In the wake of the Kelly Thomas murder at the hands of the FPD, two different yet eerily similar tactics emerged for deflecting responsibility away from the cops.
Fullerton’s antique liberal crowd quickly banded together so that society itself could be blamed, not the FPD: the problem was not murderous, corrupt or even incompetent cops. Oh, no. The problem was one of homelessness and the solution was to provide a homeless shelter! Why Kelly would probably even be alive today!
On the other hand, the anonymous cop-protectors keep insisting that the problem lay with poor parenting for Kelly’s death, as if a schizophrenic, 35 year-old man was somehow the responsibility of his parents, and as if that somehow exculpates the six cops who beat him to death and stood around laughing as he died in a pool of his own blood.
Of course both groups relied heavily upon a completely comical whitewash of the FPD Culture of Corruption by paid-for opinion of Michael Gennaco.
The County of Orange’s attempt to cram a permanent homeless shelter in east Fullerton across the street from single-family homes and an elementary school have taught us four things, so far.
First, it is very clear that no Fullerton elected representatives were told anything about this high-handed plan. Second, the County can do it with or without the City’s agreement. Third, nobody at the County gives a damn that they will be paying $3.15 million for a broken down old building that nobody knows the cost to make habitable. Four, the media will never report any of this.
As to the first point, here is a report about a meet and greet event by Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker, who asked the County for a few weeks’ delay so that the City Council could learn just what the County has in store for us. Request denied.
And here is an e-mail we received from some local resident who says he has just started a petition to seek redress:
Hello!I’ve started the petition “Fullerton city council: Stop the County from opening a 24/7 homeless shelter at 301 S St College Bl” and need your help to get it off the ground.Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:
This is a 29,000 square foot building that is located near an elementary school, park and houses. This homeless shelter will make Fullerton the dumping ground for homeless. Crime will increase and spread to the whole area. This deal is being done without much awareness from the public. A life long friend of County Supervisor Nelson stands to make nearly 100k from the deal. This is bad for North OC. This shelter will end up looking like skid row in downtown LA where crime and drug use is rampant. Fullerton is not LA.
You can sign my petition by clicking here.
Well, good luck with that! Apparently the County can do whatever it likes and your County Supervisor isn’t interested in your opinion.
It appears that the good folks down at the County of Orange, allied with the local professional do-gooders are intent on placing a regional homeless shelter at 301 S. State College, in Fullerton.
The only problem is that nobody decided to let the neighbors know; or, even our own City Council, it seems.
The County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to proceed with the purchase of the old Linder’s Furniture store for $3,150,000. Yes, you read that right. Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker showed up to the meeting asking for more time so that his City Council could at least be afforded the opportunity to at least get briefed on the matter (gee that would have been nice). Some neighbors showed up, too, but to no avail. They may as well have stayed home.
The project, apparently the brainchild of our own Supervisor Shawn Nelson, is located across the street from a single family neighborhood and an elementary school, too. It’s hard to tell what is motivating Nelson, but judging by comments to the Voice of OC and the Register he seems intent on proving to the housing bureaucrats and Fullerton’s liberals what effective leadership looks like. Unfortunately he forgot that leaders need to build consensus around their ideas, not dictate them from on high.
Anyway, the pictures of the building on the County’s website show a decrepit 45 year-old building that I think is going to have to be completely rebuilt before humans can spend the night in it. Nobody has even begun to calculate those costs, although the County has 150 days to do “due diligence” whatever that may mean. You may count on many times the purchase price before they are done; running the operation will be a non-profit paid for by you and me.
The other four Supervisors are probably snickering at Nelson behind his back. They’ll get credit for their humanitarian propensities. East Fullerton gets the booby prize.
Dear Friends, we received the following e-mail from an unhappy resident of the neighborhood around Chapman Park, across the street from the location the County is proposing to buy for $3.15 million to transform into a permanent homeless shelter.
It always interests me to see that those politicians and bureaucrats who support obnoxious land uses of one kind or another always seem suitably removed, geographically, from any undesirable effects of their decisions.
Take the case of the permanent homeless shelter proposed by the County (and possibly our own City Council – nobody really knows what has been agreed to behind closed doors – with zero input from us) on State College. It would be located across the street from the Chapman Park neighborhood where we live. To the north are two story apartments and an elementary school; right next door and to the rear are other commercial properties. But it is a long, long way from any residence of the decision makers. Surprised? Not me.
We will be told that such facilities need to be built where public transportation exists. Okay. But in the next breath we learn that getting the homeless out of downtown Fullerton is required. How come? That is the very heart of the transportation network in north Orange County. La Palma Park in Anaheim is ground zero for the homeless population of north orange County and is located astride not one but THREE bus lines.
Since the County’s only requirements are that their shelter be on a bus route and away from downtown Fullerton, here’s a thought. Let’s build the shelter next to Hillcrest Park, or near the Brea Dam – near two bus lines – on City owned property that won’t cost anybody a dime. Of course it would be pretty near where Jan Flory and Doug Chaffee live. Or maybe it could be built on some open space in Coyote Hills – near the Euclid bus line and not far from Jennifer Fitzgerald and Shawn Nelson’s homes.
Fullertonstories is reporting here, that the County of Orange wants to build a homeless shelter on south State College in Fullerton. They may be soon buying the Linder Furniture store for $3,000,000.
This may not be good news to the folks who live in the single family neighborhood across the street and who take their kids to the Commonwealth Elementary School which is virtually adjacent to this site. The folks I know over in the Chapman Park area have heard nothing about this venture, which makes me wonder whose big idea this was and why the neighbors have not even been informed.
Amazingly, it would appear from the article that the County’s “search criteria” only included that the shelter be on a bus line and moved away from Downtown Fullerton. Nice.
How much of this “plan” has already been secretly approved by our own City Council goes unmentioned. Has a deal already been work out with the City? It’s hard to believe the County would buy real estate without the approval of the City Council, or at least the City staff.
Apparently the County Board of Supervisors is voting on this purchase Tuesday. I wonder when the government plans on telling anybody about this.
When I first met Cynthia Ward, we were engaged in a harsh disagreement over a particular county clerk who was posturing himself as a candidate for OC Supervisor. Things got ugly, as they do. But after the dust settled, both Cynthia and I realized that we actually had more in common than not.
So we quickly became friends and ever since then I have been enjoying Cynthia’s cutting honesty and fearless resolve. Today’s I’d like to introduce Cynthia’s new blog, “Think for Yourself, OC.” Please take a look.
I am a truth-teller. It gets me in trouble. But if you ask me if a dress makes you look fat, I will tell so, and help select another, before you go on television and realize it for yourself. My real friends are expected to be truthful with me as well. A secret shared will be taken to my grave, but lie to me, and it will end up here…on these pages… especially if you are tasked with the stewardship of public resources. I am a registered Republican who disdains the local GOP power structure, a born-again Christian who supports everyone’s right to spend their lives with the partner of their choosing. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister. I am a loyal friend to those who merit that friendship and when crossed I am a bitch with a capital C. I do not fit into a box, nor do I see others through the stereotypes that politics and public affairs so often tries to shoehorn us into. I think for myself, and so do you. Welcome to our shared space in this world.
Well they finally did it. Our pathetic county Board of Supervisors finally got rid of their pathetic excuse for a CEO, Tom Mauk. Of course they let him call it a retirement and they gave him $270,000. And it took about nine months after he helped cover up the sordid details of Carlos Bustamante’s sex assaults on female County employees.
Of course the Supervisors should have fired both their HR director and Mauk when news of the 20 page report that detailed the behavior (that has earned Busty a total of 12 felony charges courtesy of the District Attorney) came out. But they didn’t. The sad Supervisor from the Third District, Bill Campbell actually commended Mauk for a job well-done. The female members of the Board, Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen, who should have been most shocked about the whole thing, made no public statements, perhaps hoping the thing would just go away.
It didn’t. And the embarrassment got so bad even Mauk and his allies knew the jig was up – many months later.
Just in case you were wondering who would take the helm of the county ship of state in the time of crisis, scandal, turmoil, and erosion of public trust, the selection by the Board seems underwhelming, the present Finance Director, Robert Franz. He will be Acting CEO until an Interim CEO is chosen until a Permanent CEO can be discovered. It’s government, get it: and a completely dysfunctional one at that. The whole place needs to be cleaned out, and the sooner the better.
The Voice of OC(EA) on Friday posted a story about yet another high-level crony of County CEO Tom Mauk bailing out of the creaky tub that is taking on water fast in the wake of the Carlos Bustamante sex-assault case. This person’s name is Alisa Drakodidas, and she was in immediate charge of the patsy who just got canned last week, and about whom I wrote about, here.
Drakodidas was a Deputy CEO of Infrastructure (whatever that means) and apparently a close confidant of Mauk. She has taken a medical leave until the end of August, and of course is still being paid. She has got herself a lawyer, too, and according to Voice has sent the County a nasty letter blasting various individuals, including Supervisors, most specifically Pat Bates. According to the Voice’s source, the letter accuses Bates of getting one of her office flunkies a high paying job and generally botching things up. Other Supervisors, collectively, are blamed for interfering with contracts (I think this is probably code for doing favors for fund-raising lobbyists). It’s obvious that Ms. Drakodidas is not planning on coming back to work.
Apparently the County is not releasing any details of the letter via the Public Records Act, but it’s clear somebody at the County has leaked the general outline of this document. It must provide some interesting reading. Hopefully all of this finger pointing will result in a clear picture of why Bustamante was employed at all, and who let him get away with his twisted pervy sex attacks.
Although FFFF hasn’t been reporting much on County activities it’s pretty hard to overlook the latest management crisis in the County Hall of Administration, in which top managers appear to have hushed up a multitude of sex crimes and workplace harassment perpetrated by a creep named Carlos Bustamante. Bustamante is a Santa Ana city councilman, and until last fall, a high level bureaucrat in the OC Public Works Department. Mr. Peabody touched upon the mess, here.
Bustamante was arrested last week by the DA, fifteen months after an anonymous letter was received by the County. Apparently that complaint was actually given to an underling of Bustamante to investigate! It remains unclear who made that call, but his boss, the Director of Public Works is taking the hit for the team – so far.
Meanwhile a second complaint in August 2011, spurred the CEO, Tom Mauk to hire an outside lawyer to investigate Bustamante’s activities. The consequent detailed report, completed in September 2011, supposedly detailed some pretty greasy stuff. For some reason the Supervisors were not shown the report – except for Chairman Bill Campbell, who now amazingly claims he refused to read it, supervising apparently not being one of the requirements of a Supervisor. The report remained under lock and key as Bustamante was permitted to quit and given 3 month’s salary to (get this) – prevent him from suing the County! Blackmail? Who knows?
Finally, the report came to the surface after the County’s Internal Auditor, pursuing his own investigation (and after months of stonewalling by Mauk and his HR Director, Carl Crown) was permitted the IA to see it. At that point the jig was up and the Board was notified of the damning report. They immediately referred the matter to the DA for an investigation which culminated in a dozen felonies and four misdemeanors.
Remarkably, in the intervening months between March 2012 and now, Mauk has been permitted to keep his job despite the inescapable facts of incompetence, cronyism, withholding information from the Board, and of course, paying Bustamante $45,000 to go away without a ruckus. Sure sounds like a cover up, doesn’t it?
Evidently the Board, or a majority of it at least, likes this kind of thing and thinks it’s just fine. Bill Campbell has publicly said so, claiming the Mauk was just trying to protect the County by covering up Bustamante’s behavior. Of course that begs another question: why did anybody put the County at risk by employing this scum-sack in the first place? For that you may direct your question right back to Bill Campbell, who has been Carlos Bustamante’s political patron over the years, and who, no doubt, presided, along with Mauk, over Bustamante’s weird and inexplicable assent to the top of County government.
A “closed session” was held by the Board on Friday to discuss what to do. Apparently doing nothing remains the Board’s path of least resistance as they have postponed taking about the matter ’til July 24th. They had better hurry up. The DA has said that he’s not done investigating and will now focus his attention on personnel with the Hall of Administration itself.
Last summer I did a post on the disastrous leadership at the County, and how I hoped the Supervisors would perform a certain kind of cranial extraction and take care of business. Of course that was months ago, and the disasters keep mounting due to the indifference of the antiquated and exhausted CEO, Thomas Mauk. Naturally, the Board did nothing, most likely because a majority of the Board rely on the CEO to push their pet projects through.
The latest mess to unfold is an embarrassing sex scandal that has engulfed the Public Works Department – all due to the bad behavior of some deviant named Carlos Bustamante. Apparently this bad boy was shielded from investigation until things got so bad he was permitted to quietly resign.
Anyway, Vern Nelson over at the Orange Juice Blog has done a write up on the situation that deserves our attention.