The filing period for the June Primary is rapidly approaching and my campaign is already on. For the latest details, see the Daily Pilot column below and MOORLACH UPDATE — State of the Municipalities — January 24, 2016 january 24, 2016 john moorlach and MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Endorsements — January 21, 2016 january 21, 2016 john moorlach.
I attended the beginning of the Department of Developmental Services Public Hearing on the Closure of Fairview Development Center this morning. The hearing is a requirement in the closure plan process and is scheduled to continue today to as late as 5 p.m. It is in the facility’s auditorium.
My staff also attends public meetings. State-licensed and non-licensed group homes are attracting plenty of attention in the District and in the city of Laguna Beach. This topic is discussed in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, the second piece below. If the city has a recommendation for legislation, my office is open to pursuing it.
BONUS: It is Ronald Reagan Day in California. Today is the 105th anniversary of the birth of President Ronald Reagan. Governor Brown’s Proclamation is provided near the bottom of this UPDATE.
DOUBLE BONUS: The city of Newport Beach recently dedicated Marina Park. On the grounds is the Lighthouse Bayview Cafe. If you are a registered voter in the 37th Senate District, please come on February 26th for a Petition Signing Open House and visit this wonderful new restaurant opportunity on the Newport Peninsula. For a review of the Lighthouse, seehttp://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/opinion/tn-dpt-me-0129-barbara-venezia-column-20160127-story.html. The invitation is the final item below.
Catching up with Ramos and
By Barbara Venezia
Last Sunday I had a chance to talk with Costa Mesa City Council candidate Lee Ramos in studio on the KOCI radio show "Brunch with Tom and Lynn."
Hosts Lynn Selich and Tom Johnson interview local newsmakers weekly from 11 a.m. to noon.
I hadn’t seen Ramos since he ran for council in 2014.
Since he lost his first bid, Ramos has continued to walk precincts, averaging 15 to 20 miles a week.
He’s meeting residents and chatting about issues. He’s lost about 50 pounds in the process. He looks great.
On Sunday he spoke candidly about the disappointment of losing and said he learned a lot.
Get ready to meet Ramos 2.0.
With him in studio was Costa Mesa Councilman Gary Monahan, who is termed out this year.
Monahan’s lending a hand to the Ramos campaign and held a fundraiser last month at his restaurant, Skosh Monahan’s.
I asked Ramos what he felt the key issue with residents will be this campaign season.
He said "development," and talked about balancing economic growth and residents’ needs.
It will be interesting to see how he plans on delivering this message to win voters in a city divided over this issue.
A quality I liked about Ramos last campaign season was this longtime resident’s span of institutional knowledge, which continues to work in his favor.
But I felt his soft-spoken manner, though engaging on a one-on-one basis, didn’t work as he appeared on stage at the Feet to the Fire Forum, a candidates debate sponsored by the Daily Pilot and the Voice of O.C.
To be competitive this season he’ll need to up his game.
His public deliveries must be more energetic, with quicker sound bites to stay competitive in what could be another crowded field.
I also got to chat with state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).
He called the house to congratulate my husband, Stan Tkaczyk, on his reappointment to the OC Fair Board. The governor also reappointed Ashley Aitken to a second term.
Like my husband, who is delighted to serve another four years, Moorlach would like to continue as our senator.
Around this time last year, I was writing about his bid for the 37th District seat vacated by Mimi Walters. Moorlach’s opponent was Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine).
Wagner was pumping out negative campaign mailers which Moorlach called "disingenuous, desperate and dishonest."
It was a contentious battle of the titans right up until the March 17 primary, whichMoorlach won.
Serving out the rest of Walter’s short term, Moorlach now has to run again, but this time he’s an incumbent, which statistics show win most of the time.
But this might not be a slam dunk. Wagner, termed out in the Assembly, by all accounts, is looking to beat those incumbent odds.
Moorlach’s already garnered key endorsements — including one from the Republican Party, which has already offered him use of its conference room for his campaign.
Moorlach’s friends Jim and Johanna Townsend will lend space on their Mesa Drive estate to once again serve as his campaign headquarters.
So is the Wagner-Moorlach thing really just a grudge match?
Moorlach tells me Wagner still hasn’t called to congratulate him on his last win.
Moorlach makes no bones about the fact he’s not thrilled with having to gear up for another campaign — it will take him away from his daily duties, in which he’s immersed.
I asked him if he has a long learning curve in Sacramento.
He said he hit the floor running but had to adjust to the "short time to read proposed bills and do research on them."
Moorlach says colleagues have complimented him on his preparedness, brevity on the floor and debating skills.
"I’ve had excellent camaraderie with both sides of the aisle," he says.
Moorlach’s a numbers guy and made headlines when he brought to light a 2014 report on Caltrans over staffing and overspending.
And he continues to ring a warning bell about unfunded pension liabilities facing the state and local governments — an issue that strikes a chord with voters.
Last go around Wagner’s expensive, negative campaign backfired. It will be interesting to see if he changes up his strategy, or takes the low road again.
If Wagner can’t raise money, or key endorsements quickly, he’d be smart to sit this one out. A two-time loss here could equal political career suicide, and that’s a lot to bet on a grudge match.
BARBARA VENEZIAlives in Newport Beach. She can be reached atbvontv1. Listen to her weekly radio segment on "Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn" from 11 a.m. to noon on KOCI/101.5 FM.
Recovery center worries residents near school
By Bruce Alderton
Residents of the Top of the World neighborhood told Laguna Beach officials Tuesday night that they are concerned about a substance-abuse recovery center in the area and the possibility of others moving into the city.
Pillars Recovery operates in the area, which is also home to Top of the World Elementary School.
The principal, Mike Conlon, called the community meeting in the school’s multipurpose room to discuss an issue that is of concern in many Orange County communities. Attending the meeting were Laguna police, planners, the deputy city attorney and a representative from the office of State Sen. John Moorlach’s (R–Costa Mesa). Moorlach’s district includes Laguna Beach.
Residents urged the city to take an active role in promoting legislation that would give it some authority over recovery centers and sober-living facilities.
State-licensed recovery and care facilities differ from sober-living homes in that the former provide supervision, care and treatment and, per state law, must have no more than six residents. City staff must treat these kinds of facilities as single-family homes.
Sober-living homes don’t require care and supervision, and there are no limits on residency.
Laguna has 13 state-licensed recovery centers, with two trying to obtain approval, Laguna’s Assistant Community Development Director Ann Larson said. Larson said she did not know the specific number of sober-living homes, since the operators don’t have to file paperwork with the city or state.
"The only time we find out [about a sober-living house] is when someone calls," Larson told those at the meeting.
In a circulated letter, parents claimed that recovery center patients have harassed and stalked young girls, littered streets with cigarette butts and created parking problems. One man said he found a package containing methadone on his doorstep.
The comments echoed concerns raised last year about short-term renters, those renting a house or portion of a home for less than 30 days at a time. Complaints were that certain renters were wreaking havoc.
Christine Fugate, a mother of two, said Laguna has become "the riviera rehab" and worried about recovery center operators moving into properties once they go on the market, like the house for rent next to her home.
"I don’t want this to happen and happen," Fugate said, adding that "no one here is against treatment for alcohol or drug addiction."
Pillars Recovery operates the Top of the World property, a recovery center, and has another location in Corona del Mar. Staff conducts thorough psychiatric screenings of prospective patients, and once admitted, residents attend group therapy sessions, operators say.
"No clients go outside without supervision," Pillars clinician Linda Friedman told the gathering. "I’m a parent like you guys. I’m trying to help people. I don’t want pedophiles in here."
Parents, and Conlon, said rehabilitation centers should not be located too close to schools.
"It’s definitely a concern," said the principal, who said no crimes have been linked to the Pillars facility. "If I had my way, I would not want it as close as it is" to the school.
Monarch Shores operates a property on Skyline Drive. No representative of the company attended the meeting.
One resident asked Friedman if she would accept a registered sex offender into a treatment program if she knew of the person’s background.
"No, that is not someone I would accept," Friedman said. "If I feel someone can’t get the best care, I recommend treatment in another facility,"
No state law requires operators of licensed treatment facilities to deny services to registered sex offenders, Carol Sloan, California Department of Health Care Services spokeswoman, wrote in an email.
Laguna police logged calls beginning in October, when Pillars opened the Top of the World facility, and compared the number with the same period from October 2014 through January 2015. Police received 26 more calls from Oct. 1, 2015, through Jan. 29, 2016, than the earlier period. Abandoned cars, at 12, accounted for the largest year-over-year increase among categories that included trespassing, theft and burglary.
"I understand the frustration you have," Laguna Beach police Det. Cornelius Ashton said. "With that, these facilities are operating all over the county. The city is working hard to regulate places and find ways to make you feel safer."
Costa Mesa approved a pair of ordinances that requires group and sober-living homes to be at least 650 feet from one another and obtain special city permits. One of those laws has been legally challenged, putting enforcement on hold.
David Mansdoerfer, Moorlach’s district director, urged residents to write or call explaining their concerns as senators craft bills for future legislative sessions.
Ajit Thind, Laguna’s deputy city attorney, said the city is "investigating all possible actions" and indicated a willingness to push for greater local control of group homes.
This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.
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