Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Preview of Tonight's City Council Meeting - What's in it, what's not


Tonight's City Council Agenda is spectacularly huge.  There are 23 items on is and that doesn't include the study session for the Task Force On Homelessness and Mental Health Services or the Closed Session conferences with legal counsel.  One of the countless law suits alone could cost Fullerton taxpayers more than $10-million and no one was killed.  Indeed, it is a strange world we live in.

I'm not sure what to expect for the Task Force's study session and the agenda is void of information.

The Consent Calendar is where we often see expensive plans put quietly in motion and tonight is no different.  The 15 items consist of General Plan update, legal contracts, labor contracts, insurance report with recommendations from staff, November's general election, Successor Agency debt update (more on this in a moment), Measure M funding, custodial services contract, agreement with Brea for sewer replacement, rezoning, property acquisition, sewer lining, Chapman Ave (at Fox Fullerton) right-turn lane, and the Walnut/Lincoln sewer replacement.

All told, these represent $647,106,698 in spending.  Of that, $641,969,234 is from the Redevelopment Agency's debt courtesy of the City Council.  That leaves $5,137,464 in new expenditures/allocations.  And where is this buried?  The Consent Calendar.

There are Public Hearings on four items.  
Agenda item 16 is the OCTA Bike Share Pilot Project.  This is a 66-month trial run to see if people will use bikes dispensed from an automated bike rack like a vending machine.  The staff report claims huge success in major metropolitan cities like Boston, Chicago, and Mexico City.

Item 17 proposes the use of tax dollars to subsidize a low-income apartment building proposed for 345 East Commonwealth, dubbed the Alexander Senior Housing Project.  Besides the issue of using public funds for private housing, there remain discrepancies in the City's numbers.  The Joint Powers Authority that the City wants to partner with has approved $14,000,000 while the City seems to think they will get $14,500,000.  I have repeatedly brought this up and City staff just shrug.  I oppose the project for several reasons including substandard parking, zoning, and open space, as well as the use of public funds for private development.  Deals like this are bad for taxpayers and ultimately bad for the real estate market.  It gives one developer, The Richman Group or TRG, an unfair advantage by giving them $14,000,000 and numerous development concessions as noted above. And TRG has little to no risk.

Item 18 is the tow franchise and repeal of a chapter from the municipal code.  This is the by-product of the Fullerton Police Department's failed attempt last year to ramrod a contract through to Anaheim/Fullerton Towing and To' and Mo' Towing.  Last year you may recall that the FPD compiled and reported to the Council the nitty-gritty details of employees who worked for the other responding tow companies.  Most saw the report for what it was, cheap shots to justify keeping a 40-year contract in place.  The FPD then pushed through a commercial truck route law that punished tow operators on City streets.  Everything the FPD has had to do with towing seems to be under a dark cloud of cronyism and special favors.

Item 19 is the proposed revised budget that was continued from the last meeting.  City Staff were ordered to return with a balanced budget.  Although the balance sheet works, the premise behind the more than rosy numbers is questionable.  For example, the budget assumes the City will receive $20,000 in outdoor dining fees for restaurants with patios in the public right of way, like Florentine's bar on the northeast corner of Commonwealth and Harbor except Florentine's won't be paying a dime for their use of the sidewalk.  Ask the council members being recalled why.  The budget also shows a "potential revenue from citywide fee study" with $50,000 generated.  Since when does a study in and of itself generate tax revenue?  Then there are the so-called cuts or savings.  Staff assume that there will be a $260,000 reduction in contract costs for legal services, graffiti, animal control, and custodial service.  The proposed custodial contract is $16,430 less than the current contract which allocated $425,801 to cleaning City Hall.  Strange how we can get the contract workers to take a 4% cut but not our own employees.  There are several other glaring issues that should have been addressed but weren't.

And finally, Regular Business...
Item 20 is All the Arts for All the Kids Heart Project.  This allows those big decorated hearts to be placed all around town without going through the permit process.

Item 21 tackles the skate park and its operations.  It asks that the Skate Park Ad Hoc Committee pick up the slack and help with cleaning and maintaining the park.  That's a first and not a bad suggestion if their are community members interested in taking on that role.  I'm glad to see it opening up again (pending approval by the Council).  there is an estimated $50,000 cost to make some much needed upgrades and maintenance.

Item 22 is the Boys & Girls Club lease agreement.  The deal looks a little shady.  The City asked the Club to lease the facility in exchange for a $1,000,000 contribution.  The Club will purchase their own furniture and computers ($300,000) and will pay the remaining $700,000 in monthly payments of $3,333.33.  At that rate, it will take the Club 17.5 years to make their "contribution" to the City.  In the mean time, Park Dwelling Funds will be used to backfill the shortfall.  I like the Boys & Girls Club but this creative financing is not good.

Outdoor dining is last on the list as item 23.  Aside from playing with the numbers, one of the proposed price lists uses type of beverage served.  No alcohol means you will pay $0.30/SQFT, beer and wine will cost you $0.60SQFT, and full liquor means you get saddled with a $0.90SQFT cost to use the public's right-of-way.  As noted above, Florentine's seems to be immune to these taxes despite his outrageous encroachment onto public property for the consumption of alcohol.

So what's missing?  WATER RATES!!!  Why aren't they being adjusted?  


There is a lot to cover tonight and I hope you come out and speak.  Speak from your heart and be heard.

2 comments:

  1. An interesting bit of Trivia Greg is that the monthly expense of paying our 55 Fullerton retirees who belong in the $100,000 club nearly equals your consent calendar. Approximately $567,000 to cover the monthly pension benefits just of those top 55 who figured out before most of us that public employee was the most secure path to wealth.

    ReplyDelete
  2. re: Towing contract - why replace a company that has been doing a good job inexpensively and legally? unlike some of the new contract bidders. You need to do your homework before you make unfounded accusations.

    ReplyDelete

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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