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Bill Brough, 73rd District Assemblymember
I have worked in Republican politics for the last quarter-century on campaigns, as a staff person and the last decade as an elected official. One thing I learned over the years is when you kick the beehive, the bees come out. This is exactly what is happening to me since I introduced Assembly Bill 1273, a measure to rein in the Orange County Transportation Corridor Agencies (the Toll Road agency).
The original concept from 1987 for the toll roads has changed dramatically since its inception. The current plan has extended debt and increased tolls at least 12 times since 1996—debt that will cost $11 billion by 2053. The toll roads have greater debt than six individual states!
Either from incompetence or governmental mission-creep, the toll roads have become a train wreck in need of massive reform. The toll roads have been collecting tolls since 1993 and will continue to do so until at least 2053 (barring another expansion of their self-proclaimed mission). Originally, the system was created due to a lack of transportation funding. Now, my constituents pay four times for roads, and this does not include tolls for driving on the toll roads.
In addition to tolls, the toll roads charge a developer fee ranging from $4,126 to $5,797 for new single-family homes built. We have been paying these fees for years, via increased home prices and higher costs of goods, to an agency that was intended to ultimately turn over the roads to the public. When will it be enough?
GRAVY TRAIN FOR POLITICIANS AND THEIR FRIENDS
The toll roads have become a local gravy train for elected officials charged with overseeing it and numerous consultants who call these politicians their friends. Last year, Mission Viejo Councilman Ed Sachs was paid $7,753.20 as a toll road board member.
Recently, Los Angeles Times exposed Supervisor Lisa Bartlett’s campaign consultant’s firm, Venture Strategic, and their lucrative $5.8 million toll road public relations contract. Bartlett was closely involved in the decision process of awarding a multimillion-dollar contract to her campaign consultant. Bartlett’s fellow board members stripped her of her authority as chair to approve contracts for $25,000 and less. One of these contracts escalated to $517,000. See a pattern?
POLITICS AS USUAL
My scrutiny of the toll roads has threatened the livelihoods of politicians and their acolytes. I won’t stop until we right the out-of-control nature of the toll roads. It’s the right thing to do for the taxpayers of Orange County and California.
On the heels of launching her state senate campaign last month, Lisa Bartlett dredged up an eight-year old false allegation against me (an allegation that the Dana Point city attorney rejected after an investigation at the time).
Regarding her 2011 allegation against me, Lisa Bartlett did not tell the truth. Bartlett repeatedly told the media she filed a complaint with the city. In fact, no complaint by Bartlett was ever filed with Dana Point, and her story has been ever-evolving.
During the 2018 primary, Bartlett’s former campaign manager, Jeff Corless (he also consulted for Ed Sachs in his 2018 campaign against me), tried to push the same story with a local blogger, Aaron Park. My then-campaign manager discovered this, and the blogger decided to not write about the story then, but is now launching daily, personal attacks against me—all that are false.
Despite my ability to produce actual supporting documentation, these individuals are able to attempt to ruin my reputation and intentionally hurt my two young children and my wife without producing one shred of evidence.
The timing of this politically motivated, coordinated attack began and continues after my introduction of legislation that would clean up the toll roads. Jennifer Beall, my disgruntled former campaign manager and assembly staff person, resigned from my office over the toll road legislation because her husband is a board member of the toll road agency. Sadly, Beall is leading the recent attacks on me.
Beall threatened that if I proposed my toll road legislation, “bad things would happen to me” and “I will have primary opponents”—both of which have come to fruition.
There seems to be fewer and fewer limited government elected officials these days to fight for the taxpayer. Rather, many in the establishment class seek to enrich themselves at the expense of their constituents. I will never be one to go along to get along. I was elected to fight for good government and for the taxpayers of my district—no matter the consequences. I will continue to lead this and fight for my constituents over the interests of the establishment class, no matter the lengths that they go and the lies that they tell in an attempt to deter and discredit me.
Editor’s Note: Supervisor Lisa Bartlett has stated she filed a complaint regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against Assemblymember Bill Brough soon after a March 21, 2011 incident. Documents obtained by Dana Point Times indicate a memorandum issued by Dana Point City Attorney concluding insufficient evidence of sexual misconduct. The City of Dana Point is unable to comment on personnel matters.