MOORLACH UPDATE — OC Register — September 6, 2011

The OC Register‘s second editorial in its Sunday Commentary section (provided below) attacked the John Wayne Airport (JWA) commemoration ceremonies.  I have one word to say:  Uncle.

Well, I guess I have just a little more to say.  One caller went after me for voting for the large "Orange County" sign along the Santa Ana Freeway as you enter Buena Park from Los Angeles County (more on Buena Park tomorrow).  Folks, I was the only one to vote against this sign on the entire Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors.  I was also the only Supervisor who voted against adding the lighted signs on the corners here on Broadway along our Civic Center building.  I understand opposition towards ostentatious government expenditures. 

However, JWA generates revenues from airline carriers and passengers.  It has a budget that must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  Marketing is an allowable expenditure according to the FAA.  In these difficult economic times, sheet cake and punch makes sense.  The idea of having food vendors provide samples also makes sense which is why I recommended it during our Board meeting.  I’ll be sure to send you an invitation, should a date and time be selected.

CORRECTION:  In my last Update, I made a typo.  The new net assets of $139 million mentioned by our Auditor-Controller is fine (although rather de minimus), but our cash reserves are a similar amount and that was what I meant to refer to.  Oops.

BONUS:

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A Cooper’s Hawk spotted during our recent hike at Bolsa Chica.

Editorial: JWA party a terminally bad idea

If anything, airport vendors and contractors – private companies – and interested community groups should fund such an activity, not taxpayers.

Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson is right to criticize the idea to hold a party at taxpayer expense for the soon-to-be finished terminal and parking structure at John Wayne Airport. Does there need to be a party at all? If anything, airport vendors and contractors – private companies – and interested community groups should fund such an activity, not taxpayers.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, airport staff announced plans to spend $50,000 for an event to commemorate the completion of the new terminal and parking structure. The supervisors have authority over the airport and thus must bless the party budget.

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This photo from February 2011 shows the south end of John Wayne Airport’s upcoming Terminal C and this end will be a commuter terminal for the passengers on smaller aircraft to enter and exit the airport.

Mr. Nelson told us: “People are out of work and struggling to put food on the table, and we are going to throw a party, a party for someone who was contracted and paid to do a job? That is not right.”

Supervisors John Moorlach and Bill Campbell both voiced their support during the meeting, citing marketing value in celebrating the accomplishment. And Airport Director Alan Murphy noted that similar celebrations were much higher – $1 million in San Francisco and $500,000 in San Jose.

Let’s not be the third fool. Such taxpayer expenditures are irresponsible because the unveiling of a new terminal will draw a crowd (we can’t wait!) and news coverage regardless of whatever fanfare may be planned, be it balloons, confetti cannons or melted Asiago cheese and fingerling potato appetizers. “The point is not whether the airport needs publicity,” Mr. Nelson told us, “if we just open the doors and let the vendors showcase what they do, why do we need to pay to throw a party? Just open up the terminal, and let the vendors show the world what they have. They can give their food away or charge for it.”

Mr. Murphy and Mr. Moorlach said that they had planned to solicit sponsors for the event and they might be able to cover all of the costs, but still needed to authorize the budget to move forward in doing so.

We’re not buying it. Demonstrating fiscal responsibility means watching every dime the county spends.

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