Monday, July 18, 2011

Fullerton Water Rate Increase - Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night's City Council meeting will likely include a water rate hike for Fullerton residents and businesses. 

The City Council meeting begins at 6:30PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  I expect it to be a very long meeting.

Please come out and tell you City Council...
...Their hidden tax on your water must stop NOW. (10% of your water bill covers public safety salaries and benefits.)
...The timing couldn't be worse. (Extremely high unemployment and foreclosure rates in a very poor economy.)
...The "business-as-usual" mentality of infrastructure management must change.  (For decades city management has refused to spend a penny of the General Fund on the infrastructure and has relied on state and federal grants which are quickly drying up.)
...The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association believes, as do many, that the City's Prop 218 Notification did not comply with state law.  This could trigger dozens of law suits from homeowner associations and others who did not receive any notice.
...The City ranks among the worst in Southern California for water conservation efforts.  A recent Sierra Club survey of 122 agencies gave Fullerton 8 out of 20 points for their efforts.  Their were only 16 agencies which scored worse!
...Can the residents and water consumers of Fullerton really trust a City in which customers are assessed hidden taxes to support poor management practices?  NO! 

The General Fund, the core of the City's budget, received $2.4-million in 2010, thanks to the hidden tax.  The FY2011-2012 budget expects 80% of the General Fund to cover public safety salaries and benefits.  That $2.4-million windfall will go up 7.8% if the Council approves this rate hike.  Tell your City Council NO!

 Here is a recent blog post stating in more detail why this rate hike is wrong for Fullerton right now.
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Tuesday night's City Council agenda is set and among the many items for consideration by council members is a water rate increase. 

The increase would raise water revenue by 7.8% but it is not clear how that increase would be spread among different rate classes.  Some will feel the increase more than others.  This cloud is just one of the many reasons I oppose this rate increase.

Other reasons include the hidden water tax, economic timing, city management's long-standing philosophy on infrastructure, the likely law suits due to improper notice by the City, shortsighted conservation efforts, and the general feeling of distrust by consumers.

10% of every water bill gets diverted or skimmed from the water fund and transferred into the City's General Fund.  80% of the General Fund goes to cover public safety employee benefits.  Outside of City Hall only a handful of people know about this tax.  In my opinion, it gives the appearance that the unions are embezzling public funds.  The General Fund does not contribute any funds back into the water system.  Removing this hidden tax would allow the water system to retain about $2.5-million for pipe replacement.

Fullerton residents and businesses are struggling to survive.  The elderly and disabled have never had this magnitude of cuts in services and funding now on the table and being debated in Washington.  There are other measures yet to be instituted which could provide a financial buffer for the next year or two.  City management must exhaust all avenues before resorting to a rate hike in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

For decades, city management has turned a blind eye to the infrastructure.  Unless the repairs or replacement was in a redevelopment district, the City would put of any work.  Instead, the city sought to spend $6-million on moving a McDonalds 200 feet, $30-million* in bonds for housing (*will amount to more than $50-million when paid off), and more than $12-million to revamp the Lions Field athletic complex.  Meanwhile, our water lines are failing, our roads are crumbling, our streetlights broken, and who knows what else is in disrepair.  The proven ability of city officials, from council members to department heads, to go along with whatever hot new trend presented itself despite the obvious deficiencies in our infrastructure is unforgiveable.  While some were getting bronze plaques with their names on it, the rest of us are left to foot the bill.  Enough already!

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has indicated that the Proposition 218 rate increase notification received by some water customers last month does not comply with the requirements of the law.  Fullerton's notice is insufficient according to Timothy Bittle, Director of Legal affairs for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.  "[T]hey can't tell anyone yet what the new amount of their fee will be. That's not compliance with 218!" says Bittle.

A recent survey of 122 public agencies by the Sierra Club shows Fullerton's water conservation efforts sadly on par with the infamous city of Bell.  The survey gives Fullerton 8 points out of 20.  Out of the 122 agencies surveyed, only 16 scored worse.

Finally, people have lost a great deal of trust in their government at all levels and why wouldn't they lose trust once they realize the City has been charging them with a hidden tax that does not benefit the water system.  Most people who do not deal with City Hall regularly get frustrated at the run around they receive.  One person tells them to do one thing and someone else tells them to do something different.  Many are simply discouraged by driving on Fullerton’s poorly maintained streets.  Others, like me, have watched the same section of water line replaced three or four times in just 24 months. 

For these reasons and more, I strongly oppose this water rate increase.

As a side note, water rates will have to increase; it is just a matter of time.  However, I believe our city can and should do better to serve the public before considering any rate hikes. 

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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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