Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fullerton Water Rates

Is there any basis for a rate hike? 

Administrative law judge Douglas Long thinks the Suburban Water District's recent attempt to hike rates for customers in Whittier and La Mirada nearly 40% was excessive. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that the judge has recommended a reduction in Suburban Water System's rate-hike request now before the state Public Utilities Commission.

I can only imagine what the judge would think of Fullerton's recent attempt to jack water rates by 90%.

City Hall has had a tough time accounting for how they determine what you should pay and why.  It seems the rate structure is either a trade secret (think franchise tax) or too complex for words (think indefensible).

Keep a weary eye on your water bill...

FERPing - It's as bad as it sounds

Back in April 2010 I brought you FERPing. 

The Faculty Early Retirement Program, as the name implies, allows faculty to retire early and then come right back to work. On the surface it creates a lower fiscal burden on local university funding which looks like a cost savings for guys like Milton A. Gordon, who gets $302,042 per year while living rent-free at the El Dorado Ranch. The reality is that it costs tax payers and students statewide more than utilizing the lower paid part-time faculty who, under FERP, are forced out.

Even the Fullerton Observer could see the problem with FERPing.

Now FERPing is back but this time the Orange County Register picked up the story.  As the Register's Timothy Sandoval surmises about one professor, "Kreiner benefits from an obscure California State University program that allows professors and librarians to retire and continue to work part time, collecting both a pension and a paycheck."

The bottom line is simple:  WE PAY MORE.  We get nothing in return.  Students have to pay higher fees and tuition while full-time faculty cash in.

CSU faculty apparently aren't afraid to strut their sense of entitlement either:

"I think it's fair," Kreiner said. "If you work for a place for 40 years and contribute to its growth, you have earned it."
Kreiner said in addition to classes, he advises graduate students and continues to conduct research papers, which adds to the university's reputation. He also notes that he is one of the "founding fathers" of the mechanical engineering department at the school.
FERP is by far the clearest form of pension abuse.  As Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association said to the OC Register, "When someone retires one week and shows up for work on Monday – even if it is part-time work – it is a reflection of a system with a low retirement age."

Many government workers retire from government job "A" and go to work at government job "B".  Then they retire AGAIN and go to work for government job "C".  They do this while collecting multiple pensions.  The double and triple dipping, as it is often referred to, is indicative of a broken retirement system.

People used to retire because they could no longer work productively at a given age, such as 65 or 70.  Now public employees retire simply because they can, some as early as age 38.  Then they skip off to the next public trough until they hit 50 or 55.  Many head to yet the third trough.  And who can blame them for gaming the system...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another county sues municipality over redevelopment merger

The Ventura County Star is reporting a familiar story being played out throughout California.  Redevelopment agencies have been attempting to merge their zones or areas into a single massive redevelopment area.

According to the Ventura County Star, Simi Valley merged three redevelopment areas into one last June.  Ventura County objected and has sued.  The County claims the area is not blighted.

Sound familiar?  It should!  Fullerton has done the same thing with their massive merger of redevelopment areas. 

The Fullerton Redevelopment Agency merged areas in 2009 and was sued by the County of Orange as well as a local resident and businessman.  Fullerton ended up paying millions for their greed to the County in property tax revenue that the County was going lose.  Over the next 45 years, the City could pay out as much as $500-million. 

Many of these legal battles may not be fought in the courtroom at all.  The California Supreme Court has been asked by the State's 425 redevelopment agencies to overturn the state legislation passed earlier this year which abolishes all redevelopment agencies unless they pay a "fee" to cover some of the lost revenue. 

It's somewhat satisfying to watch agencies fight one another over taxes.  The Cities, through their redevelopment agencies are like little Tea Parties trying to pay as little in taxes as possible.  It's really quite funny until you realize its all OUR money.  The City, County, and State took my money, squandered most of it on "overhead", and then gave what was left to another agency...

Special thanks to Redevelopment.us for bringing this story to my attention.

For more on Fullerton's Redevelopment Agency, CLICK HERE.

Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

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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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