Voice of Our Commentators

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Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question.

Santa Ana’s Streetcar

The City Council has had presentations and study sessions on the trolley, and there were public city meetings hosted by the Orange County Transportation Authority and city staff. Also there have been neighborhood meetings where this was a topic and staff did a presentation and answered residents’ questions.

The City Council could have come to a number of places to get more information where some of the same questions were being asked, but the fact they didn’t underscores the disconnect of the council members in conversations to the residents and apparently even their own staff.

This City Council has also made several votes on this project, including picking the consultants, who are responsible for keeping them informed, and a number of transit- and trolley-dependent developments projects along the route.

They are just now beginning to ask questions that should have been raised years ago at the beginning of the process. Have they really been ignorant and uninformed this whole time as they made those important decisions?

The Santa Ana streetcar is a boondoggle just like Centerline was and should be stopped now before more precious taxpayer money is wasted.

— SA Resident

The council members stated at the meeting that they have seen numerous presentations but have yet to have their questions answered by city staff.

It is a ridiculous statement that the council needs to be at public meetings in order to have answers to questions by staff.

The argument here is not a disconnection by the council majority from the community as SA Resident states but rather a culture of staff disconnection with the council.

Sarmiento was asking the correct questions on behalf of the residents and is concerned that the council majority is not getting the community questions answered. This is the disconnection.

— Art lomeli

A New County Clerk-Recorder

It looks like [former Clerk-Recorder Tom] Daly and [Anaheim City Councilman Jordan] Brandman took [Interrim Clerk-Recorder] Renee Ramirez down.

Too bad for her, but she should have reported what they were doing earlier.

— Truevoice

Oh, this is scary. Ms. Ramirez, who pulls down $113,000 a year, doesn’t know you are not suppose to split contracts to avoid going to the Board of Supervisors for approval? Her name is all over split contracts.

It is her duty as second in command to know what is going on and stop it if it is illegal or wrong.

And exactly how did Ms. Ramirez get to pull down that kind of money? Her mentor and scapegoat promoted her for being such a good second in command and keeping her mouth shut. People running much, much larger departments make as much or less.

— Workingstiff

Take a hard look at what happens to county staff who report wrongdoing. It’s not pretty.

Employees who report unethical, illegal or fraudulant activities are destroyed. This career destruction is made public to serve as an example to any other employee who gets the idea that reporting illegal activity might be the proper thing to do.

The county has made it clear: Go along to get along, pay to play, speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil. If all else fails, act ignorant and stupid and pretend that you never noticed what was going on in front of your face.

The only time that reporting of illegal, stupid or improper behavior or actions is tolerated is when the CEO or the Board of Supervisors finds that exposure will provide political benefit, and then they make hay of it by acting outraged.

And the question posed by [Supervisor Todd] Spitzer during the clerk-recorder interviews regarding same-sex marriage makes me sick. Is this all we have to be concerned about? Given the garbage going on at the clerk-recorder’s office, this was all he could come up with as an assessment question?

The answer is clear: Just follow the law.

— Insider2

After reading Brandman’s report, I feel that Renee Ramirez deserves a thanks but no thanks from the Board of Supervisors. She should be asked to skip the interview for lacking the judgement to cut off payments to this hack. 

— Mitt Campbell

I am just very grateful it looks like we got someone [Hieu Nguyen, a longtime county employee] in there who knows the job and is not looking for the next political seat.

— Cynthia Ward

What’s Wrong With the Fair Board

This has been along fight. The statute of limitations on this type of money laundering and political corruption has a shelf life of four years. It has taken thousands of hours of dedicated volunteers tirelessly dogging the Fair Board to bring it to light. Once the evidence was heard and reviewed, the conclusion was obvious.

The biggest scandal is that this obstruction of public records requests and sweeping the evidence under the rug reaches to the highest levels of the district attorney’s office. They’ve known about this for years but have refused to do anything about it but write a whitewashed report that ignored all the evidence.

The only way to get the full weight of the DA’s office against you is to steal a $5 campaign sign. Try and steal a $200-million dollar public property and they help you cover your tracks.

— Gericault

One issue the public faces is dealing with [the Fair Board’s] staff, who took jobs at a public agency but don’t want to follow the rules of public agencies or even deal with the public.

There are staff who won’t talk with members of the public or work with them. They give the impression that they just want the public to go away and stop showing up at the fairground. Public records requests look like they could become a problem again, because some staff just don’t like filling the request and have said so.

There are so many people who would love to have those jobs and do a fantastic job with them!

— Reggie

I was very happy to attend this meeting and glad that this is being brought out into the light. We all need to know about what is going on there, and yes, somebody’s got to fix it.

It’s time someone is challenging the Fair Board and showing the public what they are up to over there. I can tell you this is a public place, and the staff clearly showed us that “we,” the public, were not welcome.

— Sillyme

Homelessness Conference

It’s comical that there were no politicians reported at this event. It would seem that they would be the ones who would need to hear the information the most. It was on a Saturday, so they were probably attending fundraisers at some five-star hotel with union or corporate lobbyists.

It’s amazing that in America today they’ll do a sting operation on people who have no place to call home for loitering and toss them in jail for merely existing. (Everybody’s got to be someplace at any given point in time.) Meanwhile American bankers literally knowingly and willfully launder hundreds of billions of narco dollars for international drug cartels and not one of them is prosecuted, let alone see the inside of a jail cell.

Sometimes life feels like a Mel Brooks movie in real time.

— Beelzebub

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