Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fullerton Water Rates - Disgust, Distrust, Anger, and Fear

Last night’s Fullerton City Council meeting brought out a number of people concerned that their water rates will be going up.  A few of them stood and spoke before the council and many approached me after the meeting.  They expressed a wide range of emotions and sentiments.

Disgust. Distrust. Anger. Fear.

There was the universal disgust that goes with the realization that Fullerton’s leadership has been absent for decades.  There was the feeling of distrust that comes when someone feels they have been lied to about where the money goes.  Many were angry that this report was not commissioned decades ago.  Then there was fear.  Many are fearful that the few businesses in Fullerton who are heavy water users will soon pack up and head out of state to more business-friendly areas.  Others are fearful that they will have to leave, unable to afford the higher costs.

Those who sat through the 2-1/2 hour meeting observed many things. 

Most notably, at least one councilman had serious trouble staying awake for the meeting.  Death by PowerPoint I believe was the cause.

Mayor Jones repeatedly used Hitler as some sort of misplaced analogy to the gross mismanagement of our water system for nearly a century.  There were several people who were clearly disgusted with his remarks.

Mayor Pro Tem Bankhead, who is a representative for the City on the Orange County Water District Board, bragged that the board hasn’t raised their tax on the City’s pumping efforts in a year even though a few key executives received raises.  OCWD charges Fullerton taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of $236 per acre-foot of water that the City pumps. 

The franchise tax was mentioned several times.  I pointed out that the tax should be eliminated completely which would allow the City to NOT raise water rates AND address the urgency of the neglected system.  I did misspeak on one key matter.  Specifically, I said that it would be better for the general fund to take the 10% hit rather than the taxpayers.  Actually, the water utility franchise tax ($2,474,860 FY2011) accounts for about 1% of the total budget ($180,802,880 FY2011), not 10%.  Cutting the franchise tax would increase the water fund from $27,728,430 FY2011 to $30,203,290! 

So, the bottom line is that we have the funds to fix the water system but the City Council will need to adjust the City’s priorities.

Those in land development, engineering, construction or anyone else who rides Fullerton’s roads knows that the City’s priorities are out of order.  City Hall places too much emphasis on housing and transportation boondoggles while ignoring the skeleton and muscle of the City’s infrastructure.  It causes me to question whether or not our City leaders (are there any at City Hall?) have planned for repairing and replacing our roads. 

Those interested in protecting the City’s infrastructure from further neglect while protecting the pockets of taxpayers are urged to attend the Water Rate Study workshops in the coming weeks and months. 


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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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