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Live from the First Supervisorial District Candidate Forum

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 14, 2016

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Candidate Forum Audience Survey

We’re live from the 1st Supervisorial Candidate Forum, sponsored by Connect-to-Council, Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Ana College. The 46th Congressional District Candidate Forum will begin after the 1st Supervisorial District Candidate Forum concludes.

Three of the four candidates are present:
*Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster)
*Councilman/Business Owner Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove)
*Retired Educator/Writer Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana)

Oddly enough, Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana) is not present despite the forum being held in Santa Ana (in fact, it is less than a mile from Martinez’s Council ward).

The moderator is former Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Mark McLoughlin (D-Santa Ana). The focus will be on economic development and jobs.

Phat Bui delivers his opening statement. He notes that he has lived in the district since 1984. He speaks of founding his company in 1996, which has contracts with both private sector business and government agencies. He has been a Councilman since 2014. He says the First District is going in the wrong direction in animal care, transportation, and public safety. He complains about the County promoting the Tet Festival. He says he wants to work on homelessness and affordable housing.

Andrew Do speaks of his 14 months on the Board of Supervisors. He has worked to increase the Sheriff’s budget by $24 million. He blasts rising crime due to AB 109 and Prop 47. He speaks of County Sheriff and Probation working with local police departments. He won unanimous support on the Board of Supervisors to create a homeless czar to help those who cannot help themselves. He is working on crisis stabilization units among other items related to mental health.

Steve Rocco says he graduated from Santa Ana College with seven degrees and worked tech in the same auditorium that the forum is being held in. He blasts the snitch scandal as a fabrication. He says the true gang is “Rackauckas and his boys.” Rocco says Rackauckas controls the Board of Supervisors. He claims Rackauckas was illegally appointed Public Administrator. He says OC citizens are being murdered because of Rackauckas being appointed Public Administrator.

McLoughlin asks about County efforts to help workforce development and find qualified workers for open jobs via the Workforce Investment Board.

Do points to the outreach effort that got 1500 job seekers and 50 employers to the job fair, the highest participation ever.

Rocco says he would need to do his homework to understand the question. He attacks the Board of Supervisors for paying for buildings and Sheriff’s personnel. He claims he was prevented from writing a ballot argument against Measure A on a County Ethics Commission.

Bui says he wants to creat an environment empower employees and train them so they will be qualified for County jobs.

McLoughlin asks for each candidate’s top two priorities.

Rocco says the top priority is to get rid of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. He says people are being murdered and kidnapped. He blasts the Orange County Register. He says Rocco himself is better than an Ethics Commission.

Bui says he wants to stop wasteful spending. He attacks Supervisors for sending mailers out. He attacks County mailers promoting a free income tax workshop. Bui states he wants transparency without hiding anything.

Do says he wants to tackle crime because property crime has increased by 23% and violent crime has increased in Santa Ana. He wants to work with law enforcement to fight crime, particularly due to AB 109 and Prop 47. Do states the homeless czar will be able to begin tackling homelessness by using metrics to determine effectiveness and with care programs, including mental health issues.

McLoughlin asks about homeless services.

Do states County departments are working in silos in their efforts to battle homelessness. He speaks of the homeless czar position coordinating all the different departments and care programs to address homelessness.

Rocco says the first person who signed his nomination papers for any office was a homeless person named Ray who Rocco next saw at ICU. He states he always saves a certain proportion of his nomination signatures for the homeless. He states the Public Administrator causes homelessness by taking people’s homes.

Bui states in Garden Grove, he is on the homeless task force. He says homelessness is out of control and the homeless in Garden Grove live in sewers. He states that charities need to be engaged with the County to brainstorm how to develop a comprehensive solution to homelessness.

An audience question asks each candidate how they differ from each candidate.

Bui says Do “is a disaster” as Supervisor. He says there is wasteful spending and rising crime.

Rocco says no one cares if Do or Bui will be elected. Rocco says people will care if he is elected. He states it was national news when he was elected to the Orange Unified School District Board. He states he will get the job done as Supervisor.

Do points to his experience and track record. He notes he is a former prosecutot, a former Chief of Staff to a Supervisor, and a sitting Supervisor. He states the Board of Supervisors has entrusted him with leadership positions on homelessness, public safety, and County building infrastructure.

McLoughlin asks about the County’s capital improvement program, with many buildings in the First District and how it helps

Rocco states that the existing buildings are relatively new and that there is no air conditioning for the homeless.

Bui states money should not be spent on buildings, but instead on transportation and public safety.

Do notes the average age of County buildings in the Civic Center is 47 years. He notes there is an average of 300 square feet of space per employee back in the days of paper files. In the digital era, that can be reduced to 150 square feet per employee. He notes there is 700,000 square feet of leased space in the Civic Center due to building inefficiency that could be solved with the capital improvement program.

McLoughlin asks about ICE involvement in County jails.

Do notes that this is the purview of the elected Sheriff under the Constitution.

Rocco accuses the Sheriff of killing a man in Los Angeles County. He says the Board of Supervisors should cut funding to the Sheriff.

Bui says there needs to be trust in law enforcement experts.

McLoughlin asks about the OC Strategic Plan for Aging.

After asking for three repetitions of the question, Bui states the elderly do not have enough to live on. He wants to speak to the federal government to seek more funding for health care and affordable housing.

Do suggests creating new work programs and work schedules that take advantage of the experience of older residents while respecting their reduced work.

Rocco notes three of the leading presidential candidates over age 65. He would not support any social service programs because they are dangerous to people’s health.

McLoughlin asks about mismanagement at 500,000-member CalOptima.

Do states CalOptima has 800,000 members. He is on the CalOptima Board and has restructured the Board to reduce insider control. He has helped expand the number of eligible providers.

Rocco notes Supervisor Todd Spitzer would never, ever want Rocco on the CalOptima Board. Rocco says he knows more about the medical system than anyone else. He says there was money laundering in the 2012 election.

Bui wants to remove County Supervisors from the CalOptima Board and worries about the influence of campaign contributions on CalOptima.

McLoughlin asks about creating more parks and green space in the park-poor First District.

Bui says there is no hope of creating more parks. He wants to make existing parks more efficient. He says County spending on the Tet Festival is wasteful.

Do states that equating green space with parks needs to be reduced. He wants to pursue joint-use agreements with school districts to use school open space.

Rocco blasts Jessica’s Law for banning sex offenders from parks. He says parks are underutilized. He says parks need to be safe.

An audience question asks about whether the current Supervisorial districts are gerrymandered. He states a complaint were filed by Latinos with the Justice Department regarding the Supervisorial districts.

Bui states he is unfamiliar with the issue. He states districts must represent all people without favoring one group over another.

Rocco states the Orange Unified School District gerrymandered him out of a seat. He states gerrymandering is part of politics. He blasts at-large voting.

Do states the legal analysis required knowing the motive. He states he would oppose gerrymandering.

McLoughlin calls for closing statements.

Bui states he has a passion for service. He thanks the audience for attending and asks for their vote.

Do thanks the organizers and the audience. He speaks of his experience, qualifications, and track record of getting meaningful results.

Rocco states he has gotten 158,000 votes over the years. He states he is not Vietnamese, Latino, Republican, or Democrat. He states he is not a lawyer, but “one of you.” He wants to get things done.

With that, the forum ends in under an hour.

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