Saturday, June 18, 2011

Will US Invade Syriia

After decades of violent religious and political persecutions it seems odd that the US has not invaded Syria. The absence of US intervention is only made more poignant when we have aircraft over half a dozen or more middle eastern cities and troop s in as many.
Over and over reporters from various news agencies tell the horrors of men, women, and children who are tortured and murdered at the hands of the Syrian government.

Syrian troops using terror tactics on protesters
More brutality in Syria as refugee camps swell
Syria's latest crackdown kills 33; girl dies
Syrian boy's brutal death rouses protesters

It is heartbreaking to hear about innocent civilians being tortured and murdered, but when it is a child that suffers, the father in me wants to chase down and destroy the evil.

Our soldiers are fighting throughout the world. I can think of no more important mission than the safeguarding of the defenseless against an unimaginable evil. 

Children are God's greatest gift. Please say a prayer for all of them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Congressman Tom McClintock Calls for End to Redevelopment Agencies

Joining a chorus of organizations representing private property rights, taxpayers and faith based organizations, conservative stalwart Congressman Tom McClintock is calling for an end to California's 425 redevelopment agencies. In a YouTube video, the Congressman calls out RDAs for abusing private property rights and wasteful government spending, including $6.9 million for a mermaid bar.  He points out that local taxpayer dollars that would otherwise go to local police and fire protection are going into the pockets of politically connected interests. 

Click Here to Watch!
  
In recent weeks, conservative leaders and organizations have been calling on Republican legislators to abandon their support for RDAs. In March of this year, Governor Brown's effort to abolish RDAs failed due to Republican opposition, despite independent analysis that concluded that there is no reliable evidence that redevelopment creates net new jobs.

A website, www.StopTheMoneyPit.com, was launched to build public support for SB 77 and AB 101, legislation that abolishes RDAs.

Congressman McClintock urges you to contact your state legislator!  Click here to find out who represents you in the California State Legislature.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Flag Day 2011

Controller Releases More Local Government Payroll Figures

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today updated his website showing the salary, pension benefits and other employee compensation for several hundred special districts including Library, Mosquito Abatement, Conservation, Air Quality and Airport agencies.
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, and the first 1,925 districts were loaded between February and April of this year.
Compensation information for employees of special districts is being collected and posted on the website in four phases. The fourth and final phase – launched today – includes almost $457 million in payroll reported by 454 local agencies.
The Controller's 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.

80 percent of all special districts in the final phase followed the new reporting requirements. A list of agencies that failed to file in time for today’s launch can also be found on this website. Each non-complying agency could face a penalty of $5,000. The Controller anticipates loading similar information for state employees later this month.

Is Jerry Brown's hiring freeze working?

In an email from the California Republican Party citing the Sacramento Bee the following proclamation was made:
According to the SacBee's State Worker column, we're nearly four months into Jerry's state government hiring freeze. So how's it going? From Feb. 15 through May 25, the government hired 1,516 employees, according to state controller's payroll data. Here's another way to view it: If you added up the initial paychecks for those new-to-government hires, you'd have about $3 million.

The blurb is missing some important information which paints a much clearer picture and was included in the original article from the Sacramento Bee but was omitted from the CRP email.  I don't like many of Brown's policies but let's call it the way it is and not the way we want it to appear.

(from SacBee)
Pretty loose hiring clamp, you say? Not really.


Hiring is down about 40 percent per month, on average, from seven months prior to the hiring freeze.
 
Schwarzenegger didn't order a hiring freeze during those last months. He didn't trust the bureaucracy. He also wanted the immediate payroll savings from his 2008, 2009 and 2010 furlough orders, believing that the state's fiscal crises justified the controversial policy.

Brown, no lover of furloughs, is letting the slower process of attrition take hold. So while the state was welcoming those 1,500 employees aboard – many of them part-time or at entry-level pay – it said bon voyage to 2,349 retirees, according to CalPERS data. Those employees tend to be at the high end of the pay scale.
 
Senior staff in Brown's office added a hiring chill factor by personally reviewing all state employment proposals after they've gone through a financial analysis.

Schwarzenegger would never have done that, said Daniel J.B. Mitchell, a state labor expert at UCLA's Anderson School of Management: "He wasn't into micromanaging. Grand themes were more his area."

With the state still trying to close a $10 billion budget gap, Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford puts it another way: "We're keeping a close eye on the shop. We have to."

So what about all those hires in corrections, the tax board and mental health?

Brown's freeze order exempts some jobs such as frontline hospital staff, public safety employees, and tax and fee collectors.

It's the kind of nuanced policymaking that sometimes eluded Schwarzenegger. He ordered furloughs for everyone but firefighters and CHP officers in 2008, then added tax collectors to the exemption list nearly two years later after seeing evidence that the state lost $7 in revenue for every $1 the furloughs saved.

Since February, just six departments account for 80 percent of the new hiring. The jobs they're filling fall into those exempt categories: licensed and vocational nurses, correctional officers, tax board seasonal clerks and the like.

It's getting harder to hire on with the state, and Jerry Brown likes it that way.

Once you read the article and see the data in its entirety, you see the hiring freeze (or hiring slow-down) is becoming effective. 

My suggestion to the CRP is to choose data and articles a little better.  The Republican Party needs to take the high road and not promulgate misleading information.  Regaining credibility needs to become a priority for the Party.
A closer look at the numbers shows that Brown, a pro-public employee Democrat, is stingier with government jobs than his predecessor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Orange County Grand Jury Compensation Survey of Water and Sanitation Districts Released

The Orange County Grand Jury has released its "COMPENSATION SURVEY OF ORANGE COUNTY WATER AND SANITATION DISTRICTS". Although the study makes no great revelation, it does suggest that these special districts may be too far removed from the hands of the constituents they serve.

Why the Grand Jury Study:
Special districts are not well understood by the public
Receive little public scrutiny

Special Water/Sanitation Districts Serving Fullerton:
Municipal Water District of Orange County
(Water only)

The District is a wholesale water management and planning agency that provides imported water to 28 water purveyors and two private water companies in a service area of over 600 square miles. These smaller entities then provide the water to residential and commercial customers. In 2001 the District consolidated with Coastal Municipal Water District of Southern California. It is the second largest member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the agency that supplies Southern California with the majority of its imported water. It coordinates countywide water/wastewater emergency preparedness and response efforts.

Orange County Sanitation District
(Sewer only)
The District provides wastewater services for much of Orange County. Its boundaries cover 479 square miles, serving 21 cities and three special districts. The District has two operating facilities, one in Fountain
Valley, the other in Huntington Beach, treating wastewater from residential, commercial and industrial sources in central and northwest Orange County. Each day approximately 230 million gallons of wastewater is treated, enough water to fill Angel Stadium three times a day.

The 25 members of the District’s board of directors consist of elected representatives from each of the sewer agencies or cities within the Orange County Sanitation District. Thus the board members of the District are not elected directly, but are appointed by their respective agencies.

Orange County Water District
(Water only)
Despite its name, the Orange County Water District is not a water provider in the usually understood sense. Its function is to manage the underground water in Orange County, called the aquifer. Agencies pumping water from the ground in Orange County are regulated and charged by this district. The Orange County Water District also operates the Groundwater Replenishment System, a state of the art plant in Fountain Valley that purifies wastewater and injects it back into the ground for reuse.

The board of directors for this district is a hybrid of elected and appointed officials. Of the 10 board members, 7 are elected from defined service areas within the district, and 3 are appointed representatives of
the cities of Fullerton, Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Findings:
Lack of interest by the public
Some districts offer board members fulltime benefits for part-time work
Suggests minimum standards for information access on district websites

Facts:
Combined total annual revenues for the 18 water and sanitation special districts in Orange County exceed $1.3 billion.

California state law defines a special district as “any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries (Government Code Section 16271 (d)).

Compensation for the board of directors of water districts must be set in accordance with the California Water Code Section 20202 and for the board of directors of Sanitation Districts, in accordance with the Health and Safety Code, Section 6489.

Board of director meeting stipends for water and sanitation special districts are capped by the state. Other compensation packages for the board of directors and the general manager are set by the board of directors in each district.

Elected or appointed officers of a special district, commission or board elected or appointed after June 30, 1994 are prohibited from participating in the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

Recommendations:
Provide in an easily accessible format on the district’s website, data on compensation for the board of directors and general manager, as well as current budget and financial reports.
Maintain and update agendas, minutes, meeting schedules and location on the district’s website.

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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