Tony Rackauckas

Orange County Voters Approve Two Major Ballot Measures

Orange County voters approved two measures on Tuesday's ballot -- one that would establish an ethics commission to enforce local campaign finance laws and another that would give voters an idea how much future measures would cost taxpayers.

The proposed ethics commission drew the most attention, particularly when a war of words erupted last week between Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, continuing a feud that has raged since Rackauckas fired Spitzer six years ago.

Measure A was the dream of Shirley Grindle, who for years has taken on the enforcement of TINCUP, or Time is Now Clean Up Politics, ordinance. Grindle has complained, however, that the ordinance lacks teeth since she believes Rackauckas has done nothing to enforce it.

"It kept most of the candidates playing by the same set of rules and saved the county from hiring somebody to do it, but I'm not going to be here forever and it's time for them to step up to the plate," Grindle told City News Service last week.

Under Measure A, the commission's executive director will have subpoena power. It will establish an administrative hearing process for violations of county ordinances and would give an executive director investigative authority to pursue civil violations.

The commission will hear appeals and would report to the county Board of Supervisors.

Rackauckas held a news conference last week blasting Spitzer for doing a robocall to voters on the issue, with the county's top prosecutor claiming the call gave residents the false impression Spitzer still holds the job of assistant district attorney. Spitzer said the only person confused is Rackauckas and accused the district attorney of shaming him in public as retaliation for recent criticism of the management of his office.

Measure B, meanwhile, will amend the county's charter to mandate that the auditor-controller review future ballot measures to analyze how much they would cost taxpayers.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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