Thursday, August 25, 2011

Solar Powered Library, Do the Savings Add Up?

Does the end justify the means? 

We can apply that question to so many various topics but I would like to see how the Library’s new photo voltaic system (solar panel array) holds up to the scrutiny.

The system is costing taxpayers $676,100to purchase and install and will take 45-70 years to break even if the savings pencil out to $10,000 to $15,000 per year as suggested by city engineering staff.  The problem is that the warranty is only good for 25 years leaving taxpayers exposed for an addition 20 to 45 years! 

The cost does not include routine maintenance to clean the panels which is necessary to maintain efficient production of electricity. 

In the end, we will spend much more replacing outdated panels and repairing antiquated technology than we will save by using these panels.  I’m all for sensible environmental policies but this policy just isn't sensible, it’s downright wasteful.

Shouldn't we be seeking to SAVE taxpayers money rather than subsidize the solar industry?

So, does the end justify the means?

Something else I have often wondered but never researched is how much greenhouse gas will be produced manufacturing these panels and will that pollution reach 100% mitigation by using these panels for 25 years? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Deferred Compensation, the Preferred Compensation

In its simplest form, deferred compensation is a benefit paid after services are rendered. 

It’s an interesting concept; paying someone today for services performed and then paying them again at some later date for those same services already rendered.

With that in mind, let’s look at what we might pay one of our public safety employees who retires at age 50 with 30 years of service and the “3%@50” defined benefit.  We’ll call her “Sara”.

For the sake of discussion, Sara will die of old age on her 85th birthday which means she will receive her pension for 35 years. 

If Sara was paid $124,730 for her last year’s employment, she will receive $112,500 for those 35 retired years. 

Her pension check alone will cost taxpayers $3,937,500 after she has stopped rendering services to the City assuming she does not get cost of living adjustments which our current public safety retirees enjoy.  We have also excluded the lifetime medical benefit as well.

When she dies at 85 she will have received $6,695,940 for her 30 years of service (not including medical or pension COLA).

That would be the same as if taxpayers had paid her $223,198 for each of her 30 years of service.  Of course she started at $65,000 per year and never received a stepped increase in pay, only cost of living adjustments valued at 6% her first year and 2% for most years after and still was able to earn $124,730.  Not bad for no promotions.

The entire notion of deferred compensation has me convinced we are handling pensions completely wrong.

I see two possible ways to deal with this.  We could pay higher salaries now and let the employees figure out the best investment plan for their future (think 401-K) or workers will need to be productive for 40-50 years instead of 30 years.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cal State Fullerton Proves Once Again They Know How to Waste Millions!


 FULLERTON - The Orange County Register is reporting that Cal State Fullerton has spent $143-million to add student housing and a cafeteria for 1064 additional students.  That figure does not include the cost to float the initial $143-million bond which could cost students and taxpayers $250-million.  That works out to about $235,000 for each bed or $470,000 for a small bedroom with no kitchen.   Students need the housing but the cost seems too high. 

This is the epitome of big government waste but its nothing new to CSUF who pays their president, Milton A. Gordon, $294,615 (not including benefits and perks).  Gordon lives in a donated mansion on a sprawling estate in the Fullerton hills.  Living rent free, he still commands a massive salary while students and taxpayers get stuck with the bill. 

CSUF, like other universities, allows faculty top enter an early retirement program.  The program allows full-time faculty to retire early and continue to work part-time.  It sounds good on paper but the practice means we, the taxpayers, are paying extra for less.  The retiree also immediately qualifies for FREE parking while other part-time employees must pay to park their car at their work. 

The long list of CSUF wasteful spending continues to grow as does the cost of tuition.  If CSUF students and their families want to lower tuition, they need to hold the CSUF administration responsible. 

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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