Saturday, November 5, 2011

MARK YOUR CALENDAR - Al Zelinka's Community Dialogue - November 22


Fullerton Community Development Director Al Zelinka will conduct a “Community Dialogue” Tuesday, Nov. 22, which citizens can attend and discuss issues, concerns and hopes they have regarding the city’s growth and development.

The dialogue, the last in the 2011 series of bi-monthly community meetings conducted by Zelinka, will be held from 8-9 a.m. at the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, 444 N. Harbor Blvd.

Zelinka said he started the dialogues as a means of helping his department meet the goals of its mission statement.
           
“I believe community involvement in the planning process is absolutely essential to achieving that goal,” Zelinka said, “and I hope the public will take advantage of this meeting to share their ideas, issues and other information.”
           
Zelinka added he will continue the bi-monthly dialogues in 2012. The schedule will be as follows:

- Jan. 25, May 24 and Sept. 27 – 6-7 p.m., Vision Center, Room 140, Grace Ministries International, 150 S. Brookhurst Road.

- March 27, July 24 and Nov. 27 – 8-9 a.m., Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, 444 N. Harbor Blvd.
           
Further information about the “Community Dialogue” program may be obtained by calling Zelinka at (714) 738-3347, or by email at alz@ci.fullerton.ca.us.

Persons requiring special accommodations to attend a “Community Dialogue” are asked to notify the Community Development Department at (714) 738-6547 prior to the meeting.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Focus On West Fullerton - Recap

At Wednesday's Focus On West Fullerton Community Dialogue in the new Library Conference Center I was asked by a City official why I didn't blog about these positive events.  I gave the official my blog address (GregSebourn.Blogspot.com) and said that I was pretty good about announcing these opportunities when they came up.

So, I figured a recap of the meeting was in order.

Some of the officials present included City Manager Joe Felz, Community Services Director Al Zelinka, Police Captain Dan Hughes, and Council Member Sharon Quirk-Silva.  Noticeably absent from the panel was Public Works Director Don Hoppe. 

Also present were various commissioners like my self. 

I attended the meeting acting in my official capacity as the Chair of your Citizen's Infrastructure Review Commission (CIRC).  I took notes and asked questions. 

The somewhat informal meeting kicked off at 6pm with about 40 people present.  City Manager Joe Felz spoke briefly and gave a general State of the City report.  Community Development director Al Zelinka acted as the facilitator.

The bulk of the meeting consisted of Captain Dan Hughes and questions by residents.  One of the single best things I heard was from Captain Hughes who told the audience, "Hold me accountable."

Some of the discussions included crime prevention, crime mapping, and how to deal with the police department effectively. 

Also, discussed were quallity of life issues like tagging.  Captain Hughes described a recent crackdown on taggers that used a number of plain-clothed officers from the patrol division.

If you have a Police Department issue, please use the following phone numbers:
Front Desk 714-738-6816
Dispatch 714-738-6800 (press zero)
Capt. Hughes 714-738-6840 

My short mention of the lengthy discussion doesn't do justice in describing the depth and breadth of Captain Hughes' nearly 2-hour attempt to inform the public.

Many residents complained of poor lighting, deteriorating roads, and "abandoned" buildings.

Some residents proposed turning the vacant Fullerton Dodge property at 1100 W. Orangethorpe into a park.  Many were concerned about too much high-density residential development on the west side. 

Many of the comments and questions pertaining to lighting and roads would have been best directed to Public Works Director Hoppe.  In his absence, the other officials made attempts to address the concerns.

The people speaking need to use a microphone.  A large number of the residents appeared to be senior citizens and many told me that it was very hard to hear.

City Manager Joe Felz explained that the City is looking at a shift in the use of Redevelopment Agency funds.  Felz explained that state law requires 20% of the funds be spent on affordable housing.  The remaining funds could be spent on infrastructure needs like roads and sidewalks.  He said there were a couple of pending law suits which would ultimately decide if the money could be used in such a manner. 

Those who know me also know how I feel about the Redevelopment Agency.  Since this post is specifically to address the meeting, I will refrain from expressing my opinion of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency.

Lastly, and most importantly, the department heads (PD, Community Development, City Manager) are talking to one another.  They are attempting to reorganize a downsized City Hall and address the issues which many feel were ignored by their predecessors. 

I will give the Citizens Infrastructure Review Committee a brief report on the meeting to share the concerns brought forward by the public.  Tentatively, the next CIRC meeting is scheduled for November 14 at 4PM at City Hall.  The public is encouraged to attend and speak about infrastructure related issues or just listen. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Despite $1.7-Million Savings, City Still Operating MILLION$ in the Red

Between the City of Fullerton's Press Release and the Orange County Register, you would think that last night's passage of employee MOU labor agreements was the best thing to happen in Fullerton in many months.  Maybe for the employees it is.

The city's press release is quick to state that the City will "save" nearly $1.7-million in FY2011-12 and FY2012-13. 

The problem is that the budget mentioned had an $8-MILLION deficit

Between these MOUs and some recent financial reports with some cost-saving measures, the City has closed that gap to a little less than $6-MILLION.

But there still exists a multi-million dollar deficit.  Unless someone can show me the financial reports that explain how that gap was closed, I'm inclined to continue my fight to cut at City Hall.

Remember back on April 26 of this year when Administrative Manager Julia James said the budget was short by $8-million?  And remember when she said the City would make up the deficit by renegotiating with employees??  You don't?  Well, here is the report she issued, read DISCUSSION:
click to see full-size

click to see full-size

It was a nice thought but a complete failure.  We are still $6-MILLION in the red.

REMINDER - FOCUS ON WEST FULLERTON - TONIGHT



You’re invited to…
A Dialogue with
Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz

Fullerton Police Captain Dan Hughes

Fullerton Community Development Director Al Zelinka

And other members of your City of Fullerton team

TONIGHT!
WHY?
Over the next several months, meetings will be organized to facilitate dialogues between the Fullerton community and members of its City of Fullerton team.

The purpose of this planned meeting is to have a productive dialogue between West Fullerton community members and City staff about quality of life issues and explore approaches, ideas, and solutions related to them.

WHEN?
TONIGHT
- Wednesday, November 2, 2011 – 6:00pm-8:00pm

WHERE?Fullerton Main Library – Conference Center
353 W. Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832

MORE INFORMATION…For more information, please contact Al Zelinka, Community Development Director for the City of Fullerton at 714-738-3347 or alz@ci.fullerton.ca.us.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Taxpayer-Subsidized Racing Boat?

The City Council would like to give Sunny Hills High School $2,500 and sponsor the school’s participation in the annual Solar Cup Race.

Interestingly, the race is being put on by our water supplier, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. 

The idea behind the race, according to the City of Fullerton staff report, is for the high school students to build and race solar powered boats. 

And what are the benefits to the taxpayers?  According to the same staff report, the benefits to MWD and its member agencies include:
  • Promote stewardship of natural resources, water quality and recreation
  • Increase understanding of water conservation and many issues, perspectives, and science of water
  • Greater ties to secondary education audience (high schools) in our service area
  • Legislative outreach opportunities both locally and regionally
  • Intense collaborative effort between MWD and sponsoring agencies
  • Community outreach opportunities to service groups retirees or organizations – Lions, Elks Clubs
  • Increase awareness to paths into water industry careers

And where will the $2,500 come from?  The Water Fund.  This is the same fund that, just a few short months ago, city staff were crying was underfunded and that they just had to raise our water rates.  They said they wanted to sell tens of millions of dollars in bonds to fund replacement of the City's ancient water system.

How is it we went from “Captain, Captain, the ship is sinking!” to floating a $2,500 sponsorship fee (made payable to a public agency – MWD) for a high school outreach program? 

What could have changed?  Did ending the decades-long franchise tax on the Water Fund result in more cash on hand for “outreach” efforts like this?  Was there a sudden revenue spike in Water Fund revenue resulting in a massive surplus?

Is this water education allocation a good use of public funds at a time when we are being asked to pay nearly double on water rates?  Does the Water Fund’s “water education” allocation need some scrutiny?

If any of these questions have raised the hair on the back of your neck, you might want to ask your City Council to justify this $2,500 expenditure.  In 2009, the City Council voted to support the Sunny Hills Team for the 2011 race in name only and not give them any funding.  That was responsible.

So what changed since 2009?  Our City Council voted to approve a two-year budget with a $8-million deficit and passed a $29-million tax bond that will cost Fullerton taxpayers $45.5-million!  Oh, and in 2010, the City Council voted to resume sponsorship of the team.  Now we’re broke!

Time and again, we see Fullerton’s failed leadership implement meaningless policies with little benefit to the taxpayer who makes it all possible. 

Waste at any level is waste and when we have a massive deficit coupled with out of control spending, it's time to stop the party bus. 

I know some of the teachers involved in the Solar Cup Race at Sunny Hills.  These are truly some of the brightest minds our high school district has to offer.  My opposition is to the City's use of our funds for the sponsorship and not extracurricular activities that help students learn.

I suggest the Sunny Hills team have fundraisers like the other clubs and athletic teams.  They should start soliciting donations from the District’s Board Members and Superintendent. 

The team should contact all of the City's, as well as the District's, employee unions and ask for donations.  Come election season they always seem to be flush with cash for campaign signs and glossy mailers - surely their members would like to contribute to such a worthy cause.

They can even call me, I'd love to chip in.  When the City said no in 2009, Marty Burbank jumped in and donated.  (MY HAT'S OFF TO YOU, MARTY!!)  But please don’t ask for money from City Hall until we can pay off the mounting debt and balance the budget. 

Fullerton's Employee Unions Rearrange the Deck Chairs

Fullerton’s employee unions have come to the bargaining table and rearranged the chairs for new employees. 

The result is an immediate revenue drain due to the end of the 5% pay-back salary reduction that employees have been subject to since 2009.

There are some long-term savings in the MOU but the end results are not nearly enough to dodge the pension tsunami which has been propelling us towards municipal bankruptcy. 

Don’t forget that the City Council approved the FY2011-2013 budget with a $8-million dollar deficit, citing that negotiations with the bargaining units would cover the shortfall. 

Time and again, the City Council has refused to heed the advice of countless experts, even ignoring commonsense.

How do you spell Failure?  F-U-L-L-E-R-T-O-N! 

Who gets what...

The Fullerton Municipal Employees Federation (300± members):
  • No across-the-board raises.
  • 5% salary pay-back is ended.  This will be like a 5% raise and is a salary reinstatement for the 300 or so members.
  • $1,000 increase from $1,500 to $2,500 for tuition reimbursement.
  • Second tier for retirement for new employees that averages a retiree’s highest 3 years instead of using the single highest year for calculating retirement.
  • Eliminated the cap on sick-leave payout.
  • 7% employee cost sharing for CalPERS benefits.
  • Medical benefits have no change for first year.  Second and third year share 50/50 increases in premiums.
  • Capping of retiree benefits for new hires.

The Fullerton Police Officer’s Association - Safety Unit (135± members):
  • No across-the-board raises.
  • End 5% salary pay-back.  This will be like a 5% raise and is a salary reinstatement for members.
  • Second tier retirement for new employees replacing 3%@50 with 3%@55 and the average of a retiree’s highest 3 years instead of using the single highest year for calculating retirement.
  • Increase retirement cost sharing from 2.252% for CalPERS to 9.252% for current employees and 9% for those hired under the 3%@55 formula.
  • Medical benefits have no change for first year.  Second and third year share 50/50 increases in premiums.

The Fullerton Police Officer’s Association - Dispatchers Unit (15± members):
  • No across-the-board raises.
  • 5% salary pay-back is ended.  This will be like a 5% raise and is a salary reinstatement for members.
  • $1,000 increase from $1,500 to $2,500 for tuition reimbursement.
  • Second tier for retirement for new employees that averages a retiree’s highest 3 years instead of using the single highest year for calculating retirement.
  • Eliminated the cap on sick-leave payout.
  • 7% employee cost sharing for CalPERS benefits.
  • Medical benefits have no change for first year.  Second and third year share 50/50 increases in premiums.

The Fullerton Firefighters’ Association (80± members):
  • No across-the-board raises.
  • End 5% salary pay-back.  This will be like a 5% raise and is a salary reinstatement for members
  • Second tier retirement for new employees replacing 3%@50 with 3%@55 and the average of a retiree’s highest 3 years instead of using the single highest year for calculating retirement.
  • Increase retirement cost sharing from 2.557% for CalPERS to 9.557% for current employees and 9% for those hired under the 3%@55 formula.
  • Medical benefits have no change for first year.  Second and third year share 50/50 increases in premiums.
  • 7% cost sharing for all miscellaneous employees represented by unit.
  • May later meet and discuss staffing configuration changes.
  • “Provision to allow compliance with new DMV requirements for physical examinations.”

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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