Senator Anthony Mendoza (D – Artesia), has been meddling with the structure of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors since I came up here to Sacramento. His efforts in the last Session failed. He came back with another version of expanding the number of Supervisors this year and it also failed earlier this week. However, after a bill is killed on the Floor or in Committee, the author is granted the ability to have it reconsidered.
Yesterday, after considerable cajoling by the supporters of Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 12, it barely passed. Why? A few reasons. Based on my observations:
1. The Board of Supervisors for LA County has become distant and powerful. That has created resentment by many of the Senators who represent the Los Angeles area.
2. The LA County BoS has either ignored certain parts of the county, or provided more funding to favored areas. This has also created resentment.
3. Those supporting the SCA 12, which puts a measure on the June, 2018 ballot, do not believe that it will pass in the Assembly. Therefore, they can express their frustrations, obtain their pound of flesh, and hope that things improve.
4. In an era of term limits, both for Senators and Supervisors, I dubbed this measure on the Floor as the “Where Do I Land Next Act”
5. There are also undercurrents that have nothing to do with the LA BoS, like jockeying for the President pro Tem position. But, this background intrigue would take too long to explain.
Consequently, this power play is being done for the wrong reasons. As a former Orange County Supervisor and member of the Executive Board of the California State Association of Counties, I was not amused. I spoke against the measure both times. The first speech provided seven reasons to vote against SCA 12 see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtG0cyU9BZM&feature=youtu.be). The LA Times provides a snippet from my second submission to the debate club (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_7NLzUy-hc&feature=youtu.be). It is in their piece below, where I exhorted my colleagues not to waiver. But, the undercurrents were too powerful.
What’s the takeaway? LA Board, this is a wake up call. My suggestion is an old one: do what Los Angeles County did in 1889, when Orange County was created, by having one or two areas splinter off (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy Quasquicentennial! — December 31, 2013 ).
We have about 120 bills to address on this final day of the 2017 Session. The game is to guess when we will conclude tonight. Some are anticipating that we may go as late as 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.
BONUS: Visit Crystal Cove Monday afternoon if you are a California Historical Landmark enthusiast (see MOORLACH UPDATE Who Runs Our Government? September 14, 2017).
In reversal, state Senate approves ballot measure that would expand the L.A. County Board of Supervisors
After falling short of votes earlier in the week, a bill that would expand the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors won the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage in the state Senate on Thursday. The proposal, which would increase the board’s members from five to seven, would be put on the June 2018 ballot for voter approval should it pass the Assembly.
Acknowledging the measure faces a tough sell, Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) said he will take it up in that chamber in January so he has time to muster the needed votes.
“Today was a huge step in the right direction for the people of L.A. County and all Californians,” Mendoza said. “The LA. County Board of Supervisors has remained the same since 1850, when the population was just 3,000. It is time we give L.A. County’s 10 million residents a fair and representational government.”
Mendoza won sufficient votes after he said he will drop a controversial proposal to make the county administrative officer an elected position.
Los Angeles County’s delegation in the Senate split over the proposal, but four Republicans and two Democrats from other parts of the state changed their position and voted to support the measure, giving it the bare 27-vote margin it needed to pass.
With the county Board of Supervisors opposed, Democratic senators from Los Angeles County who voted against the measure included Ricardo Lara, Henry Stern and Holly Mitchell.
Mitchell said it would not be proper to allow all of the counties in California to determine how Los Angeles is governed.
“The people of Los Angeles County, while we appreciate your concern, have voted three times against a proposal just like this one,” Mitchell said during the floor debate. “If you are concerned about the people of Los Angeles County, allow the people of Los Angeles County to determine their own future and fate.”
Mendoza said his proposal is different from the failed county initiatives because his includes strict cost-containment measures. He criticized county board members who are opposing his bill.
“They are not looking at the greater good. They are looking at self-preservation,” Mendoza said.
Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) is a former Riverside County supervisor who agreed with the concern that each Los Angeles board member is representing too many people at more than 1 million.
“People deserve to be able to have an elected official they can depend on,” Stone said.
However, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), a former Orange County supervisor, said it is awkward having the state tell Los Angeles County how to govern.
“I see this as antagonistic,” he said, offering that a better solution might be to divide Los Angeles County into two or three counties.
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