Following significant salary hikes granted by Orange County Supervisors to Sheriff Deputies, fueling a 33 percent increase in costs over the past decade, contract cities are now starting to publicly question whether they need to look into alternatives. OC’s biggest contract city, Mission Viejo, takes leadership on a new audit of Sheriff’s patrol services. Big questions also loom over whether city or county taxpayers own the long-term pension obligations for both Deputy Sheriff’s and Firefighters if cities bolt from current regional policing and fire protection models.
Expect a packed hall at this week’s city council meeting in Anaheim, where once again, a police shooting will dominate the agenda. Yet this week, the very structure for reviewing such incidents, the Public Safety Board, is itself up for review.
Last week county work crews pushed rocks in the way of a homeless tent city near Angels Stadium between the Santa Ana riverbed and the 57 freeway, prompting public protests, an ACLU lawsuit and numerous civic actions.
Whether it’s before the Republican Orange County Board of Supervisors or the Democratic Santa Ana City Council, the public safety debate at the local level is one characterized by a toxic mix of unchecked spending and secrecy.
The delay in alerting county employees of a shooting at Santa Ana’s Civic Center grounds this month is connected to county supervisors’ politicking and fundraising and lack of effectiveness on issues like IT and homelessness.
The Orange County supervisors are in the process of choosing a new public defender. Will they appoint someone who’ll stay aggressive on the jailhouse snitch cases? Or someone who’ll take the heat off District Attorney Tony Rackauckas?
As city officials grapple with a surge of gang shootings, they need to think about how to improve the poor neighborhood environments that allow gangs to flourish. Converting surplus properties to parks is a good start.