Opinion: Supervisor misleads public on Sunset Beach annexation lawsuit

Jack Markovitz

The article in the Sun Newspaper “Sunset Beach lawsuit is not about taxes” (Thursday, Oct. 27) opens with a statement from Supervisor John Moorlach:  “For nearly five years I have held the unofficial position of the mayor of Sunset Beach.”

Obviously as you crowned yourself “unofficial mayor,” you either did not listen to the Sunset Beach residents—the majority oppose annexation—or didn’t you care about our opinion.

Under the annexation, Sunset Beach residents will be voting together with all of the Huntington Beach registered voters to elect a city council or any other matter that appears on the ballot.

Sunset Beach’s registered voters will make up less than 1 percent of the total votes.  John Moorlach effectively gave away our voting rights.

Mr. Moorlach also makes reference to the community celebrating its new mayor.

He is referring to a ceremony initiated by the City Council of Huntington Beach to acknowledge the annexation at the Sunset Beach Community Association meeting.

The HBCC’s request to have a ribbon cutting ceremony was quickly diluted to a welcoming ceremony, as many in our community were up in arms at the thought.

The majority of the current SBCA Board members and a dozen residents went along with the program—not the community as a whole.

Some of the board members even refrained from being included in a picture with the mayor of Huntington Beach.

John Moorlach attempts to make the readers believe that the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs was responsible for funding and implementing the Sunset Beach community’s effort to fight the annexation.

He has chosen to mislead the public.

The lawsuit against the city of Huntington Beach and the Orange County LAFCO was filed by the Citizens’ Association of Sunset Beach and paid for by donations from individual residents and friends of Sunset Beach.

Mr. Moorlach knows that, but chooses to disregard the grass roots efforts of the residents in Sunset Beach.  Why?

To acknowledge the legitimacy of that effort puts him on the wrong side of the people.   Whatever happened to government for the people, Mr. Moorlach?

The fact that CASB uses the same legal counsel as AOCDS only speaks to the fact that both organizations seek qualified representation.

CASB interviewed numerous attorneys before reaching the decision to use its present counsel.

The decision was based on the fact that this firm believes they can ultimately win the lawsuit.

From the beginning CASB members were told that the lawsuit would ultimately be decided by the California State Court of Appeals.

Superior Court Judge Frederick Horn, who made the lower court decision, echoed this belief.

Moorlach’s comment, “The request is to allow the residents of Sunset Beach to vote to approve a 5 percent utility tax, when many of them were happy to accept an 11 percent UUT if they were annexed by the city of Seal Beach” is incorrect.

There are a multitude of taxes Sunset Beach would be subject to by HB, including a pre-1978 public employees retirement tax on property tax bills.  Regarding the Seal Beach UUT of 11 percent, this would have to have been voted on by Sunset Beach.

We believe that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s decision to represent the CASB appeal is based on the fact that HJTA is committed to upholding the rights of all Californians to vote before any new tax is put on them.

In the case of Sunset Beach’s annexation by Huntington Beach there was no vote of any kind.

Sunset Beach residents were told by OC LAFCO and the city of Huntington Beach that there would be no new taxes assessed on Sunset Beach residents, therefore they were subject to an “island annexation.” An “island annexation” does not provide for any protest hearings or a vote on the annexation issue.  Mr. Moorlach’s reference to HJTA doing the bidding of a trade association is cheap and telling of his own character.

Jack Markovitz is president of the Citizens’ Association of Sunset Beach. For more information, visit www.SaveSunsetBeach.org.