You get to vote now if you vote by absentee ballot or take advantage of an early voting facility provided by the OC Registrar of Voters. Or you can be a traditionalist and vote on Tuesday at your local polling place.
If you live in the OC and need help finding your polling place, go to the Registrar’s website at https://www.ocvote.com/voting/voting-in-orange-county/.
For my complete all-inclusive voter guide, go to MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — All-Inclusive Voter Guide — October 24, 2018. It also has links to the focused voter guides that I’ve provided over the past few weeks.
The first piece below is a segment of an interview of the three candidates in one district in the city of Costa Mesa that can be found on the electronic version of the OC Register. It deals with the subject matter of my recent unfunded actuarial accrued liability percentage UPDATE (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Trick or Treat? — October 26, 2018). Also, if you go to my Senate website, you’ll find verification of the support claim of my SCA 10 that was made (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-constitutional-amendment-10-pension-transparency).
The second piece is from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, which has a letter to the editor in support of a “Yes” vote on Proposition 6. A “Yes” vote repeals the gas tax foisted on Californians last year by two-thirds of the legislature, excluding yours truly.
California’s Department of Transportation needs serious managerial and fiscal reforms before vehicle owners provide it with more funding. The manipulation by the supporters of this gas and auto tax has been astounding. Starting projects and guilting you to continue them by your making the financial sacrifices that Sacramento is not willing to make itself. Again, it is nice to see that my office’s research on the efficiencies, or lack thereof, of Caltrans is being appreciated and referred to.
The third piece is an editorial submission in the Voice of OC on the OC District Attorney’s race, giving one side of the debate on this race. As I know both candidates, I am neutral and have not made an endorsement.
Election 2018: Costa Mesa City Council District 5 candidates share their priorities and thoughts on local issues
By STAFF REPORT
Question 4: Communities across the state are grappling with rising pension and other post-employment benefit costs. What do you think needs to be done to deal with this problem?
Allan Mansoor: We need to have greater restraint of pension benefits. That’s why I officially supported SCA 10 by Senator John Moorlach to require voter approval for any increases in retirement benefits. Locally, I voted to authorize prepayments from Costa Mesa to CalPERS when cash flow and cash balances permit. I made the motion to have city staff research using an Internal Revenue Code Section 115 Irrevocable Trust to pre-fund pensions and other accounts, such as OPEB.
Arlis Reynolds: Costa Mesa is in good financial health with an AA+ credit rating. We must establish a strategic plan that proactively allocates budget to pension obligations while maintaining high-quality public safety and services that benefit residents and attract visitors. Employees already contribute at a rate higher than legal mandates. We should optimize non-PERSable benefits, consider a Section 115 trust, invest in upgrades that reduce costs, support economic growth, and leverage credit ratings to optimize debt obligations. I will work with our Finance and Pension Advisory Committee and our new Finance Director to analyze various strategies and develop a long-term plan to address pension costs and overall financial health.
Rebecca Trahan: As a former Costa Mesa finance and pension committee member I had direct access to the city budget information, which included the money allotted for CalPERS. While on that committee I worked with a team to find solutions to this impending financial disaster and minimize the risk to our city — not just for current residents but also for those whom it most likely will have a devastating effect, our younger and future Costa Mesa residents. If I am elected to the city council representing district 5, I will continue to make addressing and resolving the pension debacle one of my top priorities. One of the ways I will address this is by re-examining every aspect of our budget and find areas where we may set aside more money for reserves to cover the pension payday when it will occur. In doing so, I will not just study it and do nothing as has happened with the council in the past — I will actually take action to draw down our liability and set us on a path for recovery and sustainability.
Vote yes on Prop. 6 to stop pols’ wasteful spending: Letters
Vote yes on Proposition 6 to repeal an unfair, regressive tax.
The cost of living is already too high in California, and the gas and car tax hikes hurts working families that already struggle to pay bills. On Nov. 1, 2017, Californians were hit with a new tax of 12.5 cents more per gallon of gasoline (and 20 cents more for diesel), also increasing auto registration fees as much as $175 per year. It gets worse!
The car and gas tax hikes are slated to increase every year, automatically. If this tax is not repealed, by 2021 Californians will be paying close to $2 more a gallon extra because of taxes and other government mandates. That’s $40 extra each time you fill up your car.
The tax also hits business owners who rely on transporting good, raising the cost of everything from apples to bread and everything in between, which is then passed on to working families.
This latest gas tax hike will not fix our roads because politicians will continue to fraudulently raid and divert gas tax funds.
State Sen. John Moorlach, a CPA, released a stunning report showing that only 20 percent of existing gas tax funds goes to roads, and Caltrans wastes half a billion dollars annually on extra staffing.
This latest gas tax increase contains no guarantee that even a penny will go to roads. For years, the Sacramento politicians have been raiding the existing gas tax funds to pay for their pet projects and general fund spending rather than fixing our terrible roads.
What little money that is spent on roads is largely wasted. We need to stop politicians’ wasteful spending first. Remember, a yes vote on Proposition 6 will repeal this unfair tax.
— Darryl Craft, Redlands
Mitchell: Tony Rackauckas – A Threat to Public Safety
By WILLIAM R. MITCHELL
Our Orange County District Attorney Office has become a house of horrors as revelations of misconduct, incompetence, and delayed justice pile up. DA Tony Rackauckas’s failures have not only undermined public confidence in the judicial system – they undermine public safety.
Though the 60 Minutes investigative report highlighted Raukauckas’s disregard for the law, a study by Harvard Law School disclosed that his office’s rate of overturned convictions due to prosecutorial error is among the highest in the state. These overturned criminal convictions are in addition to the botched handling of the homicide case against mass murderer Scott Evan DeKraai, who shot and killed seven in a beauty salon. The DA’s mishandling of the deadliest mass killings in County history meant that DeKraai received a life sentence rather than the death penalty. Also, there have been six recent murder cases that have resulted in dismissed or reduced charges due to errors by the DA’s office.
The Harvard Law School report is just the latest in a litany of findings confirming Rackauckas’s incompetence and misconduct. An Evaluation Committee appointed by Rackauckas found that the DA’s office was a “rudderless ship.” In 2017 a Grand Jury report confirmed the Evaluation Committee’s finding of a lack of leadership by the DA and additionally found the existence of a hostile work place and inadequate sexual harassment policies in the DA’s Office. In the face of the multitude of mishaps, State Senator John Moorlach summed it up best when he said “Tony should not be the D.A. anymore.”
Most recently his delayed response to victim’s reported complaints of rape and sexual assault against Dr. Robicheaux are inexplicable. The unsealed warrants show that the DA dragged its feet in prosecuting the multiple reports of criminal sexual assault.
Given the long and well-documented failures of Rackauckas, one would expect more outrage. The muted response is due to two unrelated factors that silence criticism. In 1995, then District Attorney Michael Capizzi authorized an early morning raid on the home of recently elected Assemblyman Scott Baugh. The outrage over the aggressive prosecutorial tactics on a Republican office holder led to Capizzi being forced from office. When Rackauckas ran for DA, he pledged that he would not criminalize political conduct. Rackauckas has resolutely stuck to his pledge, with the minor exception of the prosecution of Assessor Webster Guillory, which was, unsurprisingly, driven by a personal feud. The most conspicuous example of this pledge at work was Rackauckas’ refusal to investigate the allegations against then Sheriff Michael Carona. Rackauckas’ refusal to investigate Carona for crimes occurring right under his nose forced the Justice Department to take action, leading to Carona’s prosecution and conviction.
Even though Rackauckas bungles prosecutions, his refusal to investigate or prosecute political activity earns him the support, donations and silence of many political elites. To understand this arrangement is to understand both their reluctance to replace Rackauckas, and their reluctance to replace him with anyone who will actually enforce the law. Apparently, for many key Republicans and Democrats, the undermining of the integrity of the criminal justice system is but a small price to pay to avoid the application of the law to them.
In addition to Rackauckas’s unwillingness to investigate politicians, the fear of retaliation by Rackauckas silences would be critics as well. In the last year, four respected employees of the DA’s office have alleged that they were targets of retaliation by Rackauckas because they either reported prosecutorial misconduct or engaged in legitimate political activity. The most troubling claims are those of senior investigators Craig Hunter and Tom Conklin who both independently report that Rackauckas used his office to investigate political rivals and, in one instance, punished the investigator for failing to produce incriminating information on the political rival. Rackauckas’s practice of using his public office to investigate political adversaries is especially repugnant, as is his use of the office to retaliate.
The use of retaliation is a reflection of Rackauckas’s character and his abuse of the office. This lack of character is on full display in his re-election campaign. His chief defense for his failure in office is to use personal invective against his opponent. He avoids running on his record at all cost – his accomplishments are thin and scattered.
Rackauckas’s misconduct and incompetence impact every aspect of the DA’s office. The overturned convictions, the mishandled murder cases, delayed justice and the botched DeKraai case prove that public safety is at risk with Rackauckas in office. His refusal to investigate and prosecute political crimes imperil our community – no one is safe when politicians are above the law. We need a DA that puts public safety first and commits to hold politicians accountable. We need a new DA.
William R. Mitchell – former Chair of Orange County Common Cause, Co-Author and Sponsor of the Orange County Finance and Ethics Commission Ordinance, long standing good government advocate and OC business attorney.