Voice of Our Commentators

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.

No More Beach Bonfires?

This is probably the only right call the Board of Supervisors has made in the last five years. And ironically, their vote is meaningless because they have no power over the final decision.

So they make a big deal over something that they have no control over. It was a powerless vote to gain suck points with the general public, since the Big 5 know that the large majority of the public is in opposition.

More feckless political expedience.

— Beelzebub

Santa Ana Deputy CEO Investigated for Misconduct

I think we got the answer to the Voice of OC’s question of “do we need a corruption commission?”

— Paul Lucas

Little thin on facts and heavy on character assassination here.

Did a traffic accident even happen? It looks like Voice of OC has not confirmed that it did.

They quote “anonymous” sources without verifying with a second source? Pretty weak.

Since it’s a personnel issue, it’s not even something the City Council members would be briefed on, yet one member throws out a loosely worded ambiguous quote.

Get it together, VOC. Wait until you have some facts before you post rumors and innuendo. We expect better from this blog.

— Al Simmons

Drakodaidis Fired

If Carlos Bustamante’s behavior was reported to [Deputy County CEO Alisa] Drakodaidis and she did nothing, then she does not deserve the public trust.

Vote Democratic next time. At least the Dems share what they steal.

— IonaTrailer

Every internal county investigation has the same result: “insufficient evidence” or “claim unfounded.”

That was the county’s Human Resources department’s findings when they investigated Carlos Bustamante. After ignoring complaints for over a year, HR determined there was insufficient evidence to discipline Bustamante. But after the Voice of OC reported this travesty, the DA found sufficient evidence to charge Bustamante with 12 felonies and four misdemeanors.

The Drakodaidis “investigation” was no different. County investigators, either internal or hired guns, are provided the findings in advance and then told to go cherry-pick evidence to support the predetermined findings.

I won’t be surprised when these same “impartial” outside investigators find insufficient evidence following their current investigation of OC Waste & Recycling Director Mike Giancola.

— OC Bureaucrat

When does the law firm’s investigation become public so we can all review it?

— Truevoice

Culture of Corruption?

The atmosphere of corruption, from a wink and a nod to worse, is not limited to county government. If one watches over time the stories about white collar crime emanating from or occurring in Orange County, one will find that Orange County seems to be the epicenter of much of it — from charity boiler-room scams to “can’t lose” investment schemes to Medi-Cal and Medicare Fraud.\

There seems to be a culture here that enables such activity. It may be unrealistic to expect anything better of our government than of our community at large.

— News Hound

Voice of Our Commentators

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.

Ethics Commission

Orange County would benefit from the creation of its own Ethics Commission. The city of Los Angeles has had its own EC for years, and it is kept busy examining fundraising irregularities, disclosure and other conflicts of interest issues.

Information about the LAEC is online.

Its duties, activities and results show the worthiness for the creation of a similar entity in Orange County. I hope a majority of the county’s Board of Supervisors joins Supervisor Todd Spitzer to bring its own Orange County Ethics Commission to life.

— Jeff Dickman

Why we need this ethics commission:

  • [Former state Sen. Dick] Ackerman made the short list for clerk-recorder and was interviewed.
  • The CalOptima mess involving Supervisor [Janet] Nguyen.
  • The DA not being able to find the documents implicating Ackerman for what he did during the sale of the fairgrounds.

— Reggie

I hope the grand jury knows that they have only touched the dust at the top of the surface. The rot goes deep, very deep.

— Insider2

As much as I hate to admit it, [Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn] Nelson’s right. These chairs, boards, commissions, oversight bodies, etc. — whatever you want to call them — are only as good as those who appoint them.

If Frankenstein and Dracula appointed an oversight body to monitor the operations of the Transylvania municipal government, would you realisitcally expect a more ethical Transylvania? Of course not. All you would get is more highly paid bureaucrats with big fat pensions who accomplish next to nothing. It would end up being more job creation for connected insiders.

So while this may sound like it has good intentions, I don’t buy it. It would just turn out to be another load of taxpayer dollars getting flushed with no real return.

Now if the oversight body consisted of regular, blue-collar-type volunteer citizens and paid a small stipend, I would be in favor 100%. But they would never allow that. We already saw that with the Office of Independent Review.

They don’t want real oversight. They want feigned oversight.

— Beelzebub

Controversial Dana Point Harbor Contract

I find it incredibly disappointing that they fired a county employee simply because he asked some questions about what appears to be a wasteful contract. Does this mean that Internal Audits’ job is to just protect the supervisors?

— Disenfranchised

Affordable Care Act

In 2014, the penalty [for not having health insurance] is $95. In 2016 it rises to $695. As we all know, the insurance system survives based upon the management of their risk pools. The bet is that most people paying premiums are relatively healthy and require little medical care. Their premiums are able to finance the costs associated with the sick population.

If you’ve read the news, you’ve noticed that the big California insurance companies have asked for big premium increases, as large as 20%. And Obama’s Health and Human Services czar, Kathleen Sebelius, already blew the warning whistle that Obamacare will not lessen costs as promised. No, Sebelius said that costs will continue to rise higher, higher and higher.

So what happens when the average Joe figures out that it’s much cheaper to pay the $95 or $695 annual penalty than it is to buy a health insurance policy, because when Joe actually gets sick he can opt to buy an insurance plan, since under the new law Joe cannot be denied?

Simple. It crashes the system. ObamaCare was designed to fail.

Same with businesses. Those with less than 50 employees do not have to provide insurance for their employees; it becomes the employee’s problem. Businesses with over 50 employees could opt out of providing insurance and instead pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee. The first 30 employees are exempted, so he’d pay a penalty of $2,000 for, say, the residual 20 employees. That’s an annual penalty of $40,000, much cheaper than financing insurance for 50 employees when the employer’s share of the premiums would probably average at least $10,000 per employee.

Do the math: It’s much cheaper to opt out. So the risk pool will be mostly very sick patients who require constant medical care. And many will probably be so poor that their premiums will be zero or a very insignificant amount.

It’s not hard to see how this story ends. All it takes is some objectivity and honesty.

— Beelzebub

Irvine City Project 45 Percent Over Budget

Who is the project manager on this project? Timelines, milestones, what is going on?

Let me define a project manager: It is the person that is responsible for accomplishing clear objectives, which includes building the project requirements and managing the project. Most important is the cost, time and scope of the project.

What a project manager is not is a city manager or council members trying to figure out finance without a financial or business background.

[City Manager Sean Joyce asked,] “When are we going to run out of money?” When the taxpayers get fed up with government taking their money and throwing it in the garbage.

— Kdaigle362

No More ‘Competitive’ Rates at Mesa Water District

Why did we drop “competitive rates” from our Strategic Plan?

That wording was dropped because you cannot compare water rates across districts and get a true picture of the actual cost to the ratepayer.

Most districts take some of your property tax money to subsidize water rates. Mesa Water does not. It would be impossible to match a lower rate by a district that gets up to 50 percent of water charges through property tax when we don’t get that extra tax money. It would be an apple to oranges comparison to just compare “rates” without including the property tax charges at other districts.

In the future you could do a better job of reporting by actually asking questions instead of portraying this along with the stipend discussion as negatively as you can. You perform a disservice to the readers with your style.

— James Fisler

Fisler is president of the Mesa Water District.

Voice of Our Commentators

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.

Layoffs at the Honda Center?

This is just cruel. Honda Center and [Anaheim Ducks owner Henry] Samueli have zero problem with firing workers who have helped build their great brand.

Where is the city of Anaheim on this? Isn’t this city-owned property, and shouldn’t our elected officials demand better for middle class families? I think they should, or we should vote them out.

— Stunned

The Honda Center is a business. It’s not like the government. It actually survives or perishes based on its business decisions and its bottom line. Deficit spending is not an option.

For some absurd reason, union people feel entitled to a job and entitled to comp packages that are over and above what nonunion service jobs pay. It’s time to accept the same compensation provided for private sector service jobs or move on. No more prima donnas. Society can no longer afford it.

— Beelzebub

CalOptima’s Response

The fact that the board approved a grand jury response letter unanimously with no comment says everything that needs to be said about the lack of transparency of the CalOptima board. Can you say, “in Janet Nguyen’s pocket”?

— DocC

Police Payout

OK, then correct it. That means repaying every nickel, because even if the chief allowed the rollover, it only appears to have been requested for the following year, not into perpetuity.

Mistakes happen, but then they are rectified, and if the IRS mistakenly sent me a refund higher than I was entitled to, I would be forced to repay it. Period. When the cashier accidentally gives back too much change, most of us return to the store and give it back (I hope), and I would expect a cop, of all people, to do the same.

— Cynthia Ward

From my point of view, the only issue in question is: Was the inspector’s request to exceed the number of maximum hours of vacation accrual approved by the police chief and city manager?

What many people are forgetting is the vacation hours themselves were legitimate and did not cost the taxpayer any more money than had the employee used them over the years, taken an extended leave just before retirement or, as it so happened, was paid for them in a lump sum.

The payout of leave time does not count as part of the employees single highest year for retirement purposes, so it cannot be considered a retirement spike.

The Santa Ana City Council should do its home work before commenting to the media about such incidents. It makes them appear ignorant of what is happening in their city and of city policies and procedures.

— Ltpar1