Cypress Council: $330K for Race Track “Vision?”

(Cypress, CA, 2/25/2017)   [Editor’s Note:  There are at least two causes for concern about Cypress’ City Manager’s proposal:  1) Is it a good use of taxpayer money, which George Pardon addresses first.  2)  Under what conditions might it be a good use of taxpayer money?  & 3) What should be the City’s goals for such a study, both of which I will address at the end of George’s article.]

1.  Is this a good use of taxpayer money?

By George Pardon:  At this Monday’s Cypress City Council Meeting (2/27/2017)  Agenda Item 9 under New Business proposes spending $330,000 of the City’s money to develop a vision for the future development of the race track property.

When the school district sought a zone change to rezone MacKay School and the District Office, the city didn’t pay for it.  Most recently, the city has asked two developers to propose plans for the city’s 13 acre site but the city isn’t paying for it.

While there might be some value in the city taking the lead on how the race track property should be developed in the future, the implication is that the city and the residents didn’t provide any input into the last process.  Just like the city takes the lead on Environmental Impact Reports, the property owner reimburses the city.  After all, who is the primary financial beneficiary of the rezoning of the property if not the property owner?

If the city has an extra $330,000 to spend, maybe they need to hear from the residents as to how they think it should be spent.

One statement in the agenda item may indicate the catalyst behind this push by the city to have this property rezoned: Continue reading

Thoughts on JM Ivler

(Los Alamitos, CA, posted 1/21/2017)  Editor’s note:  The following originally appeared as a Guest Post in the News Enterprise, and is reposted here with the gracious permission of the author.  by John Underwood:

When I was very young and just beginning to form my view of the world one prominent media figure captured my imagination, tempted me to imitation, and struck me as heroic rising above all other intellects in clear thinking and execution of style in conversation.

No it was not JFK. It was notorious conservative and talk show host William F. Buckley Jr. On his 1960s and 70s confrontational television program Firing Line Bill Buckley would fearlessly invite some of the most articulate liberal thinkers and talkers of the time. He would first listen carefully with the discipline of a UN delegate, give them the courtesy of laying out their world view perhaps even agreeing on points of common ground, and then proceed to roll them over like bowling pins with his own eviscerating logic, cutting charm, and command of the English language.

As my own world view expanded with age and experience my empathy for the world took me to places and points of view Mr. Buckley would never have accepted. And this was a real source of inner conflict for me for some time, until I realized another lesson I was learning implicitly from this great debater’s example, that is, reasonable and nimble minds can tolerate, often accept, and sometimes even assimilate the opinions of others without necessarily threatening the foundations of one’s own worldview, if you first listen carefully to what they are actually saying. Continue reading

Truck owners alert: Rash of tailgate thefts & what to do

:(Los Alamitos, 1/20/2017)  by Dave Emerson:   In the last few days there has been a rash of truck tailgates being stolen in the Los Alamitos area.

The problem is that most tailgates are designed to be quickly removed.  Javier Mejia, Vice Chair of Los Al’s Traffic Commission (& Los Al News reader), recommends a Tailgate Lock.  (Click here for a Master Tailgate Lock available from Amazon for $15.85 with free 1 day shipping for Prime members.)  These locks are designed to prevent removal of the tailgate, but still allow normal opening and closing of the tailgate.

According to Javier, this is becoming a nationwide problem.  Additional solutions are described in this updated post from the Crime Prevention Guy.

 

J.M. Ivler’s last LosAlNews Article: Election Day 2016

Editor’s note, 1/16/2017:  In light of the sudden death of my co-editor and friend JM, I plan to go back and bring some of his greatest articles up to the front.  His last full post, reproduced below, contains a lot of his practical wisdom & wit. Re-reading it reminded me of what a great citizen & thinker we’ve lost.  I’ve put some of  JM’s most profound sections in bold for those who like to save time:

(11/7/2016, Los Alamitos)  by J M Ivler: (bolding added)  It is NOT in LosAlNews’ purview to tell you HOW to vote. While the people who post here have a various number of opinions on who they will be voting for, and have even shared those opinions, it’s YOUR vote and it does count.Vote sign

Yes, the top-of-the-ticket has been an ugly mess. More people are voting “against” one candidate or the other than “for” a candidate that they would actually like to have running the country. The campaigns have been ugly throughout the entire Primary process and into the General election. Even when you think the campaigns can’t get any further into the gutter, they found ways to do so.

The number of times I have heard “well I’m voting for this candidate because I will do anything to stop that candidate from winning.” is past triple digits. The number of times I have heard “lesser evil” is a multiple of that.

So, rather than wade into that mess my goal here is to get you focused on the fact that there are a great many reasons to go to the polls and vote, other than the mess at the top-of-the-ticket.

In fact, I will go so far as to say that you can skip almost all the partisan contests on your ballot because you really know nothing about any of the candidates running other than the winner will be from part of the duopoly. Really, one debate between the candidates for Senate to represent the entire State of California? No debates for the House or Assembly? Do you really know where any of them stand, what they stand for and what policies they will implement in your name?

But down the ballot there are some things worthy of you taking the time to fill it out. Continue reading

In Memoriam: J. M. Ivler

(Los Alamitos, CA 1/13/2017)  by Dave Emerson.  Once again, a Los Alamitos hero has been suddenly taken from us.

I was shocked and deeply grieved to learn Friday afternoon that J. M. Ivler died of a massive heart attack on Thursday.

J.M. was a courageous, smart, and highly committed advocate for the betterment of our community and our schools.  He  spoke out courageously against corruption and the abuse of power at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

He was a key leader of a small band of local residents who repeatedly thwarted massive overdevelopment and exposed corruption in our corner of West Orange County.  Truly a David who defeated Goliaths that outspent him 100 to 1 with his wisdom, commitment, and the truth.

JM got involved in local politics almost as soon as he moved into Los Alamitos in 1992, joining a fight against Race Track expansion and helping a band of populists wrest control of Los Alamitos’ City Council from a small clique too often put the interests of businesses ahead of residents.  He never quit pushing hard for what he felt was in our community’s best interest.

JM was also co-editor, administrator, webmaster and a regular contributor to LosAlNews.com and it’s predecessor, LetsFixLosAl.com.    He also co-founded and ran Education4Kids (Edu4kids.com), committed to using technology to improve education across the nation.

But J. M’s highest commitment was to his family.   He was the committed and loving husband of his wife, Thuy, since 1991, and proud father of their son, Matt, a Junior at Los Al High & their daughter, Brooke, who graduated from Arizona State University last December. Continue reading

A brief history of Thanksgiving, the uniquely American holiday

The Pilgrims’ big Thanksgiving feast was actually the third Thanksgiving!

(West Orange County, 11/22/2016) by Dave Emerson:  Thanksgiving is a uniquely North American holiday. It is only celebrated in the U.S. (4th Thursday in November), Canada (2nd Monday of October), and, more recently, in Grenada (October 25th).

What a great idea–a day set aside for a celebration of thanks! In many ways, it’s my favorite holiday–less commercialized, more family oriented, with unique American roots and even a relatively healthy main dish.

But there’s way more to this holiday then food and family, as a brief review of Thanksgivings past reveals.  Along with a few surprises. . . like the fact that the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America didn’t take place in Massachusetts, but in Florida! And the celebrants didn’t even speak English!

The real first recorded American Thanksgiving:  Continue reading