Cypress Trash Company requests 10% – 17% rate increase

(Cypress, Ca, March 11, 2017, by Dave Emerson)  Valley Vista Services wants to raise Cypress residents’ trash rates 10% due to “unanticipated costs.”  That’s in addition to any Consumer Price Index related increase.

And that’s actually the “good news.”  Valley View wants to raise their rates for Cypress businesses by 17%!

Here’s a summary from Cypress’ diligent citizen watchdog George Pardon:

 

Monday night’s Cypress City Council Agenda item 13  is both shocking and of great concern. Valley Vista Services (VVS) has requested an extraordinary rate increase of 10 percent for residential rates and 17 percent for commercial rates in addition to any annual CPI adjustment.

The agenda item proposes to establish a City Council Ad-Hoc Committee to study Valley Vista Services’ request for a Solid Waste Franchise Extraordinary Rate Increase.  Valley Vista Services requested the extraordinary rate increase citing unanticipated costs associated with their operation including bulky item collection, special services such as graffiti removal, and the establishment of local solid waste operation facilities.  VVS reports its costs to operate have exceeded their original estimates when they proposed to serve Cypress.

At this point the City Council is only being asked to appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate the request, and to hire a consultant to assist in the investigation.  I’m wondering if that’s really necessary, or if the Council could  just say no to the rate increase, without spending taxpayer dollars on a consultant.

Interestingly enough, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission levied the highest fine allowed for political money laundering against George Briggeman, who runs Valley Vista’s Cypress operations in October of 2015 for dealings with two current Cypress City Council Members, Mariellen Yarc and Rob Johnson.   According to an article in the Orange County Register,

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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.

 

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