Councilman Greg Sebourn lives no where near Councilman Jesus Silva. And yet thanks to the gerrymandered district map cooked up by the downtown bar owners to dilute a single voting block downtown the two find themselves both in District 3. And that’s because the map was approved by the City Council – including Greg Sebourn.
So what’s the problem? Sebourn is up for reelection in 2018 and Silva just got elected. If District 3 were chosen as a district open for elections next year then Sebourn could run against Silva as an incumbent. But if District 3 were not up in 2018 then Sebourn would have to move to a district that was in order to keep his job.
Drum roll: in a 3-2 vote last night the council decided that District 2 (where Doug “Bud” Chaffee resides) and District 5 (where no council persons currently live) would be up for election in 2018. Chaffee and Silva were joined by Bruce Whitaker in this strategy. So Sebourn has no place to sit when the music stops in 2018.
Since this vote will be seen as deliberately undermining a fellow Republican and erstwhile ally, Whitaker’s got some explaining to do. Was this a quid pro quo for Jesus Silva’s unusual support of Whitaker to retake his place on the OC Water District Board? That’s what some cynical folks around town are saying, and the suspicion fits the facts.
Personally, I’ll be glad to get rid of Sebourn, who, frankly just isn’t very smart and isn’t very principled. And that’s a bad combination. Since his election in the 2012 Recall he has been an almost complete disappointment, trying to please everybody and in the end making no one happy.
FFFF has been busy detailing the ridiculous waste of public money that is poured into a PR outlet pretending journalism called Behind the Badge. This on-line enterprise provides happy, pro-cop stories that are meant to put the police in a good light by sharing feel good stories of philanthropy, charity, empathy, blah, blah blah. The editor, Bill Rams, says his business is necessary because the innocent and naive cops are just so doggone rotten at tooting their own horns. So we pay to have our own force shoved back at us as veritable paragons of virtue. Is there a single person in Fullerton taken in by this claptrap?
Anyway, a few weeks ago I posted a letter that had been sent to our mayor, Bruce Whitaker, about the Back the Badge contract, an irresponsible, staff-driven, no-bid, fixed-fee arrangement that has no intelligible scope of work, no way to measure effectiveness, and the management of which had been badly bungled by former City Manager Wild Ride Joe Felz.
Well, two City Council meetings have passed and nothing has been agendized by our mayor to discuss this $4000 per month mess, a waste made particularly acute by last week’s doom-and-gloom budget forecast. Does Mr. Whitaker condone this insulting $50,000 a yearboondoggle while Fullerton’s ship keeps taking on oceans of red ink? How does he condone not even talking about it? I don’t know, but maybe somebody will go to the next meeting and ask him.
Back on the first day of summer in 2011 Fullerton cop Manny Ramos allegedly roughed up a handicapped dude in an Albertsons parking lot and threw him into the Fullerton clink. Mark Edwin Walker was charged with all sorts of nastiness like resisting arrest and public intoxication.
FFFF wrote about this back in 2012. We noted that the phony charges dreamed up by the supremely fat and lazy Ramos were thrown out by a judge. Ramos was lucky. He didn’t even have to commit perjury (like several of his colleagues have done) to back up his story.
And now, our perusal of recent City settlements shows that Walker got paid $20,000 in nuisance money – given the happy fact that twisted cops in OC can pretty much do any goddamn thing they want with impunity.
Of course 20 grand is chump change and the Fullerton taxpayers are a lot luckier than they deserve to be, if you think about it. Unfortunately, the real cost to Fullerton happened a few weeks later when Ramos harassed, intimidated and instigated the activity that led to the death of Kelly Thomas. That one was caught on video and cost $5,900,000(if you don’t count hundreds of thousand in legal fees). And who was in charge of the walrus with the bad attitude, and who later insisted that those of us who observed a Culture of Corruption in the FPD were misinformed? Why none other than former PoChief Danny “Gallahad” Hughes.
The other day our old Friend, The Desert Rat, wrote a post about a Bruce Whitaker vs. Jennifer Fitzgerald county supervisor contest in 2018. Our commenter Fullerton Rag pointed out the presence of Young Kim, recently failed State Assembly incumbent. Sure enough, looks like this Ed Royce (R- Chickenhawk Coop) acolyte is running. And she is wasting no time – the primary election is still 16 months away.
This means that our lobbyist-councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, another of Ed Royce’s political progeny is most likely out, voluntarily or otherwise. We’ll have to wait on that.
Meantime we have the spectacle of another unqualified Republican pursuing the “Asian female” formula at the County level. Kim knows as little about county government as she did about running the State of California, although in politics ignorance about governance is no longer held as any sort of impediment.
Watch as Mayor Bruce Whitaker restores the public’s full speaking time. Following in Jan Flory’s footsteps, Jennifer Fitzgerald puts her disdain for the public on full display. Councilman Silva shows a healthy attitude about hearing from the public and staying up late from time to time: “It’s what we do.”
When lobbyist Fitzgerald began her mayoral term last year, she cut public speaking time to 3 minutes. Of course she gave out-of-town developers all the time in the world.
Out here on Screech Owl Road we stay informed, distantly, of the doings in humble Fullerton, a place of constant interest and amusement value. When the dust storms and tortoise races grow tedious we often turn our attention to your town.
And one genre that never bores, are the stories of political ambition and the small-time politicians with big dreams – for themselves, mostly.
Is it really too early for you Fullertonions to start thinking about who represents you as County Supervisor in 2018? The campaign process normally starts at the end summer before the election and that is about six months away. On the other hand two Fullerton characters may play a part in that campaign so why not indulge in some early speculation?
The current incumbent is former Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson, who is ending a second completely lackluster term, in which County watchers could hardly distinguish a difference from his sleepy predecessor, Chris Norby, except that the casual corruption at the County and the downright wackiness have gotten even worse. He’s termed-out in 2018.
The talk is that both Bruce Whitaker and Jennifer Fitzgerald both have their eye on the job even though they’ve just been re-elected to their current positions in Fullerton. Oh well, political ambition trumps loyalty to the electorate every time, right?
A candidacy that splits the Fullerton electorate could leave the door open for a an Anaheim candidate with a decent reputation to join the fray. Who that might be remains to be seen.
Speaking of reputations, as to their records, Whitaker and Fitzgerald are quite similar, except that Whitaker has promoted accountability from the Fullerton Police Department, and stood on the right side of the Kelly Thomas murder, where of course Fitzgerald and her ilk were no-shows. The cop union supported Fitzgerald, and she has done her best to cover-up and protect the Culture of Corruption – while actually having the nerve to credit former Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes for “reforming” something or other. Whitaker has also been on the right side of the ongoing red-ink budgets that Fitzgerald brazenly lied about to the voters. And he tried to establish an audit committee to keep the bureaucrats on the up and up.
Unfortunately for Whitaker, there are many points of convergence, voting and performance-wise, with Fitzgerald. There is the massive and rampant overdevelopment of Fullerton; the creation of the phony language of the Coyote Hills plebescite and then the fighting of the successful referendum; there is the the absolutely horrible dereliction of duty by supporting voting districts Map8A, cooked up by the bar owners in the riot zone known as downtown Fullerton to dilute the voters in that vomit and urine-soaked district. They both voted to waste $100,000 on a completely unnecessary “interim” City Manager. They both sat by doing nothing as hundreds of millions of gallonsof prime MWD water leaked out of Laguna Lake.
The 4th District election will really gear up in the summer, but there’s no doubt that Fitzgerald, if she is running, is already lining up her bankrollers: Anaheim’s deep pockets with ties to her “employer” the slimy, pink lobbyist Curt Pringle. Whitaker can’t compete with that money machine. But as Anaheim’s recent elections proved, money isn’t everything. Still, if Whitaker is going to run, he had better start showing voters why there’s a real reason to support him.
The other night the council approved the rezoning of the massive Red Oak development site on Commonwealth. The move was made while waxing vigorously about forcing the developer to reduce the project density and increase site parking. The team concluded that holding back the site plan approval until March 7th will give them time to negotiate some sort of fix.
But in the needless granting of partial approval, the council gave away nearly all of the city’s leverage. You see, the approval of the zoning change brought forth the Specific Plan, along with its density and parking specifics. If the council tries to require additional parking, any decent attorney will point to the already approved Specific Plan and shove it back up the council’s rear end.
The council simply surrendered its ability to get what they wanted. Naturally, city staff and the city attorney sat quietly and helped them proceed. Of course. They are eager to collect those development fees.
At one point, Councilman Bruce Whitaker voiced his commitment to only voting for/against projects in their entirety, perhaps to avoid this exact consequence. But he forgot to be persuasive, and the rest of the council evaded that moment of enlightenment and proceeded to ride off the cliff at full bore.
Now someone less cynical than I might assume that the council fell into this trap out of sheer incompetence. But one must also consider that the screw up conveniently paves the way for the council to be “forced” to complete the Red Oak approvals. They will buckle under legal duress while pretending to be sympathetic to the public’s concerns.
Of course, all of this could be wrong, and the tough-talking council could actually deliver on their promise to significantly reduce the project before it gets built. But when has that ever happened?
On the City’s website, right above a news release about an upcoming osteoporosis seminar at the Community Center, we discover that the City Council has unanimously chosen a replacement for Joe Felz. Felz, you will recall, drove off of Glenwood Avenue, ran over a tree, blew a tire and tried to drive away in his crippled vehicle.
Allan Roeder, former City Manger of Costa Mesa, is the replacement, on an interim basis. He is part of a small pool of extremely expensive place holders brought in like bullpen pitchers, when the starter gets into trouble in the late innings. These already pensioned-off fellows go on to rake in enormous second incomes while already collecting their massive CalPers checks every month.
The new guy was hired yesterday in a Special, Behind-Closed-Doors meeting of the City Council.
Why the City needs to pay somebody a hundred grand for a five or six month stint is a question you should ask one of your “unanimous” council who seem to be oblivious to the fact that the City is running massive deficits every year, already. Oh well, it’s not their money, right?
Here is our new Mayor, Bruce Whitaker extolling the virtues of Mr. Roeder:
“We are happy to have someone as established and seasoned as Mr. Roeder to serve our city,” said Fullerton Mayor, Bruce Whitaker. “Allan’s experience will be welcomed at City Hall and he will be a valuable asset to the entire city until we appoint a permanent city manager.”
Now did Mr. Whitaker actually say that? Let’s hope it was a canned quotation put in his mouth by some overpaid “public information officer.” Having Felz around for the past six or seven years is proof positive that from a strictly practical perspective we don’t even need a city manager, and would probably have been a lot better off without the last one we had.
Well, now we have one that can absorb the blame for whatever unfortunate happenstances come our way in the first half of 2017, and be off down the road to the nearest bank.
Another public sidewalk expropriated by a developer.
This is the site of the giant mess coming in the 700 Block of South Harbor Boulevard – a behemoth brought to us courtesy of our present City Council, who approved this monster unanimously.
I don’t get it. There’s nothing difficult about a contractor keeping a sidewalk open. It just takes a City that cares about the people who live here and use the public sidewalks, instead of bending over backwards the the developer of another massive, San Quentin-like apartment block. The only thing missing will be the gas chamber.
One of our well-placed sources in the City administration has informed us that on-leave City Manager, Joe Felz will be quitting permanently soon, even as conversations now spin around who will replace Felz. Is this true? It has the ring of truth to it.
Speaking of spinning, Felz spun off the Glenwood Avenue in the early morning hours of November 9th, ran over a tree and tried to drive away. The cops on hand smelled alcohol but for reasons that have not yet been revealed, administered no breathalyzer test and instead drove Felz home.
The City Attorney has been trying to protect Felz with illegal bogus claims of “personnel matters,” so that excuse would soon be gone if Felz flees the scene. Then there’s the matter of the rather bizarre “ongoing criminal investigation,” that some folks reasonably think is nothing but another dodge to avoid releasing incriminating video and audio records that were made when the cops arrived at the crash scene. No one has even bothered to explain to the public what possible crimes were committed, or who may have committed them. And of course our City Council members have not expressed any curiosity about that, either. Sooner or later our mush-mouth City Attorney is going to have to admit a big problem with his “criminal investigation” yarn, to wit: nobody was arrested that night. No evidence of drunk driving was collected. We don’t even know if a citation was issued.
When Felz goes, he will save the the taxpayers the cost of that so-called “independent person investigation” that the City Attorney thoughtfully cooked up to stall and obfuscate the matter. If so, it will be the one and only time Felz ever saved the taxpayers anything, and that going out the door.
Of course the open question is this: what sort of windfall will be offered by our ever-helpful council to grease the skids of Felz’s departure? If he quits he won’t get his guaranteed payola, but the circumstances of his Wild Ride may make that a moot point.
Whatever happens, rest assured, we will told as little as possible, as late as possible.