Sunday, July 6, 2014

Counterfeit COIN - Just the Facts


by Mayor Pro Tem Greg Sebourn, PLS & Council Member Bruce Whitaker

The issue of open negotiations in government finances is nothing new.  In fact, Fullerton considered this at its November 5, 2013 City Council meeting in which the matter was tabled for nearly seven months.

Elected officials have a fiduciary duty to manage your tax dollars and the public has the absolute right to know how and why their tax dollars are being spent.  This right to know is underscored since unionized labor is the single largest budgetary line item for the City and the fact that the City is still operating with a City Council approved (3-2) structural deficit of at least $1.6-million! 

Fullerton taxpayers have a long history of being shortchanged by City Hall.  From illegal taxes to redevelopment waste, Fullerton taxpayers have every reason to question who is proposing to spend how much and on what.  Civic Openness in Negotiations, or COIN, offered a glimmer of hope to Fullerton taxpayers before being surreptitiously replaced with a Counterfeit COIN. 

On June 17 the Fullerton City Council voted 2-3 (Ayes: Whitaker & Sebourn; Noes: Chaffee, Flory, & Fitzgerald) to approve COIN based on the original model approved in other jurisdictions including Costa Mesa.  COIN would have provided a new level of openness and transparency into labor negotiations.  Unfortunately, after that motion failed, three Council Members (Chaffee, Flory, & Fitzgerald) voted to approve an ordinance that gives the illusion of transparency and rigor to a backroom process that has to this day remained secret.

Fullerton’s Counterfeit COIN ordinance lacks the two most critical components that make COIN an effective process for taxpayers and city workers - transparency and accountability.  Supporters of Counterfeit COIN point to the model guidelines “LABOR NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES AND PRINCIPLES” by the Association of California Cities of Orange County (ACCOC).  The guidelines offer up sample language and suggestions for COIN-like ordinances but Counterfeit COIN ignores the first rule of the guideline, Use of Outside Negotiators, as well as the second which calls for use of an independent auditor for financial analysis.

COIN and Counterfeit COIN both have a process for disclosure to the public regarding what the Council and public employee unions have negotiated behind closed doors.  Fullerton’s Counterfeit COIN, however, only applies to written offers.  Further, it does not specify when the details of the proposed agreements, offers, or counteroffers must be made public.  This means there may be countless secret “trial balloons” offered by both sides before settling on written terms.  This is where Counterfeit COIN fails the transparency test.

Accountability is completely absent from Fullerton’s Counterfeit COIN as well.  COIN required that all negotiations and economic analysis were to be conducted by professionals that were not subject to a public pension system and far removed from City Hall.  They are to be independent from the negotiating parties in every way.  Counterfeit COIN offers certain criteria that must be met in order bring in any outside parties. Even if the criteria is met, Counterfeit COIN requires the Council appoint a representative as a representative to the outside Negotiating Team, and further requires that representative be a public employee who stands to benefit by the outcome of the negotiation process.

COIN is really quite simple despite attempts to create the illusion of complexity or difficulty.  There are just three key components of COIN:  Independent Negotiator, Independent Economic Analysis, and Timely Public Disclosure. 

The lack of labor union opposition to Fullerton’s Counterfeit COIN sends the message to taxpayers that this new ordinance brings no substantive changes to the backroom labor negotiations. 

Until a clear majority of the Fullerton City Council is willing to recognize that feathering the beds public employee unions is contrary to their fiduciary duty, Fullerton’s legacy of backroom negotiations lead by city staff to benefit city staff will continue. 


More of the same, same as before.  

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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