California IN BRIEF : SACRAMENTO : Senate Passes Bill on Orange County Jail
Over objections of hometown legislators, the Senate on Friday approved an unusual measure designed to break a political deadlock in Orange County and allow officials there to build a new jail near Anaheim Hills. Legislators on both sides of the debate agreed that while the bill was drafted narrowly to deal with Orange County’s jail overcrowding problem, it has statewide implications. Opponents--including all four Republican senators representing Orange County--fought it as a dangerous precedent that meddled in local affairs and watered down governmental protections against the taking of private property. County officials want to build a 6,700-bed jail on 2,500 acres owned by the Irvine Co. in Gypsum Canyon, but the five-member Board of Supervisors has been deadlocked. The bill by Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Garden Grove) would break the impasse by lowering the condemnation requirement to a simple majority vote of the board.