ORANGE COUNTY: Wants Its Own Initiative on November Ballot
Orange County Treasurer John Moorlach Tuesday proposed a new ballot initiative that would allocate a higher percentage of tobacco settlement money to pay down the county's bankruptcy debt than a similar ballot measure slated for a November vote, the Los Angeles Times reports. The other ballot initiative, called Measure H, is backed by a coalition of physicians, hospitals and community groups, as well as a majority of the county's elected representatives in Sacramento and Washington. It calls for 80% of the settlement money to be used for health care and 20% for debt reduction. Moorlach's plan earmarks 40% of the settlement fund for debt payoffs. Of the remaining funds, 42% would go toward health care and 18% to public safety programs. Moorlach said, "Orange County's voters deserve alternatives to the use of tobacco funds. It's incumbent on us not to let this opportunity to reduce our debt slip away." Michele Revelle, a spokesperson for the health groups advocating Measure H, said, "The biggest issue here is that after voting to put our initiative on the ballot because [the county] had to legally, the board turned around and sued us. Now they're going to put their own (ballot measure) on?" The suit will be heard in Orange County Superior Court on Aug. 30 (Reyes, 8/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.