Dear Friends, a few weeks back we wrote a post about the issue of blight relative to the proposed Redevelopment expansion. So we have decided to collect some more images of blight to help you get the picture. Again, to be fair, and consistent, we have tried to stick to the City’s own standard (or worse) as we collected pictures not in the proposed area, but in the existing Redevelopment Project Area – to let you also see what a bang-up job the city is doing to eradicate blight already!
The Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services (FIES) is a non-profit collaboration of local folks whose mission is to help people of marginal means subsist, learn job skills, and for some, transitional housing is provided in the FIES compound in the west 500 block of Amerige Avenue.
Imagine the surprise of the tenants at 504 W. Amerige when they recently received eviction notices from their landlord. It seems FIES wants to buy the multi-family property located next to their current assemblage of properties, and the residents have to go. Apparently there are several families living on this property including several kids and even an infant. Some have been living there for over fifteen years and must like it.
It seems nobody at FIES has made it their business to inquire about the fate of the current tenants who now have to find a new home with a comparable rent, and will somehow have to scratch up a new first/last payment on a new place; or if they did, perhaps they dismissed it as not their problem.
We don’t think it’s real nice of FIES to cause the eviction of employed, rent-paying citizens simply because their mission is to minister to people farther down the housing stock food chain. It’s particularly egregious since FIES routinely receives government subsidies to pursue its mission. It must be galling for a taxpayer to find himself on the receiving end of an eviction notice due to the efforts of a taxpayer subsidized organization.
We hope that the good folks at FIES can reach an accommodation with the current tenants to let them stay on until they can relocate, and/or provide monetary relocation assistance. That’s only fair. It would be a painful irony indeed if any of these people ended up as FIES clients in the future.
Finally, the issue of the FIES compound itself needs to be addressed. Is it appropriate for this facility to continue to expand at this location? Is it wise to aggregate this sort of transitional use in a single neighborhood? Continued expansion seems likely to hasten even more growth in the future. What are the permit requirements, if any, for this proposed use, and what does the City have to say about the dislocation of the existing tenants.
With all of the collaborative activities going on in Fullerton, maybe somebody can collaborate on some help for the residents at 504 W. Amerige Ave.
Teri Sforza has produced another fine Watchdog post over at the Register about the gravy train that already awaits MWD employees in retirement, including a list of over 40 of these watercrats who pull down over $100K a year in pension payements click here . The former top dog who retired in 1993 gets almost $225K per year and has received over $3.5 million since he stopped clocking in. Sweet. For him.
If that weren’t bad enough, now MWD wants to raise their pension formula even more. A few days ago we threw down the gauntlet to our City Council to be accountable for the upcoming vote by their chosen MWD representative, Jim Blake. Well, now we do it again. The vote is next week and we will be reporting back to the friends.
And remember. MWD cost increases are passed directly on to us. On top of that, in Fullerton 10% of gross water revenue (from your water bill) goes directly into the General Fund. And that’s a hidden tax increase, folks.
Here’s the MWD $100,000 club. If you know anyone on the list make sure he/she thanks the water rate payer for their largess:
UPDATE: The MWD Board will take up this matter at its meeting on Sept 15.
The Metropolitan Water District, one of the shadowiest and least transparent agencies in California is contemplating raising its employees pension benefits. The Register opines about it here and makes reference to an original story by Teri Sforza here .
With bad news about how its own pension plan has been rocked by huge CalPERS investment losses, and with financially teetering state and municipal governments it seems like a poor time for the MWD to be grabbing for more tax-payer backed gravy to benefit a giant gaggle of water bureaucrats. Plus, the MWD just passed along a water commodity rate to its members that we are all paying for.
Fullerton is original member of the MWD and has been represented for a long time, some say way too long, by a fellow named Jim Blake – as we wrote about here .
UPDATE: The MWD is scheduled to take up this matter at its meeting on September 15.
Jim has been on the MWD Board for so long that almost nobody can remember when he went on back in the 80s (1980s, that is). The people who originally appointed him are all long gone. But Jim has well-managed his continual reappointment without anybody else getting a shot at the job. Well, now he’s got an issue that may just spell trouble for his lengthy tenure.
Blake has always been a big pro-staff drum-beater, and its hard to imagine that if, left to his own devises, he wouldn’t go for the pension jack. If he goes for it now, the people who appointed him may discover that it is they who are ultimately responsible for the actions of their appointees. Under ordinary circumstances this might not bother Fullerton’s own pension spiking gang too much. But 2010 is an election year, and we feel certain that this the pension increase will become an issue if it goes through. The city council needs to know that this continued fiscal recklessness will not be tolerated.
Fullerton trash in green bins is gold to hundreds if not thousands of recyclers throughout North OC. People who are in the marginal business of recycling are now flocking to neighborhoods throughout Fullerton Monday- Friday. Depending on the day of the week that your trash is picked up you may notice people competing to score the goods from the green bin. It’s no coincidence that it’s green is it?
So who does the recyclable stuff belong to? Good question. Someone “inadvertently” forgot to label the bin Property of MG Disposal or Property of the City of Fullerton, and the recyclers believe that they are doing business as usual.
Most people understood that if everyone helped (recycled) by sorting our trash, then the hauling rates would be lowered (or at least not raised) and would save us a little money on our trash bill. But now that we are all sorting the “goods” for the recyclers on trash day it has become an added bonus for those in the shopping cart recycling business.
Is a crime being committed? Is anybody cited for it? Who makes up the loss for MG Disposal?
Did the city and MG Disposal leave out an important clause in the contract? Or is it just easier for everybody to look the other way?
The Fullerton Senior Center on Commonwealth was shut down by the County on Thursday after the City of Fullerton allowed a cockroach infestation to get out of control. An inspection report from the Orange County Health Care Agency shows that live cockroaches were found in a food storage area next to the kitchen after a roach sighting was called in by a concerned citizen. The center was shut down overnight and opened back up the next morning, just in time for Friday’s Senior Hawaiian Luau Party.
When it’s not being used to dish out extra crunchy meals to senior citizens, the City rents out the facility to create some healthy taxpayer-subsidized competition for Fullerton’s numerous privately-owned restaurants and banquet halls. These entrepreneurial establishments must pay taxes to the city, only to have the city turn around and use that money to subsidize a facility in direct competition with their own business. That just doesn’t seem right, does it? Fortunately for those business owners, the city is not capable of managing a safe dining facility.
It’s not hard to imagine that many of the city’s customers will be canceling their reservations until the city gets its act together. In the meantime, the old folks who eat lunch there every day should chew carefully.
By Kanani Fong
This isn’t about redevelopment, however, I’ve come across enough people in the community up at arms (read: thoroughly pissed off and confused) about health care reform. The current fight over healthcare reform has been made into a left/right debate. Reform has been needed for many decades, but all that’s been accomplished is adding more gatekeeper layers. Let’s put it this way: what we have now is a multi-layered butter cream concoction with slivers of cake that’s already toppled. The real fight is and has been between physicians and the health care insurers as well as the government.
For far too long, physicians have been vilified by both Democrats and Republicans as money wasters. (Ed Royce one gave a nonsensical analogy once at a Town Hall). Until one understands the nuts and bolts of how contracting works, all demands are merely –such as the ones listed on the Liberal OC blog are well-intentioned but quixotic. Believe me, I know they’re well intentioned, but like I say, until you clearly understand how many levels are already in the current system taking money at each, you really can’t get the breadth of the problem.
Because I’d rather write, do yoga, dress my voodoo dolls, plan the next trip, plot world domination one stilletoed heel at a time and walk the dog, I’ve written 5 articles on my blog about health care contracting and the industry at large. To pull up all five, simply go to my blog and type in “Healthcare” in the search box on the upper left hand side. Check it out here:
Here’s an item on tomorrow’s agenda to be addressed by the City Council behind closed doors:
2. CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATOR
Property: 626 & 700 S. Euclid Street
Agency Negotiator: Rob Zur Schmiede
Negotiating Parties: Paul Kott, Pierre J. Nicolas Trust
Under Negotiations: Price and terms
Let’s get this straight. The Redevelopment staff (aka Rob Zur Schmiede) is asking for council permission to begin negotiations for a huge piece of property off Euclid, presumably to build low income housing. He’s trying to do it behind closed doors under the cover of the “closed session” where he can get the ball rolling on a project that has NEVER been authorized by anybody. The key phrase here is “price and terms” which justifies the secrecy but that in reality is being used as a fig leaf to hide the fact that the council is giving tacit approval to a project that has never been offically authorized by them, in public – even in concept. In fact the very nature of the request is the first in what will be a long series of incremental approvals. In fact, this process is called incrementalization for that very reason.
Well, WE object to these shennanigans even though it happens all the time. Authorization to negotiate price and terms is premature, and at this juncture issues that are not covered by under Brown Act exclusions are already occuring. What is involved is a secret commencement of the process that will lead to land use entitlements and rezoning. This is wrong, wrong wrong. This is obviously going to be a major project with major policy and CEQA implications.
The City Council should agendize this issue for a public hearing immediately with proper notification to all the neighbors. If they choose to go ahead with this (likely monstrosity), THEN they can schedule their “price and terms” meeting in the cozy confines of the backroom!
Our Friend Joe Sipowicz has added a great insight to a recent post on Dick Jones and Redevelopment about the way staff placates city councilpersons who ask questions. We’ll just let Joe say it in his own words:
“Staff also has another trick that may have been part of this little play, especially if it wasn’t rehearsed after all. That is answering the question that nobody has asked. In this tactic the question that was asked is dodged through answering some other question. The answer given is true, but non-responsive. It’s amazing how many people fall for this.
“BTW, this is also a tactic that our old friend Matthew Cunningham keeps using although it doesn’t appear to fool anyone in the blogosphere. It’s amazing how much more capable of critical thought bloggers are than city councilpersons!”
Joe, we know just what you mean. Former Planning staffer Joel Rosen is a master of this technique. You appear to be responsive and ever-so forthcoming, but in reality you give away nothing, and most of the time the councilperson is to too afraid of looking stupid to persist in getting a real answer. It’s like asking someone what time it is and having them tell you they live in a green house with red shutters in the 300 block of East Wilshire Avenue. It may be true, but it’s completely irrelevant!