Amerige Court Becomes Amerige Commons

Hello Fullerton Friends. I’ve been gone for a few weeks owing to the Flu, Family, Festivus and other merriment this time of year. I hope you’re all enjoying your holidays whichever ones you choose to enjoy. Feeling better I wanted to start to dive into some of the public records requests I’ve received from the city but my wife wants me to write about Amerige Court. As my Grandfather once told me that the two most important words in a marriage are “Yes, Dear” I suppose I’m going to have to write about Amerige Court.

For those who don’t keep track of Fullerton boondoggles year in and year out Amerige Court was originally planned to be a 9-Story Mixed Use monstrosity which would sit on the property that is currently some of the most heavily utilized parking for Downtown Fullerton straddling Amerige Avenue between Harbor Blvd and Malden Avenue.

The plus side, at the time of inception anyways, was that it would provide Downtown with 150% of the parking that was (and is) currently available with the downside being every other aspect of this plan. When people got wind of it the city pushed the plan into a “Study Session” where it was cut down from 9 stories to a more reasonable size and the 150% parking requirement was nixed because why not take the only good thing away from the plan. (more…)

Our County Government Attacks 1st Amendment, Fails

Funny plastic handcuffs graphic borrowed from Voice of OC
Once in a while news from the County is so pregnant with consequences for us in Fullerton that we here at FFFF feel obliged to share it with the Friends.

Yes. I did that. Didn’t think you would remember.
In case you weren’t following the weird story: on Good Friday, 2015 3rd District Supervisor Todd “Super Victim” Spitzer got scared of a Christian proselytizer in a Foothill Ranch Wahoos, went out to his car and returned with handcuffs and a loaded pistol. He “hooked up” this poor sap and waited for the deputies to arrive. Of course nothing came of it. Mr. Bible was released from bondage and everybody went his own way.

Pretty weird, in a “dress up like a cop and play” sort of way. I mean, who drives around with handcuffs in his trunk, right?

Unfortunately for Spitzer, news of the bizarre incident was finally leaked to The OC Register who reported on it in August 2015, much to the merriment of the pistol-packin’ supervisor’s numerous detractors. But the story gets better – or worse – depending on your point of view.

Todd Spitzer gets emotional.
Photo by MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER –

Apparently Spitzer couldn’t leave the depiction of himself as a nutcase, alone. Sort of like obsessively picking at a scab. So he enlisted the help of Jean Pasco, the County’s press release writer to write some sort of clarifying/absolving press release. Although this document never saw the light of publication, the Voice of OC got wind of it and did a PRA request for all related docs. Hilariously, the County refused, claiming that unfinished documents don’t constitute “records.” The Voice sued the County for release of the relevant material. The County fought back.

It got worse. Under Spitzer’s guidance County Counsel demanded to depose Voice publisher Norberto Santana, ridiculously suggesting that conversations between him and Spitzer were relevant to the matter. Voice objected to the blatant harassment attempt.

On December 12, Judge Walter Schwarm “quashed” the depostion of the journalist . In legalese that means the judge shoved the matter right up Spitzer’s sorry ass. The County’s effort to intimidate a journalist was met with a stinging rebuke by the jurist.

Downhill racer…
Meantime, the completely unnecessary lawsuit drags on, the costs of which, when the County inevitably fails, will be borne by you and me. And where is our own Supervisor Shawn Nelson during all this? Nowhere to be seen or heard as far as I can tell. Evidently, he, too, believes that we peons are only to know things when he and his pals at the County feel like sharing, and that it is right and proper that we pay the costs of them keeping public information from the public.

 

 

The (Other) Case of the Missing Sidewalk

Híjole. Here’s an example of the special treatment that a well-connected developer can get in Fullerton. At Harbor and Orangethorpe, a fast food-type developer has been allowed to monopolize the sidewalk for the last six months. The use of this public space probably saved him a few bucks on construction. How thoughtful of our city planners!

Of course, this sidewalk is heavily used by poor pedestrians, who can’t seem to muster an equivalent offering up at city hall. So they’ll have to walk around. Or up the middle of the lane, as the hesitant abuela does in this video.

It’s only a matter of time before someone is hit by a car. Is this a fair deal for people of Fullerton?

By the way, I’m told this is the future site of Jersey Mike’s, Chipotle, The Habit, and a Verizon store.

The Culture of Cover Up?

You, know some people have the remarkable habit of speaking a whole bunch of words without saying anything. Fullerton City Attorney Richard Jones has been doing it for years and years as compliant councils sit there silently during his mind-numbing droning.

In the clip below, from last night’s Council meeting, he explains why the public need be told nothing about the City Manager, Joe Felz, driving home after a party, running off the road, trying to leave the scene of an accident, smelling of liquor, and most likely flashing his Get Out of Jail card.

jail-card

First listen:

There’s five minutes of stuff that could have been said in about 40 seconds but Jones needs to make sure he has touched all the bases of possible objection, added some mumble-words in the service of phony legal propriety, and his accomplice, Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald is on hand to make sure some of the points are reiterated – twice.

Yes, the bases are touched.

  1. The matter is subject to an “ongoing criminal investigation” by FPD, possibly to be turned over to the do-nothing DA, so mum’s the word! But what’s this? Who has committed a crime? No one was arrested no one was even cited. If not then, when, and how? Sure seems like a bogus smoke-screen.
  2. The issue is a “personnel” matter. But wait. Felz was not acting as an employee at the time of the crash. He was undoubtedly a private citizen. So how on God’s green earth is this a personnel matter? Another dodge to avoid response to legitimate PRA requests?
  3. The issue of the body cameras is noted as governed by some statute that is not elaborated, merely cited. The incurious Council let that one sail by. In the end, Jones informs us that Mr. Felz has privacy rights, too, which is awful sweet, but begs the question – if any of us were detained in similar circumstance can there be any doubt at all that the video would be turned over to the media by Andrew Goodrich before the first rays of morning sun had warmed the walls of the police station tower?

In the end some word nuggets tumble out that do lead into the direction of actual meaning, if only unintentionally freed from the bondage of this pettifogger’s mental jail.

One bit of this statement is very interesting. At 4:08 Jonsey mentions the investigation of the poli…the City Manager. Maybe I’m too cynical, but could this be the real source of investigation – how the cops deliberately violated their own policies and ignored violation of the Vehicle Code? That would sure make sense if a cover-up of the whole embarrassing mess was being orchestrated. After all, they could try “miscommunication in the chain of command” or some such nonsense, Gennaco-style, and if all else failed, toss the rat on conveniently departed Chief Dan Hughes who is now over the wall and making tracks southward.

Resquiat in Pacem

Poor Sappy
Poor Sappy

Poor Sappy McTree. So young. So promising! Thy youthful branches had hardly begun their embrace of the sky; thy roots had hardly delved into Fullerton’s loamy fundament.

Thou verdant thing, thou honorable creature of God. Thou hast passed in the mere twinkling of an eye on a moon-dark night.

We miss thee, O Sappy.

 

Bankhead and The Great McDonald’s Leap Forward

For those who really and truly want added proof of the fiscal irresponsibility of City Councliman Don Bankhead, here he is casting his vote to pay $6,000,000 to move a perfectly good McDonald’s restaurant about 200 feet to the east.

Bankhead’s only arguments? One, that he’s already wasted a bunch of money on this titanic Redevelopment boondoggle; and two, that without the relocation the titanic Redevelopment boondoggle might be harder to build!

Fortunately (somewhat) wiser heads prevailed, although nobody in City Hall ever admitted that the monstrous “Fox Block” was just a plaything for the Redevelopment staff, a source of government handouts to the so-called ‘developer,” and had absolutely nothing to do with the restoration of the historic Fox Theater.

Really and truly, Bankhead has been supporting massive boondoggles, huge corporate subsidies and crony capitalism for the better part of 25 years. High time to hit the road.

Slidebar’s Noise Assault: Is It Even Legal?

Ah, late night music in downtown Fullerton. The louder it gets, the more people show up.  And at the Slidebar, the party rocks on every night of the week.

Sure, it’s fun if you’re visiting from the 909 on a Thursday night. But to the rest of the public, nonstop amplified outdoor music is known as something else: a Public Nuisance.

Here’s what the Fullerton Municipal Code’s Limitations on Permitted Uses section has to say about music on outdoor patios:

Accessory Outdoor Dining or Patio.

15.30.040.I.7.c.ii.     No amplified music or amplified entertainment is permitted outdoors, except recorded background music for dining establishments wherein normal conversation is not impeded; no music or entertainment shall be permitted on a patio past 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

So whose job it is to police the downtown bars and night clubs that have patios with outdoor amplified music?

Chris Meyer Gets His

Just when you thought you’d seen every kind of gluttony, along comes former City Manager and Recall opponent, Chris Meyer to give new meaning to the concept of pigging out.

 

Here is a summary of Meyer’s final day payout as he bid the taxpayers of Fullerton adios:

Yes, folks you read that right. Almost $110,000 of unused sick days and vacation days racked up by Meyer in our service. Well, really in his own service. And that one massive payday on January 7th put Meyer into the Fullerton high roller club for the entire year of 2011.

The worst part, of course, is that Mr. Meyer presided over Fullerton for about ten years – as the disastrous 3@50 pension was enacted, as the FPD Culture of Corruption went into full swing, as Downtown Fullerton became a boozy free-for-all, as the City illegally added a 10% tax to our water bill each and every month, and as the City’s infrastructure began falling into a massive sinkhole.

It'll take decades to fill that in.

And had not Shawn Nelson blown the whistle on him in 2008, he would have gotten away with another pension spike for the paper pushers – himself included.

The Meyer regime passed on a financial and infrastructure legacy of debt to future generations without an apparent pang of remorse. In his world we are just there to pay the bills and keep our mouths shut.

Fullerton’s Jim Blake Is A TV Star

The Water Boy

Well, the Fullerton Culture of Corruption is in the news again, and, naturally, not in a good way. The star of the show is Fullerton’s own Jim Blake. Here is a CBS undercover report on Metropolitan Water District board members wining and dining themselves on our dime – even as they keep jacking up the commodity cost of water to us, a cost to which our wise City Fathers then tack on an illegal 10% tax!

Jim Blake has been the choice of Fullerton’s establishment to represent our City on the MWD since the Third Day, when God gathered the waters.

Of course this is no news to us here at FFFF. We reported on Blake and Linda Ackerwoman running up huge “travel” tabs a long time ago, here and here. Blake has been reappointed by Bankhead and Jones over and over again. Why?

Well, Blake is supposedly calling it quits at MWD, but not before causing Fullerton more embarrassment.

The Joyride from Hell: Another Victim of Fullerton Police Violence Comes Forward

Obey me and you won't get hurt. Well, scratch that. You're gonna get hurt anyway...

The systemic pattern of abuse that defines the Fullerton Police Department is well-established.  But the allegations detailed in this newly emerging case might give even hardened FFFF readers pause. There seems to be no end to accounts of thuggish, sadistic Fullerton cops getting their sick jollies by brutalizing innocent citizens.

Fullerton College student and Fullerton resident Christopher Spicer Janku, 23 at the time, was with 4 friends around 1:30 AM on the night of August 17, 2008 when the car one of them was driving was pulled over for purportedly running a stop sign on Wilshire Avenue, in Downtown Fullerton.  Chris tells his story:

All rookie looking officers who were looking for fun, I’ve never heard so much rude language from any cop. They arrested me on false charges of being drunk in public, (even though they wouldn’t give me a sobriety test even after I asked them to give me one because they knew I wasn’t intoxicated). I was sitting on the curb with my hands behind my back, a cop came over to put hand cuffs on me, he told me to put my hands behind my back, but they already were.  Before I could even say “officer my hands are already crossed behind my back” the officer grabbed my neck and slammed my face into the curb while yelling out “stop resisting!”  Another officer grabbed me by the legs and dragged me by the knees, shredding my knee caps.

There were five officers at the scene. The gangleader and arresting office was one Officer Perry Thayer.  Janku goes on to describe his torture at the hands of this dedicated public servant:

Another officer then TOOK HIS BOOT and slammed it on my head, pinning it between the curb and used it as leverage to squeeze pressure on my head. I HONESTLY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE, I WAS SCREAMING PLEASE STOP I’M NOT RESISTING, I THOUGHT MY HEAD WAS GOING TO CAVE IN. I still have migraines to this day. another cop came over and dropped kneed me in the back. Everybody watching was in awe, THEY KEPT YELLING OUT “PLEASE STOP, HE’S NOT RESISTING!”

He (Thayer) was the one who slammed me face first into a curb and then put my head in the gutter face first with his boot on my head.  He purposely put my face into a gutter full of disgusting dirty gutter water to the point where I was almost choking on it, and pushed down on my head to the point where my head almost caved it and I was screaming for my life. If you look at my mug shot, there is nothing but dirty, muddy gutter water and blood all over my face.

Next, our helpful Bobbies – Officer Thayer and his partner Officer Anthony Diaz – took Janku on a joyride from hell. Chris explains:

They put me in the squad car without seatbelting me in and went on a joy ride while blaring satanic heavy metal music in my ear until my eardrums almost exploded.  Around 6-7 times they would hit the gas and then slam on the brakes, so that I was forced to keep cracking my face on the cage.

FFFF readers will recall that although clearly unconstitutional, this is a common FPD procedure, informally known as a “screen test.” Spicer remembers seeing the car pass the Police station, and asked the cops where they were taking him. Their response:  “Shut the F up.”  After the brake-checks:

I came to the department and automatically filed a complaint about the brutality. They put me in a jail cell bleeding from my head down to my feet and bruised and battered WITHOUT EVEN GIVING ME MEDICAL AID.

Janku was unable to figure out what exactly had set Thayer off.  Maybe when he asked Thayer to not thumb through the photos on his cell phone?  Or perhaps this cretinous goon needs no excuse to assault, batter, and violate the civil rights of the taxpayers who pay his ample salary?  Janku’s friend was arrested as well, for simply asking for his ID back from the cops who had taken and failed to return it.

As for the police brutality complaint?   A complete and total stonewall.  The detective in charge deliberately misinterpreted the clear audio recording of Janku’s friends yelling “he’s not resisting!” and asked him “why were you resisting?”  He also had the temerity to ask Janku why he had blood and mud all over his face.

After checking regularly for months and getting no response, Janku was told recently that he had better contact an attorney.  Of course, this is after the statute of limitations had run out and a lawsuit is impossible.  What is Janku left with, besides the bruises and migraines?  Just the awful memories:

I’ve been afraid to go outside my house ever since, I have nightmares and panic attacks from the injustice.

Janku adds that he is unwilling to go to downtown Fullerton since the incident, and one of his friends there that evening is so terrified he refuses to set foot in Fullerton, period.  Way to help out our local economy, coppers!

#66 Perry Thayer

Unlike the marginally more fortunate Veth Mam and Edward Quinonez, Janku is unable to sue the City and make them pay for their abuses.  And Officer Thayer?  Why, he went on to win the coveted Turkey Bowl police football championship along with his buds – the noted false arrest/perjury specialists Kenton Hampton and Frank Nguyen, of Veth Mam lawsuit fame.

Just another night of death-metal mayhem, beating, torture, false arrest, and random abuse of the public by Fullerton’s Finest. No pattern to see here, folks. Move along, now. No need for that department-wide Department of Justice investigation of police brutality and misconduct.  Keep moving.

Oh, and yeah, let’s be careful out there.