Don Wagner: Why I’m Running for Supervisor
I am running for county supervisor because there are things at the county we need to fix, and because I alone in the race bring success at the local level, where county supervisors work, in actually fixing problems for people living in Irvine and throughout the Third Supervisorial District.
I have led a Renaissance in Irvine over the last few years. At the Orange County Great Park, we are finally providing world class sports facilities and open space – after years of promises and false starts and the wasteful spending of over $200 million by prior council leadership.
Irvine remains the safest city of its size in the nation according to FBI statistics. The City Council I lead continues our unprecedented relationship with and support for the Irvine Unified School District. I have brought back the Irvine Transportation Commission to address traffic growth which had been ignored in the past, and I have implemented an aggressive plan to ease existing traffic bottlenecks.
Finally, the city again has won awards under my leadership as a model for sound fiscal management. We have balanced our budget without raising taxes and still provide the public safety and public amenities for which Irvine is internationally renowned.
I want to take that record of accomplishment to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Certainly, there is a lot of work to do at the county level. For example, the homeless problem was allowed to fester for too long. It should be unacceptable to everyone in Orange County that a single human being who wants housing should go without, much less that we should have people dying on our streets! That is why, when the county sprang on Irvine a half-baked, wholly unworkable tent city proposal that would have merely relocated the county’s homeless problem to an uninhabitable spot near Irvine homes, schools and parks, I led the effort not just to stop that scheme, but to actually find a real solution. I have been at the table with the federal judge overseeing the homeless case, and at the table with other south county mayors, to collectively find a comprehensive compassionate solution that protects public safety.
The Board of Supervisors also has oversight responsibility for public safety in Orange County beyond just the homeless issue. Unfortunately, the incredible safety record in Irvine has not been shared around the county. We are seeing an increase in violence, property crimes, drug abuse and human trafficking. Much of this increase is the result of unwise policy choices made by the Legislature in Sacramento. I argued passionately against those choices during my time in the Legislature, representing most of the Third District. The fight must continue at the Board of Supervisors to protect all the people of Orange County, to put in jail the dangerous predators lurking among us, and to destroy the scourge of human trafficking.
In addition, I have worked with county leadership over contentious land use issues to assure that the interests of the people in planned and responsible growth, not the interests of developers in quick profits, are respected by government. Where necessary, Irvine has sued the county to force responsible planning and growth. I will take to the Board of Supervisors, on behalf of every city and every resident in Orange County, the same demand that the county act responsibly in its planning.
No one from the city of Irvine has ever served on the Board of Supervisors. But today, Irvine is the largest part of the Third Supervisorial District and the most vibrant city in all of Orange County. An Irvine seat at the table, with the experience I can bring to the discussion at that table, will benefit all the residents of the Third District.
People live and work in Orange County because of our superb quality of life. That is what brought my wife and I and our then young family to Orange County almost 30 years ago. I have spent my time in public service working to maintain that quality of life for the people I am privileged to represent in local government. I am running for the Board of Supervisors to enhance that quality of life for all of Orange County.