Saturday, February 11, 2012

North OC Fire Authority? Tri-City Fire Authority?

Yes.  For the last several years Fullerton Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe has been working on merging the command staff of Fullerton's and Brea's Fire Departments.  Those efforts came to fruition last year with Chief Knabe being appointed as Fire Chief of both cities.  No, he doesn't get two pay checks.

The next step, actually merging several fire departments, began to take shape with the Anaheim City Council voting earlier this week to continue studying what it would mean to the participating cities, Orange, Anaheim, and Fullerton. 

The OC Register has a write-up on it here...

Will the police departments do something similar?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Is it a "Pass-Through" or a Hedge Fund?

It's no secret that water rates are always on the rise.  It's also no secret that Fullerton officials have some serious explaining to do about the Water Fund franchise fee.

But when I showed up to the Wednesday evening Water Rate Study Ad Hoc Committee meeting, I had no idea it could and would get worse.

First, some background on "pass-through" costs.  We buy water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and we pay a pumping tax to the Orange County Water District (OCWD).  Since we pump about 2/3 of our own water we also have to pay Southern California Edison and the City of Anaheim for electricity we use from them. 

As the MWD, OCWD, Edison, and Anaheim raise their rates to us, so must we pass them on to Fullerton water customers.  These are known as "pass-through" costs.

During Wednesday's meeting it was announced that MWD will be raising water rates in January 2013.  (There is an entire background story about MWD water rates that I will ignore for now so as not to put you to sleep.)  Knowing that there will be a MWD rate hike in a year means the City is gearing up to pass those increases to us in July.  So, if MWD rates aren't going up until January, why does the City want to pass-through a non-existent rate hike in July? 

Stay with me on this.  The reason for the preemptive pass-through according to Water System manager Dave Schickling is because the City wants to "smooth the rates".  Instead of raising rates in January and July (OCWD raises their rate in July), they just want to get a head of the curve.  The problem is that the City is raising water rates in July and claiming it as a pass-through when the actual pass-through costs will not change until January. 

That sounds to me like the City of Fullerton is operating a hedge fund of sorts with our Water Fund.  You might even call it a Ponzi scheme since rates never seem to be based on reality.  And we aren't talking about socking the money away for the future either.  As revenue to the Water Fund increases with every rate hike, whether pass-through or not, 10% of the water fund gets moved to cover salaries and benefits of ALL city employees.

Near the end of the meeting there were three motions made.

First, the Committee recommended to the City Council to raise water rates in July consistent with the anticipated pass-through increases.  I voted NO and Adan Ortega Abstained.  It passed.

Second, the Committee recommended that all revenue collected as a result of the pass-through increases be exempt from the franchise fee.  This was, believe it or not, recommended to the Committee by City staff.  I voted NO but probably should have abstained because, although it sounds good, the pass-through as we have seen is not an actual pass-through of rate increases.  The motion passed. 

Third, the Committee recommended that the City's appointed representatives to MWD (Jim Blake) and OCWD (Council Member Don Bankhead) appear before the Committee to explain the nature of the rate hikes by their respective agencies.  I voted YES as did the rest of the Committee.

I will try to articulate my concerns again to the City Council, though by now they have already read this. 

I will try to get a MWD budget briefing posted here in the next week or so.  If you would like to read the budget, you can download it at http://www.mwdh2o.com/mwdh2o/pages/finance/budget/PAB2013.pdf.

Thank you to the residents and business owners who attended the meeting.  Your input is invaluable and much appreciated.  We need more community involvement.

Eagle Scout Earns Surveying Merit Badge

I had the honor of guiding an Eagle Scout and his brothers through the Surveying Merit Badge a few weeks ago.  Andrew Croy was deservedly featured in the OC Register and serves as an excellent example of Scouting's finest.

Read the OC Register story here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/croy-339145-merit-badges.html


The Croy brothers earning their Surveying Merit Badge with me at Rolling
Hills Park, Fullerton.  Andrew Croy is on the far right.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

North OC Conservative Coalition Invites You...


Upcoming Events
In the months before the Primary, NOCCC will be hosting
an exciting line up of speakers and candidate forums.

This Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Special Guest Speaker: Professor Peter Navarro*,
Economist, Author and Producer
with introduction by financial author, Orange County's Chriss Street

Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Special Guest Speaker: Professor John Eastman, Director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
with with guest emcee Professor Karen Lugo, Assistant Director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
*Important Notice: February's Keynote Speaker, Greg Autry, Author of Death By China: Confronting the Dragon - a Global Call to Action (http://.deathbychina.com/) has been called to DC to testify on this important economic topic. Fortunately, Greg's equally impressive co-author, Peter Navarro has agreed to take his place as our keynote speaker.
Peter Navarro is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine and holds a PH.D. in Economics from Harvard University. He received several teaching awards in 2010 for the MBA programs that he teaches. Navarro's work has appeared in Barron’s, Business Week, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review, among other publications. Navarro has appeared frequently on Bloomberg TV and radio, CNN, NPR, Marketplace, and all three major network news shows.
Learn how informed American businesses can remain strong and successfully compete in the complex global market. You won’t want to miss Professor Navarro’s important and informative talk, followed by lively Q & A.

Also, back by popular demand, California Family Council's Ron Prentice will bring us a brief California Legislative update.
The Foxfire Restaurant Conference Room
5717 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim
91 Freeway @ Imperial Highway


Dessert & Coffee provided. $5 suggested donation to help cover costs.
Please RSVP to Desaré
deseric@sbcglobal.net Or Karla karladeane@aol.com
Why not dine at the Foxfire Restaurant before the meeting?
Separate reservations required through the restaurant.
Please call 714-974-5400
or visit www.foxfirerestaurant.com

And, don’t forget to invite friends and colleagues. We want to be informed and spread the word to others so we can bring Conservative Victory in 2012!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thank you parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors of Orange County's Conservative Youth OC teens from junior high to junior college who attended the YOUTH ASSOCIATES’ FIRST EVENT OF THE 2012 ELECTION SEASON. Their guest speakers, Orange County’s youngest conservative community leaders, Mayor Jeremy Yamaguchi and City Council Member Jesse Petrilla were terrific - so were the games, prizes and pizza! Please mark your calendars to join them for the next meeting on February 26 from 2:30 - 4:00pm at OCGOP Headquarters, 1422 Edinger Ave, Ste 110, Tustin.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

State Controller Releases Updated Public Employee Salary Data

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang has updated his website showing the salary, pension benefits and other compensation for police, fire, transit operators, transportation planning, and waste districts in calendar year 2010.
The new posting includes 57,000 positions across 788 districts, with wages totaling $2.95 billion.
Read more here...

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Hidden" mortgage fee paying for payroll tax cut

(CBS News) 
Just before Christmas, American workers got a rare gift from Washington politicians - the current payroll tax cut would be extended for two more months.

At the time, both President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner lauded the move to avoid a tax increase for millions of working Americans.

But there's something the politicians weren't bragging about - the fact that they're paying for the two-month tax cut with what has turned into a brand new fee on home buyers.

The new fee is a minimum of one-tenth of 1 percent on Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans, and is likely to go much higher.

It will be imposed for the next 10 years on most mortgages and refinancings and it lasts for the life of the loan.

For every $200,000, it amounts to an extra $15 dollars a month.

It's bad news for Patty Anderson, who's buying a home in Virginia.

Anderson will save a couple hundred dollars from having her payroll tax cut extended but her mortgage broker told her the new fee would cost her almost $9,500.

"I was absolutely startled that it would add up to that much," she said.

The $35.7 billion...READ MORE HERE!

The Perpetual Study


Studies forever, are sometimes cheaper and more politically convenient than action or technically serious work. For example, there is a common and political perception that new reservoirs are needed. Most elected and business officials grew up in an era when if you needed more water, you went to the nearest watershed, built a dam, and diverted water to where you wanted it. Today, most of the technical community is lukewarm on the idea of expanding reservoirs, for economic, technical, and environmental reasons. Constructing new reservoirs also taps an immense reserve of controversy. So consider the choices:
A) Build a reservoir costing $2 billion, or $100 million/year for a long time at 5% annual interest
B) Study building a reservoir, costing $1 million/year, perhaps for a very long time

The least controversial and most politic and economical choice here is to study the problem for a long time and rarely release substantial reports on the subject. This neatly dampens most of the controversy, while keeping agencies and consultants well funded and out of trouble. However, studying the problem forever has a financial cost, and arguably greater costs from dissipating analytical expertise, avoiding more serious discussions, and loss of technical integrity in government agencies.

Extinction is a sustainable condition

(As a friend pointed out, this is another way to look at Fullerton's 400-year pipe replacement schedule...)

Jay R. Lund, The Ray B. Krone Chair of Environmental Engineering, University of California – Davis



Sustainability is favored by everyone, but, people and groups view and use sustainability differently.  Alas, as Keynes observed, “In the long run we are all dead,” and achieve the same sustainable end.

As illustrated above, the word “sustainable” seems to be approaching an unsustainable level.  Sustainability is often a buzz-word, which sounds hip, sophisticated, and engaged, but actually says little and sadly substitutes for substance.  “Adaptive management” has developed similar usage.

We should all have an interest in the long-term well-being of California.  However, the broad use of “sustainability” to justify everything, even the patently unsustainable, invites ridicule.

Read more here...

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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