If, as they say, all politics is local, then the Orange County Board of County Commissioners is going to have a lot to answer for when August rolls around. That’s why it seems a little odd that the mostly Republican governing body has effectively gone silent in the face of a recent questionnaire pitched by Orange Rising, a coalition of local progressive groups that is trying to engage local citizens on issues under the purview of their locally elected officials.
The mission of their recently launched website, VoteLocal2014.org, seems simple enough: let’s see where local officials stand on issues like prison privatization, tax increases for public education, sick time and equality issues, so that voters can make informed decisions before heading to the polls. Nothing too pointed, really. What politician wouldn’t want to be upfront about his or her positions on important matters to constituents? Groups like the NRA and League of Women Voters push similar questionnaires every election cycle.
But in the wake of a heated domestic partnership registry battle two years ago, the sick-time-turned-textgate fight soon after and now Commissioner Fred Brummer’s parroting of Republican big-money interests in a failed municipal power grab that was attempting to rewrite the county’s charter, Orange County leaders have shown that, in reality, they don’t know how to answer for their own positions. In fact, if textgate taught us anything, it’s that county politics are bought and sold by the business lobby. The silence of this current board is more telling then any answers members could produce anyway. Only, come August, more people will be listening.