|So what the heck is going on here?
You might call it "Extreme Makeover: Orange County Government Edition." As one of their first orders of business, Orange County's four newly elected officeholders — the treasurer and the three new members of the Board of Supervisors — are collectively spending just over $1.1 million to spruce up their offices in the months since they were sworn in, according to documents reviewed by The Times.
The spending is hardly noticeable in a budget totaling more than $5 billion. But the renovations for the four officeholders are occurring in a county known for its anti-tax attitudes, dim view of government spending and Republicans who boast fiscally conservative credentials.
OK, so our new Supervisors and County Treasurer are spending some money renovating their offices. What's the big deal here? Well, should it be costing us taxpayers $1.1 million? And do they really need "high-concept office chairs" and wall-mounted flat-screen TVs? Is that really the best way to spend our money?
And aren't there better ways to spend this money?
It also comes as officials weigh funding cuts in their coming budget sessions for services such as drug counseling for court defendants and payments to doctors who provide emergency medical services.
Oh yes, so I guess the poor people who live in this county don't matter. Let the drug addicts fall back into crack. Let the poor people die in the waiting room as hospitals can't afford to care for the sick and injured. No, what really matters is $200,000 to get rid of that retro 1960s Palm Springs look in poor Johnny Moorlach's office!
Moorlach, whose tab was the highest among the supervisors at $198,525.84, said he felt it was unfair to ask office staff to work in the existing environment. "When I got here, I thought I had moved into an old home in Palm Springs in the 1960s," he said. "It even went beyond my conservative pale. I said, 'Wait a minute, this has got to be upgraded.'
"If I'm asking professionals to work for me on a $6-billion budget," Moorlach said, "it doesn't make sense to ask them to sit on an antique furniture that wouldn't even sell at a garage sale."
No, we can't have that! We can't have Mr. Moorlach's highly-paid staffers cringing in disgust at all that "antique furniture that wouldn't even sell at a garage sale". But if that nearly $200,000 is money being taken away from essential services to the working poor in Orange County, that's no big deal. Who needs poor people, anyway?
And oh yes, look at the guy who collects our taxes. Isn't he doing a great job spending over half a million of our tax dollars? Isn't he?
Roughly half of the total spent — $578,550.82 — was for the treasurer-tax collector's office, which is undergoing a massive renovation aimed at changing the working environment for all of its nearly 100 employees. [...]
Asked if the changes were needed to carry out the work of the treasurer's office, Street said: "We had $7 billion in cash being managed here, and you couldn't see what people were doing…. There is no way you can even have $100 million managed by people sitting in closed rooms. That's taxpayer funds. It's grossly inappropriate."
Yes, having these people work in such a closed floor plan is grossly inappropriate! Yes, open up those walls! Redesign it like your old digs at that bond-trading firm. Wall Street always knows best when it comes to designing efficient yet tasteful office space.
But wait. Hold on a moment. Is this the best way to spend our tax dollars? Is the best way to spend our money when we have thousands upon thousands of people who struggle to survive?
What about emergency medical services? What about keeping people off drugs? What about the needs of the people in this county? The county is facing some awfully tough budget choices, as County Supervisors consider all these cuts to county services. If times are really this tough, is it really that appropriate to spend county money, OUR TAX MONEY, on unnecessary high-end furniture?
Even though I'm happy that Lou Correa is now my State Senator, I often miss seeing him on our County Board of Supervisors. Among all those "fiscal conservatives", he seemed to be the only one who was actually interested in putting our tax dollars to work for us.
One former supervisor, state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), was surprised at the price tag for renovations to the office he vacated six months ago. When he was there, he said, he asked that a ripped section of carpet be replaced and covered the cracked glass on a desktop with a book.
"A public office belongs to the taxpayers, not to the elected," he said. "I don't think I need a 52-inch wall-mounted TV to do my job."
In fact, Correa said, he had a regular 36-inch television in his office; he bought it himself and took it with him when he left.
Cheese louise, why does it always have to be the Democrat to bring some fiscal responsibility to government? And what happens when we don't have any? I guess we're left with a bunch of "fiscally conservative" Republicans wasting money on high-end desks and flat-screen TVs.