MOORLACH UPDATE — Open-Government Bill — May 28, 2016

Allow me to wish you a pleasant and observant Memorial Day Weekend. As my folks were direct beneficiaries of those who served and died in liberating northern Europe during World War II, I am extremely appreciative of those who died in representing this nation’s efforts to free nations from those seeking to forcefully impose dictatorships on innocent and free peoples.

I have had the privilege to visit the United States Cemetery in Normandy, France.

It is also featured at the beginning of the movie “Saving Private Ryan” (see This scene still moves me to tears. To those who laid down their lives, that I might live and live freely, I thank you.

Next week the Senate will meet all day in Floor Sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. All of the bills that were referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee are being addressed and those that receive enough votes will be referred to the Floor.

The good news? My bill to address electric power lines in Laguna Beach, SB 1463, was approved and will be voted on as soon as Tuesday (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016 march 25, 2016 john moorlach).

The bad news? A bill that I co-authored, SB 1286, did not make it out. The Davis Vanguard, out of Yolo County, provides the details in the first piece below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Other’s Senate Bills – 1286, 443, and 899 — April 18, 2016 april 18, 2016 john moorlach).

This bill was the OC Register‘s Editorial Board’s “favorite open-government bill in Sacramento this year” (see It also demonstrates that I can work on a bi-partisan basis with those across the aisle.

The big take away from this article is, once again, the power of public safety employee unions. I would advise you to be very cautious in voting for any Republican that is endorsed by a police, Sheriff, or firefighter union. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

The second piece is our press release, provided by the Voice of OC, announcing the recipient of this year’s small business of the year. While recently attending the Forum for Corporate Directors’ Annual Dinner, I bumped into Richard Reisman and Jerry Sullivan of the Orange County Business Journal. I asked them for recommendations for this award for a business with 100 employees or less. They responded, “we’re a small business.” The rest is history.

I have read most of the issues over the last two decades (I’m a little behind since leaving the OC Supervisor position). I was always surprised at how well read this publication is. Congratulations to the OCBJ and to Rick Reiff, as his weekly column was must reading for a couple of decades and who has been admirably succeeded by Jerry Sullivan.

Last year’s recipient was Zov’s Restaurants (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 593 — June 10, 2015 june 10, 2015 john moorlach).

The Voice of OC also gave a kind mention recently with regards to the County’s acquisition of the OCTA Bus Shelter, an initiative that I had been working on for years (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Seeking Shelter 2014 — December 26, 2014 december 26, 2014 john moorlach, MOORLACH UPDATE — Homeless Shelter at Depot — November 21, 2014 november 21, 2014 john moorlach, and MOORLACH UPDATE — Santa Ana Homeless Shelter — August 21, 2014 august 21, 2014 john moorlach).

My View: One Senator Able To Kill Police Transparency Bill

Posted by David Greenwald

It is ironic that a bill meant to promote police transparency was itself killed by a single Senator in a most non-transparent process. Senator Ricardo Lara is the chair of the appropriations committee and he simply skipped over the bill, preventing it from being called – effectively killing the bill for the rest of the session.

The bill was SB 1286, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and coauthored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), and Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), and would have shone light on how departments handle confirmed instances of officer misconduct and serious uses of force.

As the ACLU put it in a statement on Friday, a “blue code of silence to remain under California law.”

The ACLU wrote, “California, a national leader in upholding and expanding the rights of its residents, is surprisingly one of the most secretive states when it comes to releasing basic information about how departments investigate and address wrongdoing by peace officers, including racial profiling, sexual misconduct, and officer-involved shootings. On the other hand, states like Texas, Kentucky, Utah, and about a dozen others make these records public when a department finds that an officer engaged in misconduct.”

“Secrecy around serious allegations of police misconduct undermines public trust in law enforcement and jeopardizes the safety of our communities,” said Senator Mark Leno in a statement following the appropriations session. “I am disappointed that the Legislature did not have an opportunity to weigh in on this critical legislation.”

He added,” When secrecy wins, the public loses. Without SB 1286, confirmed allegations of police misconduct will continue to be obscured from public view.”

The Davis Enterprise, no bastion of liberalism, nevertheless recognized the need for reform, having dealt with UC Davis refusing to release information about the police officers involved in the 2011 pepper-spray incident and noted in an editorial last week that “in the aftermath the 2011 pepper-spraying of protesters by UC Davis police officers, the UCD Police Department not only refused to confirm the identities of the officers involved in the incident, it refused even to acknowledge whether the officers were on the force at all.”

They write, “The ability of police departments to shield themselves from scrutiny does not serve the public interest. Under current law, those who submit complaints against an officer rarely find out what happens after the complaint is filed. SB 1286 would permit complainants to learn about the disposition of their complaint and obtain information about the investigation, the findings and any discipline imposed.”

Former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso was brought in by UC Davis to head a task force looking into the pepper-spray incident, and he was similarly frustrated by the lack of cooperation and ability to get access to police records – some of which were not even personnel records. In 2014, he told the Sacramento Bee that community members in such cases confront a police “wall of silence.”

“It’s practically impossible to get that information,” he added. “The more we know, the better.”

But police officers’ unions disagree and, facing reelection this year, that was enough for Senator Lara to kill it – though some believe he would not have acted alone in this regard.

“Today is a sad day for transparency, accountability, and justice in California,” said Peter Bibring, police practices director for the ACLU of California. “Last year, 211 people were killed by police in California – more than in any other state – yet state law will continue to shield from public view the full findings of investigations into each and every one of these and all future killings.”

The vote comes at an odd point in time – as communities and police are rethinking their practices. Communities of color, but also overall, are calling for more transparency and accountability. For instance, a recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 30 percent of Americans and just 10 percent of Black Americans believe that police departments do a good job of holding officers accountable for misconduct.

“The committee’s decision is a slap in the face to the victims of police violence and brutality,” said Mar Velez, policy and organizing campaign manager with CURYJ (Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice). “One of the greatest disadvantages communities have when seeking justice in the face of officer misconduct and police brutality is access to information. While bad-acting police personnel enjoy an exorbitant amount of secrecy, communities are left in the dark.”

According to the Washington Post, unarmed Black men are a shocking seven times more likely to be killed by police gunfire than unarmed white men. Whether these killings are justified or not, the community needs to be assured that there is an open and transparent accounting.

SB 1286 would have ensured that:

  • Californians have full access to records of investigations and discipline in police shootings and other serious uses of force by police, and cases where police departments have found that their own officers actually violated the rights of members of the public.
  • Californians who file complaints alleging misconduct were told how the department responded. If the complaint is rejected, they will be told why. If it is sustained, they will be told what corrective action is taken.
  • Civilian oversight bodies and local governments have access to the police department records they need to carry out their duties, while requiring those agencies to keep records confidential.
  • Officers’ privacy and safety is protected by allowing courts to withhold records if there is a risk or danger to an officer or someone else, or if disclosure would be an unwarranted invasion of officers’ privacy.

Former Davis Police Chief Phil Coleman made an interesting point in a comment this week. He noted that, while police unions will oppose this kind of legislation for obvious reasons, “What is less known is that law enforcement administrators can find many advantages with public access to disciplinary records. Public support for principled police administrators would rise and, ultimately, labor-law restrictions unique to law enforcement would be modified. Chiefs and Sheriffs can then have the tools to make rogue officers go away, one way or another.”

Unfortunately we are going to have to wait at least another year before meaningful reform can occur on this front – that is another year where police shootings such as the one that occurred last week in San Francisco will have serious consequences not only for the community but also for police officers. The fallout from that killing was the resignation of the San Francisco Police Chief – the question is, what is the next shoe that is about to drop?

—David M. Greenwald reporting

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Amanda Smith (714) 662-6050
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Amanda.Smith

Orange County Business Journal Named California Small Business of the Year

Senator Moorlach Joins OCBJ Editor in Celebrating OCBJ’s Recognition as Small Business of the Year from California’s 37th Senate District

Jerry Sullivan, Editor of Orange County Business Journal, left, and Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

(Sacramento) – Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) today joined the California Small Business Association (CSBA) in honoring the Orange County Business Journal(OCBJ) as the 2016 Small Business of the Year from the 37th Senate District. OCBJ Editor Jerry Sullivan joined Senator Moorlach at the CSBA awards luncheon in Sacramento and accepted OCBJ’s award on behalf of Chief Executive and Publisher Richard Reisman. The ceremony’s featured speakers included President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes, and Insurance Commissioner Jones.

“For OC leaders, companies, and businesspeople, the Orange County Business Journal is simply required reading,” said Moorlach. “I’m proud to recognize the Orange County Business Journal for their commitment to serve as a top-notch, community-based publication that advocates for OC businesses, while opining on policy and practices that enhance economic activity and good business.”

The Orange County Business Journal is an Irvine, California-based weekly print and online newspaper delivering a comprehensive package of news, features, and special reports on OC’s most vibrant companies and vital individuals in real estate, healthcare, technology, start-ups, finance, marketing, hospitality, and other trades. It publishes 50 lists a year on companies and the most influential and wealthiest people in Orange County, culminating in its flagship book, the annual Book of Lists. Chief Executive and Publisher Richard Reisman and Editor Jerry Sullivan lead a staff of 40—part of a 33-year history of excellence in covering the community of business.

Each year, CSBA asks legislators to nominate a Small Business of the Year from their district that has demonstrated exemplary business ethics and community service. Orange County Business Journal was presented with a framed certificate from the State Senate recognizing the organization’s outstanding contributions to California’s 37th Senate District.


2016 Orange County Business Journal Staff

If you would like to request an interview with Senator John Moorlach, please contact Amanda Smith at Amanda.smith.

About Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa):
State Senator John Moorlach represents the 37th District of California, is a trained Certified Financial Planner and is the only CPA in the California State Senate. He gained national attention 20 years ago when he was appointed Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector and helped the County recover from its bankruptcy filing – at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. History. Follow him onTwitter and Facebook.

Voice of OC posts press releases to provide readers with information directly from organizations. We do not edit or rewrite press releases, and encourage readers to contact the originator of a given release for more information. To submit a press release email pressreleases

Supervisors Give Final Approval to Bus Terminal Purchase


The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday finalized the purchase of the abandoned bus terminal adjacent to Santa Ana Civic Center, but supervisors have yet to unveil a plan for what exactly they are going to do with it.

It’s widely assumed the terminal will become a temporary shelter and service center for the many homeless people who camp at the Civic Center. Certain supervisors – most notably John Moorlach in years past and Andrew Do most recently – have advocated for this approach as a way to reduce the number of homeless people camping in the Civic Center and give them some of the services they need.

However, while supervisors approved the $3.2 million purchase from the Orange County Transportation Authority during their regular meeting Tuesday, there was no discussion regarding concrete plans for the facility.

The county initiated the purchase last December, but because of a long escrow period did not make it available for homeless people during a time of intense El Niño storms in early January. After that week, Do pushed to get approval to open it even though it was still in escrow.

The facility was open — and county workers provided sleeping pads and food to homeless people — during the storms in late January and February.

Kaitlin Washburn is a news intern from the University of Missouri. She can be reached at kaitlinewashburn.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 899 and SB 1146 — May 27, 2016

At the conclusion of Monday’s Floor Session, a special Floor Session was called for Thursday. It ran from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. One of the first bills discussed, SB 899, had a rough start as its author had some difficulties presenting it (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Other’s Senate Bills – 1286, 443, and 899 — April 18, 2016 april 18, 2016 john moorlach). But, the debate went in earnest when it was opened to the Floor.

It confounds me how the State Legislature can find ever more ways to regulate our businesses. Now the retailers are in its scope as a target. I know that there are certain gender pricing abuses, but I believe the market place can rectify them; and stated as much (see The topic is covered in the LA Times in the first piece below and The Sacramento Bee in the second piece.

The third piece below, in The Sacramento Bee, deals with a very serious topic that I believe will have national reverberations. Christian universities can obtain Title IX exemptions from the Federal government, making them exempt from discrimination lawsuits.

SB 1146 targets these universities, which hold a tenet of sexual purity, to abide by secular standards, including potential litigation if it discriminates. This is not an easy topic to debate. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his final sermon, emphasized love, moral excellence, and generosity. Pursuing sexual purity prior to marriage and marital fidelity while married is not an easy standard by which to conduct oneself by, especially in an age where we are constantly being bombarded with images that tempt us, as marketing professionals know that sex sells.

Those that uphold this tenet can be perceived as being intolerant. And one segment of our society has made significant strides in recent years, and is now frustrated with campuses that uphold moral excellence. So, I made an observation on tolerance. There is a lesson that should not be lost, which will require an emphasis on love and generosity.

Pink razors and blue razors should cost the same under gender-pricing measure the California Senate just approved

By Patrick McGreevy

The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit businesses in California from charging customers different prices for similar goods on the basis of gender.

State Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), the author of the bill, cited the example of two substantially similar disposable razors sold by the same company. A package of 12 blue razors marketed for men cost $7.99. A package of 12 pink razors for women sold in the same store for $12.99.

“We understand that women already earn less income. Why are we charging them more for essential products that they need in their everyday lives?” Hueso said during the floor debate. “This bill would prohibit the sale of goods on the basis of discrimination to women or men.”

He also cited a 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs that looked at a wide variety of products, including toys and clothing, which found that women’s products cost more 42% of the time while men’s products cost more 18% percent of the time.

California has, for two decades, protected consumers against gender price discrimination in the service industry.

Hueso’s bill would allow consumers to challenge different prices by the same brand for similar or identical products .

But it allows price differences based specifically on the labor, materials, taxes or other gender-neutral reasons.

Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) joined most Republicans in opposing the bill, predicting it would lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits that could drive small retailers out of business. He said consumers and the marketplace will weed out unfair pricing.

“I don’t think we need to have a pricing police going into retail shops,” Moorlach said. “I see it as a nightmare for retailers.”

State Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) brought up an example in which one company sells a red boy’s scooter for $29.99 and a pink girl’s scooter for $49.99.

Other lawmakers joked about consumers saving money by using a product marketed to the opposite sex.

“Members, sex discrimination isn’t a joke,” responded state Sen. Loni Hancock(D-Berkeley). “It’s a reality that women have been living with for centuries.”

The bill goes to the Assembly for consideration.

Bill banning ‘gender tax’ clears California Senate

SB 899 prohibits retailers from charging men and women separate prices for similar products

Supporters say women face ‘gender tax’ on consumer goods

Passes 22-12 over opposition from business groups

By Alexei Koseff

Pink scooters that cost double their red counterparts. “Boyfriend”-style clothing far more expensive than the men’s fashion it mimics.

These are the scenarios that California legislators aim to outlaw with Senate Bill 899, a prohibition on “gender price discrimination” that often sees women charged more for similar goods. The equal-price-for-equal-products measure by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, passed the state Senate on Thursday by a vote of 22-12.

“I don’t know any women who do not want to pay their fair share,” Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, said. “But we do not want to pay our share and someone else’s share.”

Opposed by retailers and the California Chamber of Commerce, SB 899 struggled for enough support on the Senate floor. Four Democrats – Steve Glazer of Orinda, Cathleen Galgiani of Manteca, Ben Allen of Santa Monica and Bob Wieckowski of Fremont – voted no or abstained. Republicans were uniformly against the proposal.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he spoke with his wife and she confirmed that there are issues, but he felt the market could correct itself.

“I don’t think we need to have a pricing police going into retail shops,” he said. “If there’s a retailer that is really abusing this pricing, this gender pricing, the gals can just get on Facebook and just knock the retailer right off the shelf.”

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

Senate bill says religion no excuse for LGBT discrimination

SB 1146 would tighten requirements for university exemptions from anti-discrimination laws

Sen. Ricardo Lara says schools use exemptions to discriminate

Republican senators say bill infringes on First Amendment rights

By Rachel Cohrs

The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would make it more difficult for universities to get religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals.

The bill would affect more than 30 higher education institutions in California that currently have religious exemptions to federal or state anti-discrimination laws.

It also requires universities receiving religious exemptions to disclose them. Currently, state exemptions are only available through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The author of the bill, Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said LGBT students and staff have been expelled from school or fired from their jobs based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, only to learn that their universities had religious exemptions to discrimination protections after the fact.

He also cited examples of transgender students who couldn’t get access to housing consistent with their gender identity.

“These universities have a license to discriminate, and students have absolutely no recourse,” Lara said on the Senate floor.

Republican officials voiced their concerns that the bill, which would limit religious exemptions only to seminaries or religious vocational training schools, infringes upon religious liberty.

“Sometimes you can become what you hate,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said. “You can become intolerant if you have been the victim of intolerance. I want to be very careful where we are going.”

On a federal level, Title IX currently prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational programs or athletics. Universities can obtain a religious exemption for institutions controlled by religious organizations. At least six universities in California have applied for or received religious Title IX exemptions, including Biola University, Fresno Pacific University, Simpson University, William Jessup University, John Paul the Great Catholic University and LABI College.

The key state-level discrimination law, the Equity in Higher Education Act, has more stringent regulations that prevent schools from discriminating on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

The Senate bill would allow schools to keep religious curriculum and chapel requirements for students. Failure to comply with the bill’s requirements wouldn’t affect Cal Grant money, but would open up an avenue for students and staff to take legal action.

A similar bill in committee in the Assembly would require schools to adhere to the state’s nondiscrimination requirements in order for students to receive Cal Grant financial aid.

Rachel Cohrs: 916-321-1046, @rachelcohrs


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MOORLACH UPDATE — California Coastal Commission — May 24, 2016

I applied for the California Coastal Commission (CCC) twice; the first time was in 2009 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Coastal Commission — November 13, 2009 november 13, 2009 john moorlach). I also served on the California Coastal Counties Caucus while I was a Board Member of the California State Association of Counties.

So, the second time that I was invited by Sen. Darrell Steinberg to apply, my application was very specific. If I am appointed, I would do my best to reorganize the management structure of the CCC. Surprise. I was not selected, again.

I know Charles Lester. I believe he is a nice man, but I did not perceive him to be a strong and effective manager. So, when the majority of the California Coastal Commission recently removed him as its Executive Director, I was impressed that this group of individuals was doing their job.

Many perceive the CCC members as liberal environmentalists, and they would be right. But, when they see an organization that is not run well, they have a responsibility to address it. And, they did. Now everyone is in an uproar and scrambling for fixes. They believe that something is amiss and blame the development community. Wrong. The CCC has needed a management change for a long time, period.

To those who oppose the Commissioners for actually doing their job, I would say, "Stop overreacting and let your appointees manage the CCC, as they are doing the right things." My philosophy as a County Supervisor was to let managers manage. I tried to communicate that on the Senate Floor yesterday. My thoughts were captured by the LA Times and the Sacramento Bee, in the first and second pieces below, respectively.

I also protested against the current model and recommended that the CCC should be more similar to a city council or the State Senate than a group of judges.

The third piece provides a nice shout out by Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. His remarks parallel mine in regards to Caltrans (for those new to the UPDATE, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Insubordination — March 18, 2016 march 18, 2016 john moorlach). His piece appears in the FlashReport and in Fox & Hounds.

Cracking a door on backroom decisions

State Senate approves measure that would ban ex-parte meetings with members of the Coastal Commission


The state Senate on Monday approved legislation that would prohibit developers,

environmentalists and others from having private, off-the-record communications

with members of the California Coastal Commission that could influence decision-


Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) introduced the measure because of

concern over the recent Coastal Commission decision to remove Executive Director

Charles Lester during a closed-door session with little public explanation.

More than 200 environmental activists and others testified against the removal,

with some claiming commissioners were making the agency friendlier to developers.

Jackson told her colleagues that the commission has ‘’run amok,” adding the

removal "has resulted in a high degree of public uncertainty, accusations of a lack of

transparency in the decision-making process and concerns of undue influence."

The bill would explicitly prohibit ex-parte communications involving development

permit applications and board hearings on enforcement actions against improper


“SB 1190 will help restore the public’s trust in this commission, ensure that decisions

are made with transparency and remove that backroom decision-making or the

public perception that backroom decision-making occurs,” Jackson said during the

floor debate. The vote was 23-12.

The commission, which plans and regulates the use of land and water along the

coast, allows ex parte communications as long as they are disclosed. However,

Jackson said the disclosures are often delayed.

Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) voted against the bill, saying it is too

restrictive on communications between the public and its government.

“I think we are probably overreacting to something,” he said.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) voted for the bill despite concerns that the bill

could prevent full and fair hearings to people and lacks a prohibition in ex parte

communications with staff.

“Currently it’s nearly impossible to get a full and adequate hearing without ex parte

communications,” Hertzberg said, noting interested parties often get only minutes

to make their case at a hearing.

California Senate votes to ban private talks at coastal board

Bill would prohibits private, off-the-record conversations with commissioners in certain proceedings

Supporters argue that developers have undue influence over board

Move follows controversial firing in February of commission’s veteran director

By Alexei Koseff

Lingering frustration over potentially cozy relationships between California’s coastal protection agency and developers prompted the state Senate on Monday to advance legislation prohibiting board members from engaging in private, off-the-record conversations with the parties in permit decisions and other matters.

Under current law, these “ex parte” communications are allowed as long they are disclosed through a form or, if they occurred less than seven days before a meeting, verbally at that hearing. Supporters of Senate Bill 1190 allege that builders and their consultants have developed special access to the California Coastal Commission because of their full-time involvement in the issues it oversees.

“These quasi-lobbyists literally travel with the coastal commissioners. They are everywhere,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, the bill’s author. “This process has become flawed, seriously flawed.”

Jackson said the law would ensure that the quasi-judicial procedures that encompass the vast majority of the commission’s work, such as granting permits and taking enforcement actions against improper development, is conducted with the transparency and impartiality the public expects.

The bill was prompted by the controversial firing earlier this year of veteran Coastal Commission director Charles Lester.

The commission, established in 1972 by voter initiative, said Lester was removed because of his poor leadership at the agency. But environmentalists, commission staff and dozens of former commissioners rallied to his side amid charges that he was being pushed out by pro-development forces.

Led by the Senate’s majority Democrats, SB 1190 passed 23-12 and now moves to the Assembly.

Nearly every Republican voted against the bill. Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, called it an “overreaction,” telling colleagues, “You’ve got to learn to let managers be managers.”

Two senators who are former members of the Coastal Commission split on the measure. Sen. Ben Hueso, a San Diego Democrat and a commissioner from 2007 to 2009, left the room during the debate and did not vote.

But Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, said she was overwhelmed during her time on the commission from 1995 to 2000 by the ability of certain advocates with a lot of money to find her at home or work and set up a time to talk.

“There is a problem. There is undue influence, and it’s not fair,” she said. “I unfortunately think we need this protection in place.”

Another bill that would require paid consultants who lobby the agency to register with the state and disclose their clients is awaiting a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff


Profligate Waste


Justification for Transportation

Tax Hike

Jon Coupal

Posted by Jon Coupal

A personal digression: My father was head of the Iowa Department of Transportation (then called the Iowa Highway Commission) in the late ’60s and early ’70s before he was appointed by President Ford to serve as Deputy Federal Highway Administrator. (Of course, he lost that job when Jimmy Carter became president, but he continued to work in the private sector for a transportation think tank). When I was in high school, I remember him coming home from an ASHTO conference. That organization, the Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, was a pretty well respected group and still is. He was complaining bitterly about what was going on in California. I don’t recall his exact words, but the gist of it was that the new head of California’s transportation agency, called CalTrans, had been taken over by a certifiably crazy person (with no background in transportation policy) by the name of Adriana Gianturco. According to my father, in the 1950s and ’60s, California had the best transportation agency in the entire world. But all that changed with the election of a new, anti-growth, small-is-beautiful governor by the name of Jerry Brown.

Now, fast forward 40 years. Governor Brown, version 2.0, proposes a budget that assumes a big increase in transportation taxes and fees. The California Legislature shouldn’t just say no, it should say hell no.

Where to start? First, let’s take judicial notice of the fact that California is already a high tax state with the highest income tax rate and the highest state sales tax in America. But more relevant for the issue at hand, we also have the highest fuel costs in the nation. This is because of both the 4th highest excise tax on fuel and the fact that refineries are burdened with additional costs to comply with California’s environmental regulations.

The high cost to drive in California might be understandable if we were getting value for our tax dollars. But we aren’t. A big problem is that Caltrans is dysfunctional, plain and simple. It has never fully recovered from the days when the agency was effectively destroyed by Gianturco. A report by the California State Auditor just a couple of months ago concluded that a primary responsibility of Caltrans – maintenance of our highways – is not being executed in a manner that is even close to being efficient or competent. Senator John Moorlach, the only CPA currently serving in the California legislature, reacted saying that “This audit reinforces the fact that our bad roads are not a result of a lack of funding. They’re a result of a lack of competence at Caltrans.” Moreover, a report by the Legislative Analyst concluded that Caltrans is overstaffed by 3,500 employees costing California taxpayers over a half billion dollars a year. All this compels the obvious question: Why, for goodness sake, do we want to give these people even more money?

Another unneeded and costly practice consists of project labor agreements for transportation construction projects. These pro-union policies shut out otherwise competent companies from bidding on projects resulting in California taxpayers shelling out as high as 25% more than they should for building highways and bridges.

Finally, California’s environmental requirements are legendary for their inefficiency while also doing little for the environment. Exhibit A in this foolishness is Governor Brown’s incomprehensible pursuit of the ill-fated high speed rail project. Not only has the project failed to live up to any of the promises made to voters, it is currently being kept alive only by virtue of the state’s diversion of “cap and trade” funds which are supposed to be expended on projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But in the Kafkaesque world of California transportation policies, the LAO has concluded that the construction of the HSR project actually produces a net increase in emissions, at least for the foreseeable future.

No one disputes the dire need for improvements in California’s transportation infrastructure. But imposing draconian taxes and higher registration fees that serve only to punish the middle class while wasting billions on projects that don’t help getting Californians get to work or school cannot and should not be tolerated. Legislators who present themselves to voters as fiscally responsible need to understand that a vote for higher transportation taxes will engender a very angry response from their constituents.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.


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MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — SB 1273, Beaumont & Part Three — May 23, 2016

The guest column in the first piece below is in yesterday’s OC Register Commentary section. If I could edit the submission, the beginning of the first sentence would read "After years of set backs." I worked diligently on obtaining a 200-bed year-round homeless shelter, only to be derailed by the potential host city councils of Fullerton and Santa Ana. See MOORLACH UPDATE — Santa Ana Homeless Shelter — August 21, 2014 august 21, 2014 john moorlach for a sampling.

However, it is nice to receive a shout out for my current efforts in carrying SB 1273 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1142 and SB 1273 — April 16, 2016 april 16, 2016 john moorlach). This bill passed on the Senate Floor on April 21st with 38 votes.

The second piece comes from the Banning-Beaumont Patch, which provided the Press Enterprise article yesterday. It is the front-page, top-of-the-fold story in today’s Press Enterprise. Just like the city of Bell, the city of Beaumont will be talked about for the next few months. My first quote deals with an audit firm giving a "going concern" opinion to a municipality that is near insolvency. It is rarely done. And, when it is done, it is with fear and trepidation by the audit firm.

The closing comments deal with how to address this matter in the future. Short of hiring a very competent CPA firm, and paying for the better level of service (instead of low bid, mill house firms that have sprung up again), this matter is best resolved by the Government Accounting Standards Board, through its promulgations.

Part Three of the voter’s guide is provided at the bottom, for those who need assistance with ballot measures and Republican Party Central Committee candidates.

Tackling homelessness in O.C.

By ANDREW DO / Contributing Writer

After years of neglect, Orange County is finally taking action and achieving significant progress on homelessness.

This month, a unanimous Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to open the competitive bidding process for managing the first permanent, year-round shelter in Orange County. In addition to achieving the best value for taxpayers, this bidding process will prioritize innovative thinking to address the ongoing challenges of solving homelessness.

By the end of next year, the Anaheim-based multiservice center will be open and connecting people with housing, employment and social services, as well as providing a warm bed to 200 people with nowhere else to go.

Although a critical component of Orange County’s response to homelessness, it’s far from the only action the county’s taking to help the 2,000 people who lack shelter on any given night in Orange County.

1. Emergency El Niño assistance

In advance of the El Niño storms, Orange County fast-tracked the transformation of an abandoned Santa Ana bus terminal into an emergency storm center. Under the standard 90-day escrow, the facility would have remained offline until mid-April – well past the brunt of the winter storms.

By working collaboratively with the Federal Transit Administration and Orange County Transportation Authority, we were able to activate the storm shelter on January 30. El Niño may have pulled its worst punches this winter, but our advance preparation helped provide food and emergency shelter to more than 3,900 people.

2. Homeless czar to cut through red tape

There’s no shortage of government assistance programs that are charged with providing vital services to those in need. However, departments are so focused on their singular mission that they often lose sight of the overall objective: to help people achieve self-sufficiency.

That’s why I proposed the creation of a social care coordinator, or homeless czar, to cut through red tape and better coordinate existing public health, social services and housing programs. Rather than add to the bureaucracy, Orange County’s homeless czar will incorporate every department and program to deliver wraparound service to those in need. By the end of the month, this homeless czar will be on the job directing our comprehensive response.

3. Maximizing state mental health dollars

Chronic homelessness can’t be solved without addressing the underlying root cause of homelessness. For many, that’s substance abuse or mental illness. “One in five people experiencing homelessness had a serious mental illness,” the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates, “and a similar percentage had a chronic substance use disorder.”

Again, the problem isn’t a lack of government programs or tax dollars dedicated to mental health services or substance abuse programs. Orange County oversees approximately $323 million for 200 mental health programs and behavioral services, ranging from case management to crisis intervention. Unfortunately, much of this funding is tied up in bureaucratic restrictions and cannot be used for our most pressing needs.

Thankfully, state Sen. John Moorlach has introduced legislation to provide greater flexibility and make better use of mental health funds provided by the state. Senate Bill 1273 grants local governments the authority to use mental health services funding for crisis stabilization services for individuals who are experiencing a mental health emergency.

Orange County’s efforts are also being supplemented by outstanding nonprofit organizations that have been on the ground serving the homeless while many were ignoring the issue. In conjunction with the county and the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program, more than $1.7 million has been awarded to American Family Housing’s Potter’s Lane project, which will provide housing for Orange County’s veterans.

Orange County is committed to getting people off the streets and onto a productive path to self-sufficiency.

Andrew Do, a former prosecutor, is First District Orange County supervisor.

Should someone have raised red flag on city’s finances?

Written by Alicia Robinson, Reprinted from the Riverside Press Enterprise


A question lingers in the case of Beaumont’s alleged financial malfeasance – just as it does after problems in Bell, or Vernon, or the City of Industry.

Why is it that, for years, either no one saw red flags or, if they did, never reported them. And agencies that could have acted didn’t.

Answers may be complex and hard to come by, but experts and observers are now pointing to a number of breakdowns that can lead to shackled city officials standing before a judge and taxpayers asking where their money went.

In Beaumont, seven former top city officials stand accused of 94 felony charges of misappropriating $43 million in public funds over two decades. Six of the men were arrested Tuesday, May 17, and the seventh turned himself in Wednesday. No one has yet entered a plea.

Former City Manager Alan Kapanicas and former Finance Director William Aylward are charged with embezzlement, misappropriation of funds and conspiracy. Former Economic Development Director David Dillon, former Public Works Director Deepak Moorjani and former Planning Director Ernest Egger are charged with conflict of interest and embezzlement.

Former City Attorney Joseph Aklufi faces embezzlement charges, and former police Chief Francis Dennis “Frank” Coe was charged with misappropriation of funds and conspiracy.

Most of the charges stem from an alleged scheme in which prosecutors say city officials used bond money for public works projects such as building streets and sidewalks while personally enriching themselves and paying back the debt through tax assessments on homeowners.


The first potential pitfall is that most people think government finance is either too complicated or too boring to spend time on. As a result, few citizens look closely at what local officials are doing with their money.

In Beaumont, several residents repeatedly raised questions about city finances for years but have only now been vindicated by the former officials’ arrests.

Smaller cities, especially those like Bell with significant numbers of immigrant and working class residents, may be less engaged with city government, said Max Neiman, a former UC Riverside professor and senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Government Studies.

Most elected officials don’t have a financial background, so they may depend on city officials for information and trust them to make sure the city is following the law.

Riverside City Councilman Mike Soubirous said that, when he took office in 2014, he was faced with an inches-thick annual audit full of complex information. City officials said the finances were in good order, though some in the community told him there were problems.

“There are a lot of people that come into this and they don’t want to look dumb,” so they’re reluctant to ask questions, Soubirous said.

“The success of your city relies on how honest and good (staff is).”

Some past Beaumont council members have publicly supported city staff and approved bond issuances they proposed. Former Councilman Roger Berg has said the benefits of the bond spending are clear from the growth the city has experienced.

So who reviews local government finances?

The short answer is the state controller’s office, which requires cities to submit annual reports of their revenues, expenditures and bond debt, said Jennifer Hanson, spokeswoman for state Controller Betty Yee.

But with 58 counties, more than 400 cities and nearly 5,000 special districts across the state,those reports are not reviewed in depth, she said.

The state controller can do a detailed audit – Yee’s office released a scathing review of Beaumont’s past practices in November. Data provided by Hanson shows 259 reports were flagged in 2013-14 for a closer look, up from about 80 that were flagged each of the previous two years.


State law does not mandate outside audits by an independent firm, but many cities do them as a best practice, in order to receive a bond rating, or because federal funding rules require it, Hanson said.

In keeping their books, the vast majority of government agencies follow rules set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, an independent, private sector organization that is considered the authority on accurate and transparent accounting.

The standards don’t include anti-fraud measures, but it’s unlikely any specific rule could stop criminal conduct, board spokesman Kip Betz said.

“We want our standards to result in a fair and accurate representation of the financial picture,” he said. “If people are willfully distorting that, I don’t think that’s something we can address.”

Beaumont was audited by an outside firm, Culver City-based Moss, Levy & Hartzheim, between fiscal 2007-08 and 2012-13, according to audits posted on the city website. Officials at the firm could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

Several experts said auditors should look for the kind of problems alleged in Beaumont. And they were surprised the issues apparently went undiscovered or unaddressed for so long.

For example, Yee’s review of the city’s accounting controls concluded that checks and balances were practically nonexistent, and the Riverside County District Attorney’s investigation found that city officials were signing checks to their own consulting companies that were paid with city-issued bonds.

Auditors are supposed to look at internal controls as a cue for how deep the audit should go, said Richard Savich, a UC Riverside accounting professor. They’re not required to give an opinion of the controls, but the weaker they are, the more financial transactions the auditor should check.

“Professional skepticism is the thing that all auditors are supposed to use,” Savich said. “I would definitely look askance at the external auditors and say, ‘What did you guys do?’”

A required statement included in a 2003 bond issuance noted that Kapanicas, then the city manager, was also serving as a special tax consultant and Public Works Director Deepak Moorjani was the engineer for the projects for which the bonds would pay. That could be seen as a conflict of interest, but it’s not clear whether anyone ever questioned it.

And when an audit uncovers a problem, it’s typically reported to city management or the city council.

But auditors can be discouraged from giving too negative of an opinion “because they’ll lose the client,” said State Sen. John Moorlach, a CPA who was Orange County’s treasurer from 1995 to 2006.

Once auditors deliver their report, they may consider their work done.

Macias Gini & O’Connell, a Bay area firm Beaumont hired for two special audits in 2015, made findings including that the city’s general fund had been running deficits for several years, and there was no clear payback plan for loans made between city funds, said Scott Johnson, a partner at the firm.

He said the firm doesn’t comment publicly on whether anything it finds in audits is illegal, improper or reportable to some other authority.

“We had a contract with the city, we provided reports to the City Council, we made our recommendations to them, and it’s up to the City Councilas a governing body to pursue those recommendations,” Johnson said.


Figuring out how to address the pitfalls in government financial oversight may be as complex as how they happen in the first place.

Soubirous, the Riverside councilman, said elected officials need to take responsibility.

“I think it’s incumbent on council (members) to really ask a lot of questions and dig down,” raise the alarm if they meet resistance or can’t get answers, he said.

Accounting professor Savich said ethics training and a whistleblower program to protect employees who report concerns could help, but no solution is foolproof. “You can’t think of all the ways people are going to cheat you,” he said.

The state could require local governments to make financial data available to the public in a common format, so it would be easier for citizens to compare and crunch numbers themselves, said Neiman, the Berkeley fellow.

Moorlach, who warned officials before Orange County’s 1994 bankruptcy, said trying to solve the problem with legislation would be seen as the state meddling in local affairs. He suggested the Governmental Accounting Standards Board should look at the issue.

“It’s got to be done nationally,” he said. “If it’s a problem in California, it’s a problem everywhere else.”


Rule 1: I can only endorse Republicans. Such is the joy of being in a partisan office and a member of both the Orange County Republican Party and the California Republican Party.

Rule 2: If I have endorsed, or if I plan to endorse, a candidate, that individual is provided inbold.

Rule 3: If there are two or more good candidates in the race, and I have decided not to endorse because I have a relationship with them, I will lay off and list them in italics.

Rule 4: If I am unsure and have not endorsed, but believe there is a good choice or good second choice, I will also list these candidates in italics.

Rule 5: Sometimes there are Republican candidates and I have no position, knowledge of their qualifications, or am not particularly comfortable with, I will list them in normal font.

Orange County Republican Central Committee – 55th Assembly District
IRENE YEZBAK Small Business Owner
CRAIG YOUNG Councilman/Investor/Attorney
DESARE FERRARO Small Business Owner
TIM SHAW Mayor Pro Tem
NADIA WHITE Registered Nurse
DENNIS R. WHITE Senior Principal Engineer
TARA CAMPBELL Legislative Aide
SUSI KHAN Registered Nurse
EUGENE J. "GENE" HERNANDEZ Appointed Incumbent
PEGGY HUANG Councilwoman/State Prosecutor
JAMES G. GERBUS Yorba Linda Businessman
ED GUNDERSON Infrastructure Projects Manager
Orange County Republican Central Committee – 65th Assembly District
JOHN (JACK) BEDELL Member, OC Board of Education, Trustee Area 4
JERRY JACKSON Retired Aerospace Engineer
SHAWN NELSON Orange County Supervisor, 4th District
CHRIS NORBY Retired Orange County Teacher
DAVID JOHN SHAWVER Councilmember/Teacher/Coach
STEVE SARKIS Retired Design Engineer
CHARLES KIM Nonprofit Executive
PETER KIM City Councilmember/Manager
ZONYA MARCENARO-TOWNSEND Registered Nurse/Educator
LEROY MILLS Retired USAF Officer
BEVERLY GUNTER Community Volunteer
CHRIS GAARDER Non-Profit Executive Director
SEAN PADEN Construction Attorney
Orange County Republican Central Committee – 68th Assembly District
DENIS BILODEAU Director, Orange County Water District
TREVOR O’NEIL Small Business Owner
KAREN LEE SCHATZLE Deputy District Attorney
DAVID SAREGA Police Officer/Businessman
TODD SPITZER Orange County Supervisor, 3rd District
PATRICIA A. WELCH Businesswoman
FRED M. WHITAKER City of Orange Councilman/Businessman
KEN L. WILLIAMS, JR. Member, Orange County Board of Education
NICK WILSON Property Manager
ZACHARY COLLINS Nonprofit Executive
STEVEN S. CHOI Mayor/Orange County Businessowner
DOMINICA KRISTEDJA Nonprofit Boardmember/Parent
RAYMOND "RAY" GRANGOFF Sheriff’s Department Manager
MICHAEL PARHAM Governing Board Member, Irvine Unified School Dist
Orange County Republican Central Committee – 69th Assembly District
STEVEN A. NGUYEN Public Safety Recruiter
ALBERTA CHRISTY Retired Bank Officer
ANGIE R. CANO Santa Ana Businesswoman/Economist
ROBERT M. HAMMOND Member, OC Board of Education, Trustee Area 1
MARIBEL MARROQUIN Appointed Incumbent
CECILIA "CECI" IGLESIAS Governing Board Member, Santa Ana USD
Orange County Republican Central Committee – 72nd Assembly District
PHAT BUI Councilman/Business Owner
JOHN W. BRISCOE Certified Public Accountant
ANDREW DO Orange County Supervisor, 1st District
TYLER DIEP City Councilman/Businessman
MICHAEL E. GATES City Attorney of Huntington Beach
P.J. GARCIA Small Business Owner
PAT GARCIA Small Business Owner
DEAN GROSE Los Alamitos City Councilmember
Orange County Republican Central Committee – 73rd Assembly District
MARY YOUNG Incumbent
JAMES V. LACY Author/Television Commentator
JENNIFER BEALL Appointed Incumbent
TONY BEALL Incumbent
LISA A. BARTLETT Orange County Supervisor, 5th District
ROBERTA TURBOW Small Business Owner
ERIC STOLASKI Small Business Owner
CATHY SCHLICHT Councilmember/Businesswoman
ED SACHS Mission Viejo Councilmember/Businessowner
LAURIE DAVIES Mayor, City of Laguna Niguel
Orange County Republican Central Committee – 74th Assembly District
DAVID L. BOYD Trustee, Orange County Board of Education
SCOTT BAUGH Businessman
PETER VAN VOORHIS Irvine Business Owner
THOMAS A. "T.J." FUENTES Businessowner/Parks Commissioner
CARI SWAN Businesswoman
ERIK K. WEIGAND Newport Beach Commissioner/Businessman
CAROL WOODWORTH Retired Accounting Manager
DAVID S. WHITLEY Small Business Owner
JOHN WARNER Orange County Businessman
KATHERINE DAIGLE Small Business Owner
ANTHONY C. KUO City Commissioner/Businessman
MICHAEL B. MCCLELLAN Orange County Business Owner
SCOTT PEOTTER City Councilman/Architect
TOM POLLITT Certified Tax Consultant
California State Proposition 50 – Suspension of State Legislators NO
Overreaction to bad apples. But, a "YES" vote is easy and safe.
Orange County Measure A – Establishment of Campaign Finance and Ethics Commission NO
Expensive Price to Pay for a Job the FPPC or OC District Attorney should do.
But, a "YES" vote is easy and safe.
Orange County Measure B – Fiscal Impact Statement Requirement YES
This Charter Amendment reeks of "I need attention, so I did a ballot


This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with the request to do so.

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Herald and Part Two — May 19, 2016

This week, the city of Beaumont is the latest in a string of fiscal travesties that have been perpetrated on taxpayers and their elected representatives. Managing a local government is not easy. It’s complicated. And the financial reporting in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is not for the faint of heart.

That’s why we have to keep a diligent eye on how government conducts itself. The Press Enterprise article, the first below, highlights a resident who went above and beyond the call of duty to spotlight the city’s operations. She was finally vindicated and is enjoying the title of a "herald." The article references me, so I will take it as a very high compliment.

Immediately below the piece, I have included recent links of the fine work The Press Enterprise is doing on this latest development. Expect more from this paper as a story like this usually has legs.

The OC Register provides another campaign related story, one of their first on my race, in the second piece below. It is followed by Part Two of my voters guide, which includes Judges and other county related nonpartisan races. For Part One, see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary – Part One — May 18, 2016 may 18, 2016 john moorlach.

BEAUMONT: Activist lauded for sounding a warning

Judy Bingham, who helped start the Beaumont corruption probe, says ‘I just had to do what I had to do.’


Judy Bingham said she’s just a citizen looking out for taxpayers’ money.

In the wake of charges being filed against seven former city officials, others are offering far greater praise.

“She’s a local hero,” said Chris Mann, a political consultant and former state Assembly candidate. “If it was not for Judy Bingham, this corruption could still be going on.”

The 31-year Beaumont resident has spent more than a decade researching, talking and sometimes screaming about possible malfeasance in city government. Frequently addressing the City Council, she has shared the information she gathered regarding alleged wrong-doing by city administrators with numerous agencies.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s office listened, eventually leading to raids on City Hall and other locations in April 2015. That led to Tuesday’s announcement that the former city officials are collectively facing 94 felony charges, including embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, conspiracy and conflict of interest.

The charges stem from the suspected misappropriation of $43 million in public money over two decades, according to the district attorney’s office.

“I just had to do what I had to do,” Bingham said Wednesday, May 18, as she sat in an office at Bingham Wholesale Nursery, one of two family owned businesses. “I couldn’t let those guys get away with it.”

Bingham’s concerns centered on the relationship between the city and consultant Urban Logic, which employed many of the administrators who were indicted.

She has a large binder of letters and paperwork, dating to the first missive she sent in 2005 seeking copies of contracts. Since Bingham brought up conflict of interest claims among the city’s top officials, she says she has been harassed, arrested and sued, spending thousands of dollars defending herself.

She was arrested and eventually convicted of evading police, resisting arrest and making threats in 2005. She said the dispute started when the city took some of her property under eminent domain to build a road. She said she completed her probation and community service while also attending anger management classes.

Bingham can be loud, abrasive and combative, often raising her voice to get her point across.

“She’s been a polarizing figure in Beaumont, for sure,” Mann said. “Sometimes people are easily dismissed by the approach they take.”

There is perhaps no public record she hasn’t requested – then scolded city officials when they didn’t provide them quickly enough, or at all.

But Bingham said it hasn’t always been that way.

“I was nice back then,” she said of her early days asking questions. “I did everything the right way. I was quiet. We did the nice things, it did us no good.”

Most public boards have regular critics. But sometimes, like the case of John Moorlach, who predicted the Orange County bankruptcy in 1994, they are heralds.

“Once in awhile those gadflies are on to something,” Mann said.

And while Bingham was smiling quite a bit Wednesday, she knows the issue isn’t closed. There are still questions about where more than $400 million in bond money has gone.

“This is just the beginning,” she said.

Contact the writer: cshultz


How city officials tapped millions in bond funds

City’s woes include probes, legal battles

How Urban Logic rose to power in city

City releases SEC subpoenas

Defendants ‘signed off on payments’ to their company, document alleges

Mayor’s statement on arrests

City’s handbook warns against conflict of interest

Residents angry, frustrated over corruption allegations

Why there were corruption charges here, but not Moreno Valley


Learn more about the key players in corruption case

Seven former city employees charged with corruption

Complete coverage of Beaumont probe

O.C. incumbents in good spot heading into state races


Life is good as an incumbent.

Heading into the June 7 California primary, those in the state Senate and Assembly who represent Orange County and are seeking re-election have in their favor name recognition, track records and healthy war chests.

Further, Assembly members in districts 69, 72, 73 and 74, and state Sen. John Moorlach of District 37, are all in relatively noncompetitive races. The top two vote-getters for each primary advance, regardless of party.

Here is a breakdown of those five races:


Represents residents in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana.

Democrat Tom Daly, a former Anaheim mayor, has been in the Assembly since 2012 and opposes an Orange County employee.

Ofelia Velarde-Garcia, an executive aide for the county clerk of the Board of Supervisors, last week won the endorsement of the Orange County GOP.

But she has raised little campaign money, and the link to her campaign website didn’t work.

Daly has more than $521,000 in cash on hand, according to campaign filings. His primary issues include improving the state’s highways and veterans services.

District 69 is 53.2 percent Democrat and 22 percent Republican, according to the Orange County Registrar.

Velarde-Garcia, an ex-Marine who wants to do away with the recently passed ballot measure that meant the early release of some inmates, could get a boost is via demographics. Latinos are the majority in the district.


Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Westminster.

Incumbent Travis Allen is a Republican in a district that leans in his favor, party-wise. His opponents are Democrats who could split that party’s vote and have had meager success in raising money.

Allen, who wants to expand the state’s international trade, has $68,293 on hand, according to his most-recent campaign filing.

Meanwhile, Lenore Albert-Sheridan, a consumer-advocate attorney, has taken out more than $7,000 in loans and received only about $1,200 in contributions from Jan. 1 to April 28.

Another Democrat, Nam Pham could get some votes from fellow Vietnamese-Americans in the Little Saigon area. But he has not filed any campaign contribution forms with the Secretary of State and doesn’t have a campaign website.


Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, several unincorporated areas in south Orange County.

Bill Brough, a Republican, has it easy: He has no opponents on the ballot.

The former soldier and Dana Point councilman has been in the Assembly since 2014 and is an economic conservative with a 100 percent rating from the California Taxpayers Association and an A grade from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.


Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach.

On paper, this race is closer than the other four.

Matthew Harper, an assemblyman since receiving 59.5 percent of the vote during the 2014 election, is running against two opponents, one a Republican.

The relatively affluent district is majority Republican: 41.4 percent to 30 percent for the Democrats.

Harper, a former Huntington Beach councilman, promotes strong public safety, economic development and ensuring personal freedom as top priorities.

Republican Katherine Daigle is a businesswoman with politically similar ideas, from advocating for free enterprise over regulations and improving infrastructure. She backs gender equality.

Democrat Karina Onofre is the founder of a nonprofit that tries to improve the lives of Latino-Americans. Her platform includes improving education and job creation – by, for example, requiring technical courses taught as early as middle school – and protecting senior citizens’ rights.

Onofre received $1,001 from the Democratic State Central Committee in mid-March, but nothing else, according to campaign filings. And Daigle has not electronically filed anything with the state Secretary of State.

Harper, on the other hand, raised $43,080 from Jan. 1 to April 28 and has nearly $13,000 on hand.



Anaheim, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, some unincorporated areas in central Orange County.

Both incumbent Republican Moorlach and Democratic challenger Ari Grayson will make it to the General Election – no one else qualified for the primary ballot.

District 37 is 42.1 percent Republican to 29.9 percent Democrat, and Moorlach has more than $125,000 on hand to Grayson’s $852.

The incumbent is a certified public accountant who says he believes in fiscal frugality and making it easier for businesses to operate in California. He also wants to lower taxes, including the gas tax.

His opponent is a medical researcher and consultant. He wants to lower tuition at the state’s public universities, disagrees with Moorlach’s opposition to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and is an environmentalist.

Contact the writer: chaire

Rule 1: I can only endorse Republicans. Such is the joy of being in a partisan office and a member of both the Orange County Republican Party and the California Republican Party.

Rule 2: If I have endorsed, or if I plan to endorse, a candidate, that individual is provided inbold.

Rule 3: If there are two or more good candidates in the race, and I have decided not to endorse because I have a relationship with them, I will lay off and list them in italics.

Rule 4: If I am unsure and have not endorsed, but believe there is a good choice or good second choice, I will also list these candidates in italics.

Rule 5: Sometimes there are Republican candidates and I have no position, knowledge of their qualifications, or am not particularly comfortable with, I will list them in normal font.

Superior Court Judge – Office No. 3
ANDREW M. STEIN Civil/Criminal Attorney
MEGAN L. WAGNER Deputy District Attorney
WAYNE PHILIPS Trial Lawyer/Businessman
Superior Court Judge – Office No. 40
THUY D. PHAM Homicide Prosecutor
Superior Court Judge – Office No. 48
SCOTT STEINER Judge of the Superior Court
KAREN LEE SCHATZLE Deputy District Attorney
Superior Court Judge – Office No. 49
MIKE MURRAY Homicide District Attorney
THOMAS E. MARTIN Attorney at Law
Orange County Board of Education – Area 1
Orange County Board of Education – Area 3
Orange County Board of Education – Area 4
Orange County Board of Supervisors – First District
PHAT BUI Councilman/Business Owner
ANDREW DO Orange County Supervisor, 1st District
Orange County Board of Supervisors – Third District
TODD SPITZER Orange County Supervisor


This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with the request to do so.

MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary – Part One — May 18, 2016

The June 7th Primary is just around the corner. So, it’s time for me to give some voting recommendations. The OC Register‘s piece below provides an opening.

In the 55th Assembly District, I have endorsed Mike Spence. Since I am a member of the Orange County Republican Party and the California Republican Party, I can only endorse Republican candidates. I have known Mike Spence more than 23 years. In fact, he contributed to my 1994 campaign against former Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. "Bob" Citron, which puts him in a very rare and special circle of friends. Consequently, I have his name in bold.

For a good second choice, which would have the name in italics, is Chino Hills Councilman Ray Marquez. His nephew works in my Capitol Office, so I have some familiarity with him, but his public employee union support makes a stronger recommendation difficult. The Republican candidates with which I have no relationship are provided in normal print, Steve Tye and Phillip Chen.

Allow me to provide you with my endorsement rules, of sorts, and my recommendations for partisan executive and legislative offices at the bottom.

Rule 1: I can only endorse Republicans. Such is the joy of being in a partisan office and a member of both the Orange County Republican Party and the California Republican Party.

Rule 2: If I have endorsed, or if I plan to endorse, a candidate, that individual is provided in bold.

Rule 3: If there are two or more good candidates in the race, and I have decided not to endorse because I have a relationship with them, I will lay off and list them in italics.

Rule 4: If I am unsure and have not endorsed, but believe there is a good choice or good second choice, I will also list these candidates in italics.

Rule 5: Sometimes there are Republican candidates and I have no position, knowledge of their qualifications, or am not particularly comfortable with, I will list them in normal font.

Five candidates want Assembly 55 seat Ling Ling Chang is leaving behind


With no incumbent in the race, five candidates are vying for an open seat in the 55th Assembly District – one amassing a campaign war chest four times that of his opponents.

Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, newly elected in 2014, is vying for a seat in the California Senate, leaving open her spot in the district that straddles three counties – Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties – and includes parts of Brea, La Habra, Placentia and Yorba Linda.

Hoping to replace her are four Republicans: Walnut Valley Unified School District board member Phillip Chen,Chino Hills Councilman Ray Marquez, West Covina Councilman Mike Spence and Diamond Bar CouncilmanSteve Tye. The lone Democrat running is Gregg Fritchle, a Los Angeles County social worker.

Republicans have an 8 percentage point advantage in voter registration in the district, according to

The top two vote-getters during June’s primary advance to a runoff in November’s general election, regardless of party.

Some of the names should sound familiar. Chen, Fritchle and Tye ran for the same seat in 2014. Fritchle was the runner-up.

Chen, who raised more than $600,000 for his unsuccessful 2014 bid, came in third in the 2014 primary.

He again is raising the most money, with about $269,000 as of the latest campaign finance reports on April 23.

By contrast, Tye, a financial adviser, showed more than $70,000 in contributions as of April 23 – the second-largest amount.

Chen, a businessman and former health policy adviser to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, said he does not expect this race to get as expensive as the 2014 campaign.

To Chen, the district’s most important issue is public safety. He said he wants to see “a dramatic restructuring of mental health laws” in California. He also wants less regulation and more help to aid small-business owners.

Tye, an active community member in Diamond Bar for almost three decades, said he has three top issues he would address as assemblyman. The first is “protecting” Proposition 13. “Prop. 13 made it possible for my parents to stay in the house I grew up in,” Tye said.

Tye said he also wants to address the voter initiative that reduces penalties for some crimes – “an absolute disaster” – and protect small businesses he said are leaving California because of too many restrictions.

Spence, a chief of staff to San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman, said he would address “the nanny state” in Sacramento.

Legislators “want to approve everything from the boardroom to the bathroom,” Spence said. And “illegal immigration is not addressed at all.”

Marquez, a firefighter of 28 years, cited emergency preparedness and transportation as his top district issues. He wants to see roads and bridges upgraded and greater statewide emergency coordination. Statewide, water is the biggest concern, he said.

“We need reservoirs to store more water, (and) to transfer water from the north to the south,” Marquez said.

Fritchle said his top issue in the district is traffic, particularly along the 60 freeway, where he would like to see underused service roads turned into roadways for big-rigs now using the freeway. He’s also concerned about the state’s economy, which he said is propped up with temporary tax money raised through the voter-approved Proposition 30, which is set to expire in 2019.

Of the five candidates, Chen has amassed the lengthiest list of endorsements, including from former Gov. Pete Wilson, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

Tye’s endorsements include Yorba Linda Mayor Tom Lindsey and Yorba Linda Councilman Gene Hernandez. Spence is endorsed by state Sens. John Moorlach, Mike Morrell and Joel Anderson, among others. Marquez is endorsed by the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association and the California Professional Firefighters.

Fritchle said his endorsements include the Democratic Party of Orange County and Rose Espinoza, founder of Rosie’s Garage Tutoring Center in La Habra.

Contact the writer: rkopetman

U.S. President
U.S. Senator
GREG CONLON Businessman/Attorney/CPA
THOMAS G. DEL BECCARO Business Attorney/Author
DUF SUNDHEIM Small Businessman/Mediator
RON UNZ Entrepreneur/Writer/Publisher
PHIL WYMAN Attorney/Businessman/Rancher
U.S. Representative – 38th District
RYAN DOWNING Evangelist/Community Organizer
U.S. Representative – 39th District
ED ROYCE U.S. Representative, 39th District
U.S. Representative – 45th District
MIMI WALTERS U.S. Representative, 45th District
GREG RATHS Retired Marine Colonel
U.S. Representative – 46th District
LYNN SCHOTT Educator/Business Owner
LOUIE A. CONTRERAS Businessman/Realtor
RODOLFO RUDY GAONA Small Business Owner
BOB PETERSON Orange County Sheriff’s Commander
U.S. Representative – 47th District
ANDY WHALLON Engineer/Entrepreneur
SANFORD W. KAHN Small Business Owner
U.S. Representative – 48th District
DANA ROHRABACHER U.S. Representative, 48th District
U.S. Representative – 49th District
DARRELL ISSA Member, U.S. House of Representatives
California State Senate – 29th District
LING LING CHANG State Assemblywoman
California State Senate – 37th District
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH California State Senator
California State Assemblymember – 55th District
RAY MARQUEZ Small Business Owner
MIKE SPENCE Taxpayer Advocate/Councilman
STEVEN M. TYE Small Businessman
PHILLIP CHEN Small Business Owner
California State Assemblymember – 65th District
YOUNG KIM Orange County Assemblywoman
California State Assemblymember – 68th District (See below)
HARRY SIDHU Orange County Business Owner
ALEXIA DELIGIANNI-BRYDGES Small Businesswoman/Educator
STEVEN S. CHOI Mayor/Orange County Businessman
DEBORAH PAULY Small Businesswoman
KOSTAS RODITIS Businessman/City Commissioner
California State Assemblymember – 69th District
OFELIA VELARDE-GARCIA Orange County Executive Aide
California State Assemblymember – 72nd District
TRAVIS ALLEN Orange County Assemblyman/Businessman
California State Assemblymember – 73rd District
WILLIAM (BILL) BROUGH Small Businessman/Assemblyman
California State Assemblymember – 74th District
KATHERINE DAIGLE Small Business Owner
MATTHEW HARPER Member of the State Assembly, 74th District

NOTE: The Sidhu campaign has issued a mailer that is unconscionable, misleading and inappropriate. This campaign methodology is unacceptable. Innuendo and false implication is unseemly, and this Republican is repulsed by it.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Hearings — May 14, 2016

The 2016-17 Budget will be my focus for the next few weeks. In fact, I have Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee One on Education meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The question is, will these meetings, which I serve as Vice Chair, crowd out my calendar on those days?

The Governor introduced the May Revise yesterday morning (see MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revise — May 13, 2016 may 13, 2016 john moorlach). I agree with his approach, but would be emphasizing spending reductions and debt reduction in a much stronger manner.

My office is looking at how the budget trends look going ten years into the future. Our preliminary results do not look good. They confirm the Governor’s fears, and then some. I had the chance to be questioned on my ten-year forecasting concerns yesterday afternoon on KNX 1070 AM (see

One of the questions I was asked by Mike Simpson and Brian Ping was my concerns about a potential recession. Having twelve years of economic forecasting experience as the Orange County Treasurer, you learn that the trend is your friend. If it were not for the economic powerhouse of Silicon Valley, California would not be faring all that well. But something is happening in this robust area, as the recent slide below attests.

This is just one of many indicators that we should be monitoring and is why I believe the state should be cutting spending and attacking debt reduction more aggressively.

California still owes the Federal government billions for unemployment benefits, causing employers to unnecessarily pay a higher FUTA payroll tax (Federal Unemployment Tax Act).

The new assessment released in the last week shows that the unfunded retiree medical liability rose $6 billion in the last twelve months, an 8 percent increase! On a per capita basis, every resident now owes $2,000 each if Californians were to pay the entire obligation today.

If CalPERS only breaks even on its investment returns by the end of its fiscal year on June 30th, then its total unfunded liability would increase by some $30 billion ($400 billion times 7.5%)!

These are just a couple of examples why I believe I have every right to shout,

The Orange County Breeze provides local press release responses to the Governor’s May Budget Revision in the first piece below. Fox & Hounds kindly published my five concerns in the second piece below.

For a fun diversion from the stress of turning the State’s fiscal ship of state around, I enjoyed an annual treat and tradition on Thursday evening. My wife and I attended the Annual Costa Mesa Mayor’s Dinner.

Long-time friend Hank Panian was recognized. When I ran for Orange County Treasurer in 1994, Hank was serving on the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board of Directors, an agency which did not invest in the Orange County Investment Pool. He and then Finance Director, Margaret Rutledge, were a big help to me in my research during the campaign (see the Costa Mesa Breeze interview in MOORLACH UPDATE — CalWatchdog — February 23, 2010 february 24, 2010 john moorlach).

The Daily Pilot has a photo of me making a presentation to George and Julia Argyros in the third piece below (which is provided in its entirety). After being elected to the State Senate and inheriting an awkward office space in the District, I really wanted to move to a more efficient floor plan in the city of Costa Mesa, where I reside. We are now in an Arnel building on South Coast Drive, directly across from the Argyros project known as Metro Pointe. George and Julia have been great supporters and a source of encouragement to me over the years and it was a wonderful evening to recognize them and Hank (and his bride of 63 years, Barbara).

California Governor releases May Budget Revision

California Governor releases May Budget RevisionGOVERNMENT

As revenues fall short of projections and California stretches into an eighth year of economic recovery, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today released a revised state budget that funds core programs while paying down debt, saving money and holding the line on new obligations.

“The surging tide of revenue has begun to turn,” said Governor Brown. “Quoting Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper: ‘It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.’”

When Governor Brown took office, the state faced a massive $26.6 billion budget deficit and estimated annual shortfalls of roughly $20 billion. These deficits, built up over a decade, have now been eliminated by a combination of budget cuts, temporary taxes and the recovering economy.

Barring any significant changes, the budget over the next two years remains in balance. However, in the years that follow, the state’s commitments will exceed expected revenues with annual shortfalls forecasted to exceed $4 billion by 2019 – or worse with an economic slowdown or recession.

Significant details of the May Revision:

The Challenge of Fiscal Balance

The May Revision revenue forecast has been reduced by $1.9 billion, reflecting poor April income tax receipts and more sluggish sales tax receipts than expected, while Proposition 2’s required contributions have been reduced by a combined $1.6 billion. Even if the voters pass an extension of taxes, the longer-term budget outlook would be barely balanced. Until the voters decide in November whether temporary taxes should be extended, the May Revision reflects the principle that no significant new ongoing spending commitments should be made.

Investing in Education

Under the May Revision, the minimum guarantee of funding for K-14 schools is expected to grow to $71.9 billion in 2016-17, an increase of $24.6 billion over the last five years (52 percent). For K-12 schools, funding levels will increase by over $3,600 per student in 2016-17 compared to 2011-12 levels. This reinvestment provides the opportunity to correct historical inequities in school district funding with continued implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula. The May Revision provides $2.9 billion in new funding, bringing the formula’s implementation to nearly 96 percent complete.

The Budget also invests in the state’s higher education system to maintain the quality and affordability of one of California’s greatest strengths. The Budget keeps tuition at 2011-12 levels and commits $25 million in new one-time funding for the California State University to reduce the time it takes a student to successfully complete a degree.

Reducing Housing Costs

Approximately 1.5 million low-income California households pay more than half their income in rent, straining their ability to pay for other essential household expenses. In addition, the state has a disproportionately high share of the nation’s homeless and chronically homeless populations. The May Revision reflects $3.2 billion in state and federal funding and award authority for various affordable housing and homelessness programs. This amount includes recently created programs that pay for affordable housing in sustainable communities and housing for veterans.

Local land use permitting and review processes have lengthened the approval process and increased production costs. The May Revision proposes additional legislation requiring ministerial “by right” land use entitlements for multifamily infill housing developments that include affordable housing. This would help constrain development costs, improve the pace of housing production and encourage an increase in housing supply.

The May Revision also endorses a $2 billion bond from a portion of future Proposition 63 mental health revenues, which would enable the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop and administer homelessness and affordable housing programs with a particular focus on chronic homelessness. The May Revision proposes first-year funding of $267 million from the bond proceeds.

Counteracting Poverty

The state has taken historic steps in recent years to assist the state’s neediest residents. The implementation of health care reform has increased coverage under Medi-Cal to an additional 6 million Californians in just four years. The Local Control Funding Formula is concentrating the greatest school funding to students with the greatest need. The state guaranteed that 6.5 million workers are eligible for paid sick leave. The 2015 Budget Act created California’s first-ever earned income tax credit to help the poorest working families and encourage more families to claim the existing federal credit.

The January Budget proposed the first state cost-of-living increase for Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) recipients since 2005. In April, the Governor signed legislation that will raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 per hour as soon as 2023.

Accounting for the full implementation costs, the General Fund has incurred new obligations in the effort to counteract the effects of poverty totaling more than $19 billion (about $10.7 billion of which will be paid for through Proposition 98 funds).

Strengthening Infrastructure

The May Revision continues to reflect the Governor’s transportation package that would provide $36 billion over the next decade to improve the maintenance of highways and roads, expand public transit and improve critical trade routes. The increased funding would be coupled with Caltrans efficiencies, streamlined project delivery and accountability measures. The budget also includes $737 million ($500 million General Fund) for critical deferred maintenance at levees, state parks, universities, community colleges, prisons, state hospitals and other state facilities.

Fighting Climate Change

The May Revision supports California’s ambitious policies to advance clean energy with a $3.1 billion cap-and-trade expenditure plan that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through programs that support clean transportation, promote transformational sustainable communities, reduce short-lived climate pollutants and protect natural ecosystems. Over multiple years, the cap-and-trade program gives the state the chance to transform communities – particularly those disadvantaged ones – into innovative, sustainable economic centers.

Additional details on the May Revision can be found at

The preceding article was released by the Office of the Governor of California.

Huff issues statement in response to the Governor’s May Budget Revision

Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s May Budget Revision:

“With revenues now projected to be $2 billion lower than the January Budget forecast, the May Revise provides a sobering reminder that revenues can drop just as quickly as they grow. Still, we are in very good financial shape and if we budget responsibly, build our state “rainy day reserve” fund, and focus on reducing the over $200 billion in budgetary debt and unfunded liabilities we will be able to handle any economic downturn that comes our way.”

“However, I am concerned about demands by members of the majority party for more than $3 billion of new spending on top of the Governor’s record high spending level of $123 billion. This level of state spending is unsustainable and will guarantee that California returns to an era of budget cuts and tax increases. Budget deficits are not an act of God – they are the result of the actions we take today. I believe we can work together to develop a responsible budget that addresses our shared priorities of fiscal stability and prosperity for all Californians.”

Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.

Senator Moorlach responds to May Budget Revision

Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) released the following statement today in response to California Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal:

“I appreciate the Governor’s call for fiscal prudence in his May Revision of the 2016-2017 budget; however, this fiscal restraint does little to address our state’s unaddressed run-up of debt. If managing the budget is ‘like riding a tiger,’ looking out ahead ten years from now is like standing on the deck of the sinking Titanic.

“According to the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), California has a $170 billion unrestricted net deficit, an increase of $54 billion since last year, the largest net deficit of all 50 states. From any reasonable accounting standard, there are no new funds to spend. California is ‘maxed out.’ We’ve got to aggressively address the state’s growing unfunded liabilities. These liabilities are the very factors that threaten our short and long term financial health, and challenge other budget priorities as we anticipate the next inevitable economic down turn.

“California’s unrestricted net deficit went from $116 billion to $170 billion since last year’s CAFR report ($4,374 per person). And that’s before fully adding in the estimated $80.3 billion in retiree medical unfunded liabilities.

“When will California acknowledge it needs reform? The time has come for state leaders to establish a 10-year financial workout plan to get our fiscal house in order — one that establishes a common set of goals and a framework by which all legislative and executive actions can be measured. Only then can we truly leverage our state’s resources to solve both our short and long term fiscal problems.

“This should be the legacy Governor Brown desires to leave, not the current burden of debt weighing down our state. I’m ready to work together with my colleagues in the legislature to change the script and leave a better future for our children.”

Assemblyman Travis Allen’s Response to the Governor’s May Revise

The Office of Assemblyman Travis Allen released the following response to the Governor’s May Budget Revision:

“Today, Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revise for projected 2016-17 state spending, which shows that California’s tax revenues are $1.9 billion lower than anticipated. Despite this significant loss in expected revenue, the Governor only revised California’s record spending down by $500 million from his previous budget proposal in January. Perhaps reducing spending by $500 million when tax revenues are down by $1.9B makes sense under California’s new Common Core curriculum.

“Additionally, the Governor again acknowledged the well known fact that California will have a $4 billion deficit in three years, yet he paradoxically took $1.6 billion away from the rainy day fund which could help smooth deficits, and instead unveiled an extra $10 billion in permanent spending. Included in that additional spending is $3.2 billion for the recent minimum wage hike, $3.1 billion for the Cap and Trade program, and $2.1 billion for an ‘optional’ expansion of Obamacare.

“As Governor Brown so eloquently said today when talking about whether or not the government should take California taxpayer’s hard earned money, ‘the money in somebody’s [read: taxpayers] hands is a good thing’. Strangely, the arithmetic in the Governor’s budget doesn’t add up to his propaganda.”

Analyzing the Governor’s Coming May Budget Revision

John Moorlach
By John MoorlachState Senator representing the 37th Senate District

Evaluating our state’s fiscal condition requires checking key vital signs to determine where our focus must be moving forward.

Here are 5 key metrics you need to know about the status of our state’s fiscal house as we anticipate the Governor’s May Revise:

1. California’s Net Financial Position

California has a $170 billion “net” financial position deficit, with an increase of $54 billion since last year, the largest net deficit of all 50 states. Read the updated California Annual Financial Report (CAFR) HERE.

NOTE: This balance sheet net asset account is derived by tallying the state government’s assets (monetary funds, investments, buildings, roadways, bridges, parks, etc.), less liabilities, and adjusted for investments in fixed assets and restricted funds.

2. Estimates of California’s Unfunded Pension Liabilities Accruing at 7.25+ Percent

CalPERS: $ 96.7 billion
CalSTRS: 72.7 billion
UC Pensions: 10.6 billion

NOTE: For the 2014/15 fiscal year, CalPERS planned for a 7.5% rate of return, but only managed a 2.4% rate of return. This year, some are hoping to have net earnings of zero. This means the unfunded liability for CalPERS as a whole grew $20 billion last year and will grow another $30 billion this year!

3. Current Unfunded Retiree Medical Liability

California has the nation’s highest unfunded retiree medical liability at $80.3 billion (this figure INCREASED by $6.3 billion since last year’s report).

4. California’s Unaddressed Transportation Infrastructure

The January budget analysis reflected that the Governor’s transportation plan would increase gas taxes on California drivers by $3 billion when California’s gas taxes are already the nation’s 5th highest. When cap and trade taxes are added, California has the nation’s highest taxes.

California spends 3 times the national average on maintenance per mile of roadway, yet California’s roads rate among the nation’s WORST in pavement condition and congestion.

34 percent of California’s roads are in poor condition, costing motorists $703 a year in additional fees.

Combining the proposed gas tax, $10 vehicle licensing fee, and $65 registration fee increases with the Governor’s other proposals will raise costs for a two-car family by at least $250 a year.

5. California’s Business & Economic Competitiveness

California has the highest income taxes and highest sales taxes.

California is the fifth most expensive state to raise a familyand was again rated the WORST state for business by CEOs—for the twelfth year in a row.

California has the highest corporate tax in the Western United States and the 14th highest property tax. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2015 Facts and Figures, that puts California fourth in overall tax burden on a per capita basis.

California recently flunked Moody’s recent fiscal ‘stress test’, which revealed our state is ill-prepared for the inevitable next recession.

Businesses and citizens continue to be one of the state’s largest exports.

SB 3, the Minimum Wage Mandate, will eliminate many lower income jobs in the state and will ultimately make our state’s payroll surge by $3.6 billion per year once it’s fully implemented.

Hundreds help honor community activists at Costa Mesa Mayor’s Celebration

Julia and George Argyros receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during Costa Mesa’s
fourth annual Mayor’s Celebration: The Art of Leadership dinner on Thursday at the
Samueli Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Also pictured, from left, are
journalist Rick Reiff, Mayor Steve Mensinger, state Sen. John Moorlach and Arnel and
Affiliates Chief Executive Kevin Hauber. (Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Reporter Luke Money — Contact Reporter

More than 200 people turned out Thursday night to recognize longtime educator and community activist Hank Panian and philanthropic powerhouses Julia and George Argyros during Costa Mesa’s fourth annual Mayor’s Celebration: The Art of Leadership dinner.

Hank Panian comments as he receives the Mayor’s Award during the Costa Mesa Mayor’s Celebration: Art of Leadership dinner Thursday night. Panian is a former Orange Coast College history professor, a founding member of the Costa Mesa Historical Society and former board member of the Mesa Water District. (Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Panian received the Mayor’s Award for his decades of community service. The former Orange Coast College history professor was a founding member of the Costa Mesa Historical Society and served on the board of the Mesa Water District.

Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger called Panian "iconic" and "just a great person."

"If you don’t know the name right now, you probably haven’t been in Costa Mesa very long," he told the crowd of about 220 in the Samueli Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

"He is one of those people that we all know in our lives that gives and gives and gives more than he takes," Mensinger added.

Panian said he was "absolutely overwhelmed" to receive the award.

"Community service is not a one-person job … it’s a culmination, collaboration, cooperation of hundreds of people," he said during the ceremony. "And if I were to mention all the names of those men and women who helped me along that way, we’d be here until midnight. I share this award with all those people."

The Argyroses — described during the ceremony as a "rare and extraordinary couple" and a "dynamic duo" — received a Lifetime Achievement Award for their community contributions.

George Argyros founded Arnel & Affiliates, a Costa Mesa-based real estate investment company, and served as U.S. ambassador to Spain.

He and his wife were applauded for their volunteerism, philanthropy and involvement in organizations including Chapman University, South Coast Repertory and the Segerstrom Center.

"George and I love Costa Mesa," Julia Argyros said. "I personally like to think of Costa Mesa as a very big city inside a little city."

Costa Mesa residents, she said, are some of the "most sincere, loving, hard-working people that you can imagine."

"Is it any wonder that we’re really thrilled to receive this award tonight?" she said. "Thank you so much."

Thursday’s event was presented by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, South Coast Metro Alliance, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the city of Costa Mesa. It featured performances by students from Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools.

Proceeds from the $135-per-ticket dinner will benefit arts programs at the high schools, the Segerstrom Center and South Coast Repertory.


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MOORLACH UPDATE — May Revise — May 13, 2016

Gov. Brown released his May Budget Revise this morning. Like last year, we provided you and the media five metrics that should be the focus of the state’s budget (see bottom). Instead of expanding and adding new programs, California should be feverishly paying down its massive debts.

I was interviewed by KCRA 3 yesterday, after the Floor Session, and it is below (see

After a number of questions, all that remained of the interview is that I wanted the state to emphasize addressing its long-term rising unfunded liabilities. We can no longer fiddle on the deck of the Titanic. We must address tomorrow’s concerns today.

BONUS: I was on the Phil Cowan Show on Sacramento’s 1380 AM this morning to discuss the May Revise. The conversation starts at 2:05:16.

Inline image 1

Here’s the link:

Stock market slump causes California to face $1 billion shortfall

Gov. Brown to address cash crunch Friday

By Mike Luery

A recent slump in the stock market is causing a major cash crunch for California.

"We projected that we were going to take in about $14.9 billion from personal income taxes in the month of April — the most important revenue month for the state," said H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Department of Finance. "We took in about a billion dollars less than that."

The billion dollar hit comes primarily from capital gains — the taxes that people pay after selling a stock at a profit.

"Capital gains is one of the most important sources of revenue for personal income tax," Palmer explained. "(Capital gains taxes are) two-thirds of the state budget. So when the markets sneeze, the budget can catch a cold."

That "cold" could affect kids, especially those needing child care while their parents work.

Nancy Gray is a child care provider in Citrus Heights. She takes care of 14 children with an assistant.

She said that many of her clients are working families that are struggling to make ends meet.

"One of them for a while there was paying me her entire paycheck just to get child care started for her child," Gray said.

Child care is a high priority for the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

"We have put in (the request) to the governor. We’ve asked for $800 million dollars," said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

She added that the extra money would "provide an increase in rates," for child care providers.

But child care is not the only demand at the Capitol. There’s also pressure to spend more money to improve California’s crumbling roads.

There are also demands for more dollars for Denti-Cal, where Republicans are asking for an additional $200 million in extra funding for the program that assists low-income Californians.

But Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, a former certified public accountant, said that higher taxes are not the answer.

He added, " We cannot be the band on the deck of the Titanic. We’ve got to start addressing tomorrow today."

And the message from Gov. Brown on Friday is likely to be about belt tightening.

"The worst thing we could do now is commit the state to higher ongoing levels of spending, only to have to cut back when, not if, but when we get to the next economic downturn," Palmer said.

The latest figures from the Franchise Tax Board show that California’s top earners, the 1 percent, pay 48 percent, or nearly half of all the personal income taxes in California .

So when they have a bad day on Wall Street — the Golden State suffers.

Brown is scheduled to provide details of his revised May budget plan on Friday at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol.

Senator Moorlach’s Notes on Analyzing the
Governor’s Coming May Revision
Evaluating our state’s fiscal condition requires checking key vital signs to determine where our focus must be moving forward.
Here are 5 key metrics you need to know about the status of our state’s fiscal house as we anticipate the Governor’s May Revise:
1. California’s Net Financial Position

Californiahas a $170 billion “net” financial position deficit, with an increase of $54 billion since last year, the largest net deficit of all 50 states. Read the updated California Annual Financial Report (CAFR) HERE.
NOTE: This balance sheet net asset account is derived by tallying the state government’s assets (monetary funds, investments, buildings, roadways, bridges, parks, etc.), less liabilities, and adjusted for investments in fixed assets and restricted funds.

2. Estimates of California’s Unfunded Pension Liabilities Accruing at 7.25+ Percent

CalPERS: $ 96.7 billion
CalSTRS: 72.7 billion

UC Pensions: 10.6 billion

NOTE: For the 2014/15 fiscal year, CalPERS planned for a 7.5% rate of return, but only managed a 2.4% rate of return. This year, some are hoping to have net earnings of zero.This means the unfunded liability for CalPERS as a whole grew $20 billion last year and will grow another $30 billion this year!

3. Current Unfunded Retiree Medical Liability

California has the nation’s highest unfunded retiree medical liability at $80.3 billion (this figure INCREASED by $6.3 billion since last year’s report).

4. California’s Unaddressed Transportation Infrastructure

5. California’s Business & Economic Competitiveness


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If you are a registered voter, you should have received your Sample Ballot. For those in Orange County, Section 6 was the impetus for the first piece below in the OC Register.

Thanks to obtaining the Orange County Republican Party’s endorsement in January of this year, due to Assemblyman Wagner’s desire for a rematch, I was able to be included as one of three Republican Party endorsements. The other races, including long-term incumbents, received "No Endorsement." Thanks, too, to the American Independent Party, as it was able to determine endorsements in time and included me. Also see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Endorsements — January 21, 2016 january 21, 2016 john moorlach.

The OC Register also repeated the May 12th announcement, where my staff will be present, as I have two other prior commitments (see MOORLACH UPDATE — In The Dark — April 27, 2016 april 27, 2016 john moorlach).

The second piece below is from the Daily Pilot and provides another opportunity to meet with my wonderful District staff representatives.

The Buzz: Cross-party endorsements rouse confusion


My old college pal Frank Mickadeit, whom you may remember as a Register columnist before he bailed for the greater job security of lawyering, was understandably perturbed while studying his Orange County sample ballot last week. He shot me an email – maybe there was a typo on the endorsements page?

The far-right American Independent Party lists endorsements for 12 Republicans candidates for Congress and the state Legislature, while the Republican Party lists just three. County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley assured me there were no typos – these were the endorsements filed by the state chairmen of the two parties.

Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, told me that because of the complexity of the state GOP endorsement process, the initial focus was on the most competitive races in the county. Republican Ling Ling Chang’s state Senate matchup against Democrats Sukhee Kang and Josh Newman, and Republican Young Kim’s defense of her Assembly seat against Sharon Quirk-Silva could determine whether Democrats regain their two-thirds supermajority in each of those chambers.

The party’s endorsement for state Sen. John Moorlach was a sign of support during a period when fellow Republican Don Wagner, a termed-out assemblyman, was planning to get in the race. He subsequently decided not to run.

Those were the endorsements filed by the March 16 deadline to appear in the sample ballot. The GOP has subsequently endorsed eight more state and federal candidates on Orange County ballots.

And it’s not so surprising that the American Independent Party endorsed Republicans, since the only American Independent candidates on Orange County ballots are running for president. As for their GOP choices, there are three distinctly non-establishment picks. And there are endorsements in two races for people who aren’t even on the ballot for those contests.

Perhaps the AIP endorsement process isn’t quite as sophisticated as Republicans’. Email inquiries to AIP officials were not returned.

The next president

If Hillary Clinton wins every state that Democrats have won since 1992 and she wins Florida, she will surpass the 270 electoral college votes required to become president, the Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza points out.

Clinton leads Donald Trump in Florida by 5 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics aggregation of tthe five most recent polls — the most recent of which shows her in front by 13 points and continuing a trend line of pulling away.

But Cillizza also offers several scenarios in which Trump displays crossover appeal that could carry the day.

One is winning Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin in addition to the usual red states. Another is a Midwest sweep of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Either of those scenarios would be breakthroughs, as the GOP presidential nominee hasn’t won Wisconsin since 1984 and hasn’t won Michigan wince 1988.

On the other hand, the usual rules don’t seem to apply to Trump.

Candidate forum

I’ll be moderating a candidates forum at 6 p.m. Monday in the race to replace outgoing Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange. It’s free and open to the public, at Memorial Hall, Chapman University, Orange. Event sponsors are Orange County Young Democrats and Chapman University’s Republican and Democratic clubs.

Democrats Joe Dunn and Bao Nguyen, Republicans Bob Peterson, Lynn Schott and Louie Contreras, and independentNancy Trinidad Marin are confirmed. Democrat Lou Correa told me he’s scheduled to be out of town and RepublicanRodolfo "Rudy" Gaona was invited but had not confirmed as of Saturday.

I’m looking forward to seeing Contreras and Marin, who like Gaona, have filed no fundraising paperwork and have yet to attend any forums.

Contact the writer: mwisckol

CdM chamber hosting Good Morning, Corona del Mar

The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce is hosting its Good Morning, Corona del Mar event 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club.

The program will bring local leaders, business owners and residents together to discuss community topics. The event will also include Airport Working Group member Tom Naughton as the featured speaker and legislative updates from U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel and state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club is located at 1601 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar.


This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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MOORLACH UPDATE — CRP and SR 65 — May 2, 2016

I had a fun weekend in Burlingame, enjoying the 2016 California Republican Party Convention. I had opportunities to listen to U.S. Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. I even had the chance to take a photo with Gov. Kasich (Trump bailed on the photo session after lunch and my staff member was not admitted to the Cruz photo session, so I passed.) Now it is time to select one of the candidates, or not.

The Convention had plenty of its own subtle drama. And I enjoyed talking with many wonderful activists from around the state. While the Party was enjoying one of its more memorable Conventions, the Daily Pressgenerated the two editorials below. Again, it is nice to be acknowledged for our attempts to improve the state of California. I just wish the state would admit that it needs to change. For background, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Opposition — April 22, 2016 april 22, 2016 john moorlach, MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1251 and SB 1140 — April 12, 2016 april 12, 2016 john moorlach, and MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Insubordination — March 18, 2016 march 18, 2016 john moorlach.

Last Monday’s Floor Session included my first Senate Resolution, SR 65, declaring May as California Lupus Awareness Month. Balita News picked up our press release and it is provided in the third piece below.

Our View: Dangerous ideas? Dems have plenty of them

Democratic National Committee officials sent media outlets a press release Wednesday to alert them to a "Press call" to address the GOP’s "dangerous ideas" ahead of the California Republican Convention.

Among those participating were Senator Barbara Boxer, House Democratic caucus chairman Xavier Becerra and DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda.

Among other things, Boxer, Becerra and Miranda claimed the Republican presidential candidates were all "completely out-of-touch with average Californians."

That’s rich.

The Democratic Party leadership finally must be sensing that Donald Trump, in particular, is resonating with more and more Americans, even Democrats. Why else would they bother to hold a press call on this? Did they forget they hold a huge advantage over the GOP in voter registration in the Golden State?

If you want to talk about dangerous ideas, most of the ones we would mention are ideas generated by California Democrats.

Topping the list would be Gov. Jerry Brown’s "crazy train," the high speed rail system he wants to spend $68 billion or more on although it has no certain funding source and little public support after the initial $10 billion in bonds is spent.

Next up would be a proposal to make California drivers pay taxes based on miles driven. The Democrats have never met a tax they didn’t like, so why not stick it to commuters even more? Forget the fact that Californians already pay among the highest gasoline taxes in the nation.

Unlimited union power, as long as those unions continue to fill Democratic candidates’ campaign coffers, deserves to be on the list, too. From the California Teachers Union to the SEIU, union power is plentiful in Sacramento. If anyone doubted that, just reflect on the minimum wage increase Gov. Brown signed into law recently. Even though the governor knew it would add more than $3 billion per year to the state budget and he had previously opposed the wage hike, he kowtowed to his union buddies. Who cares if thousands of jobs are lost by those who can least afford to be unemployed? The Democrats will laugh about that all the way to the bank as the big bucks from unions continue to roll in.

Union power also comes into play with our last example of a dangerous idea: the Democrats’ belief that transparency is overrated. State Senator John Moorlach of Orange Countyfound that out when he proposed SB 1248, which would have required transparency in California Environmental Quality Act litigation. Democrats called it "dangerous" and killed it in committee. Another one of Moorlach’s bills, SB 1251, which would establish the California Financial Transparency Act and require the state’s financial data to be printed in the voter information pamphlet, also is likely to be killed. Unions up and down the state already are lobbying hard against it.

It appears California Democrats know plenty about dangerous ideas. That’s because they come up with most of them.

Our View: Caltrans audits more than disturbing

In California, it appears, the road to waste is paved not with good intentions, but rather by Caltrans.

At least a report by the State Auditor released recently would lead us to believe that, as well as another audit conducted last year by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Among the findings of these various audits:

1) Caltrans is overstaffed by 3,500 employees, at a cost of $500 million per year.

2) 62 percent of Caltrans projects exceed their budget.

3) One Caltrans employee golfed for 55 days on the clock, even bragging to co-workers about it.

4) Caltrans has weak controls over spending; in some cases no controls.

5) No supporting documentation is maintained for work order costs used to complete field maintenance work.

Orange County state Senator John Moorlach looked over the latest audit and wasted no time providing his thoughts:

“This audit reinforces the fact that our bad roads are not a result of a lack of funding. They’re a result of a lack of competence at Caltrans,” said the Republican from Costa Mesa. “We don’t need to raise gas taxes to fix our roads. We need to stop letting Caltrans waste the road money it already has and then lie about how that money is being used.”

Yes, lie. That was another topic that was addressed in the latest audit.

According to the State Auditor, Caltrans lied to state legislators for seven years about implementing recommendations from a $250,000 study conducted to help the agency improve field maintenance operations for greater efficiency. While legislators thought Caltrans was following these recommendations, it wasn’t. And it didn’t seem to care that taxpayers’ money was wasted on the study.

“The metrics tell the story," Moorlach said in a release. "We pay some of the nation’s highest costs for our roads, and we have some of the worst roads to show for it. Caltrans is a broken agency.”

Broken and gigantic. It has nearly 20,000 employees (about one-quarter of whom work at Caltrans headquarters) and an annual budget of more than $10.5 billion.

According to its website, Caltrans’ vision is to be a "performance-driven, transparent and accountable organization that values its people, resources and partners, and meets new challenges through leadership, innovation and teamwork."

Its stated goals? "Safety and health, stewardship and efficiency, sustainability, livability and economy, system performance, organizational excellence." It’s values? "Integrity, commitment, teamwork, innovation."

Unfortunately, it appears the agency is falling short on transparency, teamwork, stewardship, efficiency and integrity.

The time for bloated bureaucracies is long past, particularly when California has such a long list of highway infrastructure needs. State lawmakers should trim some of the fat from Caltrans’ budget and make whatever changes necessary to make it function efficiently and transparently.

May is ‘California Lupus Awareness Month’

(Sacramento) – Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) yesterday presented Senate Resolution 65, which designates May as “California Lupus Awareness Month.” Senate Resolution 65 passed with a 36-0 vote, receiving overwhelming, bipartisan support. The measure seeks to bring greater awareness, understanding and insight to the devastating effects of Lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of various parts of the body including: the skin, joints, heart, and kidneys. At present, Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans, many of whom are women.

“Lupus has affected my office, as my District Director’s wife – Megan – was diagnosed with Lupus in high school,” said Moorlach. “Without the support of the Lupus community, Megan, and many of those diagnosed, would have nowhere to turn to as they look to combat this life affecting disease. I want to thank the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, Lupus Foundation of Southern California, and Lupus Los Angeles for all of their dedicated work helping the Lupus community in California.”

In attendance for the passing of Senate Resolution 65 were representatives from the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, Lupus Foundation of Southern California, and Lupus Los Angeles.

“Every day, lupus patients confront challenges from chronic, debilitating pain to kidney disease and chemotherapy. What gives these survivors the strength that we are in awe of is the message that they are not alone in the fight. With the message of support from their doctors, their family, their peers and community organizations like the Lupus Foundation of Northern California (LFNC) comes hope that they have Lupus; Lupus doesn’t have them. We are thrilled and grateful that Senator Moorlach and his colleagues are adding their voices to that chorus of hope,” said Erin C. Badillo, Executive Director,Lupus Foundation of Northern California.

Senate Approves Resolution Designating May as "California Lupus Awareness Month" (photo courtesy of

Senate Approves Resolution Designating May as “California Lupus Awareness Month” (photo courtesy of

“Working with Senator Moorlach and his staff has been a very valuable experience. I greatly appreciate his efforts to bring together the three leading lupus organizations in California. The collaboration has been both positive and productive and the groups have combined forces to promote lupus awareness and disease prevention to the community through the California State Senate,” stated Hollaine Hopkins, Executive Director, Lupus Foundation of Southern California.

“Recognition by State officials of the importance of Lupus awareness and advocacy work, helps to support our Lupus community in their everyday life by validating their experience with this often invisible disease. Addressing the needs of the chronically ill through government funded research programs and through better access to healthcare are important steps in finding a cure to this devastating disease. Lupus LA commends Senator Moorlach and his colleagues in the Senate in their efforts to bring forth awareness and improved care to the Lupus community, ” said Toby L. Berkow, Executive Director, LUPUS LA.


This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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