Hat tip to our friends of The Buzz for mentioning our humble blog today.
At the same time, it’s necessary to respond to their swipe at my colleague Roscoe’s espousal of an elected OCTA board.
The Buzz points to OUSD trustee-elect Steve Rocco as if his election were somehow a refutation of making the OCTA board elected. Citing Rocco’s election doesn’t rise even remotely to the level of argument. Indeed, he’s a fluke, the exception that proves the rule.
Other than the County of Orange, the OCTA probably impacts OC residents more directly than any other local agency. It collects a half-cent local sales tax, manages a budget of more than $1 billion, runs the bus system, builds and maintains freeways, streets and roads, operates MetroLink and wastes millions on CenterLine.
The board of the Municipal Water District of Orange County is elected, as are most members of the Orange County Water District Board of Directors. The anonymous platoons of local water and special districts have elected directors. Why should the OCTA Board of Directors – which is vastly more high-profile, influential and moneyed – be insulated from the voters whose money it spends and lives it dramatically affects?
Yes, OUSD voters have elected a bona fide kook to their Board of Trustees. But at least they have the option of un-electing him in four years, or recalling him if he proves to be unbearably or recklessly weird. The voters have no such recourse should they disagree with how the OCTA Board of Directors’ infrastructure spending and planning decisions.
Here at OC Blog, we enjoy a good debate and welcome any dissenting points of view. I understand The Buzz was just trying to be funny, and Steve Rocco will be the butt of many jibes and jokes for some time to come. But if pointing to Rocco and smirking, “See! See! That’s what you get by letting voters make the choices!” is the best argument that can be mustered in defense of an unelected OCTA Board, perhaps it is time to give some serious thought to including Roscoe’s proposal in any referendum re-authorizing Measure M.