June 9

Michael Utley of The Bond Buyer provided the good news in “County to Take Back Some Control of Investment Pool.” 

                For the first time since declaring bankruptcy, Orange County will take back partial control of its battered investment pool from Salomon Brothers Inc., which was brought in six months ago to rescue the hemorrhaging fund.

                County treasurer-tax collector John Moorlach said yesterday that he will instruct Salomon Brothers on Monday to transfer 15% of the assets remaining in the $3.4 billion pool to the treasurer’s office.

                Moorlach said he hopes eventually to take 78=5% of the pool in-house, further reducing Salomon’s role as an outside fund manager.

                “What we’re saying is, we need to prove ourselves,” said Moorlach.  “We’ll know right away if we can’t do it as well as Salomon.  But if we can do as well or better, then we need to consider bringing more in-house.”

                The Orange County Treasury Oversight Committee, set up to keep an eye on the treasurer’s office, approved the $500 million transfer on Wednesday after listening to presentations from the treasurer’s office and Salomon.

June 10

There was a wire report in the San Diego Union-Tribune on our efforts to move funds back under County management from Salomon.  Here’s a side story where I wish I had more of my 1995 clippings organized, because I learned a valuable lesson – never speak in the third person while being interviewed by a reporter. 

Allow me to explain.  Matt Lait of the LA Times asked me about the concerns raised by one of the Treasury Oversight Committee members.  I spoke in the third person, referring to myself, that I “must be a jerk and that I don’t know what I’m doing and wondered why I took the job in the first place.”  Well, Matt Lait thought I was referring to the committee member.  The next day’s article was very awkward.  Lait wrote that I called the committee member a jerk, etc.   Let’s just say that I avoid exasperations with reporters now and have not repeated this error.

The wire story provides what happened next.

Orange County officials are divided over a plan to return control of the bankrupt county’s investment portfolio to the treasurer’s office, which was blamed for the financial debacle.  But critics complain [new Treasurer John M. W.] Moorlach is an accountant without any previous experience managing the public’s money.  Gary A. Pulford, a member of the watchdog Treasury Oversight Committee who had opposed bringing the investments in-house, resigned his post Thursday.


June 9

The SEC Chair appointment by President Bush kept things buzzing here in the OC.  Steve Churm, the OCMetro’s publisher, made it the topic of his biweekly column, “The Domino Effect—History shows Cox seat will draw wide interest.”  He included me as a name “among others considering a bid,” although I do not recall confirming this assumption.

June 10

Alicia Robinson of the Daily Pilot mentions me again on the Cox vacancy in “Senator ponders national run – John Campbell, who said he wouldn’t vie for Chris Cox’s seat, fires up the rumor mill by retracting a previous endorsement.” 

                In the 48th Congressional District, Campbell may have high name recognition and he could likely raise the needed funds, said Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector John Moorlach, yet another of the possible candidates.  Some estimates put the race at $1 million per candidate.

June 11

Alicia Robinson of the Daily Pilot made it official in “Senator decides on House run – State legislator John Campbell’s about-face is complete:  He’ll run for Rep. Chris Cox’s seat.”


June 12

The State of California would turn 150 years old in the year of 2000.  We were in our Sesquicentennial year.  And I had the pleasure of serving on the California Sesquicentennial Foundation Board.  Consequently, I would submit an occasional column.  This one was printed in the OC Register and was titled “THE ORANGE GROVE — California coastin’ — Before and during the sesquicentennial, check out our beautiful state.”


It didn’t take too long, but after a half-day of driving we were in the Sequoias. It was a father-son weekend fishing retreat.

The youngest of my two sons had not been to this part of the Sierras before. The size of these magnificent trees and the “dry bones” and stumps of those lumbered in the 19th century are a cause for quiet contemplation.

For my 9-year-old, these behemoths made him feel that he was on a “Star Wars” movie set. These redwood trees are so immense. You really can’t believe it until you see them.

To protect these big trees Sequoia was established as a national park in 1890, making it the second oldest in the country. It contains the “General Sherman Tree,” purported to be the world’s largest living thing.

This short weekend trip was another reminder of how much there is to see and do in our great state of California.

In three months, on Sept. 9, we will be celebrating Admissions Day.

It will be our 150th, or Sesquicentennial, anniversary as a state. California is a state that has so much social, economic and natural history for us to visit and enjoy. And California State Parks has printed an excellent book to help you.

“California 150 Sesquicentennial Passport" was conceived and edited by my “Sesquicentennial” enthusiast friend, Mary A. Helmich.  I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Mary through my involvement on the California Sesquicentennial Foundation board of directors. Her publication was made possible by a generous grant from the California State Parks Foundation. This beautiful and sturdy spiral-bound book is an excellent tool for assisting young and old alike in becoming enthusiastic and better acquainted with our state while they travel it. It is only $5.95 and can be ordered by calling 800-777-0369 during normal business hours.

Sorry, this book does not provide for discounted or free entrance to those locations requiring an admission fee.

The “passport” concept is not new. It has been utilized by the National Park System in the public sector and by another friend, Bob Graham of Costa Mesa, with his “Bintoo” program, including the Palm Springs Tram, in the private sector.

When you visit a location, it is nice to have some proof that you were there. The passport has areas on each page describing the locations for an official validation stamp. There is also a box to note the date of your visit.

I would recommend that you supplement the book by creating a photo album of the locations with you and your family in the photos. Over time you will be amazed at how much you’ve been able to see and how quickly your children grow up.

The book is divided into three California sections: northern (sites 1-61), central (sites 62-107) and southern (sites 108-150).

With 58 counties and a rich history, it must have been quite a task to narrow down the sites to a convenient 150.

Orange County has only one location in the book and it can easily be visited on a weekend or day off.

In fact, the summer is the perfect time to visit Site 119, Crystal Cove State Park. On the way to Sequoia you can visit Site 139, Placerita Canyon State and Los Angeles County Park to see the “Oak of the Golden Dream.” Then you’ll pass Site 123, Fort Tejon, while traveling over the “Grapevine.”  You can also make a visit to Site 127, the Kern County Museum, in Bakersfield. It’s a great way to break up a trip. You need stretch breaks anyway, so why not get an education while you’re at it.

There are great suggestions for a Sunday drive. Driving to Site 108 will find you on Highway 2, where there are visitor centers and exhibits at Chilao, Grassy Hollow and Wrightwood. Review your map first, but a short drive will give you an appreciation for the San Gabriel Mountains on the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway. Site 112 will bring you to the Griffith Park museum founded by former California Angels owner, Gene Autry.

Going to the Big Bear Lake area? Try a visit to Site 113, the Big Bear Discovery Center on the north shore on Highway 38. There’s also the Children’s Forest in the San Bernardino National Forest on Highway 18 near Running Springs for Site 117. Live in the Inland Empire? Then a visit to Site 116 is a must, even for Orange County residents. The California Citrus State Historic Park is one mile east of the 91 Freeway at the intersection of Van Buren and Dufferin in Riverside.

I think you’re getting the picture. We have 150 years of statehood.

Enjoy where you live, its history and its majestic resources.

California’s Sesquicentennial is your passport to garnering a greater appreciation of the state you call home.

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