A divided Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal Tuesday to create a satellite county center in Westminster over objections that it was an attempt to build political capital by the board member who represents the area.
Supervisor Janet Nguyen, whose district includes Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Midway City, requested the development of the service center during budget hearings last month.
She said it was needed to ease residents' access to county healthcare, social services, housing aid and Vietnamese-speaking government employees.
Though other supervisors balked at the proposal when it first came to a vote a week ago, the board approved it 3 to 2 on Tuesday. Nguyen won the support of board members Bill Campbell and Patricia Bates, who said the proposal was a good extension of the county's social services efforts; chairman Chris Norby and Supervisor John Moorlach were opposed.
Political blogs on the left and right have criticized the proposal since it was first aired in public last week. Conservatives called it a needless expansion of government services, while liberals said it appeared intended to bolster her standing in a community where she will face a tough reelection battle next year.
No other supervisors have established similar offices in their own districts.
The center is a one-year pilot project that would need reauthorization from supervisors to continue.
It is expected to cost $128,000 in the first year, and, if approved, $117,000 per year after that. It would be staffed with existing employees from the county's healthcare, social services and housing agencies.