Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The King of Kings is born this day!  Let us rejoice! 

May God reach down from Heaven and touch all of His children so that they may feel His love and warmth, and be free from hunger, illness, and suffering.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Captain Dan Hughes Named Acting Fullerton Police Chief

A press release in my email inbox indicates Fullerton Police Captain Dan Hughes has been named Acting Chief of Fullerton's Police Department effective January 3, 2012.

Last night I gave my continued support to Acting Chief Kevin Hamilton and Captain Dan Hughes for their combined efforts to address quality of life issues and communicating police activities and events to me.  Both have been actively working to clean up the numerous messes left by their predecessors.

Hughes will continue the significant reformation taking place in the Police Department.  He supports the formation of a community advisory committee to help advise and give direction to the Chief of Police.

I am proud to have Acting Chief Hughes representing Fullerton and offer him my continued support.

I also wish Captain Kevin Hamilton well as he retires from the City.

Below is the official press release.

Police
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPRESS RELEASE #27211
Subject :Hughes named acting Fullerton police chief
Contact :Sgt. Andrew Goodrich, Fullerton Police Department (714) 738-6838
Sylvia Palmer Mudrick, Public Information Coordinator, Fullerton City Manager’s Office (714) 738-6317
Capt. Dan Hughes, commander of the Fullerton Police Department’s patrol division, has been appointed acting police chief by City Manager Joe Felz.
The appointment will become effective Jan. 3.
He will replace Kevin Hamilton, who will resume his duties as captain in charge of the department’s detective division. He will also assist Hughes in the transition to the acting chief’s duties.
Felz explained the decision to appoint Hughes was prompted by Hamilton’s plans to retire soon, after 34 years with the Police Department. Hamilton, named acting chief in August, originally planned to retire this past summer, but put those plans on hold when Chief Michael Sellers was placed on extended medical leave by his doctor.
“Capt. Hamilton has done an outstanding job in assuming the acting police chief position at a very difficult time for the department and the city,” Felz said. “His efforts have been very much appreciated not only by the City Council and myself, but by the community as a whole.”
Hughes, a 28-year veteran of the police department, is a “hometown boy,” having been born and raised in Fullerton. He joined the Fullerton Police as a cadet in 1983, and became an officer in 1985. He was promoted to sergeant in 1996, lieutenant in 2006, and to patrol division captain in 2010.
Hughes holds an associate of science degree in criminal justice from Fullerton College, and both a bachelor of science degree in occupational studies and a master of science degree in emergency services administration from California State University, Long Beach.
Hughes is also a graduate of the Supervisory Leadership Institute and the International Association of Chiefs of Police leadership course “Leadership in Police Organizations.” In April, Hughes is scheduled to graduate Command College, which is an 18-month leadership and futures-oriented course designed for management in law enforcement.
Hughes serves on the board of directors of the Fullerton Boy’s and Girl’s Club, and is a member of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Fullerton Steering Committee, as well as the Fullerton Downtown Business Association and the Fullerton Downtown Working Group.
Hughes said he is looking forward to his new role, adding he takes great pride in the department. “I firmly believe the men and women of the Fullerton Police Department are some of the best law enforcement officers in Southern California,” he added.
Hughes said his initial steps as acting chief will be to continue “working on improving community trust and confidence in their Police Department.” One idea to this end that he wishes to explore is the possible formation of a community advisory committee to the chief of police.
He added he will also be working closely with his staff on completion of a review and update of department policies, procedures, and practices “to ensure our officers are making the proper ethical decisions and performing effectively, and that our supervisors are engaging more with our officers and the community in the field.”
Hughes and his wife, Kimberly, reside in Yorba Linda. They have three children – Christina, Austin and Grant. He is a member of the Yorba Linda Friends Church and is active in youth sports.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fullerton Water System Study Session - MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Below is a press release from the City of Fullerton.  Read it carefully and mark you calendar.
Also, here is how much money has been skimmed from the Water Fund:

 
Fiscal                              (Water Fund)
Year     Franchise Fee     Water Sales                
2001      $1,435,202          $14,342,888
2002      $1,558,578          $15,619,444
2003      $1,576,091          $15,676,902
2004      $1,775,133          $17,800,172
2005      $1,771,294          $17,499,462
2006      $2,065,417          $20,587,913
2007      $2,287,693          $22,938,001
2008      $2,278,041          $22,893,749
2009      $2,388,515          $23,967,172
2010      $2,479,930          $24,796,981
2011      $2,532,595          $25,295,986



PRESS RELEASE -
All things water in the City of Fullerton will be the focus of a special City Council study session Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012.

The session, which will be open to the public, will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the new Conference Center at the Fullerton Main Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., adjacent to Fullerton City Hall.

David Schickling, Water System Manager for Fullerton, said the workshop will cover all aspects of the City’s water utility, ranging from where Fullerton gets its water supplies to how that water is delivered to residences and businesses in the City.

The session will also examine capital improvement needs for the aging water system.

The study session, which was requested by the Council, will be a prelude to the reopening of consideration of a water rate study which was brought to Council this past July.

“The Council took no action on the study then and, instead, directed that further study be done – specifically on the public notification process and the legality of the ‘in-lieu franchise/property tax’ transfer of funds from the Water Fund to the General Fund,” Schickling explained, noting the in-lieu franchise tax has been in place since 1968.

“The results of this expanded study are nearly complete and will be available for public review beginning with a meeting of the Council-appointed Water Rate Study Ad Hoc Committee in February.” That meeting, the date of which has not yet been firmed up, will be open to the public.

Once the committee has reviewed the results of the new study and made recommendations on it, the matter is tentatively scheduled to come to the City Council for consideration in March.

Further information about the study session or the water rate study may be obtained by calling the Office of Water Engineering at Fullerton City Hall at (714) 738-6845.

Persons requiring special accommodations to attend the study session the workshops are asked to notify the Office of Water Engineering prior to Jan. 10.

Monday, December 19, 2011

UPDATE - Fullerton Police Bust More Taggers

UPDATE FROM CAPT. HUGHES:
"This is an update in regards to the information that was sent out earlier on the arrest of Anthony Aparicio for tagging on Sunday morning.  Mr. Aparicio went to court this morning and pled guilty to the vandalism.  He was sentenced to 4 days in jail, 200 hours of graffiti removal, suspension of his driver’s license for 1 year, restitution, and 3 years formal probation with specific terms that prohibit any association with tagging crews and possession of any tagging implements."

____________________________________________________


The following is an email I received from Fullerton Police Captain Dan Hughes:

During a probation search of two suspected Lost For Life Krew (LFLK) associates, a juvenile was arrested for possession of paint markers and probation violations.  This suspect recently moved to Fullerton from Anaheim and uses the monikers “Kromer” and “Krome”.

Detectives arrested Abel Martinez, 19 yr old who recently moved from Fullerton to Anaheim, for being in possession of graffiti instruments.  He was contacted near 904 W. Orangethorpe where recent graffiti was located.

Detectives arrested Ernie Pereyra, 19 yr old Fullerton resident while investigating a graffiti case at 1042 W. Porter.  Pereyra is being charged for vandalism to three garage doors, the side of a garage, the rear of the Sunset Lounge, and the rear of Kragen Auto Parts at 904 W. Orangethorpe.  Pereyra uses the moniker of “Spider”.  We are continuing with the investigation of these cases after identifying another adult suspect that was with Pereyra during the graffiti incidents.

Yesterday, patrol officers responded to a report of two suspects tagging the freeway light pole behind the 700 block of West Houston .  After a short foot pursuit of one of the suspects, officers arrested Anthony Aparicio, 18 yr old Fullerton resident for vandalism and possession of graffiti instruments (spray paint and etching tools).  Aparicio is believed to be associated with the “Unlimited Thoughts Krew” and uses the moniker of “Cartoon”.

We have additionally identified the persons responsible for using the following monikers:  Sake/Saker, Mose, Forse/Foryr, Slobe, Rums, Recks/Reks, Kers, Lexr, Cartoon, Spider, and Kromer/Krome.

We have additional leads on several other members of this tagging crew and additional arrests are forthcoming.  I will continue to provide you with additional updates as warranted.

Thank you again for your continued support of our department and the efforts our officers are making in helping improve the quality of life in your neighborhood.

Dan Hughes
Captain, Patrol Division

State Controller: Audits find more than $3 billion

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today announced that since taking office in 2007, his audit findings through State and local investigations now total more than $3 billion, more than any other Controller in recorded State history.

"Unchecked spending is an invitation for misspending," said Chiang.  "My audits offer an inside-look at state and local checkbooks, and show us where fiscal practices need serious improvement. These findings can lead to real taxpayer savings, and every dollar rescued is one that we don’t have to take away from education, public safety, or other essential services."

The Controller's office typically has 200 to 300 different audits under way at any given time during the year. A sampling of investigations initiated by Controller Chiang include:
·       Unlawful spending and illegal property taxes in the City of Bell
·       Misspent and poorly-managed bond funds at LA Community College District
·       Massive losses from uncollected fines at State agencies
·       Inappropriate spending on gifts at the State Lottery
·       No-bid contracts and lax spending controls in the City of Montebello
·       Millions in overpayments to a State healthcare contractor


His office is currently in the process of auditing the City of Hercules, and investigating claims of
pension-spiking at the California State Teachers' Retirement System.

After completing his work in the City of Bell last year, the Controller's office was flooded with requests audits of more than 200 local governments across California. In order to meet those demands and better protect taxpayer dollars at the local level, the Controller introduced legislation to broaden his office's auditing abilities.

While those bills stalled in the last legislation session, the Controller will continue to push to expand his office's ability to protect taxpayer dollars through financial audits.

For more information on the Controller's audit programs, visit his website at www.sco.ca.gov.

Fullerton Police Bust More Taggers


The following is an email I received from Fullerton Police Captain Dan Hughes:
During a probation search of two suspected Lost For Life Krew (LFLK) associates, a juvenile was arrested for possession of paint markers and probation violations.  This suspect recently moved to Fullerton from Anaheim and uses the monikers “Kromer” and “Krome”.

Detectives arrested Abel Martinez, 19 yr old who recently moved from Fullerton to Anaheim, for being in possession of graffiti instruments.  He was contacted near 904 W. Orangethorpe where recent graffiti was located.

Detectives arrested Ernie Pereyra, 19 yr old Fullerton resident while investigating a graffiti case at 1042 W. Porter.  Pereyra is being charged for vandalism to three garage doors, the side of a garage, the rear of the Sunset Lounge, and the rear of Kragen Auto Parts at 904 W. Orangethorpe.  Pereyra uses the moniker of “Spider”.  We are continuing with the investigation of these cases after identifying another adult suspect that was with Pereyra during the graffiti incidents.

Yesterday, patrol officers responded to a report of two suspects tagging the freeway light pole behind the 700 block of West Houston .  After a short foot pursuit of one of the suspects, officers arrested Anthony Aparicio, 18 yr old Fullerton resident for vandalism and possession of graffiti instruments (spray paint and etching tools).  Aparicio is believed to be associated with the “Unlimited Thoughts Krew” and uses the moniker of “Cartoon”.

We have additionally identified the persons responsible for using the following monikers:  Sake/Saker, Mose, Forse/Foryr, Slobe, Rums, Recks/Reks, Kers, Lexr, Cartoon, Spider, and Kromer/Krome.

We have additional leads on several other members of this tagging crew and additional arrests are forthcoming.  I will continue to provide you with additional updates as warranted.

Thank you again for your continued support of our department and the efforts our officers are making in helping improve the quality of life in your neighborhood.

Dan Hughes
Captain, Patrol Division

Fullerton City Council Meeting - Tomorrow at 6:30PM

Speak up and be heard. 

6:30PM at Fullerton City Hall
303 W. Commonwealth Ave.

Read the City Council Agenda HERE!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Indians Clean House


The Osage Tribe of Oklahoma has won a settlement against the United States in the sum of $380,000,000!   That's on top of their 2006 and 2010 combined win of $331,000,000!! 

$711,000,000

What happend?  According to the Department of Justice press release below, they worked out their differences...







__________________________________

PRESS RELEASE - Dept. of Justice
__________________________________

United States and Osage Tribe Announce $380 Million Settlement of Tribal Trust Lawsuit
Friday, October 21, 2011
WASHINGTON – The United States has reached a final settlement of a long-running lawsuit by the Osage Tribe of Oklahoma regarding the United States’ accounting and management of the tribe’s trust funds and non-monetary trust assets.  Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; the Interior Department’s Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes, Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Michael S. Black; the Treasury Department’s General Counsel George W. Madison, and the Osage Tribe’s Principal Chief John Red Eagle and other tribal officials commemorated the settlement during a ceremony at the Department of Interior’s headquarters in Washington today.

“This historic settlement resolves with finality long-standing trust accounting and trust management claims by the Osage Tribe,” said Assistant Attorney General Moreno.   “This settlement is the outcome of dedicated efforts by the United States and the Osage Tribe to resolve years of costly and protracted litigation.   Today, we come together in the spirit of partnership and mutual respect to recognize an important milestone on a path to a future marked by a stronger government-to-government and trust relationship. This settlement demonstrates the United States’ strong commitment to resolving pending tribal trust accounting and trust management cases in an expedited, fair and just manner.”
“Reaching a final settlement with the Osage Tribe has been a priority for this Administration, and it demonstrates President Obama's commitment to reconciliation and empowerment for American Indian nations,” said Interior’s Deputy Secretary Hayes.  “The settlement process was fundamental to respecting the government-to-government relationship between the U.S. government and the Osage Tribe. This agreement marks a new beginning – one of just reconciliation, better communication and strengthened management of tribal trust assets.”

“This settlement is an historic, positive development for Indian country and a major step on the road to reconciliation following years of litigation between the Osage Tribe and the United States,” said Interior Solicitor Tompkins. “This administration has worked in good faith to reach a settlement that is both honorable and responsible.  The settlement will allow the United States and the Tribe to foster, cultivate and strengthen their trust relationship as they move together into the future.”

Under the negotiated agreement, executed on Oct. 14, 2011, litigation will end regarding the Department of the Interior’s accounting and management of the tribe’s trust accounts, trust lands and other natural resources, including the tribe’s mineral estate.   The United States will pay the tribe $380 million to compensate the tribe for its claims of historical losses to its trust funds and interest income as a result of the government’s management of trust assets.   The parties also will implement measures that will lead to strengthened management of the tribe’s trust assets and improved communications between the Department of the Interior and the tribe, including procedures for delivery of periodic statements of account, annual audit information, and information relating to the management of the mineral estate to the tribe.    Importantly, the agreement also provides dispute resolution provisions to reduce the likelihood of future litigation.

The Osage Tribe brought its trust accounting and trust management lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) in 1999 and 2000.   Also, the tribe brought a trust accounting case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2004 and dismissed that case in 2010.   The CFC litigation included numerous motions, extensive discovery, many rulings, and two trials over 12 years.   Between 2006 and 2010, the tribe obtained two judgments from the CFC against the United States for about $331 million on various claims spanning the 1972-2000 period.   A trial on significant claims remaining in this case was scheduled to begin in February 2012.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Recreational Fishing Industry Wins Battle

As expected, Fish and Game showed the cost to be in the hundreds of dollars, while the representatives of the fisheries and hatcheries said the cost will be, on average, around $133,000.

Dixon Lake in Escondido was one of the four lakes studied for cost by the independent Sapphos Environmental, Inc., and Dixon came in at $181,000 for the biological assessment to keep stocking fish. The breakdown was $25,919 for fish assessment, $15,490.74 for birds, $139,677.06 for herpetofauna.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fullerton's Water Rep to Step Down


Jim Blake

Amid Fullerton’s water rate debacle the City’s representative on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced Tuesday that he is stepping down.  After representing the City of Fullerton for 24 years on the MWD Board of Directors, Jim Blake says he is done.

It is rumored that Fullerton’s retired city manager Chris Meyer is looking to be appointed as Blake’s replacement but that will require a majority vote by the Fullerton City Council.   Since City Council Members Bankhead and Jones appointed Meyer as City Manager in 2002, there is little doubt that they wouldn't give him the MWD nod as well.

However, with Fullerton’s water rates under scrutiny and an illegal tax being batted about City Hall for justification, you have to wonder how much of the water mess can be attributed to Meyer- not to mention the rest of the City’s countless woes.

Chris Meyer
An appointment of Meyer to the MWD Board might bring further outcry to City Hall, something the new Mayor might wish to avoid. Since August the Council members have been cussed at, cursed at, sworn up and down, and yelled at.  They are now being held accountable for their general lack of leadership by a campaign to recall three members, Mayor Pro Tem Pat McKinley, and members Don Bankhead and F. Dick Jones. 

Many believe that the appointment should be filled by a current council member so that they can be held responsible by Fullerton voters for their actions on the Board.  Currently, Blake is answerable only to the Fullerton City Council. 

If the appointment is to be held by a non-council member, then the process should be open to ALL candidates equally like any other council appointment to a commission or committee.  

Whoever is appointed will be tasked with a massive budgetary shortfall that rivals Sacramento’s.  The appointee will be asked for double-digit rate hikes and even more spending.  They need to know the water industry and even more about public policy and long-term investment solutions.  They need to know Fullerton and not just through the myopic eyes of service clubs.

Fullerton deserves an accountable and credible representative on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tinkering with Water Rates

Water ratepayers in San Juan Capistrano are in for a rude awakening.  A new audit of the water system's financial mismanagement predates the 2003 merger of the Capistrano Valley Water District and the City of San Juan Capistrano by six years. 

You read that correctly.  For six straight years the Capistrano Valley Water District was consistently underfunded because of the rate structure.

The dirty laundry is being aired on the pages of the OC Register and after several massive rate hikes (22% in February and 18% more in July) which the audit says aren't sufficient to cover the deficit.

According to  the Register, the audit states that the utility "also used one-time revenue from property taxes and developer fees as a stopgap funding measure, which had the effect of hiding structural funding problems."

The report indicates "poor financial communication" may have been part of the problem.

Let's head up Interstate-5 to Fullerton and look at the similarities.

Fullerton hasn't had an audit but it did have a rate study.  The rate study appears to have been nothing more than a report to justify nearly doubling water rates.  When pressed for hard data and answers on the water system's "in-lieu franchise fee" (an illegal 10% tax on the Water Fund), staff came up empty-handed.

Fullerton has been under-funding the water system since the 1960s.  Some might rightfully ask how that is possible and why.  Good questions, to be sure.  It was in the 1960s that the "in-lieu franchise fee" was put in place by a city council that actually predates Don Bankhead's tenure on the dais.  Since then, 10% of every dollar paid into the Water Fund has been skimmed and deposited into the City's General Operating Fund like a 3-year old grabbing at a cookie. 

That may not seem like a big deal but with every rate hike, the City's General Fund wins big.  Not to mention nearly 80% of the General Fund covers the benefits and salaries of employees not associated with operating or managing the water system.  It also helps to shore up the growing deficit and pension shortfall.  How is that fair?  How is that even legal?  It's not legal.  This January you'll begin to see a more vigorous campaign headed by City staff to raise rates and justify the continued skimming of the Water Fund.

The illegal "water tax" imposed on the Water Fund has reinforced the policy and subsequent affect on our infrastructure with ZERO investment.  Now, after 50 years of ignoring the problem, pillaging the coffers, and looking the other way, rate payers will be forced to pick up the tab.

Maybe I can blame my parents.  Perhaps Mom and Dad should have been banging on the doors at City Hall in the 1960s and '70s telling the City Council and City Manager to invest in the water system.  But they didn't protest City Hall, probably because they were busy raising five kids, paying a mortgage, and worried about their kids heading off to fight questionable wars in far away places.

No, I can't blame them. Like most people, they relied on their elected representatives to do the right thing.

To those who were voters in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s...here I am holding the bag.  How much is it going to cost, you ask, to make up for years of mismanagement and neglect? 

About $300-million... 

Monday, December 12, 2011

State Controller Releases More Payroll and Pension Data for Public Employees

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today updated his website showing the salary, pension benefits and other compensation for 674,000 city and county employees in calendar year 2010.
Today's posting includes wages and other forms of compensation worth $38.8 billion.  Four counties and 37 cities did not file in time for this website update
"Holding public officials accountable for how they manage public dollars relies heavily on transparency," said Chiang. "The struggles of the City of Bell remind us that corruption and fiscal mismanagement are often the byproducts of keeping the public in the dark."

The site was originally created by Controller Chiang in late 2010, after he ordered local governments to provide salary and other wage information for their employees to his office.  In October 2010, the Controller collected and posted 2009 wage information for more than 600,000 city and county employees.  He then added 2009 information for the employees from 2,379 special districts.  In June, he added 2010 compensation information for 256,222 employees from the State of California and 123,406 from the California State University System (CSU).
The data postings drew heavy internet traffic, and the site has logged nearly 5.3 million page views since October 2010.
The website covers elected officials as well as public employees.  It includes the following information for each position:
·       Minimum and maximum salary ranges;
·       Actual wages paid;
·       The applicable retirement formula;
·       Any contributions by the employer to the employee’s share of pension costs;
·       Any contributions by the employer to the employee’s deferred compensation plan; and
·       Any employer payments for the employee’s health, vision and dental premium benefits.
In addition, the website shows employees who hold multiple positions within either State government or the CSU system. The Controller continues to update and expand the site to include more public-sector data.  2010 compensation information for special districts, and 2011 information for State and CSU employees will be phased in over the next six months.
In August, the Controller and Community College Chancellor Jack Scott wrote to all 72 districts across the State, requesting they also submit their payroll data by early 2012.
A list of agencies that failed to file payroll records with the State can also be found on this website.  Each non-complying agency could face a penalty of $5,000.  The Controller’s Office will continue to review and post the relevant data from these local governments as it is reported to the State.

Lack of Leadership and Responsibility

A year ago the City of Fullerton was poised to nearly double water rates in order to keep up with the cost of running a municipal water agency.  So what happened?  Public outcry and a serious legal question put the rate increase quietly on the back-burner and out of public debate, at least until now.

The thought of a double-digit rate increase brought the issue to the forefront of Fullertonians’ minds. 

The legal question was raised when the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association reviewed the City’s Water Fund franchise tax and pointed out that the blanket 10% fee that the City was skimming from the Fund was inconsistent with California ’s Proposition 218.  In essence, the City would skim 10% of the Water Fund’s $25-million and use it to back fill the City’s General Operating Fund, nearly 80% of which pays for benefits and salaries.  There was no justification for the tax, which was implemented in the 1960s, nor was there ever any accounting as to how the money would or should be used.

Typically, franchise fees or franchise taxes are levied by municipalities against other utility companies as an in-lieu fee for property taxes.  Think of it as the City renting out a strip of the city’s street for buried electrical line or cable TV line.  Fullerton ’s water utility is one and the same as the City of Fullerton

City staff have indicated that they are wrapping up a study to see just how much money they can justify taking from the Water Fund.  Under consideration is the City’s loss of property tax revenue and potential leasing fees for each of the City’s reservoirs.  This after-the-fact attempt to justify decades of skimming, now valued at $2.5-million per year and growing, is a slap in the face of rate payers.  The sting is particularly bad when one realizes that the other side of City Hall, our water utility has been unable or unwilling to provide detailed meter costs.   

The Fullerton City Council’s lack of leadership and clear direction has allowed City Hall to get by skimming the Water Fund and not having to articulating the true costs of operating, managing, and maintaining the City’s water system in a transparent and open manner.  This lack of leadership and accountability is just one more reason to consider recalling Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, and Pat McKinley.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cigar Shops Targeted by FDA

FDA Regulation Could Doom Cigar Shops
| December 9, 2011

The cigar industry is trying tostop the Food and Drug Administration from regulating its products, which it fears would result in onerous restrictions and burdensome fees that would drive many retailers and manufacturers out of business. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gave the FDA authority...CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT REASON.COM

Friday, December 9, 2011

California's cash deficit stands at $21.5 billion

PRESS RELEASE - CALIFORNIA STATE CONTROLLER JOHN CHIANG

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report covering California's cash balance, receipts and disbursements in November, showing monthly revenues came in $497.7 million above projections in the state budget.
"While November's totals came in 9 percent above projections, they did not erase the fact that we are still running $1 billion behind in revenues and $2 billion ahead in expenditures," said Chiang.  "Regardless of whether midyear cuts are enacted next week, the Legislature faces a tremendous fiscal challenge when it returns to session next month."
After accounting for November revenues, total year-to-date general fund revenues are now behind the budget's estimates by $1 billion, but expenditures for the year are over projections by $1.95 billion.  The Controller's Office continues to work with the Department of Finance to identify and prepare for any impact on the State's cash outlook.
The State ended last fiscal year with a cash deficit of $8.2 billion. The combined current year cash deficit stands at $21.5 billion.  Those deficits are being covered with $16.1 billion of internal borrowing (temporary loans from special funds) and $5.4 billion of external borrowing.
For more details, read November 2011's financial statement and summary analysis.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

High-Risk Sex Offender in Fullerton



Fullerton Police today (Dec. 7) are making a neighborhood notification in south Fullerton of a full-disclosure sex registrant living in the area.
Officers and detectives are posting and handing out flyers to warn neighbors about a man living at 1325 S. Jefferson in Fullerton.
Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said that Antoine Denell Jordan, 50, has been living at the house on Jefferson for some time. Police were made aware of his presence last month when Jordan reported to Fullerton PD to register as a sex offender, something he is required to do for the rest of his life. Since then, police have been conducting a background investigation on Jordan, meeting with him face-to-face, and have had him under surveillance.
Jordan was arrested and convicted in the early 1980s of kidnapping and sexually assaulting multiple women at knife-point in the area of USC in Los Angeles. He served his time in prison, and was released in 2005. He is no longer on parole, but is subject to registering at the police department in any jurisdiction where he lives.
Police are posting flyers, and handing them out to neighbors in a roughly quarter-mile radius around Jordan’s home. Fullerton Police Acting Chief Kevin Hamilton said, “In the interest of public safety, we are notifying our residents about this full-disclosure sex offender.”
Anyone looking for more information about Jordan can visit the Megan’s Law website at www.meganslaw.ca.gov or contact Sgt Steve Williams at (714) 738-6580.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

UPDATE - FPD Takes Down West Fullerton Tagger

FULLERTON - "On Friday evening our detectives arrested a subject who goes by the tag name of 'Saker'," said Capt. Dan Hughes. "[FPD] rolled back to his house and discovered the items in the attached photo." (see photo at left)

Hughes says he believes "Saker" is responsible for a large amount of graffiti in West Fullerton.

"He is associated with a tagging crew called Lost For Life Krew (LFLK). We have gathered additional suspect information."

This is the third arrest in as many weeks by FPD of suspected taggers who have caused thousands of dollars in damage to public and private property. 

FPD asks that if you see any crime being committed, including tagging, to call 911 immediately.  You can also report graffiti to the City's 24-hour Graffiti Hotline at (714) 738-3108.    You can also email GraffitiH@ci.fullerton.ca.us or enter a graffiti removal request here.

***UPDATE***
In an email from Captain Dan Hughes late Monday, he said the initiating officers are Detective James Bolden and Sergeant Jeff Stuart.  Bolden and Stuart are assigned to Fullerton's gang unit with Bolden also assigned to investigate tagging crimes in West Fullerton. 

The suspect whose moniker is "Saker" is a juvenile.  That means their name is not going to be released unless they are tried as an adult.

According to Hughes, Detective Bolden was patrolling in the area of Gilbert Park with Sergeant Jeff Stuart.
 
"They saw the 16 yr old juvenile," says Hughes "at Gilbert Park and were aware of him due to previous graffiti investigations."

Detectives located a graffiti instrument on him and arrested him.  

Hughes also said that, since the juvenile was on probation and subject to search and seizure, a search of his residence was conducted and the additional items in the photograph were located.  

Detectives believe that LFLK is a Fullerton based tagging crew with about 8 members.

The investigation is ongoing and Captain Hughes declined to comment further saying he didn't want to jeopardize the case. 

Where is Fullerton's Independent Advocate?

Fullerton water rate payers are becoming increasingly weary and suspicious of politicians and managers who have relied on the City's Water Fund to help offset the rising labor costs at City Hall. 

Inflation is at about 3.15% on average for 2011 and keeping up with it is challenging in a recession. Being somewhat predictable, we can manage to keep pace with it and plan for future investments in the water system.

However, Fullerton, much like Los Angeles, relies on the water rate payers to help offset and pad the ever-rising costs of labor. That's not fair.

So who at City Hall can Fullerton's water customers turn to when the City Council is dazzled by brilliance and baffled by BS?

No one.  There is no one left in City Hall to turn to when City staff draft a report - true or not - that paints a grim picture of the City if rates are not immediately increased.

To counter the misleading and false emergency to generate cash-flow which will be used to make up for poor fiscal management and planning, some communities, Los Angeles included, have turned to independent advocates or rate payer advocates.

The problem is that the advocate, which might be a single individual or a committee, is appointed by the very people who have their hands in the cookie jar thus making the advocate less than independent.

Fullerton is special.  Not because of the large number of schools or the inexcusable level of apparent police corruption but because Fullerton already has an independent advocate.  The Fullerton Association of Concerned Tax Payers (FACT) was created in 1996 after the last recall effort of 1993-1994 when the City Council voted to create a utility tax.  FACT founder, Bruce Whitaker, was elected to the Fullerton City Council in November 2010.  Time and again, FACT has fought for Fullerton taxpayers.  Current FACT president Jack Dean took over the organization in 2003 and has since launched http://www.pensiontsunami.com/.

FACT has helped residents, business owners, and taxpayers tackle the issue of excessive and unnecessary taxation.  FACT has a close relationship with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association (HJTA) which came together recently and challenged Fullerton's illegal and unnecessary in-lieu franchise fee which skims 10% of the total revenue from the Water Fund.  Some say the "fee" is nothing more than robbing Peter (the Water Fund and water consumers) to pay Paul (employee salaries, pensions, and benefits).

FACT has saved Fullerton taxpayers more than $150-million since its work to repeal the utility tax. 

FACT was the sole Plaintiff in lawsuits against the Gray Davis administration and, later the Schwarzenegger administration to block the issuance of pension obligation bonds of $2 billion and just under $1 billion respectively.  The second lawsuit was successful at the Sacramento Superior Court and later at the Court of Appeals and has since provided protection against the State issuing bonded indebtedness without voter approval.

FACT remains the only guardian against unfair and unwarranted taxation, whether disguised as a fee or buried in your utility bill. 

If you are having a hard time digesting City-imposed fees and taxes, and if you are tired of the lip service of politicians, please support the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers - your ONLY independant advocate in Fullerton.

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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