Like most Americans, I am disturbed by the hyper-partisanship characterizing politics today. This 2nd District Supervisor vacancy election is supposed to be a non-partisan election, but is, in fact, marked by aggressive partisanship by both the Republican and Democratic parties. I am a fiscal conservative, registered as a Democrat, but my stance is nonpartisan – – I am running to represent all the people of the 2nd District – – not to propagate a party agenda. I represent the best of both parties and, importantly, the large group of voters who have no party preference.
My non-partisan position allows me to consider all sides of an issue and come up with new ideas and solutions, unconstrained. I am not a professional politician. I am a citizen running with skills that are not now available on the Board of Supervisors. I know how to mitigate financial risk to the County, negotiate with numerous sides and stakeholders, and ensure deliverables. Orange County needs all the financial support it can get. I can reach across party lines and obtain that needed funding. A Board of Supervisors squabbling over party affiliation cannot.
The pandemic is still raging, and the Board’s response has been marked by its disjointed and inadequate response to the virus in the early days, nonexistent planning for the distribution of the lifesaving vaccine, a lack of coordinated communications, and decisions made behind closed doors as elected officials pursue their political ambitions above all else.
A case in point: Compare Los Angeles and Orange counties. Los Angeles County established a “super point of dispensing” (POD) at Dodger Stadium, which in its first nine days of operation, gave almost 56,000 vaccinations. In contrast, Orange County only administered a total of 56,000 vaccinations countywide by January 8. Addressing all these critical issues must be the first priority for the Board of Supervisors, and that will be my focus.
From voter outreach, we know the most important issue for residents is the control of the virus and the need to have in place the proper infrastructure and resources to control and end the pandemic. That is my priority. But we have some longer lasting hurdles as well. Additional funding for vaccine distribution is still needed, and the mishandling of the pandemic has created a deficit in tax revenue impairing our ability to adequately address pressing issues of homelessness, hunger, public safety and so many more. Orange County simply does not have enough money to pay for all this.
As an accomplished tax attorney, I have the expertise and ability to successfully reach out to state and federal funding partners and negotiate access to needed funds for Orange County. Political partisanship and bickering will not help us get to the goal of sufficient funds. Failure to access needed funding means the County will continue to have insufficient resources, resulting in more budget cuts, possibly even increased taxes. None of us want to see this happen.
The only way the County can increase its organic budget (sales taxes) is to end this pandemic as quickly as possible, get back to business, and create a vibrant Orange County where tourism and other activities can flourish. We need to give our struggling businesses the opportunity to thrive once again and we need to encourage new businesses to bet on the future of Orange County.
My campaign is a grassroots one based on broad support from voters, colleagues, friends and fellow Orange County residents who demand more from their Board of Supervisors. “Politics as usual” has not worked during this pandemic and has come at a great cost to OC residents. Let us not squander this opportunity to bring this sad period to a close and put people above politics once more.
Janet Rappaport is an accomplished international tax attorney, distinguished veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve, and grew up in Orange County. She is a graduate of Stanford University and holds law degrees from Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law, and New York University School of Law.
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