Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lost Your Marbles?

It is not often that I post about vendors and retailers but I want to share something I saw this past Thursday at Fullerton's Downtown Market. 

Fred Rossi blows glass pendants and marbles that have the strangest, wildest, and creative designs that I have ever seen inside of them.

Here are some pictures of his glass marbles and pendants taken from his website.

There are dozens and dozens of varieties of marbles and pendants with varying levels of intricacy.  He even has a series of glass eyes that are a sight to behold. 

Fred Rossi has made the Fullerton Downtown Market his Thursday evening home and I encourage you to stop by his tables and check out his unique designs.

Here is how he creates these pieces.


You can find out more about Fred HERE!

And in case you are wondering, NO, I didn't receive anything from Fred to post this and I don't want anything in return.  Imagine being able to watch him blow glass if he had a shop on Harbor Boulevard in Downtown Fullerton.  That would be cool!

Precinct Walk Today!


Today at 2PM we will be walking precincts throughout Fullerton. 

If you would like to help, please click HERE to RSVP and for more details!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Redevelopment Debt $642 Million

I was reminded by an automated email from the City that the Redevelopment Agency's Oversight Board has a meeting coming up on Tuesday May 22 at 3PM in the City Council Chambers.  

I was also reminded just how much debt our City Council (acting as the Redevelopment Agency) has incurred on our behalf over the past couple of decades.

According to the report from the City to the State we taxpayers are on the hook for $641,969,234!

And what did you get for your money?  High-density apartments, parking garages, and a number of employees to figure out how to give us more debt.  I know that sounds harsh but that is what we are left with.  There were very few projects that made improvements to the infrastructure and even those were relatively minor.

Its sad that we have squandered so much and received, as a community, so little in return.

Reducing the debt will take hard work, dedication, and vision.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Attempted Kidnapping...8 days ago!

Below is a notice I received from the Fullerton PD's iWatch Alert System that sends subscribers  emails or text messages about criminal activity in your neighborhood.  I signed up for all of the neighborhoods so I could understand how much crime there is in Fullerton.

What troubles me is that a kidnapping is among the worst crimes a community will face and the fact that one was attempted and the public not notified has me asking why.

Why didn't the Fullerton Police department send out a press release on this attempted kidnapping?  Was the department too distracted by other events?  Which events?  

Anyway, in the interest of protecting the public from crazed murderous kidnappers, here is the alert, albeit 8 days old:

There was an attempted kidnapping of a woman on May 8 at approximately 10:50 AM in the 400 block of S. Lemon St.  As the woman was walking to school a large white truck containing 2 occupants drove past her. One of the occupants yelled at her and said “hey” out of the window. The truck passed her a second time and nothing was said. When the victim saw the truck for the third time it was parked. A suspect walked up from behind her and grabbed her arm. The victim hit the suspect and walked away from him very fast. When the suspect caught up to the victim again he put his hand underneath her jacket and said "if you run or if you scream I am going to shoot you." The victim was able to run away safely.

I am glad the victim was able to get away on her own.  Perhaps if the FPD would have released this IMMEDIATELY, the public could have helped be the eyes and ears for the officers.  The crime should have been on the news that afternoon.  Radio stations should have been reporting it.  But instead the FPD keeps the event quiet until a week has passed.  

Why did they wait?  

Was it fear of creating fear?  

Was it just not important?  

What reason could they have for not telling us about this?  

I thought the people, you know voters and taxpayers, were pretty pissed off at last night's council meeting.  Blunders like this won't help the public's perception of our police department or restore the lost trust.

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.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fullerton Observer Still in Twilight Zone








"One of the things that has been proposed is basically dismantling the Fullerton Police Department and bringing in the Orange County Sheriff's Department.  Some have said that it would save us a ton of money, and indeed it might, but it may have other ramifications as well.  We might be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire." 

That was my response to a question at the League of Women Voters Forum last week about repairing Fullerton's tarnished and bruised reputation. I also spoke about accountability, something the FPD has lacked for nearly two decades until recently when several police officers and at least one non-sworn employee found themselves on the wrong side of the law.  


So, since the Observer is bent on distorting the facts, I will spell it out:  ALL OPTIONS MUST BE CONSIDERED.

That doesn't mean SEBOURN will toss out Fullerton's police officers nor does it mean SEBOURN will ask the OC Sheriff's Department to serve Fullerton.  It DOES mean that I will look at all of these options and give everyone a voice at the dais to make their case.  Major changes like this should not be made without careful consideration of the facts, and we just don't have all of them yet.

The OC Sheriff's Department has a reputation of corruption as well from the top down.  In all fairness, every police agency struggles with corruption, though some dismiss it as "misconduct".  

And if you read the Observer's mid May issue, you might be wondering who "Doug Sebourn" is.  Me too.  He might be some long lost cousin or just an imaginary candidate.  Hard to say with the Observer.

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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