Friday, March 18, 2011

Watchdog Bites Republican Fat

Cal Watchdog's Steven Greenhut sinks his teeth into the GOP fat after they voted to keep big government BIG.
California Republicans love to talk about limiting government, fighting bureaucracy and keeping taxes low, but on Thursday they proved that this is nothing more than a rhetorical device. Given the opportunity to rein in the size and power of government in a tangible way, Assembly Republicans – with one sole exception – punted. They rallied to save some of the most abusive and wastrel government agencies around.
Read Greenhut's full story HERE at Cal Watchdog.

AQMD daily radiation monitoring update

AQMD daily radiation monitoring update
for Friday, March 18, 2011:

No increased risk detected above background levels

As of today, radiation levels measured at three regional sites operated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have not been higher than typical “background” levels seen before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the unlikely event that this changes, these extremely sensitive monitors will detect any change in outdoor radiation levels and it will be reported on this website.
AQMD has operated these radiation monitors in Southern California for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for several years.  Radiation levels at these sites and many others around the country are monitored every hour and the information is sent immediately to U.S. EPA.
The AQMD will continue to monitor and assess the hourly radiation levels at sites in Southern California and elsewhere in the United States.  It will also assess the weather conditions affecting the potential movement of airborne radioactive material across the Pacific Ocean.  Updates will appear on this website daily or more frequently if needed.
Further general information on EPA’s radiation monitoring network can be found at http://www.epa.gov/narel/radnet/. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s response to the situation can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/.Monitoring radiation is a very small part of the many activities AQMD does to protect public health and clean the air that we breathe. For more information on how you can help clean the air, go to http://www.aqmd.gov/ej/CAC/Clean_Air_Congress.htm.





This page updated: March 18, 2011
URL: http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/2011/Radiationmonitoring.htm

New "After-Hours" Night Club Coming to Fullerton

How often do you go to the City of Fullerton website and review the public notices?  Go to the City's Home Page and in the lower left corner is a link to Public Notices. 

In the latest batch I found a notice regarding the establishment of a new "after-hours" night club at the Howard Johnson Hotel and Conference Center", formerly the "Wyndham Anaheim Park Hotel" off of Houston just West of Harbor Boulevard.  This might very well be the best location to have a night club considering the conveniently located rooms for rent with plenty of overnight private parking for patrons.

The other notices include impound fees, public works requests for bids and proposals, the DCCSP Selection Committee (of which I am a part), and the Water Rate Study.

Violent Night of Multiple Murders in Fullerton

OC Register: Police- 1 dead after shooting in Fullerton
FULLERTON – Police are investigating a shooting that left one man dead Thursday night, authorities said.

The shooting took place just after 9:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of West Williamson Avenue, near Commonwealth and Euclid, Fullerton police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said.

An adult male was pronounced dead at the scene, Goodrich said. No other injuries were reported.

Click HERE to read more.

OC Register: 19-year-old killed while changing tire
FULLERTON – Police are asking for the public's help in finding two men who shot and killed a 19-year-old man in an alley Thursday night.

Fullerton police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said Larry Ruiz was shot and killed at about 9:30 p.m. while changing a tire in an alley in the 1100 block of West Williamson Avenue.

Click HERE to read more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AQMD: No increased risk detected above background levels

AQMD daily radiation monitoring update
for Wednesday, March 17, 2011:


No increased risk detected above background levels

As of today, radiation levels measured at three regional sites operated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have not been higher than typical “background” levels seen before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the unlikely event that this changes, these extremely sensitive monitors will detect any change in outdoor radiation levels and it will be reported on this website.
AQMD has operated these radiation monitors in Southern California for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for several years.  Radiation levels at these sites and many others around the country are monitored every hour and the information is sent immediately to U.S. EPA.
The AQMD will continue to monitor and assess the hourly radiation levels at sites in Southern California and elsewhere in the United States.  It will also assess the weather conditions affecting the potential movement of airborne radioactive material across the Pacific Ocean.  Updates will appear on this website daily or more frequently if needed.
Further general information on EPA’s radiation monitoring network can be found at http://www.epa.gov/narel/radnet/. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s response to the situation can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/.Monitoring radiation is a very small part of the many activities AQMD does to protect public health and clean the air that we breathe. For more information on how you can help clean the air, go to http://www.aqmd.gov/ej/CAC/Clean_Air_Congress.htm.





This page updated: March 17, 2011
URL: http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/2011/Radiationmonitoring.htm

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teachers Union Asks for Higher Taxes





It's no great surprise that the California Teachers Association is calling for higher taxes.  Here is an email that they sent to CTA members yesterday urging them to contact their legislators. 

In response to the email, I contacted my legislator, Assemblyman Chris Norby, and asked him to NOT vote for any new taxes, fees, or the extensions of any current taxes or fees. 

CTA needs to give up its stranglehold on the classroom and return to the teachers' lounge. 
________________________________

Urgent Update: Assembly Speaker John Perez announced on Tuesday that he plans for the Assembly to vote on the budget on Wednesday, March 16, beginning at 1PM. Keep contacting lawmakers at their Capitol offices.Your help is needed now to stave off additional devastating cuts to public education and other public services. Get in touch with your state Senator and state Assembly Member at their district offices and urge them to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget that would protect public education from more cuts.
Also urge your lawmakers to extend the temporary taxes or put the issue before the voters during a June special election. Lawmakers have a choice between extending the temporary taxes or authorizing billions of dollars more in devastating cuts to public schools and other public services.
Background:To prevent a potential cut of $2 billion or more to our schools, the Legislature must agree to extend the temporary taxes or to place a measure on the June ballot to allow voters to extend them. Either option takes a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to achieve the goal, and it will require at least three Republicans in the state Senate and two in the state Assembly to join with all Democrats to extend the taxes or put the measure on a June special election ballot.
Your efforts can help convince both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to pass the governor’s proposed budget and extend the temporary taxes. The governor’s proposal will help erase the state’s $25 billion budget deficit while protecting schools and other essential services from further cuts. To unsubscribe or change your email preferences, please follow the link below:
http://metrics.mmailhost.com/?r=MTAwMg0KSjQ5NzI5LUNUQS0xLTQ5LQ0KMjEzNzEzDQoxMTAwMDAwMDA3MDkyY2UNCmh0dHA6Ly9jdGEudGhldmFuLnVzL0VtYWlsU3Vic2NyaXB0aW9uLmFzcHg%2fSUQ9N0NCMEE0MTMzMzYyMzcwMS1HNTIyODQ5NzI5OEItRDIwQTQxOTkxNjM2MTg5RTINCnRydWUNCmdyZWdzZWJvdXJuQHlhaG9vLmNvbQ%3d%3d
Key Points:
·         K-12 schools and colleges have already been cut over $20 billion over the last three years--$1,900 per K-12 student.
·         Class sizes are soaring, programs are disappearing and entire school years are shrinking in many school districts.
 ·         More than 30,000 California educators and 10,000 other public school employees have been laid off over the past three years. Another 19,000 received layoff notices this March 15th.
·         The governor’s plan to extend temporary taxes for five years will help prevent further cuts to schools, public safety, health and other vital state programs.
 ·         Without an extension of current revenues, public schools and colleges will lose more than $2.3 billion.  ·         The governor’s balanced budget approach will help protect students and essential services, create jobs, and stabilize the economy. 
Here’s what you can do to help!
Contact your legislators in their Capitol offices by phone and use our CTA legislative portal to contact them, too. Find it at http://metrics.mmailhost.com/?r=MTAwMg0KSjQ5NzI5LUNUQS0xLTQ5LQ0KMjEzNzEzDQoxMTAwMDAwMDA3MDkyY2UNCmh0dHA6Ly93d3cuY2Fwd2l6LmNvbS9uZWEvY2EvaXNzdWVzL2FsZXJ0DQp0cnVlDQpncmVnc2Vib3VybkB5YWhvby5jb20%3d.
Urge your legislators to support the governor’s budget plan and extend the temporary taxes.

 If they are unwilling to do so, ask them to let the voters decide by putting the issue before the electorate as a June 2011 ballot measure. 
Then close the loop by e-mailing lfeldman@cta.org to let us know:
 1) Who did you meet with or reach by phone or e-mail?
2) What was the response?  Will the lawmaker support the governor’s budget?
For more information, contact Legislative Advocate Estelle Lemieux or GR Communications Consultant Len Feldman at 916.325.1500.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame

A casual joke on Twitter recently let slip a dirty little secret of large science and engineering courses: Students routinely cheat on their homework, and professors often look the other way.

"Grading homework is so fast when they all cheat and use the illegal solutions manual," quipped Douglas Breault Jr., a teaching assistant in mechanical engineering at Tufts University. After all, if every answer is correct, the grader is left with little to do beyond writing an A at the top of the page and circling it. Mr. Breault, a first-year graduate student, ended his tweet by saying, "The profs tell me to ignore it."

While most students and professors seem to view cheating on examinations as a serious moral lapse, both groups appear more cavalier about dishonesty on homework. And technology has given students more tools than ever to find answers in unauthorized ways—whether downloading online solution manuals or instant-messaging friends for answers. The latest surveys by the Center for Academic Integrity found that 22 percent of students say they have cheated on a test or exam, but about twice as many—43 percent—have engaged in "unauthorized collaboration" on homework.

To read the complete article, CLICK HERE.

Emergency Preparedness

I received the following email last week.  Amazing timing!

-----------------------

March 10, 2011

Fullerton Residents and Employees,
We've all seen the recent news about the devastation experienced in New Zealand as a result of
the major earthquake in that country. Here in Southern California, we are overdue for a major
earthquake on one of our many faults – the San Andreas to the north of us and the Newport
Inglewood to the south in particular. Damage and calls for assistance will quickly overwhelm
emergency services here in Fullerton and the remainder of the region. Citizens like you can learn
to prepare for that “Big One” and NOT be part of the problem.

By becoming a member of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team – sponsored by
Fullerton Fire Department), you can learn to prepare yourself, your family and home for
emergencies as well as assist others after a major incident.

The next Academy for new CERT members will take place in April of 2011. The dates are the
consecutive Saturdays April 2, 9, 16. Each class is a full day session. Please consider becoming a
CERT Volunteer. For a better understanding of CERT and the process for becoming a member,
please visit the City of Fullerton website as shown:
City Services and then CERT Training in the alphabetical list. For further questions please feel
free to e-mail the CERT Training Officer as listed below.

Sincerely,
Bob Leal
CERT Training Officer
www.cityoffullerton.com - Click on Shortcutsbobnwhitney@juno.com

ALL SERVICES AVAILABLE AT THE HUNT BRANCH LIBRARY

This past Sunday I drove my son to the Fullerton Library to look for a particular book on music.  When we arrived, we were greeted by this sign.

Although the sign says ALL SERVICES AVAILABLE AT THE HUNT BRANCH, it should also read LIMITED SERVICES AVAILABLE HERE.  In fact, it should say VERY FEW BOOKS AND SERVICES AVAILABLE HERE - USE HUNT BRANCH. 

As it turns out, the only books available at the main branch, at least as of Sunday, were some children's books.  Granted, my son is 13, the book he was looking for though was certainly not a children's book. 

Fearing more wasted time, $20 less in my bank account and an hour later, my son had a book from Borders and I was back to putting away my camping gear. 

The lessons learned by my son:
  • Government rarely knows best what the People need;
  • Sometimes you have to pay a premium to get what you want;
  • Waste comes in many forms;
  • Don't procrastinate;
  • Some signs don't accurately convey the intended message;
  • Homework on weekends sucks.
The lessons learned by me:
  • Even a 13-year old can spot a dysfunctional system.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chiang Unveils Costs for State Retiree Health Benefits, Offers Solutions

***UPDATE***
The press release we issued yesterday regarding the actuarial report on health and dental benefits for state retirees contained an error.  In a quote attributed to the Controller, the release said that if the State could reduce the assumed rate of health care inflation by 1 percent, it would cut the unfunded liability by $7.4 billion over 10 years.  The correct period of time is 30 years.
We apologize for the error.  A corrected version has been posted on the Controller’s website at www.sco.ca.gov.

###
***END UPDATE***

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today unveiled a new actuarial report that shows California faces a $59.9 billion bill to pay for health and dental benefits for state retirees over the next 30 years.

“As the State’s obligation to pay health and dental benefits for its current and retired workforce continues to grow, it is critical that we begin making down payments on this tab and adopt strategies to reduce health care costs,” Chiang said. “Because this bill is not immediately due, California has the time and the opportunity to reduce the impact on future generations by putting additional dollars into the annual payments so that we can invest those funds, grow that money and tackle our obligation in a responsible manner.”

The unfunded obligation as of June 30, 2010, grew $8.1 billion from the $51.8 billion obligation identified in the prior year. Less than half of the increase was simply due to another year of costs, payments and interest. The bulk of the increase was due to a change in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s (CalPERS) pension-benefit assumptions based on their latest 10-year study. That study found employees are retiring earlier, retirees are living longer, and actual premiums increased more than previously projected by the actuary. The increase appears larger because in 2008 and 2009, CalPERS decided to use surplus funds from its health care plans to reduce increases in health care premium rates. The 2011 rates were not subsidized, causing the premiums to jump back closer to what the level would have been without the surplus.

Unlike state pensions, which are pre-funded and allow investment returns to reduce liabilities, California retiree health benefits are covered on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, meaning as the costs come due each year. The latest actuarial report estimates California’s obligation for retiree health and dental benefits, also referred to as Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB), based on two different funding scenarios:

• The current pay-as-you-go policy results in an actuarial unfunded obligation of $59.9 billion, which represents the total present value of future retiree health benefits earned as of June 30, 2010, by current and future state retirees. Based on this unfunded obligation, California has an annual OPEB cost of $4.2 billion for 2010-11 – or the amount the State would need to pay to cover these benefits. In the 2010-11 Budget Act, the State only provided $1.4 billion for retirees’ health and dental benefits.

• If the State shifted to fully pre-funding the costs of future benefits, the actuarial unfunded obligation would be cut by more than $21 billion to $38.5 billion. Under a full pre-funding approach, the State would set aside money in a separate trust solely for future retirement health care benefits. The investment income generated by that trust would be used to reduce the costs of paying for future benefits. The State would need to contribute $2.9 billion in 2010-11 to fully fund its obligation for this year.

A separate analysis performed at the request of the Controller shows that even incremental steps toward pre-funding the obligation would significantly reduce the State’s liability (see attached chart). For example, if the State pre-funded just 10 percent of its obligation, it would only need to pay $130.3 million more than its current pay-as-you-go contribution. But that additional payment would shave $2.7 billion off of the State’s unfunded liability. The report showed that even partially funding the obligation would cut the actuarial unfunded obligation.

In 2004, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement 45 (GASB 45) required states and local governments to publicly disclose the future costs of paying for post-employment benefits other than pensions for current state retirees and employees. Chiang commissioned California’s first report shortly after taking office in 2007. This report is the fourth to be issued under his administration.

While GASB 45 does not require states to fully fund its obligations, all three credit rating agencies have urged states to at least have a funding plan in place to avoid any future downgrades.

Chiang urged the State to follow the lead of several bargaining units that are starting to pre-fund their obligations. In August 2009, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen established a trust with the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust (CERBT) to prefund its health and dental benefits for retired CHP officers under Bargaining Unit 5. Recently, other bargaining units, such as the International Union of Operating Engineers (Bargaining Unit 12) and the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (Bargaining Unit 16) have contacted the CERBT to begin the process of entering into contracts to begin in 2012 to prefund their post-retirement health and dental benefits obligations.

In addition to cutting costs by prefunding the obligation, Chiang said the State should take steps to contain health care costs by promoting prevention and wellness, and innovations in health care delivery. He also recommends switching from the traditional fees-for-services payment model to one that pays providers based on performance and outcomes.

“If we can reduce the assumed rate of health care inflation by 1 percent, that could cut our unfunded liability by $7.4 billion over 10 years,” Chiang said. “I continue to call on CalPERS to make prevention and chronic disease management a priority to reduce the demand for health care.”

The actuarial report and a chart showing how much pre-funding would cut future costs can be found on the Controller’s Web site at http://www.sco.ca.gov/.


###

Trig Star 2011 - Trabuco Hills High School On Top

And the winners of the 2011 Trig Star High School Competition are...

Third Place- Gabriel Hahr, Trabuco Hills High School - $200
Second Place - Uma Rajpurkar, Trabuco Hills High School - $300
First Place - Kavan Zommers, Trabuco Hills High School - $500

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR ORANGE COUNTY TRIG STARS!!!

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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