The Great Fullerton Recall of 1994 removed A.B. “Buck” Catlin, Molly McClanahan, and Don Bankhead from the Fullerton City Council. The recall arose from citizen outrage against a series of utility taxes enacted during a recession. The rejection of the utility taxes ultimately saved Fullerton residents and businesses over $120 million.
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.
Friends, here’s some more fun Jonesiana, a video compiled some years ago by the FFFF Moving Pictures Division. Enjoy the HeeHaw, oxytoxins, coughs and croups – and control, control control, Dick Jones-style!
When it came to boneheaded belligerent bombast there was no one quite like former (and recalled) councilman Dick Jones. Here he is in 2007 and 2008 pontificating about downtown Fullerton and the “monster” he created. His endless fixation on the same tired baby/bathwater cliche remains hilarious as he twists it around and around inside his befuddled noggin. If anybody can explain what a “ruly teenager” looks like, please let us know.
The FFFF editorial staff have enjoyed long hours of amusement courtesy of the corn-pone explursions of Ol’ Country Doc Jones captured on this video. The string of priceless HeeHawisms just gets better with age.
Meantime nothing has changed in downtown Fullerton – except the passage of ten long years and more of “yesterday’s felons” than ever.
Our old friend the historian Karl Marx wrote: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
And so in Fullerton we have had the spectacle of Jan Flory, a councilperson who worked us over good for two dismal terms in office, was driven out, and who returned 10 years later to provide the final act of a deplorable career.
Back in 1994 Flory ran as the Establishment candidate to push back against the reform-minded Recall that dared to drive out the incumbent stooges who imposed an unnecessary utility tax. She was the perfect candidate to advertise the fear and loathing the Old Guard had for anybody outside their inner circle.
And every step along this trail of tears she palpably dripped bitter venom for those who dared cross the “experts” at City Hall. Tragedy, indeed.
From 2002 to 2012 we were mercifully spared the the effluence of vindictive spleen sprayed on anybody who had the temerity to question what was going on in their own government.
But in 2012 the moribund Establishment needed someone to ride to their rescue; and to defend, deny, excuse, ignore and cover-up the serial crimes committed by the police department; and to fight the agenda begun by a new council majority, ushered in by yet another recall perpetrated by unwashed outsiders. Who better to call upon than the old warhorse, herself.
Yes she won, by a scant 29 votes, and she immediately resumed her old role. Yet something was missing. Yes, the muumuus and wood beads were still there, and so was the old, surgically implanted steel rod. The complete lack of humor, grace or introspection suggested the Flory of old. But you could tell. Her heart wasn’t in it. Her performance was thin, shadow-like, even as she continued the water rip-off, covered-up the FPD Culture of Corruption with gargantuan out-of-court settlements, approved four non-balanced budgets – raiding reserves $43,000,000, approved more massive apartment blocks – activities that in the past would have brought a smug, self-satisfied smirk to her sneer. But the old joy was gone.
The third act was a farce – even until the inevitable bitter end: as left she hoped to give Fullerton a parting gift – the sad sack and detumescent Larry Bennet, whose job would have been to keep the “For Sale” sign over the sliding doors of City Hall.
Ah, well. Now, Mrs Flory departs again, hopefully for the final time. And as we see this petulant shrew out the door, let’s always remember her words from the 2012 campaign: to my lights… the city department heads are the heart of the city.
Could be trouble’s a-brewin’ for our old acquaintance, North OC Community College District trustee Molly McClanahan.
Now, in case you’re not familiar with the life and times of McClanahan, here’s a primer: rightfully recalled from the Fullerton City Council in 1994 for imposing a stupid and unnecessary utility tax (at the behest of the public employee unions), she was tossed a little political plum as an appointee to the NOCCCD. There she has been a reliable cheerleader for a bloated, overpaid and incompetent administration for over 20 years.
A few years back we followed the tale of the magical football stadium at FJC, an embarrassment on so many levels that I won’t recount them, just give you Loyal Friends the link.
Seven years have passed and apparently the football practice facility is still slated to become a completely unnecessary game day venue – given the fact of the FHS stadium a few hundred yards away and the CSUF stadium less than two miles away. looks like some of the neighbors are still as unhappy about this as ever. In fact, somebody has started a website dedicated to pressuring McClanahan to act on behalf of her constituents instead of her district bureaucrats, with the promise of a recall. Since they linked to the old post of ours, I felt compelled to return the favor.
Now Molly may have a problem, maybe. Recalling anybody is hard, especially in a big JC district that nobody even thinks much about. Yet the NOCCCD has seven much smaller individual districts. I don’t know for sure, but I’m supposing the individual trustee districts have about 70,000 people, so gathering signatures would not be impossible. But would anybody off the hill behind the campus even care?
Unfortunately, the website isn’t real clear on what how McClanahan is supposed to do anything at this point. Maybe the proprietor of that blog will stop by and give us some more information. One thing is certain, though. Whoever is behind this is pretty pissed off. The hostility comes through loud and clear; and tellingly, there is a pointed reference to McClanahan’s illegal gift-taking from a bond peddler and the consequent FPPC fine.
Of course everybody in City hall knew the dirty little secret. The illegal 10% water tax that was hidden by the confusing name of “in-lieu fee.” Year after rancid year the City Fathers and Mothers – from daffy and angry liberal spendthrifts like Molly McClanahan and Jan Flory, to supposed conservatives Dick Ackerman and Chris Norby blessed the scam and put their imprimatur of approval upon it.
Of course they knew, or must have suspected, that the 10% was nothing other than a greasy rake-off that made their jobs easier and rewarded their friends in the bureaucracy. And they knew, or must have suspected, that the various City departments were already charging directly to the Water Fund – in direct contravention to the purpose of the original Resolution that created the”fee.”
This means that because the City departments were already charging to the Water Fund, that cost too jacked up the tax. Double Dip.
And all that free water wasted by the City over the years? You guessed it: the cost jacked up the illegal water tax. Triple Dip.
The fee was set at 10% of gross water revenue, meaning that every time the commodity cost of water went up, or transmission cost went up, so did the absolute amount of the tax itself. Quadruple Dip.
Naturally, the water tax itself was considered to be part of the gross “cost” of the water works, meaning that as the absolute value of the 10% increment rose, so did total of the tax!! The true amount of the tax was 10% of cost plus 10% of the 10%!!! Which is why the tax was actually about 11% of the true cost. Got it? Quintuple Dip.
The defenders of the Old Culture of Corruption and its slimey shakedown want you to believe that everything is pretty okay, that no harm was done, and that refunding any part of this felonious rip-off would just be a big waste of everybody’s time.
Wrong. Accountability and responsibility have their cost. Sooner or later you have to pay the piper.