As part of OCBC’s annual One Voice, Two Capitols advocacy program, OCBC was joined by the Association of California Cities – OC for its recent advocacy trip to Sacramento, sponsored by Automobile Club of Southern California, Disneyland Resort, The Irvine Company and Michael Brandman Associates. A delegation of 40 business leaders and City Council members charged the capitol to deliver a strong message from Orange County that economic success stems from government and business working together, a particularly poignant message in light of the latest economic news accompanying the Governor’s Budget Revise. OCBC and ACC-OC met with Controller John Chiang, CARB Chair Mary Nichols, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Speaker pro Tem Fiona Ma, the Senate and Assembly Republican leaders and Whips, other Senate and Assembly committee chairs and OC’s own legislative delegation to advocate for Orange County’s priority issues including transportation, water, education and regulatory reform, and raising the profile of the County. What is needed now more than ever is a bipartisan approach to creating a more business-friendly climate, where business has the confidence to grow and hire and where cities have the ability to continue to provide services to their residents.
Putting context to the budget discussions was a briefing with Controller John Chiang and also with California’s Finance Director Ana Matosantos, who serves as the Governor’s chief fiscal policy advisor and ensures the financial integrity of the state.
A meeting with Democratic Senator Michael Rubio from the central valley prompted a discussion about the future of California’s water. Rubio is working to form consensus between regional groups, who are divided not by party, but by region. His primary concerns are ensuring California’s water reliability, addressing southern California’s water storage issues and the infrastructure of the Delta. He shared that the water bond measure planned for the November ballot will likely be pushed to the 2014 ballot. Senator Rubio is also a champion of CEQA reform, commenting that it is the only law in which you can be in full compliance and still get sued.
Another elected official working across the aisle is Assembly Republican Whip Kristin Olsen, also from the central valley. She noted the struggles she faced in trying to engender better working relationships with her colleagues. She hastened to point out that it was possible to stay true to the principles one was elected to represent, but also work across the aisle to move California forward. Both Rubio and Olsen are examples of the next generation of Legislative leaders who are putting the emphasis on public service.
In addition, the delegation met with Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, Speaker pro Tem Fiona Ma and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, as well as other legislative committee leaders. Most importantly, the delegation had the opportunity to engage with Orange County’s legislative delegation at a special dinner where all good things about our region could be unabashedly celebrated.
Orange County remains a strong presence in the state, national and global economy, but the obstacles we face from a disconnected legislative body place California and Orange County at a competitive disadvantage. The active participation of the business community is vital to the success of OCBC’s aggressive advocacy role and to sustaining a strong voice in the formulation of public policy that affects your business.
For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs.