Opinion: Critique of Super City ‘Case Study’ Part 1

Eric Christensen

The Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission “Case Study” advocating the consolidation of three communities into one city was completed on June 18. The Rossmoor Community Services District only received a copy at the end of September from Dave Barr, a local journalist who requested information supporting Supervisor John Moorlach’s claims that Rossmoor receives more in services than it contributes in revenues. This study directly affects the cities of Seal Beach and Los Alamitos and the community of Rossmoor. Was it ever distributed to those entities?

What is the purpose of this “Case Study?” Los Alamitos and Seal Beach leaders have publicly expressed their respective opposition to the “Super City” concept. How much was spent on this study? Who authorized the expenditure when this concept is apparently dead on arrival?

This “Case Study” provides no insight into how much revenue Rossmoor contributes to Orange County, how that revenue is allocated and how much the services Orange County provides to Rossmoor cost. For county expenses for Rossmoor it does not delineate what services the expenses represent. And it notes that current data was unavailable from Orange County so it used 2007/2008 data included in the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis for the incorporation effort and applied a 4 percent annual increase. That data has been challenged and largely discredited.

The “Case Study” is essentially useless even for its purported limited purpose of demonstrating potential savings from consolidation because it has material errors (as discussed below), it makes questionable assumptions and it omits material elements.

Further, the “Case Study” suffers from flawed methodology. It states it took all data from public records, without any consultation with the entities that produced the public records. If the consultant had contacted the RCSD for instance, he may have not made as many errors in headcount, for instance. There is no way to determine what other errors may be present with respect to Seal Beach or Los Alamitos due to this approach.

Eric Christensen is a longtime Rossmoor resident and a member of the Rossmoor Preservation Committee. The committee opposes partial or complete annexation of Rossmoor by Los Alamitos.

Part 2 of this column will appear in the Nov. 17 issue of the Sun.