MOORLACH UPDATE — Pete Weitzner –December 12, 2017

It’s been some time since I’ve been featured in an Orange County Business Journal page three editor’s column (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Taxportation Chronicles — June 4, 2016). Rick Reiff dominated this space for a couple of decades, followed ably by Jerry Sullivan. Now, old friend and former Orange County Newschannel anchor during the OC bankruptcy, Pete Weitzner, has received the nod. Great choice.

He interviewed me on live television 23 years ago, shortly after a friend had printed up “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Moorlach” bumper stickers. I placed one in front of me so it could be seen on the air. And, Pete still remembers my pulling that stunt.

He has a little fun with my December 6th UPDATE in the beginning of his column below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 23rd Anniversary of Chapter 9 — December 6, 2017).

Flute Bug Skips Another Generation of McLarands

By Pete Weitzner

Needle Point: Wednesday, Dec. 6, I was commended to read two books (in one year?) … “Reinventing the Administrative State” and “Financial Management Theory in the Public Sector,” –both apparently preach the same sermon: “When Money Talks, the Truth is Silent.”

My reading sponsor was Sen. John Moorlach. Dec. 6, 1994 is OC’s Day of Infamy—the day we filed a record $2B bankruptcy.

Moorlach was a Costa Mesa CPA in ’93 … talked into running vs. a 6-time incumbent making boatloads of ‘free money’ for the county.

Moorlach called the shot… screamed that Bob Citron’s bond portfolio was too leveraged. Few believed.

Dem. Citron beat Repub. Moorlach in heavily GOP OC, 61-39.

Lots happened since. More on The Oracle of Costa Mesa’s new crusade soon—as Paul Hughes wrote, P. 1: “Too much good stuff.”

McLarand Dynasty … There’s a lot Carl McLarand built that you know. Santa Monica—The Water Project, OC —many of Irvine Co.’s best-known bldgs, China—oh, about 20M SF of product … 44 years of talent and toughness, an architect can build a portfolio.

Carl McLarand didn’t design what he did this week, handing the reigns of MVE + Partners, Inc. to his son Matt.

“Matt went to USC for architecture…a surprise to me,” Carl said. “I was still trying to make the business work.”

When I heard that Matt McLarand was succeeding his legendary dad, it struck me—the McLarands are the exception to what was once routine.

“Interesting how people respond to being from a family of wealth or success, Matt reflected. “Some don’t follow in the business or in business. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong or right.”

Carl did the genetic thing for Matt with talent but bred something else into his son as a live foal.

“Dad instilled in me … whatever you do, you’re gonna have to work really hard. Pick something you’re passionate about.”

Turns out Matt’s done what Carl wanted to do—follow his dad … a great flutist.

Then Carl’s dad told him he practiced 17 to 18 hours a day … as the old joke goes, ‘Let me see those drawings again …’

Once Matt joined Team McLarand, he showed well.

“Tech skills … leadership, Carl said. And now I’m here to back him up.”

Not here, here … Carl likes Hawaii.

Besides, Carl gave Matt one more thing. A backlog of business …

G.O. on the GO … Grocery Outlet’s also a family biz—70 yrs…run by the third generation of Reads. G.O. owns 1 store, flagship in Berkeley, rest—nearing 300—run and co-owned by owner-operators … often grocery and retail vets—like Joel Collar and Paul Ah Sing, co-owners of Grocery Outlet JPB-Go LLC, the newest GO in Lake Forest as of Thursday.

“We knew nothing about CA, Collar said, “went to Disneyland when I was 8. We looked at a map. It was gorgeous—nice and wholesome.”

The Portland transplants promise a “shiny beautiful store with low affordable prices—fresh groceries sourced locally.”

G.O. Corp. is known as an ‘extreme discount market, using its corporate buying power to provide bargains called treasure hunts. “Power bars, four for a dollar,” says Layla Kasha, marketing VP.

G.O. is making a push into OC—some ground-up, many taking over old Fresh & Easy locales … Fountain Valley, Fullerton and Placentia next up …

Buy-in between $100-200K. I asked new G.O.-partner Joel for his biggest fear.

“Not making Lake Forest proud. I want them to know the owners.”

More on G.O. soon … too much good stuff …

Inspiration Point … I don’t have time to read tomes on fiscal mismanagement … I did have five mins last Friday to learn about Ashley McNamara Blalock, a CHOC child life specialist. The short film is called “Patched.” The Insider commends it.

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