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

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 and it’s predecessor,    He also co-founded and ran Education4Kids (, 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

HG: Things I Can’t Explain to My Kids

In 2013, the event was staged on campus.

From Andy Rooney to our local officials

(Los Alamitos, 8/21/2015) Today our Thursday columnist starts off sounding a bit like Andy Rooney but ends up with some uncommon common sense about local decision makers.  Enjoy: 

by Highlands Guy:  When I look real hard at myself, I guess I have to admit that I’m a fraud.

Not only have I been lying to my kids all these years, but worse, I’ve been lying to myself.

There are all sort of physical, psychological, and political phenomena that when it comes right down to it, even after I’ve “explained” it , I realize that I don’t really know the exact reason it happens. Even folks as diverse as John and Ken, Larry Elder, and  Donald Trump  have not been able to adequately explain how some things that effect us daily actually work.

Maybe I haven’t done enough research, but the way most folks talk so confidently about all sorts of stuff, I would think even my little brain could ferret out the facts.

Gas prices:  For instance, the first time my son started driving and we went up Continue reading

City Council considering options for that $900,000


The meeting was moved, one member teleconferenced it in, but a lot of progress appears to have been made last night.

(Los Alamitos, 6/24/2015)  At last night’s City Council meeting, everyone agreed it was at least worth investigating ways to spend an estimated $900,000 the City might be able to borrow in the process of refinancing the Laurel Park Loan.

Mayor Murphy emphasized the importance the importance of leveraging   the borrowed money to get as much grant money as possible.   Great idea, but that could be challenging given the conflicting time constraints of most grants (1-3 years out) and the requirement for spending the money within three years.

They gave it to us once. . . and we declined. . . Continue reading

HG: No Hotel California!


(Los Alamitos, 5/22/2015)  by Highlands Guy:  As much as I would like to see the big open space on Los Al Blvd filled in, the latest proposed alternative being discussed in City Hall, does not fit the bill on many levels. I don’t know exactly how long it has been vacant, but I have been driving by it for close to 20 yrs. and don’t remember seeing much action there. If memory serves me, I think it used to be a car dealership, and the property is still under a cloud due to open toxic waste questions.

I will first lay out my reasons for opposition to the latest proposal, a Fairfield Inn, and then offer an alternative scenario. And I would urge the readers of LosAlNews to attend the appropriate City Council and Planning Commission meetings to voice your opinions. Remember they work for us. Do not abdicate your Continue reading