Rossmoor launches poll of residents

Rossmoor officials decided to conduct a poll to determine whether residents support the district board’s efforts to get authority to hire law enforcement and animal control services.

The Rossmoor Community Services District board voted unanimously at a special meeting on Tuesday, March 15 to accept a donation from the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs to pay for the survey.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach criticized the deputies’ union for making the contribution, arguing that it was a conflict of interest.

“AOCDS is focused on keeping unincorporated islands unincorporated because they are serviced by the Sheriff’s Department,” said Moorlach in a March 17 “update” e-mailed to his constituents. “This is inefficient and stretches patrol cars over a wide geographic area.  It significantly impacts response times.  It also reflects a meddlesome nature that deters cities from seriously considering switching over their police services to the Sheriff’s Department.”

The deputies contributed $10,300 to the survey project.

The RCSD board directed General Manager Henry Taboada to spend $7,300 from that donation to find out what sort of government Rossmoor residents want.

Among the issues facing Rossmoor are questions regarding annexation of Rossmoor by the City of Los Alamitos, the provision of county municipal services including police services, the annexation of the southwest corner of Rossmoor (Fish Co.,etc.) by Los Alamitos and the provision of additional services to be provided by the RCSD.

According to an RCSD press release, the poll will start as soon as possible.

The poll is intended to give the RCSD Board of Directors guidance for future District initiatives concerning what sort of government Rossmoor will have.

Application to LAFCO

While the board has approved a resolution of intention to apply to the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission for approval to assume police services, animal care services and refuse collection services instead of the county, a formal application has not been submitted.

The application was delayed in order to give the community ample time to become familiar with the process and to voice their opinions on the matter.

Some Rossmoor residents have already objected to the application, accusing the RCSD board of trying to turn Rossmoor into a city.

Rossmoor area residents have already rejected becoming an independent city in a 2008 election on the issue.

Members of the Rossmoor Predator Management Team, including Eric Christensen, have said Supervisor Moorlach is trying to transfer law enforcement services from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to the city of Los Alamitos.

However, according to news reports, Moorlach recently advised Los Alamitos to disband its police force in favor of hiring the Sheriff’s Department to patrol the city.

Meanwhile, Taboada has said LAFCO would only support having the RCSD getting so-called “latent powers,” meaning governmental powers, if there is a strong show of support from the community.

Rossmoor’s options

Supervisor Moorlach, who chairs OC LAFCO, has said he opposes what he calls “city-lite.” He has also said the other LAFCO members were not in a mood to support granting the Rossmoor board authority to hire law enforcement and animal control services.

In a past “update” to his constituents, Moorlach has said Rossmoor has three  options: become a city, be annexed by Los Alamitos or be merged into a big city with Los Alamitos and Seal Beach.

Moorlach has been advocating a “super-city” since January 2007. He recently discussed the idea with the mayors of Los Alamitos and Seal Beach as well the president of the RCSD over lunch. Seal Beach Mayor Michael Levitt is opposed to the idea.

Thus far, the RCSD board has conducted two workshops and heard several reports from General Manager Taboada, as well as feedback from the Rossmoor Advisory Committee.

While there appears to be consensus about not wanting any annexation or provision of services by Los Alamitos, there has not been a clear expression of choice regarding the additional services by the RCSD. The poll should answer that and other questions. The poll results will likely be delivered at the April 12 meeting of the Board of Directors by the pollster.