MOORLACH UPDATE — Joint Informational Hearings — November 1, 2018

After the conclusion of the Regular 2017-18 Legislative Session at the end of August, State Legislators enjoy a supposed “break.” But, for up to 75 percent of them, they are actually enjoying re-election campaigns.

However, committee chairs still hold hearings to address key subjects that they either didn’t have time for or there was some special request. I’ve recently flown up to Sacramento for three such hearings.

Obviously, this is not a quiet break. And, Republicans should attend to ask the tougher questions. So I do. One major concern was a very recent and unflattering State Auditor report of the California Department of Housing and Community Development (see https://www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2018-037.pdf).

Audit reports are issued, but rarely acted upon in Sacramento. With ballot propositions impacted, wouldn’t it be wise to clean up the management of a department that is responsible for administering housing bonds first before requesting more bond proceeds? I’m just sayin’.

It also gives me an opportunity to provide recommendations, such as better coordination between state departments and agencies and the benefits of creating the office of a Chief Operating Officer.

On October 15th I traveled to Sacramento for a Joint Governance and Finance Hearing on the recent U.S. Supreme Court Wayfair online sales tax decision. This monumental decision will keep the newly created California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) busy. The CDTFA was broken out of the State Board of Equalization’s core responsibilities by the majority party last year. So far, CDTFA is struggling to figure out what their job is and has experienced some awkward growing pains (for an example, see https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article217166950.html). I’m hopeful that the dust will settle soon. But, it was very helpful to meet the department head and listen to his challenges and managerial efforts to meet them. Again, a COO would also be helpful here.

This week I flew up for a Joint Insurance Committee hearing to address homeowners’ insurance concerns for families who lost their homes to the devastating fires in recent months. Ironically, it was on a zero-humidity, windy, potential fire warning day. I reminded the committee members present that after the 1993 Laguna Beach fire, only half of the homes were rebuilt three years later. From Sacramento, I had to drive to Napa Valley College for the venue. KCRA-TV 3 was at the hearing and their report can be seen at https://www.kcra.com/article/wine-country-wildfire-victims-learn-many-are-underinsured/24454523.

A joint committee hearing usually includes members of both the Senate and Assembly committees. However, on October 2nd, I attended a hearing titled “Housing for Working Families: How Do We Pay For It?” for two Senate committees, Senate Governance and Finance, on which I serve, and Senate Transportation and Housing. Since I love euphemisms, knowing that the title should state more clearly that the “we” is “you.” Consequently, I thought it would be helpful if I provided some details of this hearing to keep Californians informed.

The submittal is in Fox & Hounds and mentions AB 448 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 448 and SB 1363 — September 12, 2018) and SB 1297 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1297 – COO — April 19, 2018 and https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-1297-state-chief-operating-officer).
Regretfully, the real reasons for California’s housing crisis were not on the agenda of this meeting, but will be discussed at a second Senate Governance and Finance and Senate Transportation and Housing Joint informational hearing on November 16th in downtown Los Angeles. For those who wish to attend, you may want to join me that morning for a train ride to Union Station. It’s not often that a Legislative hearing is this close to the OC.

Grappling with California’s Housing Crisis

John Moorlach

By John MoorlachState Senator representing the 37th Senate District

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2018/10/grappling-californias-housing-crisis/

We see California’s housing crisis every day as the homeless permeate our streets, businesses and neighborhoods. To address that, I participated in the joint informational hearing of the Senate Transportation & Housing and Governance & Finance Committees on October 2. The title: “Housing for Working Families: How Do We Pay for It?”

The video and agenda are here. And the Digital Democracy transcript is here.

The discussion brought up Assembly Bill 448, by Assembly Members Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, and Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton. I strongly supported the bill, which sets up the Orange County Housing Finance Trust to enable local municipalities to plan and construct housing for the homeless and those with low incomes. It received unanimous, bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature.

“It’s very important to have those trust funds and have as many sources as possible going into them,” said Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the California Housing Partnership Corporation. In Orange County, we hope to harness existing public and private funds and contributions from governments and foundations.

Enter Proposition 2 on the November ballot, called No Place Like Home. I sponsored putting it on the ballot with state Sen. Kevin DeLeon, D-Los Angeles, when he was the Senate’s president pro Tem, before the Assembly Budget Committee assumed ownership of the bill at the end of the budget process.

Prop. 2 was praised by Lisa Bates, deputy director of financial assistance at the California Department of Housing and Community Development. It would not increase taxes, but better use the proceeds of Proposition 63 from 2004, the 1 percent tax on millionaires for mental health programs.

To clarify problems from a lawsuit, Prop. 2 would permit the state to borrow up to $2 billion, with Prop. 63 to back bonds to fund housing for homeless people with mental health problems. So many of the homeless are on the streets because of substance dependency and mental issues.

Prop. 2 is unique because it taps an existing funding stream via the Mental Health Services Act.

Taxes, Bonds and Debt

Some counterproductive ideas came up at the hearing. Schwartz commended last year’s Senate Bill 2, by state Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, now the president pro-tem. To fund homeless programs and low-income housing, it imposed a tax of up to $225 at the time of the recording of every real estate instrument, paper or notice. It would raise between $200 and $300 million a year.

But the tax will increase the price of housing. So there’s always a cost. And it was imposed at a time the state was overflowing with $12 billion in surplus revenues.

Then there’s Proposition 1 on the ballot, $4 billion for affordable housing for low-income buyers and veterans. It may cost up to double that, $8 billion, to pay down over 35 years. And the Legislative Analyst estimates the yearly cost to pay down the bonds would be $170 million annually.

At the hearing it was brought up by Larry Flood, director of financing and interim director for multifamily programs at the California Housing Finance Agency. He pointed out if it passed, “We can provide down-payment and/or closing-cost assistance to an additional 20,000 California first-time home buyers over the next three to six years, depending on market conditions.”

I recently asked the State Treasurer’s Office for the cost of the five previous housing bonds voters passed in 1990, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2014. The total debt service – principal plus interest – for them is $369 million for fiscal year 2018-19 and $422 million for fiscal year 2019-20. So if Prop. 1 passes, the cost would rise to $592 million in 2019-20. (Fortunately, the payments do decline starting in 2022.)

Because these bonds are paid from the general fund, and cannot be postponed, during an economic downturn they could end up causing tax increases. And tax increases hurt everyone, especially the poor and homeless. Even if the “rich” are taxed, that means they have less money to invest in new housing – making the housing crisis worse.

As a CPA, I stress the importance of audits to make sure public money is being spent properly, especially on existing and potential future bonds. So I asked Bates about the September 20 audit of her department by State Auditor Elaine M. Howle. It found, “oversight of housing bond funds remains inconsistent and that HCD has failed to follow through on half of our recommendations from previous reports. We found problems related to how HCD is monitoring some bond programs, whether its housing bond database can perform key functions, and how it is ensuring that it does not exceed administrative spending limits.”

Bates replied, “And so we feel that many of the recommendations that they have provided us, we have already implemented or are well on our way to implementing. The first report will be in November if we have a 60-day report to the Auditor due. And so within that report, we expect to show a tremendous amount of progress and headway in having addressed many of the concerns that were raised.”

That’s something to be watched. And shouldn’t we make sure existing bond funds are being spent properly before voting for new ones?

Who’s In Charge Here?

I also asked her about the organizational chart of the state government, including housing. “What do we have, the Governor? And then we have someone, and then we have all these boxes underneath. Who is the point person to coordinate with all of these departments and agencies?”

She replied, “So one of the things that the Legislature did last year is to move the Homelessness Coordinating and Financing Council from a department level where we had initiated it up to the agency level. So really this is a product of that council that is seeking to coordinate across our various state departments in terms of what we need to do to further address homelessness across the state.”

She pointed out Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Alexa Podesta is the chair of the council. Caltrans was added, but the council “has representation across the various state departments that are implementing these programs and more. And so it is the council’s goal and objective to help ensure [housing is the main concern] of our programs across the state.”

That shows why the state needs not just a governor, largely a political position, but a Chief Operating Officer, who would get down in the trenches and make sure state agencies are functioning efficiently. My Senate Bill 1297 would have created this COO position. Although it passed two committees this year, it was not brought before the full Senate. I’m considering bringing it back next year.

In his October 15 column, Dan Walters wrote on a similar theme, “Brown’s Legacy Will Include a DMV Debacle.” It criticized the governor’s “obvious disdain for nuts-and-bolts management of a very large organizational structure,” leading to complete mismanagement at the DMV of not only motor-voter registration, but its basic job of giving Californians driver’s licenses and license plates.

There was much more in this informative, three-hour hearing. It was a good start to a long process and a second is planned for November 16. Hearing Co-Chair Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, summed it up. He said more than $10 billion has been spent on the homeless the last few years, yet, “The crisis is not over, so our work is not done.”

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Riverside County School Districts — October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Allow me to provide you with more scary data. This year I’ve already given you the following frightening financial details for Orange County:

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Facing Fiscal Realities — October 30, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Trick or Treat? — October 26, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Get Mad, Get Motivated — October 19, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — LAUSD vs. OC School Districts — September 18, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Measure It, Improve It — March 14, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings, Vol. 10 — February 27, 2018

Now I’m providing the results of our Unrestricted Net Positions (UNP) research just for the 23 school districts in the county of Riverside. My submission is provided below in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the Redlands Daily Facts.

OPINION

Riverside County school districts are deep in red

By JOHN MOORLACH

https://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/2018/10/30/riverside-county-school-districts-are-deep-in-red/

https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/10/30/riverside-county-school-districts-are-deep-in-red/

Of Riverside County’s 23 public school districts, just one, tiny Desert Center Unified, boasts a positive balance sheet. Unfortunately, the other school districts have balance sheets that have dipped into the red.

The scoring comes as part of my new report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” It reviews the financial soundness of all 944 California public school districts. I performed a similar review of California’s 482 cities back in March.

The rankings derive from each district’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which you can find on their respective websites. In each CAFR, look for the “Basic Financial Statements,” starting with the page titled “Statement of Net Position.” Look at the top row for “Government Activities.” Then look down the column to where it says, first “Net Position,” then “Unrestricted.” That’s the number you want: the Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP.

The number will either be positive or, with parentheses around it, negative.

I also divide the UNP by the district’s population to get a per-capita UNP. If negative, that’s the amount each person in the district is in hock for, whether or not your children attend school. Citizens should be concerned about the trajectory of these negative balances, which are commonly attributed to unfunded pension liabilities. As school board members are auditioning for their jobs, they need to be held accountable for dealing with these liabilities.

If the negative number runs too high too long, it will mean cuts in teachers, equipment, band and sports, and ultimately calls for tax increases. In the worst cases, takeover by the state, even bankruptcy, is not out of the question.

Desert Center Unified’s positive number clocks at $3,055 per capita. For comparison, it ranks 38th of California’s 944 school districts, an exemplary performance. Yet I must point out it teaches just 23 students with a staff of two.

It’s all negative after that around here, with the second and third “best” being Perris Union High at ($528) and Perris Elementary at ($556). At least they were in the top half of California districts, although that’s not saying much.

The worst are Coachella Valley Unified at ($1,946) and Romoland Elementary at ($1,864), ranking 904th and 903rd of the state’s 944 districts. They languish in the bottom tenth of districts.

Among the largest districts by population, Corona-Norco Unified ranks 820th at ($1,359), Riverside Unified 727th at ($1,089) and Moreno Valley Unified 745th at ($1,118). In terms of the raw totals of how much these districts are underwater, the numbers are: ($380 million) for Corona-Norco, ($291 million) for Riverside and ($204 million) for Moreno Valley. That’s a combined deficit of almost $1 billion for just three districts.

Overall, just five Riverside County districts ranked in the top half of California’s districts, but 18 ranked in the bottom half, a truly alarming performance.

Here are the per capita UNPs for all of Riverside County’s school districts:

  1. Desert Center Unified                      $3,055
  2. Perris Union High                             ($528)
  3. Perris Union Elementary                ($556)
  4. Beaumont Unified                            ($590)
  5. Menifee Union Elementary            ($695)
  6. Palm Springs Unified                       ($760)
  7. Palo Verde Unified                           ($773)
  8. Temecula Valley Unified                 ($857)
  9. Banning Unified                               ($916)
  10. Hemet Unified                                   ($922)
  11. Desert Sands Unified                       ($947)
  12. Lake Elsinore Unified                   ($1,103)
  13. Riverside Unified                           ($1,089)
  14. Moreno Valley Unified                  ($1,118)
  15. San Jacinto Unified                        ($1,150)
  16. Val Verde Unified                           ($1,205)
  17. Nuview Union                                 ($1,265)
  18. Corona-Norco Unified                   ($1,359)
  19. Murrieta Valley Unified                ($1,380)
  20. Jurupa Unified                                ($1,631)
  21. Alvord Unified                                ($1,642)
  22. Romoland Elementary                  ($1,864)
  23. Coachella Valley Unified               ($1,946)

The tallies are part of my effort to track the per capita UNPs of California’s various government balance sheets. In addition to the city balance sheets mentioned earlier, I have tracked counties, community colleges, California State University and the University of California as well as all 50 U.S. states.

You can follow all these analyses on my legislative website. The reports will be regularly updated.

Next year is going to be especially revealing — and distressing — as the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for the first time will require balance sheets to include unfunded retiree medical liabilities, which will show even more city and school districts in critical condition.

And when the next economic recession hits, for even those modestly distressed, it’s going to be one big financial train wreck.

Let’s hope our elected school board members and their administrative staffs get in front of this serious cash management squeeze on their horizon. It’s time to be proactive, as taxpayers are not very forgiving with those who are reactive. Especially with supposed leaders who only have one solution: raise taxes.

John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th District in the California Senate

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Facing Fiscal Realities — October 30, 2018

Since I submitted this piece, Cal State Fullerton economists have also predicted an economic cooling down on the horizon. But, Sacramento cannot afford a leveling off or a downward economic trend with the growing fiscal obligations it will be facing.

I provide my take on what lies ahead for California’s next Governor in the CalMatters submission below.

And, it’s not only the next Governor who will be facing a potential financial squeeze. It will be all of those elected to Orange County’s local governing bodies as well (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Trick or Treat? — October 26, 2018).

My turn: Next governor will face hard fiscal realities

151109_Moorlach_HeadshotL-e1540839597664-150x150.jpg
By John M. W. Moorlach, Special to CALmatters

As next Tuesday’s election approaches, here’s something disconcerting that all candidates should keep in mind: the California economy.

It has been a juggernaut of growth since 2013, but now is slowing while the national economy is expanding. Let’s review some of the ominous signs publicly available data portend.

California’s annual growth rate has dropped to 2 percent, from more than 3 percent from 2013 to mid-2016, according to a new forecast by California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting. The Center for Economic Research and Forecasting projects 2.9 percent national growth for the next two years.

One key indicator is accelerating domestic out-migration—163,000 more California citizens are expected to leave for other states in 2018 than those expected to come here for the sun and fun, and the accompanying high taxes and regulations. In 2014, the net out-migration number was only 117,000. The trend is getting worse.

The Center for Economic Research and Forecasting report indicates culprits include increased onerous taxes and regulations of all sorts. California’s gasoline taxes lag only Hawaii.

The state’s sales tax is ninth highest, at 8.55 percent, just a shade less than the highest rate, 9.46 percent, in Tennessee. California’s top income tax rate is the nation’s highest, 13.3 percent.

If voters approve Propositions 1, 3 and 4 on Nov. 6, expect more strain on the state’s general fund budget. Those are bonds for, respectively, housing, water, and hospitals. And the debt payments will need to be made over decades.

If the majority votes for Proposition 10, cities could impose much more stringent rent control. Cal Lutheran notes San Francisco’s 1994 expansion of rent control cut the supply of rental properties by 15 percent. It’s Economics 101: cut supply and the price must rise, which would not be helpful in San Francisco where the average rent is $3,520 per month.

Another gigantic fiscal threat driving down the highway is public-employees’ defined-benefit pension liabilities.

I have issued fiscal rankings of the 50 U.S. states and every California city, county, school district, and university system. My latest, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities,” scored two-thirds of these public school districts and all three college and higher education systems to be in fiscal distress, largely due to the burgeoning pension crisis.

Full employment is a solution. But while Silicon Valley and most coastal areas of the state are booming, other areas of California are not doing as well. Six of the 10 worst U.S. job markets are in California, with unemployment numbers that range from 6.6 percent in Fresno to 20 percent in El Centro.

Not everybody in California is a Silicon Valley internet millionaire. But California state finances depend too much on the most volatile tax sources, those derived from income and capital gains. Even a blip downward in the stock market could evaporate recent state surpluses.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s final report for the “California State Budget 2018-19,” which began on July 1, estimated a shocking 9.2 percent increase in spending from the previous fiscal year, nearly double the 5 percent average increases of his previous seven budgets.

Although the rainy day fund will be filled at $13.8 billion, that would vanish fast in one economic down cycle. Budgets are crucial because, lacking sound finances, all the nice things candidates propose can’t happen: more health care, better schools, modern roads, even tax cuts.

Whether he likes it or not, the next governor will spend most of his time dealing with the financial crises forming off the coast like a tsunami. Jerry Brown will scoot out in the nick of time. His successor will face the vice grip of a slowing economy and rising costs for pension-plan contributions and more bond payments.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Trick or Treat? — October 26, 2018

It’s time to give you another scary, Halloween Orange County municipality listing, this time ranking them by their pension funding status.

Trick or treat?

We’ve been able to obtain the pension plan actuarial reports from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) for 54 cities (CITY), school districts (DIST), special districts (DIST) and agencies (AGCY or JPA) within the County of Orange.

How did your city, school district, water district or sanitary district do?

Trick or treat?

If you own real estate within the agencies numbered 1 to 42, then it’s located in above-average municipalities. Those numbering from 43 to 54 are below average and are showing serious red flags.

It would be helpful if the municipalities were in the 1 to 17 range, as they are funded at 80 percent or better, the supposed industry standard. But, let’s be clear, those under 100 percent warrant concern and a proactive response by their elected boards. Regretfully, not one agency is over-funded (100 percent or higher).

If your home is in a scary place, then you and your neighbors need to get more involved in the management of your agencies. Pay attention. Or one day you will be facing a rock in your bag.

Trick or treat?

I know that a few of the bottom municipalities, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa are trying to be proactive. Each has a Finance Committee addressing pension concerns. I recently met with Costa Mesa’s committee. I participated in a pension forum recently in the Huntington Beach Council Chambers (see MOORLACH UPDATE — David Kiff — July 13, 2018). And I met with the Newport Beach Committee last year. They are all working on this as diligently as they can (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Addressing Pension Mess — June 24, 2017). This is a good thing, but guess who will be holding a bag full of rocks?

Huntington Beach has already reduced staffing by 15 percent, but their annual CalPERS contribution has gone up more than 80 percent. Costa Mesa has reduced its staffing from 611 authorized full time employees in 2011, to 479 today. Yet, this city has the highest paid firefighters in Orange County.

Trick or Treat?

Go to https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-pension-gamble/ if you have time for a horror story. Here is how this just aired one-hour PBS television

show, Frontline, discussing Kentucky, but mentioning California, is billed:

FRONTLINE investigates the role of state governments and Wall Street in driving America’s public pensions into a multi-trillion-dollar hole. Marcela Gaviria, Martin Smith, and Nick Verbitsky go inside the volatile fight over pensions playing out in Kentucky, and examine the broader consequences for teachers, police, firefighters and other public employees everywhere.

A quick summary? Public employee unions were in the board majority of the public employees’ retirement system for Kentucky. Sound familiar? See how that worked out for their retired members.

Trick or treat?

1 Midway City Sanitary District DIST 99%
2 Laguna Woods CITY 96%
3 Costa Mesa Sanitary District DIST 96%
4 Lake Forest CITY 93%
5 Buena Park Library District DIST 88%
6 South Coast Water District DIST 87%
7 Orange County Transportation Authority DIST 85%
8 Orange County Vector Control District DIST 84%
9 Orange County Health Authority DIST 83%
10 Aliso Viejo CITY 82%
11 Regional Center of Orange County AGCY 82%
12 Greater Anaheim Spl Edn Local Plan Area JPA 82%
13 East Orange County Water District DIST 81%
14 Laguna Hills CITY 81%
15 City of Dana Point CITY 81%
16 Municipal Water District of OC DIST 81%
17 Santa Ana Unified School District DIST 80%
18 Rancho Santa Margarita CITY 79%
19 Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority DIST 79%
20 Laguna Niguel CITY 78%
21 Laguna Beach County Water District DIST 77%
22 Yorba Linda Water District DIST 77%
23 Mission Viejo CITY 76%
24 Moulton-Niguel Water District DIST 76%
25 Irvine CITY 76%
26 Villa Park CITY 76%
27 Mesa Water District DIST 76%
28 Irvine Ranch Water District DIST 76%
29 La Palma CITY 75%
30 Tustin CITY 75%
31 San Clemente CITY 75%
32 Cypress CITY 74%
33 South OC Wastewater Authority DIST 74%
34 Trabuco Canyon Water District DIST 73%
35 Los Alamitos CITY 73%
36 Seal Beach CITY 73%
37 Stanton CITY 72%
38 Fountain Valley CITY 72%
39 Placentia CITY 72%
40 La Habra CITY 71%
41 Anaheim CITY 71%
42 Buena Park CITY 71%
43 Westminster CITY 70%
44 Orange CITY 70%
45 Yorba Linda CITY 70%
46 Fullerton CITY 69%
47 Santa Ana CITY 69%
48 Santa Margarita Water District DIST 69%
49 Brea CITY 68%
50 Rancho Santiago CC Assoc’d Students DIST 68%
51 Huntington Beach CITY 68%
52 Garden Grove CITY 67%
53 Newport Beach CITY 66%
54 Costa Mesa CITY 62%
AVERAGE 70%

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — All-Inclusive Voter Guide — October 24, 2018

I was asked recently if I could put my Voter Guides on one long page. Here’s my attempt to honor that all-inclusive request. I tried to follow the order of your Orange County Sample Ballot. It is the first piece below.

Bold is an endorsement of the Republican candidate. An asterisk (*) designates candidates who are registered Democrats and double asterisks (**) for those who are Declined to State or No Party Preference, both of whom I am not permitted to endorse, but I can inform you that they would be a good vote, which I do through the use of italics. Those registered with the American Independent Party or the Libertarian Party have three asterisks (***) and since they are usually conservatives, I have included them for your research efforts.

I’ve also provided the links to my numerous previous Voter Guide UPDATEs, in case you wish to do further research. For those who do not vote by mail, but have concerns about not being able to get to your polling place to vote on election day, November 6th, you can go to early voting centers. I did this for the Primary election in June and it was a quiet and non-hectic voting opportunity. The locations are provided in the second piece below.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA — MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Statewide Voter Guide — September 24, 2018. I know each of the candidates personally or have had the chance to enjoy a one-on-one meeting to become acquainted.

Governor — John H. Cox
Lieutenant Governor — Ed Hernandez*
Secretary of State — Mark P. Meuser
Controller — Konstantinos Roditis
Treasurer — Greg Conlon
Attorney General — Steven C. Bailey
Insurance Commissioner — Steve Poizner**

State Board of Equalization
1st District — Ted Gaines
2nd District — Mark Burns
3rd District — G. Rick Marshall
4th District — Joel Anderson

UNITED STATES SENATOR — Kevin De Leon* or Dianne Feinstein*

LOCAL ELECTED LEGISLATORS — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Federal/State/OC Races — September 26, 2018)

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVES

38th District — Ryan Downing
39th District — Young Kim
45th District — Mimi Walters
46th District — Russell Lambert
47th District — John Briscoe
48th District — Dana Rohrabacher
49th District — Diane Harkey

STATE SENATOR

32nd District — Rita Topalian
34th District — Janet Nguyen
36th District — Patricia C. Bates

STATE ASSEMBLY

55th District — Phillip Chen
65th District — Alexandria “Alex” Coronado
68th District — Steven S. Choi
69th District — Autumn Browne***
72nd District — Tyler Diep
73rd District — William “Bill” Brough
74th District — Matthew Harper

JUDICIAL — No comments — See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Federal/State/OC Races — September 26, 2018.

SCHOOL — See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Statewide Voter Guide — September 24, 2018.

Superintendent of Public Instruction — Marshall Tuck*

COUNTY OF ORANGE — See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Federal/State/OC Races — September 26, 2018.

County Supervisor, 4th District — Tim Shaw

District Attorney-Public Administrator — Tony Rackauckas or Todd Spitzer

Sheriff-Coroner — Don Barnes

CITY COUNCIL

ALISO VIEJO (#10 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018) — Vote for 2

David Harrington
Garrett Dwyer

ANAHEIM (#31 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018)

Mayor — Cynthia Ward
District 2 — James Vanderbilt
District 3 — Robert Nelson
District 6 — Patricia Gaby

BREA (#33 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018) — Vote for 3

Cecelia Hupp
Steve Vargas
Steve Shatynski

BUENA PARK (#20 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

District 1 — Virginia Vaughn
District 2 — Elizabeth Swift
District 5 — Adonay Gutierrez

COSTA MESA (#34 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018)

Mayor — Sandy Genis
District 3 — Brett Eckles
District 4 — Michelle Figueredo-Wilson
District 5 — Alan Mansoor

CYPRESS (#1 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#6 – #1) — October 10, 2018) — Vote for 3

Stacy Berry
Paulo Morales***
Jon Peat

DANA POINT (#7 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018)

District 1 — Joe Muller
District 2 — Richard Viczorek
District 3 — Jamey Federico

FOUNTAIN VALLEY (#26 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — Vote for 3

Patrick Harper
Nick Lecong
Michael Vo

FULLERTON (#28 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018)

District 3 — Greg Sebourn
District 5 — John Ybarra

GARDEN GROVE (#23 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

Mayor — Steve Jones
District 1 — Adam Jason Degner
District 3 — No Recommendation
District 4 — Phat Bui

HUNTINGTON BEACH — (#29 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018) — Vote for 4

Erik Peterson
Mike Posey
Barbara Delgleize
Ronald Sterud

IRVINE (#3 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#6 – #1) — October 10, 2018)

Mayor
Donald Wagner

Council (Vote for 2)
Anthony Kuo
Carrie O’Malley

LA HABRA (#21 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — Vote for 2

James Gomez

LA PALMA (#9 – see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018) — Vote for 2

Michele Steggell
Garrett Wada

LAGUNA BEACH (#4 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#6 – #1) — October 10, 2018)

Toni Iseman*
Rob Zur Schmiede*

LAGUNA HILLS (#17 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — Vote for 3

David Wheeler
Len Herman
Don Sedgwick

LAGUNA NIGUEL (#5 – see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#6 – #1) — October 10, 2018)

Full Term (Vote for 2)
Fred Minagar
Elaine Gennawey

Short Term
Sandy Rains

LAGUNA WOODS (#8 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018) — Vote for 2

Joe Rainey
Judith Troutman

LAKE FOREST (#6 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#6 – #1) — October 10, 2018)

District 2 — No Recommendation
District 3 — Scott Voigts
District 4 — No Recommendation

LOS ALAMITOS (#22 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — Vote for 4

Dean Grosse
Shelley Hasselbrink
Warren Kusumoto

MISSION VIEJO (#16 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — Vote for 3

Wendy Bucknum
Ed Sachs
Greg Raths

NEWPORT BEACH (#32 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018)

District 1 — Diane Dixon or Mike Glenn
District 3 — Marshall “Duffy” Duffield or Tim Stoaks
District 4 — Kevin Muldoon or Roy Englebrecth
District 6 — Scott Peotter or Joy Brenner

ORANGE (#27 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

Mayor — Mark Murphy
City Council (Vote for 2) — Chip Monaco and Kimberlee Nichols

PLACENTIA (#25 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

District 2 — Craig Green
District 4 — Chad Wanke

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA (#15 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — Vote for 3

Bradley McGirr
Shawn Gordon
Anne Figueroa

SAN CLEMENTE (#13 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018) — Vote for 3

Dan Bane
Laura Ferguson
Gene James

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO (#19 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

District 2 — Kimberly McCarthy
District 3 — Kerry Ferguson
District 4 — John Taylor**

SANTA ANA — (#30 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018)

Mayor — Miguel Pulido*
Ward 2 — Miguel Gonzales
Ward 4 — No Recommendation
Ward 6 — Cecelia Iglesias

SEAL BEACH (#18 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

District 1 — Peter Amundson or Scott Levitt
District 3 — Mike Varipapa
District 5 — Sandra Massa-Lavitt*

STANTON (#14 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018) — District 3 has been modified

Mayor — David Shawver
District 1 — Rigoberto Ramirez
District 3 — Loreen Berlin

TUSTIN (#2 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#6 – #1) — October 10, 2018) — Vote for 2

Austin Lumbard
Barry Cooper**

VILLA PARK (#12 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018) — Vote for 3

Robert Collacott
Diana Fascenelli
Crystal Miles

WESTMINSTER (#23 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#27 – #14) — October 6, 2018)

Mayor — Tri Ta
City Council (Vote for 2) — Frances Nguyen and Amy West

YORBA LINDA — (#11 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#13 – #7) — October 9, 2018) — Vote for 2

Peggy Huang
Carlos Rodriguez

COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICTS

COAST (#49 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018)

Dom Pham

NORTH ORANGE COUNTY (#22 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018)

Area 6 — No Recommendation

SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY (#1 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018)

Area 2 — Thomas Prendergast, III

SCHOOL DISTRICTS (See MOORLACH UPDATE — Get Mad, Get Motivated — October 19, 2018 october 19, 2018 john moorlach)

ANAHEIM ELEMENTARY (#19 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

Area 2 — Jeff Cole**
Area 3 — No Recommendation
Area 5 — Shaun Dove

ANAHEIM UNION HIGH SCHOOL (#12 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#18 – #10) — October 12, 2018)

Area 1 — No recommendation
Area 2 — Harald G. Martin
Area 5 — Vernon Beckett

BREA-OLINDA USD (#20 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

Short-Term — No Recommendation

BUENA PARK (#21 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

Area 1 — No Recommendation

FOUNTAIN VALLEY ELEMENTARY — (#1 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018) — Vote for 3

Sandra Crandall
Jim Cunneen
Jennifer Weimer

FULLERTON ELEMENTARY (#14 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#18 – #10) — October 12, 2018)

Area 3 — Beverly Berryman

FULLERTON JOINT (#3 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018)

Area 1 — Chester Jeng**
Area 4 — Chris Thompson
Area 5 — Marilyn Buchi

GARDEN GROVE UNIFIED (#8 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018)

Area 4 — Bob Harden

HUNTINGTON BEACH CITY (#5 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018) — Vote for 3

Paul Morrow

HUNTINGTON BEACH UNIFIED (#4 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018) — Vote for 3

Duane Dishno
Saul Lankster

IRVINE USD (#26 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

Area 2 — Sharon Wallin*

LAGUNA BEACH UNIFIED (#2 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018)

Dee Namba Perry**
Carol Normandin*

LOS ALAMITOS USD (#11 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#18 – #10) — October 12, 2018) — Vote for 2

Diana Hill
Jeffrey Barke

NEWPORT-MESA USD (#25 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

Area 2 — Charlene Metoyer
Area 4 — Karen Yelsey
Area 5 — Michelle Barto
Area 7 — No Recommendation

OCEAN VIEW (#18 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#18 – #10) — October 12, 2018) — Vote for 3

Jack Souders
John Briscoe

ORANGE UNIFIED (#7 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#9 – #1) — October 13, 2018)

Area 1 — Sandra Angel
Area 4 — Kathy Moffat**
Area 5 — Timothy Surridge
Area 7 — Rick Ledesma

SADDLEBACK VALLEY (#17 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#18 – #10) — October 12, 2018) — Vote for 2

Greg Kunath

SANTA ANA USD (#27 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018) — Vote for 2

Angie Cano
Cecilia Aguinaga**

WESTMINSTER (#24 — see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

Area 2 — No Recommendation
Area 5 — Penny Loomer*

LIBRARY DISTRICT

BUENA PARK — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018) — Vote for 2

Richard Rams
Wendy-Kay Erdsieck

SANITARY DISTRICT

COSTA MESA — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018) — Vote for 3

Bob Ooten
Arlene Schafer
Mike Scheafer

WATER DISTRICTS

EL TORO — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018) — Vote for 2)

Frederick Adjarian
Kathryn Freshley**

IRVINE RANCH (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018) — Vote for 3

Doug Reinhart
Steve LaMar
Peer Swan**

MESA WATER — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018)

Area 3 — Marice DePasquale
Area 5 — Shawn Dewane

MIDWAY CITY — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018) — Vote for 2

Margie Rice
Andy Quach

MOULTON NIGUEL — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018) — Vote for 3

Donald Froelich
Kelly Jennings
Ken Maddox

MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT OF ORANGE COUNTY — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018)

Division 1 — Brett R. Barbre

ORANGE COUNTY

Division 1 — Dina Nguyen
Division 7 — Shawn Dewane

STATE PROPOSITIONS (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 Ballot Measures — September 21, 2018)

1 — NO (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018, MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018) and MOORLACH UPDATE — Housing Bond Audit — October 5, 2018 october 5, 2018 john moorlach)

2 — YES (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018)

3 — NO

4 — NO

5 — YES

6 — YES

(See MOORLACH UPDATE — Rick Reiff Rocks — October 18, 2018, MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#18 – #10) — October 12, 2018), MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — School District Races (#27 – #19) — October 11, 2018 and MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — City Council Races (#34 – 28) — October 2, 2018)

7 — YES

8 — NO

9 — N/A

10 — NO

11 — YES

12 — NO

ORANGE COUNTY BALLOT MEASURES (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Ballot Measures — October 17, 2018)

G — NO — Los Alamitos USD

LL — NO — Lowell Joint School District

H — NO — Newport-Mesa USD

I — NO — Santa Ana USD

J — NO — City of Anaheim

K — NO — City of Anaheim

L — NO — City of Anaheim

M — YES — City of Cypress

O — NO — City of Garden Grove — PENSION TAX

P — NO — City of Laguna Beach — Sales Tax Increase — (See MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Measure P — October 22, 2018

Q — NO — City of Lake Forest 

R — NO — City of Lake Forest

S — NO — City of Lake Forest

T — YES — City of Newport Beach

U — NO — City of Placentia — PENSION TAX

V — YES — City of San Clemente

X — NO — City of Santa Ana — PENSION TAX

Y — NO — City of Santa Ana — PENSION TAX

Z — NO — City of Santa Ana

AA — YES — City of Santa Ana

BB — NO — City of Seal Beach — PENSION TAX

CC — NO — City of Tustin — PENSION TAX

Anaheim City Hall
200 S. Anaheim Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92805
Located in City Clerk’s office, 2nd floor. Visitor parking is
available in the City Hall Parking structure.

Costa Mesa Senior Center
695 W. 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Located in Meeting Room 101 inside Costa Mesa Senior Center.
Parking is located in front of the Senior Center.

image23

 

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Measure P — October 22, 2018

My 2016 effort with SB 1463 gets a mention in the OC Register piece below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018).

My 2018 effort with SB 1463, a similar bill with the same number (intentionally), morphed into a strategy inclusion in SB 901 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018). Consequently, with a potential funding source for the city of Laguna Beach for undergrounding electric lines, which materialized after Measure P was put on the November ballot, it may not need to assess a larger sales tax at this time.

As the OC Register electronic piece had a photo of Councilman Bob Whalen, I’m including it. In the 2016 version of SB 1463, he was the mover and shaker as the bill’s sponsor and I was the author (a technical correction to the piece) when we presented the bill before various Legislative committees. We were able to get the bill to Gov. Brown’s desk without one vote in opposition, but he then vetoed it.

For my position on the 23 city and school district measures on Orange County’s various ballots, go to MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Ballot Measures — October 17, 2018).

Laguna Beach voters to decide on 1% sales tax to pay for undergrounding of power lines along city’s key evacuation routes

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/22/laguna-beach-voters-to-decide-on-1-sales-tax-to-pay-for-undergrounding-of-power-lines-along-citys-key-evacuation-routes/

Laguna Beach city councilman Bob Whalen is backdropped by power lines on Thalia Street and Temple Hills. He wants the city to bury the lines to prevent fires like the recent ones in Northern California.(Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A plan by city officials to make the town safer in the event of a fire or natural disaster by burying power lines under major evacuation routes will go before voters on Nov. 6.

Measure P asks Laguna Beach residents to vote yes to authorize the city to enact a 1 percent sales tax for 25 years to fund emergency response services and fire safety measures, including moving overhead wires underground on Laguna Canyon Road and along evacuation routes. The tax is expected to raise approximately $5.6 million annually. A no vote opposes the sales tax.

A supermajority, or 66.67 percent, is required for the measure to pass.

At present, the city’s sales tax is 7.75 percent. If the measure is adopted, the sales tax rate would increase to 8.75 percent.

A 2016 study by Visit Laguna Beach shows that visitors paid more than $3.8 million in sales tax, representing 67 percent of the sales tax collected by the city that year. City officials estimate that 6.5 million visitors come to the city each year and would bear the brunt of the the added sales tax.

Measure P is endorsed by Laguna Beach police Chief Laura Farinella and Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia. Opponents include Carolyn Cavecche, CEO/president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association and David Rubel, president of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association.

In February, the City Council voted to move forward with efforts to bury the power lines following a community survey that showed support for the effort. The survey also showed almost all residents understand the threat of wildfire and the associated dangers of overhead power lines. The City Council, at that time, reviewed three options.

About 70 percent of survey respondents favored a one-cent increase in the city’s sales tax, 56 percent stated they would approve a bond measure and 58 percent preferred a general purpose sales tax.

City officials say it will cost at least $90 million to bury lines along Laguna Canyon Road, one of the city’s three entrance and exit points, and $45 million on 11 evacuation routes identified throughout the town, at a cost of $1,000 per foot. Citywide, there are 128,000 feet of overhead utilities, and about 21,000 feet are along the evacuation routes.

The city is already spending $2.5 million from existing city revenues to bury the utilities but that only covers a third of the cost, said City Councilman Bob Whalen, who in 2016 spearheaded efforts with state lawmakers to try to get the utility companies to step up with funding.

When the city had no success with the utilities, Whalen and others from the city, including then-Fire Chief Jeff LaTenderesse, took the issue to Sacramento. Senate Bill 1463 sponsored by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, was later vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2016.

Efforts to bury the overhead lines and transponders have been a focus in recent years. Overhead utility lines have fallen during natural disasters and have blocked roadways, preventing emergency crews access to neighborhoods and hindering evacuations.

Downed poles caused fires in Laguna Beach in September 2007, February 2011, September 2012 and in July 2015. In 10 years, there have been more than 58 auto accidents that have downed utility wires and resulted in the closure of Laguna Canyon Road. The most recent occurred Oct. 16, when the road was closed for 17 hours.

Proponents and opponents of the tax have voiced their positions.

“We are reminded almost daily of public safety threats from utility lines and poles,” Whalen said. “Last Friday night (Oct. 12) Laguna Canyon Road was closed again, this time for almost six hours due to a car knocking over a power pole. I’m hearing every day from residents that they are voting yes on Measure P because they understand the risks that above ground power lines present.”

Jennifer Zeiter, a Laguna Beach attorney who heads up STOP (Stop Taxing Our Property), a grassroots group that opposes what it deems unnecessary taxation, calls the city’s effort to push Measure P “fearmongering.”

Random undergrounding won’t guarantee safety, she says, pointing to an already increased number of firefighters and improved technology to keep the town safe.

There are new larger water tanks, fuel modification, weed abatement, tree trimming, goats and defensible space requirements around all homes. The city also recently became the county’s first to issue its own wireless alerts and earlier this year activated the police department’s drone force that regularly monitors the city’s open space and wild land area for illegal warming fires and campsites.

“The city is running a false “fear and fire” campaign, using emotions to convince residents they will be trapped or doomed if we don’t underground utilities,” Zeiter said. “It’s disingenuous and its a money grab. The biggest fires in Laguna (in 1993 and most recently this past summer) have both been caused by humans (arson and negligence, respectively), not overhead utility poles.”

Zeiter counters the city’s claim of fire risks by saying that of the 394 fires over the past 10 years, only six were caused by utilities, and none of them major.

“That’s a 1.52 percent historical risk of fire by utilities, less than 2 percent,” she said. “It’s incredibly financially irresponsible to increase the sales tax by an effective 12.9 percent for the next 25 years and put our city in its greatest debt ever by issuing bonds in the hundreds of millions of dollars for a less than 2 percent historical risk.”

Instead of agreeing to the 1 percent sales tax increase, Zeiter and STOP say the city should pay as it goes and incentivize undergrounding in neighborhoods as has been done in the past.

MOORLACH UPDATE — Get Mad, Get Motivated — October 19, 2018

When I get mad, I get motivated. That’s probably why I’m in public office. When I did a little research and realized what then-Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. “Bob” Citron was doing, I got mad. Mad enough to step out of my comfort zone as a partner in a large local C.P.A. accountancy firm, Balser, Horowitz, Frank & Wakeling, and run against him, unsuccessfully, in the June 1994 primary (see https://www.ronbluecpa.com/location/orange-county).

Well, I’m watching the financial status of California and its municipalities crumble and everyone seems to either be ignoring it or putting their heads in the sand. What to do? There is no singular and accessible public repository to find the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for every municipality. So, my office decided to create it. We went to every school district website or contacted the districts (two or three still haven’t provided them). We also received exceptional assistance from Marc Joffe at Reason Foundation by helping us track down a few of the stragglers.

Since my stint as Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2012, I’ve been reviewing California county CAFRs and taking their Unrestricted Net (Assets or Deficit) Position (UNP) and dividing it by its population. The per capita UNP is a very reliable indicator of the fiscal status of a municipality and allows us to compare them apples-to-apples (or, in the case below, oranges-to-oranges). The UNP should be positive (net assets), but more than likely it is negative (net deficit).

We reviewed the 482 cities earlier this year because I was mad. I’ve been drafting and presenting pension reform legislation and most of the cities, with the exception of those in Orange County, have been largely disengaged on this ever-increasing millstone. What to do? Show everyone how all of the cities are doing. It’s having an impact. The third and fourth editorial pieces below are recent columns from the Culver City Observer. The columnist gets it. Not only for the city, but for the city’s school teachers (see MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings – Vol. 1 – February 7, 2018). Just wait until the columnist finds out that Culver City Unified is #831 out of 940 — ouch (see MOORLACH UPDATE — California School District Rankings, Group 13 — August 28, 2018).

The second piece below announces our most recent review of the CAFRs for the 944 school districts in California. As a few have combined to save on auditing fees, we have 940 on the list. The Orange County Breeze, in the second piece below, provides the overview from our press release.

I have had the pleasure these past few years of serving on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and its Subcommittee No. 1 on Education (see https://sbud.senate.ca.gov/subcommittee1). When I’m told by representatives of our state’s CSU and UC systems that they cannot provide me with a ten-year Strategic Financial Plan, I get mad.

When I hear that teachers in LA voted to go on strike, I get mad. Don’t these people know how desperate their employer’s CAFR is? And, that it will be worse when the June 30, 2018 audits are completed thanks to the now required inclusion of retiree medical liabilities?

So, as an involved and committed elected official, I rolled up my sleeves and, with my staff, started digging. Regretfully, the data we obtained is not encouraging and the trend lines are not going in the right direction.

What to do? It’s time to be proactive! Now! If California’s elected leaders continue to hesitate, then being reactive will be too late and too ugly.

The first piece below is my editorial submission on this most recent school CAFR repository project. To be honest with you, the numbers were so bleak it impacted me emotionally. I was truly saddened to reveal the results of our simple metric. You’ve already seen them by my releasing 14 volumes of data in the month of August. The OC Register gave me an opportunity to expound on Orange County’s 27 public school districts.

If anything, I hope you get mad, too. And, get out of your comfort zone and do something to improve the situation. Volunteer for a campaign. Contribute to a candidate. Put up a yard sign. Even start doing the research to see if you should be a candidate yourself someday. We’re leaving a massive mess to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Please, get motivated.

 

OPINION

All OC public school districts but one bleed red ink

By JOHN MOORLACH

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/18/all-oc-public-school-districts-but-one-bleed-red-ink/

Of Orange County’s 27 public school districts, just one, Fountain Valley Elementary, boasts a positive balance sheet. Unfortunately, the other school districts have balance sheets that have dipped into the red.

The scoring comes as part of my new report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” It reviews the financial soundness of all 944 California public school districts. I performed a similar review of California’s 482 cities, including Orange County’s 34 cities, back in March. In that case, 19 O.C. cities ran positive balance sheets, although 15 ran red ink – a much better performance than for the school districts.

The rankings derive from each district’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which you can find on their respective websites. In each CAFR, look for the “Basic Financial Statements,” starting with the page titled “Statement of Net Position.” Look at the top row for “Government Activities.” Then look down the column to where it says, first “Net Position,” then “Unrestricted.” That’s the number you want: the Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP.

The number will either be positive or, with parentheses around it, negative.

I also divide the UNP by the district’s population to get a per-capita UNP. If negative, that’s the amount each person in the district is in hock for, whether or not your children attend school. Citizens should be concerned about the trajectory of these negative balances, which are commonly attributed to unfunded pension liabilities. As school board members are auditioning for their jobs, they need to be held accountable for dealing with these liabilities.

If the negative number runs too high too long, it will mean cuts in teachers, equipment, band and sports, and ultimately calls for tax increases. In the worst cases, takeover by the state, even bankruptcy, is not out of the question.

Fountain Valley Elementary’s positive number clocks at $78 per capita. For comparison, it ranks 102nd of California’s 944 school districts.

It’s all negative after that, with the second and third “best” being Laguna Beach Unified at ($223) and Fullerton Joint Union High at ($344).

By far the worst is Santa Ana Unified at ($1,805), a very dangerous number. It ranks a dismal 901st of California’s 944 school districts.

Oddly, the next two places of financial distress are held by districts in wealthy OC communities, Irvine Unified ($1,115) and Newport-Mesa Unified ($1,089).

Here are the per capita UNPs for all Orange County school districts:

1. Fountain Valley $ 78

2. Laguna Beach Unified ($ 223)

3. Fullerton Joint Union High ($ 344)

4. Huntington Beach City Union High ($ 350)

5. Huntington Beach City Elementary ($ 508)

6. Centralia Elementary ($ 532)

7. Orange Unified ($ 553)

8. Garden Grove Unified ($ 573)

9. Savanna Elementary ($ 589)

10. Cypress Elementary ($ 607)

11. Los Alamitos Unified ($ 619)

12. Anaheim Union High ($ 675)

13. Magnolia Elementary ($ 741)

14. Fullerton Elementary ($ 743)

15. La Habra City Elementary ($ 752)

16. Saddleback Valley Unified ($ 779)

17. Ocean View ($ 813)

18. Tustin Unified ($ 837)

19. Anaheim Elementary ($ 841)

20. Brea-Olinda Elementary ($ 888)

21. Buena Park Elementary ($ 898)

22. Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified ($ 966)

23. Capistrano Unified ($ 967)

24. Westminster ($ 988)

25. Newport-Mesa Unified ($1,089)

26. Irvine Unified ($1,115)

27. Santa Ana Unified ($1,805)

This is part of my effort to track the per capita UNPs of California’s various government budgets. In addition to the city budgets mentioned earlier, I have tracked counties, community colleges, California State University and the University of California as well as all 50 U.S. states.

You can follow all these analyses on my legislative website. The reports will be regularly updated.

Next year is going to be especially revealing – and distressing – as the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for the first time will require balance sheets to include unfunded retiree medical liabilities, which will show even more city and school districts in critical condition.

And when the next economic recession hits, for even those modestly distressed, it’s going to be one big financial train wreck.

Let’s hope our elected school board members and their administrative staff get in front of this serious cash management squeeze on their horizon. It’s time to be proactive, as taxpayers are not very forgiving with those who are reactive. Especially with supposed leaders who only have one solution: raise taxes.

John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th District in the California Senate

 

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Moorlach report finds 2/3 of California’s 944 school districts bleed red ink

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2018/10/05/128366_moorlach-report-finds-2-3-of-californias-944-school-districts-bleed-red-ink/

Sen. John Moorlach released his latest fiscal report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” SEE REPORT HERE. It follows his March 2018 reports on the state’s 482 cities that found 2/3 of them in the red; of 58 counties, 55 suffered deficits and only three enjoyed positive balance sheets. His May 2018 report on the 50 U.S. states found only nine were financially healthy, with California ranked among the worst, in 42nd place.

Some key findings from the new education report:

  • About two-thirds of California’s 944 public school districts run negative balance sheets. These statements show the most distressed districts could soon reach a tipping point into insolvency and receivership.
  • Of the state’s large school districts, those in severe distress include Los Angeles Unified School District, with a negative $10.9 billion balance sheet; San Diego Unified at negative $1.5 billion; Fresno Unified at negative $849 million; and Santa Ana Unified at negative $485 million, the worst in Orange County.
  • Of Orange County’s 27 public school districts, only one, Fountain Valley School District, is in positive financial territory.
  • One bright spot is the 58 county boards of education. At least 51 of them have manageable per capita unrestricted net deficits of -$159 or less, with 14 in positive territory.
  • Of the state’s 72 community college districts, only one enjoys a positive unrestricted net position (UNP).
  • Cal State University’s balance sheet is negative $3.66 billion.
  • The University of California’s balance sheet bleeds red ink all over the state, at negative $19.3 billion. Worse, that will double next year, to $38.6 billion, when retiree medical is included.

The Moorlach Report is a flashing caution light to almost every public education budget in California. Unless things can change quickly, taxpayers can expect new levies, and post-secondary students and parents should fear higher tuition.

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

Editor’s Note: Los Alamitos Unified School District is ranked 426, Savannah Elementary School District is ranked 408, Cypress Elementary School District is ranked 423, and Anaheim Union High School District is ranked 463.

Teachers Pensions Beat Others by 3-1 Margin

By Neil Rubenstein

https://www.culvercityobserver.com/story/2018/09/20/opinion/teachers-pensions-beat-others-by-3-1-marginby-neil-rubenstein/7761.html

In an ironic twist, a recent study by the nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners has found that the rising costs of teacher pension plans are starting to eat into their own salary hikes.

Teachers, and their unions, often complain about low salaries. The research from Bellwether shows that, since 1994, teacher salaries have failed to keep pace with inflation.

But total compensation for teachers has risen faster than inflation when non-salary benefits, such as insurance and retirement, are included.

Chad Aldeman, an associate partner at Bellwether, says lack of money isn’t why teacher salaries aren’t rising.

“Even after adjusting for inflation and rising student enrollment, total school spending is up,” Aldeman reports.

“It’s not for lack of money spent on teachers, either. Districts are allocating about the same portion of their budgets to instructional costs – including salaries, wages, and benefits for teachers – as they did 20 years ago.”

Aldeman notes that teachers have the highest retirement benefits of almost any profession.

“While the average civilian employee receives $1.78 for retirement benefits per hour of work, public school teachers receive $6.22 per hour

in retirement compensation,” Aldeman’s report says.

To be fair, teachers pay part of their salary into a taxpayer-backed pension fund.

When the fund does well, retired teachers do too.

But when the fund doesn’t make its financial goals, a deal that California lawmakers signed years ago essentially requires other state residents to make-up the difference—usually through higher property- or sales-taxes, like the ones that Culver’s government officials and its employees want you to approve in November.

Senator: Culver in Bad Financial Shape

Culver City is listed by State Sen. John Moorlach as being in one of most egregiously worst financial positions of the 482 cities that recently filed documents with Sacramento.

Meantime, our Council just moved $10 million from the City’s reserve fund, setting aside those funds by placing them into an irrevocable trust and making them only available to pay for City employees’ retirements.

This financial move should reassure City employees nearing retirement that their hefty pensions will be paid.

But what does the Council’s newly formed trust really do to alleviate the almost $4,000 tax burden for every man, women and child in Culver City who don’t work for our local government?

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at http://www.culvercityobserver.com

After November, Even More Tax Hikes May be Needed

By Neil Rubenstein

https://www.culvercityobserver.com/story/2018/09/27/opinion/after-november-even-more-tax-hikes-may-be-needed/7779.html

Can little Culver City continue to pay super-large paychecks and pensions to current and former City employees?

If so, local taxes will need to continue to rise.

No, I’m just not pointing the finger at our Police and Fire departments, but other City agencies as well. Our City Manager’s total of money and benefits is now over $400,000 annually, and some local government employee’s will never see the inside of a discount store because they’re collecting more than $175,000 in retiree pensions.

On Nov. 6, Culver City voters will be asked to approve another $187 annual property-tax to fund the School District plus a sharp increase in the City’s sales tax.

If our local government can’t reign in its spending now, it’s a safe bet that there will be more taxes to come in future years.

Time for a Culver Firewoman

I just guess I would feel better if we had a better system. After all, it’s been more than 100 years that Culver City has been functioning but has never had one lady in the firehouse.

Isn’t it possible to create a separate classification for paramedics, like so many other departments throughout our country have done? Surely, our Council should wake-up and change this poo-poo policy before our City is sued.

More on City Finances

Continuing the Culver City’ Observer’s policy of informing the public of our dire financial situation: State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, has listed all 482 cities in California based on their current financial situation and outlook for the next few years.

Culver City ranks 478, just five up from the bottom. With 40,000 residents, every man, woman and child in our community would have to pay $3,979 each to pay our City’s expenses.

Sen. Moorlach’s comprehensive study found that Culver’s financial position today is even worse than that of Bell and Maywood—and most of us know how those two cities turned-out.

Moorlach has already gained the support of several anti-tax groups, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which grew out of the 1970s property-tax revolt, and the National Tax Limitation Committee.

For additional information, visit Sen Moorlach’s web site at http://www.moorlach.cssrc.us or call his Orange County Office, (714) 662-6050.

Yee: More ‘Transparency’ Needed

California State Controller Betty Yee spoke on Sept, 22 at a South County Labor meeting that I attended. A group of about 400 activists from several trade unions and candidates for political office were there.

Yee and I had a long conversation on my suggestions to continue to improve financial transparency in California cities and counties. It’s probably only a matter of time before improvements will be mandated by Sacramento.

At our table were Veronica Sauceda, candidate running for L.A. Superior Court Judge No. 4 (www.Saucedaforjudge.com) and Patricia Hunter (www.pattihunter4judge.com/), candidate running for L.A. Superior Court Judge, office No. 16.

Please vote for both Hunter and Sauceda. In my opinion, they will be fair and have integrity.

Rank City Population UNP (thousands) UNP per Capita Year of CAFR

482 Vernon 209 ($101,678) ($486,498) 2017

481 El Segundo 16.717 ($86,756) ($5,190) 2016

480 Richmond 111,785 ($508,981) ($4,553) 2016

479 Oakland 426,074 ($1,789,831) ($4,201) 2016

478 Culver City 40,103 ($159,584) ($3,979) 2017

477 Cathedral City 54,557 ($181,885) ($3,334) 2017

476 Berkeley 121,238 ($394,430) ($3,253) 2017

475 Patterson 22,730 ($71,034) ($3,125) 2016

474 San Francisco 874,228 ($2,560,735) ($2,929) 2017

473 Santa Fe Springs 18,291 ($49,235) ($2,692) 2016

Culver City: Financially, 5th worst city in State of California

UNP: Unrestricted Net Position, in thousands of dollars

UNP: What each Culverite owes in future payments

Year of CAFR: Latest year the City reported

New Teachers, Same Budget Woes

With so many dozens of brand-new teachers with little or no real classroom experience having been hired by the Culver City Unified School District in the past three years, one would think that the district’s average cost of its teaching staff would be much lower.

But, if you check out the CCUSD/CCFT negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements on the district’s website covering this school year and the last one, you’ll find that the average compensation cost (combined salary and benefits) per teacher is $91,775 and under the CCUSD/CCFT collective Bargaining Agreement on Health and Welfare, it shows that the average cost of a teacher’s health and welfare is $5,222.

To find the teachers’ average salary, you would simply have to subtract the district’s average health and welfare costs from the teachers’ average compensation. In doing the math, you would come up with $86,553 as the teachers’ average salary–not the ridiculously low figure that Bruce Lebedoff Ander gave in his recent letter that was printed in the Observer.

His is almost $20,000 off- the-mark. It may have been $67,270 at one time, but that was probably a long time ago.

Wasn’t it five years ago when some current board members agreed to a five-year plan to give district-wide staff a raise that, at the time, was of an unknown size?

They helped pay for it by taking millions of dollars out of our School District’s reserves, and that, its final district costs turned out to be almost $20 million. That was the equivalent of giving district staff an unprecedented 30 percent salary increase.

But, that’s not even counting the district’s annual Step & Column’s increases of 3 percent to 4.1 percent for teachers with less than 10 years of service in the district. For those fortunate teachers, their salary increases could well have been between 45 percent and 50 percent over the last five years.

Now, Bruce Lebedoff Ander certainly has the right to express his own opinion of me. But hopefully, next time when he tries to throw around monetary figures, he will check the accuracy of his sources before putting out such wildly untrue and misleading information into the public discussion.

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opionion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at www,culvercityobserver.com

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MOORLACH UPDATE — Rick Reiff Rocks — October 18, 2018

Rick Reiff informed me that “it’s a wrap” for his Inside OC PBS show (see https://www.pbssocal.org/programs/inside-oc/). He’s done a recap of the last three years with selected clips. So Rick’s e-mail is the first piece below.

When Newport Beach City Manager David Kiff announced that he was retiring, I did a little archiving (see MOORLACH UPDATE — David Kiff — July 13, 2018 july 13, 2018 john moorlach).

I decided to do the same for Rick Reiff. He has been in my life since immediately after the bankruptcy! And all the while he has been professional, poised, balanced, humorous and tasteful. He is a first class journalist, columnist, reporter and television host. Thanks for being an OC icon, Rick. I wish you all the best. Here are most, but not close to all, of the memories we’ve shared. (If you are in a line at the DMV, you may want to click on the links — the mentions are usually brief and concise — they are in date order so start from the bottom or top.)

5/14/18
MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revision — May 14, 2018 may 14, 2018 john moorlach

5/7/18
MOORLACH UPDATE — Inside OC, Part 2 — May 7, 2018 may 7, 2018 john moorlach

4/24/18
MOORLACH UPDATE — The Joys of Presenting Bills — April 24, 2018 april 24, 2018 john moorlach

10/21/17
MOORLACH UPDATE — Bonuses and Bogusness — October 21, 2017 october 21, 2017 john moorlach

10/5/17
MOORLACH UPDATE — Rising Tide — October 5, 2017 october 5, 2017 john moorlach

9/27/17
MOORLACH UPDATE — What Pension Crisis? — September 27, 2017 september 27, 2017 john moorlach

5/14/16
MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Hearings — May 14, 2016 may 14, 2016 john moorlach

12/18/15
MOORLACH UPDATE — Streetcar Skepticism — December 18, 2015 december 18, 2015 john moorlach

10/29/15
MOORLACH UPDATE — Bay Bridge Bloat — October 29, 2015 october 29, 2015 john moorlach

3/29/13
MOORLACH UPDATE — Libraries — March 29, 2013 march 29, 2013 john moorlach

2/8/12

MOORLACH UPDATE — John Williams — February 8, 2012 february 8, 2012 john moorlach

12/19/11
MOORLACH UPDATE — Merry Christmas — December 19, 2011 december 19, 2011 john moorlach

11/22/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law – Plus — November 22, 2011 november 22, 2011 john moorlach

10/12/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — October 12, 2011 october 12, 2011 john moorlach

8/8/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Jefferson County — August 8, 2011 august 8, 2011 john moorlach

5/31/11
MOORLACH UPDATE — Southwest — May 31, 2011 may 31, 2011 john moorlach

5/26/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Memorial Day — May 26, 2011 may 26, 2011 john moorlach

3/28/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — Media Present — March 28, 2011 march 28, 2011 john moorlach

1/3/11

MOORLACH UPDATE — 2010 Review — January 3, 2011 january 3, 2011 john moorlach

12/5/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — December 5, 2010 december 6, 2010 john moorlach

11/1/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Dinner Debate — November 1, 2010 november 1, 2010 john moorlach

10/12/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Coyotes — October 12, 2010 october 13, 2010 john moorlach

8/17/10
MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — August 17, 2010 august 17, 2010 john moorlach

8/2/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy 25th JWA — August 2, 2010 august 2, 2010 john moorlach

6/14/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC – June 16, 2010 june 16, 2010 john moorlach

4/26/10
MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — April 26, 2010 april 26, 2010 john moorlach

4/19/10

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — April 19, 2010 april 19, 2010 john moorlach

12/22/09
MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS & OCBJ — December 22, 2009 december 22, 2009 john moorlach

11/30/09

MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — November 30, 2009 november 30, 2009 john moorlach

10/6/08
MOORLACH UPDATE — Twitter Musick — October 9, 2013 october 9, 2013 john moorlach

9/8/08

MOORLACH UPDATE — Poised for Laura’s Law — September 8, 2013 september 7, 2013 john moorlach

7/14/08

MOORLACH UPDATE — Memorial Gardens Building — July 10, 2013 july 10, 2013 john moorlach

3/24/08
MOORLACH UPDATE — Mulling and Inching — March 25, 2013 march 25, 2013 john moorlach

3/10/08

MOORLACH UPDATE — Harold De Boer — March 13, 2013 march 13, 2013 john moorlach

12/31/07
MOORLACH UPDATE — Happy New Year! — December 31, 2012 december 31, 2012 john moorlach

12/10/07
MOORLACH UPDATE — Assumption Rate Impac;ts — December 12, 2012 december 12, 2012 john moorlach

2/26/07
MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Register — February 27, 2011 february 28, 2012 john moorlach

1/29/07

MOORLACH UPDATE — Nick Berardino — January 28, 2012 january 28, 2012 john moorlach

1/8/07

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — January 10, 2011 january 10, 2012 john moorlach

12/11/06

MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 109 & CalOptima — December 12, 2011 december 12, 2011 john moorlach

11/6/06

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — November 9, 2011 november 9, 2011 john moorlach

8/7/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Jefferson County — August 8, 2011 august 8, 2011 john moorlach

6/12/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — LB Press-Telegram — June 12, 2011 june 13, 2011 john moorlach

6/5/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Today’s Hot Off The Press Update — Your Thoughts? june 7, 2011 john moorlach

5/29/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Memorial Day — May 26, 2011 may 26, 2011 john moorlach

1/30/06
MOORLACH UPDATE — Retroactive Waste — January 31, 2011 january 31, 2011 john moorlach

12/19/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — Lone Voice — December 17, 2010 december 17, 2010 john moorlach

8/8/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Weekly — August 6, 2010 august 6, 2010 john moorlach

7/11/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — KABC — July 12, 2010 july 12, 2010 john moorlach

5/5/05

MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — May 10, 2010 may 10, 2010 john moorlach

12/13/04
MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — December 13, 2009 december 12, 2009 john moorlach

12/8/04

MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — December 8, 2009 december 8, 2009 john moorlach

9/6/04
MOORLACH UPDATE — Retroactive Pensions — september 8, 2009 john moorlach

8/16/04

MOORLACH UPDATE — Twentieth Anniversary — December 5, 2014 december 6, 2014 john moorlach

9/1/03

MOORLACH UPDATE — New Geography — September 4, 2013 september 4, 2013 john moorlach

10/6/03
MOORLACH UPDATE — Twitter Musick — October 9, 2013 october 9, 2013 john moorlach

7/28/03

MOORLACH UPDATE — Federal Task Force — July 27, 2013 july 27, 2013 john moorlach

4/7/03
MOORLACH UPDATE — Property Tax Due Date — April 10, 2013 april 10, 2013 john moorlach

3/4/02
MOORLACH UPDATE — Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds — March 6, 2012 march 6, 2012 john moorlach

10/1/01

MOORLACH UPDATE — VLF Theft — October 1, 2011 october 1, 2011 john moorlach
9/4/00

MOORLACH UPDATE — Labor Day Weekend — September 4, 2010 september 4, 2010 john moorlach

12/13/99
MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — December 13, 2009 december 12, 2009 john moorlach

7/6/98

MOORLACH UPDATE — Preserving — July 8, 2013 july 8, 2013 john moorlach

4/19/97

MOORLACH UPDATE — IRS — April 10, 2012 april 10, 2012 john moorlach

3/17/97
MOORLACH UPDATE — Laura’s Law — March 19, 2012 march 19, 2012 john moorlach

3/10/97

MOORLACH UPDATE — Bye, Bye — March 9, 2011 march 9, 2012 john moorlach

8/5/96

MOORLACH UPDATE — Wild Animals — August 5, 2011 august 5, 2011 john moorlach

8/28/95

MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — August 26, 2010 august 27, 2010 john moorlach

12/12/94
MOORLACH UPDATE — Harbor Patrol — December 12, 2009 december 12, 2009 john moorlach

The second piece below is from the LA Times and addresses the current debate over how California prioritizes and spends its transportation funds. It goes into detail on how certain funds have been diverted and how that may be prevented in the future.

Overall, I commend the reporter’s willingness to give a fair review of the facts.
Unfortunately, the piece does not cover how Governor Brown has intentionally reduced spending on transportation during his two terms. While increasing the size of his annual budgets by more than 5 percent per year, the amount devoted to fixing roads has decreased. It’s a budget crime and a manufactured crisis. So, guilting taxpayers into another tax increase is unconscionable.

I also recently contacted the Legislative Analyst’s Office to review some concerns and specific questions that my office had about the taxes and expenditures for the state’s transportation system. You can find the LAO’s response here: https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/transportation.

Here is my e-mail to the reporter showing the hard data in a slide on the trends. I follow that with a graph on gas prices. Why? Because the real hidden agenda may just be to go after gas-powered vehicles. It’s sick, but that’s what you can do when you control the Governor’s mansion and the State Legislature and have an agenda. You add to this those who will generate corporate profits from the expenditure of this new tax and the picture gets even uglier.

Patrick,

Here is the research we did a few years ago on gas tax revenues, which were trending up, and the Caltrans budget, which was trending down.

This means that the funding that the state has been allocating to transportation has been trending down, while gas tax revenues were trending up. The state has been reducing its skin in the game. Therefore, it has diverted the revenues. Where [the diverted funds] have gone is the big question. Other areas, like MediCal funding or pension contributions or both.

But, with annual budget increases and not restoring funds back to transportation makes a gas tax increase dubious.

It’s been the game in Sacramento to shift funds elsewhere. For the DoF and the Governor to cry poor boy is unfair and looks premeditated. The lower funding appears to have been a choice made by the Governor and those who have voted for the annual budgets.

I look forward to your scholarship and sleuthing.

Source: Energy Information Administration (Courtesy of Stillwater Associates LLC)

Dear friend, in case you haven’t seen it, you are one of the highlights on the Inside OC “farewell” show that began airing this past Sunday. Here’s the YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxNFd5OA734

We’ve loved doing the show, and you know how much OC needs public programming, but after 14 years I’ve tired of the production side of things.

This finale focuses on the past three seasons (the latest incarnation of the show.)

Initiative to repeal gas tax hike sparks debate over how transportation funds are spent in California

By Patrick McGreevey

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gas-tax-diversion-20181018-story.html

In urging California voters to repeal new fuel taxes, Republicans say the state already had enough money to repair roads but squandered it by diverting it to other state programs.

Legislative leaders deny that money from motorists has been misused. They say the law prohibits non-transportation projects from getting any of the more than $5-billion annual take from last year’s increase in gas and diesel taxes and vehicle fees.

The dispute has been a major focus of campaign ads and stump speeches by those pushing Proposition 6.

Republican leaders have been pinning their hopes on voters being riled up by accusations that state officials have misspent gas tax funds.

“I find it to be a problem when they take gas tax monies that should go to road repairs and they divert it to everything but road repairs,” Proposition 6 campaign chairman Carl DeMaio said last week during aSacramento debate with Matt Cate, the co-chairman of the campaign against the initiative.

Cate and Democratic elected officials dismiss DeMaio’s claims and say that a ballot measure approved in June further restricts the use of new fuel taxes and vehicle fees enacted as part of Senate Bill 1.

“Proponents of Proposition 6 are using a talking point that is equal parts brazen and baseless,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said. “After voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 69 in June, SB 1 funds cannot and will not be diverted from transportation purposes.”

Rendon was among the state Democratic leaders who pushed through the legislation in April 2017 to raise the state gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, boost taxes on diesel fuel and create a new vehicle fee ranging from $25 to $175 annually, based on a car’s value.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said the new levies were necessary to address a $130-billion backlog in road and bridge repairs caused in part by the fact that the Legislature had not increased the gas tax in 23 years.

The first full year of new funding, in the fiscal year that began July 1, is expected to generate nearly $4.4 billion in revenue.

Most of the money will be set aside for improving roads and bridges. But 22% — nearly $1 billion in the first full year — will go to a broad mix of other projects, including mass transit, intercity rail, and bike and pedestrian paths. Transit and rail programs are covered by vehicle fees.

Other funds will go toward job training and administrative services for state transportation agencies.

In qualifying the repeal measure for the Nov. 6 ballot, DeMaio and Republican leaders have been especially critical of how the state has shifted funds to cover debt payments on Proposition 1B, a $19-billion transportation bond measure passed by California voters in 2006.

Voters agreed with arguments from then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former state Senate leader Don Perata (D-Oakland), who said the bonds would “make a real difference to the lives of millions of Californians, who will find it easier to get to work.”

Although most of the measure’s money went to improving highways, the bond projects also included $40 million to expand railroad tracks used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. over Tehachapi Pass and to help eliminate a bottleneck in Colton that delayed Union Pacific and BNSF trains.

Some public officials objected at the time to using public bond funds to help private railroad companies, saying the voters who approved the bonds intended them to fix roads. State transportation officials said the rail projects helped California’s economy by improving the flow of goods.

Those transportation bond payments were covered at first by the state’s general fund, which also pays for most other public programs, including schools, prisons, public safety and social services.

But in 2007, the state began using money from fuel taxes for the more than $1 billion in debt service on the bonds, freeing up that amount in the general fund for other programs.

The state stopped that practice in 2010 and instead began using truck weight fees to service the Proposition 1B debt. Before those shifts, the weight fees and fuel excise taxes went into the State Highway Account, which paid for state highway rehabilitation projects and maintenance.

Fuel taxes in place before SB 1 continue to go into that fund, but the new tax revenue goes to new, restricted accounts, including one for road maintenance and rehabilitation.

Last year, the debt service on the Proposition 1B bonds included $499.6 million in principal, $795 million in interest and $481,000 in fees. Since 2010, the state has paid $4.9 billion in interest on the bonds.

The use of gas tax money and then truck weight fees to pay debt service drew objections from state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), an accountant who previously served as Orange County treasurer and tax collector.

Money “should have come out of the general fund to pay the debt,” he said. “It’s a little bookkeeping shuffle. Now the state is coming and saying, ‘Oh geez, we need to fix roads.’ Well you had the money to fix roads. You just allocated them to somewhere else.”

Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), chairman of the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, defended using truck weight fees to pay bond debt.

“The money is actually going to transportation projects,” Beall said of the bond debt. “The advantages far exceed the interest cost by repairing the roads quicker and getting them done before they start falling apart even worse. It’s cheaper to do it with bonds.”

Proposition 6 supporters have also noted that for the last nine years, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has transferred money to the general fund — $89 million in the current budget — from processing fees charged to insurance companies and others for requesting driver information.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Finance Department, said that money has “never been considered to be vehicle revenues.”

From 2013 to 2015, the state also loaned the high-speed rail project $54 million from a transportation account funded by the sales tax on diesel fuel. The loan has not yet been repaid, officials said.

DeMaio has also criticized the use of $34 million from the State Highway Account over the last five years for a program that creates bike lanes and pedestrian walkways and makes sidewalks accessible to the disabled.

He says that fuel fees should go only to roads and that bike and pedestrian lanes should be funded by the tax on car sales.

“There is great frustration when people find that there is no money for potholes, but we are removing lanes to do these dedicated bike lanes,” DeMaio said. “We believe bike lanes should be additive, not subtractive. It shouldn’t be an either-or; it should be a both.”

But the state has proposed spending $1 billion of SB 1 money over the next 10 years on such projects, and on providing sidewalk improvements and safe routes to schools.

“They are part of the transportation system,” Beall said. “It’s not a significant amount, but if we can get more people to use bicycle paths and that kind of transportation, it helps everybody.”

The official name of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, is misleading, said Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), vice chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Because the new law was pitched largely as funding for road repairs, “Californians are going to be upset, and they should be upset,” when hundreds of millions of dollars instead go to other programs, Fong said.

Beall said supporters of SB 1 were clear throughout the debate that the measure would fund transportation needs besides roads, including mass transit.

“The transit does get cars off the road. That’s why we do it,” Beall said. “It’s a wise investment.”

State Senate leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said all spending under SB 1 has been restricted by the California Constitution.

The document says all taxes on fuels for motor vehicles used on public roads can be used only for “research, planning, construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of public streets and highways [and their related public facilities for nonmotorized traffic]” as well as the same purposes for mass transit.

“No gas tax money has been used for purposes other than those explicitly allowed,” Atkins said.

But Proposition 6 backers say the definition of what constitutes allowable transportation spending is too broad under the Constitution, and they have proposed a 2020 ballot measure to dedicate all fuel tax money to road and bridge projects.

In criticizing the current definition as too broad, initiative backers note that new transportation revenue also includes up to $50 million during the next decade for local governments to provide job training to people, including those just out of prison, so they can work on transportation projects.

About $79 million a year in tax money from gas pumped into off-road vehicles and boats will go to the general fund for state parks department programs during the next decade, while $26 million a year in gas and diesel taxes for farm equipment, including tractors, will go to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

“When you look at the debate on SB 1, there is a significant amount of money that isn’t for road projects — that goes to parks, that goes to labor programs, that goes to non-road infrastructure,” Fongsaid.

The agriculture agency will use the fuel taxes it gets to pay for inspections and keeping produce-harming pests from the state through point-of-entry terminals. Parks officials said fuel tax money from off-road vehicles will be spent on programs including increased law enforcement, environmental monitoring and maintenance.

Another $70 million is pegged to go to state universities during the next decade for transportation research.

Atkins defended the existing spending plan.

“Nothing in Senate Bill 1, or its companion constitutional amendment approved by the voters in June of 2018, changed the limited uses of gas tax revenues,” she said.

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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Ballot Measures — October 17, 2018

This should be the final episode of the Orange County Voter Guide for the November General Election. The edition below focuses on the various ballot measures around the county for school bonds and city election formats, tax increases, and other proposals.

The days that I’ve been warning about are here. The big open secret is that tax increases through local ballot measures are not for public safety or whatever else sounds manipulatively good enough to garner votes from naive residents. These tax increase requests are to fund overly generous public employee defined benefit pension plans.

I warned this day was coming (see just one of many examples at MOORLACH UPDATE — Pension Boosts are a Bad Bargain). The link includes public quotes of mine from 14 years ago!

Allow me to provide ten general rules and observations, which will hopefully explain my positions.

One: Vote against bonds. For school bonds, increasing property taxes will hurt homeowners and renters, especially new homeowners who have purchased at recent all-time real estate market highs. (Note: Lowell Joint School District is headquartered in Los Angeles County and was not included in my school district Voter Guides.) We’ve shown you that Santa Ana Unified School District is in such terrible shape, the worst by far in the OC, that throwing more money at this mismanaged district would be a huge mistake (see MOORLACH UPDATE — LAUSD vs. OC School Districts — September 18, 2018). Proposition 39 (2000) lowered the 2/3 voter threshold to only requiring 55% of the vote when the school bond measure is on a ballot for a regularly scheduled election.

Two: Vote against imposing term limits. The reason for establishing term limits — with Proposition 140 in 1990 — was to get rid of then-Speaker of the Assembly Willie Brown. But, I’ve seen how it has negatively impacted Sacramento and the OC Board of Supervisors. Term limits are not an appropriate solution to deal with incompetent, overly opportunistic or clinging-to-a-position office holders. In Sacramento, term limits took power and influence away from elected officials and gave it to unelected bureaucrats, staffers and lobbyists.

Three: Vote against corporate cronyism that enriches developers and stresses the existing infrastructure. Opposing Anaheim’s two developmental agreements are easy votes.

Four: Vote against minimum wage increases. The Anaheim measure is a brilliant, but diabolical union money grab that will hurt more than it will help.

Five: Vote against sales tax increases. Poor management decisions from the past should not be your future personal financial burden. The amount of revenues generated could be equaled by the employees of the cities taking a small salary reduction. If this is too difficult for them, the private sector job market is on fire and they can easily find a new job there. They may realize, however, how good their total compensation and benefit package really is and how unfair it is for the taxpayers to underwrite these costs. Special tax increases still requires a 2/3 voter approval to be implemented.

Although Laguna Beach has honorably dedicated their proposed 1% sales tax towards the undergrounding of electric lines, I just voted for, and the Governor signed, SB 901 to provide Cap and Trade funding for this particular infrastructure improvement (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018).

Six: With cities being coerced into establishing districts from which council candidates must arise, why should those candidates have to run citywide? I do not agree with splitting municipalities into districts for many reasons. But, if it is being forced on the electorate, then focusing a candidate’s campaign just on the voters in that district is the fairer approach to pursue.

Seven: If a city wishes to pursue financing that skirts obtaining voter approval, why not require it anyway in the charter?

Eight: Should a city have a separate tax on cannabis? Why set this precedent? What product comes next? All to make the annual pension plan contribution?

Nine: Although taxing tourists is an easy thing to do, should you disadvantage your accommodation providers just to make the annual pension plan contribution?

Ten: Should you approve one massive charter amendment, when some components are questionable? Or should the various components have been provided in separate ballot measures?

School District Measures
Los Alamitos USD
G Los Alamitos USD – Los Alamitos Unified School District  NO
Bond Measure

Lowell Joint School District

LL Lowell Joint SD – Lowell Joint School District NO
Newport-Mesa USD
H Newport-Mesa USD – Newport-Mesa Unified School District  NO
Trustee Term Limits

Santa Ana USD

I Santa Ana USD – Santa Ana Unified School District  NO
Bond Measure

City Measures

Anaheim
J City of Anaheim – Referendum Measure Approving  NO
Development Agreement No. 2016-00001
K City of Anaheim – Referendum Measure Approving  NO
Development Agreement No. 2016-00002
L City of Anaheim – Initiative Ordinance to Increase Minimum  NO
Wage Payable by Certain Hospitality Industry Employers
Cypress
M City of Cypress – Rezones 3.86 Acres Located at 5081 Orange  YES
Avenue from PS-1A Public/Semi-Public to PC Planning
Community (PC-14) in Compliance with Measure D
Garden Grove (1% Sales Tax Increase)
O City of Garden Grove – Garden Grove Public Safety/9-1-1 and  NO
Vital City Services Measure
Laguna Beach (1% Sales Tax Increase)
P City of Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach Utility Undergrounding  NO
and Fire Safety Measure
Lake Forest
Q City of Lake Forest – Advisory Vote Only: Convert from  NO
By-District to At-Large Council Elections
R City of Lake Forest – At-Large City Council Elections Ordinance NO
S City of Lake Forest – City Council Term Limit Ordinance NO
Newport Beach
T City of Newport Beach – Require Voter Approval Prior to  YES
Issuing or Incurring Certain Debt Obligations
Placentia (1% Sales Tax Increase)
U City of Placentia – 911/Essential Services Measure NO
San Clemente
V City of San Clemente – San Clemente, Initiative for Election of YES
City Council Members by District
Santa Ana (1.5% Sales Tax Increase & Cannabis Tax)
X City of Santa Ana – General Sales Tax Measure NO
Y City of Santa Ana – Commercial Cannabis Business License Tax NO
Z City of Santa Ana – Charter Amendment Measure NO
AA City of Santa Ana – By-Ward Elections YES
Seal Beach (1% Sales Tax Increase)
BB City of Seal Beach – Seal Beach Transaction and Use Tax NO
Tustin (3% Transient Occupancy Tax Increase)
CC City of Tustin – Increase Transient Occupancy Tax NO

 

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Other District Races — October 16, 2018

This Voter Guide, the first piece below, is for:

1) The Community College Districts, in their ranking order for the 72 districts in California by Unrestricted Net Position (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — UC, CCC and CSU — May 11, 2018);

2) The water, sanitary, and community services districts; and

3) The city clerk races.

Republicans are provided. Incumbents are noted and listed. If they are Democrats, there is an asterisk (*). Candidates with two asterisks (**) are Declined to State. Candidates in bold are endorsed. Those in italics are good second choices.

Capistrano Bay Community Services District does not have a website, so write in a teenager in order to get this municipality up to speed.

KQED provided a half-hour forum this morning on Proposition 1 and is the second piece below (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — 2018 Ballot Measures — September 21, 2018). To hear the discussion, go to https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101867764/election-2018-proposition-2-would-use-revenue-from-millionaires-tax-to-fund-homeless-housing and click on “Listen.”

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FORUM

Proposition 1 Would Authorize $4 Billion in Bonds for Affordable Housing

https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101867768/proposition-1-would-authorize-4-billion-in-bonds-for-affordable-housing

This November, California voters will decide whether to authorize a $4 billion infusion to existing affordable housing programs for veterans and low-income residents. Supporters of Proposition 1 say it will help address the state’s housing crisis. Opponents of the measure say it does nothing to cut the regulatory red tape that slows building in California and that the state can’t afford to take on more debt. Forum takes up the debate and examines the possible effects of Proposition 1.

Guests:

John Moorlach, California state senator, representing the 37th district

Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk

Linda Mandoloini, president, Eden Housing