Recently, Mayor Al Murray gave the 18th Annual State of the City address at a luncheon at the Clifton C. Miller Community Center next to city hall. It is interesting that the Tustin Chamber of Commerce sponsors this event and, not so coincidentally, uses the venue as a moneymaker, charging $50.00 a head to attendees. This, along with the time of day and day of the week, effectively eliminates all but the city elite from attending. So, now you know who the State of the City address is really intended for. If you have any remaining doubts, just take a look at the blog entry for the Tustin Chamber of Commerce where they tout the great job Mayor Murray is doing for our fair city. Calling him “unusually in touch” with the people of Tustin, we wonder where they get this schtick. Perhaps they should take a bolder stand against those devilish marijuana dispensaries.
In any case, for those that could/would not shell out the fifty bucks, here’s the shortened YouTube version. The city actually did a nice job of making an entertaining video of the state of the city so, although Al narrates the video, you don’t have to listen to a boring speech. And although we might have issues with his job as a councilman, Murray is a pretty good speaker – better than his drumming.
Sorry for the late post but, after all, I am on vacation this month. Julie and I are planning to head to New Mexico later this week and it has been a chore getting the new motorcycle ready for the trip. One doesn’t realize the number (and cost) of accessories they have accumulated over the years until they have to replace them. If you would like to see what and where we will be up to, you can read about it here.
Other issues are hindering my posting as well. It seems the software plugin I relied on for so many years to assist me in making accurate posts has stopped working and the designers are no longer supporting it. It’s kind of like going back to tubes from ICs in respect to the ease and speed of posting articles. Bear with me.
This week’s Tustin City Council agenda is pretty full. It may take a while to get through and I may just show up for the meeting just to get a glimpse of our city council. I, for one, would like to see if this boring bunch is actually still breathing.
Topping the agenda on the Closed session are the labor negotiations with all of the city’s employees, including the police. Most of the city’s staff are represented by the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA). My sources tell me the city is refusing to negotiate any kind of raise for the rank-and-file and is looking to get the employees to pay more into their retirement than they already do. Hopefully, the employees’ chief labor negotiator, Frank Flavin, is aware of the recent antics of the city council giving Chief of Police Scott Jordan a 5% raise supposedly to keep him from moving on. The joke in that is, where would he go? Almost every city in the state has diluted their public safety retirement benefits to the point where it would be downright stupid for Jordan to think of leaving.
We also hope Flavin knows of the recent changes and creation of several high level positions that allowed City Manager Jeff Parker to effectively hide raises for many executive and managerial positions in the city. Most of these, of course, have been in the Community Development Department. It would be interesting to see how many new hires have been employed by Parker using his 21st Century Hiring scam. Of course, this in itself is something that should be challenged by the unions as an illegal tactic to get around the city hiring rules.
Also on the Closed Session is the usual exposure to litigation and Real Property negotiations with Cushman Wakefield, Pacific Standard Homes, the US Army and one private party. The discussion with the US Army concerns 15 acres of property in a swap that will allow the city to sell off the current Army Reserve Center on Barranca Parkway for further expansion of the District. It’s curious that City Manager Jeff Parker is acting as the chief negotiator for the city on this. Could it be we are seeing the OJT for his next job as a real estate consultant for local government?
The city budget is also scheduled to be adopted by the city council. It’s doubtful that the Podiatrist Councilman has the faintest idea of what is involved in budgeting so don’t expect him to do anything but nod and follow the lead of his mentor Chuck Puckett. Puckett probably has better knowledge of the budget but my bet is on Councilmembers Nielsen and Gomez who, with the experience they have with the city, are the best experts behind City Manager Jeff Parker, to determine if the numbers add up. Assuming these two have thoroughly vetted the proposed budget, don’t expect any fireworks over the issue.
Conference with Legal Counsel, Initiation/Exposure to Litigation – 2 cases each.
Labor Negotiations – TMEA, TPPSA (both by OCEA), TPOA & TPMA, public safety, Unrepresented Employees.
Conference with Real Property Negotiators – 4 items including one private party for the Tustin Housing Authority
Consider Levying of Annual Assessments for the Tustin Landscape and Lighting District 2012-2014 – Recommendation is to adopt a resolution setting the annual levy amount for the district.
Approve the Annual Measure M2 Eligibility Submittal Package – Annual report certifying the city’s compliance for eligibility for transportation funds.
Approve Plans and Specifications and Authorize Advertisement for Bids for the McFadden Avenue and Irvine Boulevard Rehabilitation Projects – Both items have been budgeted and funded in the amount of $358,000 plus funding from Santa Ana and M2 funds. Projects should be completed by the end of the year.
Adopt 2013-2014 Budget – Adopt the 2013-2014 city budget including all anticipated revenue from Special Revenue Funds and Water Enterprise Funds in the amount of $130, 612, 228. Also included is an adoption of the Tustin Housing Authority budget of $265, 800. The housing authority budget includes personnel costs of $155,000. We will be dong an in-depth analysis of the budget in the near future.
Successor Agency Resolution Appropriating Funds for the Successor Agency for 6 months of the Fiscal Year – The Successor Agency (to the Redevelopment Agency) budget is $5,144,447 drawn from anticipated revenues of the Successor Agency. Most of this budget ($4.6 million) is for debt service on the old Redevelopment Agency and is paid from the Redevelopment Trust Fund.
That’s it for the week. As I said, we most likely be at the meeting tonight and possibly have coffee afterward at one of the local coffee shops. Watch my Twitter feed @keepdapeace for the location.
Yeah, I know, you were expecting a post on the upcoming (and yet not quite thrilling) Planning Commission meeting tonight. We can’t help you. That’s because, since Friday, when they posted an agenda with one item of decidedly non-interest, they subsequently canceled their meeting. At least they are not wasting thousands of dollars in city staff time and resources on a single item that could be put off until next meeting. The only issue is, did they give proper notice of the cancellation? This is only important to those who might have spoken on the public hearing issue (probably zero in this case) and those civil ethicists like myself. The next meeting of the Tustin Planning Commission is June 25, 2013 at 7 pm.
In the meantime, I thought I would cast the net a bit wider and write about the latest meanderings of lame duck Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach. When we last discussed Moorlach, he was contemplating a run for California Governor…. or was it Assemblyman? Oh yeah, it was Auditor-Controller. Well, John has apparently decided against running for governor. in a recent article from our friends at the Orange County Breeze, Moorlach stated in an email to his constituents that, after much soul-searching and looking to his mom, he decided to rule out a run for governor.
“This is a personal-management principal that was deeply ingrained into my psyche by my mother’s parent tape. A parent tape is something that your parents say over and over again in order to drill something into you,” the email states. Apparently, that tape includes excerpts on not doing stupid things like mounting an ill-fated run for governor against an immensely popular and Democratic candidate in an overwhelmingly blue state. “After spending a good five months looking at what I should be doing next, I have taken a potential run for the office of Governor of the State of California off the list….I am not running for Governor for the State of California.”
There. He said it. That makes it absolute…sort of.
Remember when Moorlach first ascended to the Board of Supervisors? I do. One of the most prominent and promising things he said was, “I do not intend to run for higher office. This [the board of supervisors] will be as far as I go,” or words to that effect. I am sure they are recorded somewhere as I was not the only one present when he said them.
Apparently, however, Moorlach has a selective memory. Several months ago, when he first announced his exploration for a possible run for governor, I recalled his original words. Although I was not shocked that he would renege on his promise, actually more of an avowal, I think everyone was amazed that this egotist actually thought himself worthy of the governorship of California. Anyone else would have quietly gone to the real kingmakers of the Orange County GOP and discussed the matter with them first. Instead, Moorlach took the road of his colleague, the ambitious yet reckless Todd Spitzer, and found himself contemplating his embarrassment when the likes of Scott Baugh and Mike Schroeder failed or refused to back him on his play.
As time went on, it was becoming even more obvious that Moorlach wanted desperately to become a career politician, something that he eschewed in the beginning. Shortly after his “governor” announcement, he lowered his sights to Orange County Auditor-Controller, a job that even I will admit he is well-qualified to assume. Then, he turned left (or is it right) again, and said he was exploring a run for the Assembly. And, he did all this while not taking himself out of the run for the governorship. That made him look like even more of a buffoon than he already was. Was he actually (and desperately) hoping the GOP honchos, who finally figured out the only thing the rest of the GOP wants from them is their money, would speak up and say, “Yes! We want John!” Oh, please.
Since the years of Moorlach’s warning of the bankruptcy, the OCGOP has preferred he remain in the background. He was anointed for the Board of Supervisors run and won handily by 70%. Most of that, however, was due to the fact he faced no real opposition. Prior to his run for the Supervisors, he was appointed county tax collector and then won two more terms only because no one really wants to be the tax collector. I suppose all those years in office, with a nice pension to garner, has jaded our John. He has, in the end, become the nemesis of the everyday people, a career politician.
It seems John has come full circle. He has spent much of his professional life in elected office, first as tax collector and then as Orange County Supervisor. where he was unable to accomplish his real goals dismantling the public employee pension system while keeping his own lucrative pension intact. His “exploratory” stab at the governorship died for lack of a second and his pitch to swap seats with Assemblyman Alan Mansoor remains in limbo due mostly to how Mansoor sizes up the battle with Michelle Steel. That leaves Moorlach the almost sure bet of winning the race (if there is one) for auditor-controller, a position, as we said, for which he is well-qualified.
But, now that he has had a taste of power, will Moorlach be content to live the rest of his career in relative obscurity? If he does take the auditor post, you can bet he will continue to make the most of it by publicly speaking -and opportunistically blasting- the future OC Board. And, we will be able to thank John’s mom for giving him sage advice.
One of the lesser known “holidays” on the American calendar is Flag Day. This year, President Obama has signed a proclamation designating June 14, 2013 as Flag Day and the Week beginning June 9, 2013 as Flag Week.
From the Department of Defense website:
Each June, our Nation lifts its sights to the flag that has watched over us since the days of our founding. In those broad stripes and bright stars, we see the arc of the American story — from a handful of colonies to 50 States, united and free.
When proud patriots took up the fight for independence, they came together under a standard that showed their common cause. When the wounds of civil war were still fresh and our country walked the long road to reconstruction, our people found hope in a banner that testified to the strength of our Union. Wherever our American journey has taken us, whether on that unending path to the mountaintop or high above into the reaches of space, Old Glory has followed, reminding us of the rights and responsibilities we share as citizens.
This week, we celebrate that legacy, and we honor the brave men and women who have secured it through centuries of service at home and abroad. Let us raise our flags high, from small-town storefronts to duty stations stretched around the globe, and let us look to them once more as we press on in the march toward a more perfect Union.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful American Legion Post right here in Our Town Tustin. Post 227 is prominent in civic affairs of the community. If you go to the Tustin City Council meetings, you know they “post the Colors” at the first meeting of the month. They have a booth at the chili cookoff, Tustin Tiller Days and will have a table at the Police Open House next weekend.
Prior to that, on June 14th, The American Legion Post 227 will hold a Dignified Flag Disposal Ceremony where old, tattered and well-used flags may be disposed of in a manner according to law. Between now and then, if you have a flag you would like to dispose of properly, Post Commander Bob Ammann, Vice-Commander Ivan Bishop and their team invite you to drop them off at Tustin Police Department, Tustin Library or the Senior Center at Peppertree Park where the ceremony will take place.
So, if you’ve been trying to figure out how to lay Old Glory to rest, here is your chance.