Tuesday BOS Meeting: Can anyone say Street Fight?!

The gloves are coming off in the feud between Treasurer Chriss Street and Supervisor John Moorlach. Start snapping your fingers because this may be as good as the West Side Story fight scene.

Today, Street went on the offensive against Supervisor Moorlach and Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) General Manager Nick Berardino in an opinion piece in the Orange County Register.

Politics is a contact sport; Orange County politics are a blood sport. When my political opponents cherry-picked unsubstantiated allegations from a pending civil lawsuit, I chose not to respond. But I cannot remain silent when irresponsible statements about the financial health of Orange County are used for self-aggrandizement and the advancement of political agendas.

Supervisor John Moorlach and county employee union boss Nick Berardino have joined forces to advance their own agendas at the expense of the Treasurer’s Office. Speaking as one, these politicos manipulate and publicly misrepresent complex financial transactions in an effort to whip the public into a frenzy. There is no basis for this reckless demagoguery.

If Mr. Moorlach and Mr. Berardino choose to cry that the sky is falling in an attempt to incite financial panic with misrepresentations as to the health of the county’s investment pool, then I have a moral and fiduciary obligation to stand up and speak the truth on behalf of the county. The truth is that our investments maintain the highest levels of security, liquidity and stability, while continuing to provide healthy returns. Click Here for the rest of Street’s commentary.

Moorlach responded with a mass email, which Peggy Lowe at Total Buzz Blog posted part of this evening.

The commentary is printed in the OC Register and does warrant a couple of observations.

The first is that accusing me of being a demagogue may be a little rash. Chriss Street has formed a habit of jumping on the Board’s agenda without having a pre-scheduled item. He has done this on a couple of occasions to address the homeless situation in the Civic Center. Last week he spoke during the Public Comments portion of the agenda to notify us of the potential Moody’s credit watch announcement for his SIV holdings. He didn’t contact me (or any other Board member, as far as I can tell) before hand. Not a call. Not an e-mail. Not a note. Nothing. Of course, his announcement would come as a surprise. In fact, he did not provide a memo of explanation until the following Friday, some three days later. Obviously, communicating is not Mr. Street’s strong suit. My attempt to encourage him to be a better communicator sure seems to have been lost on him.

Let me assure you that Nick Berardino and I are not in cahoots–the conspiracy theory is also off target.

I have not criticized Mr. Street over the issue of “credit watch negative,” just the manner in which the news was delivered, as I have very supportive positions on this topic; as he has noted.

And I am not worried about the sky falling. Been there, done that. What I am concerned about is that all of these investment holdings pay at par when they mature.

I’m still researching the information Street fed us at his SIV workshop today. My commentary on that should be posted by Monday morning so stay tuned.