MOORLACH UPDATE — Open-Government Bill — May 28, 2016

Allow me to wish you a pleasant and observant Memorial Day Weekend. As my folks were direct beneficiaries of those who served and died in liberating northern Europe during World War II, I am extremely appreciative of those who died in representing this nation’s efforts to free nations from those seeking to forcefully impose dictatorships on innocent and free peoples.

I have had the privilege to visit the United States Cemetery in Normandy, France.

It is also featured at the beginning of the movie “Saving Private Ryan” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HUf68gFGEE). This scene still moves me to tears. To those who laid down their lives, that I might live and live freely, I thank you.

Next week the Senate will meet all day in Floor Sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. All of the bills that were referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee are being addressed and those that receive enough votes will be referred to the Floor.

The good news? My bill to address electric power lines in Laguna Beach, SB 1463, was approved and will be voted on as soon as Tuesday (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 — March 25, 2016 march 25, 2016 john moorlach).

The bad news? A bill that I co-authored, SB 1286, did not make it out. The Davis Vanguard, out of Yolo County, provides the details in the first piece below (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Other’s Senate Bills – 1286, 443, and 899 — April 18, 2016 april 18, 2016 john moorlach).

This bill was the OC Register‘s Editorial Board’s “favorite open-government bill in Sacramento this year” (see http://www.ocregister.com/articles/public-715285-bill-officers.html). It also demonstrates that I can work on a bi-partisan basis with those across the aisle.

The big take away from this article is, once again, the power of public safety employee unions. I would advise you to be very cautious in voting for any Republican that is endorsed by a police, Sheriff, or firefighter union. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

The second piece is our press release, provided by the Voice of OC, announcing the recipient of this year’s small business of the year. While recently attending the Forum for Corporate Directors’ Annual Dinner, I bumped into Richard Reisman and Jerry Sullivan of the Orange County Business Journal. I asked them for recommendations for this award for a business with 100 employees or less. They responded, “we’re a small business.” The rest is history.

I have read most of the issues over the last two decades (I’m a little behind since leaving the OC Supervisor position). I was always surprised at how well read this publication is. Congratulations to the OCBJ and to Rick Reiff, as his weekly column was must reading for a couple of decades and who has been admirably succeeded by Jerry Sullivan.

Last year’s recipient was Zov’s Restaurants (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 593 — June 10, 2015 june 10, 2015 john moorlach).

The Voice of OC also gave a kind mention recently with regards to the County’s acquisition of the OCTA Bus Shelter, an initiative that I had been working on for years (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Seeking Shelter 2014 — December 26, 2014 december 26, 2014 john moorlach, MOORLACH UPDATE — Homeless Shelter at Depot — November 21, 2014 november 21, 2014 john moorlach, and MOORLACH UPDATE — Santa Ana Homeless Shelter — August 21, 2014 august 21, 2014 john moorlach).

My View: One Senator Able To Kill Police Transparency Bill

Posted by David Greenwald

It is ironic that a bill meant to promote police transparency was itself killed by a single Senator in a most non-transparent process. Senator Ricardo Lara is the chair of the appropriations committee and he simply skipped over the bill, preventing it from being called – effectively killing the bill for the rest of the session.

The bill was SB 1286, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and coauthored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), and Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), and would have shone light on how departments handle confirmed instances of officer misconduct and serious uses of force.

As the ACLU put it in a statement on Friday, a “blue code of silence to remain under California law.”

The ACLU wrote, “California, a national leader in upholding and expanding the rights of its residents, is surprisingly one of the most secretive states when it comes to releasing basic information about how departments investigate and address wrongdoing by peace officers, including racial profiling, sexual misconduct, and officer-involved shootings. On the other hand, states like Texas, Kentucky, Utah, and about a dozen others make these records public when a department finds that an officer engaged in misconduct.”

“Secrecy around serious allegations of police misconduct undermines public trust in law enforcement and jeopardizes the safety of our communities,” said Senator Mark Leno in a statement following the appropriations session. “I am disappointed that the Legislature did not have an opportunity to weigh in on this critical legislation.”

He added,” When secrecy wins, the public loses. Without SB 1286, confirmed allegations of police misconduct will continue to be obscured from public view.”

The Davis Enterprise, no bastion of liberalism, nevertheless recognized the need for reform, having dealt with UC Davis refusing to release information about the police officers involved in the 2011 pepper-spray incident and noted in an editorial last week that “in the aftermath the 2011 pepper-spraying of protesters by UC Davis police officers, the UCD Police Department not only refused to confirm the identities of the officers involved in the incident, it refused even to acknowledge whether the officers were on the force at all.”

They write, “The ability of police departments to shield themselves from scrutiny does not serve the public interest. Under current law, those who submit complaints against an officer rarely find out what happens after the complaint is filed. SB 1286 would permit complainants to learn about the disposition of their complaint and obtain information about the investigation, the findings and any discipline imposed.”

Former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso was brought in by UC Davis to head a task force looking into the pepper-spray incident, and he was similarly frustrated by the lack of cooperation and ability to get access to police records – some of which were not even personnel records. In 2014, he told the Sacramento Bee that community members in such cases confront a police “wall of silence.”

“It’s practically impossible to get that information,” he added. “The more we know, the better.”

But police officers’ unions disagree and, facing reelection this year, that was enough for Senator Lara to kill it – though some believe he would not have acted alone in this regard.

“Today is a sad day for transparency, accountability, and justice in California,” said Peter Bibring, police practices director for the ACLU of California. “Last year, 211 people were killed by police in California – more than in any other state – yet state law will continue to shield from public view the full findings of investigations into each and every one of these and all future killings.”

The vote comes at an odd point in time – as communities and police are rethinking their practices. Communities of color, but also overall, are calling for more transparency and accountability. For instance, a recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 30 percent of Americans and just 10 percent of Black Americans believe that police departments do a good job of holding officers accountable for misconduct.

“The committee’s decision is a slap in the face to the victims of police violence and brutality,” said Mar Velez, policy and organizing campaign manager with CURYJ (Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice). “One of the greatest disadvantages communities have when seeking justice in the face of officer misconduct and police brutality is access to information. While bad-acting police personnel enjoy an exorbitant amount of secrecy, communities are left in the dark.”

According to the Washington Post, unarmed Black men are a shocking seven times more likely to be killed by police gunfire than unarmed white men. Whether these killings are justified or not, the community needs to be assured that there is an open and transparent accounting.

SB 1286 would have ensured that:

  • Californians have full access to records of investigations and discipline in police shootings and other serious uses of force by police, and cases where police departments have found that their own officers actually violated the rights of members of the public.
  • Californians who file complaints alleging misconduct were told how the department responded. If the complaint is rejected, they will be told why. If it is sustained, they will be told what corrective action is taken.
  • Civilian oversight bodies and local governments have access to the police department records they need to carry out their duties, while requiring those agencies to keep records confidential.
  • Officers’ privacy and safety is protected by allowing courts to withhold records if there is a risk or danger to an officer or someone else, or if disclosure would be an unwarranted invasion of officers’ privacy.

Former Davis Police Chief Phil Coleman made an interesting point in a comment this week. He noted that, while police unions will oppose this kind of legislation for obvious reasons, “What is less known is that law enforcement administrators can find many advantages with public access to disciplinary records. Public support for principled police administrators would rise and, ultimately, labor-law restrictions unique to law enforcement would be modified. Chiefs and Sheriffs can then have the tools to make rogue officers go away, one way or another.”

Unfortunately we are going to have to wait at least another year before meaningful reform can occur on this front – that is another year where police shootings such as the one that occurred last week in San Francisco will have serious consequences not only for the community but also for police officers. The fallout from that killing was the resignation of the San Francisco Police Chief – the question is, what is the next shoe that is about to drop?

—David M. Greenwald reporting

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Amanda Smith (714) 662-6050
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Amanda.Smith

Orange County Business Journal Named California Small Business of the Year

Senator Moorlach Joins OCBJ Editor in Celebrating OCBJ’s Recognition as Small Business of the Year from California’s 37th Senate District

Jerry Sullivan, Editor of Orange County Business Journal, left, and Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

(Sacramento) – Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) today joined the California Small Business Association (CSBA) in honoring the Orange County Business Journal(OCBJ) as the 2016 Small Business of the Year from the 37th Senate District. OCBJ Editor Jerry Sullivan joined Senator Moorlach at the CSBA awards luncheon in Sacramento and accepted OCBJ’s award on behalf of Chief Executive and Publisher Richard Reisman. The ceremony’s featured speakers included President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes, and Insurance Commissioner Jones.

“For OC leaders, companies, and businesspeople, the Orange County Business Journal is simply required reading,” said Moorlach. “I’m proud to recognize the Orange County Business Journal for their commitment to serve as a top-notch, community-based publication that advocates for OC businesses, while opining on policy and practices that enhance economic activity and good business.”

The Orange County Business Journal is an Irvine, California-based weekly print and online newspaper delivering a comprehensive package of news, features, and special reports on OC’s most vibrant companies and vital individuals in real estate, healthcare, technology, start-ups, finance, marketing, hospitality, and other trades. It publishes 50 lists a year on companies and the most influential and wealthiest people in Orange County, culminating in its flagship book, the annual Book of Lists. Chief Executive and Publisher Richard Reisman and Editor Jerry Sullivan lead a staff of 40—part of a 33-year history of excellence in covering the community of business.

Each year, CSBA asks legislators to nominate a Small Business of the Year from their district that has demonstrated exemplary business ethics and community service. Orange County Business Journal was presented with a framed certificate from the State Senate recognizing the organization’s outstanding contributions to California’s 37th Senate District.

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2016 Orange County Business Journal Staff

If you would like to request an interview with Senator John Moorlach, please contact Amanda Smith at Amanda.smith.

About Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa):
State Senator John Moorlach represents the 37th District of California, is a trained Certified Financial Planner and is the only CPA in the California State Senate. He gained national attention 20 years ago when he was appointed Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector and helped the County recover from its bankruptcy filing – at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. History. Follow him onTwitter and Facebook.

Voice of OC posts press releases to provide readers with information directly from organizations. We do not edit or rewrite press releases, and encourage readers to contact the originator of a given release for more information. To submit a press release email pressreleases

Supervisors Give Final Approval to Bus Terminal Purchase

By KAITLIN WASHBURN

The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday finalized the purchase of the abandoned bus terminal adjacent to Santa Ana Civic Center, but supervisors have yet to unveil a plan for what exactly they are going to do with it.

It’s widely assumed the terminal will become a temporary shelter and service center for the many homeless people who camp at the Civic Center. Certain supervisors – most notably John Moorlach in years past and Andrew Do most recently – have advocated for this approach as a way to reduce the number of homeless people camping in the Civic Center and give them some of the services they need.

However, while supervisors approved the $3.2 million purchase from the Orange County Transportation Authority during their regular meeting Tuesday, there was no discussion regarding concrete plans for the facility.

The county initiated the purchase last December, but because of a long escrow period did not make it available for homeless people during a time of intense El Niño storms in early January. After that week, Do pushed to get approval to open it even though it was still in escrow.

The facility was open — and county workers provided sleeping pads and food to homeless people — during the storms in late January and February.

Kaitlin Washburn is a news intern from the University of Missouri. She can be reached at kaitlinewashburn.

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