HG: Minimum Wage–Let’s Do It!

(Los Alamitos, 10/1/2014) This time our Thursday columnist makes a pretty controversial proposal.  So interesting I moved it up a day to Thursday: by Highlands Guy:  What does minimum wage mean? According to Misters Merriman and Webster it is the least amount of money per hour that workers must be paid according to the law.

Yes, there are a whole bunch of exceptions related to things like specific type of work, workers age, hours per week, and benefits. But for the most part, it is pretty simple and straight forward.

Written rules about wages have been existence, at least, since medieval England during the time of King Edward III. The first folks affected worked in the fields, and then spread to the cities as work in the textile industry flourished

Laissez-faire policies that did not favor upper or lower limits on wages lasted into the early 19th century. With the rise of Continue reading

Election 2014: Orange County Supervison

(Orange County, CA, 9/29/2014) by J. M. Ivler:  Since I already covered the first “carpetbagger” in a race that Cypress gets to vote for, let’s look at the County Supervisor race (2nd Supervisorial District).

Here we have two people, both former elected officials who are changing jobs (or at least want to). As a non-partisan election their individual party affiliation shouldn’t matter, but for the record, both are currently elected to public office and both are also registered Republicans.

So, in this corner Michelle Steel. Michelle is currently on the Franchise Tax Board, she is termed-out and can not run for that position any longer. In this corner Allan Mansoor. Allan is currently a Member of the State Assembly, and he could have run for his seat again but elected to leave the higher office to run for County Supervisor. Let the cage match begin.

Continue reading

Cypress Council set to ratify new trash contract Monday, 9/22

(Cypress, 9/21/2014) 9/22 update:  According to Cypress’ Recreation & Community Services Director June Liu, “the new first year revenue number is going to be lower than WDCO’s total.”  

The good news is that Cypress did negotiate additional concessions from the Council majority’s preferred trash franchisee, Valley Vista Services.

The bad news is the bottom line for the City still would have been better had the City Council chosen to go with the lowest qualified bidder, WDCO.  And we’ll never know how much lower WDCO might have gone had the Council majority followed the common sense negotiating approach of negotiating with at least two of the firms submitting proposals, as Mayor Mills and Council Member Nahrain wanted.

The bottom line is that Valley Vista’s revised Proposal now is somewhat lower than low bidder WDCO’s original cost to ratepayers and about 40% closer to WDCO’s total annual payments back to Cypress.  That’s a good start, but WDCO still would pay the City almost a million dollars more over the ten year term of the contract.

If this were a real estate transaction & I was still a broker & was representing the City, at this point I’d recommend going back to at least two of the 7 bidders, including low bidder WDCO and request a “best and final offer.”

One would hope the Cypress City Council would at least “sharpen Continue reading

HG: The Dichotomy of A Planning and Development Department

Today our Thursday columnist offers a simple solution to a challenging dilemma.  (Los Alamitos, 9/18/2014)  by “Highlands Guy:”  

The temple precinct of Gilgamesh: Summerian city planning, 1300 B.C.

Urban planning has been happening for thousands of years. Archaeologists have concluded that early Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations of the third millennium BC are examples of deliberately planned and managed cities.

In the ‘Epic of Gilgarmesh’ tablets, written over 2,000 years ago, for the city of Uruk, the Counselors laid out a one square mile city, with one square mile of orchards, one square mile of claypits, and open ground for a temple.

Classical and Medieval Europe city-states were laid out with precision and purposeful forethought.

As soon as a whole bunch of folks began to live in close proximity to each other and leave the agricultural chores to others, they had to “develop” the place they lived in, in order to sustain day to day life. This aspect of a city soon expanded to include things not just for survival but places to spend disposable income.

Thus, the beginning of book stores, and furniture stores, and even a local Continue reading

Cypress shouldn’t overpay for trash service!

Cypress’ City Council is about to ratify a franchise agreement with Valley Vista Services that could cost the City $1.4 million and ratepayers an additional $1.5 million

(Cypress, CA 9/17/2014) This is a slightly modified and expanded version of the letter to the editor that appeared in today’s News Enterprise.

The Cypress City Council is to vote this Monday to approve a ten year trash contract that will cost Cypress residents and businesses over one and a half million dollars more than the lowest responsible bidder would have charged.

Valley Vista Services, the firm the Council plans to approve on Monday, will charge Cypress residents and businesses $1,501,692 more than the lowest bidder (WDCO).

Is George Briggeman, Jr:  better than $3 million?

Surprisingly, Cypress’ Trash Consultant recommended Valley Vista essentially because V.V. promised to hire George Briggeman, Jr.! Mr. Briggeman and his firms also happen to be campaign contributors to at least two of the three Cypress’ City Council Members who voted to negotiate exclusively with Valley Vista.

Low bidder WDCO wasn’t even considered seriously because of Sloan Vasquez’s Continue reading

Los Alamitos City Council Special Meeting at 5 pm Monday

There's still room for you on the City's "Fun Commission."

There’s still room for you on the City’s “Fun Commission.”

(Los Alamitos, 9/15/2014)  In addition to September’s regular meeting at 6 pm tonight, the Los Alamitos City Council will meet at 5 pm tonight in special session for two items:

  1. Interview and possibly appoint two Commissioners to fill three vacancies on the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Commission.
  2. Review the Draft Individual Joint Use Agreement for McAuliffe & Oak Fields & the Draft Master Joint Use Agreement with the LAUSD & Discuss future individual joint use agreements.

Parks & Rec:

Applications have been received for the City’s “Fun Commission” from 32 year Los Al resident James Main and long time Rossmoor resident and two year Los Al resident Emil Jorge, who has served for 12 years on the Casa Youth Shelter Board, three years as President.

Sounds like a couple of well-qualified residents, but  Continue reading