Martin Wisckol, a political reporter at the O.C. Register, has taken the time to carefully debunk Don Wagner’s lies about John Moorlach, his conservative Republican opponent in the race for the 37th State Senate District.
Here is what Wisckol revealed about Wagner’s lies – which have appeared in campaign mailers paid for by union money:
Claim: “Moorlach voted to … double his vacation time.”
Analysis: County elected officials don’t receive vacation time, according to county spokeswoman Jean Pasco. The 2007 vote referred to by Wagner’s campaign to support the claim was in fact an adjustment to the amount of sick leave and vacation some county employees could cash out annually, but did not apply to elected officials such as Moorlach.
Elected officials can basically take all the vacation they want: State law says they can’t be dismissed for not showing up unless they go at least three months without making an appearance.
Claim: “Moorlach voted to give $4 million in taxpayer money to an illegal immigrant accused of child molestation rather than fight in court.”
Analysis: The statement is true as far as it goes. The recipient of the $4 million, Fernando Ramirez, was brutally beaten by inmates while in custody at the Orange County jail, leaving him with the intellect of a 4-year-old child and unable to walk without assistance. Ramirez was first charged with child molestation, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of nonsexual battery.
The $4-million settlement was agreed to by supervisors in 2009 on the advice of county lawyers, who felt that it could cost much more in penalties and legal costs to fight the case in court.
Claim: “Former county Tax Collector Moorlach voted to raise taxes/fees 150 times.”
Analysis: For those who make a distinction, taxes – such as those levied on incomes, purchases and real estate – cast a broad net and are used to fund a vast variety of programs and services. But most of the county’s thousands of fees are designed to charge the user of a particular service to help cover the cost of that service.
For instance, building permit fees are intended to cover the cost of processing the permits. Animal license fees are designed to offset the county’s costs associated with dealing with pets.
By this definition, Moorlach never voted to raise taxes. He defends his votes to raise fees, arguing that they helped protect taxpayers because the particular users of a program are charged rather than using funds generated by all taxpayers.
Claim: “Moorlach spent nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money refurnishing his office.”
Analysis: This is true. Two other supervisors at the time, Janet Nguyen and Pat Bates, did renovations of a similar scale at the same time. Both were elected to the state Senate last year. If Moorlach follows suit, maybe those renovations were a charm.
Click here to read the rest of Wisckol’s article.