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.

While We Were Away: AJ’s Story

For a few weeks now, we have been looking back on the fraud, waste and abuse that occurred in Fullerton during our hiatus. And we’ve had a few good laughs, unfortunately at our own expense. But Friends, today things are about to take a more sinister turn. Why? Because the story involves not only misuse of public funds, but also police surveillance of lawful activity, police assault on citizens, and the punitive misuse the criminal justice system by the cops and the district attorney.

This story from 2014 is best told in the colorful language of Mr. Stephen Baxter, and so FFFF gives you his words:

These photos, all captured on Jan 18th 2014, by OC Weekly photographer, Josue Rivas, document the temporary escape of Aj Redkey, aka Anaheim James, one of the most peaceful protesters I know, a member of in-league press, and perhaps my best friend on the planet.

We had organized a protest in reaction to the acquittal of a OC jury of the three Fullerton Police officers charged in the murder of a local homeless man, named Kelly Thomas. AJ had been filming the protest all day, because cops behave better when they know they are being filmed, so when the decision was made to break up our protest and arrest people, those filming were the first targeted by the police. These cops actually tried to run AJ down in their car, AJ leaped the hood Starsky and Hutch style, and Josue captured the rest seconds later.

After monitoring our FB page (this according to the police report) 3 months later AJ was arrested at an Autism event in Pasadena. Six Fullerton cops drove to Pasadena to arrest my peaceful friend. Why? because by him outrunning them he had embarrassed fat, slow, over paid cops with giant egos.

After spending almost $10,000 defending these charges at a jury trial, All charges against AJ were dropped.

The sad fact is that “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE” Don’t fool yourself.

Also, AJ IS A FUCKING HERO. HE COULD HAVE PLEAD FOR A $500 FINE, INSTEAD HE FOUGHT IT AND FACED 6 MONTHS IN JAIL. HOW MANY OF US WOULD HAVE THE STONES TO DO THAT?

Now ask yourself how many resources and how much of your tax dollars were wasted by Fullerton PD and the DA’s office.

Does any of this shit matter to you? If not, your are the fucking problem.

Hey, Wait A Minute! I’ve Seen This Show Before!

Danny says you are either ignorant or misinformed!!!
Danny says you are either ignorant or misinformed!!!

Friends, last week we received the following e-mail from some guy who ran afoul of the fine fellows who make up the FPD. The story’s a bit jangled but you’ll get the picture:

Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 1:46 PM
Subject: FPD

Hi Travis, I was recently arrested by the Fullerton PD. I had a professional recording device on my chest, which was recording for some time before I was stopped. There were 3 camera men and myself. We were basically trying to make a public reaction video. It shortly got out of hand. It was in broad daylight. The officers, myself and the camera man were all at the same intersection… All in plain site. I was eventually taken down, then an officer took my recording device and also an sd card from one of my camera men. I was the only one arrested, even though it was a group activity. I’m being charged with police obstruction, which has resulted in a hold on my employment. I’m also facing 100 days jail time. I’m a full time student and I work two jobs. I have no previous criminal record. No one got hurt, and we explained to the officers, what was going on. I feel like I’m being charged for something that shouldn’t have escalated this far.I also feel that they tampered with the audio… which apparently was 12 minutes long. I haven’t heard any one it.

They went through my cell phone, without any permission… 

They didn’t want to give me clean water…

I was shackled and handcuffed, while sitting in a holding cell.

I was held down by multiple officers, while handcuffed.  “Claiming I was resisting” 

The DA read my case report and was hysterical… The Public Defender was the same way.

“They were joking about it in the court room.” Obviously It was a ridiculous case.I plead not guilty to the charges, and I’m now awaiting the pre-trial.If you have any information for me or any questions, I would appreciate it.

Hmm. Is any part of this story true? Was anything left out? I don’t know, but I’d say the burden of proof now lies squarely on the doorstep of Danny Hughes’ Culture of Corruption.

And now for a recap of this guy’s claims:

1. Likely peaceful situation escalated into a dangerous situation by undertrained or malevolent Fullerton cops. Check.

2. Citizen roughed up. Check.

3. Citizen told to stop resisting. Check.

4. Citizen thrown into jail, mistreated. Check.

5. Citizen’s recording devices confiscated without warrant; illegal search and seizure of evidence. Check.

6. Citizen being prosecuted for getting in the way of the cops. Check.

7. “Truthy” Fullerton cops to be called as witness in order to lock up citizen? Check.

Yes, I do believe I’ve seen this show before, starring Kelly Thomas, Trevor Clarke, Veth Mam, Edward Quinonez, Emanuel Martinez; and of course also the men and women of the Fullerton Police Department.

Good luck, dude. My advice is to go to the next City Council meeting and find out what your Police Oversight Commission can do for you.

Will We Get a Refund?

Item 7 on Tuesday’s City Council Agenda brings back a sore subject: paying back the water users who’ve been ripped off by years of an illegal 10% tax on their water bill.

Thanks to the previous council the plug was finally pulled on this scam last year. But that was then, and liberals Chaffee and Flory won’t want to give back anything that was pilfered from the taxpayers. So what a bout Jennifer Fitzgerald? She’s supposed to be a Republican, but in Fullerton that hasn’t meant much and she was a die-hard supporter of the Three Bald Tires.

7. WATER UTILITY OPERATIONS
Over the past two years, the City has conducted a review of its Water Utility operations in order to have a comprehensive overview of water utility infrastructure needs, rates and rate structures and define General Fund costs related to operations of the Water Fund.
Recommendation by the Engineering Department:
1. Determine the cost for services provided by the City to the Water Utility.
2. Establish the total amount of refund to be issued (following a cost for service determination).
3. Determine the timing of refunds (one-time or multi-year payments).
4. Establish an Appeals Board to address refund complaints and any other billing conflicts.
5. Authorize the mailing of the required Proposition 218 notice which begins the 45-day comment period related to the proposed “pass-through’ of water supply cost water rate increase.
6. Authorize the update of the July 2011 “Comprehensive Water Rate Study Report” which outlines the recommended infrastructure needs and funding plans.
7. Direct staff to make any necessary City financing processes to implement Council direction.

Here’s my prediction: just as in 2011, the “cost study” will be rigged to jack up the value of City services to the Water Fund to get as close to 10% as possible. Then there will be no need for a refund and no need for an apology for illegally swiping $27,000,000 to pay for their own perks and pensions.

Nice, huh?

Now, What About Our Water Tax Refund? Part 1: A Recap

thief

For 40 years the City of Fullerton has added a 10% tax to your water. The ostensible purpose was to pay for general city costs necessary to deliver water, like the City Manager and the City Attorney. In the beginning the rate was a small 2%. Then in 1970 the City Fathers realized nobody was watching and they bumped it to 10%. But the fee had nothing to do with infrastructure or anything else withing the purview of the Water Utility.

For the first 27 years it was just a scam – the City departments were already charging directly to the Water Fund – the 10% was just pure high-fat content bureaucratic gravy, ripped off from unsuspecting water users by ignorant and lubricious politicians and administrators; then in 1996 Proposition 218 was enacted, requiring that objective studies, approved in public, be the basis of these charges. At this point the annually rubber stamped water tax became illegal; but it was still there, happily rising whenever the cost of the water commodity itself went up – from 1997-2012.

In 2012 the City itself acknowledged the magnitude of the ill-gotten revenue – over $27,000,000 since 1997, a sum that went into the General Fund to pay for salaries and benefits of employees who have absolutely nothing to do with the procurement or transmission of water, as well as other fun stuff – like council junkets to four start hotels.

Last year, the previous council majority made a commitment to return as much of the graft as possible. The new council? Don’t hold your breath. Mrs. Flory, one of architects of the ripoff, and someone who, arrogantly, has never even bothered to proffer an apology for her heist, has claimed that the City can’t afford refunds of even the minimum amount prescribed by law.

Well, we’ll see how this plays out. In the meantime, stay tuned for Part II: How to Phony Up A Report.

 

 

Have At It

hughes
Here’s how it happened. And no, I wasn’t there…

As expected, the new council voted 3-2 to begin “negotiations” with Dan Hughes to become Fullerton’s police chief.

Flory, Chaffee and Fitzgerald took their vote even as questions remain unanswered about Hughes’ role in the aftermath of Kelly Thomas murder, and accusations that Hughes himself was involved in an incident which is now the subject of a lawsuit against the City; and of course ongoing suspicion that Hughes has been an active part of the Culture of Corruption every step of the way.

Now watch ’em give away the store.

Oh, and yeah: you will not be getting a police oversight committee.

The Settlements

Yes, Friends, elections do have consequences. But you already knew that.

The results of the November election mean that the tepid and incompetent reign of Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz and City Attorney Dick Jones will continue as they preside over policies (or lack of policies) meant to evade accountability for your employees and electeds in City Hall.

Acting Chief Danny Hughes, the legacy boss of the FPD Culture of Corruption will soon see his title made permanent, even as the accusations by Ben Lira about Hughes’s direct involvement in cover-up and brutality, continue to  swirl.

(No, you will not get a refund in any part for the illegal $27,000,000 tax that City Hall stole from you. But in the larger scheme of things, that’s small change)

I want to talk about justice.

In our State the cops can do damn near anything they want with impunity. Our spineless politicians have given them wealth, influence, and most importantly, virtually no accountability to anyone. The justice system itself, run by District Attorneys surrounded by ex-cops, has little interest in pursuing justice against their own allies, even when this means coddling the very perjuring cops that have scuttled many of the DA’s own cases. And when the cops themselves actually commit crimes, the law enforcement establishment immediately springs into action to defend the indefensible.

Think about what happened to Veth Mam. An innocent man was assaulted, arrested and falsely prosecuted. Fullerton cops knew the real truth and lied under oath to hide the fact that they beat up and arrested the wrong guy. Were there any repercussions? Of course not. Remember the Martinez kid who spent five months in jail thanks to the Fullerton cops? Well, Goodrich said everything was just fine – a slight error. Trevor Clarke says the FPD beat him, gave him a few sadistic “screen tests” just for fun, threw him in jail, and robbed him for good measure. Ben Lira says Danny Hughes was one of the instigators. Will anything happen? Not very likely, is it?

Let’s let the Albert Rincon case be our guide: we know that Albert Rincon serially molested women in the back seat of his patrol car. We know because of the depositions of just two of his victims (there are said to be a dozen). But the obscenity of what occurred, and importantly the roles played by Patdown Pat McKinley and Mike Sellers in covering up the whole mess, and worse, putting the creep back on the streets shall never be known. Why? because there was a settlement; a settlement approved by by-then Councilman McKinley himself.

The lawsuit settlement is the mechanism to hush everything up, from brutal and sadistic cops and an immoral FPD leadership, to a feckless city manager and city attorney who condoned the Culture of Corruption. If you wondered how the FPOA and the FPD/City Hall crowd could share a common goal, this is it.

And the path to settlement is the route no doubt most favored by Garo Mardirossian, the lawyer who is representing a whole slew of FPD/FPOA victims of brutality and perjury. For a lawyer a big payday without having to risk anything is a gift. And co-incidentally the same result will be a gift for Joe Felz, Pat Mckinley, Danny Hughes, Barry Coffman and the rest of the gang.

Your new council majority of Chaffee, Flory and Fitzgerald will make sure that Fullerton returns to the normalcy where no bad deed goes reported.

Of course it won’t be their money that goes to pay off Veth Mam and Kelly Thomas’s relatives. It will be yours.

And you will be poorer but no wiser.