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Supervisor Andrew Do was unanimously chosen by his colleagues this week to serve as chairman of the county Board of Supervisors for 2018.
“Today is a very proud day for me and my family,” Do told audience members after he was selected at Tuesday’s board meeting. He was joined at the meeting by his wife – Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham – and his eldest daughter.
Do’s selection as chair comes as the county grapples with issues like ever-growing homelessness, gaps in mental health services, and being shortchanged in tax revenues by Sacramento to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
It’s also a year when most of the five-member board – which oversees $6 billion in public spending, including law enforcement, mental health services, Child Protective Services, and other programs – is running for other offices or re-election.
Supervisor Shawn Nelson is running for Congress, Supervisor Michelle Steel is running for re-election, and Supervisor Todd Spitzer is running for district attorney.
Steel ultimately wants to run to replace Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R – Huntington Beach) when his seat becomes available at some point in the future, she said Wednesday in a phone interview with Voice of OC.
Steel said she doesn’t know when that might happen. “It’s all God’s will,” she said. Steel said she is not running for the Congressional seats of outgoing Republican congressmen Ed Royce of Fullerton or Darrell Issa of Vista, whose district includes part of South Orange County. Nelson is running for Royce’s seat.
In his remarks about becoming chair, Do didn’t say what his policy goals are for the year.
As chairman, Do, a lawyer, will preside over Board of Supervisors meetings, decide whether certain proposals make it onto the agenda, and represent the board as its spokesperson.
The chair position is “for the most part ceremonial,” Do said. The chair becomes the “face of the county” and gets to speak for the county, he said.
“Your success is my objective,” Nelson, who was unanimously chosen as vice chair, told Do. “I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to make your goals successful.”
Do replaced Steel, the outgoing chairwoman, whom he thanked and presented with a ceremonial gavel in a plush box.
Spitzer credited Steel with leadership on issues ranging from a battle with the Federal Aviation Administration about flight pathways at John Wayne Airport, to the construction of a new county animal shelter, to the purchase a building for OC’s first public mental health center.
In his remarks about becoming chairman, Do reflected on his experience as a young refugee from Vietnam, saying the United States is indeed “a land of opportunity.”
As a boy in a war-torn country, Do said he learned how “fragile” government is, and how people “can be victims of bad government.”
“Having seen where bad government can take a country, can take a society, I see government like an organic thing” that has to be nurtured, he said.
Do represents the First District in central Orange County, which includes the cities of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, part of Fountain Valley, and the unincorporated area of Midway City.
Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.