The first piece below is a Letter to the Editor in the Daily Pilot from Melinda Seely, President of AirFair (see http://www.jwairfair.com/). Melinda and I enjoyed several years of lengthy and exhaustive negotiations to arrive at a JWA settlement agreement extension that was viable for all parties, including the air carriers and the FAA. Obtaining a fifteen year extension was quite remarkable (see MOORLACH UPDATE — JWA Settlement Agreement — October 1, 2014).
The second piece is a column in the San Diego U-T (Union Tribune) by someone highly recognizable here in the OC. Steven Greenhut wrote the book Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. If you don’t own a copy of the book, you should.
The third piece is from the Orange County Breeze and informs us that the Registrar of Voters is getting ready for the March 17th election. And, if you live in the 37th Senate District, so should you.
We have three evening Moorlach for Senate fund raising events next week. For more information, contact Phyllis Schneider at 714-368-0260.
Mailbag: Moorlach helped preserve airport settlement agreement
Columnist Barbara Venezia ("Venezia: It looks like a sparring match between Moorlach and Wagner," Feb. 27) poses the question, "Who’ll get your vote?" for state Senate.
That question is easy for me to answer: John Moorlach.
As president of AirFair, I have been in the unique position of seeing the former Orange County supervisor in action, working for the citizens he represents. Having worked together for the past several years to negotiate the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement, members of the group’s board of directors knew we could count on the leadership and support of our supervisor.
AirFair has a large membership base. Therefore, I am certain it is not just the AirFair board members who realize the best way to say "thank you" is to vote for Moorlach in the special election for state senator on March 17. I hope others who live under the flight path will also express their appreciation for the protections provided by the extension of the settlement agreement by voting for Moorlach.
The writer is president of AirFair.
Senate primary races remain a slugfest
Intra-party races have common divider: public unions
By Steven Greenhut
Anyone who thought the state’s “top two” primary system, in which the top-two vote getters from either party move on to the general election, would lead to uninteresting races misunderstands politics. These seats are so highly sought-after that candidates will exploit — or manufacture — whatever differences will give them an edge.
We see this also in two of the three Senate seats on the March 17 special-election ballot, which is an "open" primary. The third seat has only one candidate, as former Republican Assemblywoman Sharon Runner gets a cakewalk in the Antelope Valley seat vacated by newly elected congressman Steve Knight. Call it a top-one primary.
But the other races — Senate District 37 in Orange County and Senate District 7 in the East Bay — are bitterly fought even though the main candidates are in same party. (In these special elections, the top two candidates will advance to the general election unless one of them receives 50 percent of the vote. In that case, the candidate is the winner without a runoff.)
The dividing line in both races are public-sector unions, and related issues including unfunded pension liabilities, public-transit strikes (in the northern California race), and public-school reform.
A San Francisco Chronicle article from last month captures the gist of the East Bay race: “Months after being flogged by union attack ads last year during his unsuccessful Assembly race, Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer has issued a politically risky call to arms, urging California Democrats to stop ‘demonizing’ moderates and fiscal conservatives in their own party.”
In November, intra-Democratic fighting led to the election of moderate Republican Catharine Baker. Glazer, a former aide to Gov. Jerry Brown, endorsed Baker in the general election. The two support legislation to ban BART strikes. They also support educational reforms opposed by the California Teachers Association.
“It’s not an anti-union message,” she said in an interview Thursday. “Is there ever a sense of overreach? Are we more balanced in our approach? Do unions have such an overwhelming voice that other voices are drowned out?”
As an example of her approach, she authored a bill to end the “Last In, First-Out” layoff statute — a popular reform idea that’s anathema to the teachers’ unions. I saw a campaign mailer in which Baker praises Glazer because he “supports pension reforms, school reforms, and the ban on BART strikes.” The other candidates, former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, are far more liberal and union friendly.
In Orange County, public-safety unions from across the state have been pouring donations into the campaign of Republican Assemblyman Don Wagner — unusual because Wagner has a conservative record and is a champion of rules limiting union political deductions. But he does have one thing going for him from the union perspective: he is not John Moorlach, the former supervisor and treasurer known for warning about impending county bankruptcy in 1994.
Moorlach has directly taken on the unions on the issues of pension reform and retiree medical care — and he even led a county lawsuit that sought to overturn the retroactive portion of a union benefit hike. I’ve met union officials who simply despise him.
Wagner described himself as “less confrontational” than Moorlach, despite Wagner’s blisteringly confrontational hit pieces depicting staunchly conservative Moorlach as a liberal. Wagner defends taking the union cash (and attending Maui trips financed in part by unions) by explaining that it won’t change his philosophy or votes.
His defenders embrace a version of the old Jesse Unruh saying: “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, (vulgarity deleted) their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.” Maybe, but Moorlach told me he will be far more proactive on union-related issues. His backers fear the union money will soften Wagner’s approach.
Such is politics. There’s no doubt the union issue looms large. It’s easy to understand. Any attempt to reform public schools, improve police accountability, reduce long-term debts and stretch the public dollar runs into the union juggernaut. The good news: Even when races feature members of the same party, there’s no way to sidestep this issue.
Greenhut is the California columnist for U-T San Diego. Contact him at steven.greenhut.
Registrar of Voters to test voting system ahead of 37th Senate District special election
Accuracy testing of Orange County’s voting system will take place Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 10 a.m. for the March 17, 2015, 37th Senate District special election.
The Logic and Accuracy test is required by law to be performed prior to each election.
Logic and Accuracy tests will include proofing the programming of the ballot, each ballot style and each contest position on the ballot.
All previous tests of the voting system have proven it to be 100% accurate.
The process is open to the public.
WHAT: Logic and Accuracy Test
WHEN: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Orange County Registrar of Voters, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, CA
The article above was released by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
Editor’s note: this is the election to replace Mimi Rogers, who won election to Congress last November.
Three candidates qualified for the ballot: former Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, Assemblyman Don Wagner, and Naz Namathi (who listed no ballot title). All are registered Republicans.
This e-mail was sent from the Moorlach for Senate campaign — www.MoorlachforSenate.com