O.C. Election Preview: Third District Supervisor
On March 12 voters will decide who will represent them on the Orange County Board of Supervisors for the Third District. The seat was vacated by Todd Spitzer after he won his bid to become O.C. District Attorney last November.
The Third District covers portions of Irvine, Mission Viejo and Anaheim as well as Orange, Tustin, North Tustin, Yorba Linda, Villa Park and some of unincorporated O.C. Irvine makes up the lion’s share of the district, accounting for 33 percent of the total voters represented.
We asked the leading candidates for the seat – former Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez; Irvine Mayor Don Wagner; and former Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray – why they are running to represent the Third District. Here are their responses:
Promises Made and Promises Kept
By: Kris Murray
Improving public safety, increasing jobs, fixing traffic, lowering taxes. We hear those positions bandied about a lot in campaigns these days, but few ever turn these statements into meaningful action.
Similarly, in this campaign for Orange County Supervisor, I suspect every candidate will run on a similar platform, but what I offer is a proven and measurable track record of fiscal responsibility and innovative leadership that delivered results and improved the quality of life in our community.
That is the single most important distinction I wish to make in my campaign for supervisor: I am running on my record of promises made and promises kept.
During my tenure as mayor pro tem and city councilwoman in Anaheim, I was a champion of fiscal responsibility – adopting balanced city budgets every year in office that doubled cash reserves, reduced pension liabilities, and kept city and utility fees low, while expanding transparency at City Hall.
When I took office in 2010, unemployment was at historically high levels. Adding to the problem was a police and firefighter force decimated by the recession. I immediately got to work and partnered with business leaders and community stakeholders to adopt programs and policies that led to record reinvestment, created thousands of local skilled jobs and reduced unemployment levels by more than two-thirds. I led programs to hire more than 40 sworn police officers, expand fire and rescue services, establish wildland management and invest in early wildfire detection programs to protect residents and homes from future wildfires – all without raising taxes.
On behalf of taxpayers, I authored the Taxpayer Protection Act, a charter amendment that increases the threshold to place tax increases on the city’s ballot. It was overwhelmingly passed by voters in Anaheim and since its passage, these protections were replicated and adopted by voters in Irvine and Newport Beach.
To ensure the safety of children and families, I passed a ban on sex offenders from entering city parks and worked with law enforcement countywide to address human trafficking and combat childhood exploitation.
As supervisor, I will listen to your concerns, act before there is a crisis, and drive solutions by working side by side with the community to achieve common goals.
Like every city and unincorporated community in the third district, I understand the needs of Irvine are unique and individualized. Wildfire protection, preserving open spaces and improving Irvine’s transportation infrastructure with regards to streets and intersections are top priorities. It is vital to a thriving Irvine to stay within the master plan and maintain the natural landscapes we enjoy, while protecting the safety of our residential neighborhoods, parks and wildland areas. I strongly support a Veterans Cemetery in Orange County, at a location that respects the wishes of Irvine residents and honors our region’s brave veterans.
This past year, wildfires devastated California, with 80 lives lost and more than $12.4 billion in damage and loss of private property. Wildfires continue to ravish our county year after year, causing complete devastation to hundreds of residents. Like many of you, my family and I have been evacuated multiple times during these events.
While on the Board of Supervisors, I will proactively lead efforts to develop comprehensive wildland protection measures, as well as work with the Orange County Fire Authority to develop early wildfire detection systems to save lives and protect private property.
It’s important that this special election for Orange County supervisor be centered on the pressing issues facing our community. That’s why at the start of my campaign, I signed a “Clean Campaign Pledge” and urged all candidates to join me because Orange County residents deserve better than false and misleading campaign tactics that divert attention from important county issues.
As your next supervisor, I will fulfill my commitment to residents who put their trust in me by voting in this special election – you have my word to faithfully serve my full term of office and provide long-term, common-sense leadership working every day in the best interests of Orange County.
On March 12, I humbly ask for your vote. I would be honored to represent you as your next county supervisor.
Please visit www.ElectKrisMurray.com to learn more about my background, broad coalition of endorsements and record serving Orange County residents.
Why I’m Running for Supervisor
By: Donald P. Wagner
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.
Fight for a better Orange County
By: Loretta Sanchez
I love Orange County. That’s why my family and I have lived here for over 55 years. That’s why I fought for two decades in the House of Representatives to bring opportunity and growth to the county. I am running now for the Orange County Board of Supervisors because this is my home and I want it to be a place where everyone can thrive and prosper.
I love Orange County because it made the American Dream possible for my parents, who immigrated in the 1950s, worked hard to provide for and educate me and my six brothers and sisters. Through their support and the power of education, my sister and I became the first and only sisters in American history to serve together in the House of Representatives.
While representing Orange County in Congress, I worked with federal, state and local officials to bring billions of dollars of investment home to Orange County to improve our roads, water system, schools, hospitals and first responder capabilities. In 2015, Congressional Quarterly named me one of the “25 most powerful women of Congress.” As a county supervisor, I am ready to put that experience and know-how to work for the people of Orange County.
I believe the Board of Supervisors must take responsibility for solving our most pressing problems. During my 20 years of service in Congress, I fought tooth and nail to make sure the people of Orange County received the services and public support they deserve. Unfortunately, I didn’t always see the same dedication from our local Board of Supervisors. For example, despite large appropriations to improve health care and provide housing for the homeless, the Board of Supervisors failed to use available resources or implement effective programs for the working families of Orange County. It is time for an overhaul and a breath of new energy.
We need leadership at the county level which will focus on issues like health care, a basic and indispensable human right. When I learned that Santa Ana was ranked as one of the most poorly insured cities in the United States, I worked with my colleagues in Congress and local leaders to launch “Enroll OC,” which helped over 2,000 uninsured individuals get reliable access to quality health care.
Another priority that demands immediate action is fire safety. The wildfires of 2017 and 2018 showed that the current Board of Supervisors has failed to adequately prepare the county for this threat. Inefficient procedures and gaps in city-county coordination and essential equipment delayed response times and left much to be desired. Many of our cities, including Irvine, rely on the O.C. Board of Supervisors to properly manage and equip their fire departments. The current board has failed to update procedures and ensure that we are ready for the next crisis. Our firefighters do their jobs with courage and dedication. We need strong, proactive leadership at the county level to confront and solve current issues before they become catastrophes.
Since leaving public office, I have devoted my time to tackling some of Orange County’s toughest issues. I have worked with public and private partners to provide shelter and essential services for homeless women — the most at-risk homeless population. I am also working with private industry, labor and schools to create an innovative program to build small modular housing units as a solution to the housing shortage in our county. This would allow families and multi-generational households to create more affordable housing options on their existing properties. Public-private partnerships like these are one of the many ways the Board of Supervisors can make a difference and build a better future for our communities.
As your supervisor, I will bring over 30 years of government, business and finance experience to make Orange County a better place for our children. I would be honored to have your vote on March 12th to be the next member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and do what I do best: Fight for a better Orange County.