Friday, June 24, 2011

Republican County? So Says Fullerton Observer

In the Early June edition of the Fullerton Observer an un-named author noted Villa Park Council Member as a member of the "Republican County Central Committee".  The article should probably read "Orange County Republican Party Central Committee".


Where is the freedom to question?


"Standing up for what is right is not easy for us who study the world using reason, because we must overcome the additional burden that we are living in a time in which reason, as defined by Herbert Marcuse (1941), is 'unquestioned conformity to the dictates of efficiency, convenience and profits.' I ask you...what does CU stand for: 'Conformity Unquestioned' or 'Courageously Undaunted?'"


 


Dr. Randy O. Wayne, PhD - Cornell University


 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Third-Party Specs

This week’s Fullerton Planning Commission meeting brought out some of the best leadership discussions I have heard at the dais in a seemingly long time.

The Commission had been asked to weigh in on and vote for the City to adopt a policy on the subject of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design or “LEED”.  Many believe LEED is the next great certification in the building industry.  The only problem, as was noted by the Planning Commission, is that LEED is a fabrication of the U.S. Green Building Council.  As official as the name may sound, USGBC is a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built, and operated. 

LEED is an ecological feel-good program that some swear by and others swear at.  Either way, the certification and standards are not law and the Commission took the stance that the City of Fullerton should not be making laws or even policies based on third-party standards.

In a letter to the Fullerton City Council, the Commission wrote:
It is the recommendation of the Fullerton Planning Commission that the Council NOT mandate or incentivize any additional green building standards in Fullerton beyond the existing California Green Building Code. This recommendation is based on the following:
  • Mandates can add unrecoverable cost to a project which can render a project infeasible, cause cost cutting on other project objectives, and/or create barriers to successful development.
  • As green building techniques mature and are proven effective in the marketplace, developers will increasingly choose to exceed standards and/or seek third-party certification on their own without the force of mandates.
  • The current California Building Code as well as other regulations already require energy conservation, water conservation, improved indoor air quality, reuse/recycling of materials, and improved water quality.
This recommendation applies to the development standards of both private and public projects including future General Plan stipulations. It should NOT be construed as a recommendation against green building techniques in general which should be considered by merit on an individual basis for projects with public funding.

The Planning Commission gets it! 

Not that I don’t want a better environment for my family but there is another side to these third-party standards and mandates.

This week I was responding to an agency’s request for qualifications for a survey and mapping project.  In their RFQ they noted that the mapping must meet or exceed a certain standard.  The standard they specified was not one created by an agency but by a third party building industry publisher.  To find out what the standard was I had to purchase a book that is copyright protected and not available except through the publisher.  This practice is becoming commonplace thanks in large part to my brethren East Coast engineers. 

At $2 per page, the cost of the specification manual I had to purchase, it would appear that at least a few engineers figured out a way to make money when the government cheese gets cut.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

State Controller Finds Budget Did Not Balance On Paper

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today announced that his analysis of the State budget vetoed last week shows the spending plan was incomplete and unbalanced. His analysis sought to determine whether the budget met the requirements of Proposition 25 and Proposition 58, which forfeit Legislative pay if a balanced budget is not passed by June 15.

“My office’s careful review of the recently-passed budget found components that were miscalculated, miscounted or unfinished,” said Chiang. “The numbers simply did not add up, and the Legislature will forfeit their pay until a balanced budget is sent to the Governor.”

Proposition 25, titled the “On-Time Budget Act of 2010,” was approved by voters November 2, 2010. The initiative lowered the vote requirement for passing a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority without lowering the two-thirds vote required for tax increases. It also forfeits Legislators’ pay and living expenses incurred from June 16 until “the day that the budget bill is presented to the Governor.”

Nothing in the Constitution or state law gives the State Controller the authority to judge the honesty, legitimacy or viability of a budget. The Controller can only determine whether the expected revenues will equal or exceed planned expenditures in the budget, as required by Article 4, Section 12(g) of the Constitution: “. . .the Legislature may not send to the Governor for consideration, nor may the Governor sign into law, a budget bill that would appropriate from the General Fund, for that fiscal year, a total amount that. . .exceeds General Fund revenues for that fiscal year estimated as of the date of the budget bill's passage. That estimate of General Fund revenues shall be set forth in the budget bill passed by the Legislature.”

“While the vetoed budget contains solutions of questionable achievability and some to which I am personally opposed, current law provides no authority for my office to second-guess them in my enforcement of Proposition 25,”said Chiang. “My job is not to substitute my policy judgment for that of the Legislature and the Governor, rather it is to be the honest-broker of the numbers.”

Using this standard, the Controller’s analysis found that the recently-vetoed budget committed the State to $89.75 billion in spending, but only provided $87.9 billion in revenues, leaving an imbalance of $1.85 billion.

The largest problem involved the guaranteed level of education funding under Proposition 98. The June 15 budget underfunded education by more than $1.3 billion. Underfunding is not possible without suspending Proposition 98, which would require a supermajority (2/3) vote of the Legislature.

The budget also counted on $320 million in hospital fees, $103 million in taxes on managed-care plans, and $300 million in vehicle registration charges. However, the Legislature never passed the bills necessary to collect or spend those funds as part of the State budget.

summary of the Controller’s analysis of the authorized expenditures versus the estimated revenues can be found on the Controller’s website at www.sco.ca.gov.

Monday, June 20, 2011

OC Register: Hearings Tuesday on Edison [13%] rate increase

(from FRED SWEGLES for the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER)

The public is invited to a pair of hearings the California Public Utilities Commission will conduct Tuesday in San Clemente to solicit comments about Southern California Edison's request for a 12.87 percent general rate increase during the next three years. It's intended to cover Edison's projected costs in the three-year period, PUC spokesman Andrew Kotch said.

An administrative law judge will hear testimony at 2 and 7 p.m. Tuesday in the San Clemente Community Center at Avenida Del Mar and Calle Seville. The judge then will weigh the evidence in coming months before issuing a decision the PUC will be asked to vote on.

The average household's monthly bill would increase about $5 and would remain at the national average, SCE spokesman Gil Alexander said. Edison says the increase is needed to invest in improvements to maintain the reliability and security of the region's power-delivery grid.

Edison provides electric service to more than 14 million people in more than 180 cities in a 50,000-square-mile area of central, coastal and Southern California.

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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