BOND TICKER : Panel Urges O.C. Charter

A commission has recommended drafting a county charter that would dramatically change the way Orange County is governed.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors in March formed the 1995 Orange County Charter Commission and asked members to study the merits and disadvantages of becoming a "charter" county, one governed by voter-approved statutes.

A five-page commission report comes before the board Tuesday. The report recommends drafting a proposed charter and eventually placing it before the voters.

"Now more than ever, the public demands greater accountability for its officials' actions," according to the report. "The commission believes that . . . the development of a county charter will allow Orange County to become a more accountable, more responsible entity."

Creating a charter would give the Board of Supervisors more freedom to privatize services and a greater ability to appoint--rather than elect--top officials such as the auditor-controller and treasurer-tax collector, according to the report.

Judges Oppose Gates Over Marshal's Office

A proposal to place the Orange County Marshal's office under the control of the Sheriff's Department has been criticized by the county's six presiding judges, who accused Sheriff Brad Gates of failing to effectively manage his budget.

In a letter to County Chief Executive Officer William J. Popejoy, the judges questioned whether giving Gates reign over the marshal's office would have the intended effect of cutting costs in the wake of the county's bankruptcy.

The letter criticized Gates for failing to cut costs and for expanding his department during tough financial times. The marshal's office, on the other hand, has consistently managed its budget "responsibly," the letter stated.

The marshal's office is in charge of security at county courthouses. County Marshal Michael Carona currently reports to the presiding judges.

Gates could not be reached for comment Friday.

Sales Tax Foes Launch Campaign

Opponents of Measure R have begun their campaign to defeat the proposed half-cent sales tax increase on the June 27 ballot by printing 5,000 bumper stickers.

The stickers say "Vote No on Measure R" in large letters, with "The Rip-off Tax" in smaller print. The stickers were created by the Committees of Correspondence, a citizens watchdog group that plans to distribute them in the coming weeks.

The group has formed a subcommittee called the War Council to handle the No on R campaign. The subcommittee is soliciting donations and hopes to eventually send out mailers.

Compiled by Shelby Grad, with Rene Lynch.

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