How Fitzcal Irresponsibility Drove Us Over the Cliff

“Hey, it was balanced for a few seconds!” Jennifer Fitzgerald, probably

 

Now that the City of Fullerton is finally admitting that our budget is not balanced!, contrary to Jennifer Fitzgerald’s campaign claims, this would be a good time to revisit how we got here in the first place.

The City of Fullerton website includes links for the minutes and agenda for the last four years of city council meetings and beyond and can be found here.  You’ll find that on October 20, 2015, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Municipal Employees Federation 1200 (resolution 2015-52), which provided increased costs of $5,595,576 over the next four years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on November 3, 2015. The resolution passed 3-2.

But that’s not all, not by a long shot.

On November 3, 2015, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Police Officers’ Association – Safety and Dispatcher Units (resolution 2015-59), which provided increased costs of $9,502,904 over the next four years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on November 17, 2015. The resolution passed 3-2.

Fitzcal responsibility.

On February 16, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Firefighters’ Association (resolution 2016-16), which provided increased costs to the city of $1,959,821 over the next two years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on March 1, 2016. The resolution passed 3-2.

On April 5, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Management Association (resolution 2016-23), which increased costs to the city of $1,175,030 over the next four years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on April 19, 2016. The resolution passed 3-2.

Also on April 5, and again on April 19, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for a revised resolution providing for raises to confidential non-represented employees (resolution 2016-24), which increased costs to the city of $391,857 over the next four years. The resolution passed 3-2.

And on December 6, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Police Management Association, which increased costs to the city of $882,492 over the next four years. The resolution passed 3-2. Oh, and if you’re interested, this was the meeting where outgoing councilmember Jan Flory berated Josh Ferguson for having the temerity to claim our budget wasn’t balanced and we were exhausting our reserves (starting at around 1:21:00).

Over the course of her first term in office (the December 6 hearing was a lame duck session), Jennifer Fitzgerald voted for pay increases totaling nineteen million five hundred and seven thousand nine hundred and fifty three dollars ($19,507,953) over a four year span – or almost five million dollars per year. And Fitzgerald’s vote was crucial for the passage of each and every one of these pay increases.

And let’s not forget the numerous “side letters” Fitzgerald approved over the years as well – including one for $500,000 on November 5, 2013, for $450,000 on March 4, 2014, for $60,000 per year on April 15, 2014 (to “adjust” Fullerton Fire Management’s pay to bring it into parity with Brea’s), and for $202,00 on November 14, 2014, plus several other agreements for less than $100,000. Oh, and let’s not also forget the $4.9 million settlement of Ron Thomas’s lawsuit which Fitzgerald also voted to authorize, which will be indirectly paid for by the city through increased insurance premiums for decades to come.

So Jennifer Fitzerald didn’t just mislead voters about our supposedly balanced! budget. – she was one of the architect of our current fiscal mess in the first place.

Re-elected And Alone

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?”

Boozing, Schmoozing and Being Lobbied. Check, Please…

 

Man, there’s a lot of bottles back there!

Let’s say you’re the mayor of a City that is chugging red ink like a drunk city manager slurping booze in a cheap downtown Fullerton bar. Would you be sensitive to the appearance of wasting taxpayer’s money on a footling trip to Sacramento, ostensibly to “advocate” for something? Well, not if you’re crooked, and very confident. And nobody has accused our 2016 mayor, Jennifer “sparkyfitz” Fitzgerald of honesty, or lack of confidence about not having it.

Last year the Orange County Business Council, the twisted brain child of grifters Curt Pringle and Lucy Dunn (whose purpose is to rob public agency coffers) teamed up (once again!) with the Association of California Cities – OC another twisted brain child of Curt pringle and Lucy Dunn (whose purpose is to rob public agency coffers). Why? The teamwork was meant to throw a big, out-of-town lobbyist party. In Sacramento. Naturally, our then mayor-for-hire Jennifer “sparkyfitz” Fitzgerald had to attend. And so did our then-City Manager Joe Felz. Wild Ride Joe knew which side of his bread was buttered and who was buttering it. And then there was all that liquor – paid for by somebody or other.

Of course “advocacy” means lobbying, but surprise! It turns out that the would-be lobbyists were not going to Sacto to lobby, but to be lobbied! And we paid for it.The politicos who went were there to lobbied by other ACC-OC/OCBC members! That’s the cozy, incestuous little world inhabited by the Fitzgerald family. That’s the ACC-OC/OCBC formula for success.

Wow. Even Doug “Bud” Chaffee went to this expensive non-event. And while certain stuff that couldn’t be easily laid on the public – like Chaffee’s wife’s plane ticket – was reimbursed by the party-goers – the rest of it was on our dime. And at the very same time Fitzgerald was lying about Fullerton having a balanced budget. Here are the numbers:

 

What sort of idiot pays almost $500 for airfare to Sacramento? The sort of person who is playing with house’s money. I wonder if a single mutual legislative goal was achieved. I bet not. Any takers?

And the Award for Most Ridiculous Awards Show Goes to…

While there is much in government to bemoan and criticize there is apparently much to celebrate as well, at least according to the Association of California Cities – Orange County, who are soliciting nominations for the Sixth Annual Golden Hub of Innovation Awards.


Yes, that’s right. The Government has an award show.

The ACC-OC is giving out awards in multiple categories, including Elected Leader of the Year, City Manager Leader of the Year, Innovator of the year and Public Private Partnerships of the year.
Last year’s winner for Innovator of the Year was the Anaheim Fire Chief who approved an ambulance system to respond to non-urgent medical requests, an “innovation” about fifty years behind almost every emergency response system outside out Orange County. Not to be outdone, 2014’s winner of the Innovator of the Year award was this guy:

A toast to all my good ideas…

The ACC-OC is a lobbying organization, ostensibly created to lobby on behalf of its member Cities in Sacramento, and prevent the passage of legislation harmful to municipalities, but their actual priority seems to be lobbying Cities to implement the kind of statist, crony, public-private partnerships the organization itself prefers. For example, in one seminar sponsored in July 2015, ACC-OC advocated both streetcars and the Poseidon desalination plant in a seminar hosted by no less than Curt Pringle himself. ACC-OC also was one of the driving forces behind the HERO program, which facilitated construction of solar panels by converting the construction costs into high interest tax liens on residences (specifically, eight percent a year high, for a senior lien). So, not only does ACC-OC lobby Fullerton for bad legislation but we PAY them to do so with our own tax dollars.

That aside, in the spirit of this press release, can FFFF come up with its own nominees or, better yet, its own categories for the “Golden Hub of Innovation?” Maybe award Hugo Curiel Procrastinator of the Year for his failure to report the water loss at Laguna Lake until the statute of limitations against the civil engineer that performed the work had run? Perhaps a doublespeak award is in order for the fine folks at the NOCCCD for their efforts to claim that the football stadium they are trying to build with Measure J money isn’t going to be built with Measure J money. ACC-OC also needs a White Elephant of the Year award to honor tireless efforts of some staffers to push expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects like streetcars, ARTIC or the “Great Park” in Irvine. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

Business as Usual – In Every Sense of the Term

Back on December 1, 2016 KTLA reporter Chip Yost made a Public Records Act request about information surrounding then-City Manager Joe Felz’s alcohol odorific Wild Ride.

 

His main business is dirty businesses.

Poor Chip. Of course he was given the big FU from Gregory Palmer, employee of the City Attorney and best known by us for his enthusiastic adult sex business work. Palmer cites disclosure laws that have now been thrown out by the State Supreme Court, and somehow believes that communications from then-Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes are exempt, too.

One thing that was turned over is the following memo from Gretchen Beatty, HR Director, who somehow has taken it upon herself to write an apology for Felz even though she admits the latter is still “on duty.” Under the comical subject line “Keeping You Informed” she proceeds to tell her “colleagues” nothing they surely didn’t already know.

Gretch says the FPD is “completing its independent investigation” which is a wonderful oxymoron and also not true. But let’s not let truth impede upon the business of City Hall. Rather, let us observe business as usual.

 

Behind the Bullshit: Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

It was only a matter of time before the laughable pro-cop PR outlet called Behind the Badge (that we pay for) went from trying to impress us with Fullerton cops’ good works to putting the poor lads on the psychiatrist’s couch.

Service pistol concealed in robes…

A typical BtB “article” reads like a veritable life of Saint Francis of Assisi, in which the sick are healed, the hungry are fed, and the homeless housed. But not the piece I’m writing about today. It was crayoned by a well-pensioned Anaheim former cop called Joe Vargas, and it refers to a Pew Research Center report about a survey that allegedly proves how tough and dangerous cops say their work is, what with all those suspicious black folks and noisy critics doing all that complaining. Why, Good Heavens! They are almost afraid to go out on the streets, seemingly.

Off course Mr. Vargas fails to inform his readers that the survey is all about impressions and opinions and doesn’t provide a nickle’s worth of statistical information about the real risk involved in being a police officer. It’s all about feelings.

And now let’s enjoy the self-serving takeaway provided by Fullerton’s police union:

I have a different question…

Oooh. Scary stuff!

Here’s an alternative question: does the cops’ ability to be shielded from the consequences of their own illegal behavior by POBAR, and by a justice system and by union-elected politicians that coddle and protect them at the price of justice itself, impact public safety? Of course we all know the answer to that.

By the way, it’s too bad Vargas doesn’t cite results shared in the entire Pew article, which paints a much less dire picture of how cops view their  jobs. But Behind the Badge is  pure for-profit propaganda, so expecting an honest essay from Officer Joe is a lot like expecting a good reason for someone to end up in the Fullerton jail.

 

 

Don’t Just Complain – Do Something

We’ve covered the Red Oak development before – a four story, 295 unit development at 600 Commonwealth which does not have adequate parking and would create serious traffic concerns as residents block traffic on the West side of Commonwealth to turn into the project during rush hour.

Behold… it’s coming.

On January 16, the City Council on a 4-1 vote largely approved the Project, leaving the door just barely cracked for minor revisions to the proposal. I have spoken with the developer of the project, who has discussed potentially alleviating the parking issue by adding a level to the proposed parking lot, and while this would admittedly help the parking issue if they followed through, the traffic problems would remain. Think about it – just how exactly will the Westbound side of Commonwealth be traversable during rush hour if the left lane is being blocked every five minutes by a tenant looking to turn into their home?

So what’s different about this vote? Someone decided to do something about it.

The group Friends for a Livable Fullerton has decided to not take the vote lying down and have been circulating a petition. If they are able to collect the 6,800 required signatures it will qualify for a public vote of the voters of the City of Fullerton to overturn the Council’s resolution.

Pictured: Activism

So here’s the deal: Friends for a Liveable Fullerton need signatures and even more important they need people to circulate those signatures. So if you agree that it’s time to take our City back then help the volunteers at FLF. They can be reached through their facebook page at  or via email at  and help them get the signatures they need.

Kelly Thomas Jury Foreman Plays Victim; Gets No Sympathy As John & Ken Rip Him A New One

Yesterday a strange creature crawled out of the ooze – a fellow named “Roy” (fake name), who claimed to be the jury foreman in the 2013 Kelly Thomas murder trial.

This pathetic SOB sent in a request for a hearing on the John and Ken radio show to set the record straight about the verdict. Why now? Apparently he and his fellow pumpkins on the jury have been subjected to all sorts of mean social media ridicule and threats (he says), even after three years. It didn’t take John and Ken long to get sick of this whiner’s attempt to dodge, deflect and then diminish what the cops did to a skinny, sick, homeless guy.

You know “Roy” is soon to get his ass handed to him when he describes, Lou Ponsi-like, the brutal assault as a “scuffle,”

“Roy” doesn’t recognize Ramos trying to intimidate Kelly, and it doesn’t bother him a bit that Wolfe actually struck the blow that caused Kelly to run – a perfectly natural move for someone who has been threatened and hit with a cop club.  Those provocations were really at the heart of the episode: the entire drama was caused, deliberately, by Ramos and Wolfe.

It is particularly nauseating to listen to this moron explain away Cicinelli pulverizing Kelly’s face as a necessary tactic against the struggling homeless man; and then declaring that Kelly died not of facial injury anyhow, but by “chest compression” whatever the Hell this dimwit thinks that means. The fact is that the blood inhaled from Kelly’s severe facial injuries caused asphyxiation at the same time the cops sat on his chest.

And of course this human vegetable ignores the aftermath – the Fullerton cops willfully ignored the unconscious guy who was dying in the gutter – as they got their little scrapes band-aided by paramedics.

File this one under “better to keep your mouth shut asshole, and just go away.”

Get Run Over, Get Paid

Remember David Tovar, the bike rider guy who got rammed from behind by an unmarked Fullerton police vehicle? In case you don’t, here’s an interview from 2012:

Tovar later filed a civil rights suit against the city of Fullerton, claiming that officer Bryan Bybee intentionally used the vehicle as a deadly weapon.

The city predictably responded by denying all claims.

Well, we went spelunking through settlement agreements approved by City Hall and discovered that the taxpayers up coughed up $20,000 to David Tovar for one of our cops chasing, and crashing into him.

 

Behind the Badge: Dan and Bill’s Excellent Oregon Adventure

Bill Rams, the principal of Cornerstone Communications and man behind Behind the Badge.

Last spring former Police Chief Dan “Galahad” Hughes and Bill Rams went up to Oregon to speak at a cop convention. The City paid for Hughes and Bill Rams’ plane tickets. Who is Bill Rams?

Bill Rams is the proprietor of “Behind the Badge,” a shallow, police feel-good PR outlet that sells its dubious information to public agencies so the taxpayers can pay for cop propaganda aimed right back at them. We have already noticed that this charming swindle was orchestrated in Fullerton behind the scenes by former City Manager Joe Felz – without any public input or council oversight.

Hughes went up to Portland to deliver of himself some sort of speech to the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, titled “When Trust is Tested…Strategies for Restoring Public Confidence.” That name alone should cause a torrent of laughter here in more southerly latitudes given the Culture of Corruption in the Fullerton Police Department in which Captain Danny Hughes was an integral part of the management team, and that included theft, fraud, sexual battery, perjury, more perjury, false arrest, assault, more assault, more theft, destruction of evidence, kidnapping and homicide. His solution as soon as he became Chief? Hold an open house and hire a footling PR purveyor named Bill Rams. But I digress…

 

Why did the taxpayers foot the bill for Chief Danny’s air fare to Oregon in the first place? And why on Earth did we have to pay to send Danny’s little chronicler, Bill Rams, to a conference that had absolutely nothing to do with Hughes’s job of running our police department?

Here is the full expense report.

Should the city be flying employees around the country on personal speaking junkets? Of course not. Should the City be paying their own vendors to fly around the country so they can hand out business cards? Of course not.

Sinnce Danny got his freight paid by us we can assume he was on the clock the whole time. And I would be remiss if I didn’t cynically ask whether or not “Chief” got a cash honorarium from OACP for his presentation. That would mean he got paid twice.

 

Rental Car
Jet Blue
Alaska