Orange County Legislator Matt Turnbull – My View on Valley View

By Matt Turnbull

Since receiving rave reviews from its outside auditors, there has been renewed interest in Valley View, and I would like to add some historical facts to the conversation.

The profit was predicted and our Democratic Caucus led the charge.  The story of the Valley View turn-around started in the summer of 2012 when Roxanne Donnery contacted me and described her plan to form an investigatory committee.  I was asked to approach legislators to sign a petition to form committees which would investigate Valley View as well as the Orange County Government Center. To his credit, Republican Chairman Pillmeirr assisted in forming both committees and work commenced shortly afterwards. The work performed by the Valley View committee created a basis to keep Valley View in county hands and to replace Poscella as manager of Valley View.  Donnery chaired the committee.  Also on the committee, were Michael Anaganostakis, Michael Amo and Tom Pahucki.  I was a member of the Government Center committee but also attended the Valley View Committee sessions and I remembered thinking that the testimonies could only result in better things for Valley View.
I wasn’t surprised when the turnaround began immediately after the ousting of Bill Pocatello and the hiring of Lawrence Ladue. And although I wasn’t surprised that Valley View was improving I was shocked at the rate that it was improving. The typical business formula for success was called for – increase revenue and decrease expenses, market the product, etc. All recommendations and goals were put forth in writing, by the committee, after hearing testimonies regarding intended mismanagement of the facility.  The solution was identified and corrections were implemented immediately through a blue-print presented to Ladue on Day One.

Still, eliminating a 15 million dollar deficit in just three years is quite a feat. Even the auditors are amazed. I remember one saying “We’ve never seen anything like this before”.  The glaring accusation that in an effort to make the case for the sale of Valley View, Poscacello did little to increase revenues or decrease expenses, is more apparent today than ever.   Was this a tactic that some in power, allowed?   I often get the feeling that I am not privy to what occurs in the back rooms. The current administration insisted that we needed to sell Valley View to balance the budget. Well, it seems that again, we were misled and the big question remains. Why?

Whether it is Valley View, the Quarry lands, Camp LaGuardia, The OC Airport or the two County owned Golf Courses there should be a Trump Wall between government and corporate interests. Big business should not control government services.  All activities between the two should be in the light of day. Democrats fought hard to keep Valley View county owned and run and continues to fight to keep corporate interests out of government services.   With the exception of Michael Anagnostakis the two attempts to sell Valley View were by the Republicans. If it had not been for the presence of Roxanne Donnery and her enormous commitment to saving Valley View my guess is it would have been gone long ago.