Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mayor Pro Tem Don Bankhead Considers Using Public Funds to Bailout Opera


Public Funds

Mayor Pro Tem Don Bankhead seeks to use Redevelopment Agency funds, originally set aside for combating blight and providing low-income housing, to prop up the Fullerton Civic Light Opera (FCLO).

In an article penned by Eric Marchese of FullertonStories.com, Bankhead indicated he is “…investigating the use of Redevelopment Agency funding to assist the Duncans and FCLO.”

What would prompt this Republican and self-proclaimed conservative council member with more than 22 years of elected service under his belt to conclude a necessity for a taxpayer bailout of the FCLO?

Bankhead was quoted as saying, “It would be a blow, a terrible loss, to the city if [the Duncans] can’t figure out some way of saving [the company].” 

And therefore taxpayers must somehow bailout this private endeavor?? 

Infrastructure lying in ruin from continuous neglect.

What about the public employees who have taken significant cuts in pay (and service hours) to help shore up the financial debacle created by a city council with their collective heads in the sand?  Should the Redevelopment Agency also bail out these other departments and public employees? 

The short answer: NO!  Before the Redevelopment Agency existed taxpayer funds were meant to go toward all of our public services from engineering and education to public safety.  But after the Redevelopment Agency was created and expanded, taxpayer funds were redirected to combat blight and fund low-income housing.  Meanwhile, our infrastructure lays in ruin from continuous neglect and habitual misappropriation of public funds. 

If we use Redevelopment Agency funds to bail out the FCLO we will have effectively robbed all of our public agencies so that a select few can be entertained. 


Does the recall effort begin now or do taxpayers wait for further damage to be done at their expense?

Land Surveyor Leads Riotous Demonstration

Thanks to my friend, Justin Pallamary, PLS, for forwarding this to me!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The California Constitution: Did you know it says...?

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 1  DECLARATION OF RIGHTS


SECTION 1.  All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights.  Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

The California Constitution: Did you know it says...

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
PREAMBLE

We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.

Changes On the Horizon

I'm looking at implementing a new format for this blog.  Stay tuned and let me know what you think.

Also, http://www.gregsebourn.com/ will be getting some new content.  Look for an announcement their as well in the weeks to come.

Homeless Shelter Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

The Orange County Register announced that Fullerton Interfaith has received a $1-million grant from California taxpayers to help ease homelessness in Fullerton. The article, which bears the humorous and pessimistic title "Grant could help homeless families", is short and simplistic. That is, the article doesn't say much about where the shelter will go or any of the particulars which were likely written into the grant.

A quick online search for real property assets in the name of Fullerton Interfaith yielded adjoining addresses on Amerige at Richman.

Southwest corner of Amerige at Richman, in Fullerton, California. 
 Since the article states that the property to be used is "vacant land", it is unclear if this is the same site as pictured here on the left. 

It is quite possible that Fullerton Interfaith has acquired other property recently which has not shown up in the database I used. 

The grant funding comes from Proposition 1C (2006) funding.  Prop 1C was part of a massive taxpayer's credit card scheme (see Props 1B-1E from 2006) designed to borrow $37.3 BILLION! 

The State borrowed the money and now you voters can see where it has taken them: into the State of Financial Ruin. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sick-mas Season

Santa brought me a tall bottle NyQuil and I immediately put it to good use!  As terrible as it was to spend the past several days in bed and missing out on the festivities with my family and friends, I am so glad that, despite a little cold, my family is healthy.  My children had a great time and were showered with gifts and love from aunts, uncles, grandma, and grandpa.  All are safe and well.  What more can any father ask for Christmas?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Passenger Admits To Drinking In Downtown Fullerton Moments Before Fatal Crash

The Orange County Sheriff's Department is using the words of a passenger involved in a fatal crash in Fullerton to point out the dangers of drunk driving. 

The Orange County Register reported on the crash on December 22, 2010.  The article states that the unidentified passenger admitted he and the driver, now identified as 22-year old Ryan Rivera, had been drinking in Downtown Fullerton.

As the OC Coroner waits for the toxicology report there is the usual rhetoric and sentiment that thankfully only the drunk was killed.  The incident unfortunately just adds fuel for those who would like nothing more than to shut down the the Downtown Fullerton bars. 

What should happen (but likely won't) is for the servers to be held responsible for over serving patrons.  On any given night a watchful eye can witness the drunks stumbling out of the bars, some even being carried out by friends. 

The Fullerton Police Department and the Alcohol Beverage Council (ABC) should have tackled this problem years ago.

I believe these sad deaths represent numerous failures in our broken community:
  • The patrons fail to recognize their bodily limits and take responsibility. 
  • Servers look the other way and continue to serve those clearly and visibly impaired.
  • Police continue to set up checkpoints rather than targeting the source.
  • The ABC is nowhere to be found. 
  • Citizens, residents, business owners, parents, patrons, and public officials have failed to come together to address binge drinking and drunk driving. 
It's time for City Hall to wake up. 

Home Schooling and Family Health


I'm sick.  It seems I have contracted some sort of a cold, likely from my school-aged children who brought home the nasty little bug for Christmas.  Sitting here coughing, sniffling, and shivering, I’m beginning to wonder if our home (and my health) would not be improved if we home schooled our children.  No more bug swapping in the classroom.  No more sore throats, coughs, colds, and achy bodies at home.  What a concept!

The only real downside I can see is that my wife and I are probably not the best teachers for our children.  We're smart enough to know we aren't as smart as we should be to teach them at the same level as their current teachers.  Nor do we have the patience.  

I suppose another downside is that my wife (or I, if I was a stay-at-home dad) would have to endure the children around the clock.  Currently, she gets a short break from 2 out of our 3 children while they’re in school. 

After careful consideration, it looks like I’ll just have to tolerate these bugs for about 18 more years… 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FCC Nibbling Away At Wikileaks

December 21, 2010 marks another major decline in our constitutional freedoms. By now, most have heard about the 3 un-elected appointees who voted to take control of the internet in the United States.
The FCC took the action declaring that they have “…acted to preserve the Internet as an open network enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression, user control, competition and the freedom to innovate.”

But have they? Perhaps, like so many other actions from the District of Columbia, this too will hinder freedoms more than it protects them.

The FFC’s press release speaks for itself, emphasis added by me:

This process has made clear that the Internet has thrived because of its freedom and openness -- the absence of any gatekeeper blocking lawful uses of the network or picking winners and losers online. Consumers and innovators do not have to seek permission before they use the Internet to launch new technologies, start businesses, connect with friends, or share their views.

Because there has been NO “gatekeeper” the FCC suddenly feels compelled to take on the job and regulate the flow of bits and bites. In fact, I think Ronald Reagan’s comment on government intervention relates all too well: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. To date, we have hit the second phase in the trilogy of the socialization of the internet.

As has always been the case with those entrenched in the District of Columbia, there are unintended consequences to their actions.

Could this be the beginning of the end of Wikileaks in the United States?

The Case for Profiling

By Robert W. Poole, Jr.
Director of Transportation Studies
Reason Foundation

In recent years when discussing a risk-based airport screening system, I have avoided using the word profiling, even though it’s a legitimate concept. Since most people hear the word “profiling” and immediately think “racial,” “ethnic,” or “religious,” I decided that the term itself confused more than it clarified.

But recent online discussions, including an attack on me by two writers for The Nation as a “high-profile charlatan pushing racial profiling as the alternative to TSA pat-downs and body scans,” has led me to change my mind. In a blog post last week for Reason magazine’s “Hit & Run” blog, I explained the legitimate meaning of evidence-based profiling, both positive and negative. (http://reason .com/blog/2010/12/10/the-case -for -profiling-air-tra)

Rather than repeat that argument here (please read the blog post), I’d like to elaborate a bit on how I envision negative profiling (i.e., identifying the high-risk category of travelers) would work. The idea would be to make full use of the various databases the government already maintains, using various intelligence sources, to assign more people to the “selectee” category for which secondary screening is mandatory. Only high-risk travelers, so defined, would be required to face body scans or intrusive pat-downs. Stewart Baker, a former DHS official, points out in National Review (Dec. 20, 2010) that the TSA’s sister agency, Customs & Border Protection, “knows a lot about [people’s] travel plans and uses a database ten or twenty times larger than the selectee list to decide who will be screened closely. And yet for 99 travelers out of 100, border screening is far less hassle—and far less of a privacy invasion—than air security.


The original anti-skyjacking system developed by an FAA task force in 1969-70 used a characteristics-based profile that was not challenged by the ACLU and was ruled constitutional by a New York Federal court. It included 23 elements, of which only half of one percent of air travelers met as many as six, according to David Brown, one of the task force’s members. But according to Brown, all 19 of the 9/11 hijackers would have been flagged by that system—had it still been in use in 2001.
Shifting aviation security from looking for dangerous objects to looking for dangerous people should be high on the agenda of the new Congress.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Despite Missing Key Documents, Fullerton City Council Approves Deficient Deed

Item 18 of the Fullerton City Council Agenda for tonight (December 21, 2010) seemed innocuous enough.  It made simple mention of “HAWKS POINTE DEVELOPMENT CONSERVATION EASEMENT”.  It certainly sounds like a dullard. 

As a licensed professional land surveyor and Fullerton resident, it is my business to understand what the council is up to and what it means for me and my family.  Item 18, it simply peaked my interest.  It is also safe to say that a lay person would likely not have been so intrigued.

(Download the agenda and item 18)

I downloaded and poured over the document which was labeled “Conservation Easement Deed”.  Ok, so what are they doing, granting or accepting an easement?? 

Like so many instruments of this sort, the first recital directs the reader to exhibit “A” for the legal description of the encumbered property.  And being a licensed professional land surveyor, the only type of professional authorized to prepare legal descriptions in California, I turned to exhibit “A”.  At least I tried to…

It appears that someone at City Hall neglected to include the now missing exhibit “A”.  If you are not a surveyor, you may be wondering why this is a problem.  It is a huge problem in that there are rights being transferred along with covenants, terms, conditions, and restrictions and it would be nice to know where these obligations began and ended. 

Imagine walking into an escrow office and being asked to sign the documents.  When you notice that there are pages missing, the escrow officer blows off your concern and tells you that the pages will be added later.  A person with average intelligence would put the pen down and refuse to sign anything else until the documents were complete. 

When item 18 came up on the consent calendar (that’s the part of the agenda which gets approved without discussion because f its routine nature) one well informed and conscientious council member, Bruce Whitaker, pulled the item from the consent calendar for discussion with staff. 

When he asked the staff about the missing document, he was told that the description will be added later.  That’s the same as negotiating the purchase of 40 police cars with all of the various options and warranties but without including the price tag.  In both instances, you just don’t know what you are getting yourself (or your taxpayers) into.  

Perhaps the next time Chevron shows up with a proposal for their West Coyote Hills property they simply omit a few key provisions which they can add later when they are ready to do so. Surely the council won’t object. 

Had the staff brought the documents to the assistant city engineer, I believe the omission would have been caught and corrected prior to any decisions being made by an uniformed council. 

The City Attorney was quick to note that the legal description would be added later.  Would he buy and accept a deed with no property description?  I think not.
One staffer, Alice Loya, stated that legal descriptions are more accurate but not as easy to read as a map would be.  I beg to differ with respect to the accuracy of legal descriptions but I’m digressing from my pointed concern.  The staffers seemed to get hung up on the mention of a missing map and just did not care that a key element to the agreement was missing. 

How many other documents has the Fullerton City Council approved wherein key elements were missing because someone was too lazy or inept to provide the council with complete documentation?  Maybe it is time for a forensic audit of the numerous fee and bond packages the council has approved over the past several years.

In the end, the Fullerton City Council voted 5-0 and agreed to the terms and conditions set forth without having any clue as to what land was covered by the terms of the agreement. 

The action leaves the city and taxpayers wide open for a civil action in the future as well as a cloud of title on whatever property description is slipped into the deed prior to recordation. 

With any luck, the OC Recorder’s Office will deny the request for recordation so that the city can get its collective at together.

Even After Filing Bankruptcy, Vallejo's Pension System In the Red $195-Million

(Thanks to PentionTsunami.com for flagging this Bloomberg story) 

Even after filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, Vallejo continues to fight the public employee's unfunded pension disaster.  Bloomberg.com has a lengthy article on the problems encountered by the city after the public employee unions refused to budge on salaries and pensions.  Is Fullerton headed down the same miserable path?

Vallejo's Bankruptcy `Failure' Scares Cities Into Cutting Costs



FCC Votes Itself Judge Dredd of the Internet

FCC Votes Itself Judge Dredd of the Internet
By Peter Suderman, Associate Editor Reason

In a speech delivered on January 19, 2010, Julius Genachowski, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, declared that transparency "is particularly important for consumer protection and empowerment." He praised "access to information" as "essential to properly functioning markets" and stated that "policies around information disclosure...can be enormously helpful in ensuring that markets are working."

Does Genachowski believe it's less important for the federal government? In theory, no: Last summer, Genachowski promised that under his watch, the Commission would be "fair," "open," and "transparent."

But earlier today, the FCC, led by Genachowski, voted 3-2 to adopt a new set of rules governing private management of the Internet's core infrastructure. Thanks to a decision by Genachowski not to make the order detailing the rules public, no one outside the FCC has seen the actual order that was passed. Even those on the inside were given little time to wade through its reported complexities: Meredith Baker, who along with Genachowski is one of the FCC's five commissioners, said in her remarks that she and her staff only received the most recent draft-the one voted on today-around 11:30 p.m. last night.

Genachowski's remarks portrayed the rules as a moderate middle ground between the extremes. It was a decision driven not by ideology but the desire to "protect basic Internet values." If it's a middle ground, it's a legally dubious one. Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that the FCC had no Congressionally granted authority to regulate network management. Congress hasn't updated the agency's authority over the Net since then, but the FCC is now saying that, well, it has the authority anyway. Genachowski's team has come up with a different legal justification, and they're betting that this time around they can convince a judge to buy it.

Still, Genachowski's portrayal of the order may be half right: The FCC's move on net neutrality is not really about ideology. It's about authority: He's not so much protecting values as expanding the FCC's regulatory reach. According to Genachowski's summary remarks, the new rules call for a prohibition on "unreasonable discrimination" by Internet Service Providers-with the FCC's regulators, natch, in charge of determining what counts as unreasonable. In theory, this avoids the pitfalls that come with strict rules. But in practice, it gives the FCC the power to unilaterally and arbitrarily decide which network management innovations and practices are acceptable-and which ones aren't.

It's the tech-sector bureaucrat's equivalent of declaring, Judge Dredd style, "I am the law!" Indeed, Genachowski has said before-and reiterated today-that the rules will finally give the FCC the authority to play "cop on the beat" for the Internet.

The comparison may not be quite as comforting as he seems to think. But it is telling: Genachowski may not be eager to tell the public exactly what the Internet's new rules of the road are, but he's mighty eager to have his agency enforce them.

Reason.tv on Net Neutrality

Another OC Sheriff's Press Release (Ok, this is getting silly!)


SHERIFF-CORONER DEPARTMENT
COUNTY OF ORANGE
CALIFORNIA

550 NORTH FLOWER STREET
– P.O. BOX 449
SANTA ANA, CA 92702-0449
(714) 647-7042

PRESS RELEASE

WINTER HOLIDAY AVOID CAMPAIGN – TUESDAY UPDATE

The Winter Holiday Anti-DUI crackdown has continued to result in a significant number of DUI arrests from local routine traffic enforcement and special Avoid the 38 DUI deployments in Orange County.

From 12:01 AM Friday December 17, 2010 through Midnight Monday, December 20, 2010, preliminary numbers show that officers representing Orange County law enforcement agencies have arrested 138 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For Tuesday December 21st there are no special Avoid Task Force operations scheduled. All regularly scheduled traffic and patrol officers will continue to focus their efforts on stopping and arresting DUI drivers during their normal shifts.

Police, Sheriff and the CHP encourage all motorists to help make your community safer: Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DUI arrest data collection will continue through New Year’s Weekend, midnight Sunday, January 2, 2011.
MEDIA NOTE: Daily statistical data is preliminary and subject to change. The checkpoint locations and saturation patrols will be made available for media opportunities or ride-alongs each night.

For information on the current operations, contact the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Public Affairs office at 714-647-7042.

Please visit the AVOID website at www.californiaavoid.org for information on the campaign’s DUI Enforcement

NEW DFG REGULATIONS could eliminate most, if not all private fish stocking

Western Outdoor News Editorial

There’s a two-pronged attack from the state to destroy sport fishing in California. Most anglers are familiar with the threat posed by the Marine Life Protection Act, but the latest threat is to freshwater, via the Department of Fish and Game and its writing and implementation of an environmental impact report governing freshwater hatcheries in the state.

     Essentially, private hatcheries  could be  out of business  due to a new layer of expensive, DFG-required testing and regulation. This means most stocking programs, other than those conducted by DFG hatcheries, might cease. The winter trout season as we know it in urban Southern California could become a thing of the past, as well as most of the catfish stocking that occurs in the summer.

     The new regulations are the unexpected and unnecessary ramifications of the lawsuit against the  DFG’s trout and salmon hatchery program.
      In a  lack of foresight, DFG staff wrote the lawsuit-mandated EIR, including the private aquaculture industry in its regulations. The implications are severe.   

     While the DFG’s hatchery environmental impact report (EIR) was mandated by the court, the lawsuit and ruling was only directed at DFG facilities. Currently, private hatcheries and fishing lakes in 37 counties, including most in the southern half of the state are exempt and have been that way for many years.. Those suing the DFG didn’t ask for this, the judge didn’t ask for this and many believe it was the DFG who decided to throw private industry under the bus due to the pressure they were receiving for not getting their court mandated EIR for their own stocking program done in time.

     The DFG staff decided to include private facilities in the new EIR, right along with the state hatcheries. According to the EIR, all of these facilities -- from private hatcheries, to stock ponds, to homeowners associations with their own lakes, to county park lakes, and even golf course ponds -- are going to be required to conduct biological surveys to determine what endangered or “decision” species may exist in their water. The term “decision species” covers almost the universe and goes far beyond what they are legally allowed to do. They will also have to test to determine if the fish being planted in the lake or grown in the hatchery have any diseases or if invasive species like New Zealand mud snails or quagga mussels are present. The invasive species testing would have to be done quarterly and all surveys and testing will have to be done at the expense of the lake or hatchery owner.

     Ironically, California’s private hatcheries already grow some of the healthiest fish in the world because of existing rules and regulations, and because growing healthy fish keep growers in business, but this new layer of expensive bureaucracy will simply run most of them out of business.

     The impacts will be broad-based and dramatic. Many stocking programs will cease at county and private facilities because fish will simply no longer be available. It would even impact the DFG’s own stocking programs because the state contracts with private growers for catfish during the summer months.

 This issue was to go before the state Fish and Game Commission for possible adoption  Dec. 16, but because of the efforts being done by a group of sportsmen and industry leaders, the Commission temporally took it off the Commission Addenda for the Dec. 16 meeting, so that the Fish and Game Staff and Industry could have the opportunity to set down together, redraft some of the proposed regulations and come to a mutually acceptable solution that will not put industry out of business and ultimately shut down much of the inland fishing in California. 

Without the stocking of trout and many of the warm water species like catfish, how long do you think it would take for all of the waters in California to become fished out?  The group leading this effort has filed suit against the Department and has hired lobbying, PR and fund raising groups to help their cause, but the most important help they could receive is from those most threatened, the fishermen.

 You can learn more and get involved by visiting the California Association of Recreational Fishing (CARF). website. WON urges the Commission not to approve the current EIR, and applauds the Commission for instructing the department to set down and re-work the proposed regulations with industry, and it encourages anglers to join the new group, CARF. For more information, you can visit http://www.savecalfishing.org/.
*******************************
As one commenter said, California's beef industry is just one lawsuit away from court ordered EIR's and biological reports simply to graze cattle. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

OC Sheriff Press Release: More Checkpoints



SHERIFF-CORONER DEPARTMENT
COUNTY OF ORANGE

CALIFORNIA

550 NORTH FLOWER STREET
– P.O. BOX 449
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA 92702-0449
(714) 647-7042

Press Release           December 20, 2010


WINTER HOLIDAY AVOID CAMPAIGN – MONDAY UPDATE

The Winter Holiday Anti-DUI crackdown has continued to result in a significant number of DUI arrests from local routine traffic enforcement and special Avoid the 38 DUI deployments in Orange County.

From 12:01 AM Friday December 17, 2010 through Midnight Sunday, December 19, 2010, preliminary numbers show that officers representing Orange County law enforcement agencies have arrested 121 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For Monday December 20th, the city of Cypress will be conducting a DUI Roving patrol. All regularly scheduled traffic and patrol officers will continue to focus their efforts on stopping and arresting DUI drivers during their normal shifts.

Police, Sheriff and the CHP encourage all motorists to help make your community safer: Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DUI arrest data collection will continue through New Year’s Weekend, midnight Sunday, January 2, 2011.

MEDIA NOTE: Daily statistical data is preliminary and subject to change. The checkpoint locations and saturation patrols will be made available for media opportunities or ride-alongs each night.

For information on the current operations, contact the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Public Affairs office at 714-647-7042.

Please visit the AVOID website at www.californiaavoid.org for information on the campaign’s DUI Enforcement operations or statistical data on DUI arrests and DUI fatal crashes from earlier enforcement efforts.


OC Sheriff Update on DUI Checkpoints and Statistics


 
SHERIFF-CORONER DEPARTMENT
COUNTY OF ORANGE

CALIFORNIA

550 NORTH FLOWER STREET
– P.O.
BOX 449
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA 92702-0449
(714) 647-7042
Press Release                   December 19, 2010


WINTER HOLIDAY AVOID CAMPAIGN – SUNDAY UPDATE

The Winter Holiday Anti-DUI crackdown continued to result in a significant number of DUI arrests from local routine traffic enforcement and special Avoid the 38 DUI deployments overnight in Orange County.

From 12:01 AM Friday December 17, 2010 through Midnight Saturday, December 18, 2010, preliminary numbers show that officers representing Orange County law enforcement agencies have arrested 48 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sadly, two DUI related deaths were reported by the Buena Park Police Department. A 44 year-old father and his 17 year-old son were on their way to a school event early Saturday morning when a suspected drunk drivers vehicle collided with theirs. Both the father and his son were pronounced dead at the scene. The suspected drunk driver was arrested upon his release from the hospital. He is being held on suspicion of two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

For Sunday December 19th, the city of La Habra will be conducting a DUI Roving patrol. All regularly scheduled traffic and patrol officers from all agencies will focus their efforts on stopping and arresting DUI drivers during their normal shifts.

Police, Sheriff and the CHP encourage all motorists to help make your community safer: Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DUI arrest data collection will continue through New Year’s Weekend, midnight Sunday, January 2, 2011.

MEDIA NOTE: Daily statistical data is preliminary and subject to change. The checkpoint locations and saturation patrols will be made available for media opportunities or ride-alongs each night. For information on the current operations, contact the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Media Relations office at 714-647-7042.

Please visit the AVOID website at http://www.californiaavoid.org/ for information on the campaign’s DUI Enforcement operations or statistical data on DUI arrests and DUI fatal crashes from earlier enforcement efforts.

Geocache Creates Bomb Scare

Date Released: 12/17/2010
Subject: (Humboldt County) Sheriff's Office Responds to Reported Pipe Bomb
Contact: Brenda Godsey, PIO
Case No#: 201008050
Released By: Brenda Godsey
Location: McKinleyville
 


Shortly before 1:30 this afternoon Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a reported pipe bomb near the Hammond Trail at Kelly Avenue and Murray Road. A concerned citizen reported that a man placed the suspicious object at a picnic table and left. Sheriff’s deputies, including members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit, responded to the location. The pipe was black PVC and capped at both ends, consistent with the appearance of a pipe bomb. An EOD Deputy donned a blast resistant Bomb Suit and approached the pipe. The deputy evaluated the pipe and determined it was not an explosive device. Further investigation revealed the pipe was placed there as part of the GPS treasure hunting game Geocaching.
================================

Thanks to my brother Tom for alerting me to this incident.  As many of my readers know, my wife and I love to geocache.  It is one of the few outdoor activities we can agree on without any discussion.  We took a few months off from it during my city council campaign and hope to return to it just as soon the rain lets up. 

If you would like to learn more about geocaching, go to http://www.geocaching.com/.  And if you live in the OC area and would like to try geocaching with us, please email me.  It is great fun for ALL ages!

As a word of cautionary advice for my fellow cachers, it my be a good idea to contact your local PD or sheriff's office and spend a few minutes educating them on geocaching and what common caches look like.  Let's not put first responders through unnecessary drills that are very expensive and turn their attention away from real emergencies. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

George Will: Bush v. Gore, 10 years on

WASHINGTON -- The passions that swirled around Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that ended 10 years ago Sunday, dissipated quickly. And remarkably little damage was done by the institutional collisions that resulted when control of the nation's supreme political office turned on 537 votes out of 5,963,110 cast in Florida.

Many controversies concerned whether particular votes could be said to have been cast properly. Chads are those bits of paper that, when a ballot is properly cast by puncturing spots next to candidates' names, are separated from the ballot. In Florida, there were "dimpled" chads that were merely dented, and "hanging" chads not separated from the ballots. Furthermore, there were undervotes (ballots with no vote for president) and overvotes (votes for two presidential candidates) and ill-designed (by a Democrat) butterfly ballots.

The post-election lunacy could have been substantially mitigated by adhering to a principle of personal responsibility: Voters who cast ballots incompetently are not entitled to have election officials toil to divine these voters' intentions. Al Gore got certain Democratic-dominated canvassing boards to turn their recounts into unfettered speculations and hunches about the intentions of voters who submitted inscrutable ballots. Before this, Palm Beach County had forbidden counting dimpled chads.

Once Gore initiated the intervention of courts, the U.S. Constitution was implicated. On Nov. 7, Gore finished second in Florida's Election Day vote count. A few days later, after the state's mandatory (in close elections) machine recount, he again finished second. Florida law required counties to certify their results in seven days, by Nov. 14.

But three of the four (of Florida's 67) counties -- each heavily Democratic -- where Gore was contesting the count were not finished deciphering voters' intentions. So Gore's lawyers persuaded the easily persuadable state Supreme Court -- with a majority of Democratic appointees -- to rewrite the law. It turned the seven-day period into 19 days.

Many liberals underwent instant conversions of convenience: They became champions of states' rights when the U.S. Supreme Court (seven of nine Republican appointees) unanimously overturned that extension. But the U.S. court reminded Florida's court to respect the real "states' rights" at issue -- the rights of state legislatures: The Constitution gives them plenary power to establish procedures for presidential elections.

Florida's Supreme Court felt emancipated from law. When rewriting the law to extend the deadline for certification of results by the four counties, the court said: "The will of the people, not a hyper-technical reliance upon statutory provisions, should be our guiding principle." But under representative government, the will of the people is expressed in statutes. Adherence to statutes -- even adherence stigmatized as "hyper-technical" -- is known as the rule of law.

In the end, seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices (and three of the seven Florida justices) agreed on this: The standardless recount ordered by the Florida court -- different rules in different counties regarding different kinds of chads and different ways of discerning voter intent -- violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Two of the seven U.S. justices favored ordering Florida's court to devise standards that could pass constitutional muster, and allowing the recount to continue for six more days. Five justices, believing that the recounting had become irredeemably lawless, ended it.

Once Gore summoned judicial intervention, and Florida's Supreme Court began to revise state election law, it probably was inevitable that possession of the nation's highest political office was going to be determined by a state's highest court, or the nation's. The U.S. Supreme Court was duty-bound not to defer to a state court that was patently misinterpreting -- disregarding, actually -- state law pertaining to a matter assigned by the U.S. Constitution to state legislatures.

Suppose that, after Nov. 7, Florida's Legislature had made by statute the sort of changes -- new deadlines for recounting and certifying votes, selective recounts, etc. -- that Florida's Supreme Court made by fiat. This would obviously have violated the federal law that requires presidential elections to be conducted by rules in place prior to Election Day.

Hard cases, it is said, make bad law. But this difficult case seems to have made little discernible law. That is good because it means no comparable electoral crisis has occurred. What the Supreme Court majority said on Dec. 12, 2000 -- "our consideration is limited to the present circumstances" -- has proved true. And may remain true, at least until the next time possession of the presidency turns on less than one ten-thousandths of a state's vote.
     
George Will's e-mail address is georgewill@washpost.com.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fullerton's Municipal Code Unconstitutional?

Does Fullerton's recent amendment of the city's municipal code regarding tattoo parlors violate the First Amendment Rights of artists? 

Could we see a reversal of the amended sections of the municipal code or will Mayor Jones hold to the false accusation that tattoo parlors spread hepatitis B?

A Reason Foundation story by associate editor Damon W. Root is out that just might cause our council some heartburn (emphasis added by me).
"The tattoo designs that are applied by me are individual and unique creative works of visual art,” the tattoo artist Johnny Anderson claimed in a 2006 lawsuit. They are therefore constitutionally protected speech, he argued, so the courts should strike down a ban on tattoo parlors within the city limits of Hermosa Beach, California.

In September a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed, holding that “the tattoo itself, the process of tattooing, and the business of tattooing are forms of pure expression fully protected by the First Amendment.” It’s the highest-profile victory yet in the tattoo trade’s long battle against the regulatory state.

New York City, where the electric tattoo machine was invented and patented in 1891, legalized the practice in 1997, lifting a 36-year-old ban imposed after tattooing was falsely linked to a hepatitis B scare.

Massachusetts legalized the practice in 2000 after state Superior Court Justice Barbara Rouse struck down a similar ban. Unlike previous precedents on the topic of tattooed speech, the 9th Circuit’s ruling limits state action from Alaska to Arizona and is likely to influence other jurisdictions around the country. 

Damon W. Root is an associate editor at reason.

Transportation Not Life Support for Urban Growth

Robert W. Poole, Jr. of the Reason Foundation emailed a quote to me that I would like to pass along.  Considering the number of SCAG and transportation-realted visitors to this blog, I thought it was very appropriate to post here. 
“[M]uch available evidence points to the fact that while investment in transit systems may well support, and even strengthen, pre-existing trends toward urban growth and CBD consolidation, it never creates such trends where they do not already exist, and certainly cannot reverse trends toward spatial dispersion. The difference between the two views may appear at first to be merely a matter of emphasis. But on more careful observation, it can be seen that the implications for public transport decisions are very dissimilar. The first position leads to investment motivated by the desire to arrest unwanted trends toward lower-density urban forms, or actively create denser forms of development. The latter view notes that the right time, and perhaps the only time, to invest heavily in urban public transit systems is when underlying trends show that the urban form is already consolidating for reasons unrelated to transport.” —Andrew Marsay, “Capturing Growth Trends Through Investment in Public Transport Interchanges,” paper for University of Johannesburg’s annual “Discourse” series.
And yet the Fullerton City Council continues to approve and subsidize massive transportation and urban redevelopment projects, knowing full-well that there is no demand in the private sector.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

KATHERINE MANGU-WARD DISCUSSES CHARITY AND GOVERNMENT ON FREEDOM WATCH



Reason Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward appeared on Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano to discuss the Obama administration's efforts to eliminate tax deductions for charitable contributions and the effects of publicly-funded social programs on private charities. Airdate: November 25, 2010.

Approximately 5 minutes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Even the Fullerton Observer Can See the Problems at Cal State Fullerton

I've been writing about CSUF for about a year after discovering how much of our taxes are, in my opinion, squandered and completely mismanaged.  I brought you CSUF Milton Gordon's mansion which is owned by the taxpayers and the problem with FERPing (it really is as bad as it sounds).  You can read the posts HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  And now the Fullerton Observer, a local publication, has caught the bug.  Below is the entirety of an article by Mark Shapiro, available HERE.  Enjoy!
============================================================


Half-time Interim Director at CSUF Paid $165,104
by Mark H. Shapiro

Although the California State University system is in the midst of a major budget crisis, a retired Cal State Fullerton administrator who was hired back as the Interim Director of University Planning received a salary of $165,104 this past fiscal year (according to the Sacramento Bee database of state salaries).

Because Michael C. Parker retired from Cal State Fullerton in 2005 where he worked as Chief Information Technology Officer and Professor of Counseling, he must, as a retired annuitant, work less than half-time in order to keep his pension income.

In 2009 his CalPERS retirement income was $105,129 according to information available from Californiapensionreform.com.

On a full-time basis, Parker’s salary would be equivalent to $330,208, which would exceed that of CSU Fullerton’s President, Milton A. Gordon, by some $28,166.

Even Parker’s part-time salary of $165,104, when combined with his CSU retirement income of $105,129 amounts to $270,233.

This would make him the second-highest paid administrator at Cal State Fullerton, just behind Gordon who received $302,042 in 2009, and well ahead of the next-highest paid administrator, head basketball coach Bob Burton, who received $213,007 in 2009.

The position of Interim Director of Strategic Planning probably is an important one. 

Previous efforts at strategic planning at Cal State Fullerton have yielded little in the way of tangible results, in the opinion of many campus employees.
But given the seriousness of the current budget crisis, the current effort at planning may be more successful.

Nevertheless, it seems very unusual that a half-time Interim Director of Strategic Planning would be paid more (not including his retirement pay) than a host of full-time academic deans and other top-level administrators on the campus.

In fact, none of the academic college deans at Fullerton earned more than $160,223 in 2009, even though they work on a full-time basis.

The author has known Mike Parker professionally for many years, and considers him to be a decent and hard-working administrator.

But it still seems strange that he would be paid so much money for a half-time job that is important, but no more important than those of, say, the academic deans.

This is particularly true at a time when the University is working under extreme budget constraints.

One wonders if the taxpayers are being wellserved in these circumstances.

(The author worked for many years as a Professor of Physics at Cal State Fullerton. He also publishes The Irascible Professor, an online journal that covers issues in education. It is available on the Internet at http://irascibleprofessor.com/)

OC Sheriff's Dept. Releases List of DUI Checkpoints for the Holidays


SHERIFF-CORONER DEPARTMENT
COUNTY OF ORANGE
CALIFORNIA


550 NORTH FLOWER STREET
– P.O.
BOX 449
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA 92702-0449
(714) 647-7042
PRESS  RELEASE
Avoid the 38 – Orange County Winter Holiday 2010 DUI
Crackdown Schedule of Operations

Orange County, CA - Orange County Avoid the 38 is announcing its upcoming enforcement operations for the Winter Holiday DUI Campaign.  The following schedule of operations, dates, and locations are provided for media releases. 

Fri, Dec 17th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT 1900-0300, City of La Habra       (Mini Grant Checkpoint)
Fri, Dec 17th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT 1900-0300, City of Cypress
Fri, Dec 17th, DUI/DL CHECKPOINT 1900-0300, City of Dana Point
Sat, Dec 18th, DUI/CDL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, City of Anaheim
Sat, Dec 18th, DUI/CDL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, City of Laguna Beach
Sat, Dec 18th, DUI/CDL CHECKPOINT, 1900-0300, City of Fullerton
Sat, Dec 18th, DUI TASKFORCE OPERATIONS, 2000-0200, City of Cypress, with Anaheim, La Palma, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach Police Departments.
Fri, Sat, Dec 17 and 18, DUI TASKFORCE OPERATIONS, 2000-0200, City of Irvine and Tustin Police Departments.  
Fri, Sat, Sun, Dec 17, 18, and 19th, DUI TASKFORCE OPERATIONS, 2000-0200, City of La Habra with the Buena Park, and Placentia Police Departments.  
Fri, Dec 17th, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Brea
Sat, Dec 18th, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Tustin
Sat, Dec 18th, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Fountain Valley
Sun, Dec 19th, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of La Habra
Mon, Dec 20th, Warrant/Probation Sweep - Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Mon, Dec 20th, DUI Saturation Patrol 2000-0300, City of Cypress
Thurs, Dec 23rd, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Seal Beach
Sun, Dec 26th, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Santa Ana
Thurs, Dec 30th, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Seal Beach
Thurs, Dec 30th,  DUI/DL CHECKPOINT 1800-0200, City of Laguna Hills
Fri, Dec 31st, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Anaheim
Fri, Dec 31st, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Placentia
Fri, Dec 31st, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Westminster
Sun, Jan 2nd, DUI Saturation Patrol, 2000-0300, City of Anaheim
Additional DUI Saturation Patrols to be done by Buena Park PD, California University Police at Fullerton, La Palma Police, Los Alamitos Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Seal Beach Police, Tustin Police and the University of California at Irvine Police Departments.
Additional information about the Avoid Program and operational plans from around the region can be found at http://www.californiaavoid.org/.  Statistical data on the number of DUI arrests and DUI fatal crashes will be released from the previous day’s activities throughout the holiday weekend.
Media Notes:  Reporters are invited to ride along with law enforcement or may join Task Force & checkpoint operations in your region throughout the Campaign by contacting the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Public Affairs Office at 714-647-7042

Funding for the “Avoid” program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the
National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration.

Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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