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The DeVore-Spitzer Debate Turns Into Monologue - Spitzer MIA, DeVore Lacks Substance

An interview of a different kind

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA We were looking forward to a substantive debate between Mr. Chuck DeVore and Mr. Todd  Spitzer as they attempt to make their case for a Third District Board of Supervisors seat in 2012.  Given their collective experience in public service, the operative question is whether they have become part of the problem, or part of the solution.  We are still looking.

We publicly challenged both candidates to see whether they had any specific bold proposals - emphasis on bold, for what should be obvious reasons- for the fiscal tsunami facing the county, and to make sure they got the memo, we tried to reach them multiple times via their Facebook accounts, asking them to respond by no later than April 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm.    Mr. DeVore was gracious enough to respond.  We have yet to hear from Mr. Spitzer.

Unfortunately, Mr. DeVore’s response was in essence an exercise in wallowing in the never never nebulosities of  open-ended possibilities.

Below are the questions asked of both candidates, followed  by  the un-edited responses from Mr. DeVore, along with our succinct comments.  We would be more than glad to expand, If there is enough interest.:

Questions for Mr. Spitzer and Mr. DeVore

1.  Success: How do you define success for your next OCBOS term?  In other words, voting Yes to support your initiatives, or No to defeat the initiatives counter to your principles is necessary, but if you fail, then it does not much matter. Almost analogous to the President voting Present when he was in the legislature,  to avoid making the tough decisions.


2.  Experience: Given your political experience, seems like you have decided to be a career politician, not unlike Governor Brown, and given our assertion that power is more seductive than any mind altering drug, what can you do to stay grounded and responsive to Joe the homeowner?

3.  Boldness – Experience in many cases is a very powerful creativity buster as described above. Additionally consider the politicians who are currently dominating the national debate such as  Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Governor Chris Christie and others,  relatively inexperienced in their news posts.  Now consider Governor Brown’s proposals to resuscitate California’s economy..

The Orange County Board  of Supervisors had a golden opportunity to show boldness in the appointment to replaced disgraced Sheriff Carona, instead, it went to safe route.

Chuck DeVore

Todd Spitzer

Unedited Response from Mr. Chuck DeVore followed by brief comments

1. For me, success on the Orange County Board of Supervisors will be defined by the answers to these questions: is county government more or less financially healthy, including unfunded pension liabilities; is county government a better steward of tax dollars; and, does county government promote more liberty?

Editorial Comment:  Unfortunately, the goal is not SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic  and Time bound – that is, whatever the outcome, either candidate can claim success or failure.

2. It’s been 26 years since I graduated from college. During that time, I worked 15 years in the private sector, including 13 years as an aerospace executive versus a combined 11 years in public service, including time the uniform of the U.S. Army, working as a White House appointee in the Defense Department, serving as a Congressional staffer and six years as a State Assemblyman. My faith, my wife and my strong support of the Constitution and the Preamble of the Declaration keep me grounded. Government is our servant, not our master; it exists to protect our liberties.

Editorial comment:  The question remains, how does Joe the taxpayer know that he does not have to go through a lobbyist to contact an elected representative?

3. Let’s first discuss the examples you offered: Rep. Paul Ryan is in his seventh term in Congress after having been a Congressional staffer; Sen. Marco Rubio was a Congressional intern, a city commissioner and a member of the Florida House for nine years in which he became Speaker of the House; Gov. Chris Christie was a county supervisor (called Freeholders in New Jersey), lost a bid for the state legislature, worked as a lobbyist, then served as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey for seven years. Rep. Ryan, the most experienced, appears to be the most bold and creative at this time in offering budget solutions.

California’s problems can be summed up in one phrase: government is too big and powerful. Taxes are too high. Debt is too large. Regulations stifle job creation. 

California’s 58 counties are administrative units of the state. That said they do have some flexibility in how they can operate. For instance, counties negotiate labor contracts with employee unions. In the past, the Board of Supervisors has been overly generous with taxpayer money, obligating future taxpayers to pay billions in unfunded pension liabilities. Board members need to be taxpayer advocates. 

Regarding audits, the county has the authority to order its own audits, and it should. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) in Sacramento is not the body from which to request assistance. I served on the JLAC – they only approve a handful of audits each year and those are focused on state programs. 

Regarding Gov. Brown’s proposed $60 billion tax increase, I oppose it, just as I did Gov. Schwarzenegger’s tax increase. The fact is that the $14 billion in supposed “cuts” made in the current budget are largely illusory – accounting smoke and mirrors. There has been little to no real reform out of Sacramento in decades. 

County government’s budget should ideally be zero-based. In other words, every budget cycle should start with the presumption that a bureau’s budget is zeroed out, making them justify their spending every year – not put on autopilot with growth based on population and inflation. For state programs that the county administers where this is not legally possible, the service delivery mechanisms should be reexamined periodically to see how they can be made more efficient. If something’s been done the same way for 20 years, it can likely be done better. 

When I worked in business for 13 years, profits weren’t just a theoretical textbook concept. If we didn’t make a profit, I wouldn’t get a raise, much less a bonus. I’m the only candidate in the race for Orange County Supervisor that can draw on a successful career in business for inspiration on what might be done to improve county government on behalf of the taxpayers.

Editorial Comment:  The question remains – what bold proposals do you have?


Preliminary conclusion

Clearly we have failed to kick start the long-awaited substantive debate. However, we think the Orange County Third District does deserve to hear from the candidates at some point prior to the election, and to determine if either candidate is  bold enough to break from the mold that has made a shambles of the Golden State.

We are not ready to give up.  We hope the T
hird District does not give up either.





DeVore on ANDRES BOCELI - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA- Candidate Obama rightfully demanded that  words must mean something.  President Obamaregularly parses words not unlike the infamous "it all depends on what is is".  Politicians regularly use the terms accountability and transparency, but when pressed as to what they are ready to do, they deflect, deny or ignore, perhaps even lie - that is, the political game of DIDL.

California's Triple Threat - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  We assert that the sucking sound you hear are all the jobs California is losing to Nevada, Texas and Utah, in large measure do to what we refer to as California's Triple Threat:   1) Public sector organized labor 2) un-elected, un-checked parasitic bureaucracies and 3)  lobbyists. 

Economic Freedom and the Triple Constraint - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - The Heritage Foundation & The Wall Street Journal compared 183 countries across ten specific freedoms such as trade freedom, business freedom, property rights, investment freedom and others, to come up with the so called The Link Between Economic Opportunity and Prosperity: The 2009 Index of Economic Freedom.  Such index ranked  Hong Kong at the top, while the United States was relegated to the number six slot

A view of Senator Obama Using a  Disgruntled Homeowner Prism During a recent blogging exchange with Assemblyman Todd Spitzer , he referred to a particular constituent as a disgruntled member of a homeowners association.  Now, we have heard the term disgruntled employee regularly in employer-employee spats and usually in whistle blowing scenarios.  We have also hear the term disgruntled resident in the context of an argument between representatives of a homeowners’ association and the resident itself.  Never from a politician to characterize a constituent.

A Winning the Future Moment, or Simply:  WTF? - Rancho Santa Margarita,  CA – President Obama has ditched the car in the ditch metaphor and the Hope & Change slogan in lieu of taking the engine off of an airplane metaphor  and Winning the Future slogan .  Critics say that the new metaphor does not work, since the airplane is heading to China to mortgage future generations of American, when the airplane has no fuel, while Governor  Sarah Palin characterizes the new slogan as “What Were They Thinking”  (WWTT) or in the vernacular:  WTF?

The 2010 Union Voting Guide - Use at your Own Peril  - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - There is a lot of truth in the old adage that "we should not judge a book by its cover." But what if we have access to the Cover, the Table of Contents and the Appendix? Can we get a good idea as to the contents of the book? In other words, using another adage "tell me who you associate with and I will tell you who you are?" and applying the latter to political elections, if we know the candidate's supporters, we should be able to have a good idea about how that candidate will govern. Take for instance Van Jones, Reverend Wright, the National Representative of the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, the Reverend Al Sharpton,  terrorist William Charles " Bill" Ayers and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel all supporters of candidate Obama.  Should this not have been a good indicator, largely ignored, of the contents of the now Presidential Book?


THE FORUM: Vote "Yes" for 23; support jobs

The California Air Resources Board acknowledges that "no direct public health impacts" are expected from Prop 23. The proposition delays control of greenhouse gas emissions, implicated in global warming. It delays implementation of AB 32 (the global warming solution), which penalizes sources of emissions, especially refineries and fossil fuel power sources.


The 2010 Union Voting Guide - Use at your Own Peril
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - There is a lot of truth in the old adage that "we should not judge a book by its cover." But what if we have access to the Cover, the Table of Contents and the Appendix? Can we get a good idea as to the contents of the book? In other words, using another adage "tell me who you associate with and I will tell you who you are?" and applying the latter to political elections, if we know the candidate's supporters, we should be able to have a good idea about how that candidate will govern. Take for instance Van Jones, Reverend Wright, the National Representative of the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, terrorist William Charles " Bill" Ayers and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel all supporters of candidate Obama. Should this not have been a good indicator, largely ignored, of the contents of the now Presidential Book?



2010 California Propositions Voters Guide
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - While heuristics indicate that a NO vote in any California's direct special interest democracy is a wise move, following the money may be even better. Below is a list of the 2010 California propositions, their main supporters and our recommendations, including a brief rationale.







I'm sick of both of these guys and with good reasons, plural, too numerous to list here.  Every politician, now especially a Republican politician says whatever they think other constituents want to hear.  You nailed it Buzz, HE DID NOTHING. NADA. NOTHING. Which is what most of them do:  NOTHING.  They want the perks of the job, the limelight,


Meanwhile the constituents are left to fend for themselves, how is this any better than what Obama is doing:  NOTHING.


Both these men have had chance after chance TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in their districts and they have been pedestrian in their attainment and marginal in their so-called successes (which really are no successes at all) .  We are sick and tired of promises. We need some damn ACTION.  Stop blaming the legislative gridlock, its a cop out. We want JOBS. We want to get rid of NAFTA. We want our local agriculture businesses to be given some breaks so we can buy and sell local produce.  We want reduction in utility rates.  We want lower taxes. And the list goes on.


It really doesn't matter what the list is, because once either of these two get in, they put their feet up on the desk just like all the rest of them and start collecting their paychecks. I CAN TELL YOU THIS:  NEITHER OF THEM HAVE ANSWERED MY TELEPHONE CALLS.  BOTH of them have palmed me and other callers off to stupid IQ-less "aids."  And we all know who the "aids" are, people who donated to the campaign, its THEIR KID.  Useless.


YES it is absolutely true, one must know a lobbyist to get close to either of these gentlemen, after all, they're just looking for a job aren't they.  WHERE ARE THE JOBS IN YOUR DISTRICT FOR THE REST OF US?.  

Boldness required



You seem to argue that this case is not about an increased dosage,  that is, more of the same, but about major surgery, as in boldness.   I have made a few proposals starting with being able to define success.  Seems like this goes to the heart of a substantive debate, otherwise is all about hot hair.  No?


Example of increased dosage- OCSD Re-Audit



Here is an example of  an increased dosage, AKA as much more of the same- the just-released-OCSD re-audit - A  follow-up to a 2008 audit  criticizing the OCSD  for allowing out-of-control, “ because the department lacked sufficient rules and controls “ misses the mark:    The new audit credits new overtime rules with a  drop in overtime costs  of $21.6 million..  Should it not be "because the department lacked the proper management"?- After all, if you cannot measure it,  how can you  manage it?


The report revealed employees working on days when they had scheduled time off, and working more than the allowable hours of overtime during a pay period, allowing  100 Sheriff’s employees to earn more than 50 percent of their base pay in overtime.  This goes to the core of corporate culture and whether or not there is a closed-loop-corrective action so these things do not even come up in the first place, with or without new and improved rules.  That is, instead of a reactionary approach, how about metrics so management and employees are held accountable?



Then there is the issue of an outdated manual timecard system which needs to be  overhauled at a and according to  Sheriff’s Executive Director Rick Dostal. A new system could save the county as much as $225,000 a year.  Vice Chairman John Moorlach said, “I guess what my mother said is true.  You have to spend a dime to save a quarter.”


Hey Dostal, ever heard of the cloud?  On the other hand, my mother told me: “before you spend a dime, think, particularly when it is NOT your dime"



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