POLITICAL LANDSCAPE:Assemblyman receives new addition

Tran welcomes first child. Also, a ballot measure would cap retirement benefits new government employees could collect.

June 28, 2007|By Alicia Robinson

Costa Mesa Assemblyman Van Tran will be working some late nights, but not for marathon budget negotiations with other legislators. Instead of trying to cut taxes and shrink government, he'll be warming bottles and changing diapers for his first child.

Tran's wife, Cyndi, gave birth early Friday to the couple's son. Alexander Thai-Son Tran (the assemblyman says the middle name means "great mountain" in Vietnamese) weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was born two weeks early.

Tran said Wednesday being in the delivery room to watch the birth was "a gift from God." But while being a father is great, it has its trials.


"Changing a lot of diapers is the most difficult thing, because he's so tiny and he cries and he wiggles a lot," Tran said.

Parenthood has given Tran a new perspective on his job and responsibilities as a legislator, he said.

"You really wonder and you can't help but ask yourself, 'What kind of future does my son have here in California or in the United States 20 or 30 years from now — how will we be as a country and what opportunities will he have?' " Tran said.

"Definitely, as with any father or any parent, you want to see your kid grow up to be happy and healthy and to have all the opportunities that you have."

Reining in the rising cost of government employee pensions is the purpose of a new ballot measure, backed by Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach. The measure, filed last week with the secretary of state, would cap the amount of retirement benefits new government employees could collect.

The more cynical among us might ask, as an elected official doesn't Moorlach himself collect a government pension? In fact, one Daily Pilot reader did ask, commenting on the paper's website posting under the name "Citizen": "Moorlach should make a sign of goodwill by forgoing his own government pension and only accepting one based upon his new formula."

For the record, Moorlach said he did try to opt out of the county pension plan when he was appointed treasurer in 1994. But nobody administrating the pension could understand why he'd refuse it, and they made it so difficult to get out, he just stayed in, he said.

"I asked, I researched it, and I got the door shut in my face," he said.

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