MOORLACH UPDATE — Surprise! — July 11, 2017

Surprise! It’s official, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer is running for Orange County District Attorney in 2018. The Voice of OC provides the stunning news in the first piece below. Also see MOORLACH UPDATE — DA Doubts — July 9, 2017 july 9, 2017 john moorlach.

Surprise! Gov. Brown ordered two bills to be gutted and amended around 6 p.m. last night to accomplish his climate change agenda before the end of this week!

Surprise! The Senate will have an unprecedented short Session around noon today to allow bills to be heard in committee without being in print for three days.

Surprise! The Senate will convene at 6 p.m. Thursday evening, after the newly required 72-hours have passed, in order to take up these two items.

Surprise! It is rumored that neither of the two bills addresses dihydrogen monoxide, which is reported to cause nearly 80 percent of the greenhouse gases that affect the earth’s temperature.

Surprise! It’s another Jerry Brown Cram Down!

Surprise! This is a critical topic of debate, so my submittal was printed by Fox & Hounds in the second piece below. My website has more on the subject of climate change (see

Surprise! The bills are a supposed compromise between business and environmentalists.

Surprise! The compromise will kill your family budget and you don’t get a say in that.

Surprise! Since this initiative will raise gasoline taxes dramatically, it is predicted that the votes will go down along party lines.

Surprise! The monopoly party will not let their super-majority be a missed opportunity.

Surprise! The monopoly party has the necessary minimum votes in the Senate. As you may recall, the status of one State Senator is in jeopardy. So, it’s time for the Governor to move quickly.

Surprise! The State Controller announced yesterday that California’s revenues were $2.68 billion short of projections for the Governor’s revised budget for 2016-2017.

Surprise! California is right behind the states of Connecticut and Illinois in terms of a race to a Federal courtroom for fiscal relief. California’s Governor and its Legislature have real problems to solve! Also see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 32 and Propositions — September 18, 2016 september 18, 2016 john moorlach.

Surprise! The Governor wants to step up and counter the new U.S. President’s position on global warming, thus proving that a certain amount of self ego is a trait found in many of those seeking office. There, I went full circle.

Spitzer Officially Declares His Run Against Rackauckas for DA

By Nick Gerda

County Supervisor Todd Spitzer announced Monday he will run against incumbent Tony Rackauckas next year for Orange County District Attorney.

The move, which had been expected for years, set the stage for what is anticipated to be an intense election campaign.

Spitzer, a former heir apparent to Rackauckas who was fired by the DA in 2010, took direct aim at Rackauckas when announcing his run Monday.

“I refuse to stand by as Tony Rackauckas destroys the District Attorney’s office and uses it as his own personal fiefdom for he and his cronies while the public’s safety suffers,” Spitzer wrote in his news release.

“I’m proud to announce my campaign for District Attorney and pledge to always uphold the rule of law, put people’s safety first and work tirelessly to make certain justice is served for victims and their families. We must restore faith and trust in our law enforcement and justice system.”

Rackauckas’ office has been mired in an ongoing jailhouse informants scandal that has led to state and federal investigations, and convictions being overturned for murder and other serious criminal convictions against at least six people, due to alleged misconduct by his prosecutors.

Rackauckas also has been accused of intervening in DA prosecutions in order to protect his political allies.

Spitzer, meanwhile, has had his own share of controversies. His handcuffing of a Christian preacher at a Wahoo’s Fish Taco restaurant in 2015, for allegedly looking at a table knife, has raised questions about his judgement.

Those questions intensified after public records, which Spitzer fought to keep secret, showed he tried to publicly claim he could have used deadly force against the preacher.

And Spitzer appears to have used his power as a county supervisor to pressure county government vendors to donate to his election campaign.

In his announcement, Spitzer claims he’s starting the race with $1.2 million in campaign cash, compared to $45,000 for Rackauckas. But the relatively small figure he reports for Rackauckas is from more than six months ago, at the end of 2016.

Rackauckas is well positioned to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his run, as he has in the past, through his deep relationships with county Republican elected officials, businesses and Newport Beach-area donors.

The DA has already held a major fundraiser, last month in Costa Mesa, that is not reflected in the latest campaign finance filings.

The next set of campaign filings, covering the January through June of this year, are due by the end of this month.

Rackauckas, who has been Orange County’s elected DA since 1999, has been endorsed for his re-election by a who’s who of high-profile Republican elected officials. They include Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, county Supervisor Michelle Steel, Congressmen Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher, Congresswoman Mimi Walters, state Sen. Pat Bates, Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer, state Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, and Assemblyman Matt Harper.

Congressman Lou Correa and state Assemblyman Tom Daly, both Democrats, have also endorsed Rackauckas’ re-election

Former elected officials who have endorsed Rackauckas’ run include Dick Ackerman (former state senator), Scott Baugh (former state assemblyman and chair of the county Republican Party), Bill Steiner (former county supervisor), Steve Cooley (former LA County district attorney), Collene Campbell (former mayor of San Juan Capistrano).

Spitzer, meanwhile, is promising not to accept endorsements from any elected officials.

“First we have to clean up the corruption in the DA’s office and be fearless in the pursuit of public corruption wherever it exists. That’s why I will not accept endorsements from any current elected official,” Spitzer wrote in his announcement.

“The DA must be impartial and beholden to no one.”

A third contender for DA, Chapman University law professor Mario Mainero, has also been considering a run. He previously served as chief of staff to state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Irvine), when Moorlach was a county supervisor.

Orange County Democrats, who now have nearly as many registered voters in OC as Republicans, are not planning at this point on running a candidate for DA, according to sources close to the party.

The election will be held in June 2018. If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, they win outright. If not, the top two vote-getters will face off in the November general election.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at ngerda.

Excessive Climate Policies Could Damage California Economy

John Moorlach

By John Moorlach

State Senator representing the 37th Senate District

The topic of climate change, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW), has somehow been linked – directly or indirectly – with nearly every policy area debated at the State Capitol. While I am not a scientist, I recognize there are many differing views on what the climate-related scientific research actually means. I have been and continue to be willing to have conversations on the implications concerning policy prescriptions to address this purported global warming.

However, as I am an accountant, data and models are important to me in making informed decisions about complex issues. It is unclear to me how significant human activity is in climate change, since change is an inherent characteristic of climate. From what I have seen, the data does not convince me that human activity is a primary or significant driver in warming the globe.

I struggle with the failure of even the most advanced computer models in the world to accurately predict climate outcomes. I am even less sure that dramatic action in the halls of government will have a meaningful impact on global temperatures without damaging a fragile economy still recovering from one of the worst downturns since the Great Depression.

Even so, the California Legislature has decided to aggressively move forward on policies meant to address AGW ever since the codifying of Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Cap and trade – a major component of the first stage of California’s burdensome regulatory regime concerning greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions – has nearly run its course.

To alleviate the billions of dollars in compliance costs for the 600 industrial facilities and electricity generators captured by the most cumbersome regulations, there is a strong push to rework and reauthorize the cap-and-trade program. It has been estimated that gas prices could increase by 73 cents a gallon under a mature cap-and-trade program. That would be in addition to the transportation tax increases of 12 to 19 cents per gallon taking effect this Nov. 1.

Supporters of the cap-and-trade program argue that, if nothing happens, direct regulatory actions by the Air Resources Board (ARB) could cost around $1.50 per gallon. These unnecessary and costly regulations on California residents will not substantively reduce GHGs here, or anywhere in the world, no matter how much California tightens its belt.

Further, all this really does is reorganize California’s economy to be even less competitive (if that’s possible) with the other 49 states, requiring an even greater centralized government approach, while abandoning true market-based incentives.

Another problem not often considered is that such large price increases could also increase black-market gasoline sales and gasoline theft, requiring even greater government policing.

Even though California has the largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the nation, I agree with Gov. Jerry Brown that there is likely to be another negative economic adjustment soon. My legislative colleagues have engaged in a passionate debate about global warming and the need for California to be the world leader on the issue, but where is the dialogue about fixing California’s balance sheet, which carries the largest unrestricted net deficit in the United States?

Our state’s unfunded pension liabilities, unfunded retiree medical liabilities and unaddressed infrastructure deficits total a combined $400 billion or more in red ink. If we do not have our fiscal house in order, efforts to address climate-change policy will have been for naught. This misdirected effort will only further jeopardize this state’s fiscal plight. This is a disturbing sacrifice to impose on our residents.

Based on the cold, fiscal facts, I do not understand why the costs of addressing a nominal change in temperature 100 years from now should rest primarily upon the shoulders of California’s taxpayers, ratepayers and consumers today, simply to demonstrate climate leadership. Polls of the voters bear out my concerns. We must consider if higher transportation, energy and food prices, in the billions of dollars in economic costs, are worth the Legislature’s continued liaison with climate-change mitigation.

I am in favor of being good stewards of our environment and resources and have supported legislation to improve our state’s ecology. In fact, I have probably backpacked more miles in California’s mountain ranges, and summited more of its peaks, than 99 percent of its residents. I am a bona fide tree hugger. But, believing that issues of science are not settled by political votes, I think the jury is still out about the impacts humans have on climate.

We need leadership to deal with the very real fiscal challenges that continue to distress our economy in a real, tangible and immediate way so that we can act accordingly, rather than pursue more state-sponsored policies on global climate change – policies that are costly distractions in addressing a matter in which the state has very little control.

Note: For an extensive review of climate issues, please check out my policy paper, “Climate Change: Policies in California,” on


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