Our partners at PBS SoCal came out Thursday with the third installment of their investigation into an alleged kickback scheme among a now-defunct athletic supply company and high school coaches from throughout Southern California.
Voice of OC’s Tracy Wood caught up with OCTA CEO Will Kempton, who said he has no problem with the Orange County Business Council auditing OCTA operations. He just wishes he had documentation of OCTA finance head Andrew Oftelie recusing himself from the selection process after he learned that his father, Stan Oftelie, would be on the Business Council audit team.
And in case you missed it yesterday, check out Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana Jr.’s visit, along with The Register’s Teri Sforza and the OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano, to Larry Mantle’s AirTalk on KPCC (89.3 FM).
Other news from around the world of OC government and politics …
Register columnist Barbara Venezia teams with reporter Jaime Lynn Fletcher on the revelations that Huy Pham, the Costa Mesa worker who killed himself at City Hall, had cocaine in his system. The Daily Pilot’s Joe Serna has this dispatch.
Trying to patch up its Latino problem, the OC GOP taps the nation’s first female Latina governor (from New Mexico) for its annual Flag Day dinner.
The Orange City Council is moving ever closer toward a development deal for one of the last significant tracts of open space in the city, which, as Tracy Wood reports, means that residents opposed to the development are moving toward a referendum.
State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) thinks more cities should be in the rotation for seats on the Orange County Transportation Authority board. OCTA board members, however, think things should stay just as they are.
And tune in this morning between 11:30 and noon to Larry Mantle’s AirTalk on KPCC (89.3) and hear our own Norberto Santana Jr., along with the Register’s Teri Sforza and the Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano, talk about OC’s top stories.
Now for some other news worth noting in local politics and government …
Voice of OC is full of unanswered questions today.
Norberto Santana is still looking for the 75 county managers and executives who received raises while budgets were being slashed. And Adam Elmahrek is searching for Larry Agran’s backup plans for the Great Park.
One thing we do know is that the Orange County grand jury is impressed with how county social workers have performed during hard times.
Here are some other items of interest today in OC politics and government …
Tony Rackauckas wants OC to be first in line in the Toyota litigation.
Former OC Treasurer Chriss Street loses bid in court to clear his name.
Should a father be allowed to review the work of his son? That is the central question in Tracy Wood’s story today on how OCTA chose an “independent” auditor for a review of its $12-billion transportation improvement program.
Should the Orange County GOP be returning more of the fire from the unions in the Costa Mesa outsourcing battle? Norberto Santana Jr. talked to a few Republicans who are leaning that way.
Some other local politics and government news from a world that didn’t end after all …
Jim Newton in the LA Times slams Irvine officials over progress of the Great Park.
Former Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco, or the “Beanied One” as dubbed by OC Register Columnist Frank Mickadeit, is back … in court.
So, how many Great Park consultants does it take to do a public-private partnership?
Our Adam Elmahrek went to the Great Park Board of Directors meeting Thursday and found that the board has not one, but two high-priced consultants to help it generate such partnerships. And that just some of the fun it is having with no-bid consulting contracts.
In other, non no-bid contract, news…
OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxely looks at corruption at Newport Beach PD and lawsuit filed by detectives against department.
Costa Mesa officials Tuesday released a much anticipated preliminary budget Tuesday. But, as our Norberto Santana Jr. reports, they didn’t release much.
Santana also filed this dispatch on the escalating Brown Act battle over the secret deliberations between the Costa Mesa councilmen who formulated the city’s outsourcing plan. The Orange County Register and the Daily Pilot also filed reports on this issue.
In other news from in and around the world of Orange County politics and government…
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido again draws questions about a business relationship. This time it’s with a green energy entrepreneur who has been accused in lawsuits of being a scam artist and who embarked on a failed project with Anaheim. Read part two of our series here.
Costa Mesa employees, tired of waiting for the Costa Mesa City Council to rescind their layoff notices, file suit in hopes that a judge will.
What do you get when you cross an entrepreneur with a past full of lawsuits and a city that skimps (at least in one instance) on background checks? Our Adam Elmahrek investigates Anaheim’s green deal gone bad.
So maybe we can get kids to put down the Cheetos and get off the couch. Our Tracy Wood reports on an effort by The California Endowment to combat obesity in Santa Ana schools that is so far paying dividends.
The saga of Costa Mesa’s privatization plan has taken yet another turn. Now there is a flap over a meet-and-greet among public safety workers that was cancelled. Voice of OC’s Norberto Santana Jr. has this report, and the Daily Pilot has this report.
Here are some other blips on our OC politics and government radar screen this morning…
Jerry Brown not giving up on tax hikes to help balance the state budget.
PBS SoCal’s David Nazar updates us on his investigation into the alleged kickback scheme involving the former owner of a local sports apparel and equipment company and dozens of high school coaches from throughout Southern California.
And the rest of the notable news in local politics and government…
Voice of OC’s open government consultant, Terry Francke, is taking aim at the Costa Mesa City Council’s working groups. He says the working groups, most notably the one that came up with the city’s controversial outsourcing plan, violate the Brown Act.
In other Costa Mesa news, Councilman Stephen Mensinger was cleared by the Orange County District Attorney in his altercation with a local teacher.
Our Tracy Wood writes the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of California’s troubled high-speed rail project. Now, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office says the $43-billion project should be taken over by Caltrans.
And Wayne Quint, longtime head of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, is moving on.
Our Norberto Santana, Jr. has got the inside skinny on a performance audit of the county’s human resources department that will be landing soon. It doesn’t look pretty.
Santana also reports on a legislative hearing in Sacramento this week on the fate of the OC Fairgrounds that is preceding an appellate court hearing in Santa Ana. As usual with the Fairgrounds, emotions are high.
Tracy Wood previews a hearing by the Orange County Supervisors on how they will allocate federal funds for homeless people. She also previews the hearing at Orange City Council tonight on the proposed Orange Park Acres Development.
Our Adam Elmahrek previews this week’s Irvine City Council meeting where Councilman Jeff Lalloway will propose a ban on registered sex offenders in parks similar to the one the Orange County Supervisors passed last month.
The Register’s Kimberly Edds reports on the new addition to the fifth floor of the Orange County Hall of Administration: Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s baby boy, Tommy.
Both the Daily Pilot and the Register report on the Orange County Employees Association’s latest in Costa Mesa. As part of a new campaign it dubs “Waste Watchers,” OCEA dings the City Council for buying expensive nameplates.
Newport Beach City Council holds a study session Tuesday to look at $9.2 million in cuts for the next fiscal year budget. The LA Times’ OC Now section has this report.
We have an active Friday morning, with dispatches on a frayed city council in Costa Mesa, a hot dog party to celebrate the end of Bin Laden, Gov. Jerry Brown’s issue with rising sales taxes and yet another controversy regarding a Muslim leader.
Our Norberto Santana, Jr. takes a look at how the intense scrutiny faced by the Costa Mesa City Council since it embarked on its unprecedented outsourcing plan is starting to show in the interactions among council members.
The Orange County Employees Association is bringing out its hotdog wagon and inviting OC luminaries over for a celebration of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a team of Navy Seals.
Muslim leader gets county human relations award after sustained protests from some conservative leaders.
Voice of OC board member Dan Weintraub partners with the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Michael Gardner to take a look at Gov. Brown’s tax plans amidst rising revenues.
California’s version of the immigration bill known as the Dream Act passes State Assembly.
Today’s Voice of OC’s shows the power of partnership, with PBS SoCal reporter David Nazar’s expose into a slush fund that allegedly steered money from a local sports apparel company to local high school coaches across Orange County.
In other news:
The local GOP censures central committee member Marilyn Davenport for forwarding a racist email about President Obama to other committee members.
Welcome to the OC Morning Report. We’ve got controversies in Santa Ana over the Yost Theater and the impounding of cars, a hiring local initiative, a financial crisis in San Juan Capistrano and fireworks at Costa Mesa City Council that this time aren’t just metaphorical.
Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek visits the debate raging on Santa Ana’s Fourth Street over whether the new operators of the historic Yost Theater should be able to serve alcohol when they reopen this summer as a concert venue.
The Orange County Register’s Andrew Galvin reports on immigrant rights activists who came to Santa Ana City Council to speak out about the city’s practice of impounding cars of unlicensed drivers who are caught in DUI checkpoints.
The Register’s Brittany Levine keeps up with the deteriorating financial situation in San Juan Capistrano. City Council voted Tuesday to cut $7.5 million from its budget as a ratings agency downgrades its bonds to “A” from “AA.”
Also in the Register is a Fred Swegles piece on a beautification project in San Clemente that might have become a safety hazard.
Finally, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that California officials have backed off a drive to resume executions this year, asking a federal judge to delay until at least January his review of revised lethal injection procedures.
The delay means the state will have gone at least six years without executing any condemned prisoners, who now number 713.
Although the media in Orange County and everywhere else continued to be dominated Monday by reactions to Osama bin Laden’s death, other local news did get reported, in fact, quite a bit.
Voice of OC’s Tracy Wood comes with the latest from the county’s Ending Homelessness 2020 Board. Things are “complicated” on the board, which still hasn’t found an executive director to lead the initiative.
Wood also checks on the $75 million bond deal struck by the city of Anaheim and billionaire Henry Samueli when they thought the NBA’s Sacramento Kings were coming to town. That deal died when the Kings decided to stay put, at least for a year.
The Liberal OC has a fascinating take on the calendars for Orange County supervisors. Funny how something so simple as a request for a calendar seems to have triggered numerous legal reviews.
Geoff West over at the Bubbling Cauldron blog in Costa Mesa has some fun combing through the new “warrants” feature the City of Costa Mesa just launched, a bit like looking at someone’s check registry.
West does an excellent job of connecting potential dots figuring that the city may have spent $137K to settle a lawsuit for $40K. He’s also got an interesting take on City Councilman Jim Righeimer’s bid to expand fireworks sales in Costa Mesa at Tuesday’s council meeting as well as a probing look at the transition at City Hall.
The Daily Pilot spilled quite a bit of ink this morning on profiles of Costa Mesa Councilman Steven Mensinger and local teacher Joel Flores, whom, as you might recall, went at each other over the city’s outsourcing plan a couple weeks ago after a fun run held in the city.
Lauren Williams’ piece on Mensinger alternately quotes people who describe him as a dedicated volunteer in the community and others who say he can be a bully.
Joseph Serna, meanwhile, filed a largely glowing portrait of Flores, who teaches at Estancia High School and has become aligned with the group that is fighting the outsourcing plan.
In other Costa Mesa news, Williams writes that the city announced plans to hold weekly public meetings on the budget.
The LA Times is all over the fact that the Cal State Senate can’t agree that felons shouldn’t get a pension.
The Times also reports that the state Democratic Party is pondering whether to try to focus on places like Orange County?
The Orange County Register’s Randy Youngman says Kings fans shouldn’t go overboard in celebrating the decision by the NBA team’s owners to stay another year in Sacramento. He says its unlikely that the cash-strapped city will produce a new arena or anything else that will keep the team for the long term.
Resident Register Watchdog Teri Sforza writes about the redundant water districts of Orange County — the Orange County Water District and the Municipal Water District of Orange County — perhaps trying to shed some of their redundancies.
The Register’s Claudia Koerner has an interesting look at Laguna Beach’s attempt to control outdoor lighting with an ordinance.
Voice of OC’s Tracy Wood files a dispatch on a local homeless advocate’s anger over Santa Ana’s policy of denying library cards to people who do not have a permanent address in the city. The policy is especially hard on homeless men.
Norberto Santana, Jr. gives an update on the lobbying effort by Orange County Superior Court judges to keep their Cadillac health plans that come courtesy of the county.
The Sacramento Bee is reporting that the NBA Kings will stay in Sacramento for at least one more year.
The Daily Pilot’s Joseph Serna keeps us up to date on the latest news coming out of Costa Mesa. First, he provides documentary proof that the Repair Costa Mesa campaign, which is fighting the city’s massive outsourcing plan, is being run by the Orange County Employees Association.
Serna also reports on claims by the Costa Mesa police union that as many as 20 officers are in the process of leaving the department, with a principle reason being that they fear layoffs.
The Register’s Tony Saavedra reports on a decision by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to keep allowing state firefighters to count “extended duty” toward their pensions.