Subsidies for the Orange County Tourism Council have historically received tough challenges from the Fourth Supervisorial District.
Former County Supervisor, and now State Assemblyman, Chris Norby regularly railed against an annual county payment of more than $200,000 to an industry that should do fine by itself in a place like sunny Southern California.
And while many observers say that County Supervisor Shawn Nelson is a natural follow to Norby (the two are close personal friends and Norby endorsed Nelson), the tourism folks may find Nelson to be a bit friendlier.
That’s because he decided upon his wife, Sharon, as the Fourth District’s newest addition to the Council board of Directors.
However, Nelson said, the tourism folks shouldn’t get too excited. He claims to have appointed his wife only after no one else wanted the job.
“I had to appoint somebody,” Nelson said, adding that his wife was formerly employed with the Anaheim/Orange County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as a convention services manager.
Nelson said the tourism council will still have to prove its case to him that it deserves receiving the primary share of hotel taxes from the county’s unincorporated areas to help promote Orange County as a tourist destination.
But could he really cut funding to a council he just appointed his wife to?
“I could cut the funding and I wouldn’t break a sweat,” Nelson said.
— NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.