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A Homeless Governor?

neel and norbyWould you vote for the homeless guy for governor?

I like gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari. He has some good ideas and, during the primaries, did not seem too worried about spending his money to make sure you got the message. Of course, his campaign coffers are nearly depleted now and it’s questionable how much he will be able to spend on his future campaign against Jerry Brown.

A recent stunt, however, has me wondering if he isn’t just another johnny-come-republican.

Allegedly, the multi-millionaire took a Greyhound bus and $40 to Fresno where he spent a week as a homeless guy looking for work. Backpack in hand, he supposedly trudged the streets of Fresno dragging along his toothbrush and videographer. Of course, one has to wonder if prospective employers asked why a homeless guy would need a videographer.

Calling it one of the “hardest weeks” of his life (really?), the investment banker talked about his experience on MSNBC. Going with only one shower for the week, the scruffy mogul also wound up eating at a homeless shelter (I wonder if he paid them for the meal).

Kashkari, who in the past was mistakenly identified by his enemies as a dreaded “Muslim” (He is really Hindu), has been trying all kinds of interesting ways to get free publicity. According to the LA Times he has crashed teachers union conferences, visited churches in South LA and marched in gay pride parades.

The homeless trick takes the cake, though.

Kashkari is going to have to step up his game if he plans to be a serious Jerry Brown contender. Trailing in the double digits, I doubt Brown sees him as any real threat. And, why should he? Stick your head outside the Orange Curtain, and Brown is immensely popular with the voters on both sides of the street. If you can get past his Hi-Speed-Rail-To-Nowhere boondoggle, he has done a remarkable job for a former space-case and shown that he really does have the Pat Brown gene.

In the meantime, Kashkari is demonstrating that he is more interested in publicity stunts than outlining any real plan to fix what doesn’t need fixing – unless you are a super rich investment banker type looking to make more money off the backs of poor Californians. Or, maybe Kashkari, like Meg Whitman before him, thinks money can buy the election.

Oh wait, in that case, throw in the towel now. Governor Brown has twenty-two mil in his campaign account and it doesn’t look like he will have to do any borrowing. Neel, on the other hand, is broke.

What this really shows us is that either Republicans are notorious cheapskates and won’t help fund Kashkari’s all-but-doomed bid or, they just see the writing on the wall. In any case, this may not be the last time you hear about a hair-brained stunt from Kashkari.

One thing I wonder about though. Why did Kashkari feel it necessary to travel to Fresno to demonstrate his homeless prowess. We have a huge homeless encampment right here in Santa Ana.

Maybe he was afraid he’d run into Chris Norby.


Thanks, Mom!

Moorlach_Thanks_MomYeah, I know, you were expecting a post on the upcoming (and yet not quite thrilling) Planning Commission meeting tonight.  We can’t help you. That’s because, since Friday, when they posted an agenda with one item of decidedly non-interest, they subsequently canceled their meeting. At least they are not wasting thousands of dollars in city staff time and resources on a single item that could be put off until next meeting. The only issue is, did they give proper notice of the cancellation? This is only important to those who might have spoken on the public hearing issue (probably zero in this case) and those civil ethicists like myself. The next meeting of the Tustin Planning Commission is June 25, 2013 at 7 pm.

In the meantime, I thought I would cast the net a bit wider and write about the latest meanderings of lame duck Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach. When we last discussed Moorlach, he was contemplating a run for California Governor…. or was it Assemblyman? Oh yeah, it was Auditor-Controller. Well, John has apparently decided against running for governor. in a recent article from our friends at the Orange County Breeze, Moorlach stated in an email to his constituents that, after much soul-searching and looking to his mom, he decided to rule out a run for governor.

“This is a personal-management principal that was deeply ingrained into my psyche by my mother’s parent tape. A parent tape is something that your parents say over and over again in order to drill something into you,” the email states. Apparently, that tape includes excerpts on not doing stupid things like mounting an ill-fated run for governor against an immensely popular and Democratic candidate in an overwhelmingly blue state. “After spending a good five months looking at what I should be doing next, I have taken a potential run for the office of Governor of the State of California off the list….I am not running for Governor for the State of California.”

There. He said it. That makes it absolute…sort of.

Remember when Moorlach first ascended to the Board of Supervisors? I do. One of the most prominent and promising things he said was, “I do not intend to run for higher office. This [the board of supervisors] will be as far as I go,” or words to that effect. I am sure they are recorded somewhere as I was not the only one present when he said them.

Apparently, however, Moorlach has a selective memory. Several months ago, when he first announced his exploration for a possible run for governor, I recalled his original words. Although I was not shocked that he would renege on his promise, actually more of an avowal, I think everyone was amazed that this egotist actually thought himself worthy of the governorship of California. Anyone else would have quietly gone to the real kingmakers of the Orange County GOP and discussed the matter with them first. Instead, Moorlach took the road of his colleague, the ambitious yet reckless Todd Spitzer, and found himself contemplating his embarrassment when the likes of Scott Baugh and Mike Schroeder failed or refused to back him on his play.

As time went on, it was becoming even more obvious that Moorlach wanted desperately to become a career politician, something that he eschewed in the beginning. Shortly after his “governor” announcement, he lowered his sights to Orange County Auditor-Controller, a job that even I will admit he is well-qualified to assume. Then, he turned left (or is it right) again, and said he was exploring a run for the Assembly. And, he did all this while not taking himself out of the run for the governorship. That made him look like even more of a buffoon than he already was. Was he actually (and desperately) hoping the GOP honchos, who finally figured out the only thing the rest of the GOP wants from them is their money, would speak up and say, “Yes! We want John!” Oh, please.

Since the years of Moorlach’s warning of the bankruptcy, the OCGOP has preferred he remain in the background. He was anointed for the Board of Supervisors run and won handily by  70%. Most of that, however, was due to the fact he faced no real opposition. Prior to his run for the Supervisors, he was appointed county tax collector and then won two more terms only because no one really wants to be the tax collector. I suppose all those years in office, with a nice pension to garner, has jaded our John. He has, in the end, become the nemesis of the everyday people, a career politician.

It seems John has come full circle. He has spent much of his professional life in elected office, first as tax collector and then as Orange County Supervisor. where he was unable to accomplish his real goals dismantling the public employee pension system while keeping his own lucrative pension intact. His “exploratory” stab at the governorship died for lack of a second and his pitch to swap seats with Assemblyman Alan Mansoor remains in limbo due mostly to how Mansoor sizes up the battle with Michelle Steel. That leaves Moorlach the almost sure bet of winning the race (if there is one) for auditor-controller, a position, as we said, for which he is well-qualified.

But, now that he has had a taste of power, will Moorlach be content to live the rest of his career in relative obscurity? If he does take the auditor post, you can bet he will continue to make the most of it by publicly speaking -and opportunistically blasting- the future OC Board. And, we will be able to thank John’s mom for giving him sage advice.

I Am Running For Governor….No, Wait……I Mean Auditor-Controller…..No, Wait….I Mean Assemblyman. Yeah, That’s It, Assemblyman

Courtesy of The Liberal OC

Courtesy of The Liberal OC

Gosh, I remember when County Supervisor, John Moorlach, was first elected office. One of the things I remember most was his admonition that he had no interest in running for higher office. In fact, he was adamant that he was only taking the job of supervisor because he felt the need to right the wrongs of the previous supervisors, particularly in regard to pension reform. Never mind the fact that he, himself, took the best pension available and is one of a handful of executives in the county that does not pay into his own pension. He not only refuses to apologize for that fact, he revels in it, at one time saying he would change his pension when everyone else changed theirs.That’s real leadership for you.

Moorlach is best known for predicting the infamous 1994 county bankruptcy caused by Robert Citron’s blackbook investments of county funds. To be clear, John didn’t (or couldn’t) do anything about it – he just predicted it would happen. Well, leave it to an accountant to rain on the county’s parade. In the aftermath, he really did nothing more than say, “I told ya so”. Thing is, as we have said before, it is questionable in many expert opinions as to whether the bankruptcy would have occurred at all if Moorlach hadn’t delivered his sky-is-falling message to the public, forcing the OC BoS into action.

But, I digress.

A few weeks ago, I was surfing the web and came across a Voice of OC video article about John Moorlach, saying he was “exploring” a run for Governor. I nearly fell out of my seat, laughing. Nonetheless, I hit the switch to listen to the video. I was greeted with VOC’s editor-in-chief Norberto Santana who interviewed Moorlach for PCS SoCal. “You’re going to have Jerry Brown who was brought to the table by the public employee unions or someone who’s representing the taxpayers, so there’s a very clear delineation…”, according to Moorlach.

Wow. that was pretty straightforward and typical of Moorlach, who sees himself as a champion of the (ultra-conservative) taxpayer. Santana pointed out one of his biggest problems, however. As we said, Moorlach enjoys the most lavish pension available to public employees and has refused to give it up at every opportunity. Santana also pointed out that Moorlach has not been the best at fundraising and that any Republican running against Jerry Brown would have an uphill battle. To my own way of thinking, Moorlach running for governor would all but seal a second term for Brown.

Then, all of a sudden, I was perusing the Orange County Register a few days later and came across another article titled, “Moorlach may run for county auditor”. That isn’t to far from John’s roots and I found the prospect interesting. For all the criticism I have had over the egotistical Moorlach, I have to admit he is a pretty good manager. That said, He would probably be a good fit for the position and he helped along his own cause by voting to appoint Jan Grimes as the new Auditor-Controller to fill David Sundstrom’s unexpired term. The fact that she told the board she was not interested in running for the post at the end of the current term probably helped John make up his mind. In any case, the Auditor-Controller is one of those elected positions that no one really wants. That would make it easy for Moorlach to slide into the position without too much fundraising effort. Moorlach was nice enough to say that, if she did run, he might not want to get in the way of that. We’ll see.

So, John was set. He would run for auditor…or, governor….or….assmeblyman.

Yes, in another turn, the information began running rampant of a swap of seats between Assemblyman Alan Mansoor, who cut his political teeth on the Costa Mesa City Council, and our inimitable hero. It started with OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley breaking the story on Mansoor returning to the Real OC for a deathmatch between him and the carpet bagging Michelle Steel for John’s seat. Out of the box, Mansoor is the decided winner. In another weird twist, Moorlach said that, should Mansoor decide to return to the OC, he would be interested in his job in the Capitol. Well, it ain’t the governorship but…

the Daily Pilot, provides a new twist to my potential journey.  Allan Mansoor has practically grown up in the Second District.  He has served on the Costa Mesa City Council, which means he is familiar with the Board-type form of governance, and is familiar with negotiating with collective bargaining units.  He’s also a former Orange County employee, so he is very familiar with the County and its functions and structure.  As a sitting Assemblyman, he will make a formidable candidate to be my replacement.  However, he can only run for one office next June.  If he runs for Supervisor, that leaves his Assembly seat open and provides me with another option to consider as I near the conclusion of my listening tour.

So, now we have three scenarios for Moorlach with no clear direction. One thing is clear: what was once a career public employee has now clearly become the perennial career politician. Timing in politics is everything and the timing is right for Moorlach to pick and choose his next direction. One thing for sure, his demonstrated lack of leadership as a member of the board of supervisors won’t slow him down but his failure to lead just may catch up to him in any future job. Also, in all of this there has been a distinct lack of discussion from the political powerbrokers in Orange County. That said, I wouldn’t hold my breath to see governor in the future of Mr. Moorlach.