Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fullerton Brewery Named Entrepreneur of the Year for 1,200% Growth

Local brewery grows 1,200% in one year!  Ok, so maybe going from a single employee to a dozen doesn't sound as exciting but it is still great to hear about a company growing in the middle of the terrible recession.  The company is Bootleggers Brewery in Fullerton.  It has the greatest IPA I have ever had.  In fact, their wide selection of brews is by far some of the most unique and tasty concoctions you will find anywhere!

Congratulations to Aaron and Patricia Barkenhagen, owners of Bootleggers!

The OC Register's Jessica Terrell wrote an article on the brewery.  Read more about it here.
Disclosure: I was given a small tasting of some of their beers.  When I was ready to pay, I was told it was on the house.  Thanks! 

Subdivision Map Act Seminar




































2011 Class Locations
REGISTER HERE

SACRAMENTO | Thurs., Feb. 24, 2011
Sacramento Tsakopoulos Library Galleria
  
PETALUMA | Thurs., Mar. 24, 2011
Petaluma Community Center PCC Club Room
  
LAFAYETTE | Thurs., Apr. 28, 2011
Lafayette Library and Learning Center
  
STOCKTON | Thurs., May 26, 2011
Best Western Plus Heritage Inn
  
MARINA | Thurs., June 23, 2011
Marina Airport Conference Room
  
SANTA MARIA | Thurs., July 28, 2011
Santa Maria Minami Community Center
  
COLTON | Thurs., Sept. 15, 2011
Frank A. Gonzales Center
  
FRESNO | Thurs., Sept. 22, 2011
Pardini’s Catering & Banquets
  
BURBANK | Thurs., Oct. 27, 2011
Burbank Moose Lodge
  
SAN DIEGO | Thurs., Nov. 17, 2011
San Diego Concourse

Police warn women in northeast Fullerton about a sexual predator


POLICE
PRESS RELEASE

Subject: Police warn women in northeast Fullerton about a sexual predator

Contact:   Sgt. Andrew Goodrich, Fullerton Police Department    (714) 738-6838
On January 31, a little after 8:30am, Fullerton Police received a call of an attack on a female jogger at Craig Park, in northeast Fullerton.  Craig Park is a large park between State College and Associated Rd., just south of Imperial Hwy.

Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said that a female in her late 30s was jogging in the park while wearing her iPod music player.  She only had one ear bud in her ear.  She was at the south end of the park, near the baseball fields when she was suddenly pushed from behind, causing her to fall to the ground.  She felt the suspect kneel at her side, strike her in the torso, and begin cursing at her.  After cursing, he started yelling words at her that were neither English nor Spanish.  She said it sounded like “chanting”.

The victim was fearful and began fighting back against the suspect.  She punched and kicked him several times as he kept hitting her.  The suspect finally ran off northbound through the park.  She believes that he took her iPod when he ran off.

Police are investigating this as an aggravated assault at the moment.  According to the victim, although she feared it was a sexual assault, the suspect never attempted to grab or touch her in a sexual manner.  Goodrich said there was a sexual assault where a short, heavy-set male grabbed a woman in a park near Sunny Hills High School on January 16, 2011.  It is unknown if these two incidents are related.

The suspect is described as a heavy set male Hispanic, with a shaved head and no facial hair.  He was wearing a light gray sweatshirt, and blue jeans.  

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Sergeant Mike Chlebowski at (714) 738-6776, or the Front Desk at (714) 738-6715.
###

City Attorney's Felonious Fig Tree Fight - Part 1

Standing before the Fullerton City Council January 18, 2011 was Shannon Ellis, a long-time Fullerton resident, mother, Boy Scout mom, West Fullerton Little League team mom, and Fullerton College employee.  Despite her selfless dedication to her husband, children, and West Fullerton neighborhood, she wasn’t at City Hall to receive any awards or certificates.  Instead, Shannon was there to express her frustration for what many are characterizing as the systematic harassment of her family by Fullerton’s Community Preservation officers. 

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Shannon gives some background to her problem and explains how she has a pending criminal case as a result of her fig tree. 
 During summer months the fig tree grows quickly and produces fruit.  Admittedly, during these summer months the tree extends beyond her 6-foot tall block wall and over the sidewalk on the other side of the wall, much like others around Fullerton as shown below.
But the Fullerton Community Preservation officers will have none of her fig tree over the wall.  Instead, they will turn a blind eye to similar encroachments like those shown above so that they can focus their combined efforts on eradicating a fig tree from the sleepy 2400 West Olive neighborhood.
Just a few blocks north on West Avenue, residents have felt a similar squeeze by City Hall in the form of parking tickets.    Fullerton police officers have been targeting the neighborhood and citing pickup trucks which are classified by the California Department of Motor Vehicles as commercial vehicles.  Also being cited by the police officers are toy haulers and recreational trailers that are not attached to the tow vehicle. 
These are but a snippet of the gauntlet Fullerton residents and taxpayers face having a Fullerton address. 
Is it just dumb luck that enforcement officials are patrolling West Avenue and West Olive while ignoring neighborhoods in North Fullerton with similar conditions?  Doubtful. 
With the amended ordinances which will make it a crime to leave your trash cans out or throw a tarp to cover your leaking roof having been approved, many residents are concerned just how far the City’s Community Preservation officers will take these issues. 
Despite assurances from “staff” seen here...
...that the ordinances will not be unfairly enforced, the abuse continues.   As mentioned, Shannon is going to trial where she faces jail time and a stiff fine if she is found guilty – for a fig tree that has been cut back and is in full compliance with the Fullerton Municipal Code.   
“We have gone to court half-dozen times now,” Shannon writes in an email to me.  “Each time the city attorney has said we have not done enough…they are never going to be happy with anything we do.”
Unmaintained City-Owned Trees

Moreover, she sees the City as “always out ‘beautifying’…other upscale areas of Fullerton but they barely come around to remove graffiti and trim trees in the areas they are ticketing.”

Shannon notes that she has been charged for not maintaining property she doesn't even own.  Public records do not list her as the property owner.  
"Non-compliant" trees over the public right-of-way


"Non-compliant" trees and cacti over the public right-of-way
Stay tuned, more to come...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is there a doctor in the house?

If you have watched either of the last two council meetings, you may have noticed the absence of our resident physician and mayor, Dick Jones, from the dais.  No word from City Hall on his condition or location.

Overkill of the Overtime

Doubling wages with overtime has lead at least one firefighter to earn more than $138,000 for doing a job that is capped at $69,253. 

The police and fire personel are the core of the overtime in Fullerton.  Of those fire personel earning more than their maximum salary, the average overage was 38.45%.  The police did a little better with an average overage in maximum salaries of 20.2%.  In all, taxpayers are paying almost $6.2 million in wages that are above and beyond what the established maximum salary. 

Everyone understands that emergencies will keep first responders on the job beyond their regular shift, however their time should be carefully managed. 

Last year a small plane ran out of runway and hit the chainlink fence at Fullerton Airport. The pilot was uninjured and was able to walk away. But that didn't stop about 20 firefighters from responding to the minor collision.  My guess is that not all of the fire companies arrived at the same time.  That begs the question why didn't the first unit on the scene call off the extra emergency workers? 

Here comes the cry and outrage for me even bringing up the issue of pay and overtime for first responders.  How dare I even think of touching this sensitive subject!   

The bottom line is that too many people are collecting too much overtime.  This is purely a management issue or rather a mismanagement issue.  There is no municipal job in which any employee should have the opportunity to DOUBLE their salary through overtime.

Below are those who took home a lot more than the maximum salary.  They are ranked based on their percentage of wages earned beyond thei salary cap.  These are just the ones in the 40th percentile and up.  In all, more than 500 different city employees took home money beyond their salary caps.  Even a council member made the list.  I can't imagine who that might be.


Controller Releases More Local Government Payroll Figures

Controller Releases More Local Government Payroll Figures

PR11:04
2/1/2011
Contact: Hallye Jordan
916-445-2636


SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today unveiled an updated website showing the salary, pension benefits and other employee compensation for several hundred local transit, waste disposal, and fire and police protection districts.
“Californians were offered instant access to salary information in their own communities when I launched the first public payroll site of city and county compensation last fall,” said Chiang. “Posting this information allows California residents to see where their public dollars are being spent and to better hold their local agencies accountable.”
Last October, the Controller collected and posted wage information for more than 600,000 city and county employees. He then ordered special districts across the state to report the same information.
Compensation information for employees of special districts is being collected and posted on the website in four phases. The first phase – launched today – includes more than $3 billion in payroll reported by 693 local agencies. The next phase will include land reclamation and levee maintenance, health, hospital and water agencies.
The Local Government Compensation Reporting 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 a single local government. Postings are updated weekly with any new information received.
Eighty percent of all special districts in the first phase successfully followed the new reporting requirements. A list of agencies that failed to file in time for today’s launch can also be found on his website. Each non-complying agency could face a penalty of $5,000. The Controller anticipates completing the website with all special district information, along with compensation for state employees, in June of 2011.
####

Monday, January 31, 2011

Higher taxes and More Redevelopment

It isn’t often that I read the letters to the editor in the Orange County Register, much less get irritated enough to comment on them.  However, today is a two-for. 

The first letter, written by Mary Kidwell of La Habra sees fit to bash the Tea Party.  No harm there, everyone has an opinion about the Tea Party, but her letter asks the following:
“I feel I paid my fair share for all that we received. What did you pay? If you are middle class, I highly doubt that you paid more than 7 percent.”

Well Mary, I am in that middle class you mention and I give well over 20% of my income to the State and Uncle Sam.  If you include excise taxes and those “fees” at the DMV and gas pump, I give more than 50% of my hard-earned money to the government.  Based on what you and I are paying in taxes, it looks like one of two things has happened:
A) You are paying too little for the services you enjoy, or B) I am paying too much for the services you enjoy.  Either way you slice it, I’m paying the difference so that you can enjoy those government services. 

Mary also contends that It’s also just a little ridiculous that most seen at Tea Party rallies are obviously Social Security and Medicare recipients.” I’ll be 38 in a few days and I am OBVIOUSLY NOT receiving Social Security or Medicare.  So far, Mary’s stereotype of Tea Party supporters (anti-tax abuse advocates) doesn’t seem to pan out. 

I encourage anyone who would like to pay more in taxes to go ahead and send a donation to your government agency of choice.  Give them as much as you like, I’m sure they won’t mind. 

For the rest of us who feel we pay too much and actually do, be sure to elect leaders who won’t give away the company store.

One other letter to the editor got me fired up.  The owner of Renick Cadillac and Subaru, Leonard M. Renick, seems to think it is OK to spend taxpayer’s money on corporate welfare.  I suppose if I was in the business of trying to sell Cadillac’s and Subaru’s in Fullerton I might want a taxpayer-funded bailout too. 

Renick says, “It is not enough that [Norby's] influence as an elected official of Fullerton has left the city in a permanent state of dowdiness while Brea is a shining light of newness and economic vitality thanks to redevelopment?” 

He must be thinking of Mayor Pro Tem Don Bankhead.  During Bankhead’s 22 years on the dais Fullerton has gone from bad to worse.  Norby hasn’t been on the Fullerton City Council for the past 8 years to oppose any Fullerton Redevelopment Agency boondoggles.  And in those 8 years all of Bankhead’s redevelopment money has done nothing for the roads and sidewalks of north or west Fullerton.

Also worth pointing out is that Brea receives a large portion of their tax revenue from their industrial parks and their retail mall.  Couple that with the simple fact that Brea has a very small population base and you see how Brea manages to get by.

But the best quote is saved for last.  “Now, Norby throws in with Gov. Jerry Brown to strip cities of their ability to decide locally what would improve the local scene/economy and send the money to Sacramento so that Jerry Brown can buy more teacher and police union votes. Redevelopment is not perfect but local control beats the alternative.”

Mr. Renick didn’t get the memo that RDAs can not spend it wherever they want on whatever they want.  The funds are legally encumbered by welfare projects and not the corporate type of welfare either.  The worse part is that the RDA can borrow against the future tax revenues without voter approval.  The Fullerton Redevelopment agency borrowed $29-million to meet their low-income housing funding requirements because they had already spent too much on other non-housing projects.  

It doesn’t take a highly educated person to recognize that using tax revenue to prop up car dealers or any other business is just wrong. 

Government exists to provide for the people that which the people cannot provide for themselves.  It does not exist to bail out businesses or operate slush funds for the politically well connected. 

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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