Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I always loved Patrick Swayze’s movies (well, most of them!). But most of all, I admired the way he walked through the world – with grace and dignity and kindness. Not surprisingly, he left the world this week in exactly the same way in which he lived.
His death has hit me hard, though. I think it’s because I’ve always felt this connection to him because he made me laugh and feel good at a very dark time in my life. The year Dirty Dancing was released in the theaters, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was 20 years old. He was diagnosed in August, 1997, and passed away before Christmas. It was a swift and very painful death.
His quick decline was terrifying, and I was angry at his pain and lost as to how to handle everything. One night I went to the movies to get away and saw Dirty Dancing. I was transported into a different world, a more simple world that still held hope and happiness and possibilities. I was always grateful to Patrick Swayze for giving me that. Every time I see the movie, I feel as if I’m that 20-year-old again, gulping in the laughter and the joy the movie brought out in me.
I see a sad irony in that Patrick Swayze died of the same disease as my father, 22 years later. It makes me angry all over again – angry at this brutal disease that slips in unannounced and takes over before most people even know its there.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. There are no early detection tools, few treatment options, and no cure. Sadly, we haven’t come very far in the 22 years since my father passed away.
Many people know that I’m active in my local community, as well as with local and national animal rescue organizations. I have donated money to cancer research, but I haven’t been active in that arena. It still feels too raw and painful. But the time for ignoring it is over for me. I am asking Congress to make pancreatic cancer a priority and support the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act, (HR745). (For more information: http://capwiz.com/pancan/issues/alert/?alertid=12538906).
In January, Patrick Swayze told Barbara Walters, “I want to last until they find a cure, which means I'd better get a fire under it.”
Please join me in the effort to “light a fire under it” to honor the memory of Patrick Swayze and people like my father who have gone before him – as well as all those, like Vallejo’s own Dan Donahue, who “want to last” until a cure is found.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
- The Fire Department has been meeting with Solano County City Managers and Fire Chiefs regarding preparation of private-public partnership proposals for the Solano County Ambulance Contract.
- The City Manager has been working with the grant writer to prepare the Fire Department State Stimulus Funding Request.
- The visioning process for the proposed development of the 152-acre Solano County Fairgrounds site began with the first community workshop in March. The next community workshop is scheduled for April 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the first floor of the County Building in Fairfield. There will be one more community workshop in Vallejo (date/time/location TBA). Brooks Street was hired by the County to lead the visioning process.
- After approving a Use Permit for a bed and breakfast on Mare Island across from Chapel Park, the Planning Commission has requested to review the Use Permit standards for future bed and breakfast establishments.
- Staff is reviewing plan revisions for proposed commercial development at the former Pontiac/Cadillac site located at Sonoma Blvd. and Yolano Drive, as well as a retail commercial center at Broadway and Mini Drive.
- The Code Enforcement Division is preparing to conduct citywide proactive vacant property inspections in anticipation of the amended Vacant Building Ordinance.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
- Vallejo is scheduled to receive $12,273,000 in Economic Stimulus funding. $2,520,000 will be spent on the downtown streetscape, and Sereno Drive and Tennessee Street overlay projects. Transportation projects totaling $9,753,790 will include preventitive maintenance, Ferry Terminal Improvments, the bus maintenance facility, ferry engine repower and Vallejo Station bus transfer center.
- The budget approved by the State of California has eliminated the State Transit Assistance Program until Fiscal Year 2012. This means that Vallejo Transit will lose approximately 15-16 percent of its operating budget, or $1.4 million each year until the program is reinstituted. Economic Stimulus funds will be used for the next two years to help offset this loss. It's obvious that Vallejo's transit system cannot support itself through the farebox alone.
- A recent audit identified approximately $2 million in unpaid parking citations in Vallejo. The Police Department will be identifying major violators and attempt to locate and impound their vehicles. Under the current system, non-payment of parking penalties is reported to the CA Deparment of Motor Vehicles for collection when registration fees are paid. If the violator does not register the vehicle, no further collection efforts are made.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
- It does not require VPOA to pay a portion of their health care premiums. Every employee in the city, including the City Council, should pay 25 percent of their premiums. And by giving VPOA a free health care ride, that sets up the other employees to ask for the same benefit. Which the City simply can't afford. But it wouldn't be fair to ask IBEW, CAMP and IAFF to pay a portion of their health care, but not VPOA. We should not have different classes of employees.
- Guaranteed raises. This recession, optimistically, will last at least another two years. How can we guarantee raises when we don't know where we'll be at financially next year or the year after? The State will be taking more city funds back, giving IOUs, cutting programs. Our big development projects that we're counting on to bring in new revenues won't come on board for at least two to five years. It looks like we might get Stimulus monies from Congress, but that won't be enough. How can we promise raises when our revenues will at best remain flat, more likely go down further? That is simply irresponsible. We should agree to consider cost of living raises every year, but it would have to depend on our ability to pay.
- Agreeing to pay VPOA attorney fees if the City can't meet the promises in this agreement. That is simply unacceptable. As a member of this City Council, it is my job to look out for the best interests of this City and make sure we are protected. Agreeing to this would be an abdication of that responsibility. Who knows what is going to happen in the next two years? Giving VPOA insurance against future economic downturns is nice for VPOA, bad for Vallejo taxpayers.
- A piecemeal process. Again. Until we know what the other employee groups will agree to, we should not be signing any agreement. What happens if IAFF works the political system in Sacramento and legislatively prevents the City from cutting their wages or benefits (don't think they're not trying to do this). With the VPOA contract signed and IAFF wages and benefits untouchable, that would again lock up 75 percent of our general fund. With the economy getting worse and not better, where will our cuts come from? Not VPOA, unless we want to pay their legal fees when they challenge us. Not IAFF, if they get their backdoor way. We'll be in the same boat we were in before BK, but worse. Cuts will have to come from city services and non-PSU personnel. Agreeing to this now will tie our hands in the future. Business as usual.
- The City submitted a list of 30 local street and transportation projects estimated to cost over $182 million as potential candidate projects for Federal economic Stimulus funding. Our water and sewer lines are old and desperately need updating -- we could help Vallejo by updating our infrastructure and create/maintain jobs, which is what the Stimulus bill is all about.
- Costs to replace streetlights due to copper wire thefts have recently cost the City $64,000. We recently installed a $36,000 vandal proof system that is already slowing down the theft rate.
- The City is working on a Residential Abandoned and vacant Building Urgent Ordinance with Code Enforcement, which will be presented to Council at the end of February. I have participated in several meetings with Code Enforcement and local real estate professionals, who are volunteering their expertise to help draft the best and most useful ordinance.
- The first volunteer anti-graffiti paint-out of 2009 is scheduled for Saturday, January 31 at 8:30 a.m. If you'd like to join us, please call (707) 648-4230 to sign up.
- I am working with local artists to create a mural for the wall on Marin Street next to the barber shop where Jonathon Brunson was killed. The draft theme is "Silence the Violence – Take a Stand." I hope to get broad community involvement, particularly youth.