Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Campaign Update - Grand Opening and a Visit by SCAG

Last night we were joined by many supporters, friends, and family members for the grand opening of our campaign headquarters.  The tremendous show of support and encouragement from well-wishers was and is deeply appreciated. 

I would like to thank Assemblyman Norby for his generous donation of exquisite Mexican food and Mr. Chris Thompson for his donation of beverages.  While we ate dinner, the Brown-Whitman debate was tuned in on a donated TV.  Among those joining us was congressional candidate Phil Liberatore and several other candidates for local races.  Of course the Sebourn for Council balloons were a hit with the many children present and a distraction for those still working on their homework. 

Although I wasn't planning the event as a fundraiser in and of itself, many of you chose to make donations in spite of the struggling economy and personal hardships.  Others offered to take time out of their busy day to work the phones and call voters or walk precincts.  Thank you.  Unless a candidate is swimming in money to pay consultants and workers to walk and talk to voters, candidates like myself must rely on the charity of friends and family who are willing to sacrifice their time for the campaign.  If you would like to donate money, time, or materials, please email me at gregsebourn@yahoo.com.


Also on hand was the assistant to the president of SCAG.  You may recall SCAG from an earlier blog post I wrote here.  Based on their own website, SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) is the Big Brother everyone warned us about.  SCAG infringes upon and nullifies the autonomy of municipal governance and creates a publicly funded government agency which voters have little to no control over.  It would appear that my earlier blog post grabbed their attention sufficiently.  The assistant to the president said she was conservative, which is neither here nor their.  She then wanted to know how I planned to implement AB32. 

First, let's look at an overly simplified summary of AB32, a.k.a. the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.  AB 32 requires that greenhouse gas emission levels in the state be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. The process of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the state is slated under AB 32 to begin in 2012.  The economic effect of AB32 is controversial. In March 2010, the California Air Resources Board ("CARB") issued a report claiming that the law would create about 10,000 new jobs for California in the next ten years. A parallel study, performed by consulting firm Charles River Associates for CARB pursuant to a 2008 state law and released at the same time using the same raw data, claimed that the program would cost between $28 and $97 billion dollars over the same decade and would cause a decline in California household income in the range of 0.6% to 1.0% per capita. The bill is currently being challenged with Proposition 23 on the November 2010 ballot, which aims to suspend AB32 until state unemployment stays below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters.  VOTE YES ON PROP 23!

My answer to SCAG:  You are assuming that Prop 23 will not pass.  Whether or not it passes, I intend to cut about 1/3 of the council's 2010 expenditures which I think will have a substantial impact on the City's carbon footprint.  This is particularly evident when you see how much pollution the Redevelopment Agency's bulldozers belch out while they bulldoze homes.  Let's also not forget the amount of various trips by staff to the Superior Court to fight law suits and condemn property.  Nor can we forget about the bits and bites of data transmitted for those purposes, the lights under which the staff work, and all of the paper used to file law suits, motions, and exhibits. 

But what I am wondering is why the assistant to the president, who introduced herself as a planner, would ask about AB32 and not issues pertaining to zoning and the general plan.  For an agency with a mission statement of "developing and fostering the realization of regional plans that improve the quality of life for Southern Californians" they seem to be focused on an issue having little to do with land development or land planning.  Rather than asking about AB32, she should have asked why I feel SCAG is Big Brother.  Or why do feel SCAG is the embodiment of big tax and spend government.  Instead, it was a bad law that will be impeded this November and eventually repealed or significantly amended which she chose to ask me about.

SCAG's existence while under the radar of taxpaying voters is coming to an end.  It's time the taxpayers realize the breadth and depth of waste within this publicly funded special interest program known as SCAG.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Campaign Headquarters Grand Opening

Big Brother Has a Name: SCAG


I've heard two general sentiments regarding SCAG:  They are a wonderful organization that improves the quality of life for everyone; and, SCAG is the Big Brother regulatory body we were warned about.  But which is right?

Since I am running for election to represent the taxpayers and voters of Fullerton, a member agency of SCAG, I thought it was time to do a little more homework on SCAG to see if the organization is beneficial or detrimental to the residents and business owners of my hometown.  I started by going to http://www.scag.ca.gov/about.htm.

I found a wealth of information from which I conclude the following:  SCAG is HUGE;  SCAG is a taxpayer-funded organization;  SCAG seeks to destroy the autonomy of a city's incorporation; SCAG is the embodiment of big government gone horribly wrong; SCAG is an unnecessary bureaucracy that makes housing MORE costly by over-regulating development.  Sound a little harsh?  Let me explain.

Let's begin with the organization's Mission Statement: An international and regional planning forum trusted for its leadership and inclusiveness in developing plans and policies for a sustainable Southern California. I am always suspicious when I read "sustainable" in a mission statement.  Not that I want an unsustainable Southern California but because I think we need to focus on creating a system for sustainable governance before we worry about everyone else.  Sustainable governance is a system of governing in which a government utilizes only the financial means available without burdening the residents, business owners, and tax payers with increased taxes disguised as fees. 

Next, let's consider some of SCAG's history and why I think they really exist.  From their website we have this: The fundamental question of why SCAG was created is best answered in the words of Ventura County Supervisor John Montgomery back in 1966, who said, "Regional planning is not a matter of if, but rather when and who. Regional planning must come via cooperation and mutual assistance. Regional planning will (either) be accomplished through local governments working together or by big brother mandates from state and national governments."

So, in order to avoid mandates from State and Federal agencies, our local governments got together to implement their own mandates upon one another.  That's absurd.  Cities incorporate to free themselves from County/State control and to have some autonomy.  Why then would cities like Fullerton, Brea, and Anaheim create and/or join SCAG?   To be a de facto government agency that does not answer to voters but is financed by tax payers.  They get to create all sorts of regulations for its members, some of which may be good and some are detrimental to the civic well being of the community.  

SCAG boasts that, SCAG is mandated by the federal and state governments to develop regional plans for transportation, growth management, housing development, air quality and other issues of regional significance. 

And the most telling information regarding SCAG is found in the following paragraph:
SCAG was formed on October 28, 1965, when elected officials from 56 cities and five counties met at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. SCAG, initially governed by a 20-member Executive Committee, was charged with conducting growth forecasts and regional planning. To help accommodate new responsibilities mandated by the federal and state governments, as well as to provide more broad-based representation of Southern California's many cities and counties, SCAG's Bylaws were amended in 1992 to expand the Executive Committee to a 70-member Regional Council. SCAG changed its regional representation to correspond to population size and established districts based in part upon population.

There is some very important information to consider.  First, they met at the Biltmore.  That's a pretty classy place even in 1965 that you and I (ok, technically my parents and grandparents) paid for through taxes.  Second, it mentions of state and federal mandates, but it leaves out which mandates those might be.  Third, SCAG has created districts to be more representative of the population.  And SCAG continues to grow. 

During the past four decades, SCAG has become the largest of nearly 700 councils of government in the United States, functioning as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Southern California. SCAG is mandated by the federal and state governments to develop regional plans for transportation, growth management, housing development, air quality and other issues of regional significance.

Notice how proud SCAG is of its own growth.  Much like a redevelopment agency that consumes a city, SCAG is consuming whole counties! 

In addition to the six counties and 189 cities that make up SCAG's region, there are five County Transportation Commissions (CTCs), the Tribal Government Regional Planning Board and the Imperial Valley Association of Governments that have primary responsibility for programming and administering transportation projects, programs and services in their respective jurisdictions.

I would like to see how much these public employees earn as directors and board members and what their pensions look like.  It's time we pull the veil of mystery off of this monstrous regulatory body and see it for what it is: a government within a government that is not accountable to the taxpayers who fund its existence.

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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