MOORLACH UPDATE — Allan Roeder — March 7, 2011

On Thursday evening of last week, I had the honor of participating in the Royal Family Kids’ Camp annual dinner at the Irvine Marriott.  I provided the invocation, allowing me the opportunity to pray for the guest speaker, Sean Parnell, the Governor of Alaska.  Then, I scooted out and rushed over to the Westin South Coast Plaza to attend the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s retirement dinner for City Manager Allan Roeder.  The OC Register’s Frank Mickadeit covers the event in his column below.

I moved into the city of Costa Mesa in 1984.  My wife and I were a young couple with a two-year old and a new baby.  I have had a long-time relationship with Allan Roeder.  In my practice days, I was the highest bidder for the “Day with the City Manager” item at the annual Costa Mesa Rotary auction fund raising dinner.  It allowed me a chance to become acquainted with city government and included a brief ride in the Costa Mesa Police Department’s helicopter.  I never had the chance to backpack with Allan, but I did with his former assistant, Rick Pickering, who now serves as the chief executive officer of the Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association in Pleasanton.  (Speaking of hiking, please check out the invitation below.)  I have multiple memories that would fill pages.  If we’re ever around a camp fire together, just ask me to share a few stories about Allan Roeder and Costa Mesa.

In my role as Supervisor, I enjoyed working with Allan, as well as the numerous other city managers in my district.  As Mickadeit points out, Allan was the leader of the pack.  Before I get too sentimental, I wish Allan all the best.

Besides the invitation and the Mickadeit piece (with bonus photo), there is also a Bonus item.  On the Daily Pilot’s website there is a correction to its Airport Working Group article of last Friday.  It’s nice to see a modification to the permanent electronic version, as opposed to a clarification somewhere where you can never find it.  The new introduction to the article is provided, which should calm many of my constituents down.



You are invited to join me for a spring flower day hike on March 26th on OC Parks trails in the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Area. 

We will be led by the Executive Director of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Michael O’Connell (visit 

We will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Augustine Staging Area off of Santiago Canyon Road.  Please arrive a few minutes earlier, if possible.

This will be a moderate six- to eight-mile day hike.  Please wear the appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather. 

I’ll bring a case of bottled water and some granola bars.  I would recommend that you bring a daypack of some sort to carry the water and any of your own snack, first aid, sun screen, and other supplies during our 4-hour excursion. 

Please bring your camera. 


We will have a best digital photo contest and I will announce the winners in upcoming Updates.

Here are the instructions if you wish to participate:

1.       Go to the website  In the upper right-hand corner, click on “Register for Activities and Programs!” and then on “Hiking” (when it circulates by).

2.       Go down to March 26 to “Wildflower Hike with Supervisor Moorlach.”

3.       Sign up by entering the requested personal information. 

4.       The Access Code is:  OC Parks NNL (It is case sensitive and includes spaces).

5.       The directions to the Augustine Staging Area and other common sense reminders will be provided on the website after you register.

We have a limited amount of spots available.  Please sign up quickly.

If you need assistance from my staff, please contact Margaret Chang at  If you wish to obtain additional information from the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, e-mail

A lion leaves Costa Mesa






In the middle of the turmoil at Costa Mesa City Hall, it would be wrong not to recognize the departure of Allan Roeder, one of the lions of the city manager profession.

Roeder’s last day was Tuesday. Bowing deeply, with tears in his eyes, he bade farewell from the dais, where he had served as the city’s chief executive for 25 years, and walked down the aisle to a standing ovation and into retirement. He was spared having to watch the City Council begin to cut the staff he built.


Outgoing Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder’s biggest problem now will be his golf game.


A couple of nights later, at the Westin South Coast Plaza, they feted Roeder with the largest of his three retirement functions with more than 350 people in the dining room and, blessedly, nary a public word about the financial crisis.

By my count, 17 former mayors of Costa Mesa were present, as were former Sen. Marian Bergeson , Anton Segerstrom , Supervisor John Moorlach and a handful of city managers from neighboring cities. (Indeed, part of Roeder’s legacy is that five of O.C.’s 34 cities are guided by executives who trained under him.)

Roeder is one of the last old-school city managers. He worked for the city for 36 years in various jobs and never had a contract.

Former Mayor Mary Hornbuckle recalled he showed up to his job interview carrying a pair of rubber boots. He told the council, "I can’t walk on water, but I sure can wade through it." The other thing that impressed her was that of all the finalists, "Allan was the only one who said what he could do for Costa Mesa." The others talked about why Costa Mesa was a good fit for them.

Despite all the impressive private and public-works projects he helped guide through, particularly in the South Coast Metro area, Roeder said he was most proud of "how we, as a local government, relate to the people we serve. It is about respect, about listening, about participation."

Somebody mentioned that Roeder actually turned down a raise once. I asked former Mayor Peter Buffa whether he remembered that. Buffa’s response: "Which time?" There were several years Roeder wouldn’t accept a raise because, in his words, "I didn’t feel we had gotten the job done."

Wearing a Hawaiian orchid in the lapel of his dark suit, Roeder teared up again Thursday as he remembered people who’d influenced him but are no longer with us, among them Mike Eggers , Tom Riley and Lee Risner – lions all, in their day. That is pretty typical Roeder – deflecting attention.

Roeder and his wife, Christie McDaniel, leave Tuesday for Hawaii, but he’ll return to live in Costa Mesa, where he’ll have more time to work on his golf and to play with his three dogs in Roeder Ruff Park – the dog park the city is renaming for him.

Contact: 714-796-4994 or


Editor’s note: This corrects the first two paragraphs. The curfew will remain in place until 2020.

NEWPORT BEACH — It seems like a long time from now, but by 2015 Newport Beach residents could be hearing more jets take off each day from John Wayne Airport.

That would be an extreme outcome if local officials and activists fail in their negotiations to continue a cap on flights and other limits to John Wayne Airport, which expire at the end of that year.

It seems like a long time from now, but by 2015 Newport Beach residents could be hearing jet noise during all hours of the night.

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