Local Government

OC Supervisor Candidate Forum: Chaffee vs. Shaw

On October 25, CSUF partnered with the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce to host a candidate forum for the two District 4 County Board of Supervisors candidates: Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee and La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw.

County Supervisor is a hugely important four year term. The person elected from District 4 will be making decisions affecting over 3 million people living in Orange County. 30 people attended the forum, which was hosted by Dr. Stephen Stambough a professor of Political Science at CSUF. The discussion followed a question and answer format.


La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw (left) and Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee (right) are running for OC Supervisor

The Candidates Introduce Themselves

Doug Chaffee is a lifelong resident of District 4. He said the current board of supervisors is “dysfunctional” because they are looking out for their political careers, not the county. He said that good government works to improve a good quality of life, including healthcare, a living wage, child care, educational opportunities, safety, and recreation. He said his district is “park poor” but Dana Point Harbor to the south is getting $350 million of county park funds.

Tim Shaw grew up in La Habra. He is the Vice Chair of the OCTA Board and serves on the OC Sanitation Board of Directors. He said he is endorsed by the current District 4 Supervisor Shawn Nelson. He said he will focus on transportation, homelessness, and public safety.

What’s your favorite thing about District 4?

Shaw likes sports; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team, the Anaheim Ducks Hockey Team and La Habra High School football team.

Chaffee likes the Fullerton Arboretum where he served on the board until recently.

How can you provide employment opportunities?

Chaffee said CSUF students could be county interns because they “aren’t really prepared” for the workplace. He recommended interning as social workers, parks and recreation, healthcare and with the Sheriff.

Shaw agreed with Chaffee’s idea for internships. He said his career stared as an intern with the county. He said there are many opportunities with the county which employs 18,000 people. He said the county does “everything” from the Brea Olinda landfill to airports and parks.

How can you support affordable housing and ending homelessness?

Shaw said the county needs to provide additional housing for 2,700 homeless people countywide. He said emergency shelters, transitional housing and, permanent supportive housing (PSH) are all part of the continuum of care. He said PSH needs to be built in all three service provider areas (SPAs) of the county. District 4 is in the north SPA and includes 13 cities. He said not all of the cities have to build the housing but they need to contribute towards the cost.

Chaffee said he has represented Fullerton for four years for the county’s Bridges emergency shelter on Kraemer which houses 200 people short term. He said there is not enough PSH. He said the County Trust that was recently created will help. He said the county has been “sitting on” Mental Health Services funding and after the forum said he supports state Prop 2 to reallocated future funds to housing.

What can you do about NIMBYs?

Note: NIMBY is an acronym for “Not in My backyard” which refers to people who oppose things like homeless shelters and affordable housing in or near their neighborhoods.

Chaffee said, “Cities have local control.” He said that NIMBYs caused the county to “chicken out of” building an emergency shelter on county land. He recommended that the county lease the state-owned Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa where “cities have no say.”

Shaw said that one city should not have to take all the needs. He said he is the Chair of ACCOC who devised the plan for a housing trust under a joint powers agreement to pool state, federal, and local money for housing. He said, “most communities can find a site in perhaps industrial area for this kind of land use.”

What are your land use priorities for unincorporated areas?

Shaw said there is not a lot of unincorporated area left in the district. He said the area is “largely” built out and there is a “tremendous need for housing.” He said more people commute into the county for work than out of the county. He said Fullerton is doing a “terrific job” getting housing built near transit.

Chaffee said there is a need for good jobs and affordable housing. But there is not much “free space.” He said he tried to get Measure M2 land acquisition funds to purchase West Coyote Hills but the money was used to purchase less expensive undevelopable land in south county. He said “Maybe he can help more,” as supervisor. He said he also supports housing near transit with local services and dense housing in “areas where it is appropriate.”

How would you support infrastructure in District 4?

Chaffee said he recommends voting no on Prop 6 to maintain vehicle fees and gas tax revenue for transportation infrastructure. He said he “hope(s) there is enough mitigation” to get the south county toll road extension approved. He said the county needs more trains and “more bicycling and that kind of thing.”

Shaw said Measure M2 county sales tax revenue over thirty years was expected to be $24 billion but is projected to be $13 billion because of the recession and people shopping on line. M2 funds are shared with the 34 cities in the county for paving streets. He said OCTA is “looking at the Lambert and 57 interchanges” to improve traffic flow and that he supports the Placentia Metrolink station.

What is the county’s role in water priorities?

Shaw said he supports the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) partnership between the county Sanitation District and the OC Water District that is being expanded. He said his city has a high pavement index and they have repaved their roads in conjunction with water main replacement. Additionally, his city has built 2 new water wells to enable them to pump at peak capacity and provide reliability.

Chaffee agreed with his support for GWRS. He said Fullerton also gets a majority of water from pumping but Fullerton needs county assistance managing the underground VOC plume that is spreading. He supports water use education and recognizes that there are areas of county don’t have access to groundwater. He also said that the county should loan county funds to cities to improve infrastructure.

How would you support undocumented students at CSUF?

Chafee said the term “Sanctuary City is an “unfortunate designation” as “no one is hiding them.” He said the state laws are constitutional and students are “not hear to get free load” but to “study and work.” He likes that Fullerton decided not to join in opposing the state laws and opposes the county supervisors’ position to oppose them. He advocated for changing immigration laws and said it is “crazy to think about building a wall.”

Shaw said that immigrants at the university are “bettering themselves” and “working hard contribute and participate.” He said that the courts have to still decide whether the state sanctuary laws are legal.

How would you support Mental Health Services?

Shaw said the county should spend the funds received for mental health services (MHS) from the voter approved “millionaires tax.” He said the county should “partner with hospitals and healthcare providers.” He said mentally ill individuals end up on the street and he wants to get them into housing where they can receive treatment. He said he would like to “institutionalize” people whether or not they agree for their own good.

Chaffee said the county has received $20 million to $25 million per year in MSA funds from the state that have not been used. He said mental health is the number one issue for homeless people. He said seniors and students need mental health services. He recommended a county clinic at CSUF where students could intern and provide services for students and he supports in-home services for seniors.

How would you improve opportunities for public input?

Chaffee said that by law the supervisors must allow time for public input. He says he has an “open door policy, not to come in but to go out and listen to people.” He mentioned the OC Employees Association and then said, “I am going to listen to them on things like the jail.” He said he would like to meet with the Sherriff to “fix problems without embarrassing them.”

Shaw said county supervisors are allowed up to ten staffers and he will use them in the field like the state field representatives do. He said he will be as “accessible as possible” and use electronic communications like Supervisor Nelson’s newsletter. He will also continue Nelson’s district breakfast meetings with mayors and city council members in the district.

How will you ensure the long-term financial health of county and what kind of relationship will you have with the county Auditor/Controller?

Shaw said it is “good news” that the county has paid off the debt due to the bankruptcy of 1995 after 23 years. He gave as an example that $4 million a year from the county Parks Department was going to service the debt just as other departments were paying. Now each department has more to spend. He said the “escalating cost of pensions” is a problem for cities invested in CALPERS but it is not so bad for the county because the county has its own retirement fund that employees pay into. He said the county revenue is mainly property tax and county property values are high, but the allocation of property tax needs to be adjusted for the county to get more than six and a half cents on the dollar. He said he is friends with the Auditor/Controller and the “spats” with the Board of Supervisors can be solved.

Chaffee said he is concerned that there may be another recession soon so he wants to prepare for it. He also said that county employee pensions are not a problem because employees pay as much as 21% of their salary into their pension. He said he would work with the legislature for the county to get a greater share of property tax revenue and said that the cities need to get more of SB1 vehicle fee and gas tax money that is going to county. He said the current Board of Supervisors have denied the Auditor Controller from having his own legal counsel that is need for transparency into financial obligations.

How would you improve public safety?

Chaffee said he is an advocate of community based policing where the pubic and community trust each other. He said Sanctuary Cities are safer because immigrants are not afraid to report crime to the police. He said the county sheriff provides service for some cities and runs the county jail, but the District Attorney has an impact on safety because the DA prosecutes criminals. He said he would do ride-alongs with the county sheriff like he has with the city police.

Shaw said he is learned from talking with sheriffs that driving under the influence of opioids is a bigger problem than alcohol. He said he would like to “ramp up” the Regan era “Say no to drugs” campaign in the county.” He said that since people escaped from county jail there needs to be better lighting and security. He also said that the passage of state Propositions 47 and 57 and Assembly Bill 109 have mad the state “softer on crime” by decriminalizing some and letting others out of jail early. He said the “Crime rate has come back.” He said that probation can monitor those released early under AB109 to be sure they don’t reoffend.

What will be your first priority?

Shaw said whether or not he is elected to supervisor he will be the chair of OCTA next year where he will oversee the 405 freeway project. He also said he will implement the housing trust, putting the governance in place and getting input from the non-profit community to begin addressing the needs of homeless people.

Chaffee said his priority would be “trying to solve the homelessness problem” by providing shelter, services, food, and clothing for homeless people and “protecting our people from encounters with homeless people” so they ”Won’t be getting in the face of some of our residents.” He reiterated his support for the county reopening the Fairview Center.

Closing Comments

Chaffee closed with the same comment about the Board of Supervisors being “dysfunctional” and said that his is not trying to get elected to higher office because he is going to be 75 years old. He said he will “establish a professional courteous relationship” among the other board members. He said that there will be a lot more homelessness with the coming recession and CSUF students are “food insecure.” He said the Board of Supervisors has been “wrong to not use county land for a shelter.” He seeks private pubic partnerships for affordable housing through non-profit providers not just for homeless people but for “ordinary people to have a secure place to raise their families.” He said he is “Running to make a difference,” and to do things differently.

Shaw said he wants to carry on his “dad’s vision” from when his father worked for the county healthcare agency as a drug and alcohol counselor in juvenile hall to make a difference. He said he will, “Do my best to bring people together” and reminded the audience that the County Supervisor election is non-partisan. He named both Republican Congressman Ed Royce and Democratic Congressman Lou Correa as endorsing him. He also said he has also been endorsed by 26 city council members or mayors, the sheriff, and all but one of the County Supervisors. He said he will work with the other supervisors to “get a fair share” of county resources for District 4.

The election will take place on November 6th.


Categories: Local Government