Thursday, January 27, 2011

Water District CEO Speaks His Mind

Wednesday I had the opportunity to listen to retired U.S. Army Colonel and MWD CEO Jack Foley speak to engineers and land surveyors at the monthly meeting for the Orange County Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies.  Foley has an amazing and long resume that is impressive even to those not usually impressed by meaningless wallpaper.

Foley spoke for more than an hour focusing his attention on MWD and our water infrastructure.  One of Foley's admirable traits is his plain English.  He doesn't get caught up in a the absurd political correctness that I'm used to hearing at from public speakers.  Instead, Foley spoke from the heart and was crystal clear and it was appreciated. 

The environment was a large part of the retired colonel's sermon.  Unlike most CEOs who wring their hands and are "sensitive to the issue", Foley stands his ground unabashed. 

Desalination, subdivision of MWD property, technology, and new engineering projects are among the pressing issues on the CEO's mind.  Of these, his mention of subdivision got my attention.

For my non-land surveyor friends, subdivision of land allows an owner of a single piece of property to carve up their land into smaller portions for lease, sale, or finance. 

MWD has been exploring and planning on implementing solar farms on their vacant land as part of AB32.  However, Foley believes the land would be a greater benefit to the public if MWD could subdivide it and sell the excess property.  He recognizes that the current attitude is to not raise taxes and selling the property would allow MWD to put the revenue into immediate use without raising any fees or taxes.  Unfortunately, with the passage and implementation of AB32, the excess land is destined for solar power generating.

Within Foley's comments there seemed to exist resentment that environmentalists had thrown in the towel of ingenuity for the sake saving the planet from ourselves. 

~Quick side note and commentary~
The human race has faced a challenging environment since Man's first steps, always engineering a way to make life better.  When floods washed away homes, we raised our foundations and built damns, when water was scarce, we built aqueducts.  When travel was difficult, we built roads.  It is our nature to create solutions, not throw in the towel and give up.  Man has built great structures that protect us from our sometimes harsh environment. 

However, many environmentalists have pushed public policies that would take us back more than 200 years and undo the progress that has come from industrialization.  Many of the loudest green activists enjoy their iPods, iPhones, and iPads while ignoring the "carbon footprint" that it took to manufacture their and deliver their toys, much less the energy required to use them.     

Just when I thought Foley was the best thing that could have ever happened to MWD, he said they need to raise rates to cover costs. 

When I hear government officials say they need to raise taxes to cover costs, I have to filter the message and run it through my matrices.

Is the service being provided (water) something which I cannot provide for myself?  Considering I do not have water rights on my property, the answer is NO.  I must import my water.

Is there any other provider I can use?  Not really.  I can import small quantities of bottled drinking water but not in sufficient quantities to use for cleaning.  Although, the question never crossed my mind before.  As a property owner, I could purchase an above-ground potable water storage tank, purchase water from a second source and have it trucked in.  Imagine if everyone began cutting off their own water service and went "off the grid".  The reality is that the truck bringing water, electricity, tanks, and pumps to pressurize the water lines all adds to the expense of water consumption. 

Is the provider (MWD) being responsible with the money I pay for the water I consume?  Debatable.  MWD needs to look at their pension obligations, salaries, excess land, facility maintenance, etc.  They also need to work on alternative sources of water and make humans the priority over fish and other creatures.  I realize that is a selfish position to take but considering that my life is dependent on my ability to survive, it is an appropriate position.  Without water I will not survive.  Therefore, save the humans! 

I am not excited about taxes being raised.  I think government, however you want to define that, collects plenty.  We need to get our priorities in place and focus on them.  Water is near the top of the list with sanitation (sewers) and waste management (garbage) close behind.  Education and emergency services are on there too.  But at some point there is an end to the list with something at the bottom.  That is where we cut first and deepest.

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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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