MOORLACH UPDATE — Retroactive Waste — January 31, 2011

The OC Register snuck in one last Letter to the Editor on the County’s litigation efforts.  I’m sure a public employee relying on his or her retroactive pension windfall would be upset with the County’s efforts to rescind this unconstitutionally assumed debt.  On the other hand, if the Supreme Court, with nine sets of eyes, takes a hard look at our state’s constitution and concurs with the County’s position, then the rest of the taxpayers would call this spending a wise investment.

It’s interesting that the Appellate Court’s decision calls the unfunded actuarially accrued liability (UAAL) an estimate and not a debt.   I would call that awkward wordsmithing.  On the flipside, a UAAL can be bonded without the vote of the taxpayers because it is an existing debt.  How does the state get to have it both ways?

With no limits on pension benefit enhancements, should it really be a surprise that a Robert Rizzo or a Randy Adams of the city of Bell would give themselves extravagant above-market-rate salaries?

A few corrections for the letter writer’s benefit.  Just because the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS) states that three attorney firms told the County we would not prevail, does not make the statement true.  Unfortunately, the reporters have been printing what is on the AOCDS press releases and not doing any corroboration.  I call it lazy journalism.  It’s really just one lawsuit, but we have sued two different parties.  Finally, we don’t have a California Supreme Court ruling, yet.  That’s what we will vote on next Tuesday.  That’s three major errors in a three sentence letter.  You’ve got to hand it to the OC Register for having a thorough screening process.

Where I agree with the letter writer is that public safety is a noble occupation.  I just don’t know how an overly generous pension plan is supposed to keep taxpayers safer.

Moorlach’s wasteful fight

O.C. Supervisor John Moorlach just won’t give up [“Don’t give up pension fight,” Editorial, Jan. 28]. He has wasted more than $2 million of taxpayers’ money in his two lawsuits against the deputy sheriff’s union pensions. Despite being told by legal counsel that the county would not win the lawsuits and despite the California Supreme Court ruling, he vows to waste more money by continuing his fight against the men and women of a noble occupation.

S.A. Strong



January 29


In Martin Wisckol’s “The Buzz” column in the OC Register, he made the following observation on my Edison presentation to the Board of Supervisors:

                In the leap-before-you-look department, the Buzz enjoyed county Treasurer John Moorlach’s comment to county supervisors Tuesday on the state’s electricity deregulation plan:  “It was leaping the chasm in two bounds.”

January 30


In Rick Reiff’s “OC Insider” column in the Orange County Business Journal, he made the following observation on my 50th birthday party (my 55th will be very special, too):

                For his 50th birthday, OC Treasurer and supe candidate John Moorlach is throwing a $250-per-person fund-raiser Tuesday at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel; PBS’ Huell Howser is special guest.

January 31


As the fun with Edison continued, at least The Wall Street Journal printed a correction perpetrated by Fitch and repeated nearly daily by reporters covering the story.  The bolding was done by the Wall Street Journal.

Ratings agency Fitch downgraded an Orange County, Calif., investment pool that bought $20 million in commercial par and $20 million in medium-term notes from Edison International.  In Thursday’s Credit Markets column, it was incorrectly stated that the investment pool purchased $40 million in commercial paper from the Southern California Edison unit of Edison.

The OC Register’s “Payment by Edison to O.C. is expected—INVESTMENTS:  PG&E overdue to two other counties.  Treasurers seek state taxpayer protections,” allowed Martin Wisckol to announce that our first investment was to mature on this day.  Seven counties held PG&E paper that was not making payments on maturity dates and only Orange County held Edison paper that was meeting its obligations.

                During a telephone conference in which treasurers agreed to call for the state provision [requiring taxpayers to cover any losses], Orange County Treasurer John Moorlach urged his colleagues to simply emphasize the need for legislation that would guide the utilities out of the electricity crisis.

                “The utilities need to be in a situation where they can pay off their debt honorably,” said Moorlach, adding that he now supports the group’s position.

                Moorlach said that Edison Chief Financial Officer Ted Craver assured him Tuesday that today’s payment would be made – although payment might not be confirmed until Thursday morning.

By late afternoon, Bloomberg News would announce “Edison Repays $20 Mln Commercial Paper to Orange County Pool” in a piece by David Evans.

                The Orange County Educational Investment Pool still holds a $20 million note maturing July 18.

                “We anticipate their continued monthly payments,” said John Moorlach, county treasurer, in a statement.


In a publication called the American Chronicle there was an article titled “OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas Announces Endorsement of Moorlach for Supervisor.”  By coincidence five years to the day later, the County’s District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, will have his swearing in ceremony this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers.

                “The voters of the 2nd District need John Moorlach as their Supervisor,” said Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas.  “He is a man of unwavering principles, and will be a voice of sound management and fiscal responsibility on the Board of Supervisors.”

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