Lisa Bartlett Attacks Robert Ming With False “Facts”
Posted by Greg Woodard on June 30, 2014
Apparently concerned by Robert Ming’s first place finish in the primary for the Orange County Supervisor race in the Fifth District, Lisa Bartlett has started sending around something titled “Ming’s Dings.” The first installment calls out Ming for his support last year of a city loan to the new City Manager for him to buy a house in the city. Unfortunately, Bartlett appears more concerned about casting Ming in a negative light than she does about the actual facts surrounding the loan. (For the record, I supported Ming in the primary.)
Bartlett falsely claims that the median home price in Laguna Niguel is $300,000 and contrasts that with the $925,000 loan that the City Manager was requesting. In fact, the median home price in Laguna Niguel is actually much higher at anywhere from $650,000 to over $675,000. Bartlett also falsely states that the loan was approved at a below-market interest rate, yet the story cited in Bartlett’s own hit piece states that the City Council (Ming included) voted to require that the interest on the loan be at market rate. In addition, the City Manager’s loan payments are taken directly from his paycheck and if he ever leaves the city or is terminated, he must sell his house and pay off the loan. Finally, the hit piece erroneously inflates the City Manager’s salary and benefits by over $215,000. In fact, the City Manager’s salary and benefits are slightly lower than the average of Orange County city managers, and actually lower than the City Manager in Bartlett’s city, Dana Point (despite Laguna Niguel having almost 30,000 more residents). It is ironic that Bartlett, a partner at a real estate and investment firm, would not know the median home price in Laguna Niguel. Even more ironic is the fact that Bartlett would be calling out (falsely) the Laguna Niguel City Manager’s salary and benefits, when her own City Manager’s package is higher.
People can debate the wisdom of a city offering a loan to a City Manager (other cities offer a similar perk). However, the debate should begin with the real facts, not those embellished by a political foe who is trying to make up ground in advance of the November election. I trust Bartlett will be issuing a correction any time now.