseling, he said.

The city also adopted new sober-living regulations to prevent additional homelessness and fought to shut down some of the city’s most troubled motels.

“We’ve done a lot of really good things here that I’m pretty proud of,” Francis said. “As a city, we took the unconventional route to hire our own (homeless) outreach workers. I think we’ve been leaders in terms of opening up the regional dialogue in conversation in developing regional strategies in addressing homelessness.”

Prior to his stint in Costa Mesa, Francis worked for the county for 18 years, first as an Orange County probation officer and then as director of the Program Support and Research Division for the probation department.

He also served as the chief of staff to former Orange County supervisor and current state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. He advised Moorlach on matters related to John Wayne Airport, including its budget, infrastructure development, the construction of Terminal C and amendments to a 1985 settlement agreement among the county, Newport Beach, the Airport Working Group and activist group Stop Polluting Our Newport.

Staff writer Hannah Madans contributed to this story

Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital recognized as Business of the Year

Founded by Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and his wife Debra, the Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital facility was designed as a personalized veterinary practice with advanced expertise and cutting edge technology. They provide urgent care for animals in the surrounding community with exclusive residential boarding and bathing.

Senator John Moorlach and Dr. Jeffrey Cohen. Courtesy photo.

Dr. Cohen, an Internal Medicine Specialist for animals, was the very first with his credentials in Orange County, California. With over 30 years of experience, he continues to be on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine and has the trust of the community in providing direct and comprehensive care for sick and injured animals.

Beyond its daily business operation, the Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital has been influential in the service dog community. They are founders of The Service Dog Foundation, which assists members of the military and veterans in finding a service dog companion as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The Cohens endured months of road work in front of their hospital, while various Orange County agencies replaced pipes under the Pacific Coast Highway,” remarked Senator Moorlach. “The business next door did not survive this governmental intrusion. Consequently, the Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital represents all those businesses who have placed ‘still open for business during construction’ signs.”

“I am proud to honor another wonderful small business in the 37th Senate District that has endured inconveniences and hardships due to government infrastructure projects.”

This article was released by the Office of Senator John Moorlach.


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