MOORLACH UPDATE — OCBJ — August 17, 2010

It’s one of those recurring questions, “Why don’t you run for Governor?”  There’s plenty to do here, thank you very much.

After four years, then it’s back to the private sector, but, who knows . . .

The Orange County Business Journal’s Rick Reiff caught one of my recent musings and included it in this week’s column.

RE Slump’s Silver Lining: Lower Taxes; Governor Moorlach?

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John Moorlach is saying, “I told you so”—again. Sixteen years ago his critics got their comeuppance when OC’s bankruptcy vindicated Moorlach’s warnings about then OC treasurer Bob Citron’s risky investments. Now his adversaries are ducking as the OC supe’s predictions of unsustainable public-sector pay and benefits look increasingly prophetic. “We’ve been telling people for five years, it’s just like Citron, can’t you see this coming? Now everybody gets it,” says Moorlach. Public outrage over the Bell city pay scandal also boosts his reform agenda, which goes beyond having cities and agencies publicly disclose compensation schedules to having them compare their costs of doing business. His oft-derided court challenge of a retroactive pension spike granted to OC sheriff deputies has a growing cheering section. He’s pushing for more contract concessions, even as he credits Nick Berardino’s union for compromises to date. Moorlach also says voters should roll back “Rolls-Royce” public pension plans, the state of California should put itself into receivership, and if L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa “makes it through his term without filing for Chapter 9, it’ll be a miracle.” Moorlach, a CPA, says he’s ready to return to the private sector when his new term as supervisor ends in four years, but don’t bid him farewell just yet: “Let’s say in three years, we win the lawsuit, that might give me a platform to run for governor or controller or treasurer” …

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

August 19

2005

Barbara Diamond has a regular column in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot.  Her column for this week’s edition was titled “Locals shine at county fair,” but it concluded with her observations from a speech I had recently made to the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association.  Putting benefit increases on the ballot was accomplished with Measure J in November of 2008, three years after the speech.  Also, Ventura County’s Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 against doing its version of Measure J earlier this month (August 2010).

A TAXING EVENING

County Treasurer Tax-Collector John Moorlach was among friends when he spoke at the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. meeting, held recently at Aliso Creek Inn.

"He inspires me," association President Martha Lydick said. "We are honored to have him as a speaker."

Ten years ago, Moorlach’s voice was the lone warning cry about the county’s investment strategies — a harbinger of the financial disaster to come. Six months after incumbent Robert Citron defeated Moorlach for the treasurer’s job, the county declared bankruptcy, blamed almost entirely on investment practices.

Moorlach was appointed to replace Citron shortly after the bankruptcy declaration in 1994, a job he has held ever since.

Now, Moorlach is on the warpath again, vehemently opposed to some county fiscal decisions, including a union contract that expanded pension benefits for government employees.

"I am so frustrated when the supervisors create a debt of this measure and push it onto our kids and our grandkids," Moorlach said.

"Benefit increases should be put on the ballot. It’s done in a lot of counties."

Laguna Beach resident Frank Ricchiazzi said due to the landslide in June, Laguna Beach probably can’t afford to wait for a vote and asked what could be done right now.

"I think we call that leadership," Moorlach responded.

Moorlach has announced his intention to be a leader. He is a candidate for supervisor’s seat to be vacated by Jim Silva in the 2006 election.

Although Moorlach is running in a district that does not include Laguna, his appearance brought new members to the taxpayers. Sandy and Ara Hovanesian, Doug Landrum, Sergio Prince and Eliott Alhadeff all joined that night.

Also at the meeting: Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman, Ann and Bill McDonald, Howard Pink, Ed and Angie Peterson, Alex Wentzel, Kent Russell, Gene Felder, Rick Leckly and Bobbi Cox.

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