Friends for Fullerton's Future supports causes that promote intelligent, responsible and accountable government in Fullerton and Orange County
Big Brother is a reference to a fictional character in George Orwell’s novel “1984”. The phrase describes any overly-inquisitive or overly-controlling authority figure or attempts by government to increase surveillance.
When life is on the line every second matters. PulsePoint is designed to allow people with C.P.R. training to respond to emergencies. It’s brilliant.
According to their own website:
Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and empower them to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Know C.P.R.? Check a box and it’ll show you calls needing C.P.R. and notify you if you’re near.
Got it? The entire point is to allow people to respond to medical emergencies in a timely manner. The App is literally about saving lives. And I mean literally in the actual sense here.
Why am I writing this?
Because here’s a screenshot of Fullerton Fire Department activity from tonight:
And here’s a screenshot from the Orange County Fire Authority:
Did you catch what’s missing from the F.F.D. data?
Medical Calls. Literally the whole point of the App.
We share data with an App designed to help with medical calls and yet we, as a city, omit medical calls.
This is bureaucratic bureaucracy at it’s best. We’ll participate so long as we don’t have to actually, you know, participate. It’s not like this is about trying to save lives or anything.
Friends, for the past couple weeks I’ve been out in the lonely salt flats and rocky wastes of the great Mojave searching for new zinc veins; so now I belatedly bring you the final installment of Professor J.H Habermeyer’s entertaining essay on the means and methods local government deploys to do what it wants, to get what it desires, and to abuse those who oppose it. Here is the Seventh and final wall.
The Seventh Wall
We have reviewed the myriad ways that local governments obfuscate what they do and then defend their actions against the very citizenry that has placed its faith in the charming swindle known as participatory democracy. The process is one of systematically winnowing out ever smaller numbers of remaining opposition through all sorts of clever tactics that include preying upon citizen apathy, bamboozling the public with unfathomable pseudo-technical jargon, delaying, temporizing, and even legal hair splitting that would make any Philadelphia lawyer proud.
Finally we come to the seventh and final wall that the bureaucracies of local government have erected about themselves and that provides the ultimate protection of the citadel, the sanctum sanctorum, the Holy of Holies. This final palisade is constituted of the legal and practical insulation in which the government functionaries have enveloped themselves.
It is well-known that government employees are cocooned in the protections afforded the “civil service.” This insulation provides great protection and engenders great arrogance. While politicians are theoretically answerable to the public, public employees, practically, answer to nobody. Practice and law provides effective shields to these denizens of the citadel.
The police structure can be counted upon to cover up, obscure, and ultimately exonerate instances of corruption and physical brutalization of perpetrators and innocent, alike. How? Because sham investigations are performed by other police like “Internal Affairs” and the local District Attorney – fellow members of the law enforcement fraternity who use each other symbiotically.
Likewise the urban renewal bureaucrats and land planners who devise titanic fiascoes affecting the lives and livelihoods of hundreds if not thousands of people are protected from public wrath and disapprobation. Their mantra is to look forward not backward; that hindsight is eagle-eyed; that lessons learned will provide a guide for the future; and most comically, that their projects would have worked but for lack of adequate funding. The vehicle known as local government has no rear view mirror, and no matter how rickety the contraption is, its operators will never cast a backwards glance. Thus the great open air civic center mausoleums and dysfunctional ghetto-creating human warehouse projects that should have worked in theory but that failed in practice dot the urban landscape while the perpetrators thereof suffer no rebuke for their manifest failures. In fact they are apt to give each other self-congratulatory awards and accolades!
Layer upon layer of onerous regulations will be promulgated by compliant politicians and then used, and abused, by the bureaucracy with an autocratic arrogance against which the citizenry has little effective recourse; for the guardians of the citadel cannot be held accountable.
In the last analysis, the agents of local authority take their decisions with impunity. They have invested nothing in the expensive mistakes that will cost the taxpayers plenty. There being no practical difference for the bureaucracy between success and failure, we may be sure that strategies based on arbitrary whims, and not sound financial or economic judgment will be propounded. The consequent failures and municipal catastrophes will result in no opprobrium, let alone fiscal detriment, falling upon the decision makers.
Inside the seventh wall the air is rarefied, indeed. Those securely ensconced within its sacred precincts look down upon those outside the citadel with the resigned noblesse and disdain of the mandarin. They are from the government and they are here to help.
It appears that the good folks down at the County of Orange, allied with the local professional do-gooders are intent on placing a regional homeless shelter at 301 S. State College, in Fullerton.
The only problem is that nobody decided to let the neighbors know; or, even our own City Council, it seems.
The County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to proceed with the purchase of the old Linder’s Furniture store for $3,150,000. Yes, you read that right. Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker showed up to the meeting asking for more time so that his City Council could at least be afforded the opportunity to at least get briefed on the matter (gee that would have been nice). Some neighbors showed up, too, but to no avail. They may as well have stayed home.
The project, apparently the brainchild of our own Supervisor Shawn Nelson, is located across the street from a single family neighborhood and an elementary school, too. It’s hard to tell what is motivating Nelson, but judging by comments to the Voice of OC and the Register he seems intent on proving to the housing bureaucrats and Fullerton’s liberals what effective leadership looks like. Unfortunately he forgot that leaders need to build consensus around their ideas, not dictate them from on high.
Anyway, the pictures of the building on the County’s website show a decrepit 45 year-old building that I think is going to have to be completely rebuilt before humans can spend the night in it. Nobody has even begun to calculate those costs, although the County has 150 days to do “due diligence” whatever that may mean. You may count on many times the purchase price before they are done; running the operation will be a non-profit paid for by you and me.
The other four Supervisors are probably snickering at Nelson behind his back. They’ll get credit for their humanitarian propensities. East Fullerton gets the booby prize.
The fine state of Washington recently made the bold move to end the senseless prohibition on marijuana. Not only will citizens who want to enjoy a puff o’ pot in private be spared being processed through the legal system, it also sets the stage for the state to collect up to 500 million dollars annually in taxes.
So if you’re in Washington, it’s now legal for adults 21 or older to consume marijuana in private, and to possess up to an ounce for personal use. And, like alcohol, open consumption in public can result in a citation.
On the Seattle police department’s blog, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee explains how the department views these recent developments:
But the police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.
Hmm, what are the chances for our own men in blue to sport such a sensible attitude? Could it ever happen here in Fullerton?
Here is a sly observer expressing his view that a Fullerton cop appears to be more like a soldier than a civilian policeman.
Naturally he is rewarded with a combination of arrogance, error, and attitude by “officer” Contino.
While it is true that Prime Minister Robert Peel established the first permanent and professional police forces in Britain, the use of that factoid to explain and defend a paramilitary organization behaving like an occupying army would be faintly ridiculous if the consequences weren’t so, um, deadly.
And speaking of Mr. Peel, while living in Tamworth, the versatile gentleman was credited with the development of the Tamworth Pig by breeding Irish stock with some local Tamworth pigs.
For paranoia, sheer cynicism and demonstration of unbridled self-interest there’s nothing that can beat this “playbook” created by the law firm of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill for use by their clients: cop unions.
See how many of these tactics strike you as familiar in Fullerton. Paranoia, cynicism and self-interest. Check, check, check.
Lackie, Dammeier & McGill
Former Cops Defending Current Ones
Negotiations After Impasse – Association Options
In gearing up for negotiations, hopefully your association has developed some political ties with members of your governing body. Now is the time those political endorsements, favors, and friendships come into play. When negotiations reach an impasse, the association will have options which may be utilized simultaneously, or one before the other.
As most association leaders already know, associations should be selective in their battles. However, this does not mean that the association should roll over for everything either. Association respect (by the employer) is gained over years of actions or inactions. Associations who rarely, if ever, take things to the mat or challenge the employer gain little respect at the bargaining table or elsewhere. The flip side is also true. Those associations that battle over every minor issue may be seen as an association that simply cannot be pleased, so why bother. While it is a fine line, somewhere in the middle is where you want to be. The association should be like a quiet giant in the position of, “do as I ask and don’t piss me off.” Depending on the circumstances surrounding the negotiations impasse, there are various tools available to an association to put political pressure on the decision makers. A few things to keep in mind when utilizing these tools are the following:
Always keep this in mind. The public could care less about your pay, medical coverage and pension plan. All they want to know is “what is in it for them.” Any public positions or statements by the association should always keep that focus. The message should always be public safety first. You do not want wage increases for yourselves, but simply to attract better qualified candidates and to keep more experienced officers from leaving.
Also keep in mind that once the fight is over, you and your members will still be working there. Avoid activities where one or just a few members are involved who can be singled out for retaliation. Always keep in mind your department policies and the law. You should be in very close contact with your association’s attorney during these times to ensure you are not going to get yourself or any of your members in trouble. For associations in the Legal Defense Fund, please keep in mind that concerted labor activity should always be discussed with the LDF Trustees prior to the activity to ensure coverage.
Let the Debate Begin
Again, the ideas listed below are not in any particular order. Just as in your use-of-force guidelines, you can start with simple verbal commands or jump to a higher level, based on the circumstances.
Keep in mind that most of these tools are not to deliver your message to the public but are designed to simply get the decision makers into giving in to your position.
Storm City Council – While an association is at impasse, no city council or governing board meeting should take place where members of your association and the public aren’t present publicly chastising them for their lack of concern for public safety.
Picketing – Plan a few well organized picketing events. Keep these events spread out to avoid burning out your membership.
Public Appearances – During impasse, the association should make known at every significant public event, such as parades, Christmas tree lightings, the Mayor’s Gala and any other event of interest to the decision makers, that the association is upset about the lack of concern for public safety.
Newspaper Ads – Again, keep the message focused on “public safety.”
Billboards – Nothing seems to get more attention than a billboard entering the city limits which reads that crime is up and the City could care less about your safety.
Job Fair – Getting your members to apply at a large local agency, which causes an influx of personnel file checks by background investigators always sends a strong signal. Keep this for last, as some of your members may ultimately leave anyway.
Work Slowdown – This involves informing your members to comply closely with Department policy and obey all speed limits. It also involves having members do thorough investigations, such as canvassing the entire neighborhood when taking a 459 report and asking for a back-up unit on most calls. Of course, exercising officer discretion in not issuing citations and making arrests is also encouraged.
Blue Flu – This one is very rarely used and only in dire circumstances. As with all of these, please consult your association’s attorney before even discussing this issue with your members.
Public Ridicule – Blunders by the City Manager, Mayor, or City Council members or wasteful spending should be highlighted and pointed out to the public at every opportunity.
Referendum / Ballot Initiatives – Getting the public to vote for a wage increase is seldom going to fly, however, as a pressure tactic, seeking petition to file a referendum on eliminating the City Manager’s position for a full time elected mayor may cause the City Manager to rethink his or her position.
Mailers – Again, the message should be for “public safety” in getting the public to attend city council meetings and to call the City Council members (preferably at home) to chastize them for their inaction.
Campaigning – If any members of the governing body are up for election, the association should begin actively campaigning against them, again for their lack of concern over public safety. If you are in a non-election year, make political flyers which you can explain will be mailed out the following year during the election season.
Focus on an Individual – Avoid spreading your energy. Focus on a city manager, councilperson, mayor or police chief and keep the pressure up until that person assures you his loyalty and then move on to the next victim.
Press Conferences – Every high profile crime that takes place should result in the association’s uproar at the governing body for not having enough officers on the street, which could have avoided the incident.
Of course, other ideas that cops come up with are very imaginative. Just keep in mind, the idea is to show the decision makers that the public favors public safety and it will only harm their public support by not prioritizing you and almost equally as important, to let them know that next time they should agree with you much sooner.
1. The State of California is broke. Why? Mostly because spendthrift incompetent politicians like Jan Flory keep spending more and more.
2. DUI checkpoints and their random stop of law-abiding citizens violates the spirit, if not the letter of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.
3. DUI Checkpoints provide lots of overtime for cops, most of whom just stand around doing nothing but socializing.
4. The removal of drunks from the road per man-hours in DUI stops is less than if the cops just pulled over real drunks driving drunk. In Downtown Fullerton that would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
Now let’s observe the vinegary observations of a local Fullerton spendthrift:
Jan Flory thinks somebody needs to consult with the cops to find out if they support overtime for the troops, paid for by somebody else? Hoo Boy, what a great idea. Here’s my idea: arrest people for driving drunk instead of arbitrarily harassing sober motorists.
51 bars? Yeah, right. You and your pals, the Three Bald Tires, turned downtown Fullerton into an open air liquor parlor, so thanks for that.
Oh, yeah. And another thing. Thanks, Jan for recognizing that the “in-lieu fee” was really a tax! Now just repeat: illegal tax, and you’ll have it 100% right. You should; you voted for the illegal tax each year for six years!
Here’s a re-post of a story that Travis did in March 2010 on now AWOL Chief Sellers. It seems that Sellers was pretty good at slingin’ the ol’community policing lingo and didn’t seem like the sort of guy that would cultivate a corrupt, out of control goon squad.
What neither Travis nor any of us knew was that Sellers was doing very little to impress this philosophy onto the crew of thugs, misfits, whackjobs, and pickpockets he inherited from Pat McPension. Unfortunately for us, Chief McPension had cultivated quite a nasty little garden over his 17 year command.
But let’s not shed any misplaced tears for Sellers. Even tho’ McPension left him a considerable criminal element, he appears to have done nothing to weed out the noxious blooms in the FPD flower bed during his abortive, two-year stint as Chief.
– Joe Sipowicz
Last week Sharon Quirk-Silva invited me to join her public chat with Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers at the Fullerton Museum Center. Chief Sellers answered a variety of questions from Fullerton’s usual cluster of civic participants. Some were there to ask legitimate questions, while others used the open Q&A format to primarily talk about themselves under the guise of asking a question (the excessive use of the perpendicular pronoun reveals the intentions of the self-important).
The most vacuous question of the night came from school board candidate Aaruni Thakur, who was interested in the number of Baker to Vegas trophies displayed in the lobby of the police department. While some of us at FFFF would never question the opportunity to make a mockery of the ‘ol dog and pony show, it struck me as a missed opportunity for the untested school board candidate who should have been impressing us with his civic insight.
So on to Chief Sellers. He gave most of the answers that one would expect, citing crime statistics elaborating on existing department policies. Nothing surprising or terribly revealing.
But here’s what struck me: I listened to the Chief of Police for an hour and a half, and not once did I catch a hint of the authoritarianism that tends to seep out of career law enforcement bureaucrats. He never implied that he “knew what’s best for the people”. His responses to controversial questions on marijuana dispensaries and homeless disturbances were telling – Sellers said he can only enforce the laws that the People enact, regardless of his personal feelings on the issues.
Sellers came across as genuinely amiable to policing methods that seek to reduce crime through community interaction, rather than relying purely on brute-force suppression and mindless “law and order” approaches that alienate law enforcement agencies from the people whom they are supposed to serve. Officers are encouraged to build relationships and find long-term solutions to crime problems, rather than just cycle junkies and gang bangers through our failing prison system.
I left feeling surprisingly satisfied with the police chief appointment that our city council made last year. Hopefully Sellers turns out to be “tough on crime” without being tough on the rest of us.
Wow! Remember this story we posted way back on June 14th? It’s about a guy who claimed to have gotten physically assaulted by the FPD, who he says robbed him, and threw him in jail. Back in June this guy’s story was assaulted also, likely by the same goons who beat him up. Officer Cary Tong was identified as the culprit in the case, and, perhaps we should start including his name on the FPD Hall of Shame roster.
In light of all the horror stories that have emerged from the FPD dungeons since we posted this story, it seems more credible than ever. I wonder if all the trolls who tried the hair-splitting approach to discredit him are having second thoughts.
And I wonder if this guy has had the good sense to contact Garo Mardirossian.
– Joe Sipowicz
When we posted a college student’s allegations of police brutality last week, several commenters responded by calling the victim a liar and saying that the claim could not possibly be true.
Well, here is the truth according to FPD’s own Internal Affairs department: the complaint containing allegations of brutality and theft was “sustained” against FPD Officer Cary Tong.
The letter from Chief Michael Sellers calls officer Tong’s actions “inappropriate and not within policy,” and states unequivocally that “a finding of sustained means that the evidence indicates that the complaint was well founded.“
Officer Cary Tong was listed as both the arresting and booking officer that night, putting him at the center of the entire event described by the victim in the complaint. That complaint included a long list of violent actions against the young man while he was handcuffed, including the deliberate breaking of his finger, theft of his personal cash and several beatings both at the arrest scene and during his booking at the jail.
The opaque and severely limited disclosures made in this non-public letter are a direct testament the police union’s lobbying power, which has fostered laws and an internal culture that encourages police departments to protect bad officers and keep their abuses secret from the public. In this case, we still don’t know if the officer was punished with a light slap on the wrist or even disciplined at all.
In all likelihood, Officer Tong is still patrolling the streets of Fullerton. Shoot, he might even pull you over tonight.
Just for those of you who mistakenly believe FFFF has only recently become interested in the doings and misdoings of our police force, here’s a post originally published October 7, 2009 – exactly two years ago, detailing the way in which the esteemed Pat McKinley molly-coddled the worst of his boys, who just happened to be President of the Fullerton Police Officer’s Association, the union that supports the councilmen cover-up artists Jones, Bankhead, and (surprise, surprise) Pat McKinley.The incidents described here took place six years ago, leading a reasonable person to infer that the culture of corruption cultivated by McKinley has deep roots, indeed.
Enjoy a blast from the past courtesy of the FFFF archives!
– Joe Sipowicz
Officer misconduct cases are usually handled behind closed doors, hidden away from the public who are ultimately the victims when cops go bad. Recently a document slipped out from underneath the curtain and gave us some insight into Chief McKinley’s department, which had a habit responding to officer misconduct by looking the other way and pressuring victims to stay silent — demonstrating brazen contempt for the rule of law.
Officers John Cross and Gregg Nowling were caught on tape in the 2005 beating of a young man who was pulled over for playing his music too loud. Fearing outrage, the department refused to release the recording to the public. Nowling resigned, but John Cross was the president of the Fullerton Police Officers Association (the union), so he decided to take his chances and ride out the punishment that was sure to be nothing more than a token admonishment from his friendly boss, Chief Patrick McKinley.
John Cross should have been fired and sued, but a deal was allegedly struck with the victim in which charges would be dropped if the young man kept quiet. This allowed the department head to give Cross a mere slap on the wrist – a two step demotion in pay for the next two years.
When nobody was paying attention, Chief McKinley eliminated John Cross’ punishment one year early:
The record shows that almost immediately, John Cross began another series of disturbing actions that ultimately forced the department to fire him. The Council found one example most frightening – Officer Cross had covered up an incident involving a drunk off-duty sheriff who was brandishing his weapon in public. He also failed to follow up on a potential suicide when it was only a few doors down from his location. At least six of these events involved Cross’ turning off his audio recorder in violation of department policy.
There are plenty of other allegations of McKinley’s department looking the other way when incidents were perpetrated by those the department favored, and this is only one of the most severe. As one of our commenters said, McKinley’s game was played at the the expense of our community’s safety, peace, and tax dollars.