MOORLACH UPDATE — Sworn In — January 12, 2011

As I do not know what the future holds, yesterday may have been my last time being sworn into an elected office.  I want to thank all of those who were able to come and observe the ceremony.

My youngest brother (I am the oldest of four, having two brothers, followed by my sister), the Rev. Kent M. Moorlach, provided the invocation.

Walter Ehlers, the Medal of Honor recipient that I mentioned on Veterans Day (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Voice of OC — November 11, 2010), led the pledge of allegiance.  His attendance drew a large contingent of veterans, for whom I will be eternally grateful, including Pearl Harbor survivor and former Costa Mesa Mayor, Jack Hammett.   My parents were also at the ceremony.  They suffered through Nazi-occupation during World War II as teenagers in the Netherlands, which should explain my gratitude for our veterans.  Walt Ehlers, who turns 90 this year, and Jack Hammett, who turned 90 last year, are in the second photo below.  It was a great honor to have them present.

My two sons and Superior Court Judge James E. Rogan, who was kind enough to officiate the swearing in, are in the first photo.  My wife is holding my childhood Bible, so you can at least see her hand.  It looks like the photo was taken right after Judge Rogan asked, “Are you ready to be sworn in?”  To which I said, “I was born ready.”  The OC Register provides the article and photos on this event and is the first piece below.

After we were sworn in, the Board addressed the John Wayne Airport food concession contract.  This matter is addressed in the next three articles from the OC Register/MSNBC, the Daily Breeze and the Daily Pilot, respectively.  The articles do a good job of explaining how I made my decision.  The only lament I want to share is that it was too bad that Wahoo’s wasn’t included in the Host proposal.

I am also quoted in a KPCC 89.3 FM piece on a Sunset Beach group’s effort to oppose the annexation with the city of Huntington Beach.  You can see it at  Frank Mickadeit, columnist for the OC Register provides a great rebuttal (I am not quoted), that can be seen at

Three county supervisors sworn in



Supervisor John Moorlach takes the oath from Orange County Superior Court Judge James E. Rogan. Supervisors Shawn Nelson and Pat Bates were also sworn in for their next four-year terms in front of an overflowing crowd at Tuesday’s board meeting. At center are sons Daniel, 19 and Caleb, 26.



Medal of Honor recipient and WWII veteran Walt Ehlers, right, led the Pledge of Allegiance opening the Orange County Supervisors meeting on January 11, 2011. At left is WWII combat veteran Jack Hammett.


Staff Sergeant Ehlers’ official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 9–10 June 1944, near Goville, France. S/Sgt. Ehlers, always acting as the spearhead of the attack, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership. Without waiting for an order, S/Sgt. Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol who attacked him en route. Then crawling forward under withering machinegun fire, he pounced upon the guncrew and put it out of action. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machineguns, S/Sgt. Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing 3 men himself. After mopping up the mortar positions, he again advanced on a machinegun, his progress effectively covered by his squad. When he was almost on top of the gun he leaped to his feet and, although greatly outnumbered, he knocked out the position single-handed. The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which S/Sgt. Ehlers was a member, finding itself in an untenable position as the enemy brought increased mortar, machinegun, and small arms fire to bear on it, was ordered to withdraw. S/Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, stood up and by continuous fire at the semicircle of enemy placements, diverted the bulk of the heavy hostile fire on himself, thus permitting the members of his own squad to withdraw. At this point, though wounded himself, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned fearlessly over the shell-swept field to retrieve the automatic rifle which he was unable to carry previously. After having his wound treated, he refused to be evacuated, and returned to lead his squad. The intrepid leadership, indomitable courage, and fearless aggressiveness displayed by S/Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others.


Supervisor John Moorlach, just sworn in for his next four-year term, debates issues at Tuesday’s board meeting.


Supervisors John Moorlach, Shawn Nelson and Pat Bates were sworn in for their next four-year terms in front of an overflowing crowd at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Moorlach placed his hand on his childhood Bible to be sworn in by Orange County Superior Court Judge James E. Rogan. Moorlach was joined by his wife and sons Caleb and Daniel.

Rogan also swore in Bates, who was joined by her husband, her daughter, son-in-law, and her two grandsons.

Rogan, a former prosecutor, state Assemblyman, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, gained worldwide notoriety as one of the lead prosecutors in 1998-1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Fourth District supervisor Shawn Nelson, who was elected in a November run-off, was sworn in by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

Nelson, a former Fullerton city councilman, was joined by his wife, Sharon, his parents, sister and nephew Nathan.

Before the pomp and circumstance Moorlach held an early morning reception in the county hall’s lobby to celebrate. All the costs were paid for by Moorlach, not taxpayers.

Bates was elected Orange County Fifth District Supervisor in 2006, making her just the fourth woman ever elected to the board. She was re-elected county supervisor in June 2010.

Bates also served as a member of the state Assembly, serving two terms before running for county supervisor.

Moorlach, who represents the county’s second district, was first elected to the county Board of Supervisors in 2006, and re-elected in June 2010. He served as the Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector for nearly 12 years before being elected county supervisor.

Nelson was sworn in to the 4th District Supervisor seat in June to replace Supervisor Chris Norby, who was elected to the State Assembly before his term on the Board of Supervisors expired.

Nelson’s three children watched their father being sworn in June, but this time they were in school, Nelson explained.

“It’s a school day,” Nelson said. “They don’t get a second free pass.”

Airport keeps HMS Host as food provider

Supervisors approve deal with concessionaire, which plans to add Zov’s, Ruby’s Diner


John Wayne Airport food concessionaire HMS Host hung on to its lucrative restaurant contract in an all-out food fight over who will feed the nearly 9 million passengers at the airport each year.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected the airport staffers’ recommendation to give up more than $15 million to move in Delaware North restaurants patterned after Food Network stars and cowboy John Wayne. Instead supervisors chose HMS Host’s contract, which promised more money for the airport and more Orange County eateries.

The HMS proposal includes Starbucks and locally based chains Ruby’s Diner, Jerry’s Wood-Fired Dogs, Zov’s Bakery and Café, an Anaheim Ducks-themed bar and grill and a seasonal foods eatery by the Laguna Culinary Institute and Hobie Hut. The latter will be a bar themed after local surf industry legend Hobie Alter.

"It was an easy decision for them to go with the local brands," said Jerry O’Connell, president of the Santa Ana-based Jerry’s Wood-Fired Dogs.

In approving the plan by HMS Host International, Supervisor John Moorlach said he was going for "more familiarity" in the Orange County restaurant brands.

"Do I want to have tried and true, or do I want to have fresh and new?" Supervisor John Moorlach asked. "Host has the comfort food. I know these people."

HMS is also planning to add national brands, including California Pizza Kitchen, Pinkberry and Pei Wei.

The airport is in the midst of a $543 million expansion to add a third terminal, and that includes serving more diverse, upscale cuisine, said airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge.

The expansion endeavor is the largest public works project in county history.

The Airport Commission also rejected the staff’s recommendation last month, unanimously voting to go with current concessionaire HMS Host and its extra $15 million.

In an 11th hour attempt to win the county’s vote, Delaware North Companies tweaked its bid a few weeks ago so that it closely matches the $39 million in revenue promised by HMS Host International. Delaware North — whose food bid included adding Wahoo’s Fish Taco and a John Wayne-themed grill — guaranteed the county an extra $10 million in revenue, or $34 million, over a 10-year period.

A representative for Delaware North said he was "extremely disappointed" by the vote to dismiss its plan. The Delaware plan would also have brought Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a John Wayne-themed restaurant, three Food Network-inspired eateries and a surf-themed bar named after Huntington Beach surfing icon Corky Carroll.

"Wahoo’s tacos. How more local can that be? John Wayne has his name on the building," said Bob Stanton, Delaware’s vice president of development, after the vote.

The revamped bid raised a litany of legal questions, including whether the revised bid was viable. Those questions were never directly addressed, and barely addressed by supervisors.

Revenue generated from the airport’s primary food and beverage vendor represents about 2.3 percent of airport’s total revenue, Wedge said.

Though the main food contract is settled, the supervisors must vote on another controversial food item at the airport: ousting McDonald’s. Carl’s Jr. is expected to replace McDonald’s at the airport. That vote will go before the board Jan. 25.

Daily Breeze

New restaurants coming to John Wayne Airport

From wire service reports

Orange County supervisors today approved a plan that would bring several new restaurants to John Wayne Airport this fall.

The supervisors also approved plans for new concession stores in the Santa Ana airport’s new terminals, which are expected to open in November.

The supervisors unanimously agreed to go against a staff recommendation for a bid from Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services Inc. Instead, the supervisors voted for the bid from Host International Inc.

The Host bid will bring Ruby’s Diner, Ruby’s Shake Shack and The Fresh Market to the "Rotated Square" between terminals A and B.

Javier’s Cantina & Grill, Zov’s Bistro, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Jerry’s Wood-Fired Dogs and Pinkberry will be in the "Marketplace" in Terminal C.

California Pizza Kitchen will be in Terminal A, Hobie Hut will be added to Terminal B, and travelers can feast at Anaheim Ducks Slapshot Bar & Grill in Terminal C.

Java junkies can get Starbucks drinks in terminals A, B and C.

Travelers who have not gone through screening can get a snack at another Zov’s Bistro in Terminal A and La Tapenade Mediterranean Cafe in Terminal B. Ciao Gourmet Market rounds out the dining options in Terminal C, past security check-in.

The debate came down to the annual minimum payment from the company to the county and which group of eateries better represented the local flavor.

"I personally think it’s our role to promote our local brands," Supervisor John Campbell said during the meeting. "If all things were equal I’d go with our local brands."

Supervisor John Moorlach, who represents the district the airport is in, said after the meeting he usually goes with staff recommendations, but took note that the Orange County Airport Commission favored the Host bid.

"I prefer to let managers manage, but because the commission came out with the opposite recommendation it was more of a coin toss now," Moorlach said. "So what criteria would I use to select the appropriate vendor, and, of course, my being a CPA, I started cranking the numbers and Delaware’s numbers were just not attractive."

Host guaranteed at least $4 million a year, and Delaware’s bid promised $2.52 million.

Moorlach acknowledged that Delaware’s bid was more architecturally pleasing because the company hired the same planners who designed the airport’s new terminals.

"They were innovative — they had some neat stuff," Moorlach said. "Their architectural themes were much better as a fit. Both were excellent proposals."

But Moorlach liked how much more of a local flavor the Host bid offered with Orange County mainstays such as Ruby’s and Zov’s Bistro.

For instance, the Delaware bid offered a Food Network Kitchen, inspired by shows such as "The Iron Chef," but Moorlach said while that was clever it had more of a national appeal and could become irrelevant if the show fades off the air.

"We’re not Hollywood," Moorlach said.

But the Delaware bid did have its nods to Orange County with a Corky Carroll’s Surf Bar in Terminal A and a True Grit Grill and Rooster Cogburn’s Ft. Smith Saloon, a reference to the Duke himself.

Also, most importantly, the Delaware bid would have added local brand Wahoo’s Fish Taco to the airport.

"I was getting so many emails saying, `Pick Wahoo’s,’ but that was all they had," Moorlach said.

The supervisors also approved bids from The Hudson Group to operate periodicals and gift stores in Terminals A and C, and the Paradies Shops to operate the same type of shops in Terminals B and C.

The supervisors will consider fast food restaurant bids at their next meeting Jan. 25. The competing bids will give the supervisors a choice between keeping McDonalds or replacing it with a Carl’s Jr. Green Burrito restaurant.


Current airport vendors to stay

County Board of Supervisors counter staff recommendation by voting in favor of keeping HMSHost Corp.

By Mike Reicher,

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to keep the current concessionaire at John Wayne Airport, but with new, locally owned restaurants like Ruby’s Diner and Zov’s Bistro.

The decision locks in bars, restaurants and snack shops at JWA for the next 10 years — both in the existing terminal, and in the under-construction Terminal C.

Countering an airport staff recommendation, the supervisors chose HMSHost Corp. of Maryland over its competitor, Delaware North Cos. of New York. Board members cited their preference of HMS Host’s local restaurants and its higher rent — $39 million over the 10 years compared with its competitor’s proposal of $34 million.

"This is about the image of Orange County Airport and the image of Orange County," Supervisor Bill Campbell said. "I personally think it’s our role to promote our local brands."

HMSHost proposed locally owned restaurants like Zov’s and Ruby’s, and a Hobie Hut, a surf-themed bar and grill run by Hobie Alter, the local water sports pioneer. The company also partnered with the Anaheim Ducks to create a sports-themed bar called Ducks Slapshot Bar & Grill.

While some of Delaware North’s marquee restaurants were national (based on TV Food Network shows), the company recruited some locals as well. It has a John Wayne-themed restaurant run by Wayne’s son, Ethan. Wahoo’s Fish Taco, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and a different surf bar, this one run by local surfing legend Corky Carroll, also signed on with Delaware.

The airport staff had recommended Delaware, partially because of its attractive architectural renderings, staff members said.

"I think architecture is very important, but when I go to a restaurant, the quality of food is more important than the architecture," said Supervisor John Moorlach, who represents District 2, which includes the airport.

The supervisors also discussed the companies’ revenue projections. Before the meeting, Delaware North had criticized HMSHost’s figures, saying they were based on unrealistic sales figures.

Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Wing Lam spoke at the meeting and said HMSHost would have to charge high prices to meet its $39 million rent figures.

"We firmly stand behind our revenue projections," said Anthony Alessi, Vice President of Business Development for HMSHost.

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