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.
Moorlach thinks this is just a spike? There seems to be fraud and sexual assaults and nepotism going on in every department, and management has known it because people reported concerns and nobody did anything.
And now Moorlach is saying we have to figure out if it is trend.
It is not a trend. It is a way of life for those in charge.
— Ron / Sept. 21
When an organization can't be forced out of business via bankruptcy, is financed with other people's money, affords zero accountability to those who control the purse strings and depends upon the integrity of the employee supervisors to keep the system clean — you are destined to have a failed and corrupted organization. There is no other way around it.
And to pour fuel on the fire, when you have a political system that allows public unions to pay off and/or extort those elected for their votes — it is purely a train wreck before the engineer even has a chance to leave the station.
It is designed, systemic dysfunction. Dysfunction is built into the system. None of it is an accident. It was intended to operate in such a manner from the getgo.
— Beelzebub / Sept. 21
Is Moorlach blind or purposefully misleading the public? How can you look at corruption scandal after corruption scandal amid OC's executive ranks this year and have any question about whether there's a systemic problem here?
And where is the accountability for the Board of Supervisors, whom the public is supposed to be able to trust to make sure these things don't happen?
Oh, that's right. They're too busy worried about how to give their interim CEO a huge raise.
— Stunned / Sept. 20
This has happened with fraud in other departments as well.
People try to report it and nobody is interested. Police are totally overwhelmed with any government issues, the DA chooses to be out to lunch and the FBI only steps in if they get a case from the police or DA. And the chances of that happening are nil.
That's why the managers can keep doing what they do so long without any interruptions.
— Ron / Sept. 20
Those brave enough to step forward need support. Not everyone is able to risk it all to do the right thing.
Check out what you lose: (1) your career, (2) your job or promotion, (3) your reputation, (4) many of your "friends" who can't be seen with you (5) your life, medical and dental insurance, (5) your retirement. Need I go on?
The majority of county staff have kids to raise, feed and educate and bills to pay, so these salt-of-the-earth people are sometimes held financial hostage by manipulative and powerful county managers, executives, CEO and the Board of Supervisors, who use the threat of financial and career destruction as a tool to control. And as we have seen, don't expect to be protected if you report wrongdoing, as you just became the enemy.
— Insider / Sept. 17
As for Ms. [Kathy] Tahilramani [former county Human Resources manager], she will now have to go through what will be a lengthy court process, with the county appealing at every loss.
The Board of Supervisors, instead of doing what's right and making this woman whole — after firing [Mike] Giancola [county Waste & Recycling director] — are deeply offended that she has made them all look bad and incompetent. They will instruct the county counsel to deny and stall in hopes of dragging this matter out for a decade so she will either give up or die.
In the end she will receive a payout 20 times greater than what it would have cost to pay her off or make it right. The current Board of Supervisors will be long gone, and the taxpayers are once again stuck with the bill.
Business as usual.
— Cacityguy / Sept. 17
Just how many laws does a department head have to break before he or she is placed on administrative leave during investigation? All it took was one anonymous accusation to get [county Public Works Director] Jess Carbajal placed on administrative leave. But we’re still waiting on Mike Giancola as mountains of accusations and evidence pile up.
I suppose having Steve Danley as director of the human resources department is a big help for Giancola. Also, Giancola’s department is where the Board of Supervisors goes to find jobs for life for their unqualified staff and to borrow money for pet projects they can’t fund with county general funds.
— OC Bureaucrat / Sept. 17
When I was unemployed I watched soap operas on TV. Now employed, I work around the best actors in "As the County Turns in the Days of Our Lives."
— Forchnkuki / Sept. 17
Here we go again, a few Santa Ana residents demanding more transparency in city government, putting more workload on city staff and on their own elected neighbors that they voted for and put in office.
Santa Ana has always reached out to neighbors the last 30 or so years since neighbor associations started up. Developers have had to run circles and step up to the plate to make Santa Ana look and feel better.
Our neighbors aren't developers and have no real vision for Santa Ana other then being Orange County's dumping ground for social services, low income, overcrowded schools, crime, etc.
Here we are in the 21st century, and a few Santa Ana residents say give me more and more, let's tie up City Hall with even more red tape and chase development and growth away and let more nonprofits and nontaxpayers keep asking for more.
If the City Council passes the sunshine ordinance, all those sunflowers will die from the dark cloud and red tape as we tell developers you need to spend even more money for meetings and fees to do business in Santa Ana. This will chase new development and slow down building an even stronger tax base for all the services Santa Ana neighbors need. So SACReD should be careful and think what it is really asking for.
Santa Ana, for a city of its size, is doing great and will continue to grow and be Orange County's true urban center. So will all naysayers please pick up and leave.
— Reason / Sept. 19
Obviously the definition of "lobbyist" can be played with and skirted around. Unofficial meetings and conversations will still exist.
But when those lobbyists and the developer representatives must meet more than once with the communities that are being directly affected, they will not be able to hide. Their words and promises to the community must be fully documented.
Developers that have no interest in communicating honest intentions do not deserve to be invited into a community.
— Got your back / Sept. 19
Re "[Santa Ana Mayor Miguel] Pulido, meanwhile, trumpets accomplishments, like bringing the Discovery Science Center into the city and reducing the crime rate, as evidence that his leadership has been effective."
These are the highlights of 18 years as mayor. Compare this to accomplishments during the same 18 years accomplished by neighbors, such as Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine etc.
— Art Lomeli / Sept. 21
Miguel is in touch with his pocketbook, not the people. The only way he will reach out to voters is if there is a finder's fee involved.
— Slater / Sept. 21
What these politicians are not telling you is the way outsourcing saves money is by providing less service. These outsourcing contracts set minimum standards, and then the companies have to be constantly monitored to meet the minimum.
If you are OK with watching the infrastructure deteriorate, then I can save big bucks. Get rid of all government and we can have an entire country in the same situation as the "state" of Palestine — anarchy.
What we really need is to actually give public managers the ability to fire nonperformers similar to private industry. The effort and money it takes to fire one nonperforming public employee is ridiculous.
Instead we are targeting outsourcing, which can easily lead to all kinds of problems with companies getting contracts to do public works through nefarious means. Outsourcing just creates different problems; it does not solve all problems.
— Irritated / Sept. 19
The primary reason OCTA is looking at raising fares is because the state Transportation Development Act — which provides about half of the $267-million bus operations budget — mandates passengers pay a minimum of 20 cents for every dollar spent on providing bus service.
If OCTA falls below that 20 percent “farebox recovery” — expected to happen next year if fares are not increased — the agency is in jeopardy of losing that funding, which would threaten the entire system.
The last time bus fares were raised was in 2009, and that was because of the same issue. No one — passengers, OCTA staff or the board — wants to see prices get higher in what we know is still a tough economy. Unfortunately given the options, what we heard from passengers was that a fare increase was preferable to cutting service.
Like every other public agency, private business and millions of people, the recession hit OCTA hard. We were forced to cut 20 percent of service over three years because of state funding cuts, plummeting sales tax and lagging ridership due to high unemployment. OCTA can only provide the service for which we have funding. When tax dollars went south — and they did in a big way — the unfortunate reality is that we had to also shrink the bus service.
There is a little bit of good news. About 23,000 bus service hours will be added back into the system this fiscal year. Half of that will be on the streets next month to boost some of our busiest lines, including Route 29 on Beach Boulevard and Route 47 on Anaheim Boulevard, Fairview Street and Fairview Road.
I hope this helps shed a little more light on the issue.
— Joel Zlotnik, OCTA /Sept. 19