Behind the Scenes: Irvine Resident’s Help Puts Spotlight On Transparency in Transportation

By Ted Nguyen
Manager of public communications & media relations

It’s not every day an Orange County resident gets a chance to appear in an online video that will be seen approximately 100,000 times each month. But that’s exactly what happened to Virginia Adame, who lives in Irvine with her two teen-aged children.

Adame has never acted. But she knows firsthand the impact of the economic recession. With just a day’s notice, Adame agreed to be involved in the video that helps put the spotlight on public accountability and transparency.

The video introduces the public to a new Web site for OCTA – one of the first comprehensive online tools in the nation – that monitors federal stimulus dollars at work for transportation projects in Orange County.

Those record-high jobless numbers she read in the newspapers and the many TV news stories of companies laying off workers suddenly became personal. After working as a supervisor for parks, recreation and community services for the city of Santa Ana for 13 years, Adame found herself the victim of the economic recession when she was laid off.

Adame, a graduate of UC Irvine, thinks it’s important to show the public how their tax dollars are being spent, especially as our nation, state and county are in the midst of an economic crisis.

“I am glad to be part of an effort to help the community know what opportunities there are to improve transportation,” Adame said. “And to let them know how it will improve their lives on a daily basis.”

Adame enjoyed working with OCTA Chairman Peter Buffa in the video and was impressed with the former mayor of Costa Mesa, especially “his commitment in improving the community,” she said.

After the anxiety and worry of being unemployed, Adame landed a job with the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission and began her new duties on April 13. She’s hopeful that stimulus funds will help do exactly that – stimulate the economy and put back people to work.

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