So who under-funded the O.C. Fire Authority?

One of our perceptive readers asked me to find out just who backed Measure D – which WOULD HAVE provided additional funding for the Orange County Fire Authority, at the expense of our inept and perverted O.C. Sheriff, Mike Carona. Well, we will get to that. But I find it more interesting to take a look at just who played a role in defeating Measure D.

According to the local OC GOP spin machine, otherwise known as Red County/OC Blog, local conservative consultant John Lewis was the “senior consultant for the No on Measure D campaign.” Others who worked on the campaign included Chris Jones, Matt Holder, and Pete Mitchell.

The same article, which originally appeared in the other GOP blog from the OC, the Flash Report, also noted that Carona was the one who recruited Lewis for the No on Measure D campaign. That should have come as no surprise wince Lewis always works on Carona’s campaigns. Moreover, O.C. Supervisor Bill Campbell was referred to as an “integral part of the team.” Really? I bet his constituents who were affected by the fire will have some choice feedback for him now.

But wait, there’s more. O.C. Supervisor Chris Norby also worked to defeat Measure D. And so did Nick Berardino, the head of the OC Public Employees Union. And so did Wayne Quint, the head of the OC Deputy Sheriff’s union.

And, according to another Flash Report article, by OC GOP pollster Adam Probolsky, O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas also worked to defeat Measure D.

The Daily Kos also fingered Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu, who wrote that “If passed, Measure D would directly impact countywide law enforcement, countywide criminal prosecutions and countywide jail operations in a negative way. On the other hand, there is no negative impact upon the firefighters should Measure D fail.”

Red County/OC Blog editor Matt “Jubal” Cunningham also admitted to voting No on D. The post was inadvertently funny, as the Red County/OC Blog post was written by Cunning under his “Jubal” pen name, back when he was referring to “Matt Cunningham” as if the latter were a completely different person. What a joke!

Cunningham also wrote this: “The Republican Party of Orange County can do more to defend and eventually expand the realm of liberty here in OC by opposing Measure D, than by remaining on the sidelines. I hope the members of the OC GOP central committee believe likewise.”

As for the gentlemen named above, they all screwed Orange County.

The Orange County Register summarized the disaster wrought by these anti-safety politicians thusly:

A document presented to supervisors in 2004 noted that the consequences of continued funding shortfalls at the fire authority would mean a “greater likelihood that initial resources will be unable to control fires in their early stages so as to prevent additional losses.”

The county supervisors, Sheriff Mike Carona, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs and the Orange County Employees Association all fought a bitter campaign against the ballot measure, titled Measure D.

Supervisors Campbell, Spitzer and Chris Norby argued that the union-sponsored initiative sought to cover bad spending practices by the fire authority and dip into critical law enforcement resources.

“They weren’t asking the voters to raise revenue. They just wanted to stick their fingers in the sheriff’s and DA’s pie. I didn’t feel fire should be competing with law enforcement,” Spitzer said.

Campbell saw Measure D as a move by the firefighters’ union to “add new union members.”

He came up with a novel idea for thwarting the ballot initiative: The supervisors placed three other initiatives tinkering with proceeds of the public safety tax on the ballot. .

All four were defeated by a three-to-one margin in November of 2005.

The article also noted that “In fact, county officials today are sitting on more than $80 million in excess revenue from a statewide public safety sales tax adopted 13 years ago.”

You think the OC Fire Authority could have spent some of that on additional fire fighting equipment? I wonder how many O.C. homes might have been saved?

For those of you wondering what Measure D was all about, the League of Women Voters described it as follows: Measure D was placed on the ballot as an initiative sponsored by the firefighters of the Orange County Fire Authority. It would shift a portion of the county’s share of Proposition 172 revenues to the OC Fire Authority. Beginning with the 2005-06 fiscal year, funds would be shifted according to a formula included in the measure until the OCFA receives 10% of the Proposition 172 funds received by the county. Then OCFA share would then be capped at 10%.

Supporters say: that during the campaign for Proposition 172 voters were promised that a portion of the funds would go towards fire protection; that the Fire Authority is using old and outdated equipment that should be replaced; and that the funds would come from future growth in Proposition 172 revenues, and would not reduce current funding for law enforcement.

Opponents say: the Fire authority was not promised Proposition 172 funds; that the tax is paid by all Orange County residents and used for countywide public safety services, not for regional fire authority bureaucracies; that Measure D will reduce law enforcement services in every community in Orange County; that the Fire Authority has a substantial surplus and recently spent $50 million to build an administration building.

With regard to that latter claim, the fact is that the Rancho Santiago Community College District recently blew $30 million on the Carona Sheriff Training Center. Much of that money was supposed to be spent on a math/science building at Santa Ana College.

And Carona blew a ton of tax money on his “Carona-mobile,” which is pictured above. I still don’t know what it is for, but I am sure he has a bed or two in it, if you know what I mean.

According to the Daily Kos, Prop. 172 was passed “just a week after the 1993 firestorms had gutted Malibu, Altadena, and Laguna Beach.” Clearly the voters h
ad fires on their minds when they voted for this measure.

The L.A. Times also wrote an excellent article about the under-funding of the O.C. Fire Authority. Here is an excerpt:

Orange County, the sixth-wealthiest county in the state, has an annual firefighting budget of about $260 million. The Fire Authority has roughly one firefighter for every 1,100 people in the county’s coverage area. But that figure climbs dramatically — one firefighter for every 1,800 residents — if only full-time, professional firefighters are counted.

By comparison, Ventura County has twice as many firefighters per capita, approaching 900. Los Angeles County’s ratio of one firefighter per 1,500 residents is about 16% stronger than Orange County’s.

Bill Campbell wrote about this week’s fires in his latest newsletter, “I am sad to report that as of this morning, 27,000 acres have burned in the Santiago Fire and 8 residential structures were damaged and 14 destroyed; 12 outbuildings were damaged and 8 destroyed.”

And I am sad to report that Campbell had a lot to do with the destruction wrought by the fire. To contact Campbell and give him a piece of YOUR mind, click here.

You can contact O.C. Supervisor Chris Norby by clicking here.

You can contact Nick Berardino by clicking here.

You can contact Wayne Quint by clicking here.

You can contact O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas by clicking here.

You can contact Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu by clicking here.

You can contact Matt “Jubal” Cunningham clicking here.

Don’t let these people get away with what they did to the people of Orange County.


About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.