Repuglicanism

A Streetcar Named Desire

It was bound to be a rocky ride.

It was bound to be a rocky ride.

Last week the ever helpful Fullerton City Hall scribe Lou Ponsi scribbled a story about how Fullerton needs a transit dedicated line from the CSUF area to the Fullerton “metro center.”

No, I am not kidding. “Senior” Planner Jay Eastman believes Fullerton has a metro center.

A cynic might conclude that the sole purpose of this venture is to more efficiently direct college kids into the open air saloon that downtown Fullerton has become.

Trolley? Bus? Light rail(!)? The world is Jay Eastman’s oyster, just so long as somebody else is picking up the tab. In this case the OCTA is going to pay 90% of the cost of a “study” to determine just what Fullerton needs: $270,000 worth, with us paying the other $30,000.

All of which goes to show that OCTA has an awful lot more money than they know what to do with.

101 Comments

Will We Get a Refund?

Item 7 on Tuesday’s City Council Agenda brings back a sore subject: paying back the water users who’ve been ripped off by years of an illegal 10% tax on their water bill.

Thanks to the previous council the plug was finally pulled on this scam last year. But that was then, and liberals Chaffee and Flory won’t want to give back anything that was pilfered from the taxpayers. So what a bout Jennifer Fitzgerald? She’s supposed to be a Republican, but in Fullerton that hasn’t meant much and she was a die-hard supporter of the Three Bald Tires.

7. WATER UTILITY OPERATIONS
Over the past two years, the City has conducted a review of its Water Utility operations in order to have a comprehensive overview of water utility infrastructure needs, rates and rate structures and define General Fund costs related to operations of the Water Fund.
Recommendation by the Engineering Department:
1. Determine the cost for services provided by the City to the Water Utility.
2. Establish the total amount of refund to be issued (following a cost for service determination).
3. Determine the timing of refunds (one-time or multi-year payments).
4. Establish an Appeals Board to address refund complaints and any other billing conflicts.
5. Authorize the mailing of the required Proposition 218 notice which begins the 45-day comment period related to the proposed “pass-through’ of water supply cost water rate increase.
6. Authorize the update of the July 2011 “Comprehensive Water Rate Study Report” which outlines the recommended infrastructure needs and funding plans.
7. Direct staff to make any necessary City financing processes to implement Council direction.

Here’s my prediction: just as in 2011, the “cost study” will be rigged to jack up the value of City services to the Water Fund to get as close to 10% as possible. Then there will be no need for a refund and no need for an apology for illegally swiping $27,000,000 to pay for their own perks and pensions.

Nice, huh?

27 Comments

Supply Your Own Title

Hughes2

McKinley

89 Comments

SHELTER FALLOUT

The County of Orange’s attempt to cram a permanent homeless shelter in east Fullerton across the street from single-family homes and an elementary school have taught us four things, so far.

First, it is very clear that no Fullerton elected representatives were told anything about this high-handed plan. Second, the County can do it with or without the City’s agreement. Third, nobody at the County gives a damn that they will be paying $3.15 million for a broken down old building that nobody knows the cost to make habitable. Four, the media will never report any of this.

As to the first point, here is a report about a meet and greet event by Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker, who asked the County for a few weeks’ delay so that the City Council could learn just what the County has in store for us. Request denied.

And here is an e-mail we received from some local resident who says he has just started a petition to seek redress:

Subject: Homeless shelter

Hello!I’ve started the petition “Fullerton city council: Stop the County from opening a 24/7 homeless shelter at 301 S St College Bl” and need your help to get it off the ground.Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:

http://www.change.org/petitions/fullerton-city-council-stop-the-county-from-opening-a-24-7-homeless-shelter-at-301-s-st-college-bl

Here’s why it’s important:

This is a 29,000 square foot building that is located near an elementary school, park and houses. This homeless shelter will make Fullerton the dumping ground for homeless. Crime will increase and spread to the whole area. This deal is being done without much awareness from the public. A life long friend of County Supervisor Nelson stands to make nearly 100k from the deal. This is bad for North OC. This shelter will end up looking like skid row in downtown LA where crime and drug use is rampant. Fullerton is not LA.

You can sign my petition by clicking here.

Thanks!

Well, good luck with that! Apparently the County can do whatever it likes and your County Supervisor isn’t interested in your opinion.

193 Comments

Now, What About Our Water Tax Refund? Part 3: The Big Lie And The Big Dippers

thief

Of course everybody in City hall knew the dirty little secret. The illegal 10% water tax that was hidden by the confusing name of “in-lieu fee.” Year after rancid year the City Fathers and Mothers – from daffy and angry liberal spendthrifts like Molly McClanahan and Jan Flory, to supposed conservatives Dick Ackerman and Chris Norby blessed the scam and put their imprimatur of approval upon it.

Of course they knew, or must have suspected, that the 10% was nothing other than a greasy rake-off that made their jobs easier and rewarded their friends in the bureaucracy. And they knew, or must have suspected, that the various City departments were already charging directly to the Water Fund – in direct contravention to the purpose of the original Resolution that created the”fee.”

This means that because the City departments were already charging to the Water Fund, that cost too jacked up the tax. Double Dip.

And all that free water wasted by the City over the years? You guessed it: the cost jacked up the illegal water tax. Triple Dip.

The fee was set at 10% of gross water revenue, meaning that every time the commodity cost of water went up, or transmission cost went up, so did the absolute amount of the tax itself. Quadruple Dip.

Naturally, the water tax itself was considered to be part of the gross “cost” of the water works, meaning that as the absolute value of the 10% increment rose, so did total of the tax!! The true amount of the tax was 10% of cost plus 10% of the 10%!!! Which is why the tax was actually about 11% of the true cost. Got it? Quintuple Dip.

The defenders of the Old Culture of Corruption and its slimey shakedown want you to believe that everything is pretty okay, that no harm was done, and that refunding any part of this felonious rip-off would just be a big waste of everybody’s time.

Wrong. Accountability and responsibility have their cost. Sooner or later you have to pay the piper.

 

45 Comments

Now, What About Our Water Tax Refund? Part 2: The Phony Report

thief

When you are  in charge of the City’s bureaucracy, it’s really easy to get what you want. You simply hire a “professional” opinion to validate your own desire. Good God, it happens so often and yet they continue to get away with it.

For fun, lets’ consider the case of the City of Fullerton’s illegal water tax tax. In 2011 the City was finally caught with its pants down. And what was revealed wasn’t pretty: an illegal 10% tax stuck onto the annual cost of selling water to the ratepayers of Fullerton. In an attempt to stall the inevitable and obfuscate the obvious, the comatose council handed the job of analyzing the tax to an ad hoc water rate committee that had been previously established.

Now we all know that a citizen’s committee is incapable of figuring out things on its own and so staff helpfully hired one of those paid opinion consultants to help out; one of those consultants whose sole mission is to validate whatever the staff wants them to do. In this case the mission was to keep as much of that 10% as possible. After all, that 10% was a much necessary ingredient for for keeping up CalPERS payments and sending Pam Keller and Don Bankhead and Doc HeeHaw to four star hotels in far off Long Beach.

True to form, the City Council’s “consultant” returned with a helpful finding that the water fund owned the City between six and seven percent annually, principally on the weird fiction that the water utility owed the City rent for land that the water reservoirs and pipes sit on.

Naturally, nobody bothered to explain the embarrassing fact that the land in question had little or no commercial value; or that the water utility could have bought that land for virtually nothing fifty years ago had a true arms-length distance actually existed between the utility and the City that was milking it like a rented cow.

An, worst of all, nobody had explained the self-serving nature of this sudden discovery of a true distinction between the water utility and the City, particularly in light of the fact that the utility had supplied the City with free water for decades.

That’s right. The very mechanism lade upon you and me to “incentivise” conservation, was deemed unnecessary when the City itself was wasting water. How many hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water has been used for free by the City in the past fifty years? Of course nobody knows. But the value is worth millions.

I think the City should pay that back, too.

 

14 Comments

Sleep Tight. Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

An alert Friend snapped this pic at the recent candidates’ night out.

Don. Psst. Wake up!

It would seem that poor Don Bankhead is becoming less and less capable of staying awake during public events.

Which reminds me.

 

 

42 Comments

The Moral Bankruptcy of Bankhead

Somebody captured this campaign sign recently. It suggests one of three things.

Re-elect? How many times does this boob need to be recalled?

1) Don Bankhead is a liar who wants people to think he is an incumbent; or,

2) Bankhead belongs in a memory care unit since he can’t remember that he was recalled four months ago and is no longer on the City Council; or,

3) he is too cheap to buy new campaign signs and is using old ones.

Pay no attention to the dinosaur behind the curtain…

Well, which is it?

48 Comments

Municipal Redevelopment Arrogance: A Common Scourge

Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Like the case in Philly where a local businessman may be sued by the Redevelopment Agency for cleaning up trash and beautifying a piece of blighted Agency-owned property that they willfully refused to clean up. So ths guy spends 20 big ones of his own dough since the City blatantly ignored its own mess, and is now looking at a potential lawsuit – a lawsuit some asshole city bureaucrat says is based on “principle.” Principle. Now that’s a scream.

What’s really funny is that if the city had done the work it would have cost twenty times as much and taken ten times longer.

Of course apologists of Fullerton’s former Redevelopment Agency (you know who they are) would be quick to point out is that this sort incompetence and arrogance  never happened in Fullerton; Fullerton Redevelopment folks were  just so darned…well… you know.

But consider this: Fullerton has had a long and inglorious Redevelopment history that includes building, then demolishing concrete trestles along Harbor, giving away a public sidewalk to a politically connected apaign contributor, subsidizing dozens of boondoggles, supporting architectural design Nazi-ism, stealing an old lady’s property to give to a car dealer, and nasty little sales tax kick backs from Redevelopment funds - all done to promote more tax revenue to pay for pensions, League of City junkets, and all those inevitable step pay increases for the gang.

A final thought: even though Redevelopment is supposedly dead in California you can bet the farm (if they don’t steal it for High Speed Rail) that the lobbyists are busy at work in Sacramento trying to revive it, and that local mall fry politicians and local political wannabes are real eager for it to come back.

Why not? It’s fun and it isn’t their money.

55 Comments

Going Into Labor, Part I – The Problem

I have always been fascinated by the urge for government employees and their die-hard supporters to cling to the notion of collective bargaining as some sort of birthright. The ability for public employees to unionize is actually not even that old, but is a comparatively recent and curious chapter in the history of organized labor.

Classical Marxist doctrine holds that in the capitalist phase of history there are two elements contributing to economic activity. There are capital and labor; the first representing the bourgeois investment class (and their managerial overseers); the second is the workforce that sells its labor to the former. Naturally, the cost of labor , the investment of the capitalists, and the return the latter is willing to accept determine the supply side cost of goods.

The Marxists believed that capital habitually exploited an oversupply of labor through poor working conditions and long hours of employment. There was certainly evidence to support this contention and the capitalists did their best to outlaw labor “combination” through their control of legislatures.

(For the sake of argument I will happily stipulate the socialist fact in evidence.)

Of course labor did combine.

But the idea of government workers unionizing did not enter the into the equation. Why? For several reasons, one of which is succinctly stated by the most effective liberal in American history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

YouTube Preview Image

Roosevelt realized that people who work for the government cannot hold the same employer/employee relationship since their employer is the people as a sovereign whole. Clearly the idea of collective bargaining, and particularly militant union tactics used against the citizenry was abhorrent to old FDR himself.

Another related problem is that government employees do not fit into the labor-capital equation, since the “capitalist” investor in their operation is none other than the taxpayers and citizens – and not a natural adversary in an economic system. And public employees were granted civil service protection and security to make up for comparatively modest wages.

Cornering the market…

And then there is the problem of the complete public sector labor monopoly. Producers of goods compete with each other in marketplaces that, among other things, sets a value on product that helps determine the cost of labor. No such balance exists in the public sector where nothing is for sale and there is no competition in the labor market at all.

The ability to unionize and the concomitant ability to engage in collective political action has enabled the public sector labor monopoly to elect its favored candidates at all levels, and subsequently to exact greater and greater salaries and benefits for themselves; and always using the argument that all they seek is parity with the private sector. Yet never have they jettisoned the civil service protections that makes in almost impossible to fire an incompetent public worker.

Most comical are the “management” unions that represent the upper tier employees who oversee the lower, and whose own interests in running the “company” are inexplicably linked with the benefits conferred upon the latter!

We didn’t do it!

And so dear Friends, next time you see a “retired” 50 year old cop who was granted almost 100% of his salary as a pension, and who was given two decades of retroactive benefits, ask him whom he has to thank. I guarantee it won’t be you, or even the other public employees who negotiated his benefits on your behalf; nor even the lackeys on the city council like Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, and Jan Flory whom his union got elected. Nuh, uh. He will thank an anonymous “system” that has created this mess and that has virtually bankrupt California and threatens almost every municipality in the state.

Well, we know who to thank.

278 Comments