Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The City Official Who "Gets It" - Al Zelinka

"Al Zelinka, is the community development director for the City of Fullerton, California. Prior to joining the City of Fullerton, Zelinka was vice president of RBF Consulting and served as principal of RBF Consulting's urban design studio. For the past 20 years, Zelinka has played an active part in more than 150 projects (20 of which have received awards) and has practiced planning and delivered presentations or training in more than 28 states (plus the District of Columbia). He is the coauthor of two APA publications, SafeScape and Placemaking on a Budget. Zelinka received a master of regional planning from Cornell University."

The Cornell grad is a shift from the usual bureaucratic appointments by an otherwise largely failed City Council.   

Last night was the first time I felt that someone at City Hall "gets it".  Not that there aren't a few very talented folks down there but anyone who has had to develop a piece of property in Fullerton knows the frustration and expense associated with the process.

Speaking to the residents and selection committee at last night's DCCSP public meeting Zelinka said something that hit straight to the core of Fullerton's problem with private investment and development.  With about 30, maybe 40, people in the room, Zelinka said "We need to get government out of the way!" 

Holy Hot Tamale!  That was my message during the 2010 City Council election! 

Zelinka is the first to realize and, more importantly, vocalize that City Hall with its commissions and council is actually hindering growth, development, and investment.  For years, perhaps decades, Fullerton has been a difficult place for developers to work.  Between the NIMBYs (not-in-my-backyard), a disjointed development code, and a void of leadership few have been willing to invest here.

Zelinka went on to explain that the specific plan which is to be created by the public through various workshops will create a framework for expediting development.

The way it has been explained to me is like approving which Lego's you will allow to be used upfront and then, anyone using those Lego's gets a quick approval.  I realize that is overly simplified but the concept is the same.

Some of the public comments included a strong desire for NEW architecture.  I truly hope those with that or similar opinions and concerns stay engaged in this discussion so that we don't end up looking like Irvine with the same beige stucco facades that seem to be creeping into downtowns across the U.S.

I was not a fan of this project from the start, mostly over concerns of the costs to taxpayers for condemnation and the potential for suppressing property rights. 

Although I still have those concerns, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  That is, if Chevron can request and have their property rezoned then why not the downtown...even if the downtown zone change is initiated by the City of Fullerton.

A major component of the plan is to address the roads and properties fronting certain arteries (corridors) leading into the Downtown "core".  This is where I see our tax dollars being invested first and foremost.  It is also where the largest segment of Fullerton's residents will be adversely affected if it isn't done right.  It will require YOUR input to make it a good plan that is uniquely Fullerton.

With Al Zelinka's clear vision of getting government out of the way, I am optimistic that he and other City regulators will know when (and how) to step aside and allow growth to take place without heavy handed tactics or the use (and abuse) of public funds.

Fullerton just might survive...

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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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