Category Archives: Local Government

Seriously, Art?

At some point each day, I try to peruse the various blogs and news sites that I support on this page. I admit most of the writers have either better contacts or more time to waste perusing blogs than I do for story ideas. Art Pedroza, who publishes the pseudo-news-blog “New Santa Ana” is one of the latter.

On Wednesday, the Tustin Police Department published an entry to their Facebook account regarding a recent mitigation action concerning a homeless encampment. The officer who responded to the call found personal belongings and and obvious signs of occupation but not warm bodies to speak with. They left a notice directing the occupant to clear the area. Homeless Liaison Officer DeLeon went by the next day and found nearly everything gone. City personnel then cleared the remaining items from the area. Good Job and no one got hurt (maybe a little inconvenienced but not hurt.

So, imagine my surprise when I am slogging through the various blogs and I read on New Santa Ana about the incident. I mean, it wasn’t anywhere near Santa Ana. It must have been a slow news day in his city, with new, as yet uncorrupted city councilmembers and all. Art did a good job of copying the TPD Facebook entry nearly word-for-word but I suppose there are different rules for professional bloggers. It was the last paragraph that really bothered me.

Homeless Encampment Before Removal Courtesy of TPD

Pedroza writes: “Hurray for Tustin but where did the homeless people in question go? Tustin does provide a homeless shelter. But in the example above the homeless people in question just left. Where did they go?

Well, gee Art, how would DeLeon know? There was no one there to speak with and, obviously, police officers don’t have time to hang around on an admittedly low level service call. More important than that, as Pedroza pointed out, Tustin has a homeless shelter. In fact Tustin has several, including the Orange County Rescue Mission which serves the entire county and has been in service since 1963. It has been on the old Marine base for about 14 years now and has been joined by multiple other organizations that provide housing to homeless veterans and others in need.

Tustin has been a leader in working to get the homeless off the streets of our city without burdening other cities like Santa Ana, who has been fighting tooth and nail against a homeless shelter, and Irvine who has some pretty interesting ways of dealing with their homeless population. Tustin’s officers were also some of the first in Orange County to receive training in homeless and mental health issues among the homeless. That training pays off for them every day.

So, Art, before you go bashing a neighboring city, maybe you should take the time to do a little actual research instead of just plagiarizing Facebook pages.

Purple is not My Color

Ah, you have to love the bravado by which Governor Newsom holds his news conferences. If you were watching at noon, he makes a big deal out of taking his mask off whenever he steps up to the microphone. I wonder how many times he has practiced that move in front of the mirror.

So now, we head back into the most restrictive mode, Purple Tier, because who knew there would be a fall spike in Covid cases? I did, I did…..and you did, too, probably. For something that isn’t the flu, this virus certainly acts like the flu. And, we have been responding like it is a flu. Common sense tells people at risk to avoid crowds and go out only when necessary. Yes, we are all wearing masks (well, most of us). We may have defined social distancing but really….didn’t you do that last year with people you suspected had the flu? I mean, who wants to get sneezed on….

I hope you enjoyed eating inside at our fine restaurants. They will be forced back outside in 24 hours (rather than 72) because Newsom pulled what he likes to call the “emergency brake”. As we head back out, I expect some of them to close not because of a lack of outdoor space but because of a lack of outdoor heaters. While many restaurants, notably in the District and the Marketplace, own their own heaters or have them permanently installed, most of our eateries do not. Restaurateurs were grateful to the city, county and state bureaucracy in giving them outdoor space and making it easy to obtain the proper permits (ABC requires a Covid permit to serve alcohol outside the normal boundaries of a restaurant). The now familiar orange barricades in the streets of Old Town don’t look like they will disappear anytime soon.

Not that I’m complaining. I really think the outdoor dining has caught on and folks I see dining in Old Town seem to really be enjoying themsleves. Of course, that was before the cold snap and the lack of heaters. Unfortunately, we can’t expect the restaurants to suddenly come up with them. Patio heaters are expensive to purchase – if you can find them. They are also getting suddenly expensive to rent, due to price-gouging by those that had the foresight to purchase them in the hope of making a quick buck. So, you may have to say goodbye to your favorite dining spot for awhile. There’s always delivery…

Also say goodbye to your favorite gym, movie theaters, spas, and a host of other businesses that were allowed to reopen just a few short weeks ago.

Then there is the threat of the curfew. Yes, our dear leader is flexing his muscles again and said that a statewide curfew is a very real possibility. Now, before you conservatives get all riled up about how the “lawsuit” eliminated his ability to make executive orders, it didn’t (next time read the fine print). It has, in fact, better defined what he can and can’t do. He can’t make law but he can make orders that affect the welfare and safety of the state. And implementing curfews is one of those time honored orders that governors have been making for safety and security reasons almost forever. So, if he implements it, don’t expect the courts to overturn it. To my knowledge, Los Angeles is the only place considering a curfew on their own. That could change under the governor’s order.

On the other hand, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, who has previously stated he is not the mask police, is not likely to enforce a curfew. Barnes deputies patrol unincorporated area and a third of the incorporated cities in the county.

Will Tustin enforce the curfew? I think that depends on whether the city council gets behind it. Tuesday’s council agenda only has one non-consent item on it. Curiously, it is for a renewal of the city’s current ordinance regarding Covid restrictions. I’m not sure if they can amend the agenda at this late date but they should just so they can discuss this latest state update. Otherwise it will be another two weeks or more before they address the issue. Hopefully, they will at least discuss the possibility of a curfew and and their possible response.

Oh, I almost forgot. Governor Newsom apologized for joining that birthday party for his friend last week. He spent most of the apology justifying the actions and saying “everyone makes mistakes”. I guess my concern was that he was looking like he was snickering the whole time.

Happy Veterans Day

Thanks you to every veteran, active or discharged, for your service

I am a veteran. There, I said it. I wasn’t always so quick to do so. In my time, it was not popular to be identified as a veteran. In fact, during my service in the United States Air Force (and for years after), I rarely wore my uniform off base and never told anyone what I did for a living unless they asked.

If you’ve been around our town Tustin for awhile, you may remember we used to have a veterans day parade. Every year, the guy who owned the auto parts store would haul out some cool antique motorized military equipment and, along with the local American Legion Post 227 and a bunch of other people, they would produce a parade of about 4 blocks down El Camino Real.

I remember the final year of the actual parade, the festivities ended at Peppertree Park and there would be lots of activities for the kids and food for the families. It was a great time had by all. That year, there was a ’50’s style swing band and some singers dressed in USO style costumes who actually sang a pretty good rendition of the Andrews Sisters singing Chattanooga Choo Choo

That year, the MC began a tribute to our living veterans by asking them to stand up, according to their era – World War II, the Korean War, and then Vietnam. I sat there until my wife nudged me and asked me to stand. I looked around to see if there was anyone else was standing….there was. I stood up, ready to sit back down. And, a remarkable thing happened. The MC said, “welcome home”. And, there I was crying. No one had ever said that before.

A lot have years have come and gone. I’ve been welcomed home and thanked numerous times since. I am humbled and thankful for those who are thankful because they appreciate the sacrifice of service to our great country. Sadly, our hometown Veterans Day celebration is no longer a part of Tustin. And, that’s a shame because our children may lose their appreciation for what our military does for them and their parents.

In the back of my mind, I always hope I will hear the call of the bugle down El Camino Real again. Perhaps our city council, who claim to be veteran friendly, will consider a new parade sponsored by a city with a proud heritage of military service to our country. In the meantime, enjoy the day and, if you get a chance, thank a veteran for their service. Most of them will shy away from embarrassment. Don’t let that stop you.

Sgt. John Gallagher USAAF WWII
Cpl. June Gallagher USAAF WWII
Spec.4 John T. Gallagher US Army Vietenam
Spec.4 Joseph W. Gallagher US Army Vietnam (in-country)
Sgt. Jeffrey K. Gallagher US Air Force Vietnam
Seaman Robert W. Morgan US Navy (Res) Cold War Era

Business as Usual?

For most of the country, the election is finally over. Months of constant harassment and obnoxious commercial after commercial are, thankfully, over. Now, if we could just do something about those equally obnoxious Medicare supplemental insurance commercials.

Here in our town Tustin, there has been a definite shift to the left. Beckie Gomez has reclaimed a seat on the dais, joining Leticia Clark. This is still a liberal minority and not the first time we have had two female liberals on the city council (women of color is a big plus). Gomez was also part of the progressive platform on her last stint on the council. That didn’t work so well for a variety of reasons, including her apparent preference for the policies of the city elites over those of her constituents or her liberal ally. We’ll see how things pan out this time.

Ryan Gallagher (no relation) is a non-starter. A good portion of his campaign was financed by the same wonderfully dark money as his compatriots. His list of endorsements, unsurprisingly, contains a veritable who’s who of former city officials that nearly sunk this city with their clown show a few years ago. He will most certainly join the conservative Austin Lumbard and Barry Cooper to effectively block any meaningful actions by the left.

And, that’s a shame. For the first time I can remember, the city council is made up entirely of city residents who are old enough to make sound decisions while being young enough to have some innovative ideas. Their combined expertise could be put to great use to move our city forward in developing the rest of the Legacy and as it navigates the dangerous waters of…well, water. Poseidon, the developers of that nasty, desalination plant in Huntington Beach, are pushing strong for something we don’t need that will surely affect the water rates of every homeowner in Tustin. Governor Newsom, for whatever reason, is onboard; so much so, that he fired Santa Ana Water Board member, William von Blasingame, who spoke out against the project and replaced him with….Letitia Clark.

The assumption, of course, is that Clark is a proponent of the project. Most certainly, those who rallied behind von Blasingame have now had their voices squelched, even if Clark is opposed or neutral to desalination (I can’t find where Clark has made a statement, one way or the other). She could be a new voice but I doubt Newsom appointed her without checking this out. I mean, come on…California’s would-be dictator is known for appointing advocates to his various causes and policies. So, it is doubtful Clark would be neutral on the issue.

More importantly is where Clark may be headed. By all accounts she is well educated in the right fields (political science, public administration) and, with the most recent governor’s appointment, connected to the right people. Clark has four more years to work with Tustin. Her first four have obviously helped her politically, even though she has not really accomplished that much during her tenure. That could change now that she has a strong ally in Gomez.

For the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to the the first of the year and a “new” city council. There is much to accomplish and it could be done if the city council would work cooperatively, learn to compromise and -most importantly- reign in and take control of city staff.

Good luck, Councilmembers Clark, Gomez, Lumbard, Cooper & Gallagher. You will need it.