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.
Task Force Probing Orange County Corruption
Did you notice that the Board of Supervisors meeting on July 23 was really short and fast? Everything was “move and second.”
The IT contract was pulled — why? Are they spooked by the investigation?
The parking management contract was put over the week before — why? Are they spooked by the investigation?
[Supervisor] Janet Nguyen all of a sudden abstains from voting on anything Health Care Agency or CalOptima related. Why now? Why all of a sudden? Worried about something?
And the response to the grand jury on harassment gets a terse motion, second. No discussion. What? They have nothing to say about a very important report?
Looks to me like the board is nervous. I think they have reason to be nervous. Sadly, nobody has any pity for them. They have been rude, arrogant and dismissive. They have used and abused the trust of employees and taxpayers.
All five board members have brought years of shame to Orange County — one abuse after another, one scandal after another. Now they might just have the opportunity to feel the sting of the light of day.
People in the know need to tell what they know to the feds. It is now or never if we are going to clean up this cesspool.
Clean up the county, please. Please take out the trash.
Reading these comments is making me sad because they’re all so true.
The reality is the crony interests here have had free reign so long that if this task force pointed its resources in any direction, it would find something good.
Board of Supervisors? Check. CalOptima? Check. [Lobbyist] Curt Pringle and Anaheim? Check. Water and sanitation district boards? Check. Most of the city councils? Check.
Looks like huge vindication for the grand jury and their report about corruption in Orange County.
I thought it was pretty pathetic for the Board of Supervisors to take away their stipends and dismiss their findings by calling the grand jury members a bunch of reckless, elderly folks who don’t understand complex issues.
Can’t really say that about the district attorney. And the FBI. And the U.S. attorney. And the FPPC. But it’s sure going to be funny to watch them all try to discredit this.
Hope this task force cleans up OC once and for all. God knows we need it.
If the DA had been interested, something would have already been done a long time ago. Don’t forget, the DA’s budget is formulated by the supervisors.
It would just look very strange for the U.S. attorney, the FBI, the IRS, the FPPC and the attorney general to get involved without inviting the DA.
The FBI doesn’t show up unless something stinks pretty darn badly. It’s not like busywork for an overstaffed agency. When agent bodies are allocated, it’s for good reason based on facts. It’s not a courtesy visit. You can count on that.
It’s a long time coming. We can only hope that there are actual consequences to those who have done wrong.
Can’t wait to see how this soap opera plays out.
The task force won’t have to dig deep to realize that the supervisors’ shenanigans are blatant and appalling.
This news just made my day. If anyone witnesses a colossal bonfire in the OC, call the authorities. They’ve got a lot of evidence to purge.
— Straight shooter
Many managers now pay more than 22% of their monthly income to fund their retirement. I worked for many years in the private sector before coming to the county; I don’t know anyone who funded their own 401(k) or retirement accounts at anywhere close to 20%. And believe me, we made a lot more money in the private sector.
I chose to come to the county for a number of reasons, and I do not regret my decision. I understand that public employees must contribute to their own pensions, and while I wish it were at a lower percentage, this is the reality, and we have to deal with it.
There is no reason why any county manager, including executives and the Board of Supervisors, should be exempt. If Supervisor [John] Moorlach or any other supervisor will one day collect a pension, he should be required to fund that pension at the same rate that applies to all other managers.
I understand why this might seem hypocritical, but should all politicians who advocate against overly generous pension policies that are enacted anyway be expected to refuse to take those benefits themselves?
And by contrast, should those politicians that did vote for the overly generous pension policies be allowed to benefit from them?
Why then shouldn’t people who want bigger government just be expected to pay higher taxes than other people?
Moorlach and his wife are making a $16,000 decision? That’s rich.
It’s not about what’s right, it’s not about what’s fair, it’s about how much money it’s going to cost him.
Hypocrite is too kind a word for this two-faced Pharisee.
“Problems” Postpone County’s Huge IT Contract
Postponing the contract vote because “Xerox has problems” is an understatement. They low-balled their initial proposal and then colluded with IT managers to split responsibility for the cost increases.
This is the same thing that seems to happen with all county outsourcing contracts. The county never gets the services it asks for from winning vendors for the price they proposed.
There is probably a lot of money changing hands to get this bad deal rammed through.
Supervisor [Janet] Nguyen warned Xerox when the initial bids were accepted, “If you’re low-balling us, we’re not going to take too kindly to it.” I wonder if in the end the board will stick to that threat or cave as they have done in the past.
Stupid question here: Why is Supervisor [Shawn] Nelson communicating directly with a bidder (Verizon) while the contract discussions are still on the table? What are the Board of Supervisors paying all their contract staff for if they are going to do it themselves?
Wasn’t there some talk about potential vendors feeling like these direct contacts were a thinly disguised “pay for play” attempt?
He said, “I contacted them,” not contract staff contacted them. If I was a vendor trying to do business with the county and a supervisor called me directly, I would assume they wanted a campaign contribution.
I’ll give the Voice of OC an A+. VOC is the only source of credible information about our local cities and the county of Orange. The light of day is on the political gamers, finally. Thanks, Voice of OC.
Let me try and distill this down.
The entire Board of Supervisors enables Supervisor Janet Nguyen to restructure the CalOptima board of directors and assume absolute control.
Nguyen then chases away numerous board members and replaces them with her handpicked successors, most of whom are either directly employed by the CalOptima service providers or are doing business with them, thus creating an enormous conflict of interest.
After seeing all of this, the FBI launches an investigation of Nguyen’s fundraising practices.
CalOptima’s board is now so conflicted that many must abstain from voting on CalOptima matters. Isn’t voting on CalOptima matters the only reason they’re on that board?
So Janet Nguyen, the taxpayers’ ex officio member on CalOptima’s board of directors, is unable to fulfill her duties on that board due to her many conflicts of interest.
Supervisors, why was Nguyen’s coup allowed to go forward? This current state of affairs was predicted by government watchdog organizations and later the subject of a scathing grand jury report. Everyone saw it coming, yet you approved going forward with the coup.
This is just another example of the rampant corruption that makes Orange County government a laughingstock around the state and the nation.
— OC Bureaucrat
Dr. Chau’s Lecture Fees
I have met Dr. [Clayton] Chau at many community events and know that he has been instrumental in changing the OC mental health community for the better.
He helped countless people while working at the county Health Care Agency and continues to care about the underserved members of the mental health community.
I am not sure why you are going after him, since many doctors receive speaking fees. Are you researching them all?
Dr. Chau is one of the most committed community supporters in Orange County. He is a champion to those marginalized and probably used this money to support the countless organizations and individuals he’s helped over the years. Those in the LGBT, ethnic, mental health, HIV, etc. communities support Dr. Chau.
Shame on you, Voice of OC, for not providing the entire story and dragging a true community activist’s reputation down.
Not saying he is a bad doctor. Not saying he has not made community contributions. Saying this: The doctor did not follow the rules on purpose to his advantage.
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