Sunday, November 7, 2010

SCAG Safe for Now


The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is safe for now.  As you may recall, I first wrote about SCAG here and later here.  There was even a visit by a SCAG employee who is also a Fullerton resident. 

I have been critical of SCAG, not so much for their roll in slowing down Southern California's economic recovery, which they have, but because the City of Fullerton is a member of SCAG thereby making my home town part of the problem rather than the solution.  The worst part is that you and I as taxpayers contribute to SCAG's existence.  Even taxpayers in Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and Virginia contribute to SCAG because much of SCAG's "revenue" is based on federal grants. 

SCAG has 6 committees, 10 sub-committees, 4 task forces, and 3 working groups. SCAG has 67 districts, each with its own Regional Council member, who is a local elected official, and 3 Regional Officers.  There are as many as 83 Regional Council members who receive $120 per diem for any SCAG sponsored meetings or events up to 6 times each MONTH!  Up to $720 per month to talk about regional planning issues.  Considering that there are 23 various committees and the like, it's easy to imagine how 67 Regional Council members might want to meet frequently to discuss urgent land planning issues.  And just to make sure they can all attend the meetings and events, SCAG reimburses for mileage. 

But why bring all this up?

First, let's consider some of the other organizations in Orange County which our local council members may be appointed to such as the Orange County Transportation Authority, the Orange County Sanitation District, the orange County Water District, and many others.  These are agencies that provide specific services to local communities.  They also pay members a per diem for their involvement and I assure you I will get to those in the near future.  However, SCAG does not provide water, manage our sewers, move people on buses, etc.  SCAG is a publicly funded think-tank of sorts that prepares reports and creates mandates for its members.

Second, you and I are paying for every penny of SCAG's existence which most Fullerton taxpayers know nothing about.  SCAG is a regional shadow government very similar to our local redevelopment agencies.  Both are quite content to mandate and ramrod boondoggle after boondoggle with no regard for the wishes of the taxpayer much less any consideration for personal economic liberty.

Rather than improving the economy, SCAG seeks to control all segments of the economy from what is "acceptable" as public transit to where and how we build.  The recent Redevelopment Agency meeting which rezoned several city blocks is exactly what SCAG wants to see more of: vertical development over transit centers.  2010 Green Party state assembly candidate Jane Rands pointed out at the meeting that the entire purpose for the area was public transportation and here we are hiding the buses in an underground garage (of a massive publicly subsidized business and housing project, I would add).  And that is the least of our worries.

SCAG is trying to put the breaks on urban sprawl and personal automotive transportation through their regional planning efforts.  I suggest that they lead by example and have all directors and employees move into one of their planned and subsidized apartments above a transportation center.  I know some of them do and I commend them for their efforts to live the way they talk. 

The most important point I can make here is that no one, especially our government, should be sticking their nose into my home or my life and telling me how I should live.  If I wanted to live in a high-rise apartment, I would have moved into one.  My wife and I chose to live in a single-family home on a quarter-acre so that we can live as we see fit while raising our children.  I don't have to ask permission from anyone to have a party or cook a burger on my grill.  I don't need special permission to own a dog or cat. I can hang the flag of my choice on my flag pole without an HOA telling me otherwise.  I pay my fair share for my residential footprint and lifestyle via high property taxes.  Those tax dollars are used to subsidize many of these failed projects.  If everyone stopped living in the suburbs, how would local governments be able to afford some of these boondoggles?  I’m sure they would find something else to tax, such as the air.  Oh but wait; the State of California already taxes air via the California Air Resources Board and the AQMD.  Maybe its time to sprawl to another state, but that would be too easy.  

We cannot give in to those who want to take away or tax our liberties. 

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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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