Who is Looking Out for the Taxpayers?
By Kim Lefner
Plagiarism is bad enough, but using tax dollars to promote and justify one’s existence is even worse in my opinion.
In the September issue of the CCS we reported on an “Opinion Column” in the Capistrano Dispatch about the Orange County Vector Control, allegedly written by Councilman John Taylor. Taylor’s column contained wording identical to a Dispatch “Opinion Column” by former San Clemente Councilman Jim Dahl, and an article published in the OC Register by Anaheim Council member Lucille Kring. Taylor, Dahl and Kring all serve on the Board of the taxpayer-funded OC Vector Control. They were appointed to represent the taxpayers from their respective cities.
The taxpayer-funded OC Vector Control has 35 Board members
representing cities throughout Orange County
Recently, OC Register reporter Meghann Cuniff wrote an article in which former Dispatch editor-turned-public-relations-representative Jonathan Volzke stated that he actually wrote all three of the columns, which the elected officials then claimed as their own. Volzke was working as a public relations representative for a PR firm that had the OC Vector Control as a client. Volzke suggested that this type of misrepresentation is somehow OK because it’s done all the time.
We now question how elected officials like Taylor, who are supposed to be looking out for the taxpayers’ best interests, instead allow a paid PR firm to use them to promote the PR firms’ clients. This seems like a conflict, especially when the OC Vector Control had recently proposed yet another property tax increase to pay $1 million for a museum exhibit promoting the OC Vector Control. If the elected official is promoting the taxpayer-funded agency, then who is looking out for the taxpayer?
But that’s not the only questionable issue. If this is done all the time as some have suggested, how many elected officials have misrepresented material they did not write as their own?
It also raises the question of how much Councilman Taylor really knows about the communicable diseases issue, since he did not write the column. Perhaps even more disturbing is Taylor’s proclamation that he has no problem with doing it again, “if it saves people from getting sick from West Nile virus.” But was the issue really about the West Nile virus - or about justifying an agency’s existence at a time when the agency is advocating another property tax increase to fund promotion of itself?
In my mind, the larger issue here is whether John Taylor allowed himself to be used by Volzke, a paid PR representative for the OC Vector Control, to promote his client and thus their proposed property tax increase. Or, as our City’s representative appointed to the OC Vector Control Board by our City Council majority, was Taylor in on this deception from the beginning?
For more information on the OC Vector Control agency’s plans to spend $1 million of your tax dollars on a museum exhibit, visit our website at: www.ccsense.com to read “OC Vector Control’s $1 Million Museum Exhibit” posted under “Community Links”.
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