Former Fullerton Councilmembers

Now, What About Our Water Tax Refund? Part 2: The Phony Report

thief

When you are  in charge of the City’s bureaucracy, it’s really easy to get what you want. You simply hire a “professional” opinion to validate your own desire. Good God, it happens so often and yet they continue to get away with it.

For fun, lets’ consider the case of the City of Fullerton’s illegal water tax tax. In 2011 the City was finally caught with its pants down. And what was revealed wasn’t pretty: an illegal 10% tax stuck onto the annual cost of selling water to the ratepayers of Fullerton. In an attempt to stall the inevitable and obfuscate the obvious, the comatose council handed the job of analyzing the tax to an ad hoc water rate committee that had been previously established.

Now we all know that a citizen’s committee is incapable of figuring out things on its own and so staff helpfully hired one of those paid opinion consultants to help out; one of those consultants whose sole mission is to validate whatever the staff wants them to do. In this case the mission was to keep as much of that 10% as possible. After all, that 10% was a much necessary ingredient for for keeping up CalPERS payments and sending Pam Keller and Don Bankhead and Doc HeeHaw to four star hotels in far off Long Beach.

True to form, the City Council’s “consultant” returned with a helpful finding that the water fund owned the City between six and seven percent annually, principally on the weird fiction that the water utility owed the City rent for land that the water reservoirs and pipes sit on.

Naturally, nobody bothered to explain the embarrassing fact that the land in question had little or no commercial value; or that the water utility could have bought that land for virtually nothing fifty years ago had a true arms-length distance actually existed between the utility and the City that was milking it like a rented cow.

An, worst of all, nobody had explained the self-serving nature of this sudden discovery of a true distinction between the water utility and the City, particularly in light of the fact that the utility had supplied the City with free water for decades.

That’s right. The very mechanism lade upon you and me to “incentivise” conservation, was deemed unnecessary when the City itself was wasting water. How many hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water has been used for free by the City in the past fifty years? Of course nobody knows. But the value is worth millions.

I think the City should pay that back, too.

 

14 Comments

Watch Out For The Tricks

YouTube Preview Image

Kind of creepy.

And no, Ms. Executive Director, your monster is not asleep.

84 Comments

Welcome To Floryland

The closer you look, the worse it gets.

When you have an inflated sense of self-worth it must be hard to come up against a wall of objective facts that square with the reality everyone else sees. Thus narcissists and paranoiacs must concoct a narrative that seems to embrace those facts and yet tell the myth you want everyone to believe about yourself.

And so we have Jan Flory: a rigid, humorless, sometimes near-hysterical defender of an ideology that has placed California on the edge of financial insolvency. Think Greece.

Flory’s ridiculous muumuus and wooden beads are symbolic of a much more sinister problem: a fundamental dishonesty about herself and her corrupt mind set.

But don’t take my word for it. Lets examine Flory’s own Facebook rants. Like this latest, with added commentary by me.

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP

At 12:15 a.m. last night, the City Council took up the question of how to refund $7.3 million to people who overpaid their water bills in our city over the past 3 years. Mayor Sharon Quirk moved to continue the matter to the next city council meeting because of the late hour. Doug Chaffee concurred. Bruce Whitaker, Travis Kiger and Greg Sebourn voted to go forward no matter how late or how tired the council members. It also might have had something to do with the fact that the audience had dwindled to a handful by that time. So much for transparency and accountability.

Or it might have had something to do with the fact that hours and hours of time had been unnecessarily wasted by Quirk and Chaffee promoting the candidacy of Danny Hughes as Chief, despite the fact that the Council had already decided it wanted to do a wide recruitment instead of ramming home the inside goon. Transparency? Check. Accountability? Check.

Reality? If Flory is tired and can’t stay up past Murder She Wrote reruns on cable she shouldn’t be on any city council.

A little history first: To begin with, the water fee was never an “illegal water tax”.

Lie number one. Keep counting.

The water tax was first adopted in 1968 at 2% of the water bill. The purpose of the tax was to pass through to the ratepayers (you and me) the city’s cost of getting water to your tap. Fair enough. The tax increased to 10% in 1970. We had aging reservoirs, pumps and water lines that needed replacement and ongoing maintenance. The water fee was a way to do that.

Now that’s just another series of outright lies. But let’s not let the facts stand in the way of a good story, right? The 10% was originally cooked up to divert revenue into the General Fund to pay for the City Attorney and City Administrator. IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ONGOING MAINTENANCE AND AGING INFRASTRUCTURE. Flory could have actually read the ordinance but that wouldn’t have been as fun making something up.

In any case there was never any accounting to see how bad the rip off really was, and in the old days water was dirt cheap, right?

In 1996, the California voters passed Proposition 218 which required there be a connection between a fee charged and the services rendered. In other words, you couldn’t just pull a number (like 10%) out of the air.

One truth accidentally tumbles out!

Proposition 218 was tested and upheld by the courts beginning in 2002.

Aha! Flory slips in a date to give herself an alibi for her own approval of the illegal tax for six years! Too bad that upon learning the truth she and her cohorts continued to steal the 10% each and every year for the next NINE YEARS. No talk about fixing the rip-off, apologizing to the ratepayers, trying to reclaim even a small mole hill of moral ground. Nope.

The Water Rate Study Committee was authorized by the OLD council long before the Recall to address concerns about the 10% charge to the Water Fund.

And at whose behest? Not city staff or you, Flory, we can be sure of that. It was political pressure that did it.

Ultimately, the study committee determined this summer that the city should have been charging in the neighborhood of 7% rather than 10% in order to comply with 218.

Another outright lie. The Committee determined no such thing. The staff-chosen consultant cooked up a phoney number to keep as much of the rip-off as possible including exorbitant rents paid to the City! Even Quirk said it was ridiculous!

The committee relied on the work of an independent financial consultant, Municipal Financial Services Group (MFSG), to determine the City’s cost in providing water to its customers, and outside legal counsel (Best, Best & Krieger) to make sure that the outcome comported with Proposition 218.

Independent? Now that’s just comical!

The results were even submitted to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that concurred with the methodology used in the study.

Wrong, again. But by now is anybody counting?

The NEW council majority threw all that out the window, disregarded the recommendations of the Water Rate Study Committee, and completely eliminated the “in lieu” fee. That will have the effect of reducing city revenues annually by $1.7 million which could have properly been charged by the city to bring water to our homes.

Let’s all gloss over the fact that no one has ever said a proper water rate shouldn’t cover costs of maintenance and infrastructure. If it doesn’t Flory has only her own beloved staff to blame – those same incompetent bureaucrats like Chis Meyer and Joe Felz who have let the City’s infrastructure go to hell as they feathered their own nests handsomely. In the meantime, the “in-lieu” fee had no legal rationale for existing since it wan an obvious triple dip. Step one was to get rid of it. Step two is find out what the true costs of running the water utility really is, and charge it to the ratepayers.

Because the city had charged its water customers 10% (rather than 7%), the Water Rate Study Committee found that the city had overcharged the rate payers the sum of $7.3 million over the last 3 years.

Once again, those were the cooked up findings of the hired “consultant.”

It recommended that the overpayment of the water fee be accomplished by an incremental transfer from the General Fund to the Water Fund to be used for infrastructure repairs,–something that desperately needs addressing. This would also avoid the City’s incurring debt to pay the debt.

Um, see comment above. How did the water infrastructure get so bad, Mrs. Flory? You were on the City Council for eight long years. Do want to take responsibility for that? What? Speak up!

What did the new Libertarian majority do? It voted to rebate the entire $7.3 million back to the rate payers. It is estimated that this will be a onetime payment of $100 to $400 per household depending on how much water was used during the 3 years.

The horror. Government giving back something it stole!

It’s an accounting nightmare for several reasons. The overpayment has to be calculated for each household in the city. Some residents have moved or died; thus, creating the dilemma of finding out where to send the money.

But Jan, are you saying your beloved staff can’t figure out a way to print and send out some checks? Hell, they manage to send out the water and trash bills every month.

Finally, the question of where the money is to come from must be determined. We don’t have enough in the General Fund to pay the lump sum. Staff suggested that a debt issuance might be necessary, with an estimated yearly debt service of $500,000.

Put away the violin Mrs. Flory. Step up and take your medicine. You and Bankhead and Jones and McKinley ripped us off for 15 years. YOU figure out how to make it right!

So now we not only have a decrease of $1.7 million in revenue, but we need to add $500,000 for debt service. This totals $2.2 million if you’re counting.

See, it’s all about government revenue, the altar at which the egregious muumuu clad priestess Flory worships. Yes we can count and we know whose balance sheet this belongs on – even though it’s on ours.

Last night, the council majority (Whitaker, Kiger and Sebourn) directed staff to find “creative ways” to pay off the debt such as selling off surplus properties. In other words, asking city staff to remove the rope the council majority had put around its own neck.

Wrong, again, Flory. They are asking city staff to do the right thing, and remove the rope YOU put around our necks for all those years.

Change on the Council cannot come quickly enough. Drip, drip, drip.

It’s coming all right. be careful of what you wish for.

184 Comments

Jan Flory Talks About Sex and Water

Correct. We do not want you to discuss sexy issues.

Okay this post is not about Jan Flory discussing anything remotely “sexy” because the thought of that…well, never mind.

The post is about her latest Facebook scribblings in which she opines on a subject near and dear to the hearts of Fullerton reformers: the illegal 10% tax on your water that the City collected for the past 15 years. $27,000,000 worth.

First I’ll start by stating what you could have already guessed. Jan Flory does not want you to get a refund of the theft. In her world-order the taxpayers are meant to be milked, not refunded.

Her assertion that the collection was “illegal” the past three year is a bad lawyer’s half-truth that amounts to a bald-faced lie, of course. It has been illegal for 15 years, six of them on her watch as a council person. The City has a legal opinion that it is only obligated to refund three-year’s worth of the theft. Not the same thing, is it? Of course Mrs. Flory is desperate to disassociate her name with the tax. Too late. She is on record in the 90s as having known it was wrong and doing it anyway.

Mrs. Flory and her ilk love footling committees, especially when they are selected by ozone brains like Jone, Quirk, McKinley and Bankhead. Even better are the “consultants” selected by staff who give them their marching orders. The “report” cooked up by the water rate consultant was so evidently bogus that it hardly needs to be restated. But I will: their goal was to gin up as much phony cost as possible to keep the bureaucrats greedy little fingers on that 10%. Flory may think this gives her cover, and under the old Culture of Corruption it would have. Not any more.

The 10% was expressly collected  to cover specific City staff costs associated with the water utility. However, it turns out that those departments were already charging directly to the Water Fund. Which is why I am happy to refer to the tax as an illegal theft.

And another point: it’s real easy to say that the illegal tax should be refunded to the Water Fund for capital improvements. That’s convenient, but immoral. The tax that was collected had nothing to do with infrastructure. Nothing. True infrastructure costs should be rolled into an effective rate for water transmission, a correction of years of mismanagement by Mrs. Flory and her cohorts that still needs to be done. Confusing these two issues is simply a convenient way for the perpetrators to hide their crime and their dereliction.

Now, let’s address the issue of the reserve funds, a subject that Mrs. Flory wants people to believe she knows something about. There is no need to empty these accounts to pay refunds. No, indeed. I find it remarkably disingenuous for anybody to assert this, especially given just two of City manger Joe Felz’s most recent “cost saving” measures.

First there was the egregious relocation of former Redevelopment personnel into General Fund departments for which they had no apparent expertise. Most recently the City contracted out your graffiti removal services for $120,000. Yay! Big savings, right? Wrong. The city employees were simply reassigned to other  jobs in the Engineering Department that were vacant. Net cost savings? -$120,000.

The City just missed an opportunity to shave a million bucks off its payroll costs. Of course, my point is that the General Fund is far from depleted.

Finally, in closing, I would submit that Mrs. Flory knows more about witching hours than any of us. However, if she doesn’t like staying up that late every other Tuesday night, then she has no business on a city council. And it’s really too bad that the Council is scheduling special meetings to attend to the people’s business.

Mrs. Flory’s little rubber stamp has been put away and locked up.

110 Comments

Jan Flory and the “3@50″ Sinkhole

Jan Flory is running for Fullerton City Council. Jan Flory used to be on Fullerton City Council. Jan Flory is hoping that nobody remembers her disastrous decisions on Fullerton City Council.

Oops!  Too late.

In one of the costliest misjudgments in Fullerton history, Mrs. Flory joined her fellow council members in approving the horrible, retroactive 3@50 pension formula for the City’s “public safety” employees that was a massive gift of public funds and created a huge unfunded pension liability that eats up a bigger percentage of Fullerton’s budget every year.

Bankhead, Flory, Clesceri, Jones and Norby.  At least Norby apologized for his blunder. Flory never has. She even made the motion to approve the gargantuan giveaway!

View the agreement

Post meeting party at the police station!

Of course the excuse Don Bankhead and Patdown Pat McPension used was that without the benefit Fullerton couldn’t recruit the best and brightest. You know, cops like Ramos and Wolfe and Cicinelli, and Rincon, and Mater and Mejia and Major, and well, you get the idea.

Of course Mrs. Flory never got around to explaining how giving away a retroactive benefit to current employees would improve future recruitment.

Being on a city council for eight long years can create an embarrassing trail of disastrous decision. Our job will be to remind the public of Mrs. Flory’s string of expensive votes.

 

146 Comments

Jan Flory Grieves For The Three Deaf Dinosaurs

That’s gonna hurt in the morning…

Friends, here’s a repeat post by our esteemed JFD from last November. It is even more trenchant now that his former mistress has declared war on the only two really good councilmen Fullerton has had as long as I can remember – and that’s a long time.

- The Desert Rat

Whenever my former mistress got into a mood or had a couple too many G&Ts, and picked up that broomstick I always made myself as inconspicuous as possible. Looking down from doggie heaven I can see she hasn’t changed much. It’s good to know she still has that metal rod firmly stuck in there.

Here she is at the Fullerton City Council meeting during public comments handing out some cooked-up award to Pat McKinley.

Notice how she grieves for Fullerton because of the incivility to her “esteemed” councilmen, Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc (I gotta tell ya she never grieved after whacking my orbital bone with that broomstick, but that’s a another story altogether, eye blousing-wise).

Obviously she has set a rather low bar for estimation; if Old Doc HeeHaw can haul himself over it, I guess almost anybody can.

YouTube Preview Image

Apparently my former mistress doesn’t give much thought to the $350,000 settlement that a hand-picked  McKinley cop cost the taxpayers of Fullerton because he sexually assaulted women in the backseat of his patrol car; or that McKinley thinks that it’s okay for a certain kind of woman to be so victimized; and that, according to Big Mac “it’s just touching. Not a good thing, but it ain’t a dangerous thing;” or that her esteemed councilmen turned over Fullerton to the cops to do with it as they liked – theft, beatings, perjury, false arrest, a killing.

Yard arm? What yard arm? It’s 5:00 PM somewhere!

Mrs. Flory somehow got an extra seven minutes to ramble on and on about all sorts of bullshit, whereas others get the microphone shut off after three. Looks like there really is a double standard there.

Anyway, there you have a fine representative of what’s left of Fullerton’s Old Guard liberals: stubborn, frightened, clueless, self-righteous, dwindling fast.

 

 

107 Comments

A Queasy Blast From The Past!

Ms. Flory, three sheets to the wind at eight A.M.

Get ready for this Friends: Jan Flory has pulled papers to run for city council in November! Yes indeedie, the former councilwoman and unhappy dog owner who supported every crappy  Redevelopment staff driven boondoggle, fought every attempt to bring accountability to city government, who gave Patdown Pat McPension an award last year  where she bemoaned the mistreatment of “our esteemed council.”

She even orchestrated a mean spirited attack on young kids riding their bikes on their own property.

You wouldn’t be smiling either if your zygomatic arch had just got smacked with the business end of a broomstick!

Will she return the papers and begin to explain publicly why she supported the incompetent and criminal Culture of Corruption under the Three Dessicated Dinosaurs? I sure hope so.

More about

14 Comments

Tonight: Steve Baxter and Fullerton’s PAS Gallery Produce “Art With An Agenda”

I’ll see you there.

By William Zdan:

The term “Pollice Verso” means (roughly) “thumbs down”. It’s in reference to the (albeit incorrect) traditional depiction of a Roman emperor giving the “thumbs down” signal that dictated the fate of a vulnerable/defeated fighter…usually a slave or other “expendable” that was forced into brutal exhibition.
I’ve toyed with the phrase, changing it to “Police Verso”..in obvious reference to the despicable actions that took place in Fullerton last year. In my painting, Dick Jones plays the part of a distant and ineffectual Caesar. He thumbs the fate of the unseen victim in smug disinterest, not even allowing his glaze to meet the atrocity for which he shares ownership. A panel of piggish spectators oversee the event, in uncontrolled animalistic enthusiasm.

When watching a television report with Dick Jones last year, I was disheartened by the comments he had made about the  murder. “I don’t know why he died” was the comment from Jones that affected me the most. Jones made a point to boast about his war-time efforts and how much worse, non-fatal injuries had been experienced there.  Jones, we know and YOU know why he died. And it wasn’t just because of the fierce bludgeoning that he received by your endeared law-enforcement brethren. He died, Jones, because of a culture that still treats other human beings as “expendable”. Because people like Kelly are easily marginalized. Homeless people, especially mentally ill homeless people, clearly don’t count to Jones…and he did not create that sentiment, he just reflects it. Just as the slaves and expendables of the Roman Empire could have their humanity stripped of them by a blood-thirsty crowd, eager to do so…so was Kelly Thomas rendered a worthless item by those people we trust to protect the rest of us who do “count”. As I heard Jones speak, I thought (as I often do), “we have not progressed as a society. We are no different than Rome”.

Despite the (much needed) height of the soapbox upon which I like to stand relative to this topic, I cannot dismiss my own contribution to the negative and destructive culture in which I actively participate. So…the pawn/villian in my painting takes the form of my own image. Shamefully turned away from the viewer, I still raise my tool of destruction above my pig-like visage. I still perform for the pigs and am obedient to the tyrants of norms and expectations. I still pass by countless expendables, which whom I ironically share so much commonality.

I spent much of my young adulthood studying and working with the mentally ill. I worked at occupational, psycho-social rehab facilities for schizophrenic people during college. I even interned at a psychiatric prison for 6 months. During that time, I imagined that my idealism and self-congratulatory understanding of those emotionally suffering individuals would allow me to make a difference. Instead, I’ve become homogenized, like the dizzying amount of conscientiousness introverts that allow people like Jones to have any say in the direction of our society. Despite the fact that Kelly walked the same blocks that I walk every week, I had never even seen him…and wouldn’t have remembered if I had. I stretch my own rubber glove over my hand every day…keeping my fellow man at a distance…careful not to touch the blood that I shared in spilling. Because if I (a so-called idealistic artist with fair exposure to the troubles of the mentally ill) can willfully ignore injustice for the sake of convenience, I am just as filthy a pig as Ramos.

So, I am the ultimate executioner and THAT illness is worse than Kelly’s was. I am the baton-waving brute in my painting. I was never so aware of this until I met Kelly’s mom yesterday. I stood next to her as she looked at the painting that I shat out for this important event. I had jumped onto a cause for someone I never met or cared about. Nowhere in the painting is Kelly’s personal injustice really depicted. Rather, in the form that fell Rome, mine is a self-indulgent view. And here was this man’s mother, looking upon my painting about..well, about something to do with being angry and selfish and pointing fingers, I guess. She said to me, “he was really a good kid”. I bet he was.

William Zdan

155 Comments

Sayonara, Larry Bennett Style

Apparently this invitation is making the rounds. Please do attend.

85 Comments

Travis Kiger Gets Key Endorsements

Travis and family

Just days after pulling papers to run in the Recall replacement election, Travis Kiger has received the full support of our County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, our State Assemblyman Chris Norby and Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker.

Said Chris Norby “Fullerton is very fortunate to have Travis as a candidate. As a resident and taxpayer in Fullerton I know we will be in good hands when Kiger is elected.”

Shawn Nelson echoed Norby’s comments. “Fullerton is in need of strong, conservative leadership. I live in Fullerton and I trust Travis to deliver on the promises of transparency and accountability.”

Travis Kiger represents the new type of Republican for Fullerton: one who believes in civil liberties, freedom, limited government, pension reform, a balanced budget, reasonable taxes and fees; one who opposes the sort of crony capitalism and corporate welfare that has been the hallmark of Fullerton “conservatives” for decades.

Most importantly, Travis stands for accountability to the citizens of Fullerton, without cover-up, condescension, excuses, or incomprehensible double-talk.

 

73 Comments