Behind the Badge – The Gravy Train

No civilians were harmed in the making of this satire…

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.

Here are the documents we were given.

The documents we received indicate a completely non-transparent, slipshod City-vendor relationship in which deliverables are sketchy, and grossly overvalued.

Danny says you are either ignorant or misinformed!!!

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.

The Blue Crew

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.

Before we only had to pay him to make stuff up…

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.

 

 

How do Fullerton cops know if you’re too high to drive?

Well, the short answer is that if they don’t get a call from the Chief of Police telling you to drive the dude home, they’ve got their man. And if they’re lucky they get to keep his impounded his car.

No, this is not Joe Felz…
Ironic use of photo by Bill Alkofer, OC Register

Seriously, though, the virtually useless OC Register ran another one of its slanted, pro cop pieces yesterday about the evils of mary-j-wanna, and I wouldn’t even bother posting about it except that it featured the images and words of Fullerton’s expert dope detecting cops.

The extreme irony of Fullerton cops being set up as exemplars in the detection of impaired drivers seems to have escaped the writers and editors at the Register, given the department’s behavior in the case of the Missing Maniacal Motorist, former City Manager, Joe Felz, who was apprehended after jumping a Glenwood Avenue curb, uprooting a tree, and trying to drive off. Despite emitting an odor of alcohol strong enough to be detected by a cop on the scene, the boyz in blue gave Joe a pass and a ride home. I’m not sure, but he may have been tucked into bed, and gotten a glass of warm milk and a cookie, too.

Okay, So Maybe I was Wrong!

By Tony Bushala, Guest Contributor

Hell, yes!
Hell, yes!

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.

“Personnel Matter” is Bureaucrat for “Misdemeanor”

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.

Dearly Departed Sappy McTree
Dearly Departed 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.

Fleeing the Scene?
Fleeing the Scene?

It continues for 176ft. How do we know? Because we measured it.

176ft Skid Mark
176ft Skid Mark

“So what?” some of you will comment. The “So What” is California Vehicle Code 20002 (emphasis mine):

(more…)

New Centurions Watching All Our Backs?

Those army boots look a little soiled. Let me at 'em!
Those army boots look a little soiled. Let me at ’em!

“New centurions watching all our backs.”

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.

Back Room Deals at the FPD; Hughes Wants Blatney, Craig and Hampton Back on Our Streets

What we have here is failure to communicate...

Acting Chief Dan Hughes has been trying real hard lately to peddle the notion that he is in charge of a new and improved Fullerton Police Department, even though when you get right down to it there really wasn’t all that much to fix – just some irritating communication problems.

Although the scribes at the OC Register have apparently bought into this malarky, others who have seen the veritable conga line of crime perpetrated by the boys and girls in FPD blue, are a long way from being convinced. After all, the first step toward recovery is admitting the problem right?

Which is all preliminary to the point of this post.

Our FPD deep cover source informs us that Hughes is pressing to have three of the cops who ganged up on Kelly Thomas, and who stood around as he gasped his last breaths in the gutter, return to active duty. That would be cops Hampton, Blatney, and Craig. Of course he needs the DAs assurance that these goons won’t be prosecuted for anything. Which is why he came out with all that BS about how he and his boys were part of the “prosecution team” and why Tony Rackaukas praised the FPD for all their hard work for the benefit of Lou Ponsi. Looks like that deal’s done. It’s all about damage control now, and surely the City’s highly paid lawyer Michael Gennaco chipped in to help exonerate the three accomplices though his double top-secret report.

We have also been informed that although he is formally being fired, a back room deal is in the works to reward Joe Wolfe, the thug who started the murderous beat down on Kelly Thomas, with a nice, fat disability claim if he goes quietly. Of course we’ve been told that Wolfie re-injured his shoulder in the “tussle”, most likely bashing Kelly’s face with his elbow. That ought to good for a hundred thou’ of our money, give or take. Nice.

 

Fullerton Employee Arrested for Embezzling $35,000

The OC Register is reporting that the former risk manager for the city of Fullerton was arrested today and charged with running an embezzlement scheme and stealing over $35,00 of public funds.

Darryl Phillips, former Fullerton employee

According to the story, Phillips is accused of processing false injury claims filed against city workers on behalf of his friends. Phillips apparently had the authority to approve the claims and authorize payment himself. He has been charged with 10 felonies and is out on $50,000 bail.

Of course this type of thing won’t sit well with the local critics, especially in the awakened age of Bell. Questions abound. For instance, who hired this guy? What else did he steal? Who else is stealing? Why did he have the sole authority to pay fraudulent claims? And finally, was the arrest intentionally delayed until two days after the election, in order to protect the public image of former public employees, two of whom were running for office?

We’ll probably never know the answers to all of these burning questions, but that won’t stop us from asking.

Townsend Uncovers Fullerton’s Overtime Racket

Register reporter Adam Townsend dropped a bomb early this morning with an in-depth report on Fullerton’s astounding overtime costs.

The report summarizes the $3,000,000 spent on overtime last year, listing the top 102 overtime earners (view the Register’s list). Among them, a paramedic named Timothy Hartinger worked the most overtime in 2009 with 1,160 hours at time and a half pay, bringing his total earnings to a glorious $138,117.

Notably, these wage figures do not include an additional 33% in pension contributions or thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums for public safety union members.

Naturally, the overcompensated fire and police union members came up at the top of the list and made their best efforts to deflect criticism with emotional falsities. One fireman played the classic union card, repeating the claim that he would die 10 years earlier because his job is so dangerous. Nice try pal, but CalPERS actuarials have proven that public safety employees live just as long as everybody else.

FFFF favorite Jack Dean made his way into the report, saying “Considering the unemployment situation, it doesn’t appear to be right that there’s so much overtime when so many people are unemployed,” concluding “there appears to be something wrong with this structure.” Something wrong, indeed.

Even the city manager got in on the fun when asked about minimum staffing for firefighters, which significantly boosts their expensive overtime pay. “The provision is there because of the union. If I had my preference, I’d do away with it, but it’s sacred to the firefighters,” said Chris Meyer.

We’ve been hard on Register reporter Adam Townsend in the past, but it’s great to see that there’s still some life left in the Register’s local coverage. It takes a little bit of courage to rock the boat of public safety employees, and hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future.

Observer Smacked Down

Nobody told us about the depth charges.

Previously we noted the Fullerton Observer’s legal maneuvering in an attempt to add itself to the city payroll. Last week we found out that Sharon Kennedy’s court filing had been met with objections by both the Orange County Register and the City of Fullerton.

The City’s objection is based on the same points we brought up a few weeks ago – namely, the Observer is not printed within the city, it is not printed weekly and it doesn’t have a bona fide list of paying subscribers as required by law. That’s three strikes for the Observer.

City of Fullerton’s Objection

The city calls into question Sharon Kennedy’s own filing, where we learn that the Observer boasts a whopping 598 paid subscribers and a monthly online distribution that rivals FFFF’s daily hits.

Next we have an objection filed by OC Register attorneys, which finds fault with the notice that Kennedy filed for her own hearing. The Register sums up the problem by saying “It is ironic that the Petitioner [Fullerton Observer] is seeking to publish important legal notices, yet cannot even publish its own Notice correctly.”

OC Register’s Objection

Kennedy pushed out her hearing to the end of July. I suspect she will drop it all together rather than suffer further embarrassment.

Bottom line: Kennedy’s dying cause here is to get the Fullerton Observer onto the city payroll. We’ve already demonstrated the paper’s inability to criticize city staff, engage in any kind of investigative journalism within city hall or participate objective reporting all while claiming that it is a legitimate newspaper. It’s hard to imagine any of these conditions improving should Kennedy’s paper wind up on the taxpayer’s dole.