Push for children’s trust pits Orange County mayor against longtime kids’ advocate
Leaders of a campaign to beef up services for homeless, poor, abused and at-risk kids in Orange County are pushing to take their case to voters. But first they have to overcome an increasingly testy confrontation between grown-ups.
Dick Batchelor, chairman of recently launched Children’s Trust of Orange County and a Democrat, has accused Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, a Republican, of trying to thwart a County Commission vote on the matter. Jacobs says Batchelor is impugning her character and that of her staff with “absolutely untrue” accusations that “appear to be politically motivated.”
Campaign supporters want a half-mill property-tax increase — $50 for every $100,000 in taxable property value, or $8 to $9 a month for the average homeowner — to raise $58 million a year for children’s programs. The Orange County Commission has to approve the initiative before it can be put on the ballot.