By: John Moorlach, as published in the Daily Pilot
One of the major reasons that good citizens do not run for public office is that they don’t like the negativity seen in most campaigns. A more troubling concern is when the mudslinging is inaccurate.
I got involved in public service after Orange County declared bankruptcy. I cut spending, eliminated risky investments and helped put the county on a fiscally conservative path to recovery. Then, as county supervisor, I helped reform pension negotiations so that everything was transparent. The board also fought to change how retiree medical benefits are handed out, saving taxpayers $100 million a year.
No property or sales tax increase has been requested or made by the Board of Supervisors in the last eight years. Not one tax increase.
However, I attempted to reduce and eliminate a number of fees. And if we could eliminate or reduce a taxpayer subsidy by having the end-user foot the bill for the service he or she needed, rather than require taxpayers to pick up the cost, then I supported that as well. I see this as being pro-taxpayer. Accordingly, the Orange County Register called me one of the most fiscally level-headed elected officials in the county.
My opponent in the state Senate race is funded by a number of public employee unions. Public employee unions tried to thwart my campaign efforts in my run for supervisor in 2006, when I pointed out that their big pension benefits threatened to send Orange County back into bankruptcy.
Now my opponent is spending his campaign money to tell voters inaccuracies about my record. He’s twisting the yearly county reauthorization of fees into a claim that I’m somehow against taxpayers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’ve deferred fees. When the construction industry was in its darkest hours during the Great Recession, I presented a temporary solution of deferring developer fees until the close of escrow on newly built homes. This allowed cash-strapped developers to build, to provide jobs and to avoid borrowing costs at a time when lending institutions were reluctant to lend.
My opponent states that I voted to double my vacation time. Small problem: Elected county officials do not receive vacation time or sick leave. There was nothing to double. It still would have been zero.
On the pension front, the defined contribution plan for elected officials had to be increased from 6% to 8% to provide a Social Security equivalent (7.65%) for future Board of Supervisors members who wished to opt out of the defined benefit pension plan. This vote will save the taxpayers a significant amount of money in the future when supervisors, like Shawn Nelson, opt out of the plan.
But that’s the way the game is played. My opponent hasn’t accomplished anything of substance in the state Legislature, so he has no option other than to distort my very strong, pro-taxpayer record. And the public employee unions are bankrolling his efforts.
It’s not fun being the recipient of campaign hit pieces. It’s even less fun when the facts are twisted or taken out of context. I’m proud of my record of service, having saved the county’s taxpayers nearly $2 billion. I also believe that the voters will see through these desperate attacks.
My campaign is based upon my accomplishments and a desire to continue to work to achieve fiscal solvency for California.
Former Orange County Supervisor JOHN MOORLACH, a Costa Mesa resident, is running for state Senate in the 37th District.