Revisiting The Seven Walls of Local Government

What? We can't hear you. Please speak louder...
What? We can’t hear you. Please speak louder…

Over five years years ago this blog published an essay (broken into bite-sized pieces) on the subject of local government and how it exercises its ability to effectively marginalize and ultimately disenfranchise the very citizens it is supposed to be working for. It is called The Seven Walls of Local Government and it has both scholarly and entertainment value.

For the reawakening of the blog from its almost four-year snooze, I propose to re-schedule this masterpiece for the edification of the Friends. Stay tuned.

 

A Glimpse Into Fullerton’s Future

It wasn't safe. but it sure was uncomfortable...
It wasn’t comfortable. but it sure was dangerous…

Okay, Friends here’s a pop quiz. What do Jan Flory, Bud Chaffee, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn have in common? Think for a second…

Got it? Of course, it was an easy question.

They are collectively responsible for the overdevelopment of Fullerton. Look around: Commonwealth, Orangefair, Santa Fe, each now, or soon to be home for massive, overbearing penitentiary-like apartment blocks.

The Thing That Ate Fullerton...
Cliff Dwelling Is The Life For Me, or: Thing That Ate Fullerton…(image swiped from Orange Juice Blog)

The ridiculous and deathless “Amerige Court” monster is back, too being pimped by a guy named Cameron Irons.

Follow my easy method, and one of us will get rich!
Follow my easy method, and one of us will get rich!

You remember him, right? County Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s crony who stood to make a $100,000 commission as Nelson tried to ram through the County’s big homeless shelter next to Fullerton’s Commonwealth Elementary School.

Nelson wears his game face.
Nelson wears his game face. Too bad we’re not on the same team.

And there’s very little need to hold our breath until the “College Park” upzone Godzilla rears its ugly head, once again.

Whatever the motivation of our “representatives” to jam ever more high-density residential projects into Fullerton, the result is the same: more burden on the City’s utilities and infrastructure, and above all, more traffic cramming our streets, costs that are carried by all of us as the developer makes his bundle and skips off to his next monster.

Is it really too much of an exaggeration to say that soon the major intersections at Harbor, Orangethorpe and Lemon will become virtually gridlocked at certain times of the day? Soon we may all have to find alternative ways to get around Fullerton.

It’s pretty clear that none of these lofty people have the best interests of ordinary Fullerton residents in mind. In fact, we seem to be nothing more than an annoyance to their big plans, that is if you can call helter-skelter development a plan.

The Mayor Game!

Arf!
Arf!

Yes, Favored Friends! It’s time once again to play…The Mayor Game!

Every December our illustrious city council elevates one of their own to assume the august tile “Mayor.” The Mayor of Fullerton gets to preside at meetings and that’s about it. Almost a kind of booby prize if you think about it. And yet our elected representatives lust after the title, particularly if there is an election the following November.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown...
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown…

For years the selection was fraught with political tension as the repuglican old guard, orchestrated by the odious Dick Ackerman contrived to keep Dems (and Chris Norby) from ascension to this lofty estate.  In recent years though, the process has become less political. The Council even adopted a process for non-partisan rotation in which it would be the turn of the that person serving longest without wearing the bejeweled tiara. This process is not enshrined in any law or code. It’s just sort of a Gentleman’s Agreement between people who really don’t trust each other – and for good reason.

The humble office of Mayor Pro Tem serves as the approach to the green and thence the flag.

Will the bonhomie last?

It was a rough landing...
It was not a smooth landing…

The current Mayor Pro Tem is my broomstick-wielding former mistress, Jan Flory, who will mercifully be out of office in a week or so. This means that it is Councilman Bruce Whitaker’s turn to shimmy up the greasy pole. Whitaker became mayor in the Fall of 2012, but it wasn’t without nervousness since it was well known that Flory and Bud Chaffee opposed him. But Jennifer Fitzgerald was given a directive and fell into line. But that was then.

What, me worry?
What, me worry?

 

Another wrinkle this time is that both Whitaker and Fitzgerald are rumored to be seeking the job of 4th District County Supervisor in 2018, and running with title of mayor next year would be just dandy, at least according to conventional wisdom.

So will the new council stick to its own policy or will they dump it? Will the new guy, Jesus Silva go along, or will he cut a deal with Fitzgerald and Chaffee to the exclude Whitaker? In the past it was not uncommon for councilmembers to gin up any stupid sort of excuse to keep the incumbent in place for another year.

In the end what it takes is three votes, and everything else is eyewash.

And now I must to attend to my nether parts.

The (Other) Case of the Missing Sidewalk

Híjole. Here’s an example of the special treatment that a well-connected developer can get in Fullerton. At Harbor and Orangethorpe, a fast food-type developer has been allowed to monopolize the sidewalk for the last six months. The use of this public space probably saved him a few bucks on construction. How thoughtful of our city planners!

Of course, this sidewalk is heavily used by poor pedestrians, who can’t seem to muster an equivalent offering up at city hall. So they’ll have to walk around. Or up the middle of the lane, as the hesitant abuela does in this video.

It’s only a matter of time before someone is hit by a car. Is this a fair deal for people of Fullerton?

By the way, I’m told this is the future site of Jersey Mike’s, Chipotle, The Habit, and a Verizon store.

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.

Trust the System that Can’t be Trusted

Remember when Our Mayor, Jennifer Fitzgerald, had the City Attorney, “The Other Dick Jones“, repeat the city’s position on the Joe Felz alleged D.U.I. incident?

That they’re looking into it, via an outside investigative group without subpoena power that is answerable only to the City Brass, and that any potential criminal charges would be forwarded to the District Attorney?

It’s a good thing that we can trust the District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, to be interested in the law and to not be too cozy with Law Enforcement.

Oh wait. Nevermind.

In the latest episode of “You’ve Got to be F*^%ing Kidding Me” the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has kept the entire D.A.’s office off of the most high-profile shooting case in county history for misconduct. All because the D.A. is too cozy with Law Enforcement and doesn’t follow the law.

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Photo Fun

A Friend forwarded this image to us a couple days ago. I’ll be golderned if I can figure out what to scribble about, so it’s up to Friends. Yes, that’s right! It’s the old FFFF “we’re to lazy to write” game called PROVIDE US WITH A CAPTION!

Bottoms Up!
Bottoms Up!

 

Map 8A Won’t Represent You

map8a-council2016

Well voters have spoken and District Map 8A will be how Fullerton is divided for the next two coming elections. Do you know how it’ll play out?

No. You don’t. You don’t because neither does the city and they don’t because nobody thought to figure it out first. Not even the people on Council when the lawsuits on this issue were settled.

Do you know what districts will be up for a vote in 2018? Nope. That hasn’t been decided yet.

The assumption is that it’ll be districts 2 & 5 because 2 is where Chaffee resides that he’s up for re-election in 2018 with nobody else living in his district and 5 because nobody on Council is a current district 5 resident. This is incumbency, and establishment, protectionist nonsense.

But Sebourn is up for election in 2018 as well so why not put district 3 up for a vote? Oh because that’s where Silva lives and therefore they’d have somebody in their district who is theoretically accountable to them. Therefore if Sebourn wants to stay on Council he’d have to move. Why not make Chaffee move instead? He keeps talking about how great Brea is so maybe it’ll prompt him to finally leave.

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Meet Mr. Palmer

Gregory Palmer, Esq.
Gregory Palmer, Esq.

A few days ago Joshua Ferguson told us the story of how one of the lawyers working for our City Attorneys, Gregory Palmer, gave him a big Fuck Off when he made a reasonable, and as it turns out LEGAL, request for the video recordings from FPD cops the night they possibly gave the City Manager a skate on a DUI, gave him a ride home and tucked him into bed. Mr. Palmer got tired of talking to one of the people who pay his retainer and basically said: if you don’t like it, sue.

Now I don’t care for this kind of assholery on the part of people who are supposed to be working for me, so I thought I’d check out Mr. Palmer and share some information, gleaned from the Jones and Mayer website. It’s always nice to know who and what you’re dealing with.

Apart from his alleged expertise dealing with “sexually-oriented business,” – whatever that means, this bit caught my eye:

Mr. Palmer has handled several high profile cases. In 1997, he prosecuted the First Southern Baptist Church and its pastor for illegally housing the homeless on its grounds. 

So Mr. Palmer and Dick Jones actually brag about about shutting down a church engaged in an act of Christian charity.

Do Not Trust the Trustees

On Thursday, November 17, the North Orange County Community College District held an the Environmental Impact Report scoping session for the Measure J funded improvements to Fullerton College.

As  you know from our previous report on this matter, the proposed improvements include a football field (estimated during the presentation to cost $4 million to build, so consider that a low floor to the likely final cost) but does not include improvements to the Veteran’s Center. When this discrepancy was addressed, Fullerton College President Greg Schultz gave the following explanation:

  1. We have to understand that the NOCCCD cannot do everything it would like to do with Measure J funds, so they have not been able to make the improvements to the Veteran’s Center at this time;
  2. The stadium will be funded through other funds, not Measure J money and he promises to not use Measure J money to build the stadium.

Let’s take these two responses one at a time, shall we?

First, the characterizing of the veteran’s center as just one of many improvements that the NOCCCD would like to perform is extremely dishonest. Let’s re-wind the clock again to back when NOCCCD sought voter approval for their $574 million construction bond:

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