While in attendance during the Tuesday, June 14th Board of Supervisor’s meeting and during the agendized public comment period, one of the public was called by name to give public comment and during his public comment, 4 of the 5 Supervisors got up and left the room at the same time because they didn’t want to hear what the person giving public comment was telling them. One of the Supervisors returned to the room a few moments later….maybe Supervisor Bartlett remembered that actually listening to the public was part of her job and listening to the public during public comment was one of the ways a Supervisor could learn more about the community that they were sworn to serve. So, only Supervisor Chairman Doug Chaffee and Bartlett were the only ones sitting at the dais during the gentlemen’s allotted 3-minute public comment.
After the gentleman was finished, two more Supervisors, Katrina Foley and Don Wagner returned to their seats to listen to the next public comment. Supervisor Andrew Do failed to return and was not seen again during the meeting.
According to “Rule 7” of the OC Board of Supervisors:
“In the event a Supervisor leaves the hearing room, momentarily causing a
lack of quorum, he should notify the Chair of his intended absence and the
Chair may call a recess.”
This never happened. Nobody took the time to notify the chair and nobody seemed to care that they were leaving the dais and chair without a quorum.
The OC Board of Supervisors meeting was primarily focused on the proposed approximately 9 Billion dollar county budget. This included presentations to the board where the board and public learned that over 54% of the net county cost (NCC) by program and taxpayer funds is slated for what the county identifies as public protection (social control) leaving community services with extremely underfunded community services with only 17.6% to serve communities throughout orange county.
Almost no discussion or questions were asked of the presenters or discussed by supervisors; instead, a straw poll was taken and with never any objection or discussion, hundreds of millions and billions of taxpayer funds for a variety of programs was silently and quickly approved.
The public was only allowed to give comments prior to the straw votes but because of the difficulty of access to the meeting, due to the construction surrounding the building and with no live virtual participation and with the cancellation of County Counsel reading aloud public comments for the disabled and those with underlying conditions and susceptible to COVID the board has erased much of the public’s participation, voice, and concerns. This seems to be just the way the Board likes it so they are free to vote without any public participation while spending approximately 9 Billion dollars of taxpayer funds.
I recommend everyone call or write to Doug Chaffee, Board of Supervisors Chair and share your concerns and dissatisfaction regarding the lack of transparency the county has adopted. Contacting your own supervisor is also a good idea so I have included contact information for your convenience. If you don’t use email you can call: (714) 834-3100 to leave a message and/or ask to speak or meet with your supervisor.
Supervisor Andrew Do
Supervisor Katrina Foley
Supervisor Donald P. Wagner
Supervisor Doug Chaffee – Chair
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett
Thank you…taxpayers deserve to have a voice and our elected officials are, by law, required to listen. It is never a good time to take malicious advantage of the public that put them in office; especially, when gas prices are historically high, street closures, lack of free parking, and major construction surrounding the Hall of Administration Building, and inconsistent agendas that place public comments at the end of the meetings, greatly contribute to keeping the public away from their legal right to attend and participate in local government. Your voice and contact could help improve access and participation during the Board of Supervisors meetings.
David Duran has been an Orange County resident since 1968. He volunteers for People’s Homeless Task Force Orange County (501c3), Secretary & Board Member, Housing is a Human Right OC, Co-Founder, and People’s Budget OC, Co-Founder
Opinions expressed in community opinion pieces belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please email firstname.lastname@example.org.