Way back in 2010 I offered a post attacking Norberto Santana and his relatively new blog Voice of OC. The title was “The Sad Degenerate World of Norberto Santana.” It was a pretty tough post attacking Santana’s objectivity given the fact of his financial backing by the OCEA union and what some of us perceived as slanted reporting. I won’t go into any more detail. You can check out the original post, here.
Well, over six years have passed and I, like many others have come to appreciate the good things Norberto and the Voice of OC have done uncovering the bad behavior of many of our so-called “conservative” leaders in Orange County. The Voice has been particularly effective uncovering the influence peddling going on in Anaheim, but also covering the County level, where the Board of Supervisors have been working us over like we were peons on their plantation. Their Board’s latest little tactic is to limit public comment to just 3 minutes per person, per meeting. Pretty shameful, right?
With an almost complete lack of competent news coverage on local stuff from the mainstream media, it is more important than ever that we recognize and financially support the the Voice of OC.
Both The OC Weekly and The OC Register have picked up the Uber-Failus story of Joe Felz.
According to The Register the City Attorney, Greg Palmer, said “the incident is a personnel matter but declined to elaborate”.
Let us look at that “Personnel Matter” shall we? First we’ll reference our fallen Sappy McTree.
According to Chief Hughes’ memo to City Council “the city manager was involved in a minor single vehicle collision”. Okay. That explains the tree but not what happened.
For context Sappy McTree is knocked down facing West which means that he left this mortal coil after being struck from an Easterly direction. The following is a photo of a skid mark which starts near Sappy’s remains and continues west.
It continues for 176ft. How do we know? Because we measured it.
“So what?” some of you will comment. The “So What” is California Vehicle Code 20002 (emphasis mine):
Thus spake David Whiting of the OC Register in another of his breathtakingly sycophantic ride along reports, this time with some Anaheim cops the other night. He writes about their heroics, here.
Good Lord! Whiting dons body armor! Almost a Hero himself as he chronicles the travails of folks who now could be the targets of violent crime themselves.
Of course it’s easy to mock this “journalistic” rubbish for what it is. It’s especially fun given the history of the bootlick Whiting and the Culture of Corruption in the wake of the Kelly Thomas murder. Remember this? Or this? Or this? Or this? And of course, the worst bullshit of all, here.
The reference to the cops as Roman soldiers is just hilarious; but it’s more telling than a dated reference to a Joseph Wambaugh novel, as Whiting innocently supposes in his hermetically sealed, irony-free hyperbaric chamber.
The militarization of the cops is precisely the problem that created people like Chris Dorner and Jay Cicinelli and that puts us citizens at risk from violent cops each and every day.
And recalling the activities of the cops in Anaheim and Fullerton last summer I think a reference to The New Praetorian Guard is much more apt.
In any case, why-o-why can’t the people who run the Register get it? Being little else than a pro-cop propaganda outlet is no way to run a real newspaper.
I’d say Steven Greenhut hit it out of the park with this piece in today’s OC Register:
Despite the revelations, police unions continue to behave as before, trying to intimidate council members who refuse to go along with their demands for ever-higher pay and benefits, and protections for their members from oversight and accountability.
Two councilmen in Fullerton, Bruce Whitaker and Travis Kiger, are experiencing treatment similar to the Righeimer episode in Costa Mesa. The Fullerton police union is angry at the role those men played in demanding reform in the wake of the death of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man fatally beaten by Fullerton officers in July 2011.
According to The OC Register, here, the outside “independent” investigative company hired by the City to look into the actions of the cops that beat Kelly Thomas to death last July has delivered its report on the incident. Unfortunately, nobody gets to see the report authored by Mr. Michael Gennaco except Acting Chief Dan Hughes – because it relates to police personnel matters. And, as everybody knows, those matters are shrouded in a veil of impenetrable secrecy. Just the way the police unions like it.
So we are left to guess at the contents of the report and left to guess whether or not our elected officials will be able to see it. Speaking of guesses, my guess would be no, except for Pat McKinley, of course, who seems to get special privileges when it comes to sticking his nose into personnel matters regarding the dubious characters he hired as former Police Chief.
The issues here are particularly interesting given the fact of the impending trial of Mssrs. Cicinelli and Ramos for manslaughter and murder, respectively. Negative findings could have an impact on that case. If, as many anticipate, Mr. Gennaco tends to whitewash the case we can expect a comparatively speedy release of the report with some exculpitory headlines by Lou Ponsi. Gennaco’s undernourished first report was more interesting for what it left out than for what it said,
Also lurking in the back of the room is the potentially costly civil trial and possible Civil Rights charges by the Feds. So if the report indicates that the cops acted way outside policy and procedure look for a protracted release of minimal information, or no release at all.
Here’s the title of Sylvia Mudrick’s press release describing Tuesday night’s council action with regard to Fullerton’s illegal 10% water tax: “Council approves eliminating franchise fee on water rates.” That’s not true. Yes, the council voted to stop transferring the illegal tax to the city’s General Fund, but they most certainly did not approve to eliminate the franchise fee on water rates – just the transfer, which means we will keep paying the illegal tax into some sort of escrow fund until a Prop 218 hearing can be held – the Prop 218 hearing that should have been held 15 years ago! Of course in the meantime there is no legal requirement to hold a Prop 218 hearing to quit collecting the 10%; and it looks like Quirky and Whitaker got sideswiped on the scam that will put another $400,000 in the escrow account as City manager Joe Felz tries to cook up a scheme to hang on to as much of that annual $2,500,000 he can.
But back to Mudrick: of course she has been happily peddling pro-city baloney for years, and as a retiree she is still doing it, now as a double-dipper.
The worst part of the press release is the bogus recitation of the history of the water tax, conveniently omitting the fact that periodic complaints have been coming from citizens since at least the early 1990s. Syl would have you believe that it was the City that brought this scam to light and that they have been proactive. Wrong. The City has been hiding this massive scam for decades; the tax has been patently illegal since 1997, and everybody in authority in City Hall knew it, a fact curiously omitted by our highly pensioned and still remunerated Public Misinformation Officer.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE #09312 4/18/2012
Subject :Council approves eliminating franchise fee on water rates Contact :Sylvia Palmer Mudrick, Public Information Coordinator, Fullerton City Manager’s Office (714) 738-6317
The Fullerton City Council voted at its Tuesday (April 17) meeting to eliminate the transfer of a franchise fee charged on water rates in the city, effective May 1.
The water franchise fee was first adopted in 1968 when the council assessed a fee of 2 percent of the Water Fund as a means of reimbursing the costs to the city’s general fund for operating a water utility. The fee was raised to 10 percent in 1970.
In fiscal 2010-11, the city’s general fund received approximately $2.5 million from the water franchise fee.
The franchise fee came under review in 2009-10 at the conclusion of a five-year water rate study. At that time, the council formed an Ad Hoc Water Rate Advisory Committee composed of citizens who were tasked with studying all facets of operation of the city water system.
In conjunction with its action Tuesday, the council directed the Ad Hoc Water Rate Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations on a method for the city to charge for the direct cost of operating the water system.
In addition, the council asked the committee to make recommendations on a method for reimbursing citizens for the actual cost of the franchise fee paid for the past three years.
Further information about the council action may be obtained by calling the Fullerton City Clerk’s Office at (714) 738-6350. Further information about the franchise fee and the water rate study may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Water Engineering Office at (714) 738-6845.
Thus spaketh Lou Ponsi who seems to be doing his level best to avoid real news and even to parrot the nonsense peddled by the anti-recall crowd.
Ponsi seems really impressed with banners stating how much folks love Fullerton. Ponsi doesn’t seem interested that the operation is the brainchild of downtown businesses who have profited off of the City Council’s crazy wild west show; nor in the irony that these essentially anti-recall messages are hung on public property. No, that would take independence and intelligence, traits that Ponsi simply doesn’t possess.
Of course Ponsi echoes the notion that the one and only problem is the minor altercation last summer that left Kelly Thomas’ brains in a Transportation Center gutter, and of course he ignores the reality a phone call made by – a downtown business, that may very well have an I Love Fullerton banner in front of it.
Lou must have a short or self-serving memory if he can’t remember:
FPD cop Todd Major – convicted of fraud, 2011.
FPD cop Kelly Mejia – plead guilty to grand larceny, 2011
FPD cop Albert Rincon – accused of a dozen sexual batteries while in uniform causing a rebuke from a federal judge and a $350,000 settlement (so far), but actually “separated” for something else (jeez how bad could that have been), 2006-2011.
FPD cop Vincent Mater – “separated” after destroying evidence in a Fullerton jail suicide, identified as an untrustworthy “Brady cop” and suspected of a roll in the false identification in the Emanuel Martinez case. Charged by the District Attorney,2011.
FPD cop “Sonny” Saliceo who through laziness or malice, permitted or encouraged the mis-identification of Emanuel Martinez who subsequently spent five months in jail.
FPD employee April Baughman who was recently arrested on charges of theft from the FPD property room over a period of two years. 2012.
A lawsuit by Veth Mam against the police department and FPD cop Kenton Hampton for a laundry list of civil rights violations and false prosecution. 2011.
A lawsuit by Andrew Trevor Clarke against FPD cop Cary Tong and half the FPD for a laundry list of civil rights violations. 2012.
A lawsuit by Edward Miguel Quinonez against the FPD and Kenton Hampton for even more civil rights violations. 2011
And let’s not forget the eventual civil and civil rights suits against the balance of the FPD Six (including our old friends Kenton Hampton and Joe Wolfe). 2011.
Then in non-police matters there’s the little problem of the City Council giving away land worth millions for free to campaign contributors; and giving away huge subsidies to the bag man who runs the anti-recall campaign. 1996-2012.
And finally let us recall the biggest scam of all – the perpetuation of the illegal water tax for fifteen long years that went, in part, to pay the salaries and pensions of the very city council that looked the other way year after year. 1996-2012.
The following is an open letter from Chris Thompson of the Fullerton Recall to Larry Bennett, the Chairman of Protect Fullerton – Recall No (the anti-recall campaign). It was emailed directly to Larry a few moments ago.
Dear Larry Bennett,
As one of the supporters of the Fullerton Recall, I would like to publicly invite the leaders of the anti-recall committee known as Protect Fullerton – Recall No to debate the issues of this campaign. We believe that the public would benefit tremendously from your organization answering our questions publicly and openly and by the leaders of the Fullerton Recall answering yours. We are utterly open to any venue, format, time or circumstance as long as a public vetting of ideas, issues and values is the goal. Our preference would be to include the three council members involved, but we are willing to debate only the anti-recall supporters and leaders. In the hope of encouraging your participation, we are willing to call for recall supporters to stand down and even disallow protests and signage if the law allows. In fact, if it is your preference, a forum could be held in a closed environment so long as both sides are allowed to video the event in its entirety. We are willing to discuss format, rules and participants and are likely to defer to your wishes as long as the forum allows for bringing our assertions and yours into the light of day.
We have made many assertions about Pat McKinley, Don Bankhead and Dick Jones’ failure to lead. You have answered with many claims of self-interest and political axe-grinding by recall supporters. I think one thing that you and I can and will agree on is that the truth of these claims are very important to the Fullerton community.
Simply stated, if Tony Bushala is pursuing this recall for the sake of his own business interests at the expense of the taxpayers, it absolutely serves the voters of Fullerton to be educated on this reality. In fact, if I become convinced of this, I will cease to be a political ally of Tony’s. In turn, if McKinley, Bankhead and Jones have placed the protection of… and interests of public employee unions and their supporters ahead of the interests of the voters, this should be brought to light.
If right and truth are on your side, I can see little downside to this proposal for your campaign. I know that you have my number and email Larry. I look forward to hearing from you.
Chris Thompson, Representative The Fullerton Recall
Now enjoy The OC Weekly’s Scott Moxley (a real reporter, by the way) as he tunes up the OC Register’s hackling, here. There seems to be a long tradition of pro-cop stoogery at the the rag, er, I mean the Reg, and Whiting is the latest wearer of the crown.
The central theme of Moxley’s piece is the notion that members of the Fourth Estate have a moral obligation to challenge those in authority, not lick their, um, boots. Poor Lou Ponsi is forced by his boss to write fluff pieces. Whiting has no such excuse; he seems perfectly content to pet and pamper those in authority, no matter how little he actually knows about what’s really going on.
If the Register can’t do its job a journalistic endeavor, I say it’s time to pull the plug. Who will join me in a boycott?