MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Proposition 68 — March 23, 2018

The pace continues. My UPDATE for March 18th was picked up by the Daily Pilot and can be seen at and MOORLACH UPDATE — Funding OC’s Homelessness — March 18, 2018. For a more detailed explanation of these recent events, listen to my upcoming podcast on Monday, March 26.

The June Primary is on the horizon. For the second time, I’ve been asked to be a signatory for the opposing argument for a statewide ballot measure. The first time was for Proposition 71 in 2004 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — I Told You So! — August 26, 2017).

Because I argued and voted against Senate Bill 5, Senator Kevin de Leon requested that I write the opposition argument to Proposition 68. I gladly accepted this honor, as well as writing a rebuttal to the argument for this bond measure. For a preview of your June Primary Voter Pamphlet, go to

In the Pamphlet, here is how I’m introduced in the opening summary pages:

CON I’m not here to tell you that addressing drought, water, parks, climate, coastal protection, and outdoor access is wrong. Borrowing for them is wrong. California has enough debt. It has the worst balance sheet of all 50 states. The last thing the State of California needs is more debt!

My contributions are provided as the second piece below, along with a bonus opposition argument.

The Times of San Diego starts the discussion on this ballot measure in the first piece below.

Now that we’re on the subject that pertains to campaign season, hence the qualifier in my banner above, the Daily Pilot follows up with another column on the 48th Congressional race. My UPDATE was mentioned (see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Congressional Races — March 17, 2018). It’s the third piece below.

San Diego County Water Board Endorses $4 Billion State Bond Measure


The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to endorse Proposition 68, a $4 billion state bond measure on the June 5 ballot for parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply and flood protection.

Approval of the measure would mean $12 million for the San Diego River Conservancy and $200 million to Salton Sea restoration activities.

“Robust Salton Sea funding in this bond measure is significant for San Diego County because it supports agreements that generate substantial water supplies for our region,” said Mark Muir, chair of the water authority’s board. “The bond would allow our region to compete for other funds to further enhance water supply reliability and local watersheds.”

In November, the state Water Resources Control Board revised a 2002 order that approved a transfer between the water authority and the Imperial Irrigation District providing 100,000 acre-feet of water for San Diego County last year.

The San Diego County Water Authority would not directly receive any bond money, officials said.

The measure is opposed by Sen. John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, because it would add to the state’s debt burden which would keep the state from funding other services.

“When will Sacramento’s Legislature realize that we have poor infrastructure because it has not been a good steward of its financial resources?” Moorlach wrote in the rebuttal to the argument in favor of Proposition 68 in the Official Voter Information Guide.

“Debt is an indication of improper spending habits and inappropriate financial decisions.”


Can we share a rather sad fact with you? California has the largest unrestricted net deficit of all the 50 states in the nation!

Here are the rankings of the eleven worst managed states and their unrestricted net deficits for the year ending 2016 (California’s June 30, 2017 audited financial statements were not completed before the preparation of this report in mid-February):

1. California $169 billion
2. Illinois 150 billion
3. New Jersey 137 billion
4. Massachusetts 59 billion
5. Connecticut 51 billion
6. New York 41 billion
7. Kentucky 38 billion
8. Maryland 26 billion
9. Texas 20 billion
10. Pennsylvania 19 billion
11. Louisiana 12 billion

Do you really want to add to the debt burden of this state?
Do you know that the annual payments for principal and interest on this bond will squeeze out other services that Sacramento should be providing? Like helping the homeless and assisting the mentally ill?

When will Sacramento’s legislature realize that we have poor infrastructure because it has not been a good steward of its financial resources. Debt is an indication of improper spending habits and inappropriate financial decisions. Stop this madness and vote “NO” on Proposition 68.

State Senator – 37th District


Don’t be fooled by Proposition 68. The proposition promises to protect and improve California’s parks. The truth is it doesn’t.

First, of the $4 billion dollar bond, only $1.3 billion is actually dedicated to improving parks. A lot of the remaining money is given to politicians to spend on their pet projects.

Second, the money is not distributed fairly and equally across the state. Many of our residents in inland and rural California will not see any Prop. 68 park bond money spent to fix and improve their local state parks. This is wrong.

Every Californian should have their local park improved, not just the few who live near parks of powerful politicians.

Third, estimates are that state parks require $1.2 billion dollars for deferred maintenance. Yet, Prop. 68 allocates only a small amount of money for this essential task.

Finally, the Department of Parks and Recreation can’t be trusted with the money. In 2012, the department threatened to close 70 parks, saying it didn’t have the money to keep them open. This was false. An audit discovered the department did have the money, but was hiding it from the public. Until the department is reformed, we can’t trust it to spend the money wisely and fairly.

We need to protect and improve our state parks, but Prop. 68 is the wrong way to do that. Vote No and make the State Legislature really fix the parks for all Californians.

ANDREA SEASTRAND, President Central Coast Taxpayers Association

JON COUPAL, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Isn’t it wonderful how many great projects that California can build? I’m not here to tell you that addressing drought, water, parks, climate, coastal protection, and outdoor access is wrong.

What I want to tell you is that borrowing for them is wrong.

California has enough debt. In fact, it has the worst balance sheet of all 50 states. Its unrestricted net deficit is a quarter trillion dollars! The last thing the State of California needs is more debt!

Bond measures are deceptive. You think you’re voting for something good. But, it will take approximately $8 billion to pay off the $4 billion of borrowed funds. That means you can expect a tax increase. And your children can expect a tax increase. And your grandchildren can expect a tax increase. Why? The $225 million a year must be paid. With a tight annual budget, where else is this money supposed to come from?

The state’s pension plan contributions are rising. The retiree medical unfunded liability has just gone up $15 billion to $91.5 billion. The state’s borrowed debt for schools ($500 million per year) and, possibly, veterans ($225 million) and affordable housing ($169 million) are squeezing out other programs. Minimum wage increases alone will add $4 billion per year to the state’s budget.

This will have to be paid for. And you will be asked to raise your taxes. California is not reducing its debt. Don’t be a part of this problem. Vote “No” on Proposition 68.

Very truly yours,

37th Senate District

Republicans are tripping over each other in the 48th Congressional District race


Last week I wrote about former Orange County Republican Chairman Scott Baugh jumping into the 48th Congressional District race, challenging his longtime friend and incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).

This didn’t sit well with the O.C. Republican Party since Baugh dared to not abide by a party maxim: “Thou shall not run against an incumbent Republican.”

He even received a letter from OC Republican Party Chairman Ken Whitaker and other heavy hitters, chastising him for his actions.

One name on that letter: California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte.

Only problem is no one informed Brulte.

Brulte wrote to me saying, “I did not sign the letter. It was never sent to me, and no one asked me to sign.”

Guess these guys need to get their act together if they plan on sending letters to other protocol breakers — Republican Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s running against incumbent District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, also a Republican, as just one example.

And what about candidates running in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach? Republicans in these races challenge each other all the time.

Considering the Republican Central Committee has a history of endorsing candidates in these nonpartisan council races — pitting Republican against Republican — I’m confused as to why party panties are in a bunch about Baugh running against Rohrabacher.

Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) shared his thoughts about all of this in his email blast.

“The congressman has stated he was going to retire in two years so many times in the past that he’s been dishonest and abusive to those that are ready to get some real work done in D.C.,” Moorlach wrote.

Moorlach talked to Baugh.

“I told him that if he decided to run anyway, I would support him,” and went on to explain that though he’s supported Rohrabacher’s past runs, he won’t this time.

Moorlach says that 30 years later he “cannot recognize any major committee chairmanships or legislative accomplishments by our congressman.”

Though this is a rare move for Moorlach, he feels, “A protocol should not be an umbrella that protects mediocrity and stagnation. The Republican Party deserves better. And, in my opinion, Dana has made severe missteps of late, and I am one who really wants to improve the brand.”

So Moorlach’s sticking to his political moral compass — not the party line.

But is Baugh’s entry some kind of twisted political conspiracy to make sure the two top vote-getters in the open primary are Republicans, as one reader wrote after my column posted last week?

“Arrangements don’t involve threats, intimidation tactics and letters dropped off at doorsteps in the dark of night,” Baugh says. “There are very real and legitimate differences of opinion as to whether a party protocol should try to silence an alternative choice for the voters when the incumbent has been in the same office for 30 years.”

“How many years are too long?” he asks. “I don’t know the magic number, but 30 years seems to be considerably past that number.”

Though the Rohrabacher-Baugh match-up is an explosive upset for their county party, and there are a total of five Republicans in the race, Democrats are pretty messy too.

With far too many candidates — eight at last count — for any one to be viable, it seems their county party can’t reign in loose cannons either.

This is political theater at its best and too good to pass up. So for the first time the Feet to the Fire Forum gang will tackle a congressional race at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Orange Coast College Robert B Moore Theater. We’ll speak with the two 48th Congressional race primary winners.

Initially, we were planning for May 30, before the June primary, but with so many Democrats, Republicans and at least one independent candidates, not to mention the media panelists, we’d have almost 16 to 18 people on stage. That isn’t feasible.

So we’ve decided to wait until after the primary for a 60-minute chat with the top-two candidates, which could very well be Rohrabacher and Baugh, or one of them and a Democrat.

Baugh says he welcomes facing any challenger on F2F — if he’s a primary pick.

There are other live forums. On Sept. 19 the F2F conversation will be dedicated to Costa Mesa. The 90-minute debate will be split into two parts — the first devoted to council candidates, the second to the mayoral race.

We’ll turn our attention to the Newport council race Sept. 20.

All forums will be taped for re-broadcast on CMTV, NBTV, YouTube and streamed live. I’ll have more information as production meetings progress.

And we’re also doing Feet to the Fire podcasts. Check out the latest at

BARBARA VENEZIA is an opinion columnist writing political and social commentary since 2007. She can be reached at bvontv1

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