The Liar

The new, official City Bird

We are used to politicians lying to us, especially when they are running for office. Sometimes the lies are more or less fuzzy, but once in a while the lies are staggeringly blatant. So blatant, in fact, that we must assume the politician believes the electorate are idiots.

Bored and angry. Accountability? It was never on the agenda.

And so it was last year with then-lobbyist-mayor and humble vessel of God, Jennifer Fitzgerald, whose campaign rhetoric deliberately misled the public into believing everything was just fine with Fullerton’s financial state of affairs. Here are a couple of pearls from her little chest of jewels:

BALANCED BUDGET

While other cities in Orange County are trying to raise sales taxes to prevent insolvency, in Fullerton, our budget is balanced!  Our five-year financial forecast shows a balanced budget to 2020.  We’ve done this by making the most of our assets and minimizing our liabilities.  

REDUCED UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITY

With conservative fiscal management and successful revenue strategies, Fullerton has been able to reduce its unfunded liabilities. This is a long-term strategy, with a short-term goal to achieve what is a generally accepted adequate level of funding of 80% of liabilities.

It didn’t take long for that hot-air balloon of happy talk to sail away. Barely three months after Fitzgerald’s re-election she had to listen as the Director of Administrative Services, Julia James, at last week’s budget workshop, tell the exact opposite story. Due to continuing unbalanced budgets and exploding pension costs, the City is following in the footsteps of Stanton and Westminster with a built-in, structural budget deficit. Naturally the cops and the “fire fighters” bloated salaries and pensions are the principle cause of the impending disaster.

James mentioned taxes as a solution. Any takers?

How long will it be before our temporary City Manager, who has absolutely nothing to lose, begins crisis public meetings meant to gin up support for a Fullerton sales tax increase? And how long will it be before the people who voted for her realize that “SparkyFitz” Fitzgerald would have said, and did say anything to get re-elected?

 

 

 

 

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?”

Young Kim Wants to Be Your Supervisor

No there, there…

The other day our old Friend, The Desert Rat, wrote a post about a Bruce Whitaker vs. Jennifer Fitzgerald county supervisor contest in 2018. Our commenter Fullerton Rag pointed out the presence of Young Kim, recently failed State Assembly incumbent. Sure enough, looks like this Ed Royce (R- Chickenhawk Coop) acolyte is running. And she is wasting no time – the primary election is still 16 months away.

 

Grab it and greedily consume it as fast as you can…

This means that our lobbyist-councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, another of Ed Royce’s political progeny is most likely out, voluntarily or otherwise. We’ll have to wait on that.

Meantime we have the spectacle of another unqualified Republican pursuing the “Asian female” formula at the County level. Kim knows as little about county government as she did about running the State of California, although in politics ignorance about governance is no longer held as any sort of impediment.

 

Welcome to Downtown Fullerton

You want to know what’s going on in Downtown Fullerton? Check out this video and tell us what you think.

Downtown Fullerton: a culture of rape, vomit, urine, drunken mayhem. An annual budgetary money pit. The best worst kept secret in Orange County.

A toast to all my good ideas…

Before he drove off Glenwood Avenue smelling of liquor, former City manager, Joe Felz described downtown Fullerton as one of the things Fullerton residents should be proud of. His big success.

No, you are our worst enemy. We’ll be seeing more of this image.

Lobbyist-council person Jennifer Fitzgerald has aggressively supported the downtown culture, going so far as  to defend the unpermitted operation of the Slidebar by her pal Jeremy Popoff.

The Fullerton Police Department has also been a collaborator in the craziness “working with” the dysfunctional culture, following political orders and smelling lots of overtime, no doubt, and maybe even relishing the opportunity to crack a few 909 noggins once in a while.

And of course, the media has been utterly silent on the $1.5 million abuse of the City budget, the drunken violence, the sexual assaults, the broken laws, the mega bonanza for the subsidized, out-of-control bar owners.

Fitzgerald Supports Seeking OC Sheriff Department Preliminary Analysis For Outsourcing Police Services

The pageant was over…

Of course this was candidate Jennifer Fitzgerald, back in 2012 when she was running for the city council.

FFFF reported on that here.

Here’s the letter Fitzy wrote to then mayor, Sharon Quirk-Silva:

Naturally, once safely in office this support for looking into possible, maybe someday, perhaps switching to the Sheriff Department at huge cost savings to the taxpayers of Fullerton evaporated like the morning dew on a summer day. Since gaining office Fitzgerald, along with Jan Flory and Doug “Bud” Chaffee have been resolute in their goal that no reform of the Fullerton Police Department take place and that no acknowledgement of any Culture of Corruption could possibly exist.

Some cynics suggested this letter was only meant to call off pro-recall forces; other cynics suggested this was the price Fitzgerald had to pay for Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s endorsement. Probably it was both. Either way the commitment was thinner than the paper it was printed on. And Fitzgerald never mentioned it again.

FFFF Classics: Doc Hee Haw Holds Forth: Red Light Districts, Tattoos and Syphilis

And another five years later? Sill hilarious!

Here’s a clip of the decrepit jackass the anti-recallers think is bringing dignity and respectability to the Fullerton City Council. This is how Dick Jones handles the public’s business. Enjoy again. And again.

– Joe Sipowicz 

File this one under the heading:  He Said What?

Fullerton Councilman F. Richard “Dick” Jones really is in a class all by himself when it comes to blog fodder. Enjoy this clip in which the mental rambler Jones transforms body art recipients into “patients.” Pins and needles and daggers??!!

Ron Thomas To Donate Fullerton Millions to Homeless Programs

Future Philanthropist…

Below is a video from late 2015 featuring Ron Thomas, the father of Kelly Thomas, who had just gotten a massive check courtesy of the taxpayers of Fullerton.

First, enjoy the feeble bleating of “city attorney” Dana Fox who is just soooooo darn glad the settlement bought peace of mind so everybody can “move on,” although, damn, that’s a pretty high price tag. Of course it ain’t coming out of his pocket, or “Patdown” Pat “I hired them all”  McKinley’s, or Manuel Ramos’s or Jay Cicinelli’s or Joe Wolfe’s. We picked up the check for this, just like we always have for the FPD Culture of Corruption, and as with all settlements, the public who pays the freight never gets to learn key information – in this case the extent to which Captain Dan Hughes and former Chief McKinley may have helped cover up the mess and perhaps even if there was collusion between the cops and originator of the phony phone call that led to Thomas’s death. Naturally, neither Hughes, Joe Felz, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory or Doug “Bud” Chaffee wanted a trial.

And Ron Thomas himself may have wanted to avoid a trial, too, since that would have meant a jury and the general public would have found out that he sold the picture of his broken, comatose son for publication on FFFF – for $1200.

Anyway, at the end of this video you will hear Ron Thomas exclaim that the big settlement is an admission of liability by the City, by which he really meant us taxpayers. He says that’s all he ever wanted. Did that make you feel any better?

And now we pivot just slightly to another video, this one from 2011, wherein Ron Thomas has alerted the media that he is going to donate all of any lawsuit or settlement amount to the homeless.

Now at least we can be satisfied that some good has come out of the Kelly Thomas murder, even if we had to pay for it – $6,000,000 so far, not counting the invoices forwarded by Mssrs. Jones & Meyer, Fox, and of course the ever helpful hazmat clean-up crew run by Michael Gennaco. At least $4.9 million (less Gary Mardirossian‘s giant fee) is being given to homeless programs. Right, Ron?

Ron….Ron…?

Down on the County Farm: The 4th District Embarrassment

The quarter million dollar man…

A Friend alerted me to a Voice of OC article that has a close tie-in to Fullerton, since it deals directly with our 4th District County Supervisor, Shawn Nelson, and his Number One man.

Apparently, The Voice of OC is running end-of-the year pieces about this and that. The one that was forwarded to FFFF is about how Voice has been holding politicians accountable for their misdeeds, and included the shocking story from last May of Nelson’s Chief-of-Staff, Denis Bilodeau, and how, between his various government salaries, stipends and benefits he rakes in more than $250,000 per year. Yes, you read that right. He makes more, a lot more, than Nelson himself.

This valuable piece of manpower pulls in a generous stipend and benefits as a boardmember of the County Water District, and gets $40,000 per year (via a personal contract) as Nelson’s “technical advisor” at the AQMD. Before that he was also getting paid by being a member of the Orange City Council, Redevelopment Agency and all the other regional commissions he could get himself appointed to. Of course all these agencies had meetings that would have directly conflicted with his $120,000 full-time job at the County.

Bilodeau has also been frequently featured on the pages of the Voice for submitting bogus expense reports and for collecting stipends for meetings in which he barely popped his head in the meeting room door, or didn’t attend at all. Naturally, he blamed his staff for poor record keeping. He was busted for falsifying his time card to engage in political activity and claimed he got his weeks mixed up.

A study of hours logged by County administration personnel in 2012 show Bilodeau in the office 23 hours a week. Thats’ 58% of a work-week.What he did when he was there is anybody’s guess.

Nothing was saved…

So what is Bilodeau’s real value to anybody? Here’s County political watchdog Shirley Grindle, offering an opinion, as quoted in Voice of OC:

She also said she’s gotten indications that the mind behind Nelson’s fundraising machinations has been his chief of staff, Denis Bilodeau, who was an Orange councilman and serves on the Orange County Water District board.

“I’m about ready to tell Shawn Nelson, about the best thing he could do for his career is get rid of Denis Bilodeau,” Grindle said.

What did Nelson have to say on the subject?

“Neither Bilodeau nor Nelson would comment…”

The Great Disappearing Mayor’s Assistant

It was there a minute ago…

Magicians have been making things disappear for a long time. In fact it’s a staple of the repertoire. Making a public employee position come and go is harder. That’s because in a public agency budgeted positions, like money, have to be approved by the governing board in the first place. And once budgeted they never go away.

The pageant is over…

And yet somehow, during the year of her re-election bid, lobbyist-mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald demanded, and got, a special assistant from Joe Felz to help her with her mayoral chores, without getting any authorization from the city council to create a new position.

The individual in question is called Gladys Blankenship, who is probably a very nice person. Here she describes the scope of her “official” position on Linkedin. Check out the second bullet point. The rest is ginned up bureaucratic nonsense.

Experience

  • Executive Assistant, Assistant to Mayor of Fullerton, Assistant to Economic Development Manager

    City of Fullerton
    – Present (1 year 1 month)

    • Participate in special projects to develop and implement new processes, develop and standardize practices, assist in streamlining methods for improving existing ordinance and procedures
    Schedule and prepare all appointments and meetings for the Mayor of Fullerton
    • Provide office support for Mayor, City Manager and Economic Development Manager
    • Provide research for ongoing projects being presented to City Council
    • Provide knowledge and personal opinions on subject matters being presented in City Council and Economic Development Commission meetings
    • Perform clerical duties requiring the application of subject matter knowledge and interpretation of policies, rules and procedures
    • Provide assistance in preparation of draft and/or final form of material such as, memoranda, letters, reports, requests, etc., as assigned
    • Check, compile and assemble records information in preparation for City Council meetings
    • Assist in preparing and distributing agendas and related materials to various committees
    • Maintain and update ongoing projects, records and office filing systems for both the Economic Development Department and Commission
    • Provide information, including explanation of policies, procedures, rules and regulations, to City personnel and general public
    • Copy, file and appropriately dispose of sensitive documents
    • Record actions of meetings attended and transcribe taped records into minute format
    • Maintain subject matter files and records
    • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

Looks like the deal was supposed to be that once Fitzgerald was safely re-elected, Ms. Blankenship would be quietly moved to another department where, presumably, a vacant budgeted slot existed to receive her tab. And we may safely infer that deal, since that is precisely what has happened; and Ms. Blankenship’s previous job has not been filled, nor will it be under new mayor, Bruce Whitaker.

Ms. Fitzgerald spent a lot of time during the election year lying about Fullerton’s allegedly balanced budget. It isn’t balanced, and hasn’t been for five years – ever since she came on to the city council. And now we discover that while the tide of red ink was rising ever higher, Fitzgerald demanded, and got, an employee all to herself.

 

Joe’s Legacy

Enjoy as our Lobbyist-Mayor reads outgoing City Manager Joe Felz’s out-of-a can valediction.

Heartwarming, huh? There is no doubt Ms. Fitzgerald is sorry to see Joe go, but the reasons may have more to do with exercising authority in Fullerton than in any heartfelt sentiment. The important part of this speech, however, is in her description of Felz’s contributions to Fullerton and his legacy. These are important matters to Fitzgerald, as re-writing history always is to politicians.

Note how she credits Felz with bringing Chief Danny on board to “reform” the police department. And how he has masterfully handled the West Coyote Hills shambles, wherein a City government just gives its resident a big fuck you. Even his role in the everlasting Hillcrest Park embarrassment is embellished as some sort of grand victory.

Some people may be forgiven for refusing to accept this self-congratulatory nonsense as they address themselves to some obdurate facts. Such as refusing to reduce personnel, even as Redevelopment was shut down. For outsourcing graffiti removal but keeping the employees on the payroll. For four years of red ink baths to backfill an unbalanced budget. Hiring “Chief Danny?”  The man who denied the obvious Culture of Corruption in the FPD. The man who claims to have watched the Kelly Thomas video 400 times, and who let the goons who killed him compare notes and re-write their reports? The man who promoted the only target of the Gennaco report – Goodrich. The man who covered up Felz’s Wild Ride Home on his next to last day of work? Is this supposed to be some sort of sick joke?

And yet for us citizens, no word on what really happened in the early morning of November 9th 2016; no word on what sort of “ongoing criminal investigation” is being pursued, if any; no word on what, if anything the DA has been asked to review.

Well, don’t worry Friends. We will be pursuing the details of Felz’s departure to see what sort of specifics may have been memorialized. And we will not give up getting those cop video records of the night when our former City Manager drove off the road, tried to get away from the scene of an accident, was stopped by the cops, and then given both a pass and a free ride home.