Todd Spitzer-Shawn Nelson Feud Takes A Weird Turn

As if the public feud between Supervisors Todd Spitzer and Shawn Nelson couldn’t get any stranger, it took a turn for the weird last week.

According to the Capitol Morning Report, on August 18 the lobbying firm of DiMare, Brown, Hicks and Kessler added a new client: Todd Spitzer for Supervisor 2016. [DiMare, Brown clients include the Orange County Employees Association.]

On August 19, new language was added to SB 1387 (the SCQAMD Board-packing bill by Senator Kevin DeLeon that aims to re-establish environmentalist control of the powerful regulatory agency):

“A member of the south coast district board who is eligible for a vehicle or vehicle allowance from the local government from which he or she is appointed shall not be issued a vehicle from the south coast district for greater than seven days in a 30-day period.”

This language is virtually identical to that which Supervisor Spitzer attempted to amend in the county government code earlier this month. However, on the day of the Board meeting, Spitzer withdrew the item, saying he had only placed it on the agenda “to make a point” about an earlier proposal by Supervisor Nelson to place a change in supervisorial term limits on the November ballot. From the Voice of OC:

“I put those [double-dipping] items on the agenda to make the very specific point that you cannot ask for something as complex, and where the law is subject to debate and subject to challenge, on the term limit issue without a full vetting and discourse,” Spitzer said.

When pressed by the Voice of OC on why he withdrew the item if Nelson’s use of an AQMD vehicle was so egregious:

Asked repeatedly about this, Spitzer gave several answers, including that it would be rushed public policy and that he’ll raise the car issue again when the next AQMD appointment takes place in January.

If rushing a public policy issue with major repercussions is a bad thing, then why slip an amendment into SB 1387 during the chaotic end of the legislation – period that is the definition of rush public policy and when it is least likely it will receive any vetting and discourse?

Adding to the weirdness, the OC Board of Supervisors had formally adopted an “opposed” position on SB 1387. Now we have peculiar circumstance of an Orange County Supervisor lobbying to amend language into a bill that he and his Board colleagues officially opposed, in order to target one of his colleagues. It’s like trying to follow an Escher painting.

Wouldn’t this effort have been better spent fighting a bill that will harm Orange County, rather than using it to harm an Orange County Supervisor?

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