You know, it never ceases to amaze me how something that looks bad at first glance can look even worse upon closer inspection. This holds especially true with the Board of Supervisors remodel of their exterior lobby on the fifth floor of the Hall of Administration.
Board Chairman (until Tuesday, January 13th) John Moorlach has asserted that this project is in response to a Santa Ana Fire Department Inspection Report notice that was issued in January 2007 regarding improving stairwell access for emergency egress. Compliance was achieved on an interim basis through temporary changes to access routes. The proposed project will implement a permanent solution to this issue and provide better egress access, security, and space utilization of the 5th floor lobby.
Through our LiberalOC Bull Dog Investigation we have finally gotten a response to our request for additional information about the construction of the new “Great Wall” on the fifth floor of the Hall of Administration “Republican Palace.” Below is the diagram of the new lobby/reception area (shaded in blue). We were told that the “work/copier area” and “built-in bench seating” were determined to be unnecessary to the security functions and have been eliminated from the plan. Please note, the blue area is currently a completely vacant space.
So what exactly are we getting for $326,870? We are getting Moorlach’s “Great Wall of Orange County.” Yep, that’s right; we are getting a wall to provide the Board of Supervisors with a “Secure Circulation Corridor.” I could be wrong, but I think they are trying to model their security arrangements on the “Green Zone” in Baghdad.
Each District Office has its’ own reception area which sits behind a doorway that has in place the ability to be secured for keycard access by authorized employees only. The existing security locks on the doors to the individual Supervisor’s offices make any additional level of security irrelevant and unnecessary. This remodel creates not one, but two additional waiting areas for the Supervisors. The first is when you exit through the elevators, the second is in the “Secure Circulation Corridor” behind the “Great Wall,” and the third is in each district office.
I realize that Moorlach thinks that the public and public employees represent “Mongol Hoards” that he and the rest of the Board must be separated from, but there is something really scary about local elected representatives who feel their security needs are greater than those of a Congress member, State Representative, or State Constitutional Officer. With Moorlach’s “Great Wall” the Board of Supervisors is attempting to establish its own “Green Zone” in their “Republican Palace.”