Behind the Bullshit – Late Turkey Edition

You know you want it...just put down the gun, junior
You know you want it…just put down the gun, junior

The other day one of our fine writers in the FFFF stable of bloggers brought to our attention a rather noxious operation called Behind the Badge, that profits from taxpayer’s by acting as a PR conduit for the local police force. In other words we pay them to tell us how great our cops are.

So I took the trip to BtB to see what sort of pabulum they were dishing up. The usual insipid fare. But one thing they were touting in a “story” was a program by OC GRIP – some sort of gang intervention program run by our good-for-nothing District Attorney – that was giving Thanksgiving dinners to kids who had “earned” it through attitude improvement. The post was full of happy pictures that featured smiling Fullerton cops, who got the job of handing over the turkeys.

Sounds nice huh? But really, what kind of program uses food for the Thanksgiving holiday as an incentive to act good? The whole thing started to smell like an old turkey carcass left out in the dumpster- sort of a government charity masquerading as “tough love” where kids “earn” (we don’t give anything away, here!) food for a holiday. The whole thing strikes me as manipulative and patronizing.

And of course the writer of this piece was none other than our old acquaintance Lou Ponsi, whose slavish loyalty to City Hall and the FPD, even as he pretended to be a real reporter, have been documented, here. At least he doesn’t have to pretend anymore.

 

 

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.

 

Behind the Bullshit – Standards? Really?

“Behind the Badge OC” is a propaganda outlet for “public safety” departments across Orange County. It is run by former OC Register staff who came to realize that writing cop puff pieces on their own was even more lucrative than doing it while pretending to be reporters for the pathetic, knee-jerk pro-cop Register.

This enterprise works for police unions in the main, but things get really profitable when they can sucker a public agency, like the City of Fullerton, to use public money to write this drivel, all under the auspices of “educating” us about our wonderful police department. You’d think that honest work, a good attitude, and abiding by the same laws the rest of us have to, would be sufficient to generate respect for our boys and girls in blue. Wink.

But enough preamble.

Back on June 13th, BtB published this completely unremarkable tale about the squad responsible for documenting the training given to FPD personnel and the standards that apply thereunto. Standards, eh?

Fullerton Police from left, Cpl. Eric Song, Patricia Arevalo, Sgt. Dan Castillo, Lt. Andrew Goodrich and Cpl. Donny Blume. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC & Paid for by Fullerton Taxpayers
Fullerton Police from left, Cpl. Eric Song, Patricia Arevalo, Sgt. Dan Castillo, Lt. Andrew Goodrich and Cpl. Donny Blume.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC & Paid for by Fullerton Taxpayers

Check out the adipose and otiose individual in the middle who is in charge of this unit: none other that our old friend Andrew Goodrich, who was last heard of serving in the exalted office of watch commander the night of November 8th, when our City Manager, Joe Felz, ran off the road, was given a pass on a breathalyzer test, was driven home and tucked into bed by one or more of those cops who got all that expensive training.

You may also remember Goodrich from his stint as FPD Public Information Officer – a job in which he really shined – passing out phony information to make Kelly Thomas look bad, and the cops who killed him, well, at least better. He was also part of Chief Danny Hughes’ obnoxious scheme to hand out tickets to protest supporters for “excessive horning.”

Revisiting The Seven Walls of Local Government

What? We can't hear you. Please speak louder...
What? We can’t hear you. Please speak louder…

Over five years years ago this blog published an essay (broken into bite-sized pieces) on the subject of local government and how it exercises its ability to effectively marginalize and ultimately disenfranchise the very citizens it is supposed to be working for. It is called The Seven Walls of Local Government and it has both scholarly and entertainment value.

For the reawakening of the blog from its almost four-year snooze, I propose to re-schedule this masterpiece for the edification of the Friends. Stay tuned.

 

The Sound of Silence

I would have done it even cheaper...
I would have done it even cheaper…

Not much has come out of Fullerton Junior College lately on the case of cop-turned-security guard Dino Skokos who handed out an unwarranted beat down on an undernourished FJC student in October.

A writer for The Hornet named Madalyn Amato,  reports that although an “independent investigator” has been engaged, nothing else has been forthcoming. The fact that the investigator, a law firm called Currier & Hudson, solely specializes in acting as defense counsel for government agencies, should send out appropriate warning bells. See where this is going?

In the aftermath of outrage, the bureaucratic playbook is being executed as expected.

First, ignore any criminality on the part of the district employee and announce an independent investigation, with the goal of diverting responsibility, or even better, procrastinating ’til everybody’s forgotten about the incident.

Naturally, the independent investigator is really just a carefully selected government defense pettifogger, hired to relieve the agency of as much liability as possible and absorb any leftover PR issues. Of course, hiring a law firm comes with desirable effects, such as the benefit of attorney client privilege. See, it’s easier to control an investigation if the investigator can’t actually reveal any findings detrimental to the institution.

The cleanup is underway
The cleanup is underway

And now we wait. The employee takes a paid vacation, the real police fail to deliver a criminal investigation, and NOCCCD eventually pays out a quiet settlement to the victim who will make a deal in a civil courtroom. Nothing to see here.

Close enough...
Close enough…

And now let’s let Fullerton Junior College President Greg Schulz take us home via The Hornet article:

President Greg Schulz promised the college’s full dedication in reaching a conclusion regarding the incident.

Photo Fun

A Friend forwarded this image to us a couple days ago. I’ll be golderned if I can figure out what to scribble about, so it’s up to Friends. Yes, that’s right! It’s the old FFFF “we’re to lazy to write” game called PROVIDE US WITH A CAPTION!

Bottoms Up!
Bottoms Up!

 

Do Not Trust the Trustees

On Thursday, November 17, the North Orange County Community College District held an the Environmental Impact Report scoping session for the Measure J funded improvements to Fullerton College.

As  you know from our previous report on this matter, the proposed improvements include a football field (estimated during the presentation to cost $4 million to build, so consider that a low floor to the likely final cost) but does not include improvements to the Veteran’s Center. When this discrepancy was addressed, Fullerton College President Greg Schultz gave the following explanation:

  1. We have to understand that the NOCCCD cannot do everything it would like to do with Measure J funds, so they have not been able to make the improvements to the Veteran’s Center at this time;
  2. The stadium will be funded through other funds, not Measure J money and he promises to not use Measure J money to build the stadium.

Let’s take these two responses one at a time, shall we?

First, the characterizing of the veteran’s center as just one of many improvements that the NOCCCD would like to perform is extremely dishonest. Let’s re-wind the clock again to back when NOCCCD sought voter approval for their $574 million construction bond:

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The Odd Case of the Client Newsletter

richard_jones

Okay, you may have painfully listened to the five-minute drone of Fullerton City Attorney Richard Jones on a previous post, explaining why no information was forthcoming in the Case of the City Manager and the Dead Parkway Tree. Sorry to inflict that on you, but no pain, no gain, as they say.

If your cerebral synapses are sufficiently recovered, reflect back on what Mr. Jones, Esq. said, and what he was asked to repeat twice by our Mayor, about electronic records generated at the scene and how they could not be released via PRA request because they were part of an “ongoing investigation;” but moreover, because they were somehow part of some sort of double-top secret “personnel” proceedings.

But wait! A quick trip to Jones and Meyer’s website newsletter to clients (we are clients, aren’t we?) reveals some interesting case law that seems to show exactly the opposite of the malarkey Jones was pitching to a remarkably incurious Council the other night. Here’s the synopsis:

mav-evidence

See? The video was created before any administrative investigation, or internal affairs investigation even started.

So let’s get this straight. A “client alert” sent out less than four months ago seems to contradict what Jones said, and reiterated twice on Tuesday night. Hmm. Hopefully someone can drop by to explain why the case of City Manager Joe Felz isn’t covered by the Greenson case finding by the Court of Appeal.

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.

The Yellowing Submarine

Things never looked better for Fullerton.
Things never looked better for Fullerton.

An alert Friend directed our attention to the Fullerton Observer’s “reporting” of the recent Joe Felz/Danny Hughes Glenwood Ave. Road Rally. Here’s the article. As usual the Observer does its level best to downplay the incident –  since for the Yellowing Observers City Hall can do no wrong. If you want, you can see it here. Below is a facsimile.

Journalism at it's finest!
Journalism at it’s finest!

Let’s enjoy some of the unintended hilarity.

First notice that neither the chief player in this drama, nor even his august title are mentioned in the headline, a rather glaring omission, one would think.

It is not until the end of the second paragraph that we discover the tree killer is our beloved city manager; and it wasn’t until the next sentence that he is identified – only as “Mr. Felz.”

None of the pertinent facts are shared: that Felz had been drinking; that he had tried to drive away; that he had been given a pass on the breathalyzer test that would have been forced on you or me, or even Sharon Kennedy, editor of this mess.

Ironically, Page 6 contains a saccharine farewell to Chief Dan Hughes, whose last official task as chief was to make sure his boss got a safe ride home and tucked into bed without the worry of an annoying and embarrassing DUI rap. Thanks for the solid, man!

“Leaked to a local blog.” Ha ha! Yes, indeed! But no mention of the evil FFFF, where original and dangerous attitudes prevail! Jeez, even Sappy McTree got more shine than we did.

And finally: “…witnessing a driver (you mean THE driver) trying to maneuver his vehicle off the causeway.”

Causeway? Just like The Observer of old: error riddled, incompetent, supine and illiterate.