Local Flavors-Downtown Anaheim Farmers Market Tour/Cooking Class
The new Epicurean School here in downtown Anaheim is sharing some of the best vegetable recipes for Spring. But first, a trip to the Farmers Market to pick up some fresh produce...you’re gonna love it. Call for details. Thursday, May 6 from 5:30-8:30p.m. and May 20 from 11a.m.-2p.m. Class is $75
TABLE FOR TWO
Here's a twist for "date night"...instead of another average meal at another average restaurant-come and cook a meal together, it's fun. Then, sit down and relax, have a nice bottle of wine. Menu: Red leaf Caesar salad with herbed croutons and Parmesan crisps, eggplant timbales, risotto with asparagus and mushroom ragout, lamb skewers with caramelized shallot and thyme crust, chicken picatta, and for dessert.... chocolate souffle!Saturday, May 15 6:30-9:30 p.m. $150/couple
Dick Dodd, local architect and contributor to the Orange County Register, will offer a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of his book, ³Architectural Styles Orange County² the first comprehensive guide to the evolution of residential styles in our area.
Tuesday Evening, April 20th at 7pm
at Loara Elementary School Auditorium
1601 W. Broadway, Anaheim, CA 92802
Learn how we evolved from the humble adobe homes of pioneering days to today¹s modern residential marvels. Find out about some of our finest architects and visionary builders who made their mark on the world from Orange County. Admission to this event is free and the public is welcome.
Please contact AHS President Helen Myers 714/774-2077. Refreshments will be
In May, you¹re invited to join the Anaheim Historical Society for a traditional spring tea catered by Locke & Nobel Tea Company on the back lawn of the home of AHS Vice President Joyce Morris and her family in the Five Points Historic District of Anaheim.
Sunday Afternoon, May 23rd at 1pm
at the Molt-Morris House
in the Five Points Historic District
1100 W. Center St. (Lincoln & West), Anaheim, CA 92805
Along with the tea, there will be a talk on the history of Five Points. The tea will cost $22 per person and reservations must be received by April 23rd so that all the baking can be completed. Please send your name, phone number and check to the AHS at PO Box 927, Anaheim, CA 92815. For more information
please call Joyce or Robert Morris at 714/772-1420. Parking can be a challenge (carpool if you can) but there is generally some on West St. or in the cul de sac on Center. The entrance to the backyard is behind house on West.
Any questions on the tea, you can email Mrs. Morris at ambrwd (at) sbcglobal (dot) net
And in June:
Save the Date of Friday, June 11th for our Annual Banquet to be held at
Recapping last night’s 4th District Supervisor’s forum, in frustration, as I had videotaped much of it and the file is corrupted, so I am working from my few notes. Maybe my camera knows better than I do?
About 200-250 people attended the Candidate’s Forum last night, hosted by WAND (West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council) and moderated by the League of Women Voters, who got a chuckle when they announced they also accept men. The WAND event is always well attended no matter what race they are highlighting, it seems to be the place where Anaheim’s “informed voters” show up. I think all of the elected Neighborhood Council chairs were present, as well as many Board and Commissions members. This is the crowd the candidates need to impress, as their endorsement might not mean much to the general public, but a sign on one of these lawns can mean another hundred or so votes from those in the neighborhood who know those residents stay involved.
All 6 candidates attended. Questions came from the audience on index cards, and Candidates had 2 minutes to answer each. It is surprising how much information one can glean from those 2 minutes, primarily how very little most of the candidates know about County government and its functions. To his credit, Harry Sidhu appears to have been working with some sort of coach, his answers have become much more polished, primarily because they are canned responses, most likely written for him. Of the candidates, only Shawn Nelson arrived with no notes or talking points, ready to answer questions spontaneously. Frankly that is gutsier than I would ever try, and kudos to him for largely pulling it off. After the event I tried to meet new faces, so as not to get responses from those who know what I want to hear. I did not speak to one person who thought Galloway did well, and Sidhu seemed to confuse people. One woman told me that while she did not always agree with Nelson’s answers, he was the only candidate who understood the job, and the issues, and did not have to look something up before giving an answer, and for that reason she would support him. The overall sense I got was Nelson knew his stuff. That is not an answer I solicited, and for those who doubt, feel free to attend the next forum and conduct your own interviews.
Overall, Rose Espinoza confirmed what I had suspected during the NUFF Forum, she is a nice lady who needs to be involved in her neighborhood, she does a great job as a volunteer, but elected leadership is simply not her strong point. I wish her well on her non-profit endeavors, she truly cares about people, but this is not her venue.
I had not met Art Brown before, and was curious to hear from someone who touts his membership in the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas. He started strong, stating that you can take union money and still tell them no. The 5th term Mayor of Buena Park has a background in law enforcement, and is involved with the OCTA Board and various rail groups, as well as the I-5 Joint Powers Authority. Near and dear to my heart, he is also the longtime President of the Buena Park Historical Society. Yes, Buena Park has history. But he lost me quickly after that, waffling between common sense and government programs as the answer to all ills, with the nail in the coffin being his support for a high speed rail system that stands to decimate his own community. Besides, he is a Democrat, and Allan Bartlett won’t let me vote for them anymore.
Richard Faher continues to scare my socks off, with the creepy habit of referring to himself in the third person, as if reading a bio piece from his website rather than addressing the issues from a first person view. Faher shows up for these events with stacks of meaningless statistics, and last night’s theme revolved around a comparison of Orange County to the “successful government” of a county in Texas he believes does it right. Sadly that county name is lost in my video; it would have been interesting to do a true comparison.
My big interest (because this is a biased piece and anyone who tells you they are writing from a neutral position is lying to you) was the interplay between Shawn Nelson, Lorri Galloway, and Harry Sidhu. Only one of those candidates actually belongs in the District, but I digress. What I found most interesting was the willingness of both Sidhu and Galloway to admit to their short term residency in the District. I expected the standard line of “I have represented the people of the district for X years”, but they both surprised me by coming right out, with Galloway claiming residency in the District of 7 months. I guess she can count the time she lived in the office building; we will let her have that. Harry Sidhu admitted to living in the District for 2 ½ months! Let’s do the math, because Harry Sidhu signed a Voter Registration form on December 31, 2009, (attached below) under penalty of perjury, that he lived at the Calabria Apartments, which qualified him to run for office in the 4th District. Harry then admitted to a crowd of over 200 people that he has lived here far less than that time. Call me a stickler, but committing perjury to run for office at the very least should disqualify one to run for that office, ya think? Other than that side-trip from his carefully prepared public message, Harry toed the line, with the “jobs, jobs, jobs” message, and his new catch phrase “more makers and less takers”.
In contrast, Shawn Nelson has lived in the District since he was 4 years old, and as he pointed out in his closing remarks, “I did not move here because I thought it would be cool to run for office.”
Questions ran the gamut from the usual concerns regarding the economy, lack of park space in North County, bike trails, and my new obsession, transportation. Some were also concerned about the recent push to annex unincorporated islands into surrounding cities, to which all candidates responded that they would leave it to the County island residents to choose their own destinies, although Nelson did point out how inefficient it is to provide County services to those pockets, and perhaps we could contract services to nearby cities without forcing people into the requirements of those cities, which seems fair and equitable.
On the budget, Art Brown pointed out that the OCBC had done a study that was never acted on, and he would like to see that implemented. I have not seen the study, but now I am curious to get a copy, and find out what is in it and why it was not used.
Nelson recommends a department by department audit to find waste and duplication of effort, because “the County cannot be a jobs program.” Galloway gave a non-answer of 6,500 jobs being created by an airport expansion, but did not tell us what she had to do with that. This from someone who took credit for Anaheim improvements that were set in motion by Tom Daly prior to her election to office, but if she showed up for the ground breaking, I guess she gets to take a bow for making the lives of West Anaheim citizens better. Sadly, they have seen no further investment in infrastructure since those programs, and boy are they bitter. Harry Sidhu took a hit for that as well, folks in Anaheim are furious at seeing streets flooding when we continue to put a Rose Parade float into Pasadena every year. To Harry’s credit, he did have some ideas for “jobs, jobs, jobs,” mostly tied to putting people to work for the government, with installing solar panels at the airport and generating clean energy from our landfills. Great ideas, can we afford them? Just asking.
And of course my favorite topic, high speed rail. I know I am not the only attendee who put that one on a 3 x 5 card. This is something that not only hits close to home for the 4th district, as it runs through 3 of the District’s cities, but every Californian should be concerned with the most expensive transportation project in the history of California, and I believe the most expensive in the U.S. to date! And yet….
The Democrats toed the party line on HSR of “creating jobs” and “save the planet”. Art Brown supports the project despite the damage it is likely to cause his community, citing the recent agreement to look into shared track to alleviate the need for more space. News flash Art, the freight lines have the Federal voice on those lines, and they are not on board for this agreement yet, do not relax that pucker too soon. Galloway answered by saying that resurrecting a healthy economy is tied to HSR. May God help us if that is true.
Richard Faher gave one of his few lucid answers in pointing out that he used to commute from his home in Newport Beach to his office in Burlingame, in about an hour on Southwest airlines, and called HSR a “gigantic boondoggle.” Nelson has long been a vocal critic of the project, and had his opinion printed in the OC Register recently. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/hsr-243226-anaheim-project.html
Shockingly, Harry Sidhu tap danced around the question, saying that as an engineer he had not yet taken a position to support or oppose, the study is not complete, and we have no idea how much it is going to cost. “I have not made a decision but I am prepared to look at the environmental studies.” Hmm….I wonder if he, as an engineer, understands that environmental studies do not explain how we are supposed to pay for this unfunded jobs program for the Chinese transportation industry? How can someone not have an opinion on the biggest transportation project in the history of the State? Environmental studies will not mitigate the concerns brought up by the LAO in their review of the CHSRA’s Business Plan, which is STILL not “investment grade”. How can this man call himself a fiscal conservative if he is willing to spend tens of billions of dollars in the event he likes what he sees in the environmental reports?
In conjunction with the HSR question, was the issue of several hundred million dollars of the County’s Measure M funds being stockpiled to build Anaheim’s ARTIC transportation center. Faher and Nelson opposed the idea, with Nelson pointing out that the money was supposed to benefit the entire County’s transportation systems, and that the top dollar real estate of the Platinum Triangle may not be the best place to find cheap land. Galloway thinks it will be the pride of the County, and Sidhu became very defensive, nearly hostile, insisting that this is not tax money but a public-private partnership! Um…I do not know where the “private” in that statement comes from, so far no private investors have stepped up to supplement the Measure M funds.
The question of the night may well have been a nuance missed by some. Of huge concern to Anaheim’s flatland residents is the concentration of affordable housing and its impacts on the existing neighborhoods that must somehow absorb the parking, lack of open space, and school crowding caused by the projects approved by the current Council. There is concern that Anaheim shoulders more than its fair share of the County’s affordable housing construction, while other communities in South County do little or nothing. Art Brown admitted that the area of Buena Park with the dense apartment projects has the highest crime calls. Rose Espinosa is warm and fuzzy for the Housing Commission. Harry Sidhu tried to back pedal on his support as a Councilmember for some of the highest density projects in the County, and Shawn Nelson let fly with the damning statement that not only had Sidhu and Galloway approved those projects in Anaheim, but they both approved a massive profit spike for a housing developer who crafted one of the worst of these projects, and there are even more in the pipeline! When Nelson specifically called out Sidhu’s involvement with the Elm Street Commons developer, Sidhu’s jaw dropped. Whoops, he knows about that? Yeah, he does, Harry. Blog post coming soon.
At that, Galloway dropped the cheerleader act, and went snarky on Nelson, saying, “There is a different kind of resident that lives here, and their needs must be met.” What makes the people of the 4th District angry is that those needs are being met to the detriment of the people who are already here, and had once enjoyed some level of quality of life prior to being squeezed by the underparked slums of the future that our current Council encourages. Comments after the meeting confirmed my suspicions; Galloway did not make friends with that self-righteous outburst.
Lack of park space was a concern, and several of the candidates pointed out the disparity of what is spent on south county parks, vs. North County. Nelson’s resolution for this, as well as his answer to a question regarding how to create jobs, was to stop using County parks money to pay the Sheriff’s office to not only patrol the harbors, but essentially act as the AAA of the yacht crowd. We currently pay the Sheriff to jump start or tow private vessels, when private vendors in the area are waved off those service calls by the Sheriff! We could save money and help save a few small boating service vendors by eliminating that service, as well as some other redundancies largely related to the Sheriff and parks overlay, that would free up money to build or improve more parks in our own area. Galloway’s response to the parks question was to insist that Anaheim elect someone who comes from our community, which I found ironic. Galloway presents herself as representing the people of Anaheim in the 4th District, when she has done such a miserable job of it as a Council member so far. But then I have never hidden my disdain for Galloway, why start now?
In the end, I saw what I expected to see, Faher is a nut job, Espinosa and Brown are genuinely nice people and I would love to have them over for BBQ and beer, but I do not see them leading us at the County level. Lorri Galloway is what she is, and I become increasingly disappointed in Harry Sidhu, a candidate I had backed repeatedly in the past, whose allegiance to developers and their campaign contributions is beginning to cloud his judgment. That’s what happens when you run for perpetual office, you end up selling yourself for the next campaign, until you forget who it is you were supposed to serve. Call me biased, many will, but Shawn Nelson took this one home on a platter. Nelson was the only candidate to know his own mind without notes, had the courage of his convictions to say what he thinks, and actually understood not only the issues presented, but how the County Supervisors can and cannot work to fit those issues. At times Nelson pointed out that the question did not fit the Supervisor’s authority, rather than give the pat answers voters are looking for. I walked into the forum in support of Nelson for 4th District Supe, the forum solidified my view, and I can tell you that many of the neighborhood leaders I spoke to last night have now jumped ship for Nelson. Look for Sidhu to take a pounding in Anaheim in the next poll. Harry failed to carry Anaheim against Mimi Walters, and he will fail to carry Anaheim in the 4th District. Sadly, that will pull votes away from the other Republican, which aids Galloway.
Also in attendance were:
Chasing Anaheim City Council seats: Kris Murray, Pete Bos, Brian Chuchua, John Leos, Hoagy Holguin. Jordan Brandman is running for re-election to Anaheim Union High School District, and Alex Coronado was there representing Orange County Department of Education. WAND’s own Esther Wallace is running for re-election to Magnolia School Board, Hugh Nguyen was there asking for the Clerk-Recorder’s seat, Anaheim’s Craig Hunter was attending and talking up the Sheriff’s race, (he reports outraising Bill Hunt this period) and Catherine Smith announced she is running for 47th Congressional District.
Another Candidate’s Forum for the 4th District will be held in Fullerton soon, and Nelson and Sidhu will debate at the OC GOP Central Committee meeting Monday night, which I would not miss for the world.
I had posted a piece to Red County, once again poking at the high speed rail project that is scheduled to eat our neighborhoods, and our economic stability.
Diane Harkey has created AB2121, a bill that points out that the emperor is naked, and we are overpaying the tailor. AB2121 would kill further funding for this boondoggle. and I am begging you to help me support it please. It only takes a moment to contact the members of the Assembly Transportation Committee, who will hear the bill on April 19th. Their contact info is below. Also, if you would please pass the info along to those of like mind, I would love to bombard the Assembly with messages that we have had enough of the State spending our money on broken promises. Thanks for the help!
Anaheim residents no longer have to leave the city in order to shooby dooby down to Ruby's! Our own 5 Points Ruby's is now open. Yes, I know, it seemed like a fairy tale at times, as the poor old flatiron building sat on blocks for years, trapped in a sea of red tape. But Bill Taormina managed to push his way through the obstacles (including piles of money to be spent) and got 'er done! The building, originally constructed in the 1920s in a flatiron style, was crafted to accomodate the pie wedge lot left by the 5 sided intersection of Lincoln (Old County Road at the time) Center, and West Streets. Over time the building, and its surrounding area, faced challenges, as the upper floor units became flophouse style apartments, with all the joys of humanity that come with that environment. The City of Anaheim bought the building, along with the Lund Paints building next door (reused as a restaurant supply warehouse) and the surrounding homes facing south into Center Street, during a road widening project on Lincoln. All were meant for demolition, until local preservationists stepped in. The Lund Paint building was lost, but the residences were moved to other lots on the street, and joined by infill new construction, in styles that reflect the neighborhood. The Flatiron would have been a total loss if not for developer Bill Taormina, who stepped in knowing the the investmen was unlikely to pencil out. Bill rehabbed the building, and in a departure from the usual red and white 50s style Ruby's theme, the 5 Points Ruby's sports a brown and tan theme that reflects eras from the 20 to the 40s, more in keeping with the structure's period of significance. Photos from the Anaheim History Room's Digital Collection grace the walls, reflecting Anaheim's past. Carhops on skates serve drivers beneath a massive pergola, and the outdoor patio area looks like the perfect spot for Saturday breakfast! A public park is planned for the remaining corner lot.
The restaurant has been serving invited guests during a "soft opening" combining fund raising for local charities with training new hires to serve the public. I attended one of the fundraisers Friday night with Council candidate Kris Murray, Disney's Carrie Nocella, School Board Trustee Jordan Brandman, and our families, in a completely packed house! The Morris family directly across the street were in attendance Friday night, clearly excited to see this finally come to fruition, after years of living in a construction zone! Also residing across the street is larry Black, who has been to Ruby's repeatedly, not only for the excitement, but likely to keep his kitchen clean so he can sell the airplane bungalow his family has on the market.www.CalBungalow. com.
Come on out to see the latest Ruby's, at Lincoln and the 5 freeway (across from Paul Kott's office) and if you run into Bill Taormina, say thanks!
Speaking of Jordan Brandman, his re-election Kick-Off party is tonight at Mama Cozza's restaurant, Ball and Brookhurst. I undertand there are about 100 guests planning to attend, but there is always room for more. You can pay at the door if you can make it last minute!
Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu has moved recently (twice) in an effort to represent the 4th District on the County Board of Supervisors, after Chris Norby vacated the seat in a special election.
How much do we trust Harry Sidhu to be a member of the 4th District community he claims he wants to represent? Recently Harry went to great lengths to tell others that he and his wife had purchased a home in the 4th District, in order to put down roots in the community. As a multi-millionaire, he is certainly in a position to own more than one home, so that is doable. I had been watching the Clerk-Recorder’s public records system, waiting for a transaction to record, showing his purchase of another home, to no avail. The boys from Fullerton accurately picked up Harry’s visit to the Registrar of Voters, claiming he had moved from the Calabria apartments, to a new home at 2215 E. Lucky Way in Anaheim’s 92802, which is well within the 4th District. Over breakfast at Mimi’s recently, Harry verified to me that he and his wife had purchased the home, and that he planned to remain in the house even if he lost the primary in June. When I asked him to put that in writing, along with a pledge not to use the Supe seat as a springboard for yet another office, he offered to send an email to that effect. I have yet to get that, but I digress.
Here’s my problem. A) There is no such address as 2215 E. Lucky Way. At least not in the City of Anaheim. In fact, the location of Harry’s newest abode (and site of dispute with the Bushala team) is in fact 2215 South Lucky Way. Bushala told me yesterday that he went to that location to confirm Sidhu’s residence there, to clear up the confusion over the address.
B) Harry Sidhu does not appear to own the house at that address. Public records show the owner of 2215 S. Lucky Way to be Phuc and Bian Huynh, who live nearby on East Simmons Avenue. The Sidhus are renting.
Which leaves us with several very big questions:
A) Is Harry Sidhu legally registered to vote if he gave a home address that does not exist? If not, is his candidacy for the 4th District even valid? I understand there are others asking that same question, with lawyers.
B) Why did Harry lie to the residents of the 4th District by claiming he had bought his home in the District? Did he really think we were too stupid to check on that? Harry Sidhu can certainly afford to purchase a second house, which he would have done if putting down the deep roots he claims he wants in the area. There is nothing wrong with renting, unless you told others you had purchased.
C) Harry has lived in his 3rd District home, the “elegant Yorba estate” for many years. Why is he so unpopular with his own long term neighbors that he sees himself as unelectable in his own back yard, when the 3rd District seat opens up? Is he so despised on his own home turf that he would rather overcome charges of “carpetbagging” than run in his own neck of the woods? What do Harry’s neighbors know that the 4th District doesn’t?
I do not have answers for those questions, and I frankly will not hold my breath waiting for Harry to answer them, just as he has not sent the email confirming his verbal commitments to me. But I trust the people of the 4th District will ask themselves these questions before voting for our next Supervisor.
Over last spring and summer, volunteer artist and Anaheim resident Janet Lee worked with the Shops at Anaheim Gardenwalk to create an innovative new program, featuring art in public places-in a shopping center! Janet worked tirelessly with volunteers from many organizations, including Assistance League, Anaheim Historical Society, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and others. Together they teamed up with school children in the summer camp programs, and local artists volunteering their time. Using donated materials, the artists created enormous murals, painted by the school kids, to be hung in the public spaces of the Anaheim GardenWalk. The murals depict Anaheim culture and history, based largely on Gail Eastman's children's book, Ana's Home by the River.
That project has now won a Gold Award in the ICSC Maxi Awards, recognizing innovative ideas in shopping center development. This is the only project of its kind in the world, but I suspect the idea will be picked up and taken elsewhere soon! They would do well to hire ball-of-energy Janet Lee to run future programs! http://www.icsc.org/usmaxiawards/2010_USMaxiWinners.pdf
Good work and congratulations to Janet, the GardenWalk, and thanks to all of the artists, school kids, and organizations that gave time, energy, and resources to this project. The murals can be seen in the upper areas of the GardenWalk center, and are open to the public at no charge.
CHILDREN’S BOOK READING AND SIGNING EVENT TO BENEFIT THE ANAHEIM FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER
Dino Mannersauthor Susan Finch and illustrator Allison Seda joined by Anaheim Police Chief, Anaheim City Attorney, and Officer Byrd to teach children important life lessons
ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 2, 2010) – Susan Finch, the author of Dino Manners, a popular children’s book which teaches children to treat their friends with respect, will be joined by Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and Anaheim City Attorney Cristina Talley at the Anaheim Family Justice Center on Friday, March 5, from 4:00 – 7:30 p.m. The trio will share in the reading of the book, and offer words of advice and encouragement to all. The event is free to the public, with proceeds from the book sales benefitting the Anaheim Family Justice Center.
Dino Mannersfeatures colorful and humorous illustrations of a group of dinosaurs learning about friendship, resolving conflict, sharing, how to stay safe, and much more.
Also joining the dinosaur-talk at the event will be Officer Byrd and his friend and author, retired Los Angeles Police Department officer Michael Simonsen. Officer Byrd, a South American Macaw, is no stranger to police work himself. The two officers visit schools to teach children and adults about safety. Officer Byrd likes to entertain his audience with his bike riding, skateboarding, roller-skating, and even driving his own police car.
Established in October 2006, the Anaheim Family Justice Center offers many resources to effectively and efficiently address domestic violence, child abuse, elder/dependent abuse and sexual assaults. By utilizing a multi-disciplinary team approach to intervene, new and innovative ways to support and enhance provisions of crime victim services are proposed.
The Anaheim Family Justice Center is located at 150 W. Vermont Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92805.
For more information please contact the Anaheim Family Justice Center, at (714) 765-1618 (714) 765-1618
Apparently the owner of the EXTRON site at Ball and East Streets is creating a steak house restaurant, and is also adding a concert hall, with a focus on country music. The site sits on an arterial corner, but is surrounded by residential properties nearby, and the neighbors are understandably concerned. Sadly if you read the comments section below the Register article, the critiques of the project quickly tailspin into name calling and insults, alluding to the stereotype of country music fans being in-bred hillbillies. But just a quick Google search of demographics http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=514540
shows that Country Music listeners tend to be in the 25-54 year old age range (the folks most likely to spend money), they are Caucasian, female, married, homeowners, with kids, and at least some college education. Not exactly the image of "Bubba passed out on your lawn after a night of downing longneck beers" that the neighbors might fear. The parking lot of this concert hall is far more likely to be filled with Beemers than pickup trucks, and the greatest crime spree may well turn out to be GPS units swiped from those convertibles during the concert, not the shotgun target practice some have posted on the Register site.
In addition, the concert hall appears to have made an agreement with the Planning Commission to utilize the same neighborhood protections agreed to by the owners of the Ember nightclub in the Anaheim Colony Historic District. Like the EXTRON site, the Ember property fronts onto a busy arterial street, but backs onto and is surrounded by residences, and those neighbors were greatly concerned for quality of life issues, for the same reasons as the EXTRON neighbors likely are. The owners of Ember agreed to Conditional Use that specified on-site security to keep the party from spilling onto neighboring streets, as well as valet parking, and a strictly enforced dress code. The Ember nightclub has become an assett to the community, and using those same restrictions for the EXTRON site is likely to produce an equally beneficial project. The Conditional Use Permit also gives the neighbors the reassurance that if the owner fails to abide by the rules, the Permit can be pulled. That is a lot more comfort and local control than we get when a "party house" picks up down the street, and we cannot get the cooperation of the absentee landlord to quell the keggers.
A concert hall at Ball and East Street would also create yet another entertainment venue for Resort visitors, who often complain of a lack of nightlife or free-time options after a convention, outside of Disney. Conventioners visiting for a business trip want an adult oriented venue to relax after a busy day of walking through medical device booths at the Convention Center, and they have money to spend, money that goes back into the coffers of Anaheim's General Fund.
I have not spoken to the neighbors, but it appears the project could be a win-win, as long as the neighbors have their concrerns addressed in the CUP, and the owner acts in good faith to abide by those concerns. This could be a great step in closing the gap of the cultural vaccuum of Anaheim. Bring on the music!
Transportation projects are essential to the economic viability of California. We cannot sell or distribute the goods or services that are the backbone of our business community without transportation infrastructure, and transportation is one of the few tax expenditures worthy of our support-when it is done right. Sadly, California’s High Speed Rail development has become the third cousin of a good transportation project, and as currently designed is a monster boondoggle, inefficiently planned, using money that has yet to be produced by future generations. With the State possibly unable to sell the bonds approved by voters in 2008, and private investment running in the other direction, the CHSRA is now counting on Federal Stimulus funding to get this thing going- Stimulus funding that We The People have no oversight in spending!
Looking at the Business Plan and route alternatives produced thus far, it appears the High Speed Rail project has been created by politicians rather than rail experts, as a giant make-work project. While an efficient system should have been based on ridership demand, we now know those ridership numbers to be inaccurate. http://www.redcounty.com/hsr-contractors-have-some-splainin-do/36578. This is especially alarming to us in Orange County, as the Anaheim to Los Angeles segment is the first scheduled to break ground, and we have yet to see real numbers that justify that impending construction! Even CHSRA’s own people are beginning to question the viability of this, as the LA Times reports “Katz, who also serves as a Los Angeles County transit official, wants a review to ensure that the L.A.-to-Anaheim leg, which has nearly doubled in cost, is based on actual demand and is efficiently designed to avoid duplication with existing rail services. "I think there are a number of legitimate questions that need to be raised," he said.”
Instead of the straight path that bullet trains follow in Europe and Japan, the California route winds like a snake through the Districts and cities of those politicians directly connected to the project, with the most to gain. The inefficient route placement will result in lost time in transit, as we sacrifice the direct path of speed for the gerrymandered path of political expedience. http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/map.htm
In addition, while some areas such as the Central Valley are begging for this project, hoping the jobs will rescue their skyrocketing unemployment numbers; other communities are questioning the wisdom of the route placement, and its impact on their own quality of life. Communities on the peninsula who caught wind of the routes years ago are already well into the lawsuit stage. http://www.calhsr.com/
Here in Orange County the project has been a deeply held mystery, and public outreach is only now beginning, with the first public disclosure of the Alternatives Analysis presented January 20 of this year, using Right of Way width still not determined! As Orange County awakens to the reality of this project, and its imminent time tables, activists are raising the alarm (and money) in anticipation of reviewing, and likely opposing, the upcoming Draft EIR, soon to be released. For those familiar with CEQA, it is distressing to realize we have managed to get as far as Draft EIR with this just now hitting the editorial pages, but both the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register have now opposed this project in recent months. It is about time.
High Speed Rail needs to be sent back to the drawing board, and created with a transparent and community-driven planning team, to be an efficient use of our tax dollars, and a benefit to each of the communities it touches. Then and only then should California support the project with the funding it requires and deserves. Until that time, we need to put the brakes on, possibly by removing the project from those currently running it, and turning it over to those without political agendas.
Game over, we need to hit the reset button. Apparently the Los Angeles Times would agree.
Some fear California's high-speed rail won't deliver on early promises
There's concern that local, state or federal subsidies would be needed as projected ticket prices between L.A. and San Francisco have almost doubled. And building costs for the first phase have grown
By Rich Connell and Dan Weikel
February 28, 2010
Despite a new $2.25-billion infusion of federal economic stimulus funding, there are intensifying concerns -- even among some high-speed rail supporters -- that California's proposed bullet train may not deliver on the financial and ridership promises made to win voter backing in 2008.
Estimates of ticket prices between Los Angeles and San Francisco have nearly doubled in the project's latest business plan, pushing ridership projections down sharply and prompting new skepticism about data underpinning the entire project.
"This just smells funny," said state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), a supporter of high-speed rail and chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
New inflation-adjusted construction figures show that outlays needed to build the first 520-mile phase of the system have climbed more than 25%, from $33.6 billion to $42.6 billion.
And some government watchdogs are concerned that a linchpin commitment to taxpayers in the bullet train's financing measure -- that no local, state or federal subsidies would be required to keep the trains operating -- may be giving way.
High-speed rail planners recently advised state lawmakers that attracting billions in crucial private financing will probably require government backing of future cash flow. "Without some form of revenue guarantee from the public sector, it is unlikely that private investment will occur at [the planned] level until demand for California high-speed rail is proven," project planners wrote in December.
That is feeding fears that a larger state commitment, beyond the $9 billion in construction bonds approved by voters, could be sought to complete the 800-mile project. "To now put in that we have to [give] some kind of revenue guarantee . . . is totally unacceptable," Lowenthal said. "That's not what we agreed to."
Financial risks and planning adjustments are inevitable in such a massive project, say officials with the California High-Speed Rail Authority. They insist that significant progress is being made, that there is cause for optimism and that they are keeping their commitments to voters. Opportunities for capturing more federal dollars are greater than ever, they say, because President Obama supports high-speed rail.
"The project is moving forward, very much," said Mehdi Morshed, the agency's executive director.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a coalition of business, labor and political leaders argue that the project is ahead of others in the United States and will provide enormous benefits in job creation, congestion relief and environmental improvements.
Tying San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco together with European-style 200-mph trains has been a long-stalled dream for many. The prospect that construction could actually begin has intensified scrutiny of financial, ridership and route issues.
"I think the numbers should be scrubbed," said authority board member Richard Katz, adding that doing so could help the project.
Jeff Barker, the agency's deputy director, said the latest business plan fueled confusion about a revenue guarantee.
"We didn't do a good job of explaining that," he said. The system is being designed to operate without a taxpayer subsidy, and that will be clarified in a new, as-yet unavailable report, he said.
But Morshed, who is stepping down next month, reiterated that some guarantee, probably from the federal government, may be needed to ensure that cash flow can repay front-end construction investments by private parties. That is not uncommon in federally backed projects, he said, and would not violate the state's ban on taxpayer operating subsidies.
Current plans call for up to $12 billion from private-sector investors, about $18 billion from the federal government and up to $5 billion from local agencies. New forecasts show an operating surplus topping $1 billion a few years after service begins.
But some analysts point out that almost all U.S. rail systems -- and a number of foreign operations -- have required large government loans or cash infusions to keep running.
Under the new scenario, one-way fares between L.A. and San Francisco rise from $55 to $105, closer to the cost of an airline ticket. The change shows healthier surplus revenue, which may appeal to private investors. But estimated ridership falls by about one-third, to about 40 million annual boarders in 2030.
Some transit advocates say predictions of private participation aren't realistic. "A lot of it's still magical thinking," said Bart Reed, executive director of the Transit Coalition.
Fare, ridership and financing projections should be viewed as fluid and subject to revision based on changing conditions and assumptions, high-speed rail officials say. But revised ridership estimates have heightened suspicions about the projections' reliability. Some smaller cities, like Gilroy, Merced and Bakersfield, show numbers of nonlocal trips equal to or greater than Los Angeles. "We've never understood their models," said Lowenthal, whose panel is delving deeper into the projections.
A recent federal Government Accountability Office study found that rail cost and patronage projections around the world, including on some high-speed lines, tended to be overly optimistic, making it difficult to gauge the financial viability of projects. Limited federal money may be available for several competing projects, the report adds.
Such warnings underscore what some see as the mixed blessing of the recent windfall of federal dollars. To help create jobs, California is supposed to break ground in two years.
The goal is to start Los Angeles, Bay Area and Central Valley segments about the same time. But the backhoes would be digging before officials know how much future federal and private funding will be available to connect the system, officials say.
Conflicts are brewing in Southern California as planners step up efforts to squeeze trenches, viaducts and extra tracks into a crowded rail corridor cutting across the region. Problems remain over how the bullet train will pass through Los Angeles' Union Station transportation complex. Existing buildings, freeways, rail lines and overpasses around the station make it an extremely tight fit.
In Buena Park, city officials recently learned that part of a new award-winning transit-oriented residential project tied into the city's 3-year-old Metrolink station may have to be ripped out.
A high-speed rail representative told local officials, "We either take the condominiums or we take your station," recalled Councilman Art Brown, who has generally supported the bullet train. Planners are reexamining the issue, but it remains unresolved.
Katz, who also serves as a Los Angeles County transit official, wants a review to ensure that the L.A.-to-Anaheim leg, which has nearly doubled in cost, is based on actual demand and is efficiently designed to avoid duplication with existing rail services. "I think there are a number of legitimate questions that need to be raised," he said.
Communication with cities is being improved, said Barker, the rail agency's deputy director. "We're playing catch-up," he said. Overall, his quasi-independent agency, with a small staff and mostly contract planners, has produced results, he said.
But lawmakers are likely to overhaul the high-speed rail agency and move it more directly into state government, Lowenthal said. "It's not going to be out there on its own," he said.
The newspapers have been covering a story about Anaheim shop owner Rosa Bobbio, and her battle with the City of Anaheim, and the dirtbags-excuse me, misguided youth, who have tagged her building for years. http://www.ocregister.com/news/city-235823-graffiti-bobbio.html
Sadly, they are not sharing all of the story.
Back in fall of 2009, upholstery shop owner Rosa Bobbio reported to the Anaheim Police Department that her building had been tagged, once again. This time they hit the glass shop windows out front that display her work to passersby, etching the glass with their tagging. Rosa contacted the City to find out what she could do to stop the insanity. She had already installed bars on the windows and doors out back, after several burglaries, but she refused to put bars across the front. As she told me during a visit to her shop, she did not want the criminals to make her feel like she was in jail in her own shop, hiding behind bars. She also did not want the neighborhood to look “trashy” with bars on shop fronts. While the Police were unable to give her much advice on how to stop the tagging, the contact apparently triggered something in the system, alerting the City’s Code Enforcement department to the fact that Rosa had not eradicated the graffiti herself.
Rosa received a letter from Code Enforcement, demanding she replace the glass in her store front. After calling glass companies, she realized it would cost over $1500.00 to replace the large expanse of glass, and she had no assurance that the taggers would not come back and deface the new glass. Rosa felt she was trapped in a cycle of victimization she could not escape. Nobody wants to live that way.
Feeling defeated, Rosa left the graffiti. Clearly, this was not the answer, as Anaheim is committed to removing graffiti as quickly as possible, as that is the only known deterrent to the crime. These “artists” need their work to remain in place, for bragging rights. Get it removed before anyone else sees it, we remove the incentive for the taggers, and they will go elsewhere, to an area where it stays up long enough to be seen, and presumably admired by those with no respect for private property. Based on this stand against the crime, the City of Anaheim issues fines to property owners who fail to clean up their property, and that includes having been victimized by taggers. It is not fair, but life is rarely fair. How many of us clear the trash from our flower beds that was dropped by others? Same concept, but frustratingly for Rosa the price tag was much higher. Feeling victimized twice, first by the taggers, and then by her own City, Rosa dug in her heels. The press covered it, and the City of Anaheim became the big, bad meany.
The sad thing is that all of this was based on pure miscommunication. Rosa Bobbio was convinced that her ONLY option was an expensive glass replacement, with more to come as the taggers repeated their behavior. Once Sandra Seaton, the head of Anaheim’s Code Enforcement division caught wind of the problem, she plugged Rosa in with a company that polishes glass, ridding the window of the graffiti for a much lower price tag. A huge thank you to WKRP Inc. for coming out and tackling Rosa’s windows for free. They do all kinds of graffiti removal services, and the gentleman I met while I was out there talking to Rosa was very nice.
WKRP Services, Inc.
714-832-2146 Ext 103
So in the end, Rosa’s windows are graffiti free, (for now) and she now has the name of a lower cost solution should the taggers return. Code Enforcement has waived the fines, as they were only seeking compliance, not punitive action. The only really happy ending to this story would be the tagger in the back seat of a Police car, but we will take our victories where we find them.
On February 24, 2010, the public is invited to a Scoping Meeting to review the plans for the ARTIC train station. ARTIC is the new facility that will serve High Speed Rail (if it gets built) as well as Metrolink, and eventually the ARC monorail through the Resort, and perhaps someday the MagLev to Las Vegas. When initially proposed, ARTIC was supposed to be a public-private partnership. However, the private sector has declined Curt Pringle's generous offer to invest in the station, so it is now a fully public investment, see the chart below to see how our money is being spent.
ARTIC Funding Sources
Renewed Measure M--Project T Bond Proceeds $99.2 million
Measure M Transit Revenue $44.6 million
2008 State Transportation Improvement Program $29.2 million
Federal Earmark $3.2 million
Federal Transit Administration $2.6 million
*Total $178.8 million
*Information current as of 10/26/09
The Scoping process is a step in CEQA, during which the public agency reveals the plans to the public, and gathers input from the public. This is a very important step, as a comment at this time essentially acts as a "place holder" to allow for dispute later in the event that the project does not meet the desires of the community. Forfeit your right to comment now, and it becomes harder to object later. During the Scoping Meetings for High Speed Rail, only 2 meetings were held in Anaheim, both on the same day, and the only notification listed on the CHSRA's mailing list for those meetings was the City of Anaheim Planning Department. Few showed up, because few knew, and HSR supporters interpret that lack of attendance as lack of interest. So it is important to attend this meeting and send a strong message that yes we ARE interested in transporation issues in our community, when we know about them!
Anaheim West Tower Gordon Hoyt Conf. Ctr., 2nd Fl.
201 South Anaheim Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92805
February 24, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
Visit anytime between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Parking for the meeting will be at:
City of Anaheim Parking Structure
200 South Anaheim Boulevard
Anaheim, CA 92805
Notice of Public Scoping Meeting
For the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) Draft Environmental Impact Report
The City of Anaheim is responsible for preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for construction/ operation of the proposed ARTIC Project. ARTIC will be an intermodal transportation facility that will replace the existing Metrolink/Amtrak station currently located south of Katella Avenue and west of the Orange Freeway (SR-57). The proposed ARTIC site is located on a 16-acre site south of Katella Avenue, east of SR-57 and Douglass Road, and west of the Santa Ana River.
ARTIC will be an iconic transportationfacility where people will seamlessly move between transit services to reach Southern California activity centers and business districts. The station will accommodate passenger arrivals, departures and transfers with supporting retail, restaurants and passenger services within the building.
Your Input Counts
Interested individuals, organizations, and agencies are invited to participate to learn more about the project and provide comments on what issues you would like to see addressed in the environmental document.
Comments may be submitted by March 8, 2010
Contact: Ruth Ruiz, Public Information Specialist,
Disney hotel workers represented by Unite Here 11 are staging a hunger strike to bring attention to their cause, in the fight against the evil empire of Disney. let's look at both sides of the issue.
A Facebook page for "Disney is Unfaithful" has posted the following statement.
"Approximately 2,100 employees of the Disneyland Hotels, including bellmen, dishwashers, room attendants, and cooks, have been working without a contract since February 2008. Disney is unfaithful to the community and the workers because they do not uphold their espoused family values. Many hotel workers who have given years to the company will be faced with increased difficulty in obtaining healthcare for their families due to the proposals of Disney. The company is proposing to increase both cost and eligibility requirements to these low wage workers for benefits like health-care, vacation and seniority. This will cause suffering to many workers and their children."
What Unite Here is not telling you is that in 2008, Disney offered to extend the current contract to cover cast members during negotiations, and Unite Here refused the offer. Those cast members are working without a contract because their own leadership dismissed the offer. Working without a contract and working without benefits is NOT the same thing! While the Union refuses to negotiate with Disney, Disney has continued to deposit over $14 million dollars into the Union Trust to cover employee health care benefits. Disney is still acting in good faith.
Health care costs are rising, but Unite Here refuses to pass any of those increases on to their members, like the rest of us have to pay. Instead, they are demanding that Disney increase their payments by over 30% to cover the increased cost! My own family pays more every year for our employer sponsored benefits, and we have been notified that next year the plan we have been in will be eliminated entirely. This is life, and no single segment of the population should carry increased burden, nor should they be exempt from the burdens that others shoulder.
With costs skyrocketing, and Disney trying to avoid layoffs, it is no longer viable for Disney to pay into the Union plan. Because Disney is such a big company, they are able to "buy in bulk" and get great coverage for their cast members, at a better cost than the Union deal. 30 other Unions working for Disney have enrolled in the benefits plan, and none of the others are protesting. Unite Here is the ONLY Union of 31 in total that has refused to see reason and accept the changing times we all live with. For those Union members who are enrolled in the Disney plan, Disney pays 75% of their plan! That is an incedibly generous benefit, but Unite Here insists that Disney cover 100% of their benefits! I am sorry, but where else on the planet does this happen?
The Disney plan actually offers better variety in choice of doctors and access to services, as well as sick pay, which is unavailable through the Union plan. The Union has also hiked co-pays with little or no warning, and took away cast members' sick pay with no warning! Disney's plan is stable.
The Union has tried to scare their members into believing it would cost $500 a month to enroll in the Disney plan, and I can understand the panic of hearing that number when making minimum wage. I did not have that kind of money as a resort drone, waiting tables, and IF THE NUMBERS WERE REAL, it would be a problem! According to Disney, "For a single Cast Member in 2010, the seven health plans in Disney Signature Benefits begin at $6.50 per week, with five health plans that are less than $20 per week. For a family of four, we offer four health plans at $68 or less per week, with the lowest starting at $29/week."
In addition to comprehensive health care coverage, the Mouse offered annual wage increases of 2.7% to 3.9% per year for five years for non-tipped Cast Members, the continuation of current eligibility requirements for all current Cast Members (ie, Cast Members can work as little as 70 hours per month and still be entitled to full health care benefits) and seven paid sick days per year -- a benefit the Union recently suspended. In an age when people are losing their jobs, this is jawdropping generous in my book!
In the 2 years the Union and Disney have been battling, Disney has asked for a Federal mediator to help them resolve the issue on at least FOUR occasions! In every case, Unite Here has refused. On January 29, Disney asked again for mediation, to try and get their cast members covered, and the Union responded, not by agreeing to mediation, but with a hunger strike! The Union tells the news media that they will agree to mediation, and they did send Disney a formal letter agreeing to mediation, but as of this date (February 16, 2010) when I checked with Disney, they do not have a response from the Union agreeing to details. If the Union is so concerned, why are they not at the negotiation tables?
Talking to Disney does not seem difficult, in the 2 years the Unite Here people have spent getting dressed up like characters for the benefit of being arrested in front of the media, SEVEN other Union contracts representing 7,100 cast members were renegotiated, with none of the other Unions protesting in the street!
In the place of Disney, I honestly do not know that I would have been as gracious. When Unite Here went on a hunger strike in the rain, Disney offered them the use of a ballroom to keep them out of the weather. Frankly, I would have told them to find better benefits with their next employer. So when i see reports of Disney being depicted as the evil empire, I have to respond. Every city is a company town to some extent, and while I do not always agree with Disney, I am proud of the way the biggest employer in the region conducts themselves, even in the face of angry and unreasonable mobs.
A quick note to Unite Here: I know a lot of college students in my neighborhood who would LOVE to have your jobs, with or without benefits.
"I feel that the dormant goodwill in people needs to be stirred. People need to hear that it makes sense to behave decently, or to help others, to place common interests above their own, to respect the elementary rules of human existence. They want to be told about this publicly. They want to know that those 'at the top' are on their side. They feel strengthened, confirmed, hopeful. Goodwill longs to be strengthened and cultivated. For it to develop and have an impact it must hear that the world does not ridicule it...I try never to give people practical advice to deal with the evil around them, nor could I even if I wanted to -- and yet people want to hear that decency and courage make sense, that something must be risked in the struggle against dirty tricks. They want to know that they are not alone, forgotten, written off..."
Chip Hanlon posted a serious kick in the pants regarding the Paycheck Protection Initiative over at Red County http://www.redcounty.com/paycheck-protection-simply-cannot-fall-short/36622#comment-42214
I am throwing out this challenge to all Anaheim residents; Get off your duff and make a difference in this state! We have the chance to take our Government back from those who would take from us for their own special interests, by helping the grassroots efforts of the Citizen Power Campaign.
To all Anaheim candidates I ask: What are YOU doing to support this important work? If you oppose this Initiative, tell me why, so we can share that information with Anaheim's voters. Make it good.
This Initiative is essential to restoring the balance of access when Union leaders use Union members' money (often against their will) for issues the individual members oppose. This does not prevent Union members from speaking out on those issues they feel passionately about. It simply keeps the Unions from taking money without permission, and using it in ways outside the will of those members from which the money was taken.
The Paycheck Protection Initiative is the ultimate statement of American ideals, in that nobody, not the government, not the unions, nobody, should be able to take money from an American paycheck and use it to buy access to politicians for causes the "donors" do not agree to!
If you have ever complained about special interests having access to politicians, but you thought one person could not make a difference, here is your chance to do something!
If you want to be elected in the City of Anaheim, and there are many of you, share what YOU are doing to protect the voices of your Union constituents who have had their voices ussurped by those who are supposed to represent them.
You will find more information, and a chance to sign the petition, and make a donation to help pay for professional signature gatherers, at the website here http://www.unplugthepoliticalmachine.org/
You can also join Scott Baugh for a rally at the Slide Bar in Fullerton on Saturday, February 13th at 10 am. If you want to attend from Anaheim, contact me at Cynthia_Ward@sbcglobal.net and I will pack my greenhouse killer SUV with passengers.
I can tell you from my own interviews with local grassroots leaders: Anaheim is in a funny mood, a mood that matches much of the rest of the nation. Anaheim is tired of the same old political elite telling the citizenry what they have chosen to do to and with the everyday people of our hometown. There is an anger simmering beneath the surface, and we can either tap into it and make it work for us...or we can ignore it and maintain the status quo. The status quo will not longer be tolerated in Anaheim, that is a message I hear from leaders in the neighborhoods, that is a message I will make very clear as the election moves forward. To every candidate in Anaheim, I ask; Will you be part of the solution? Tell me about it.
To every reader that this might reach: Get off your butt and work toward a solution, download a petition, sign it, get members of your household to sign it. Take it to your bridge game, your neighborhood potluck, your workplace (if your employer allows). We keep screaming for cleaner politics, let's make it happen!
This typically North American term is often applied in two specific ways, either to describe work of little or no value done merely to appear busy, or in reference to a government-funded project with no purpose other than political patronage. It can also be used for an unnecessary journey by a government official at public expense.
Part of its oddity lies in its sudden emergence into public view in an article in the New York Times on 4 April 1935. This had the headline “$3,187,000 Relief is Spent to Teach Jobless to Play ... Boon Doggles Made”. The “boon doggles” of the headline turn out to be small items of leather, rope and canvas, which were being crafted by the jobless during the Great Depression as a form of make-work. The article quoted a person who taught the unemployed to create them that the word was “simply a term applied back in the pioneer days to what we call gadgets today”. He suggested that boondoggles had been small items of leatherwork which were made by cowboys on idle days as decorations for their saddles.
The word instantly became famous. It seems that Americans had been feeling the lack of a good word to describe unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent projects and leapt upon it with delight.
It wasn’t quite new. The first appearance of the word is actually in a British publication, Punch, on 14 August 1929:
The chief scout has recently been presented by the University of Liverpool with a Degree, and by the scouts of America with a boondoggle. Of the two, I think I should prefer the boondoggle. Great as is the honour conferred by the Seat of Learning, there is a homely flavour about the other gift which touches the heart even more. “Boondoggle.” It is a word to conjure with, to roll around the tongue; an expressive word to set the fancy moving in strange and comforting channels; and it rhymes with “goggle,” “boggle,” and “woggle.” three of the most lighthearted words in the English language.
The Daily Messenger of Canandaigua, New York, explained the background to this puzzling item on 20 August 1931:
The boondoggle, which leaped literally into fame overnight when it was introduced by Rochester Boy Scouts at the jamboree in England, is a braided lanyard on which various things such as whistles can be hung. So fascinating do the boys find it, that they have spent practically all their spare time on the work.
On 6 April 1935, two days after the New York Times article appeared, a contrary view about the origin of the word was published in a syndicated snippet in the Nevada State Journal:
“The word ‘boondoggle’ was coined out of the blue sky by Robert H. Link, eagle scout,” wrote Hastings. “It has absolutely no significance except that it has come to mean a good-looking addition to the uniform.”
Mr Link, later a scoutmaster, was also said to have been its originator in an item in a magazine called Word Study later the same year. He is now often quoted in reference works as its inventor. As all the early appearances of boondoggle — none before 1929 — are in connection with Scouts’ lanyards, it is indeed likely that it was created in that milieu. The stories about cowboys and pioneer days have nothing going for them apart from the guesses of one person reported in the 1935 New York Times article.
Whatever its origin, it was that article that converted boondoggle from a word existing quietly in its own small world to one of public importance and continuing usefulness.
Weekly E-MagazineSUBSCRIBE BY E-MAILSEND A GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONSMANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONBROWSE BACK ISSUESHOW TO GET ISSUES BY RSSNotes and comments Visit me on Facebook. Have your say: Facebook hosts a discussion group about World Wide Words.Try my recent books!World Wide Words is supported by its readers: take a look here to see how you can help.Try a page at randomSophrosyneFashionistaWhilomNavvyLike the dickens
Spokker was right, the folks at CARRD (Palo Alto heroes that others call NIMBYs) tracked the funky ridership numbers back to a memo from the subcontractor showing that numbers were, well, less complete than one might like them to be.
Combined with audiotape I already had of Executive Director Medhi Moshed (I mangle the poor man's name) telling the HSRA Exec Commte that their contractors are getting gifts and trips during a discussion of conflict of interest and reporting policies, we get a pretty good idea of what the contractors are all about.
I, for one, do not want to pay them another nickel of State money until this is fixed, and I will be VERY vocal about it with any leaders who will listen to me!
Most of the HSR Board meetings are held in Sacramento, which leaves many of us unable to go and speak or even sit and watch the proceedings, while they decide what to do in our community without our permission or input. This month's meeting is in San Diego, it is tomorrow at 9 am. I am attending, and taking anyone who wants to carpool. It is in the middle of the workday, so I know it is hard to get away, but if you can manage it, contact me directly and I am happy to pick up anyone who wants to go.
In the meantime, other responsible rail advocates have been networking throughout the State, and people in other communities are having the same problems we see in Anaheim.
1) Lack of public notice or input. While the HSRA says this has all been public information, and they have had meetings, making it seem as though if we do not know about this it is our own fault, let's look at their idea of public notice.
During the Scoping Meeting, the ONLY Anaheim contact on their list for notification was Sherry VanderDussen at the Anaheim Planning Department. I do know that the City posted something to their website, and an email notice went out to some citizens who are on their mailing list. However, that is a pathetic attempt to contact the public. During the Scoping Meeting, they held two meetings per location, at three locations. That is a grand total of six meetings, for a route that runs from Anaheim to Los Angeles. Of those meetings, their own documents show that 100 people TOTAL attended, and there is no record of how many of those attendees were staff from various agencies, union reps from the trade unions, and how many were actual residents and businesses that are affected by the project. In contrast, when we contacted residents through a grassroots network to tell them about the Alternatives Analysis, we had over 150 people attend, in the pouring rain. The citizens of Anaheim are interested in the project, we simply were not adequately notified. This is a trend we see in other communities, and we are comparing notes.
2) Lack of real information related to meetings: After the Scoping Meetings, the HSRA did conduct some outreach meetings, where they showed a video that was information light at best. Maps show an animated arrow traveling from Anaheim to Los Angeles, with no topographic or landmark type marlers to allow the public to orient the location of the train line. The statement that they are using the "LOSSAN Corridor" means nothing to those who do not understand that the LOSSAN is the existing Metrolink line.
3) Murky information: While the HSRA has handed the common citizens generic information, they have been sharing with leaders in Sacramento information that I will graciously categorize as "spun"...when the LAO reviewed the Business Plan (revised because the old numbers did not work) they called out the revelation that private investors would only jump into this program if their investment was guaranteed. But since Prop 1A forbids a taxpayer subsidy, the HSRA will call it a "ridership guarantee" as if that somehow makes it palatable to those of us who pay for that "guarantee". There are too many instances of this obsufucation to count, so I am creating a separate blog specifically to adress issues of HSR and its effect on our area.
Stay tuned, and I will create a separate space so as not to bog down the Anaheim blog with HSR issues, and we can get on to the important work of discussing the upcoming elections, and events in your area.
By the way, if you know of an event or meeting in your area, I would love to post about it, contact me directly to send the info. Cynthia_Ward@sbcglobal.net
Tonight's big event is the Anaheim Historical Society meeting, which is free and open to the public. The guest speaker is Anaheim native and OC Weekly writer Gustavo Arrelano. The meeting is in the Loara Elementary School Auditorium, located at Broadway and Loara Streets. No RSVO needed, come on down.
Last night a group in Fullerton (NUFF) hosted a Candidate's Forum for the 4th District Supervisor's seat vacated by Chris Norby. The 4th District covers the flatlands of Anaheim, and the race is worth watching for all Anaheim citizens. The OC Register's Jennifer Muir did an excellent job of moderating the event, and she posted a recap at http://totalbuzz.freedomblogging.com/2010/01/25/candidates-discuss-issues-exchange-jabs-at-forum/28747/
Because I believe in giving equal time to all views, I have posted here the info from Spokker the ghost blogger, who thinks I am a NIMBY. He is right, I do not want this in my backyard. But unlike the usual definition of NIMBY I do not want to shove this into anyone else's backyard either. I would like to find a solution that does not disrupt anyone's backyard at all. A naive goal, I know. To that end, I had asked why this could not run down the I-5 where it would not bother anyone, and here is Spokker's answer. I do appreciate that he took the time to look it up. Thank you.
Remember to read the description of the map and remember that it's not 100% accurate due to Google Map's limitations, but I think it paints a pretty good picture overall.
Also, I have looked over the statewide EIR/EIS again and they originally studied four alignments back in the early 2000s.
B1a was the LOSSAN alternative with three tracks.
B1b was the LOSSAN alternative with four tracks.
B2 was the I-5 alternative. There were studying an aerial along the most of the length of the I-5 to Anaheim. In OC it would have followed a frontage road near I-5. A station would have been constructed near the freeway in Anaheim and Norwalk. This one was deemed to be very expensive because of the aerial structures.
B3 was the Pacific Electric right of way. This one would be ideal because it is arrow straight all the way to OC (with a station in Garden Grove). However, it travels through many more residential neighborhoods than the LOSSAN corridor. Many of these neighborhoods are poor, Hispanic communities which would have triggered environmental justice issues. Also, Los Angeles Metro owns this right of way and has plans for possibly light rail on this corridor, which would serve the local residents much better.
B4 was the Union Pacific Santa Ana Branch alignment. This had similar problems that the Pacific Electric right of way had.
As you can see, only the LOSSAN alternatives were carried forward.
All four alignment alternatives were planned to expand further down the coast and into South OC and ultimately San Diego, but unstable coastal bluffs, sensitive habitats and San Juan Capistrano nixed that idea.
Also, I discovered some information about noise. If my research is correct a train horn is 125 db, which is even louder than a high speed train at 110 MPH. In Japan bullet train noise mitigation is an artform as trains travel near residential areas at 186 MPH. Hopefully they can help us out with that issue.
The big item on my calendar today is the High Speed Rail Authority's presentation on the Alternatives Analysis. The meeting is at City Council Chambers 200 S. Anaheim Blvd. That is the building on the east side of the street where you go for Building Permits, not the one on the west side where you pay the utility bill you forgot. Park in the covered parking structure behind City Hall, take the covered walkway bridge to the 2nd floor, and down the elevator or stairs to Council Chambers, you never get wet, so not showing up for the rain is no excuse. They will have the information for us Open House style from 5 to 7 pm, with a presentation at 5:30.
The issues I see with this plan are that first and foremost we need to be included in the process as citizens. The State has known for a year that they could not use the shared track they originally pitched to us, and they would have to build either an expensive tunnel or take homes, businesses, and public space to make it work. Why wait so long to share that with us, and then only because I threatened to go to the press?
The other issue is the route chosen. I have spoken to people in many areas of the City, even those not immediately affected, and nobody (other than Spokker the ghost blogger) wants this thing running At Grade through the middle of our town. Curt's tunnel may be doable, and if it is the only answer then I can live with it, although I am reluctant to pay for it.
Why not somewhere else? Why does it have to remain along a rail line that was designed and laid out 100 years ago, for the needs of those residents in the Victorian era? If we must remain At Grade for the sake of cost, why not run it where there is already open space? The 5 Freeway would allow it to run from San Diego to the top of California, conceivably even into Oregon, Washington, and Canada if need be. Curt Pringle could have a truly international rail system, with only Cal Trans to battle instead of every Mayor up and down the rail line who are already pissed off.
I do not think we are being unreasonable to say that High Speed Rail is a good idea in theory, but the concept of building it at all costs, no matter the expense or the disruption to communities, is not what we want. Now let's take a step back, breathe, and work together to do a great project. If we miss the deadline we miss the deadline. Shoving through a bad idea just to beat a dot on the calendar is how Obamacare is being ramrodded, and folks do not like that either.
As a follow up to the last post of the WAND meeting, I have to say that the State's lack of public disclosure regarding High Speed Rail shocks even me. It became very clear, and Councilwoman Kring confirmed my suspicions, that even the Anaheim City Council has yet to be presented with the Alternatives Analysis that lists the properties the State will take by eminent domain if the rail remains At Grade. It is essential that we attend the meeting on Wednesday, January 20, City Council Chambers. The information is available Open House style from 5 pm to 7 pm, and a presentation will be made at 5:30 pm.
It is very important that we share the following information, to be placed in the public record:
1) This meeting is the first opportunity that Anaheim citizens have had to review the Alternatives Analysis. There is an assumption in Sacramento that because Anaheim is not screaming bloody murder like other cities, that we are OK with the plan. That would make sense, how could Sacramento imagine our own Mayor had not bothered to tell us about this? So make sure that you fill out a comment card or speak at Public Comments if they allow it, and make the point that we have NOT been informed prior to this!
2) The At Grade alternative takes property by eminent domain, and is unnacceptable. We want a Deep Bore Tunnel that avoids disruption of homes and businesses, as well as utilities. There is a fear of where will the money come from for a tunnel. But at a meeting of the State Legislature's Transportation Committeee, Curt Pringle said that the Federal Government, in their requirements for the Federal Stimulus funds, required us to list the MOST EXPENSIVE scenario imaginable to base our budgets on. While this was a vague statement during a larger review by the LAO of the HSR Business Plan, that would appear to me to say that we have already budgeted for the tunnel, so let's demand it!
3) We want more public input for the project, to ensure that we are notified of any changes in the future. Be sure to sign up for mailing lists while you are there, and stay informed. These people are under immense pressure to complete the paperwork. The entire statewide Environmental Report (an overwhelming document) must be finished by September of 2011, in order to qualify for the Federal stimulus funds! These people have no incentive to come back and tell us if something has changed, as we have seen by the way this Alternatives Analysis has been handled. Running information past us might just result in us objecting to it, which creates delays. Delays run the risk of not completing the Environmental Report. Now I would not say that anyone would deliberately hide information from the public to get a multi-billion dollar project done, at least not in my outside voice that gets me sued. But I will just ask you to stay on these people, ask for additional mailings, be sure that we stay informed and involved.
Here is a list of the properties affected if the train remains At Grade. I have listed the rather generic wording that the HSR people used to describe the properties in red, and then I follow with notes I have on each property. I am afraid i seem to have lost the ability to pull up the photos I had shot of these properties, when my computer died and I replaced it. But I hope this gives you a better overview of what is at stake.
Approx. 35' wide ROW takes are needed along the west side of the corridor between Vermont Ave. to the south and North St, to the north. adjacent to the west side of the 50' ROW there are approx 1.5 miles of industrial property takes, 0.7 miles of residential takes, and 0.2 mile park take.
Starting in the south, between Vermont Ave. and South St. there are three Industrial buildings that are within the ROW take area. The southern two buildings immediately abut on the ROW and would lose approximately 35' of building area (approx. 20% of the entire buildings).the northern most building has about a 15' setback from the ROW and would lose approx. 20' of the building area (approx. 20% of the entire building).there is also a parking area that would lose approx. 35' of space and between 20 and 30 parking spaces.
NOTE: These buildings include 2 pieces of the L3 Communications Campus. This defense contractor employs 500 people, according to their website, most on the Anaheim Campus. They build high tech weapons systems, work that is not easily relocated to another site and work that provides higher income pay scales for skilled workers.
707 E. Vermont Street
The third building on the block is shown in public records as American Management Consultants
The number of employees is unknown, but their work in Immigration and Naturalization processing may trigger some Social Justice issues under CEQA, which is not mentioned in the Alternatives Analysis.
American Management Consultants
700 E. South Street
North of South St. the ROW abuts recently constructed high-density residential units. Parking and auto access are constructed directly adjacent to the ROW. With the approx. 35' wise ROW take focused on these areas. But, additionally ROW will be required elsewhere to replace the affected parking and auto access areas.
NOTE: Colony Park recently constructed as RDA affordable project, in first phase of multi-phase project. The consultants also fail to list the loss of a cell tower in the background.
Between South St. and Santa Ana St. There are three industrial buildings with parking spaces and storage area. The southern building is new and is set back from the ROW approx. 30 to 35 feet. Loading areas run along the eastern side of the building. The loading areas would be lost and it is uncertain if the building would be affected. Just to the north of this building is a parking lot that would lose approx. 35' of space and between 40 and 50 parking spaces. North of the parking lot is a smaller older industrial building with a storage area to the north of it that would probably require a take of the entire property.
NOTE: The consultants are describing the old Kwikset site, which shows a clear lack of contact to the City of Anaheim, as the development of this parcel into the next phase of Colony Park has been on the books for years. In addition, the City Council approved the next phase of development to this site, AFTER the Alternatives Analysis was released.
Between Santa Ana St. and Broadway there are three industrial buildings with parking spaces and storage area. The southernmost building is sufficiently set back so as not to be affected, but it would the storage area it has between the building and the ROW. The industrial building immediately to the north abuts on the ROW and it would lose approx. 35' of building area (approx. 33% of the entire building). Just to the north of this building is a parking lot that would lose approx. 35' of space and between 20 and 30 parking spaces. North of the parking lot is an industrial building that is setback approx. 20' from the ROW, and thus approx 15' of the building area would be taken (approx. 15% of the entire building).
NOTE: this description refers to Firmenich, an Anaheim employer that creates fragrances and flavorings for the food industry (AKA the smell factory. Not much information is available on the internet, but one may assume by the size of the site and the full parking lots during business hours that this is a major employer, who does not seem to have space to spare. In addition, the site was originally developed as MCP foods, when Herb Leo pioneered the manufacture of stabilized pectin, which changes the citrus industry in California. Herb Leo’s Anaheim home was declared historically significant, and if original structures remain on campus there is the potential for them to qualify for Local and State historic recognition.
Between Broadway and Lincoln Ave. there is a mini park (Citrus Park) and associated parking lot, and the Y Children’s Station (located in the former UP Railroad Station building). The park would lose a 35' wide strip of land along the ROW (approx. 30% of the parks land area). And approx. five parking spaces. The Y Children’s Station building would be a total take. The parkland lost to the widening could be recouped on the excess land gained by the take of the Y Children’s Station property
NOTE: YMCA Train Station is historically significant, according to maps of historic resources provided by the City of Anaheim. This lack of documentation further proves the consultants lack of communication with those agencies and organizations commonly contacted during CEQA compliance. In addition, the City of Anaheim’s Redevelopment Agency recently funded the relocation and rehabilitation of the structure, as well as taxpayer funding for the newly created Citrus Park. Citrus Park is also the only open space in the immediate area, in a City that lags behind Manhattan for green space, according to a recent report by the Kennedy Commission.
Between Lincoln Ave. and Cypress St. there are four single family (SF) houses that are set back approx. 20' from the ROW (location of their backyard fence). The two southern SF houses are separated by the two northern SF houses by a private mini park with tot lot and basketball court uses. The 35' ROW widening would take the entire backyard of the southernmost SF house, which has approx. 15' of backyard area. This would place the back of the house immediately on the property line. Thus, this would have to potential to take this SF house. The other three SF houses have larger backyards and would lose about 15' of area but keeping 20' of backyard between the house and the property line. The tot lot and the basketball area would have to relocate on the private park area.
NOTE: Newer KB Homes, ironically developed to replace older bungalows taken out by a previous transportation project to grade separate the railroad.
Between Cypress St. and Adele St. There is an industrial use the immediately abuts the ROW. The land closest to the ROW is used for parking/storage. The closest point of the building is set back from the property line by approx. 35'. It appears the 35' widening would only remove eastern most parking/storage areas; there appears to be ample parking/storage area on the west side of the building,
NOTE: This company makes trailers and transportation equipment. The parking lot was full on a holiday, and overflows during workdays.
Between Adele St. and Sycamore St. there are two industrial uses separated by an alley. The southernmost of the two uses abuts the ROW and the 35' widening would require the taking of this property. The northern industrial use has one building and parking/storage area within the 35' widening area. The building appears to be a storage building. This use should be able to continue in operation after the widening.
NOTE: The northern industrial use is actually the headquarters for a landscape company. While the taking of the parking and storage area does not remove a structure, it renders the rear building entirely inaccessible to employees, the equivalent of a take.
Between Sycamore St. and Wilhelmina St. there is one long industrial building that abuts the ROW. The 35' widening would require the taking of this property.
NOTE: This structure is divided into multiple "for lease" units, impacting many employers, and depleting Anaheim’s income from business taxes. Also calculate loss of sales tax, building materials are revenue generators.
Limited ROW takes needed at grade separations to preserve access to properties facing lowered streets.
NOTE: Remember what happened the last time government grade separated something in the Colony? Go look at how many homes were taken out by the Lincoln underpass and tell me this is a good thing.
If this scares you as much as it scares me, please attend the meeting on Wednesday, make it clear that we want a Deep Bore Tunnel, or no train at all! Thank you.
Today's post is the official notice of the upcoming meeting for High Speed Rail, scheduled to carve up Anaheim like Sherman's March to the sea. No, I am not kidding. If the plan remains to build the system At Grade, as described in the Alternatives Analysis, there will be right of way takings under eminent domain. I spent the other day photographing the properties that will be lost, and will post those with the pertinent portions of the AA, as my time allows. For now, I would enourage you to open and save the notice here, and please share it with anyone you know who needs to hear about these plans. I am especially concerned about the lack of notice to those businesses and homes that are directly in the path of the project. The State's consultant team has done what can only be described as an information-light job of public outreach to date. Oh yeah, they have done meetings, we have all seen the slick, glossy sales pitch of bullet trains zipping across the screen. My gripe here is that I cannot recall that presentation saying anything about private property takes, or night time construction in residential areas. Nor can anyone I know recall that message being conveyed to us. Heck, checking over the City's listing of workshops and presentations to City Council, I cannot find evidence that the Council has even been told of the Alternative Analysis, and its impact on properties in the City. The last HSRA workshop to the Council was here http://anaheim.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=357 and it was essentially the same presentation we saw. At least Parsons Brinckerhoff did bother to share one sentence with Council, that if they could not get shared track they may have to widen the right of way with takes. I cannot find any evidence that they notified anyone that this is indeed the case, nor that they have already selected the properties they wish to take.
Part of the communication breakdown has been the decision to break the largest transportation project in California history into many mini-projects, each with their own project teams. The purpose was to make a large and unweildy project more manageable, much like eating an elephant one bite at a time. The result has been a complete obsufucation of information, as the State's right hand does not tell the State's left hand what it is doing. To avoid any slight of hand in that handshake, some volunteers have been transcribing the public meetings into written form, which comes in handy, should you need to remind an elected official that they did indeed promise you the sun, moon, and stars. I understand that anyone with the ability to use a keyboard can do this, and there is a tremendous need for more helping hands to transcribe the meetings. If you can spare some time, and you are one of those sick individuals like myself who actually LIKES sitting through these meetings, watching the political chess game unfold, your people need you. Contact me directly and I will put you in touch with folks who know what they are doing (don't look at me, I can barely text message).
In happier news, Bruno Serato shared his new "West Wing" (which sits on the East Lawn, but I digress) with the people of Anaheim, as we celebrated the 100th birthday of the historic Gervais-Truxaw house, now the White House Restaurant. http://www.anaheimwhitehouse.com/ Bruno was quite relieved to see that Mayor Curt Pringle arranged for Bruno's name to be set in a larger font than the Mayor's, on a plaque for the building. While technically the construction of a new, non-contributing structure set in front of a National Register structure would be a violation of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, I am told that the West Wing banquet center is temporary, and portable, and there are plans to move it as soon as additional space can be purchased on the block. That means that the party pavilion is a reversible change, and I am going to encourage the preservation community to give a little wiggle room, as long as it remains a temporary fix. I am far more interested in preserving the house itself. Not everyone knows that the White House Restaurant received the very first Mills Act contract in the City of Anaheim, qualifying for that property tax reduction as a National Register property. Bruno clearly has a lot more work to do on the house, and we are grateful for any of the innapropriate changes that Bruno is able to reverse on this wonderful landmark property!
The Anaheim White House feeds a hot dinner to every child in the Boys and Girls Club, every week night. For many of these kids, this is the only hot food they will eat all week. Here's best wishes to the man with the biggest heart in Anaheim.