The Finest of Farewells

It is common for government to bury waste carefully, neatly hidden away from the citizens who pay for it. Other times, they shove it right in your face like an ether-soaked rag.

That’s what happened at Chief Danny Hughes’ grand farewell party on November 10th. Fortunately, one neighbor filed an hour-long interactive grievance and shared with us the highlights.

Helicopter overhead, fire engines, barricades, officers, SWAT trucks, oh my!

The cast of characters does not disappoint. Look carefully for the appearance an oblivious “Patdown” Pat “I hired them all” McPension. Watch the FPOA thank Hughes for staying “on course” through “the lowest parts” of FPD history (when their constant misdeeds were finally exposed to the public). Listen to Jan Flory offer a cringe-worthy come-hither to her “Big Boy” Hughes, warn him of the “five-headed beast” that is the city council, and then trumpet her slavish dependence on city staff. Don’t forget to note Stan Berry, the OCDA investigator and FPD buddy boy who was first charged with looking into the Kelly Thomas murder. I’m glad he was able to maintain good relations.

If you were able to retain your lunch through all of that, congratulations. Now think about the hundreds of Fullerton commuters and residents who were caught in the traffic blockades on two major roads during rush hour. The police force parked their equipment and their posteriors in the middle of the roadway for this pointless pomp and circumstance, holding the public and its safety in complete disregard.

Of course the most comic part of this display of flags and armaments (think Soviet May Day parade) is the fact that just two days before, Mr. Integrity ordered his boyz to give City Manager, Joe Felz a free ride home with no Breathalyzer test after having careened though a sleepy Fullerton neighborhood after an evening of partying in the gin mills of downtown Fullerton.

FFFF Classics – The Baby, the Bathwater and the Blowhard

Crazy? Check. Rude? Check. Gone? Check.

When it came to boneheaded belligerent bombast there was no one quite like former (and recalled) councilman Dick Jones. Here he is in 2007 and 2008 pontificating about downtown Fullerton and the “monster” he created. His endless fixation on the same tired baby/bathwater cliche remains hilarious as he twists it around and around inside his befuddled noggin. If anybody can explain what a “ruly teenager” looks like, please let us know.

The FFFF editorial staff have enjoyed long hours of amusement courtesy of the corn-pone explursions of Ol’ Country Doc Jones captured on this video. The string of priceless HeeHawisms just gets better with age.

Meantime nothing has changed in downtown Fullerton – except the passage of ten long years and more of “yesterday’s felons” than ever.

Drive As We Say, Not As We Do

Once again the Boys & Girls in Blue have decided to insult the residents of Fullerton with a poorly timed Press Release via the F.P.D. Facebook Page where they tell that we need to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and that they’ll be “stepping up enforcement” of impaired driving laws.

One Set of Rules for You…

This Press Release is actually dated yesterday, 13 December 2016, the EXACT same day that it was announced at the Special City Council Meeting that the City Manager, Joe Felz, has left his position with the city. Weepy words from Jennifer Fitzgerald notwithstanding we know that Felz left owing to his own alleged D.U.I. Hit-&-Run that F.P.D. and the City Attorney are still attempting to cover up with boilerplate legal obfuscation and the myth of an ongoing investigation.

From the Press Release;

“We want to keep our roads safe for the holiday travelers, so we will have zero tolerance for drunk or drugged driving.”

F.P.D. will have zero tolerance. Zero! None I dare say.

Unless of course you’re part of the upper echelon of our City’s Bureaucratic Bureaucracy and can get the Police Chief on speed dial.

I figured the award for most clueless response to the Felz departure would go to Fitzgerald & Flory for their nonsense praise but this press release might take the cake. To be fair the F.P.D. probably didn’t know that Felz was on the way out when they wrote this little public service announcement but they certainly knew of their own culpability in the continuing culture of city corruption.

Word on the street is that City Hall is glad to be rid of Felz and now they’re just itching to get rid of his sycophantic entourage that continues to make city life miserable. Stay tuned as we might be able to help with some of that as time passes. If any intrepid City Employees want to help foster some more changes you know how to reach out to us here at F.F.F.F..

 

Make It One For My Baby, And One More For The Road

Another party on a Tuesday night, and no DUI stops!

How fitting. Soon to be former councilwoman Ms. Jan Flory, one of the principal architects and mother hen of downtown Fullerton’s out-of-control culture of vodka. vomit and vehicular mayhem, is tossing herself a going away party. And naturally it’s at one of Fullerton’s fine dining establishments bars.

Here’s the outreach:

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Jan Flory [mailto:jflory1@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2016 11:07 AM
Subject:

 Good morning!

 As you know, the new council will be seated on 12/13/16 at 6:30 p.m.  Would you pls get the word out that I will be having a soiree at Joe’s Bar and Grill after that council meeting.  I’ll have appetizers and a no-host bar to celebrate my leaving the council.  That doesn’t sound right, but it will be better than a funeral.  People will probably start showing up between 7:30 and 8. 

 Thanks a bunch and thank you for keeping so many people informed. 

 Jan Flory

 

You would think a Fullerton City Councilperson would be a little reluctant to have a political party at a downtown saloon given what happened the last time this occurred – five scant weeks ago.

Sappy McTree, We Hardly Knew Ye…

You’ve got to love the message of the “soiree”:

I’ll have appetizers and a no-host bar to celebrate my leaving the council.” 

Auld lang syne…

Maybe Flory figures if you have to buy your own drinks you’ll be a lot less likely to get drunk, drive off the road on the way home and require the interim police chief to cover up the whole mess.

We probably won’t be there, but we’ll be celebrating, too.

 

The Bitterness of Negative Banter

What is “negative banter?”

I got a letter from Fullerton’s Lobbyist-Mayor, Jennifer Fitzgerald congratulating “us” for rising above it by re-electing her. I love it when personal-agenda laden politicians complain about “negativity.” Generally they are just reacting to embarrassing scrutiny they’d rather not have to endure.

Here’s the missive:

Cut through the baloney to find the bullshit...
Cut through the baloney to find the bullshit…

Ms. Fitzgerald is happy to share the issues she “campaigned on.” Road repair, more, and higher paid cops, and get this… a balanced budget! Now we all know that Fullerton’s budget has not been balanced since she got on the City Council four years ago. We’ve been leaking red ink worse than Laguna Lake has been leaking Grade A MWD water. The amount during Fitzgerald’s tenure runs in the millions. So not only is she still lying about having a balanced budget, but any other pipe dreams like cops and parks are going to have to come at the cost of draining our reserve funds even more.

Of course this means nothing to Ms. Fitzgerald. After all she is all about politics, not governance. She is a Vice President of Curt Pringle & Associates, an operation that has tried its level best to rip off Anaheim taxpayers to benefit Pringle’s clients. She will be long gone by the time Fullerton goes into receivership.

I really like the part about ensuring “that every Fullerton neighborhood is served well by its city government.” I guess that excludes the people who live in and around downtown Fullerton: it was only recently carved up into five separate council districts by Ms. Fitzgerald and her downtown bar pals like a Christmas ham, precisely for the purpose of disenfranchising the residents while the drunken party rolls merrily along.

And then there’s the part about having a “community-wide discussion” about providing library services for Southwest Fullerton. Quite delicious irony coming from the head of a city government that can’t afford to keep the Hunt Branch Library open; or does she really believe nobody is paying attention?

Finally, I note that “working positively together” is code: what it really means is not criticizing the massive budget deficits; not complaining because there is no adult supervision over the cops; looking the other way as the Lobbyist-Mayor herself helps cover up the madcap motoring adventures of her City Manager returning home from her own election night party.

Well, you know, I just don’t feel like it.

And now, Friends, please share any negative banter in the comments section we thoughtfully provide, below.

 

Molly’s Problem

 

Nothing intelligent was forthcoming...
Nothing intelligent was forthcoming…

Could be trouble’s a-brewin’ for our old acquaintance, North OC Community College District trustee Molly McClanahan.

Now, in case you’re not familiar with the life and times of McClanahan, here’s a primer: rightfully recalled from the Fullerton City Council in 1994 for imposing a stupid and unnecessary utility tax (at the behest of the public employee unions), she was tossed a little political plum as an appointee to the NOCCCD. There she has been a reliable cheerleader for a bloated, overpaid and incompetent administration for over 20 years.

A few years back we followed the tale of the magical football stadium at FJC, an embarrassment on so many levels that I won’t recount them, just give you Loyal Friends the link.

Seven years have passed and apparently the football practice facility is still slated to become a completely unnecessary game day venue – given the fact of the FHS stadium a few hundred yards away and the CSUF stadium less than two miles away. looks like some of the neighbors are still as unhappy about this as ever. In fact, somebody has started a website dedicated to pressuring McClanahan to act on behalf of her constituents instead of her district bureaucrats, with the promise of a recall. Since they linked to the old post of ours, I felt compelled to return the favor.

Now Molly may have a problem, maybe. Recalling anybody is hard, especially in a big JC district that nobody even thinks much about. Yet the NOCCCD has seven much smaller individual districts. I don’t know for sure, but I’m supposing the individual trustee districts have about 70,000 people, so gathering signatures would not be impossible. But would anybody off the hill behind the campus even care?

Unfortunately, the website isn’t real clear on what how McClanahan is supposed to do anything at this point. Maybe the proprietor of that blog will stop by and give us some more information. One thing is certain, though. Whoever is behind this is pretty pissed off. The hostility comes through loud and clear; and tellingly, there is a pointed reference to McClanahan’s illegal gift-taking from a bond peddler and the consequent FPPC fine.

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.

 

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.