No more government delays

Like Miley Cyrus’ infamous dance, this economy continues to have ups and downs, fits and starts, and not be pretty. However, “twerking” isn’t limited to the economy, but with the bumpy decision-making – or lack thereof – by elected officials at every level of government. It makes business nervous.

At the federal level, Obamacare is, by anyone’s standards, a certifiable mess. One party alone passed that bill, without consensus, assuring a “win-lose” political outcome. Now, real people have lost insurance or see their rates skyrocket. Democrats own this, but both parties must come together, act like adults and develop a joint plan to, literally, save lives and relieve uncertainties. No more delay.

At the regional level, Orange County voters want improvements to the I-405, one of the most congested in the nation, and they’re willing to pay for them with local sales taxes. The facts and studies are clear: Current plans approved by OCTA’s elected officials won’t improve congestion. Traffic ranks an “F” grade today and will remain an “F” even after the money is spent. And, to further complicate things, carpool lanes in O.C. are not working anymore – they, too, are congested.

OCTA leaders who have studied the law and finances know the right decisions to make, yet politics, not logic, caused the board to delay its vote to do the right thing. It is an inevitable vote: Express lanes work. No more delay.

And, then, there’s the Great Park. Decades of drawings, hundreds of millions of dollars in planning, barrels of ink in PR and media coverage, environmental review, draft agreements and permit processing. Irvine was counting on redevelopment agency laws to leverage its negotiations with the developer, but it’s taken so long that the law changed and that leverage was lost. Now the city can’t afford to build the next 688 acres, but must rely on FivePoint Communities in exchange for giving development rights on the privately owned acres.

On Nov 12, after eight hours of presentations, comments and discourse, the Irvine City Council postponed a decision to approve the project. Too many questions left unanswered, they said; staff wanted more time on details; more briefings needed; yet at least a commitment was given from the council majority to bring it back Nov 26 for a “yes” vote. No more delay.

When business cannot predict with reasonable certainty what government will do, business will not invest, expand, hire or create jobs; it will but cautiously wait for things to return to some form of normal. Delays in action, unusual public processes, threats of litigation, and politics, add to this uncertainty, and business sits on the sidelines, nervously watching a languishing economy.

Some people may be entertained by Miley Cyrus’ jerky dance, but government must stop emulating her in its politics, delays and uncertainties.

Originally published November 22, 2013, in the Orange County Register.

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