Moorlach May Resign as Chairman of Homelessness Panel

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 Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach (Photo by: Violeta Vaqueiro)

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has indicated he is ready to step down as chairman of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness and has invited Supervisor Todd Spitzer to take his place.

"I would be happy to resign and let him fill the position," Moorlach said Monday. "I have two years left on my term, and he theoretically has eight, so it would be good for continuity's sake if he took over."

Moorlach said that former Supervisor Bill Campbell afforded him the same opportunity in 2010 when Campbell was two years from stepping down from the Board of Supervisors.

Spitzer did not return a reporter's phone calls, but he indicated through his spokesman a willingness to consider Moorlach's invitation. "He is interested in serving on the commission and is interested in a leadership role on the issue at some point," said Justin Glover, Spitzer's spokesman.

Spitzer, the newest member of the Board of Supervisors, is the most obvious choice to succeed Moorlach, if for no other reason than that he highlighted the dire state of the county's homeless people in his swearing-in speech last month.

That scores of homeless people regularly camp at the Orange County Civic Center in Santa Ana because they have nowhere else to go is "really, really shameful," Spitzer said in his speech.

Since, Spitzer and his staff turned out in force to help conduct the "point in time" homeless count, which is mandated by the federal government and is considered the closest to an annual census of homeless people. He has also mentioned a desire to follow in the footsteps of Supervisor Shawn Nelson and work to establish a year-round homeless shelter in his district.

Nelson was instrumental in the efforts to obtain a site for a year-round shelter in Fullerton, which was approved by supervisors in January and would be Orange County's first permanent homeless shelter.

Moorlach said a succession plan for the commission will come into sharper focus later this month when its executive committee meets. He also said he could be open to the idea of someone other than a supervisor leading the commission.

"Maybe [the commission] could be better served," Moorlach said. "I'm not saying that I'm doing a bad job, but maybe someone else would have a better intuition for it all."

Another item up for discussion will be the possibility of having a homeless or formerly homeless person serve on the commission. That idea seemed to have much support at the commission's last meeting and is something that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will likely be requiring of local homelessness commissions in the near future, said Karen Roper, director of county Community Services.

Please contact David Washburn directly at dwashburn@voiceofoc.org.

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