The Brea Dam Denial

Trust us, the answers are buried in there somewhere…
Trust us, the answers are buried in there somewhere…

I began to question the City’s management of the Brea Dam in early 2015.

Numerous problems had one thing in common: Joe Felz‘ involvement during his tenure as Parks and Recreation Director, and then, again, during his transition into the City Manager role in 2010.   Who better to ask about these things than Joe himself?  I tried reaching him by e-mail.  After that failed, I tried calling instead.  He never returned my calls either.

Seeing that as a dead end, I requested copies of documentation from Parks & Recreation staff that I believed to be the responsibility of administrative manager Alice Loya.  Her name appeared on numerous City Council and Parks & Recreation agendas pertaining to the Brea Dam.

My initial records request was denied, in part, because they said the records didn’t exist.  I had requested from Ms. Loya very basic budget and profit/loss statements for the Fullerton Golf Course.  That’s when I knew my suspicions of mismanagement had at least some merit.  We pay the golf course expenses, yet Ms. Loya, whose job it is to supervise these things, could not produce anything of substance to justify the overall financial performance.  She instead offered what I’ve termed monthly invoicing “bundles”, so I requested a full 12 months.  This was the only way to reconcile financial performance over a full fiscal year.  I would later be shamed by the Fullerton Observer for making that request and others.  After all, I was wasting precious City staff time.

Over the summer of 2015, some friends and I studied these documents in depth, and we each came to the conclusion that something is very, very wrong up there. So wrong that, unless corrected, the US Army Corps of Engineers could revoke the lease and evict the City of Fullerton.  That could potentially force the closure of the Fullerton Golf Course, Fullerton Tennis Center, Fullerton Sports Complex, YMCA, Child Guidance Center, and Fullerton Community Nursery School — all of which occupy Brea Dam land leased from the Federal Government.  The Feds could also sue the City for failing to remit revenue.  Believe it or not, we could also face the wrath of the IRS because the bonds we sold to replace the golf course sprinkler system came with strings attached to the interest subsidy the City receives from the Feds. The list of problems just goes on and on and on…

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Follow the Money, But How?

We’ve all heard the words “follow the money” as if said process will magically unveil itself to us. Certain insight and skills are necessary when confronted by a doozy like this one:

nicolevegas1_gb

ICSC is the International Council of Shopping Centers who held their Global Retail Real Estate Convention May 22-25, 2016 in Las Vegas, which, ironically, cost $570 to attend, the same amount of the first transaction (above).

As if taxis, bagels, and Starbucks charged to the City procurement card wasn’t enough, two days of room service at the Hard Rock Hotel made the trip all worthwhile:

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nicolevegas3_nb

Just because there’s enough material in the City’s records to write blog posts like these… (more…)

The Slow Drip of Deficit Spending – Part 1 of an Endless Series

The Mayor likes to say that we have a “Balanced Budget” and that we’re making great strides on our roads, parks, et cetera. All of this in spite of closing the Hunt Branch Library, having rundown parks and having to beg, borrow and steal from our City reserves every year to keep the lights on. Why?

Oh, because we send people to Canada. That’s one reason why.

canada1

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We sent five people to Canada because apparently PowerPoint, Video Conferencing and YouTube don’t cost the taxpayers enough money.

As far as we can tell the City of Fullerton sent Anthony J. Bogart (Police Sergeant), Cesar A. Navarro (Lead Police Dispatcher)m Julie A. Langstaff (Police Technical Services Manager), Christopher J. Overtoom (Information Systems Assistant) & Helen M. Hall (Information Technology Manager) to a conference in Ontario about “Thinking Forward” in policing. But hey, at least according to the agenda they got to attend a Curling Bonspiel on our dime so it wasn’t a total waste of money.

current_conference_agenda

Stay tuned as we show off some more bang that we’re getting for our collective bucks.

The Sound of Silence

I would have done it even cheaper...
I would have done it even cheaper…

Not much has come out of Fullerton Junior College lately on the case of cop-turned-security guard Dino Skokos who handed out an unwarranted beat down on an undernourished FJC student in October.

A writer for The Hornet named Madalyn Amato,  reports that although an “independent investigator” has been engaged, nothing else has been forthcoming. The fact that the investigator, a law firm called Currier & Hudson, solely specializes in acting as defense counsel for government agencies, should send out appropriate warning bells. See where this is going?

In the aftermath of outrage, the bureaucratic playbook is being executed as expected.

First, ignore any criminality on the part of the district employee and announce an independent investigation, with the goal of diverting responsibility, or even better, procrastinating ’til everybody’s forgotten about the incident.

Naturally, the independent investigator is really just a carefully selected government defense pettifogger, hired to relieve the agency of as much liability as possible and absorb any leftover PR issues. Of course, hiring a law firm comes with desirable effects, such as the benefit of attorney client privilege. See, it’s easier to control an investigation if the investigator can’t actually reveal any findings detrimental to the institution.

The cleanup is underway
The cleanup is underway

And now we wait. The employee takes a paid vacation, the real police fail to deliver a criminal investigation, and NOCCCD eventually pays out a quiet settlement to the victim who will make a deal in a civil courtroom. Nothing to see here.

Close enough...
Close enough…

And now let’s let Fullerton Junior College President Greg Schulz take us home via The Hornet article:

President Greg Schulz promised the college’s full dedication in reaching a conclusion regarding the incident.

We Get Mail

FFFF has always been a drop box for mail from sources that prefer not to be identified. Some are obviously credible; others perhaps less so – sort of like like Sgt. Andrew Goodrich the FPD spokeshole who claimed that the cops who killed Kelly Thomas suffered broken bones, etc.

Yesterday, we received an e-mail from one of our readers identifying himself as “DTF” who passed along what was presented as information sent out by a disgusted cop who was hired, and departed the FPD for a different agency during former POChief Danny Hughes reign:

cop-letter

 

And there’s more, relating to the Joe Felz incident:

I have excellent sources at FPD who hate the Hughes clan because of the lies and double standards. 

Get a hold of those videos before they are  erased, hopefully that hasnt already happen. Admin is trying to make the officers sign a new policy to prevent them from talking about the incident.

When the first two officers arived on scene, Felz was still in his car trying to free it from the sidewalk and tree. The officers pull up behind Felz just as he dislodges his car and drives away. The officers purse him and actually perform a semi pit maneuver to stop his vehicle. (There is minor damage to one of the police cars if not both) 

This next part is sketchy. One version he was pulled out of his car at gunpoint and Felz identifies his self and  immediately says to call Hughes. The other version is he flees his car when it has been immobilized and there is a short foot pursuit.

But one thing I know is that the officers on scene said Felz was HAMMERED there was no doubt he was drunk. 

There is definitely video of the whole incident from the point the officers arrive on scene.

FYI no breathalyzer is necessary on scene. You can’t make a person take one at the scene. But the accident it self, coupled with his obvious impairment is plenty to have arrested him.

Put pressure on the PD to release the video. This is another huge cover-up by Hughes and his boys.

DTF

Friends, feel free to lend credence to this information in any degree that makes you feel comfortable.

The Culture of Cover Up?

You, know some people have the remarkable habit of speaking a whole bunch of words without saying anything. Fullerton City Attorney Richard Jones has been doing it for years and years as compliant councils sit there silently during his mind-numbing droning.

In the clip below, from last night’s Council meeting, he explains why the public need be told nothing about the City Manager, Joe Felz, driving home after a party, running off the road, trying to leave the scene of an accident, smelling of liquor, and most likely flashing his Get Out of Jail card.

jail-card

First listen:

There’s five minutes of stuff that could have been said in about 40 seconds but Jones needs to make sure he has touched all the bases of possible objection, added some mumble-words in the service of phony legal propriety, and his accomplice, Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald is on hand to make sure some of the points are reiterated – twice.

Yes, the bases are touched.

  1. The matter is subject to an “ongoing criminal investigation” by FPD, possibly to be turned over to the do-nothing DA, so mum’s the word! But what’s this? Who has committed a crime? No one was arrested no one was even cited. If not then, when, and how? Sure seems like a bogus smoke-screen.
  2. The issue is a “personnel” matter. But wait. Felz was not acting as an employee at the time of the crash. He was undoubtedly a private citizen. So how on God’s green earth is this a personnel matter? Another dodge to avoid response to legitimate PRA requests?
  3. The issue of the body cameras is noted as governed by some statute that is not elaborated, merely cited. The incurious Council let that one sail by. In the end, Jones informs us that Mr. Felz has privacy rights, too, which is awful sweet, but begs the question – if any of us were detained in similar circumstance can there be any doubt at all that the video would be turned over to the media by Andrew Goodrich before the first rays of morning sun had warmed the walls of the police station tower?

In the end some word nuggets tumble out that do lead into the direction of actual meaning, if only unintentionally freed from the bondage of this pettifogger’s mental jail.

One bit of this statement is very interesting. At 4:08 Jonsey mentions the investigation of the poli…the City Manager. Maybe I’m too cynical, but could this be the real source of investigation – how the cops deliberately violated their own policies and ignored violation of the Vehicle Code? That would sure make sense if a cover-up of the whole embarrassing mess was being orchestrated. After all, they could try “miscommunication in the chain of command” or some such nonsense, Gennaco-style, and if all else failed, toss the rat on conveniently departed Chief Dan Hughes who is now over the wall and making tracks southward.

Taco Tuesday. No, Wait, That’s Not Right…

Here’s a tidbit from Tuesday’s upcoming Fullerton City Council Closed Session Agenda. The Closed Session is where the council secretes itself away from public scrutiny to discuss lawsuits and personnel and real estate deals.

felzonagenda

#2 deals with the replacement of of our recently departed PoChief, Danny Hughes, who was last seen applying his fingerprints all over a case involving helping out a pal in serious trouble.

#4 deals with the “performance evaluation” of the very person Hughes helped out – his boss, City Manager, Joe Felz, who was seen early Wednesday morning swerving down Glenwood Ave on his rims, after ploughing over a tree in the parkway, unable to negotiate the intersection at Highland Avenue in a, um, er, ahem, competent manner.

Things were going smoothly. At first.
Things were going smoothly. At first.

I’ve got it on pretty good authority that item 4 was agendized by the City Attorney; but at whose behest? Will the topic of Mr. Felz’s Wild Ride come up? How about the apparent cover up that is now being investigated not only by us, but by numerous mainstream media outlets?

Could there be action taken? If there were we would never know, because this is  “personnel matter” not a criminal one – as the very same City Attorney has informed the media.

Drum Roll, Please

Since we’ve been gone things seem hardly to have changed at all in Fullerton.

As a public service announcement I forthwith present the compensation of Fullerton employees – the people that keep our streets safe from drunk drivers and make sure development is intelligent and appropriate, and that Laguna Lake stays full of Grade A MWD water – among other important responsibilities.  It is up to you, Friends, to determine if we are getting our money’s worth, and to reflect upon four straight unbalanced budget years of tapping into the City’s reserve funds to pay for all this valuable peoplepower.

Numbers 1 and 4 have been in the news a bit, lately.

Courtesy of FullertonWatch and Transparent California:

2015 salaries for City of Fullerton

Name Job title Regular pay Overtime pay Other pay Total
benefits
Total pay &
benefits
Danny E Hughes CHIEF OF POLICE
Fullerton, 2015
$206,779.04 $0.00 $19,819.43 $131,805.35 $358,403.82
Wolfgang Knabe FIRE CHIEF
Fullerton, 2015
$203,999.64 $0.00 $4,643.28 $112,745.11 $321,388.03
Julie A Kunze FIRE MARSHAL/DEP CHIEF
Fullerton, 2015
$172,217.81 $9,935.65 $4,547.08 $114,060.22 $300,760.76
Joseph B. Felz CITY MANAGER
Fullerton, 2015
$212,000.82 $0.00 $17,449.64 $67,789.57 $297,240.03
Adam R. Loeser BATTALION CHIEF(DEP CHF-OPER)
Fullerton, 2015
$156,943.52 $15,818.12 $720.20 $105,774.06 $279,255.90
Pedram Gharah POLICE SERGEANT
Fullerton, 2015
$103,224.05 $58,931.61 $16,348.16 $85,104.82 $263,608.64
John D Siko POLICE CAPTAIN
Fullerton, 2015
$139,739.36 $0.00 $18,017.60 $101,853.43 $259,610.39
Rodger Jeffrey Corbett POLICE SERGEANT
Fullerton, 2015
$109,359.74 $29,001.64 $29,080.34 $90,144.86 $257,586.58
Andrew S. Goodrich POLICE LIEUTENANT
Fullerton, 2015
$131,622.40 $1,280.71 $21,982.90 $102,304.08 $257,190.09
Name Redacted POLICE SERGEANT
Fullerton, 2015
$109,359.68 $29,780.18 $29,255.12 $88,606.65 $257,001.63
Kenneth D. Edgar POLICE CORPORAL
Fullerton, 2015
$90,995.45 $76,626.67 $10,885.90 $74,944.85 $253,452.87
Scott A Rudisil POLICE CAPTAIN
Fullerton, 2015
$139,739.37 $0.00 $22,127.76 $91,508.62 $253,375.75
John R. Stokes BATTALION CHIEF
Fullerton, 2015
$121,373.86 $35,725.81 $9,910.43 $85,885.82 $252,895.92
Michael A Chocek POLICE LIEUTENANT
Fullerton, 2015
$119,385.46 $16,304.14 $21,062.41 $95,254.80 $252,006.81
Jonathan S. Radus POLICE SERGEANT
Fullerton, 2015
$99,191.35 $49,367.37 $20,047.12 $82,715.78 $251,321.62
Michael J. Chlebowski POLICE LIEUTENANT
Fullerton, 2015
$131,622.40 $4,757.50 $12,714.05 $100,924.01 $250,017.96
John Richard Zillgitt FIRE CAPTAIN
Fullerton, 2015
$91,823.87 $52,971.51 $20,343.80 $84,384.03 $249,523.21
Javier Avelar FIRE CAPTAIN
Fullerton, 2015
$91,871.14 $58,855.64 $17,249.44 $81,413.43 $249,389.65
Timothy J. Hartinger FIRE CAPTAIN
Fullerton, 2015
$91,823.88 $62,408.63 $15,068.59 $79,874.37 $249,175.47
Karen A. Haluza DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOP
Fullerton, 2015
$177,580.31 $0.00 $5,824.00 $65,768.42 $249,172.73

More. 653 more.

“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):

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Prepare to be “Educated”

shawn-nelson

The other day a sharp-eyed commenter noticed that OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson is rolling into town on Tuesday to make a “presentation” about his homeless shelter proposal over on State College to the City Council. The County wants to buy a run-down commercial building and put north OC’s homeless in it. They are already in escrow.

As a former liberal myself I am very well-aware of the idea among my former soul-mates that everything is about education, as in: if only these dummies in Fullerton knew the real story there is no way they could possibly oppose our grandiose plan.

All I can say is beware of politicians with big ideas and lots of our money.