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7/29/2010

One KING City Manager Could be paid to Do the Job of Twenty

City Managers who oversee public works and projects in Orange County are overpaid recent reports reveal. When Orange County was incorporated we were many small areas with undeveloped farm land surrounding. Since vital services such as Sherriff, and Fire Departments overlap cities and have to cooperate with seperate Departments in Cities such as Laguna Beach and Newport Beach there is much duplication.

I have complained to Laguna Niguel City leaders about the foolish spending on building yet another Taj Mahal in our county. Having brick and mortar monuments does not provide better living for a community. Many of our local cities, just like our schools need to consolidate and be more cost effective.

A recent report revealed how much City Managers are paid and residents are shocked. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Here's a brief list of a few City Manager's payroll-

Bruce Channing of Laguna Hills  $460,809.00   ( Laguna Hills is a small city which has no raw land remaining for planning or buildout)

David M. Morgan from Anaheim is paid $317,923.00

David N. Ream from Santa Ana  $327,074.00

The lowest paid is Villa Park's Manager who works part time at 32 hours $ 170,000.00



Does it make you think you are in the wrong job and need to run for election?

Consolidate all the small City Populations and make one king manager, at a salary range of $ 275000- $300,000.00  Don't forget these people get cushy pensions based on the salaries for life.

Travel Overnight bag and laptop bag all less than 9 pounds

I have been travelling a great deal in the past three weeks. More than ten years ago I travelled frequently for work and I had forgotten what is necessary to pack and how to avoid a stiff neck from carrying unnecessary weight. I have compiled a checklist of items that you must put in your carry on bag:


First strategy is to pack items that need little or no ironing and are all in the same color palette as to coordinate. Here is my road warrior summer list: two knit jersey BGBG dresses, jeans skirt, two knit undershirts, short sleeved button down shirt, long windbreaker, two colored scarves, underwear and makeup small items, running shoes, nike shorts and two pairs cotton socks

Here is the essential item list: toothbrush, sunglasses, one pair high heel pumps, two band aids for the pumps, laptop and charger, purse that you can smash into the carryon bag, wallet and ID, rake comb, phone and phone chargers.

Anything else leave at home.

If you are going somewhere there are Grizzly Bears- buy some wasp spray to substitute when you arrive.

7/23/2010

Single Mom Student Loans a LIE

OBAMA MAMMA STUDENT LOANS SCAM/ EXPERIAN DOES TO HARM



Experian has a sub company that promotes a big giant lie. They run these advertisements targeted at single mothers who are the most gullible and needy of our unemployed. Experian has a number of shady business entities which farm your information for profit and sell it to others calling it legitimate marketing. Experian’s marketing is most often begun with a half-truths used to instill fear and charge you money for years to come.



Take for example their advertisements on free credit – you know the guys in pirate costumes. This is the worst scam and they have numerous federal fines for charging innocent Americans for something they can get for free $24.99 a month until the cows come home. Experian hides behind the concept that no human being can complain enough to them to stop Experian from charging your credit card a monthly fee – even after you die. The other flagrantly using consumer’s emotions and calling it a business is protect my ID which in fact does nothing to help you after or during a fraud- again they charge a monthly fee like shackles that you can never remove.



You’ve hear the ads- Obama, you know he went to fancy colleges and made it without any help from anyone but his education. So who better to use, and never pay for the royalty as your poster boy to claim you have something good to offer the indigent, the unemployed and the gullible. Here are excerpts from the ads:





“President Obama has promised an ambitious expansion of the federal Pell Grant for single mothers. The Pell Grant currently offers a maximum of around $5000 for low-income students. For low-income single mothers, Obama would raise the maximum Pell Grant to $10,000. This would not only have the effect of increasing college enrollment for single mothers - it would also bring huge benefits to their children. Kids raised in poverty are far more likely to perpetuate that cycle themselves. They are more likely to drop out of school and enter the system of federal prisons and juvenile delinquent facilities. In the end, these disadvantaged children cost more to put through the penal system than the Pell Grant will spend educating them…”



In reality THERE IS NO I REPEAT NO special Obama Pell grants for single Moms. Pell grants have been available to everyone who applies for thirty years. The dollar amount just went up, that’s all.



So what Experian does is sell sell sell the concept in advertising and gets you the dumb innocent to enter all your credit information and telephone numbers so funky unlicensed schools can call you day and night. Oh yes and there’s going to be special fees just because Experian thinks you are a dumb single mom.



If I grind one idea into you it will be –

Anything that sounds too good to be true---- is too good to be true.



This not-lovely company employs hundreds of thousands employees. I am certain this blog will not be up for long. Thanks to a company right here in Orange County. (Perhaps I needed to use behind the orange curtain on this one.)

Experian

475 Anton Blvd.

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

1 714 830 7000

7/19/2010

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Bees and Territorial Wasps



Yellow jacket





yellow jacket

Certain varieties of bees and wasps are aggressive in preserving their nests. These guys can be a danger to those allergic and attract other pests with the remaining smell of honey or dead insects for years to come. Observing your pest with double layered clothing and gloves will lead you to their homes were you want to remove them later at night. A local Bee Keeper will take the queen for free and her workers will follow. No one will remove wasps for free,  and their methods will be to use poisons that you may not want in your garden. 

Wear thick clothing such as: old sweat pants, thick long sleeved shirt, hat, neck scarf and gloves are necessary. Do not swat them. Do not wear perfume.

I don't want to remove my flowers fountains and pool that these unwelcome guests enjoy. My daughter is allergic so they must go.

Wasps that have mud nests in the ground can be killed off by pouring a pot of boiling water on the entrance of the nest while they sleep.

Another slower but effective method is to create a wasp feeder for them. This really is not a "feeder" like one you might have for hummingbirds because this is war. Take an empty green two liter plastic soda bottle and cut the top 1/3 off with a box cutter. (Green is better  because it provides some sun screen and visual distraction but clear are fine.)  The top piece is used inverted into the bottom 2/3 of the bottle. Staple the two together. (This project so reminds me of the bottle rockets we made for science but that's another story). You can poke two large holes through to be able to tie a heavy string through the bottle on opposite sides which will enable you to hang the bottle near to where the wasps currently forage during the day.


Fill the bottle with apple juice or seven up or any sweet smelling sugar juice and spill a little around to attract the wasps. You can even decorate your bottle with colors - flower colors are useful ( but don't use paint that smells). The wasps will enter and they either drown or are too drunk to figure out how to get out of the inverted cup. They starve and die in a day or so. The "feeder" will need to be cleaned when you see it with a number of dead guys or moldy because soon as it smells bad the wasps lose interest in entering what they now smell as a death trap.

Oil of citronella, orange oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil can be used on patio furniture, doors and humans to repel bees and wasps. Wasps do not like wormwood and eucalyptus but there really is no plant excepting oleander that bees do not care for. Learn to tolerate them for their good properties but move them away from your home. Plant cucumbers and use the peels and juice- bees don't care for the smell.

 I don't suggest smoking them out as it might be just as easy to have a pile of newspaper burning get out of control and burn your house but not the bees. Hairspray is works on their wings as it makes them too heavy to fly, but in order to get the purple can of Aquanet close enough, you will need protective clothing.

My favorite tool is my power washer, my now fourteen year old son has the same curiosity with spraying the eves of our two story house to remove spiders. Keeping the bees away from starting a colony in my walls is the best way to avoid them from returning. Encourage them to move on, the first days they swarm before they build a mess in your walls.

leaf cutter bee


If you have no luck finding a bee keeper who will relocate the bees for free or minimal cost here are some natural ways that don't require pesticides:

Bowl of sugar water with with dawn soap.

1 cup water 1/2 cup sugar teaspoon dawn 
The bees are attracted to the sugar - they think it is honey.
Use a colorful bowl or float some flowers.
The bees will drown. If they fly off the soap is sticky on
their wings. This will reduce the worker population in a nest.

 Windex and Spray Nine have outdoor window washing bottles that attach to a normal hose.
You can use the bottle with water and 1/4 cup dawn dish soap. Wear protective clothing and
wash the nest. You must remove all the wax, dead bees and honey or the nest will rot and smell
to high heaven, thus attracting ants and more bees.




brown recluse spider very nasty... that's another post about organic ways to avoid stinging, biting and icky

7/16/2010

Putting the Flag Back Up

Jerry Brown has courage. He took an issue and wrestled it to the ground by the horns. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac squashed the PACE program earlier this month. I wrote about how short sighted this decision was as we need to find ways to be independent of foreign oil. The upfront cost to put in a solar system for my home was $26,900.00. The idea of putting out the cash when I do not know how long I will stay in my giant home (with children going to college) seemed unwise.




The PACE program would have allowed me to retrofit a solar system and free me from electric bills. The cost would have been added on the property tax bill like mosquito abatement or other underground electric pole improvements over a twenty year payment program. The PACE program also was going to help construction jobs in Orange County, when the building industry is at an all-time slow right now. More than seventy local construction companies have taken the classes to be certified, all for nothing. The program was expected to create 15000 local jobs in Orange County.



In a lawsuit filed yesterday Brown, our attorney general accused the FHFA of mischaracterizing the program as a loan rather than an assessment, and argued its decision not to cooperate with the program could cost the state up to $100 million in government subsidies. The suit asks the court to force Fannie and Freddie to recognize the program correctly as assessments.



The death of the PACE program stops the more than $450 million in planned projects to be cancelled In an election year when Jerry Brown has only 5% of the funding for a campaign he takes a risky move in taking on our federal government. I see him championing issues for California in new and exciting ways. As our governor 1974- two terms he was nicknamed “moonbeam” for his idea of having a satellite for California emergency communications, funny how today satellites are the norm not some silly idea. Jerry Brown is a smart guy, ahead of his time. Why on earth would we not want to use solar in a state that has sunshine more days than not?

http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1951

Photo courtesy Larry Hagman and solar tech
Everybody can Change...

7/11/2010

Being Green is Blue today

Green energy just got a kick in the pants from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The PACE program, or property assessed clean energy program is not going to allowed by the Federal Housing Authority.


I looked into putting a solar system on my home. The cost was approximately, $ 26,900. Which would save my monthly utility bill of $ 500. Instead of paying for this in cash the city allows a program which puts it on my tax bill, just like mosquito abatement or other bond measures which are paid over time. It would allow financing the solar system or energy efficient retrofits which would be paid back over twenty years. If I sell my home the benefit goes to the new owner and so does the bill.

It appears that moving away from our dependency on oil is only rhetoric. With the rising costs of oil and utilities a program which made sense has been squashed.

7/09/2010

ZZ Bully


simmons above left







Simmons

 kluft above

simmons above

sealy above right and below
SEALY ZZ the giant in the mattress durable goods industry has
been trying to crush every competitor with a variety of strategies.

They have bought up smaller manufacturers, forced some into bankruptcy,
cut prices to monopolize the market, and acted in various methods to gain
dominace.

One of their latest techniques is to claim they own the rights to having colored trim and veritical handles. This has started a lawsuit when Sealy has no patent on color or appearance whatsoever but
has deep pockets to squeeze out a smaller competitor.

I'll give anyone a dollar who can't find ten mattresses on the internet or in their bedroom that doesn't
have contrasting color and texture and or vertical handles. Goes to proove my theory that anyone in America can sue even if they are wrong, but the one who has the most money wins.

7/08/2010

Mortgage Rates Fall getting one is a bigger Pain


Mortgage Rates Hit another Historic Low Good news Bad News
Interest rates low, and a few Economists are now saying rates could go lower! Shocking that the European Central Bank holds off reacting to the crashing E. U.
The Institute for Supply Management yesterday said it’s services index fell to 53.8 in June from 55.4 in May. Thomson Reuters expected a level of 55.0. Treasury prices pushed down interest rates, which have been falling for weeks. Tuesday the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.94 percent from 2.98 percent late Friday. It hasn’t been below 3 for a while.
Mortgage refinances heat up but despite the lower rates getting a loan is not easier.

Getting a loan is more difficult than ever before. The key component to closing your home loan is who is your lender.
During the process do not buy. Do not shop for anything. Do not even think of looking at a car until after your loan is funded and recorded. Don’t call me paranoid until you hear what is going on behind the scenes.
Fannie Mae’s new loan quality initiatives ask lenders to continue to pull credit reports, at the beginning, during and closing process. Any inquiry for new credit will be followed to prove what is owed. The messy part is it is hard to provide proof that you did not open a new Bloomingdales account – if you ask Bloomies to give you a letter saying you didn’t open anything Bloomingdales will not provide the letter you need to prove the ghost does not exist.
Not only is your credit being scoured for new hidden accounts, the lowest middle number will determine your final pricing. Your FICO score now has become a vital organ.
Lenders may not tell you is behind the scenes they are ordering MERS reports to determine if you have other hidden cosign accounts, 4506T to actually see the IRS returns filed. Going to a broker is a position of out of control, you must go direct to the bank. Underwriters check and balance your dividends to match the accounts you claim for assets, and if you have failed to disclose any deductions. Lenders will check FBI records randomly of Borrowers and agents. You may be asked to allow a background check, which is looking for anything violent in your past.


Reference:
https://www.efanniemae.com/sf/lqi/index.jsp
“Fannie Mae is implementing the LQI enhancements to promote improved loan delivery data that is complete, accurate, and fully reflective of the terms of the mortgage. The LQI will also help ensure that the loan meets the credit and eligibility standards, pricing guidelines, and other requirements of the Selling Guide or negotiated variances. A primary focus is on capturing critical loan data earlier in the process and validating it before, during, and immediately after loan delivery.”
Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS®) report can be run to determine if the borrower has undisclosed liens and/or if another mortgage is being originated. MERS® ServicerID is a free service available to the public that allows users to obtain servicer information on properties with mortgage liens registered in the MERS®”


7/03/2010

Surfrider Foudation Monday 8:00 AM San Clemente Pier

Monday Surfrider Foundation Beach Cleanup. This is actually a fun event and many people of all walks of our neighborhood show up to pick up after the tourists. My children love to round up buddies to lend hands. Yes really hands and backs. They have sponsors who give gifts to anyone who shows up to help.

Mon, July 5, 8am – 11am


San Clemente Pier

" We are the masters of our enemy. " Rifleman's creed

7/02/2010

Beware of Short Sale Sharks

Why are short sales attracting all the sharks and crooks? Short Sale Fraud is the Real Estate Industry’s most recent shame. It is number one white collar crime being investigated by the FBI.


Short Sale fraud now occupies the time and energy of fourteen states Attorney General and their staffs to prosecute. The reasons are simple. The owner of record is usually in a dire financial situation after often a year or more of trying different solutions, only to learn that the value of their home has decreased more, they owe more, and the negative equity number is larger.



How can you avoid being ripped off by con artists? Don’t come back crying that you were taken advantage of by a subprime lender who worked part time at your local bar, to find out he now is a short sale negotiator expert. Don’t pay any short sale negotiator up front fees. Check the license and the track record of a real estate agent or attorney. Be in charge of your own destiny and in the loop of all emails and information submitted to your lender or lenders.

Shop the fees and compare before you agree to using an escrow, title or closing attorney. Fees vary greatly and junk surcharges are padded into costs. Don’t pay illegal fees outside of escrow. Read everything you sign. If you do not understand it, do not sign it until you do. Items submitted to your lender are like your permanent record, you do not want to send them anything more than they need and you do not want to lie. This is why it is important to have an agent who is honest, smart, organized and knows about financial institutions

Straw buyers and house flipping are not easy fix solutions. If it seems too good to be true –run. If the buyer of your home is using a standard lender the lender isn’t going to allow flipping. A short sale negotiator who misrepresents the market value of a property to a homeowner's lender by submitting low ball offers on the property from an affiliated straw buyer is a crook. After the home is purchased below market value, the fraudsters immediately flip it and pocket the difference.



A title or a class on the subject does not certify anything. Short sale negotiators and agents use titles including debt negotiator, debt resolution expert, loss mitigation practitioner, foreclosure rescue negotiator, short sale processor, short sale coordinator and short sale expeditor.



This is a paperwork intense process. If you are somewhat good on the computer is can be easy. Get a right fax. Fax to yourself all the documentation and keep in a folder so you can easily email copies to anyone. Many of these items can be download for free and “saved as”- label each one. This is a partial list of what you as a homeowner need to prepare:

1. complete copy of your current credit report.

2. online tax bill from your county recorder

3. copy of your fire insurance policy

4. homeowner association bill

5. Paycheck stubs

6. w-2 and 2009 tax return

7. actual bank statements not just online printout- go to the box for a statement

8. Prepare a detailed hardship letter

9. go online and look at comparable sales for your home- find three houses close by sold in past 100 days with similar square footage

Add up the numbers-

1. I owe : $

2. I can sell for $

3. I make $





Shop for your agent. This is a person you want to talk to regularly and come up with a team strategy to help you move on. Ask friends and family and persons you trust for someone who is: honest, organized, and willing to work hard. Having negative equity is not the end of the world. It is outside your control that the value decreased. If you lost your job, are getting divorced, someone is ill or deceased, or you must relocate for a job these are beyond your planning and good intentions. Planning again for getting back on your feet in the best method for your individual life takes some thinking.



Nothing too good or too bad lasts too long the key is to have grace, honor and a clear head in both.


Top fraud states courtesy FBI: California is number one.