Homelessness, public safety, and the economy are among the top priorities of five candidates running for a vacant seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors (BOS).
The opportunity to become the District 2 supervisor arose after Michelle Steel abandoned the post to join U.S. Congress last month. The district covers Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley.
A special election March 9 will determine who fills the seat from the following candidates:
Newport Beach Councilman Kevin Muldoon’s platform includes addressing Orange County’s homelessness crisis, and opposing a recent order to release more than 1,000 inmates from the county jail due to the ongoing pandemic.
The economy is also a top priority, he said in a statement.
“I care deeply about Orange County and as your supervisor I will work to safely reopen businesses and rebuild our economy. I am optimistic about our future but it will require all of us to work together and support local businesses.”
Former Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach entered the race after losing his reelection campaign for a state senate seat.
He served in the senate for the past six years as the legislature’s only member trained as a CPA, and previously sat on the BOS. Earlier in his career, he spent 12 years working as Orange County’s treasurer-tax collector.
“We must protect the vulnerable while balancing the viability of our business community and its critical workforce,” Moorlach said in a statement. “Locking down the local economy reduces the tax revenues needed to run our county and its municipalities. All at a time when they are assisting those in their greatest time of need.”
Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo said in a statement that, if elected, he would serve the community in a variety of ways.
“As your supervisor, I pledge to: Support and increase robust public safety efforts, aid and support our small businesses and local economy, champion fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, fully fund senior and veteran services programs, address the homelessness crisis, promote improving resources for mental health, provide COVID-19 testing and vaccination to all Orange County residents, [and] advocate for local control.”
Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley previously served as a councilmember for the city, and is a former Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustee. She’s also an attorney and small business owner.
“We need a leader on the Orange County Board of Supervisors who will focus on residents and businesses first, protect our neighborhoods and public spaces, address homelessness, keep our tax dollars secure, and our families safe,” she said in a statement.
“As your supervisor, I will: Protect public health through access to healthcare, including COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and treatment. Support businesses so they can create and retain jobs. Partner with cities to tackle the root causes of homelessness, provide transitional and permanent housing, and clean up our neighborhoods. Combat the climate crisis and enhance our beaches and open space. Sunshine the more than $7.5 billion budget for better transparency, accountability, and effective management of our tax dollars.”
Janet Rappaport is a tax attorney and Navy veteran. She has experience in tax, finance, and infrastructure projects.
“I can review and dissect a budget,” Rappaport said in a statement. “Supervisors mainly manage the county budget. I am committed to conservative and effective management of your tax dollars.”
If elected to the board, she said her first priority would be to address the pandemic and stabilize the economy. She said she will do this by prioritizing the vaccine’s availability to every resident.
“I am committed to being the voice of civility and helping redirect our public discourse back to a path that leads to solutions rather than the complete breakdown we have experienced on all ‘sides’ for years now,” Rappaport said in a statement.
“To stabilize our economy and community, the virus must be controlled. To accomplish this, Orange County needs strong relationships with State partners and others on key issues like funding. I am committed to developing relationships and consensus so that Orange County gets the funding it needs.”