Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Fullerton Observer - A Fear Mongering News Paper?

Turn to page 4 of the “Early November 2010” issue of the Fullerton Observer and you’ll be scared into thinking that a gas or oil company is about to start drilling in your own backyard.  

“This means that an oil production company that owns mineral rights to a piece of land, like Chevron, can do anything it wishes, even right in your back yard, and no government agency will step in to protect you.”  No, that is not true.

The problems with the blog-like article are many but let me cut to the chase and give you a piece of valuable advice that I might otherwise charge you a few hundred dollars an hour for.
When you by real property, a.k.a. land, you are given a deed which contains the legal description of the property you are receiving.  Most Fullerton deeds are simple lot and block descriptions such as “Lot 4, Tract 1234, filed in book 5 at page 2, Miscellaneous Maps of Orange County.”   Some are a little more complex and use a system of metes and bounds to describe the property boundary.  That description is generally predicated by a caption which might read “In the City of Fullerton, County of Orange, State of California, more particularly described as…”  The last portion of the legal description contains modifiers and qualifiers.  For example, the deed may have as a qualifier, “Except therefrom that portion conveyed to John Smith by deed dated January 10, 1910 and recorded in book…” 

When it comes to mineral and other rights, look to the qualifier at the end of the description to read what you were granted and, more importantly, what you were NOT granted.  Remember, someone can only grant to you that which they posses title to.  Therefore, if the grantor, the person selling the property, does not have oil rights, then they cannot grant you oil rights.  The same is true with water rights and other mineral rights.

Most qualifiers that except out mineral rights from a grant deed refer back to a parent document, often the initial grant deed for the parent parcel.  Therein lies the terms of the mineral rights which MAY include rights of ingress and egress.  It may also specify that there is NO right to access said minerals from the surface of the junior parcel.  Therefore, Texaco may not have any right to use the surface of your property. 

Subdivision maps that carve up the parent parcel usually include something like this:

Typical acknowledgement of mineral rights reserved by third party on a subdivision map.


So why maintain the right if you can’t access the minerals from the surface?  Because the most common mineral right retained in Fullerton is oil which is in a large pool under you property.  By retaining the right to that pool, they are excluding you from accessing it and thereby benefiting from it.  If I own the mineral rights to two lots that are side by side, I only need to own ONE of them to reap the benefits of both. 

The bottom line is that you should read ALL of those documents that you sign when you are at the escrow office.  Know what you are buying and know what you are not being granted.

And if you are really and truly concerned that a big oil or gas company is about to start drilling in your yard, give me a call. 

Cal State Fullerton Reporter Slammed for Speaking Truth


CSUF Daily Titan scared by the truth
 Fullerton - A California State University of Fullerton student reporter has come under attack for quoting me in the Daily Titan. 

Ally Bordas wrote a brief article for the Daily Titan on the financial mess at CSUF and pointed out the irresponsibility, waste, and hypocrisy within the universities management.  In her article, she quotes my blog post Cal State Fullerton President - Lifestyles of Our Rich Public Employees at the El Dorado Ranch, which was cross-posted on the Friends for Fullerton's Future blog. 

The CSU media specialist didn't like the fact that Ms. Bordas used my post and even less that it was pulled from the 4F blog.  Unfortunately, the story was pulled from the Daily Titan and Ms. Bordas has had to endure a lot of questions on her fact checking. 

The fact remains that the words she quoted from me are based on the official legal agreement between the State of California and the Chapman family who donated the El Dorado Ranch.  You can find the document at the Orange County Recorder's Office by asking for Instrument No. 1989-334761 of Official Records.  You can also email me at GregSebourn@yahoo.com and I will email the 28-page PDF to you. 

Here are a few facts to consider that the agreement spells out:
  1. Donated in 1989 by the Chapman Family.
  2. CSU Fullerton President Milton Gordon takes office in August 1990, almost exactly 1 year after the donation.
  3. No property taxes are paid on the compound because it is owned by the State of California.  However, the Orange County Assessor still keeps track of how much the 4 acre property would be taxed if anyone else owned it.  That figure puts it at $3,351,724 in 2009! 
  4. The property was donated and all parties agreed that the mansion would be the "official residence" of the president.  This is mentioned multiple times throughout the agreement.
  5. The agreement stipulates that the property shall not be converted into student housing.  However, there is one MAJOR and MASSIVE exception.  The "apartment adjacent to the house [which] may be used for support staff for the President of the University and/or El Dorado Ranch.  In my initial post I said his assistant had a home on the sprawling estate but I was wrong.  He could actually have as many assistants (a.k.a. "support staff") as he feels he needs to have on hand and all of them are welcome to live at the El Dorado Ranch.
  6. At the time of the initial donation, there were numerous antiques on loan to the State that remained in the home.  Some items dating from the early 19th century.
  7. The Chapman family still retains mineral rights to the El Dorado Ranch.  That means they have a right to pump oil from underneath the State's property. 
  8. Item 11 of Exhibit "B" of the agreement requires that any garden developed on the property shall be named the "Alice Wilber Chapman Garden".  Alice Chapman was the mother of the donors. 
  9. The property is owned by the taxpayers of the State of California yet the sign at the entrance reads "PRIVATE PROPERTY".  Surely it was an error on the part of some underpaid state employee who didn't know that public property can't also be private property.
  10. Not in the agreement but worth noting is that we all need to do our part to conserve energy because energy conservation is clearly not high on the President's list of priorities.  Of course when someone else is paying the bill, who cares...  Thanks for leaving the light on!
At the end of the day, Ms. Ally Bordas was correct to point up the chain of command within the CSU system and call out the hypocrisy that exists.  The leadership insists on burdening the students with higher tuition and "fees" but they are not willing to look within their own ranks.  The CSU system has many great minds but where they are being used remains a mystery.  In my opinion, the media specialist should do a little fact checking of their own.


For Milton Gordon, its still good to be king!

Why the look of surprise?












Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Bar and Nightclub to Open Near You


















Wednesday, November 10, the Fullerton Planning Commission will be considering an application to open another bar and nightclub in Downtown Fullerton.  With parking and the aftermath of bars being a point of contention for area residents and business owners, its hard t o believe that this application will be approved with little or no public outcry. 

I hope that the Planning Commission does approve the application and I also hope that code enforcement and the Alcohol Beverage Council actually enforce the regulations pertaining to serving and OVER SERVING patrons. 

Click HERE for the official agenda.

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. 

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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