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In a top-two Primary, when there are only two candidates, there isn’t much excitement, as both will go on to the General Election in November. That was the case for me. The real campaign starts the day after the Primary, today, and the Daily Pilot and MyNewsLA.com provide the election night results in the first two pieces below.
The third piece is the lead guest column in the OC Register. The Senate’s Transportation Special Session is still open and I would expect a strong push for a tax increase in the coming weeks. Consequently, I am very frustrated that the state of California has a Department of Transportation that is mismanaged and costly.
California has made road repairs a low priority. It has made high speed rail a high priority. It has made making Caltrans the best DOT in the nation a low priority. In fact, it pays $500 million per year for unnecessary staffing. Something should be done at the state level to earn your respect and admiration. But, we have not seen any efforts to do so. Therefore, how can this state, in good conscience, ask its taxpayers to fork over more money to roads?
Moorlach, Rohrabacher build commanding primary leads; Harper up by smaller margin in early returns
By Bradley Zint
Incumbents for the Newport-Mesa area’s two state Legislature seats and its federal congressional district were leading in early primary election results Tuesday night.
Though Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) of the 37th District and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) of the 48th Congressional District held commanding leads against their closest challengers, Assemblyman Matt Harper’s race to keep his seat was proving to be a tighter race, according to county registrar results as of 9:30 p.m.
Harper, a Republican from Huntington Beach, where he served as mayor, had 19,713 votes, or 43.7%. His closest challenger, Democrat Karina Onofre, had captured 17,139 votes, or 38%. Coming in third was Katherine Daigle with 8,247 votes, or 18.3%.
Onofre, an Irvine resident who unsuccessfully ran for Santa Ana City Council in 2012, last challenged Harper in 2014. She came in fourth in the field of five candidates, capturing about 15% of the vote and failing to make the runoff election that November.
Harper said he was pleased with the early returns, particularly as an incumbent ahead of Daigle, a fellow Republican.
He noted that his district, which includes the UC Irvine campus, was likely to have a strong Democratic Party turnout.
Still, Harper added, "to be ahead of both candidates, I feel very strongly about the vote of confidence from the district, especially going into the November election."
In a statement posted on Facebook, Onofre thanked God and the voters.
"Those who know me know that I have a big heart and I love to give, inspire and help others in any way I can," she said. "Know that once I am elected as your assemblywoman in November, I will have an open-door policy and I will do my best to serve you."
Moorlach held a commanding lead of nearly 49,236 votes, or 59.9%, against challenger Ari Grayson, a Democrat, educator and environmental scientist who had 32,916 votes, or 40.1%.
"It is an extreme honor to serve the residents of the 37th Senate District in the state’s Legislature, and I am most grateful for their support and encouragement," Moorlach said in response to the early returns.
Moorlach, a former Orange County supervisor and treasurer-tax collector, first won his seat in a special election March 2015.
Rohrabacher appeared poised to win his 14th term.
He captured 60.7% of the vote, or 41,241 — far ahead of his closest challenger, Democrat Sue Savary of Newport Beach, who had 18,114 votes, or 26.7%. Coming in third was congressional aide Robert John Banuelos, a Democrat, with 8,614 votes, or 12.7%.
Under California election law, the top two vote-getters in each race will face off again in the Nov. 8general election.
Complete Orange County June 7 Primary Election Results
POSTED BY CHRIS JENNEWEIN
Here is a summary of the major races. Reload this page often and scroll through the chart above to see the latest results.
President — Hillary Clinton decisively beat Bernie Sanders in Orange County with about 55 percent of the vote in early returns, and she led Vermont Senator statewide by 16 points. Clinton has already been declared the presumptive Democratic nominee, but Sanders in Santa Monica promised to fight on for at least another week. Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, led in Orange County and statewide with over 76 percent of the vote.
Senate — Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, will square off in November for the right to succeed the retiring Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate. Under California law, the two top vote-getters in the primary will face each other in November.
Congress — Voters will narrow down the pool of candidates for the fall election. In November, California will elect 53 candidates to serve in the House, one from each of the state’s 53 congressional districts. In the 39th District, Republican Ed Royce led with 63 percent of the vote.
State Senate — Republican John M.W. Moorlach led with 55 percent of the vote to Democrat Ari Grayson’s 45 percent in the race for the 37th District spot.
State Assembly — Eighty seats in the State Assembly are up for election this year. In the 69th District, Democrat Tom Daly led 69 percent to Republican Ofelia Velarde-Garcia’s 31 percent. In the 73rd District, William (Bill) Brough ran unopposed, receiving 100 percent of the vote.
County Supervisor, First District — County Supervisor Andrew Do was leading with 35.8 percent to Michale Martinez’s 35.5 percent, Phat Bui’s 19 percent and Steve Rocco’s 10 percent.
Ballot Measures –Voters approved two measures on Tuesday’s ballot — one that will establish an ethics commission to enforce local campaign finance laws and another that will give voters an idea how much future measures would cost taxpayers.
California’s version of highway robbery
Caltrans overspends on itself, while state’s roads neglected.
By JOHN MOORLACH / Contributing writer
During the all-day meeting May 24 of the state Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Legislative Analyst’s Office presented an interesting response to the item dealing with the Office of Emergency Services.
OES was requesting $35 million for 77 new positions and $20 million in one-time spending on fire equipment. The LAO’s report gave a most profound conclusion:
“We reviewed the governor’s proposal and found that the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services was not able to provide the details necessary to assess the merits of many of the individual components. Accordingly, we recommend approving a total of $3.1 million and 35.5 positions.”
The phrase, “OES has not clearly demonstrated that its existing resources are insufficient,” was used throughout the report.
Regretfully, this is not an uncommon occurrence in the Senate’s budget discussions. This is emblematic of many of the state’s departments. The LAO makes determinations like this on a regular basis. Look at its website.
When California is essentially run by a governor and 120 legislators, you would think that there would be more eyes on these revealed problems. But, where are the reactions of concerned legislators, whose duty it should be to oversee these derelict state agencies? With such minimal accountability over these departments and agencies, no wonder this state is in such a mess.
One glaring example may hit your wallet soon. Just like OES, similar reports concerning Caltrans are replete with criticisms of its inability to provide details for budget reviews and audits by either the LAO or the State Auditor.
We’re told the governor and the transportation secretary are serious about fixing California’s roads, but can you mention one initiative they have proposed to fix Caltrans? All I hear from them and their allies are cries for more tax increases.
How can we ask the taxpayers of California for more money when Caltrans is not accountable, bloated and mismanaged? Did you know that the LAO, as recently as May 2014, reported that Caltrans has 3,500 too many architects and engineers? This department spends roughly $10 billion per year and has 10,000 architects and engineers. In contrast, Riverside County is managing a $7.5 billion freeway-widening project that only has nine engineers.
The State Auditor found that one Caltrans engineer golfed 55 days on state time. Have you heard of any management changes to make sure that this kind of thing isn’t still happening?
The State Auditor found that 62 percent of Caltrans projects went overbudget. Have you heard of any management changes to improve on this waste? Are you remotely familiar with the Bay Bridge?
Did you know that Caltrans spends three times the national average on road repairs and outsources only 10 percent of its engineering and architectural work? Most states outsource 50 percent. Arizona outsources more than 80 percent.
Did you know that the state’s budget has methodically moved funding away from transportation for the past 14 years and spent it elsewhere? Why? Because it mismanages its finances so dramatically that its balance sheet has the nation’s highest unrestricted net deficit, at $170 billion for governmental-related activities. It also has the highest unfunded pension and retiree medical liabilities among the states, which have been sucking up these diverted funds.
You will be asked to fund a “pothole tax.” But, I’d call it a tax enabling profligate spending. Or a “pension tax.” You’re being taken to the cleaners. You are the victim of intentional infrastructure neglect. This literally is “highway robbery.” The fix is in. And the answer is you and your wallet.
John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th state Senate District.
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