Slurp County: Supes Donate $150K of *Public* Money to High-Profile Victims

OC supervisors donate $150,000 to help 7-Eleven shooting victims

… or so read the headline on a July 19 OC Register story. (Click on the link to see.) In a sense, yes, this is true. But actually it’s the county doing the giving, not the Supes — as doing so by taking away discretionary funds intended to help districts. The actual headline should be something like:

County shifts $150,000 from district services to help 7-Eleven shooting victims

And that has a very different connotation. Or actually, in this formulation, we could go ahead and say “OC Supervisors shift from district services…”, because that’s what they’re actually doing.

I think that it’s great for people to donate their own money to help the victims of the July 7th 7-Eleven shootings. Even though moral philosophers counsel that such philanthropy is best done in secret, I don’t even much mind their taking credit for it, if that’s important to them. But what I don’t like is being basking in credit for helping out victims financially when it’s not even one’s own money. And that’s what the above story from the Orange Lady is about.

I’m picking a few sentences from different parts of the story, but please click on the link above as well.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, July 19, to donate money from the discretionary budgets of the districts where the stores are located to help with expenses such as medical and rehab bills and funerals. The funding will be distributed by Waymakers, a local nonprofit that provides assistance to crime victims, conflict resolution and other services.

Board Chairman Doug Chaffee, who represents District 4 (the other is District 2), said the supervisors had intended to offer a reward for tips leading to the arrest of suspects in the crimes, but law enforcement agencies from several counties worked together and on Monday announced they had two Los Angeles men in custody.

Prosecutors allege the two men were involved in a string of crimes including robberies, shootings and a carjacking, that took place on July 9 and July 11 in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

The greatest profundity came from the Board Chair himself:

“You might go there to buy a cup of coffee,” Chaffee said. “To think that you would be there and get shot is very scary.”

Wow! How very true is that? So true! Thanks for Supe-splaining “not wanting to be shot” to us! Yeah, it’s scary!

Doug Chaffee slurps up about $100K in public funds earmarked for his district so that he’ll look good to voters by donating it to high-profile victims. He should pay it back if he wants personal credit for it!

Do you know what else is scary, Supervisor? Being doxxed by a man who bragged to you about committing a hate crime against Hindus — involving delivering a decapitated cows head to a restaurant and smearing its blood on the door and windows. And yet James Mai is still Chaffee’s at-large appointee to OC’s Housing and Public Services Commission. Yeah: Public … Services! “Vandalism delivered right to your business’s doorstep!”

Back to the main topic: this (the $150K of tax dollars, rather than appointing Mai) is pure preening on Chaffee’s part. Yes, an incumbent this site favors, Katrina Foley, also voted for it, but with Chaffee in a 4-1 majority Foley could hardly have voted no even if she had wanted to. Chaffee looks good in front of voters — even though he is taking money out of the budget to be used for District 4’s needs, which are substantial — let alone District 2’s needs, which the Supes specifically forbade Supervisor Foley from representing! (until a Judge recently and belatedly changed it, to no clear effect — and he doesn’t have to pay a dime of his own to look like a ministering angel!

Now, why do I say that this is being done for purposes of self-aggrandizement? Because this is being done solely because the victims of the crime are high-profile — and it thus makes the Supes look good! This is not the same as offering a bounty, which to the extent that might actually contribute to solving a crime spree potentially still underway. This is — cost-free to Chaffee and others — creating the equivalent of a publicly funded photo op. If the Supes were serious about financially compensating victims of violent crime, they would be giving out similar donations to all of them! But no. They’re engaging in the fiscal act that Republicans profess to dislike greatly: picking and choosing — and doing so for self-interested reasons.

By the way: my family and I have gone many times to that 7-Eleven on Lambert over these past 15 years — it’s near our favorite AutoZone, and was where we’d take my grandson when he sometimes demanded and academically earned a Slurpee. (I can’t recall whether I’ve also been to the one on Whittier Blvd., but it’s also nearby.) We were scared by this violent crime spree up in our little suburban piece of heaven. So I know full well how effective Chaffee’s “wrapping himself in the bloody shirt” might be. But the more effective this “faked generosity” gambit is — and I’m just WAITING for photos of or references to this act in Chaffee’s upcoming campaign materials — the more loathsome it becomes.

I’d have had no problem with the Supes announcing a fundraising campaign to which county residents could donate: it would be welcome, especially if any excess amount raised went to less high-profile victims. But for now, as a District 4 resident I’m looking at maybe $100,000 (more people were killed and injured here than in District 2, so I’m guessing a 2/3 share) of discretionary money going to a purpose tied to burnishing the image of Doug Chaffee himself roughly three months before an election. I will ask people around the district where else they think that that money is needed. And I plan to file a Public Records Act request to see where Chaffee’s discretionary funds, and those of others, have gone during the last term.

I think that Chaffee and the other ringleaders of this act — whom I suspect are probably Andrew Do and Don Wagner — should pay back this money to the county out of their campaign accounts or personal funds. Then they can take whatever credit for it they think that they deserve. But Chaffee — the only one of the three on the upcoming ballot — is the one who I think deserves the lion’s share of the blame for grandstanding.

Go ahead and share this, if you think that he deserves it.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)