Thursday, May 5, 2011

Save Susan Souza!!

Save who?!?!

Remember back in high school that one teacher you had that inspired you to learn?  They engaged you in the learning process and helped you channel that teen-age energy into something positive.

For me it was Mrs. Greenwood, my junior-year English teacher at Fullerton High School (c1989) who got me interested in reading.  She changed my life forever. 

For many students at Sunny Hills High School, Susan Souza is their inspiring teacher.  As a part-time college instructor and full-time licensed professional land surveyor I get to meet a lot of interesting and amazing people throughout California who influence the minds of many through classroom interaction and instruction.  Mrs. Souza is at the top of that list. 

She has worked diligently over the last several years to bring an acclaimed engineering program to Fullerton High School District students that has garnered the attention and respect of educators throughout California. 

So why is she being fired?

Mrs. Souza is not a Fullerton Joint High School District employee but rather a ROP instructor (that will be an important distinction in a minute).  She has a long resume of industry experience, degrees and certifications in manufacturing engineering which makes her a great fit for the high school’s computer drafting and engineering classes. 

Working closely with the math and physics teachers, she helps find ways to make seemingly abstract concepts come to life through the creation and use of models, robotics, and hands-on learning in her classroom.

Students who express interest in continuing in engineering go to Mrs. Souza who helps them find internships in the industry.  She also helps them navigate through the university system to find the right program.

So why fire Mrs. Susan Souza?

Part of Mrs. Souza’s method of instruction includes finding guest speakers who can engage the students to share with them opportunities within technical fields and educational resources. 

Mrs. Souza has done made a remarkable effort to introduce students to technical college programs through field trips.  Often, these field trips are tied to competitions.  Sunny Hills High School students have won many of these competitions including the National Trig Star Competition.  The student won several thousand dollars and an all expenses-paid trip to receive his award at an annual conference hosted by the National Society of Professional Surveyors.  She has had other students win competitions as well, including one in computer aided drafting (CAD).

Her students were able to take a field trip to the Port of Long Beach to learn about the operations and maintenance of one of the world’s largest and busiest ports. 

So why fire Mrs. Susan Souza?

Mrs. Souza has worked tirelessly for the last 5 years to inspire students and help each of them achieve their goal. 

She chose to obtain her teaching credential though none is needed for her job.  Unlike her unionized counterparts, she will not receive any compensated for her endeavor because ROP instructors do not have a bargaining unit.  Each instructor works under a contract.  Enforcing the contract means each ROP teacher take up their own law suit to recover any damages as a result of a breach of contract.

So why fire Mrs. Susan Souza?

Mrs. Susan Souza works on the Sunny Hills High School campus as an invited guest of the principal, Ms. Judy Fancher.  That means that at any time and without cause Ms. Fancher may stop Mrs. Souza from teaching (and inspiring) her students. 

Just a few weeks ago Ms. Fancher decided to allow Mrs. Souza to finish up the school year but did NOT invite her back next year.  So what gives? Why fire Mrs. Susan Souza?

I emailed Ms. Fancher on April 14th but she has not replied.  I figured she would at least send me some vague reference to this being a personnel issue and that she is not authorized to discuss it.  Unfortunately, my email inbox sits quiet, patiently waiting for her response. You can try emailing her at ajfancher@fjuhsd.net but don't expect her to get back to you anytime soon.

Mrs. Souza has repeatedly asked Ms. Fancher as well as ROP administrators WHY.  Why is she being fired?  What has she done wrong?  To date, there has never been any complaint from any student or parent about Mrs. Souza.  In fact the contrary has occurred. 
Mrs. Souza’s current and former students, their parents, and those in industry (such as land surveying and engineering) served by her program have come together and support Mrs. Souza’s request to know why she is being fired.

Most of us are willing to acknowledge that the principal has the authority to do this; that isn't the issue.  We want to know what Mrs. Souza has done or failed to do that prompted Ms. Judy Fancher to fire this excellent teacher. 

Making the issue even more frustrating are the countless stories from the teachers themselves of the few really bad apples who have been disciplined or reprimanded numerous times by Ms. Fancher but are protected by the teachers’ union. 

Again I ask, why fire Mrs. Susan Souza? 

Fullerton's Water Rates and Water District Salaries

Teri Sforza of the Orange County Register compiled salaries and benefit values for those earning more than $100,000 as employees of Fullerton's water supplier, the Orange County Water District.  It is an impressive list of management titles and technical fields.  Some of the job titles below have me scratching my head as to what the employees do and what their day to day activities entail.  There are several listed as "supervisor" or "manager" with the exact same title.  Are these managers or are they more like committee members?  Are certain efforts being duplicated?

Sforza says that OCWD employees do not receive the defined benefit that most other agencies provide which certainly makes these salaries much more palatable.  Instead, employees pay into their own 401k-style plans which means a much less overall tax burden for rate payers like the City of Fullerton's residents.

Nonetheless, with Fullerton's water rates being reviewed and an increase likely, it is important to know the good and bad business practices of our partnering public agencies.
Here are the numbers for OCWD. These numbers include the value of health benefits and retirement account contributions in addition to pay received by workers.

General Manager $ 290,851
Assistant General Manager $ 236,548
Executive Director of Engineering & Planning $ 222,330
Executive Director Local Resources and Administration $ 220,320
Laboratory Director $ 202,033
Chief of Hydrogeology $ 198,177
Director of Water Production $ 193,589
Director of IS/Property Management $ 192,627
Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer $ 182,048
Water Quality Director $ 171,696
Director of Planning and Watershed Management’ $ 171,537
Natural Resources Director $ 166,110
Groundwater Replenishment System Process Manager $ 165,026
Executive Director Operations $ 164,899
Director Of Engineering $ 163,453
Director of Human Resources $ 159,960
Principal Hydrogeologist $ 159,889
Process Control & Systems Manager $ 157,656
Director of Recharge Operations $ 157,231
Groundwater Replenishment System Program Manager $ 155,788
Director of Public Affairs $ 154,547
Principal Engineer $ 152,569
Supervising Chemist $ 152,072
Supervising Chemist $ 151,283
Research Director $ 150,019
Senior Engineer $ 149,847
Principal Engineer $ 147,976
Purchasing Manager $ 147,854
Risk and Safety Manager $ 146,692
Principal Engineer $ 145,197
Principal Hydrogeologist $ 144,901
Chief Operator $ 143,170
Accounting Manager $ 142,281
Supervising Chemist $ 140,666
Director of Regulatory Affairs $ 139,631
Senior Programmer Analyst $ 138,821
Principal Hydrogeologist $ 137,777
Operations Shift Supervisor (Grade IV/V) $ 136,932
Finance Manager $ 136,610
Chief Operator $ 135,996
Principal Process Specialist $ 134,158
Senior Programmer Analyst $ 133,268
District Secretary $ 132,467
Senior PCS Programmer $ 130,756
Principal Communications Specialist $ 130,322
Senior Engineer $ 129,013
Operations Shift Supervisor (Grade IV/V) $ 128,076
Senior Plant Operator III $ 127,667
Senior Plant Operator III $ 127,667
Principal Planner $ 127,646
Supervising Chemist $ 126,572
Supervising Chemist $ 126,572
Supervising Environmental Specialist $ 123,087
Senior Scientist $ 122,306
Senior Scientist $ 122,306
Operations Shift Supervisor (Grade IV/V) $ 121,726
Operations Shift Supervisor (Grade IV/V) $ 121,726
Principal Scientist $ 121,656
Principal Scientist $ 121,656
Senior Plant Operator III $ 121,653
Senior Plant Operator III $ 121,653
Maintenance Manager $ 121,520
Maintenance Manager $ 121,520
Supervising Chemist $ 121,131
Supervising Chemist $ 121,131
Field Headquarters Maintenance Supervisor $ 120,857
Field Headquarters Maintenance Supervisor $ 120,857
Basin Cleaning Vehicle Operations Supervisor $ 120,731
Basin Cleaning Vehicle Operations Supervisor $ 120,731
Senior Plant Operator III $ 119,740
Senior Plant Operator III $ 119,740
Senior I & E Technician $ 118,892
Senior I & E Technician $ 118,892
Principal Project Accountant $ 117,864
Principal Project Accountant $ 117,864
Senior Plant Operator III $ 117,572
Senior Plant Operator III $ 117,572
Operations Shift Supervisor $ 117,388
Operations Shift Supervisor $ 117,388
Hydrogeologist $ 116,199
Hydrogeologist $ 116,199
Senior Maintenance Technician Grade III $ 116,021
Senior Maintenance Technician Grade III $ 116,021
Principal Project Accountant $ 115,737
Principal Project Accountant $ 115,737
Senior Programmer Analyst $ 115,679
Senior Programmer Analyst $ 115,679
Senior I & E Technician $ 115,407
Senior I & E Technician $ 115,407
Senior Chemist $ 115,340
Senior Chemist $ 115,340
Recharge System Operator $ 114,934
Recharge System Operator $ 114,934
Senior Maintenance Technician Grade III $ 114,713
Senior Maintenance Technician Grade III $ 114,713
Principal Project Accountant $ 114,346
Principal Project Accountant $ 114,346
Senior Distribution Technician $ 114,223
Senior Distribution Technician $ 114,223
GIS/Database Supervisor $ 113,719
GIS/Database Supervisor $ 113,719
Senior Scientist $ 113,206
Senior Scientist $ 113,206
Senior I & E Technician $ 112,766
Senior I & E Technician $ 112,766
Senior Administrative Coordinator $ 112,646
Senior Administrative Coordinator $ 112,646
Senior I & E Technician $ 112,566
Senior I & E Technician $ 112,566
Property Manager $ 110,873
Network Administrator $ 110,275
Senior Scientist $ 109,268
Senior Scientist $ 109,268
Senior Environmental Specialist $ 109,096
Senior Hydrogeologist $ 108,938
Senior Hydrogeologist $ 108,938
Senior Scientist $ 108,910
Senior Scientist $ 108,910
Assistant District Secretary $ 108,460
Assistant District Secretary $ 108,460
Senior Planner $ 108,421
Senior Planner $ 108,421
Hydrogeologist $ 108,179
Construction Inspector $ 108,174
Senior Chemist $ 107,371
Senior Chemist $ 107,371
Network Administrator $ 107,289
Maintenance Technician Grade II $ 106,187
Buyer $ 105,335
Principal Communications Specialist $ 104,902
Senior PCS Programmer $ 104,888
Senior Environmental Specialist $ 103,638
Legislative Affairs Liaison $ 103,190
Senior Chemist $ 102,715
Senior I & E Technician $ 102,430
Maintenance Technician Grade II $ 102,163
Senior I & E Technician $ 100,204
Field Headquarters Operations Supervisor $ 100,121

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Animals On Campus

My stomach turned as I read the article.  I could feel my knees trying to buckle though I sat in my chair.  My disgust began to bubble and anger began to build.  Fists clenched, jaw locked, anger overcame my normally calm and rational disposition. 

It isn't often that an article in the Orange County Register hits me like that.  The article, by Larry Welborn, was not much more than an abbreviated crime report.  It reads in part:

Raul Barrientos, 22, was accused of approaching a 19-year-old woman, who is severely impaired both mentally and physically, outside a restroom on the Fullerton College campus on April 29, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney's Office. The woman, who has a developmental age of a 5- to 6-year-old child, takes special education classes at the college.

Prosecutors contend that Barrientos put his arm around the victim, who wears leg braces on both legs and has impaired speech, and guided her into a stall in the men's restroom, where he sexually assaulted her while she continued to cry.

Barrientos left the woman in the bathroom, where she was found a short time later by a teacher, according to prosecutors. Campus security officers, who were searching for a man matching Barrientos' description because a separate student complained earlier about his suspicious demeanor, then located and detained Barrientos for Fullerton Police.

He allegedly had blood from the victim on his clothes and body, prosecutors said.

What is wrong with this world when such an animal is able to walk, mostly unnoticed, and hurt those who cannot fend for themselves? 

The allegations against Barrientos are extremely disturbing. 

I commend the student who complained to security about Barrientos acting suspiciously.  I also commend the security officers who found Barrientos and held him for police.  I hope that the DA’s Office and Fullerton PD detectives put together a solid investigation and case so that Barrientos never walks free.  Seek every sentence enhancement the Penal Code offers prosecutors. 

Further, it conjures compelling emotions to apply capital punishment in instances such as this.  Perhaps that isn’t the best answer but it certainly seems justified.  Our children and those unable to protect themselves must be protected. 


Restoring Integrity or Promoting Waste?

Tonight the City Council will vote on lifting water restrictions. 

In 2009 the City implemented certain restrictions on activities such as the time of day which property owners may irrigate landscaping.  As the Water System Manager, David Schickling, PE, noted to the City's Infrastructure Review Commission and the Energy and Resource Management Commission just two weeks ago, it is important to show the water users (rate payers) credibility. Schickling believes it is important to show that the City will act in good faith and only impose those restrictions when the need and urgency warrants itself.

Some of the commissioners questioned the act of lifting the band because doing so would promote water waste. 

The sad truth is that the majority of water users have never seen a City Council meeting much less paid any attention to their actions.

The good news is that most water users are already water-savvy and take steps to conserve. 

I doubt the lifted restrictions will cause a water shortage or spur conservation. 

With water rates likely going up this summer, I believe the added costs are sure to fuel more conservation and lead to an even greater deficit in water system funding if we continue to keep water rates tied primarily to consumption. 

The City Council meeting is at City Hall at 6:30PM.

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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