Monday, November 30, 2009

Mother Earth Meets Father TIme

This weekend the OC Register (click on title for link) covered a story regarding solar panels on an historic property in South County. Since "the greenest building is the one already built", and historic preservation is the ultimate expression of recycling, it stands to reason that preservationists would be attracted to the concept of eco-friendly energy. Sadly, technology does not as yet allow many of us to be good stewards of energy while being good stewards of our historic homes. Solar panels are, well, they are ugly. I am unlikely to put them on a street-facing roofline of my home, even if permitted. I would consider them for a rear facing roofline of a garage, but ours faces the wrong direction. In the case of the South County property, they managed to drop them below the line of visibility, on a parapet flat roof of a Pueblo-Revival style structure, so they make sense in that location. What I am waiting for is preservation friendly energy products.
At home, we did manage to re-create our garden in an eco-friendly manner that honors the period of our 1908 home. By using underground irrigation systems run by a Smart Timer, and planting California natives that do not require much water, we tripled our landscaping while LOWERING our water bill from the same period last year. I am also considering interior storm windows to "dual pane" the bedroom windows during the neighbors parties, because they do not affect the exterior look of the house, and they are reversible. But there is so much more that could be done. A new roof tile has been developed that doubles as a solar panel, but appears as an "S" curve Spanish tile. So far they only come in black, so it is still jarring on a red tile roof, and there are no other "shingle" type applications that I have found. But somone out there is thinking ahead.
The big debate we see in Anaheim is over artificial turf. I admit I have a strip of driveway we have replanted repeatedly with no success, I cannot get lawn to grow there, and ONLY lawn is appropriate for a mow-strip drive on a period home. Some of the higher end fake turfs look pretty darned good, and I am tempted. I consider artificial turf to be a reversible change that does not affect the historic structure itself, and therefore should be allowable under a Mills Act contract. Others disagree, rather vocally. I would love to hear other viewpoints, with reasons for pro or con. I would also love to hear about how others have handled making their old homes a little friendlier to Mother Earth. And no, this is not a debate for or against global warming, I simply would rather spend our hard earned paychecks on Bradbury wallpaper rather than my energy and water bills.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Union Workers Choose to Work Sick!

Sarah Tully reports in her "Around Disney" blog (see link above) that despite Disney's overwhelming efforts to curb the spread of flu in the Resort, there are still members of the Unite Here Labor Union that are undermining their efforts by deliberately coming to work knowing they are sick! Their selfish excuse? Their own Union cancelled their sick pay benefits to save money during a dispute over their contract with Disney. That's right, Disney did not cancel the sick pay, the Union did! How is it that 30 other Unions have accepted the new contract from Disney, which I understand gives them greatly expanded benefits, but the Unite Here Union has refused to even meet with Disney to further discuss the issues. The Union's position seems to be "Our Way or the Highway". Sorry Ada Briseno, but this is still the United States, and business owners still have the right to make their own best offer, YOU take it or leave it. As far as those employees that knowingly work when sick, I think they not only should be fired, I think they should lose their Safety and Sanitation certificates, preventing them from working with food in the future. Fire them, Mickey! If the goal of the Union in releasing this information to Sarah Tully was to scare off guests, it didn't work. I was just there today, the place is jumping, and folks are stopping to use the hand sanitizer stations, expressing gratitude to The Mouse for caring about their guests and Cast Members. In case you were wondering, today's Register reports that Knott's is doing NOTHING different in their handling of a public venue during a flu outbreak. Somebody hand me a churro.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disney Ahead of Its Time as Mouse Beats Swine

With swine flu making every public area a virus bath, where is one supposed to feel safe? Do not get me started about the shopping mall, where I have to go find gifts for everyone I have ever known while surrounded by sick people who refuse to stay home. So what's a family supposed to do for fun without risking their health? The Happiest Place on Earth of course! Disney already has a stellar reputation for steam cleaning the Heck out of the place at night, but now they are taking the lead to make a visit to the House of Mouse a healthier alternative to that pre-Christmas shopping mall. Look around the park, you will see public hand sanitizer stations, with notices that one may also purchase bottle of sanitizer to keep with you, for a BUCK. I can't buy it that cheap at the store! They have also provided sanitizer to Cast Members with high Guest contact, and they have upped their cleaning schedules for surfaces that are "high touch" like drinking fountains and pay phones. They are training their Cast Members on how to handle sick Guests, and have overhauled the way their Cast members handle cleaning hotel rooms. And yet, despite knowing this, mean old Mom will not allow beloved teen to cut school and go to Disneyland instead. Yes, pumpkin, I know Disneyland is way safer than your germ ridden school a block away, but you will have to wait for the weekend. The good news is, I feel safe taking my kids there this weekend, so I can enjoy a visit before my pass expires for the season! Once again, the Mouse makes a good neighbor. I may just have to buy my Christmas gifts there and skip the mall altogether. My circle of homies have never complained about Disney merch for the holidays.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Do We Dream So Small?

"Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not be realized. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work, remembering that a nobler, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty."
Daniel Burnham, master architect of the the 1893 Exposition

We, the people of Anaheim, descend from dreamers, people who either settled here when Juan Pacifico Ontiveros insisted the entire region could not support a goat, or brave folk who left family and friends behind to settle a growing region in recent years. But whether we came recently, or have been here for generations, we are dreamers, lured by the California promise of a better life. So can someone please tell me why our kids play at Glover Stadium which looks like something from South Central Los Angeles, while we spend $200k for a Rose Parade float glorifying a baseball team we recently sued for humiliating us? Anyone?

I admit, I love Mondays, they are like the calendar equivalent of a blank sheet of paper waiting to be drawn upon. But then I pick up the newspaper and see how small and petty and unimaginative some of our Civic dreams are, and it is tough to drive past City Hall without screaming in futility. Why is it that so few of our leaders understand how to dream big dreams? Why can they not see how amazing our City could be with a little attention, a little love, and a whole lot of paint and trees? Just wondering on a Monday morning.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Anaheim Mourns the Loss of One of Our Own

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle ordered flags on City buildings flown at half-staff in honor of the loss of Anaheim resident Justin Swanson, a 21 year old Lance Corporal in the Marines, who has lost his life in Afghanistan. Swanson was based at Camp Pendleton, with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force.

The prayers of many go out to the friends and family of Justin Swanson.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do We Trust This Woman With Even More of Our Money?

Last year I thought NOTHING could be more depressing than seeing Lorri Galloway ooze her way back into her City Council seat, enabling her to drain even more of the life blood from Anaheim's citizens. Oh, don't hold back, Cynthia, tell us how you REALLY feel. But before the final votes were counted, my beloved Mother In Law was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, and I found the one thing that could devastate me worse than Anaheim politics. So for those who have been asking, no, I did not give up on Council Watching. I just had a heart to mend, and an estate to close out. But we are approaching the one year Anniversary of losing my beautiful Marianna, and it is time to get back in the game. So for all you No On Galloway fans, we are back.

How has Lorri been surviving in this down market? While non-profits are overwhelmingly reporting lost revenue, Lorri seems to be doing just fine with the Eli Home. Let's take a look at some of the reported donations to the Eli Home, a non-profit of which Lorri Galloway is Executive Director, and from which she derives her income. These donations were listed on the Eli Home website (link above) for the year 2008:

Anaheim Police Association
Anaheim Firefighters Association
**Galloway has openly and for the record advocated to greatly expand pay and benefits for public safety workers, while jobs in other areas of the City remain unfilled. Anaheim public safety personnel are already some of the best compensated in the region, but she routinely demands more, from a budget hemorrhaging from losses. But I am sure that is a simple coincidence that those groups donate to her non-profit and walk precincts and put up signs during the election.

Anaheim Public Utilities (uh...aren't they under her authority?)

Clear Channel (these would be the same people she was fighting to give more billboard space to recently)

Kenwood Investments LLC (the developer in negotiation with Redevelopment for the Packing House block. City Council serves as the Redevelopment Agency, and she will be called upon to vote for or against this developer)

Regent Development OC LLC (they have submitted plans for the Convention Center expansion, to be determined by City Council. I can see your surprise from here)

Sheldon Group (consultants who represent developers all over the city, with plans up for approval from City Council)

Now this is only a partial list, the website has 2 pages worth. These are just the names that jump out at me in a quick glance through the list. I assume that Galloway got some sort of ruling out of Jack White that it is OK to collect donations for the non-profit from which your personal income is derived from people doing business with the City. And perhaps the FPPC has ruled that it is OK, although I will be finding that out for myself. But in the end, being within legal limits is not the same as doing what it right. Looking over these donations, ask yourself, is this someone you trust to have not sold her vote? Because now Galloway wants to run for County Supervisor, where she would be swimming in an even bigger pool of our money, with even larger stakes for special interests. Is that an office we want to send her to? I 'm thinking NO.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anaheim Websites

West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council (WAND) will not meet this month, due to Veteran's Day. They do not meet in December, so their next meeting will be held Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at Maxwell School. They will be gathering for their 12th Annual Holiday Magic Christmas Tree Lighting at Twila Reed Park, Friday, December 4, at 6 pm. You can catch up with WAND at their new website,

South District Neighborhood Council has also just completed a new website, you can catch up with them at

Meghan Shigo also has Michelle Lieberman working on the Colony website. The website had initially been built by Mike Tucker, but Meghan took over the money sucking project when Mike and his lovely (and patient) wife Jennifer abandoned ship for Albuquerque. Check out the new calendar function at For those who miss Mike, you can catch up with him at

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paper Clip Project

Introducing a new blog by Anaheim Colony resident Dan Harrison. The Harrisons have a fabulous mid-century treasure, featured in Atomic Ranch magazine, and the glossy coffee table book.

Dan is conducting an experiment as part if his degree program, but I will let him explain it to you here. Looks like fun, but then the Harrisons always are.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ignorance, Thy Name is Registered Voter

While only parts of Anaheim are in Assembly District 72, it seems the venom is spewing all over the City, as candidates who appear to have few moral values try to take the seat of someone proven to have no moral values. This is an improvement? Chris Norby appears to be pulling WAY out ahead in both polls and funding, proving once again that voters will overlook a skirt chasing hound dog's wayward activities if it benefits them. Me, I have a hard time trusting a man who cannot keep his promises to his own wife. On the other hand, Ackerman does not appear to be an improvement, as her only campaign strategy appears to be knocking Norby, without ever giving us reasons to vote for her as an option. I have also long been opposed to carpetbagging politicians, I believe you cannot represent an area you are not firmly entrenched in. Nobody but a long time resident understands the unique challenges of a community, and renting an apartment just before an election just does not cut it. Faher appears to be a raging nutcase. I know little of MacMurray, other than that he is a schoolteacher with a website of grammatical errors who is endorsed by Labor Unions who have irritated me lately, so he may not have my vote. Rands is another candidate I know only through a website, and while I agree with her stand on Prop 8 (go ahead and send the angry emails, when we as Christians perfect that whole "love each other" thing, then and only then will be be in a position to dictate "thou shalt not") I do not understand how she plans to create "health care without insurance companies getting in the way".
Come November 17, I may very well sit at home, for the first election of my life. The alternative is a write-in campaign for "None of the Above", forcing a new election, with none of the current candidates permitted to run again. Give us new choices. E-gad, perhaps we should have let Sidhu carpetbag this one.
Oddly enough, while my period-appropriate-yet-useless mailbox is routinely filled with mudslinging garbage, my Mom's little senior community has received NO mailings at all, from either side. I checked, and they are in the District (sometimes hard to tell with the way the gerrymandered boundaries jog back and forth) and they did receive ballots for the Special Election. Yet none of the candidates considered them worthy of glossy colored hit pieces. Had I known they wanted them I would gladly have forfeited mine. Instead, they sent Mom to ask me who to vote for. Now is that about the scariest thing ever? Rather than check out the candidates for themselves, an entire neighborhood of high-propensity voters is counting on mailers to help determine who to vote for. And in the absence of mailers they will now depend on a local activist that many of them have never met before. These are people who would not lend me their cars, but will allow me to influence their most precious rights as Americans. All I can say is, if I have this much of a voice around here, the line to offer me "consulting contracts" begins at the front porch, no appointments before 9 am please. For all others willing to do their homework, here are the websites for the candidates.

John MacMurray, Democrat from La Habra

Linda Ackerman, Carpetbagging Republican from Irvine now Fullerton

Richard Faher, Republican, Placentia Businessman

Chris Norby, Republican, Will chase women from any city, but goes home to his wife in Fullerton (this week at least)

Jane Rands, Green Party, System Engineer from Fullerton

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Returns to Anaheim

Anaheim has long been Halloween-happy, and I am glad to report the town is returning to its old celebrations. Now before you get in a wad over the Christianity vs. Halloween debate, allow me to give some background. In the 1920s, the KKK, posing as a men's Bible Study, managed to infiltrate Anaheim, taking a City Council majority, and controlling both the Police and Fire Departments. (It's OK, we did throw them out)Some of our civic leaders were not as easily deceived by the masses, and Lotus Loudon, Publisher of the local newspaper, created a Halloween celebration as "a better use for a bedsheet". Storefronts were decorated by local schoolkids, with awards for the winners, which brought shoppers downtown to look at the windows. A kiddie parade in the daytime was followed by an adult parade at night, which involved literally every civic group in town. To not have your group represented with a float was unheard of, and in some circles, downright unpatriotic. The culmination of the festivities was the Masquerade Ball, which was the social occasion of the year. Sadly, our misguided leaders of past regimes bulldozed the downtown that the parade ran through, which pretty much took the party out of it all. Thankfully, folks like the Fall Festival Committee have been working hard to bring back the Parade and Ball. This year's theme was Return to Oz, and the Masquerade Ball featured awards given to those community members showing Brains, Courage, and Heart. Winners were:

Dr.'s Tom and Cynthia Coad for Courage
Kiwanis of Greater Anaheim for Heart
George Adams for Brains
Janet Lee for Glenda
Debbie Herman for Auntie Em
Anna Kunkle for Lolly Pop
Anaheim Interfaith Shelter/Halcyon for Yellow Brick Road
Disney VoluntEARS/Disneyland Resorts for Munchkin Land

Glad to see our civic spirit returning to Anaheim! I have to serve one more year of indentured servitude to Mr. Schroeder's Loara Band Tournament that same weekend, and then I can participate too! Congrats to the winners, and thanks to the Fall Festival Committee for all your hard work, often against overwhelming odds.