Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fullerton City Council Got It Wrong


The Fullerton City Council got it wrong.  The ire is not over the low-income housing as council members suggested before they stuck us with a $45 million bill; it is the fact that they busted out the taxpayer’s credit card.  Like Councilman Jones analogized at Tuesday’s Council/Redevelopment Agency meeting, Council went to the bank and took out a loan.  And the collateral is the future property tax increment on properties in Redevelopment Agency zones.  That property tax increment should be going towards the infrastructure, public safety, and education.  Instead, the tax increment will go into other redevelopment boondoggles with at least 15% of it annually being used to pay off the $29 million bond plus the interest and fees totaling around $45,500,000 over the next 16 years.  Shame on the Redevelopment Agency staff for taking taxpayers for a ride and shame on all four council members for growing our debt.  To say that the end justifies the means is unacceptable.  Council members have a fiduciary duty which was clearly neglected by the intoxicating allure of taxpayer MONEY. 

And council members point their fingers at “mandates” from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).  They point to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) that SCAG performs.  Who is SCAG?  As the name implies, our city, our county, and neighboring agencies.  Who runs it?  Our council members along with those of the member agencies in much the same manner that our council represents Fullerton taxpayers on water and sanitation boards.  SCAG is a governmental agency which receives taxpayer funding from, among others, Fullerton residents and businesses. 

Let’s not forget that the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency was ready, willing, and able to spend $6 million to move a McDonalds 150 feet.  Succumbing to public scrutiny and pressure, Fullerton City Council backed out of the deal. Let’s also no forget that the Fullerton Redevelopment agency spent $22.7 million to move 600 low-income residents out of the Richman Park area so that they could build fewer units than those bulldozed.  According to project manager Charles Kovac, “…the agency doesn't know yet how many more properties it will acquire or how much money it will spend. It depends, in part, on what funding is available.” (July 2010, OC Register)  Pushing our low-income problem onto another community through a taxpayer-subsidized mass relocation is one way to do erase Fullerton’s problem from SCAG’s tally sheet, but it certainly isn’t ethical. 

There is no end in sight for the insatiable appetite of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency under the direction of our current council. 

For more informmation on Redevelopment Agencies go here:
http://www.ocregister.com/news/agency-256370-kovac-housing.html
http://www.coalitionforredevelopmentreform.org/references/morrreport.php
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-redevelopment-20101002,0,1187883,full.story
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/me-redevelop-housing-20101003,0,3080263.story

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Bad News for Redevelopment Agencies

In a two-part series penned by Jessica Garrison, Kim Christensen, and Doug Smith of the LA Times, there is a faint glimmer of a spot light on Fullerton’s Redevelopment Agency and the damage being done.

To recap, Redevelopment Agencies exist to clean up blighted areas.  There is very little the agencies can do that City Hall cannot already do except sell bonds without taxpayer approval.

Part I of the LA Times article has horror story after horror story of redevelopment agency mishaps, mismanagement, and outright corruption up and down the Golden State.  Some of the article’s facts and figures are mind numbing. 

“The Times found widespread instances of corruption, questionable spending and poor accountability at such agencies, which take in $5 billion in property tax revenues each year. Under state law, the agencies are allowed to keep any increases in tax revenue in areas they improve.”

“Auditors also found that the City of Industry reported to the state that it gave $2.5 million to schools and the county in 2006. The problem was the payment should have been $21 million.

“A recent report by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes concluded that no state agency oversees redevelopment. Instead, ‘oversight is left largely to the city council members and county supervisors who sit as local redevelopment agency board members.’

Those are just a few of the findings which are followed up by Part II, titled Arrested Redevelopment Part II discusses the low-income housing element which should account for 20% of Redevelopment Agency spending. 

“State law requires municipal redevelopment agencies to spend 20% of the approximately $5 billion in property taxes they collect each year on building and preserving homes for poor and moderate-income people.

But affordable housing is not politically popular, and The Times found that many projects face inexplicable delays. Others end up worsening blight and hurting the people they were supposed to help. Land ostensibly set aside for affordable housing was in some cases turned over to commercial developers, raising questions about whether cities ever intended to build the housing in the first place.”

In a July 2010 article by Orange County Register reporter, Kristine Guerra, the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency was highlighted spending $22.7-million and evicting more than 600 people.  The Agency’s goal?  “…to revitalize the neighborhood, which has had old, dilapidated homes and high crime rates.” 

“The agency has bought a total of 30 properties in the Richman Park area. It also paid more than $1.6 million to relocate 117 households with nearly 600 residents, more than half of whom were 18 years old and younger. Part of the relocation cost is one-time financial assistance to the families.

Olson Company and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County are developing most of the properties into single-family condominium units that target very low-, low- and moderate-income home buyers.”

The bottom line, the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency has made our low-income housing shortage WORSE at the expense of the 600 residents and Fullerton’s taxpayers.

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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