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COUNTYWIDE : 5-0 Vote Returns County to SCAG

The Board of Supervisors, despite a long list of reservations, voted Tuesday to rejoin the Southern California Assn. of Governments, a powerful planning organization that has long angered some county officials.

The supervisors voted unanimously to begin paying dues to the association on Jan. 1 and remain in the group at least until June 30. At that point, the county will consider whether to keep on paying dues and playing an active role in the association, which helps steer federal grant money for local transportation projects, among other things.

“I applaud their action,” said Yorba Linda City Councilman Henry W. Wedaa, who heads SCAG’s Aviation Work Program and is a past president of the association. “The planning of SCAG goes on with or without the county, and I certainly think that the citizens of Orange County have a right to be represented.”

County supervisors withdrew from the organization several years ago, complaining of what some perceived as a pro-Los Angeles bias in the group’s regional planning. Although Wedaa dismisses those objections as “totally without merit,” some supervisors remain wary of the group.

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“Most of the stuff coming out of SCAG is coming out of L.A.,” Supervisor Don R. Roth said. “I’m concerned about that, but I’m willing to see if there are changes coming that might work for Orange County.”

County officials had special reason to rejoin the organization now because they are pushing for three transportation corridors. County officials are worried that if they are not part of SCAG, they could be hurt in that effort.

“I’m concerned that they (SCAG members) are likely to take a position that could cause us a problem,” Roth said.

The county will send its $16,247.50 check to SCAG early next month and get back its right to vote on SCAG issues, officials said.

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