Ready for Another Water Rate Increase?

Probably the biggest vote at tomorrow’s City Council meeting is the Red Oak development . Josh Ferguson has already discussed that issue in his excellent article here so there’s no need for me to pile on (just read it if you haven’t already).

What I do want to do is draw attention to another vote on the City Council. Agenda Item #8 includes the appointment of Fullerton’s representative to the Fullerton Water Board.

This is our current representative.

Now, while Jan Flory has come under a lot of deserved criticism from this blog over the years, and in fact supported three separate water rate increases in a single year while on the City Council, it is only fair to mention that she has been appropriately skeptical on the Poseidon development, which if approved will raise our water rates even further – although it is also only fair to point out that she has recently signaled she would be willing to support the project to maintain her position on the board.

Poseidon Water is a desalination developer that who wants to build a $1 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach, and wants the Orange County Water District to help guaranty construction of the project AND agree to purchase 56,000 acre feet (eighteen billion gallons) for more money than the County currently pays to import water, for the next fifty years.

How much more? The specific amount has been something of a moving target, but this appears to be the current plan:

(Blue represents what we currently pay to MDW, red, green and purple represent the crony capitalism surtax)

Keep in mind that while (per their own admission) Poseidon is about twice as expensive as MWD water, water purchased from MWD is itself far more expensive than the groundwater which Poseidon would displace, which is, essentially, free, minus the cost associated with pumping and/or replacing the groundwater. Also, Poseidon is angling for a “Take or Pay” contract with OCWD, meaning the ratepayers buy their water first, even if we don’t need it, regardless of whether we have an abundance of free ground water, water in Lake Mead or water we will have to flush to the ocean because our capacity is full.

So who will the Council appoint? Bruce Whitaker (a Poseidon critic) was the City’s appointee from 2013-2014, until he was deposed for voting against the interests of a client of Curt Pringle & Associates, and Doug Chaffee sought the appointment in 2012, so he may seek it again. Flory wants it as well, despite no longer being on the council and no obvious base of support, so it seems to be between Whitaker and Chaffee. With opposition to the Poseidon plant growing at the county level this could be an important vote for the future of this project – and your future water rates.

Rusty Needs You!

In the past FFFF has been critical of Rusty Kennedy and his ridiculous “OC Human Relations” operations that for decades has sucked off of taxpayer revenue to fund it’s feel-good enterprises. Back in 2011 we noted Kennedy’s moral absenteeism here and here when the Fullerton cops killed a helpless homeless man. See, Rusty has always needed the cops to pop up at County budget time and extol his dubious virtues. He and his Old Guard liberal pals were more than happy to paint the Kelly Thomas killing as an issue in which the poor cops just lacked proper training dealing with those troublesome homeless people.

In 2012 Kennedy showed his true colors by canvasing Anaheim’s Ana Drive barrio in the aftermath of the widespread unrest and duplicitously turning over information he collected to the Chief of Police; not long afterwards he was lobbying the City of Anaheim to run a proposed police oversight committee.

In 2011 the County decided to end its “in-house” effort and contract the function of supporting the completely unnecessary Human relations Commission. So what happened? Rusty retired to a six-fugure pension and then got paid allover again as a contractor. That’s how our government works.

Anyway, it appears that now Kennedy’s OC Human Relations is actually going to have to submit a bid to continue its heretofore monopoly on official County good deed doing, and Rusty is soliciting your help.

From: Rusty Kennedy <Rusty@ochumanrelations.org>
Date: January 13, 2017 at 10:46:32 AM PST
To: Rusty Kennedy <Rusty@ochumanrelations.org>
Subject: Urgent Request for BRIEF Letter of Support

Dear Friends

OC Human Relations was created 25 years ago to support programs of the Orange County Human Relations Commission.  As a non-profit organization OC Human Relations has grown into a highly professional organization providing model programs in Police Community Relations, Community Building, Dispute Resolution, Reconciliation, and Diverse Community relations.

Almost 6 years ago the Board of Supervisors eliminated the public staff of the Commission and contracted with our non-profit, OC Human Relations, to provide staff support for the Commission.  We are not applying through the County BidSync system to continue this contract.

We have to submit letters of support with our bid before the end of the month, so time is of the essence.

A simple letter such as below is all that is needed.

Possible Model for Letters of Support for OC Human Relations, feel free to add or modify in any manner you wish, on your letterhead, and e-mail a copy to me: rusty@ochumanrelations.org

Thank you in advance.

Rusty Kennedy, CEO

OC Human Relations

Date

To Whom It May Concern:

I write on behalf of ­(your organization) to express my support for the good work of OC Human Relations.

We have worked with OC Human Relations for ( # years) on (type of cases, projects we collaborate on).

OC Human Relations is a highly professional organization that we look to for helping on (type of case or project) and plan to continue to do so.

Sincerely,

(your name and title)

(your organization’s name)

Rusty Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer

OC Human Relations | 1300 S. Grand, Bldg B, Santa Ana, CA 92705 | 714.480.6585

www.ochumanrelations.org | Join Our Email List

Having fun at Rusty Kennedy’s expense may be entertaining, but really there is a bigger question: why do the taxpayers have to pay for a function that routinely grandstands over a mere handful of “hate crimes” and that includes in its repertoire mediation between cops and abused citizens – especially when that “service” means turning a blind eye to police brutality, excessive force, and even homicide.

While We Were Away. Another Story You Didn’t Read About In “Back The Badge”

Once upon a time, the Fullerton Police Department employed a detective by the name of Ron Bair.

FFFF had some fun with this idiot, here.

A real moron, right? FFFF questioned whether this “detective” could find his own ass in the dark. Unfortunately, Inspector Clouseau was not just an annoying, half-bright stumblebum. He was also the the sort of degenerate who would involve himself in a sexual relationship with a woman in a domestic/child custody dispute in which he had become a witness. That thought alone makes me cringe. Was it sexual extortion? The whole thing was completely piggish.

Naturally, the whole misconduct was swept under the rug by law enforcement, but the civil suit cost the taxpayers of Fullerton plenty in 2015 – $550,000 to be precise.

When you read that article did you enjoy the part where Chief Danny Galahad blames the woman for her “poor choices?”

“I understand your frustration with former officer Ron Bair, but you have blamed him for your situation, the judge, and now three additional members of our department,” Hughes told Castaneda. “You may also want to consider the poor choices you have made to contribute to your current situation.”

You have to admire the balls it takes to offer moral admonishment to the victim of one of your employees and the subsequent law enforcement cover-up. He doesn’t bother to mention that his stand-up officer was conveniently retired in 2013 (see page 35).

For some reason that reminds me of former Chief “Patdown” Pat McKinley casually blaming Albert Rincon sexual assault victims for not being  like the women who attended his stupid “She Bear” book signings.

 

Fitzgerald Supports Seeking OC Sheriff Department Preliminary Analysis For Outsourcing Police Services

The pageant was over…

Of course this was candidate Jennifer Fitzgerald, back in 2012 when she was running for the city council.

FFFF reported on that here.

Here’s the letter Fitzy wrote to then mayor, Sharon Quirk-Silva:

Naturally, once safely in office this support for looking into possible, maybe someday, perhaps switching to the Sheriff Department at huge cost savings to the taxpayers of Fullerton evaporated like the morning dew on a summer day. Since gaining office Fitzgerald, along with Jan Flory and Doug “Bud” Chaffee have been resolute in their goal that no reform of the Fullerton Police Department take place and that no acknowledgement of any Culture of Corruption could possibly exist.

Some cynics suggested this letter was only meant to call off pro-recall forces; other cynics suggested this was the price Fitzgerald had to pay for Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s endorsement. Probably it was both. Either way the commitment was thinner than the paper it was printed on. And Fitzgerald never mentioned it again.

2016 Fringies© – And The Winners Are…

Friends, the time has come to hand out this year’s Fringie© Awards. I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, but JFD, in this short period after the FFFF resurrection how can we have Fringies©?

The broomstick wasn’t short, but it sure was hard…Arf!

The answer, my ever slow human Friends, is that first, you had quite a bit of nutsy goings on since the second week of November including Joe Felz’ Wild Ride, Danny Hughes’ obstruction of justice, the election recap, and some fun with your downtown vodka, vomit an vehicular mayhem culture – a culture whose tentacles reach deep into City Hall and has repercussions as far away as Glenwood Avenue. Second, you deserve the annual abuse of the Fringies©, because after all, the culture of arrogant secrecy, of complaisance, of mismanagement can be laid at the doorstep of the electorate. And that’s you, lowly humans.

And so the Awards Committee sat in deliberation. And by deliberation I mean ingestion of substantial amounts of peyote, cough syrup and Mountain Dew – the elixir of Award Committees everywhere. They toiled away far into the evening hours to entertain and enlighten you. Here is what they belched up.

Poor Sappy

Rookie of the Year.  Although the Committee discussed the merit of awarding this Fringie© to a non-human, it was trenchantly observed that many non-humans have indeed won Fringies© in the past. And by non-human in 2016 I mean the late, lamented Sappy McTree, cut down at the beginning of a promising life by none other than our former City Manager, Joe Felz in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016. Both are now departed. Felz has been spotted around town trying to peddle whatever influence he thinks he has left, while poor Sappy has been run through the chipper at the City’s corporate yard and is now ground cover at Byerrum Park. RIP, Sappy.

The simpering smile became a trademark

Worst Politician of the Year. The very name of the category begs the question as to whether such a thing as a good politician exists. However we leave that questions for greater minds to ponder as we award the Fringie© to the most deluded, self-important, boob anybody has ever seen in these parts – Irvine’s own Sukhee Kang. True, Fullerton’s Larry Bennett offered up one of the lamest candidacies imaginable, but we didn’t have to imagine anything more: for here before our very eyes was the very real spectacle of Sukhee Kang, self-anointed carpetbagger with the dismal record in Irvine, who moved to Fullerton just to run for office, and who bought a McMansion on a golf course to show how much he had in common with his would-be constituents.  The Committee was again, unanimous.

Best Most Outrageous Cover Up. Even though there were only two nominees in the category, the Committee spent hours debating the merits of each. There was much disturbance, confusion and argumentation, and the Committee finally came to blows. In the end there was a split decision, the majority believing that even though the cover-up of Joe Felz’s Chaotic Wild Ride certainly constitutes an abuse of power and privilege, the NOCCCD cover up of Dino Skokos’ felonious and unprovoked assault on a  student not only represented the usual arrogance of bureaucratic stonewalling, it was actually performed in the full light of the existing video that had been viewed by thousands and thousand of people.

No comment

Best/Worst Image. One of our Committee members actually felt that Joe Felz has endured enough ridicule for his careening caper and subsequent departure. This individual was severely beaten about the head and shoulders and sent out into the night. Nevertheless the image of Gigglin’ Joe hoisting a glass of cheap chardonnay never had a chance. Instead, the image of my former mistress, Jan Flory rendered into a completely believable gorgon, positively captivated the Committee. And by captivated I mean like watching a train wreck. And so the Fringie© goes to Medusa Flory.

We didn’t do it!

And finally, The Ghost of Fullerton Past. All of the nominees were eminently qualified to take the brass ring. And by brass ring I mean recognition of past horrors inflicted upon the residents of Fullerton, and new contributions, too. In the end the Committee chose the inevitable: The Three Bald Tires, collectively recalled four years ago, who believe, somehow, that they are still wielders of influence. They are not. The worst aspect was them bringing along their spouses to share in one final electoral humiliation – pimping Lost Cause Larry Bennett’s political career.

And there you have it Friends the 2016 Fringies©. Now please excuse me while I tend to my nether parts.

2016 Fringies© – Worst Political Candidate

I pee on you…

The thing about human elections in a democracy is that you get the winners you deserve. You also get the candidates you deserve since once you winnow out the crackpots and the perennial also-rans you are left with a class of political grifters who see an opportunity based on past victories for their ilk.

Since our revivification came the day after the 2016 election, the nominating committee used our post-election coverage to determine the potential winners in this special category of loserdom. The committee therefore did not address some of Fullerton’s more colorful electoral flame-outs, with their confusing, crackpot, or just embarrassing displays.

Somewhere along the line slouching became a permanent posture…

Larry T. Bennett. Ol’ Larry had everything going for him if this had been 1984. Well it isn’t 1984, and all those endorsements from brain-dead repuglicans and brain-dead boohoos didn’t help. Not even a leg up by the FPOA and hard pimping by our lobbyist-mayor could get this inert sack of lethargy over the obstacle course wall.

looking for the exit…

Ling Ling Chang. This empty suit was the hand-chosen candidate of the old Redevelopment mob to be our State Senator. It was believed that her Asian-ness would counteract the Asian-ness of Sukhee Kang. Well, things didn’t work out quite the way the playahs anticipated. A lot of voters saw through her phoniness, including a history of lying about herself to get elected.

No there, there…

Young Kim. Ms. Kim managed to mismanage her way out of the job as our Assemblywoman despite what turned out to be a pretty decent Republican turnout. True, she was hammered by a relentless barrage of attack mail from the state Democrats, but her own effort was feeble, disjointed and smacked of desperation a mile off.

The simpering smile became a trademark

Sukhee Kang. Ah! The Irvine carpetbagger completely misjudged the electorate in the 29th State Senate District and he misjudged his own lack of appeal and ability, including the ability to run and hide from Larry Agran and his own disastrous record in the City of Irvine. Sukhee was so weak he couldn’t salvage his own campaign with a massive infusion of Sukhee Kash. He couldn’t get past the primary. The whole Sukhee Scampaign was a horrendous and embarrassing train wreck.

2016 Fringies© – Rookie of the Year

And now Friends, a brand new Fringie© category in 2016. This category recognizes the contributions made to our humble pages by a newcomer – somebody upon whom we have never yet had recourse to shine a spotlight. And so I give you the nominees for the Rookie of the Year Fringie©.

Nicole Bernard

Nicole Bernard. This exorbitantly remunerated assistant to now departed Wild Rider Joe Felz came to prominence – really as an aside – for a footling junket to Las Vegas where she displayed an inordinate love of Starbucks corporate fare. Later she was the subject of an inside City Hall poison pen letter we received that contained all sorts of allegations and innuendo. We weren’t necessarily buying it, but we sure were left wondering what this individual actually accomplishes to pull in her titanic salary.

Gregory Palmer, Esq.

Gregory Palmer, Esq. This fine gentleman, who is employed by our City Attorney, Jones & Meyer, emerged in November directing an honest citizen making a legitimate public records request to go fuck himself. Then we learned from his biography that he is especially proud of his work dealing with “adult businesses,” which strikes me as pretty kinky. But I’m just a dog and leave it to you humans to contemplate Mr. Palmer’s preoccupations.

Poor Sappy

Sappy McTree. Poor Sappy McTree led a short, undistinguished  life on a Glenwood Avenue parkway. While some plant life is born to be great, others have greatness thrust upon them. Consider the sextillion possibilities in the early morning of November 9th, 2016, and the odds of the unfortunate Sappy jumping out in front of our former City Manager’s careening vehicle diminish into vapor. And yet there he is, undone by a heartless universe that laughs at our feeble calculation of likelihoods.

Yet before Sappy was sent to the chipper, he graced our pages, even in his state of extreme distress.

looking for the exit…

Ling Ling Chang. This superficial creature, candidate for the State Senate and remarkable only for previous prevarications about her life story, was foisted upon us by a repuglican machine which cynically miscalculated that only an Asian candidate could beat another Asian candidate. They both lost to the same non-Asian, but not before wasting almost seven million bucks.

Hello, Newman

Josh Newman. Speaking of the non-Asian, Fullerton’s Josh Newman emerged out of nowhere as the anti-Establishment candidate for the State Senate seat. He had a bear suit, a blimp and a presence that drove Establishment Democants into an angry passion. He smashed their carpetbagging sad sack Sukhee Kang in the primary, and overcame a tsunami of idiotic shit flooded out by the repuglicans, and sent Ling Ling Chang to the showers.

All citizens are equal, but some citizens are more equal than others (Part 1)

I have a thought experiment for those of you who work in the private sector.
Let’s suppose you are accused of some misdeed by your employer. It could something minor like rudeness to a customer, or something potentially criminal such as embezzlement, assault or even potentially murder or manslaughter.

Hypothetically

Let’s further suppose your employer comes to you and asks you about certain accusations. What do you suppose would happen if you refused to answer any questions about that incident unless you had an attorney present? And if you did speak to speak to your employer what are the chances they would agree to not use your statement against you in a criminal action? Could you refuse a polygraph test under any circumstance? And could you insist your employer never disclose the results of their investigation upon pain of criminal prosecution?

The answer in the private sector is clear cut: while you have constitutional rights in criminal proceedings (including the right to have an attorney present and against self incrimination) if you refuse to cooperate with an employer you can be fired on the spot.

Not so for many of our public employees. Thanks to the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights (Government Code §3300-3311) many of the rights afforded to all of us in criminal prosecutions are also afforded to officers in administrative actions. For example, pursuant to Government Code §3303(f), statements made under duress, coercion “or threats of punitive action” are inadmissible in civil proceedings as well as criminal. Thanks to the decision in Lybarger v. City of Los Angeles (1985) 40 Cal.3d 822, an officer can be disciplined for refusing to answer questions in an administrative hearing, but only if they are first told that the statements cannot be used against him in any criminal matter. An officer also has a right to have council present during any administrative proceedings relating to their conduct. And if there is a violation of any of these or other rights, there is no requirement to exhaust administrative remedies first (like the rest of us have to); the officer can immediately sue in Superior Court.

The combination of the protections in POBAR and the Supreme Court decision in Copley Press, Inc. v. Superior Court (39 Cal.4th 1272) have combined to essentially make our public safety employees above the law. Copley guarantees that any complaints against officers that are handled through the police department will be investigated at the sole discretion of that department, since the public is typically not told how the department ruled or why. Or even whether they looked into the matter at all. Remember, Chief Dan Hughes once admitted that many complaints against officers were simply tossed into the wastepaper basket, since there was no ramification for the department for doing so.

“After careful deliberation, we have concluded that no evidence exists to warrant disciplinary action. At least, not anymore.”

This does not mean that there are no good officers in Fullerton, but it does mean that there are no meaningful external check on the conduct of officers that are a problem, so long as the conduct is not so shocking it winds up becoming a national story. And even then, the protections afforded by POBAR makes firing for even the most shocking crime difficult. See for example Kenton Hampton, who is still employed by the Fullerton Police Department (and pulling in $175,958.90 in total pay and benefits as of 2015, according to Transparent California) despite his involvement in the beating death of Kelly Thomas and the beating/ false imprisonment of Veth Mam (video here) and the fact that even Joseph Wolfe may actually be reinstated despite his role in Thomas’s death.

Since we cannot rely on transparency (state law prohibits it), and we cannot rely on officers within the department to come forward (don’t forget, Copley makes disclosure of internal personnel records a criminal offense, and as Paul Irish has recently learned, even mild, non-specific criticism of department policy can get you in more trouble with your employer than standing around doing nothing while your fellow officers beat a man to death), I concluded several years ago that an effective independent Civilian Oversight Commission was the best method of placing some check on our public employees. Rather than simply advocate for the civilian oversight, those of us who were advocating it decided to prepare their own proposed ordinance, which Matt Leslie has been hosting on his Fullerton Rag blog ever since (it can be found here, although the transfer does appear to have altered the subsections in a way that makes it a bit confusing).

The specifics of and the benefits of the proposed ordinance, and the means in which this City Council could implement it, will be discussed in Part 2.

2016 Fringies© – The Scariest Ghost of Fullerton Past

Woof

And now I present to you humans the nominations in the supremely important category of The Ghost of Fullerton Past. Why is this important? As an expert on the subject of ghosts myself, I can tell you that Fullerton never seems to be rid of hauntings by former inhabitant of the worst ilk. My former mistress was nominated in 2009 and finally took the home the prize in 2012, before she managed to re-materialize in something approximating corporal human form. Usually the nominees are culled from the large stock of horrific departed repuglicans such as Linda LeQuire who revisit you near every election time to promote this or that non-entity propped up on the campaign dais by Ed Royce.

This year was no different: the nexus was largely the misbegotten campaign of Larry T. Bennett, and how the grisly Ghosts of Fullerton Past manifested themselves to support the insupportable. The first five entries distinguished themselves by clambering up onto the rickety Bennettmobile.

Dick FitzBennett

Dick Ackerman. Scam artist and influence peddler who tried to sell the OC fairgrounds to a bunch of pals by illegally lobbying the Legislature. Yes he got a pass from our useless DA, just in time to run his laughable wife as a carpetbagger for the Assembly in 2009, and later lead the  anti-recall campaign in 2012. “Scary” doesn’t begin to describe this lowlife.

Gone, but almost forgotten…

Linda LeQuire. This hideous apparition rises every election cycle even tough almost nobody knows who it is anymore – which makes the haunting sort of tragic. Even worse, she brought along the comical side-ghost of her Earthly husband, Roy, this year. The noxious vapor, LeQuire, has the dubious distinction of winning this coveted Fringie© in 2009, but that in no way diminishes the contemporary horror.

Rebels Fire on Fort Sumpter

Buck Catlin. Buck Catlin is also a former nominee in this category. His claim to fame was getting recalled in 1994 by voting to impose a completely unnecessary utility tax upon the populous.

The Three Bald Tires. Yes, you know them also as the Three Tree Stumps, the Three Dead Batteries, etc. Mssrs. Jones, Bankhead and McKinley were recalled in 2012 for their deplorable behavior in the aftermath of the Kelly Thomas killing, and their die-hard love of the illegal water tax. They re-emerged on the political scene this fall, thinking their estimable reputation would help Bennett. More than likely it hurt, and hurt badly; but no sympathy for Ol’ Schlep Larry – he obviously solicited their endorsements. Pathetically, each of these burned out bulbs brought along his spouse to the party to join in yet another electoral humiliation.

Matthew J. Cunningham. Third tier squealer for the County’s repuglican grifters, this creature is more greasy than scary, and has left a shiny green slime-trail across our pages over the years. Since we saw him last he has been toiling away for Curt Pringles’ influence peddling machine in Anaheim; working against a homeless shelter; and in 2013 he even set up a votive candle to the Virgin Mary next to a mangled teddy bear – on the anniversary of a Latino’s death – shot by Anaheim cops. In November he emerged from his hole on cue to blame Bruce Whitaker for Bennett’s embarrassment.

And finally, a non Bennett-related entry.

A perfect record…

Lou Ponsi. This specter popped up as a writer for the utterly lame and publicly funded Behind the Badge, touting the good works of our cops, specifically in bribing kids with a Thanksgiving dinner to be good little barrio tykes. Nobody involved seemed to pick up on the rather demeaning condescension involved in this display, but FFFF did. Ponsi spent many years regurgitating the lamest and most insipid sort of pabulum for the local Register rag, swallowing everything he was dished out like a hungry little bird, and never asking a single probing question about the behavior of the Fullerton Police Department and its employees. Not one. Ever. None. Nada.

There they are, human Friends. A scarier rogues gallery shall ye never find. Them’s your potential winners. And by winners I mean we all lose.