CSUF

California State University, Fullerton, commonly known as CSUF, is the second largest California State University campus. It is located in Fullerton, California.

Local Troublemaker Makes Cover of OC Weekly

Our “millionaire many times over” admin makes the big time last week with a cover story by Brandon Fergeson in the OC Weekly. Here’s how it starts:

Tony Bushala first met Manuel Ramos more than 20 years ago when Bushala played drums with Teatro Cometa, a theater group that performed bilingual one-act plays in Fullerton in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Ramos, who was about 10, was the son of one of the actresses; his uncle, Bushala’s best friend at the time, directed the troupe. Occasionally, Ramos would sit quietly in the audience and watch rehearsals.

Bushala, now 53 and a millionaire many times over, eventually moved on from drumming to managing his father’s extensive properties in Fullerton and elsewhere, becoming a real-estate developer and a vocal opponent of city government. In 2006, Bushala was riding his bicycle when he bumped into Ramos, who was now a hulking, overweight guy in his mid-30s, dressed in the uniform of the Fullerton Police Department.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Ron Paul is Coming to Fullerton TONIGHT!

Well, how about that? The only presidential candidate who opposes imperialist wars, big bank bailouts, the failed drug war, unaccountable federal bureaucracies and the constant creep of government into our personal lives will be addressing a large crowd at Cal State Fullerton tonight (Wednesday) at 7:00 pm.

The event has been moved to CSUF’s Titan Stadium to accommodate the large crowd that is expected. Go here to get a voucher that is supposed to get you in as early as 6:00 pm.

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The El Dorado Ranch – Is it Public or Private?

A few weeks ago I gave you a glimpse of the old Chapman property that houses CSUF President Milton Gordon on the public dime up in the hills of Fullerton. I decided to take a spin past the old ranch to see what it looks like.

Clearly this sign warns potential visitors to the El Dorado Ranch that it is “PRIVATE PROPERTY”. However, the sign lies! Or rather the person who placed the sign there is either a liar or is misinformed. The Grant Deed below makes it clear that the property has been granted to a public agency which places the property in the hands of California residents.

So, despite the very official albeit old and faded sign, you and I own the temporary residence of Milton A. Gordon, President of Cal State Fullerton whose salary exceeds $300,000 per year. With all that money he saves living rent free it’s no wonder he left the light on for us.

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Cal State Fullerton’s Pension Tsunami Shell Game and Our Kid’s Future

Titan waste

After showing you how management lives in the lap of luxury last week, I received an email from a Friend who brought to my attention a Cal State University system business practice that forces out qualified, lower paid part-time lecturers and untenured faculty, and brings back higher paid, semi retired faculty. The faculty and management at our own Cal State Fullerton know this practice as FERPing. Just the sound of the acronym sounds like something they should apologize for and we haven’t even said what exactly FERPing is.

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 taxpayers and students more than if the schools utilized the lower paid, part-time faculty who are otherwise forced out under FERP.

Retirement never looked so lucrative. While everyone else must take furloughs or are getting laid off outright, the FERPers receive FREE parking, ALL of their retirement benefits, and 50% of their last salary. That’s part of the reason why your kid’s tuition continues to rise and classes are getting canceled. This Cal State double-dipping program is brought to you by the public employee unions as a result of the spineless leader who is content to live in his rent-free mansion with an inflated salary and the entitlement attitude of senior public employees. Some FERPers have been milking us for more than 5 years!

Here is an example of the compensation structure that FERPers use to determine just how good retirement might be:

Age: 63 1/2 years (CalPERS retirement age percentage factor: 2.5%)
Length of Service: 27 years
Highest Salary: $87,500(during any 12 month period of CalPERS covered employment)(minus $133.33 monthly deduction for Social Security = $1,599.96)
Calculation: 27 years x .025 (age factor percentage) = 67.5% of highest salary
Estimated CalPERS retirement salary: $85,900 x .675 (age factor percentage) = $57,982
Plus estimated FERP salary: (half of faculty base $70,800) $35,400
Total estimated retirement salary plus FERP salary: $93,382

It’s time to wean the leaches off our sweet cream before all we are left with is sour cream for our kids. Email Milton Gordon at mgordon@fullerton.edu or you can call him in his CSUF public employee office at (657) 278-3456. Tell Milton Gordon it’s time to act fiscally responsible with our tax dollars.

Below are some links I stumbled over which helped put FERPing in perspective for me:

http://www.fullerton.edu/Emeriti/preretirement.htm
http://collegelife.freedomblogging.com/2009/08/13/cal-state-fullerton-abruptly-begins-canceling-classes/7103/
http://www.calstate.edu/csuleader/2004/040511.htm
http://www.csufresno.edu/aps/forms_policies/retirement_ferp.shtml
http://www.csulb.edu/divisions/aa/personnel/retirement/ferp/

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Cal State Fullerton President – Lifestyles of Our Rich Public Employees at the El Dorado Ranch

“It’s good to be king!” Indeed, if you are Cal State Fullerton’s president, Milton Gordon, you are living the good life at the old Chapman family property known as the El Dorado Ranch at 225 West Union Avenue. Gordon’s residence is a sprawling 4+ acre palatial estate sitting high in the Fullerton hills overlooking the commoners eking out a living below and no longer appears to be a working ranch despite its name.

The 8+ room mansion may be slightly dated from the 1950s but the age is compensated for by the 8 bathrooms!   The nearly 6,000-sqft palace was a gift to Cal State Fullerton back in 1989 from C.J. Chapman, Jr., Mary Anne Baine, Elizabeth E. Bowman.  They also gave the Cal State Fullerton Foundation $159,000 for maintenance.  Currently, this enormous public property is valued at $3,351,724 for tax assessment purposes (although the property is exempt from actually incurring property taxes).  I would guess the value to be more like $4,000,000 in a “normal” economy.  The secluded compound is an excellent destination for Fullerton residents and tourists alike to visit although there is no formal docent to guide you.

The real kicker is that the Chapmans stipulated in an agreement with the State that we, the taxpayers, have to house the university president there and maintain the houses and property.  Notice that I said “houses”?  That’s because there is also a guest house on the property to house the president’s assistant.  Nice perk for being an assistant to a university president.

It would have been nice if the Chapmans would have sold the property out-right and used the proceeds for a scholarship endowment.  The money would go to those who need it the most.  Milton A. Gordon is among the highest paid public employees earning $302,042 according to the Sacramento Bee!  I guess it’s hard to afford a Fullerton home on $302,042 per year.

The Chapman family has given and given and given to Orange County residents in one way or another, for many years.  We have all benefited from them in several ways.  Every time I have someone from out of town visit me at my college, I have to specify “Chapman Avenue in ORANGE, NOT FULLERTON.”  Then when I have out-of-towners visit mom, I have to specify, “Chapman Avenue in FULLERTON, NOT ORANGE.”  They still get it wrong…  In 1954 the Chapman’s were nice enough to build that nice university bearing their name where your son or daughter can attend for $18,750 per semester.

Here is an interesting fact: Milton A. Gordon was named CSU Fullerton president in August, 1990. So it seems that the Chapman’s and Gordon timed it just right to get the El Dorado Ranch in the hands of Gordon.  Gordon being a mathematician could do the math and see the sweet deal, leading me to wonder what more there might be to this back story.  For Gordon, it’s still good to be king!

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Fullerton Fossils Flog Fabulous Fossils

Recently CSUF President Milton Gordon appeared at the BoS chambers to memorialize the fact CSUF is going to be the custodian of the County’s vast bone collection of long-deceased beasts. Whether this collection includes the remains of such Pleistocene creatures as Harrieticus Weiderisus or Gaddius Vasquezii is unknown.

fossils

Norby and Gordon share pre-Holocene memories...

We note that Dr. Gordon appears a bit bemused. Let’s hope he found his way home.

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CSUF FACULTY HOUSING PROJECT HAS EGG ON FACE

A room with a view

It was supposed to be “affordable” housing for CSUF faculty. Well affordable to them – not to the taxpayers who paid for it, we presume. Last winter we ran a post about the “University Heights” boondoggle, and noted that the place was a ghost town. It was already open to any government worker who wanted a house and we wondered aloud when it would be open to anybody.

Living here could stunt your intellectual growth. Not to mention your equity.

The story took another turn last week when it came out that nine of the units were just going to be leased out, perhaps ending any hope of ever establishing a permanent egghead foothold on Elk Hill. The architect of this disaster, one Bill Dickerson of the CSUF Housing Authority, came out from under cover long enough to put his finger on the problem: in a declining real estate market nobody wanted to commit to a cracker box of sticks and stucco on a ground lease. Seems the academics had enough faith in capitalism to shun the slings and arrows of outrageous socialism themselves; and the educrats are left holding their own bag. The Heights sales agent also seems to be pinning his hopes on the next real estate boom.

That's not very good, is it?

As an amusing aside we note that the author of this story was our own beloved stuffed toy and Wurlitzer prize winner, Barbara Giasone, whose paper got the headline wrong – indicating that the units were to go on sale . Not that it really matters. Also, Fullerton Councilman Dick Jones who admitted that he “worked very hard” to bring about this debacle hasn’t said much about it lately.

Jones performs Shakespeare before an appreciative audience...

There is an object lesson here of course that will no doubt be lost on educrats and befuddled local electeds: stay out of the housing business and kill policies that encourage tax-payer purchased housing subsidies for public employees.

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What Is Exaggerated Modern?

UPDATE: In our carelessness we omitted citation for the image of “Donald’s Serva-teria. We got it here, and apologize for the oversight.

- Joe Sipowicz

In our previous post here we identified the buildings at the Hope University campus as “Exaggerated Modern.” Being unusually perspicacious, we have anticipated that some of our Friends will want an explanation of what this architectural term means, and that some even may suspect that we just make this stuff up for fun.

And so we have called upon the good offices of Dr. Ralph E. Haldemann, Art History Professor (Emeritus) at Otterbein College, Ohio - our adjunct Arts and Architecture editor – to expound upon the term he so helpfully provided for our prior post. We reproduce his scholarly explanation below:

Ralph E. Haldeman

Ralph E. Haldemann, Ph.D speaks...

The term “exaggerated modern” simply means a style that uses the materials and structural emphasis of Modern architecture, with exaggerated features: soaring, cantilevered roofs, expansive and often canted storefronts, and the deployment of exposed structural elements like precast concrete, steel trusses, etc., to emphasize engineering virtuosity. The style is resolutely exuberant, commercial, and auto-oriented. The style dominated American roadside architecture between 1955 and 1965, and even made inroads into high-style architectural efforts such as the buildings at Hope U.

A full flowering of the Exagerrated Modern

A full flowering of the Exaggerated Modern

Exaggerated Modern ought not to be confused with the term “googie”  – an applique design phenomenon that in some ways parallels Exaggerated Modern. Googie themes tend to be kitschy renditions of popular 1950s scientific imagery – atomic, astronomic, and zoological (amoeboid shapes); or fun arrangements of geometric shapes, patterns, and colors, etc. These energetic and playful themes will very likely be housed in structures exhibiting Exaggerated Modern attributes, or on attached or adjacent signage; but the two notions should not be conflated.

Now that's "googie"

Now that's "googie"!

Professor Chester H. Liebs has aptly described the outlines and history of Exaggerated Modern in his magisterial book From Main Street to Miracle Mile, Little Brown & Co., Boston, 1985.  cf. pages 59-64. click here to see

Thanks, Dr. Haldemann. The check is in the mail!

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Hope University Architectural Gems At Risk

Now that's worth keeping...

Now that's worth keeping...

We have it on good authority that when Hope University hightails it from Fullerton to points south, the Exaggerated Modern buildings on their erstwhile campus may be in danger. How come? Because the very entity that built them in the 1960s – CSUF -  is said to be eager to reacquire the property. Based on their recent architectural efforts, a massively overbuilt campus, plus the need to house more students like sardines, the future isn’t too hopeful for the buildings on the Hope U. campus.

Whoa, dudes. Time for class!

Whoa, dudes. Time for class!

The complex of buildings that originally served CSUF as graduate student housing, bookstore, and cinema with their glass walls and soaring roofs have been recognized by many for their architectural value – but never by a governmental entity – and in government land planning thats all that really counts. They have not been recognized by the City, the County, or the State as an historical resource and at present have nothing standing between them and a possible wrecking ball except Fullerton Friends willing to work to preserve them.

Who wants to live in a student warehouse? Nobody.

Who wants to live in a student warehouse? Nobody, that's who.

If we set aside the irony of the CSUF buying back property they once owned, and focus on the aesthetic importance and the sound construction used and the opportunity for creative re-use, we can only conclude that these buildings are worth saving!

Please call State Assemblyman Mike Duvall (714/672-4734) immediately to let him know what you think; e-mail Fullerton City Council members (Council@ci.fullerton.ca.us) to let them know that this complex of buildings deserves to be an historic district. Don’t forget to call Chris Norby, County Supervisor at 714/834-3440 to ask for his support.

If you are a member of the heritage group be sure to tell your board that you want these gems of modern architecture preserved - unlike the buildings currently being demolished on Chapman Avenue to make way for the “Jefferson Commons” monstrosity.

WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN SAVE THIS RESOURCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF FULLERTON, ORANGE COUNTY, AND CALIFORNIA!

Wow. Style and substance. Don't see that much anymore...

Wow. Style and substance. Don't see that much anymore...

P.S. We have asked our Arts & Architecture Department to develop an educational post to define just what “Exaggerated Modern” is. We hope (no university) you will stay tuned.

In the way of some more Big Plans?

In the way of some more Big Plans?

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CSUF FACULTY HOUSING PROJECT LAYS BIG EGG

What do you call a government project that destroys an historic building, creates an eyesore, accomplishes none of its goals, can’t pay for itself, and requires no accountability on the part of its perpetrators? That’s right gentle readers! A BOONDOGGLE.And so it is with the much ballyhooed University Heights Project meant to provide subsidized (oops, “affordable”) housing for needy CSUF teachers. The University sank millions into this venture by buying property from the BPOE and building them a new lodge on the site of the original, totally Rat Pack cool building. Well, the old building is long gone, the new butt-ugly building is done, and cheapo cookie cutter stucco tract houses jam the ridgeline.

Only problem is nobody wanted to buy these boxes on dinky lots. A covenant that would keep the properties restricted to CSUF personnel was way too limiting for buyers in a plummeting real estate market, so nobody was buying in.

At first sales were restricted to CSUF employees as per plan. Then they were opened to any public employee. When will they be for sale to anybody? Occupancy of one kind or another has been pegged at about 40% although a quick drive through is reminiscent of a trip to Calico or Rhyolite. The word on the street is that the bank has pulled out because the deal can’t pay for itself.The architects of this miserable failure have yet to suffer any of the consequences that a private real estate developer would. Let’s see if we can help. First, there’s Milton Gordon, President of CSUF who must be wondering how come nobody has called him out on this yet. And of course let’s not forget our dear friend Fullerton City Council member and all around buffoon Dick Jones who actually did take credit for it (link to video) ironically unaware of the true fiasco unfolding up on Elk Hill.

There is an object lesson here of course that will no doubt be lost on educrats and befuddled local electeds: stay out of the housing business and kill policies that encourage tax-payer purchased housing subsidies for public employees.

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