Yesterday, one of our Friends shared a rather entertaining video clip of our lobbyist-councilwoman Jennifer “SparkFitz” Fitzgerald unburdening herself of thoughts at Grace Winter Fest. Her interlocutor is Sam Han, her former Planning Commission appointee, and the guy who stood up and said his church, Grace Ministry International, supported the bar owner’s council districting map.
Yea, verily, the Lord sure moves in mysterious ways, doesn’t he, Sam.
Here’s a snippet:
Poor Jen, has lost her pals in City Hall – her bureaucratic enabler, Wild Ride Joe Felz, and her political enabler, the obnoxious Jan Flory – both of whom “had her back;” or to be more accurate, both let her get away with her cultivation of out-of-town developers and her protection of the moral and economic sinkhole that Downtown Fullerton has become. Well, God is good, says the lobbyist, and her recent depression over the rather cavalier way The Almighty has diverted her control of City Hall must be for some greater purpose. Her depression has turned to excitement. Hallelujah! Almost a miracle!
Did you enjoy the end where the unctuous Han asks the audience (most of whom probably didn’t have a clue what SparkFitz was talking about) to “get excited with her?”
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.
UPDATE: a keen-eyed friend wrote in to inform us of a couple interesting facts about the City’s “Back the badge” documents. First, the original contract and the first purchase order don’t agree. The PO describes a one-year term while the contract is for only six months. Second there is no PO that covers the period from May to November 2014. The City’s controller should not have been able to write checks without a PO to write checks against, so something is fishy there.
FFFF has already shared with the Friends here some of the more ludicrous aspects of “Back the Badge” a PR outlet for cop departments and unions that we pay for.
The whole shabby deception is so bad we decided to dig a little deeper to see just how the Fullerton taxpayers got hooked into paying for the cops to peddle their propaganda – to us.
The documents we received indicate a completely non-transparent, slipshod City-vendor relationship in which deliverables are sketchy, and grossly overvalued.
First, it’s important to point out that this relationship was approved in secret by former City Manager Joe Felz in spring 2013, presumably under his spending authority. The City Council may have been informed, but the public most assuredly was not. Even Felz must have been aware of the possible public blowback against this nonsense. And he undoubtedly had the support of council persons Flory, Chaffee and Fitzgerald in trying to keep this gross squandering of public funds out of the public eye.
It is critical to recognize the contract for what it is: a fixed fee arrangement in which the vendor gets his contracted monthly amount regardless of what he actually accomplishes. These sorts of contracts are comparatively rare in government precisely because they are not tied to specific scopes of work. In essence there is no real oversight at all, even if anybody felt like doing it – which they didn’t.
If you peruse the invoices you will find all sorts of weird “deliverables” of intangible sort like “PR services,” “OC Register columns,” and “Fullerton News Tribune” just the sorts of things that are impossible to value and make you wonder if the real media was in collusion with Back the Badge. FFFF has already noted how the Yellowing Fullerton Observer has published an article, verbatim, from Back the Badge, here.
Of course some of the contractual items like “traffic/performance reports” yielded no responsive documents in our public records request. Anyway, as I noted it above it hardly matters.
One extra-contractual proposal sent to former Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes offers 40,000 print copies of “Behind the badge Fullerton magazine” for a mere twenty grand. Who approved that, and where did these print copies go? That we shall likely never know, as the police PR mechanisms are obviously none of our damn business, even though we are bankroller and target audience.
My favorite item in the proposals from Back the Badge is something called “crisis counseling.” This must be a service that is called upon when something really bad occurs and the cops need to polish up that road apple, and quick! So did Back the Badge spring into crisis counseling mode the night their benefactor, Joe Felz, smelling of liquor, drove off Glenwood Avenue, and was given a free pass and a ride home by the Fullerton Police Department?
On December 17, 2016, the City issued a new Purchase Order for more of those valuable Back the Badge services. The invoice cites the brand-new interim Chief but there is no reference to the Acting City Manager since by this time Joe Felz was long gone, the victim of his own reckless behavior. So who authorized the issuance of this new PO? The police chief, whoever he is, has no such spending authority. It seems as if the Culture of Opacity and Unaccountability is humming along on auto pilot.
Well, this is Fullerton and if you want to find out what is going on – well, good luck with that.
The Case of the Disappearing/Reappearing Balanced Budget
Many of you may recall that during my campaign for Fullerton City Council I wrote an Open Letter to Jennifer Fitzgerald. I’d like to revisit the issue of Mrs. Fitzgerald’s oft-repeated myth of a balanced budget.
On her website as well as on campaign literature she made the point that our budget is balanced. I offer as evidence a screen-grab from her campaign website from 22 October 2016;
I won’t re-litigate the whole letter here but suffice it to say I wasn’t happy about her Public Relations spin on our overspending by at least 43 Million Dollars during her tenure.
I’m bringing this all up due to agenda item #2 from last night’s Council Meeting. The council voted 5-0 to receive and file the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2016. Inside the CAFR was one little nugget really stood out to me when reading the report.
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.
Below is a video from late 2015 featuring Ron Thomas, the father of Kelly Thomas, who had just gotten a massive check courtesy of the taxpayers of Fullerton.
First, enjoy the feeble bleating of “city attorney” Dana Fox who is just soooooo darn glad the settlement bought peace of mind so everybody can “move on,” although, damn, that’s a pretty high price tag. Of course it ain’t coming out of his pocket, or “Patdown” Pat “I hired them all” McKinley’s, or Manuel Ramos’s or Jay Cicinelli’s or Joe Wolfe’s. We picked up the check for this, just like we always have for the FPD Culture of Corruption, and as with all settlements, the public who pays the freight never gets to learn key information – in this case the extent to which Captain Dan Hughes and former Chief McKinley may have helped cover up the mess and perhaps even if there was collusion between the cops and originator of the phony phone call that led to Thomas’s death. Naturally, neither Hughes, Joe Felz, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory or Doug “Bud” Chaffee wanted a trial.
And Ron Thomas himself may have wanted to avoid a trial, too, since that would have meant a jury and the general public would have found out that he sold the picture of his broken, comatose son for publication on FFFF – for $1200.
Anyway, at the end of this video you will hear Ron Thomas exclaim that the big settlement is an admission of liability by the City, by which he really meant us taxpayers. He says that’s all he ever wanted. Did that make you feel any better?
And now we pivot just slightly to another video, this one from 2011, wherein Ron Thomas has alerted the media that he is going to donate all of any lawsuit or settlement amount to the homeless.
Now at least we can be satisfied that some good has come out of the Kelly Thomas murder, even if we had to pay for it – $6,000,000 so far, not counting the invoices forwarded by Mssrs. Jones & Meyer, Fox, and of course the ever helpful hazmat clean-up crew run by Michael Gennaco. At least $4.9 million (less Gary Mardirossian‘s giant fee) is being given to homeless programs. Right, Ron?
FFFF has written about this particular scam before: the Fullerton cop union sends out a pleading request for donations to…itself. Now the supplicant is FPOA boss, Stewart Hamilton, and he writes to you just before Christmas – the Season of Giving!
The thing is so illogical, so dumb, and is really nothing more than pandering to the brainless, or maybe kids with access to their parent’s debit card.
Here’s the latest version of the plea for your hard-earned dough:
Notice first the emotional supplication from behind the Thin Blue Line: we’re there for you now we need you! Well, they want your money, that’s for sure, as will become evident by the end of the letter.
But no, it’s really not about money, see, it’s about family! “Knowing we are not alone” makes all the difference. Alone? They’ve got a over a hundred members plus a completely subservient city council majority.
The cheapest and dirtiest part of this greasy swindle is tying it to helping local charities and their good works. Except that there’s no details and no information about a charitable deduction. And what kind of gullible numbskull would make a charitable donation via the cop union? I’ll answer that: someone who shouldn’t have access to cash or credit.
The recipient is told that somehow his donation will “make a difference” to “fallen heroes” although this is not explained; possibly because Fullerton’s one and only “fallen hero” fell twenty-seven years ago.
But the union, that pours tens of thousands of dollars into each Fullerton politcal campaign to elect lackeys on the council like Flory, Chaffee and Fitzgerald, wants you to know how much they appreciate your generosity. Give a hundred bucks and get a lapel pin! Give $250 and you can add a “toy K9” to your bric-a-brac shelf! Double down on that and you will get a “custom” plaque you may hang on your den wall – right next to the plaque with the singing rubber bass.
For the guy with only fifty dollars to part with, you, sir, will get a decal for your car window, although Mr. Stewart assures us that it will not get you preferential treatment should you be unlucky enough to fall into the clutches of the FPD. Still you have to wonder if, maybe, former City Manager, Joe Felz wasn’t displaying a decal the nigh he jumped a Glenwood Avenue curb, ran over a tree, tried to get away and was subsequently driven home by grateful members of the FPOA.
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.
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.
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..