Have you noticed the ever present searchlight in the sky above downtown each night? Could you possibly miss it? Anyone curious enough to follow this beacon to its source will find it right outside of Joe’s restaurant in Soco:
Say, do you think Joe’s has some kind of permit for that thing? If they do, I’ll bet they didn’t tell anyone they were going to park it in the middle of a sidewalk, blocking access for everyone, including people in wheelchairs. I’m guessing they probably aren’t supposed to have it set up in front of a handicapped parking space either. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t supposed to cable it to a natural gas meter pipe!
And while you’re there be sure to turn around and wish Rosco’s a Happy New Year!
Well Friends, here they are – the 2009 Fringie Winners. You don’t really deserve this sort of punishment inflicted on you, but…well, hell, maybe you do! The competition was spirited in many of the categories. And by spirited I mean mind-numbingly depressing. And I’m just a dog! I had to take long breaks several times during the nomination and judging to water the fire hydrants along Brea Boulevard.
1. In the category of Least Distinguished Journalist it really wasn’t even close. The OC Register’s Frank Mickadeit took it going away for his complete lack of journalistic integrity. In the end the judges just didn’t feel that Sharon Kennedy or Barbara Giasone even really qualified as journalists. Martin Wisckol was given credit for showing up on the blog even tho’ it was merely to defend his embarrassing whoring for Ackerman, Inc.
2. In the category of the Worst Bureaucratic SNAFU, the judges were clearly impressed by not only the scope of thePoisoned Park disaster and its ongoing potential for more o’ same, but by city staff’s ability to avoid any and all responsibility for the multi-million dollar mess. Bravo, Mr. City Manager, you’re finally catching up with your predecessor, and that’s saying a lot!
3.Worst Vote of 2009. Bankhead, Jones, and Kellerfor the win of course, with their undying support of the Redevelopment expansion. And by win, of course, I mean disastrous loss for everyone outside the Redevelopment Department.
4. In the category of Scariest Ghost of Fullerton Past, we had an eerily close call. Yet despite the frightening surprise visitation from my former broomstick-wielding mistress Jan Flory, the judges were absolutely horrified by the noxious vapor of Linda LeQuire, conjured up by Ackerman Inc. out of some fetid and accursed burial ground, to smear Chris Norby. It didn’t work, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
5. In the category ofStupidest Statement Made in Publicwe again had a tough decision. In a year when Dick Jonessaid so many idiotic things and Pam Keller claimed (with a perfectly straight face) to be a “fiscal conservative,” a dark horse nominee grabbed the brass ring. And by dark horse nominee I mean the daffy, loud-mouthed nincompoop member of “Pam’s Posse”and her crazy-funny “why Pam should be mayor” rhetorical ramble through the brambles. Go ahead and watchit. We dares ya!
6. In the Government Small Change Adds Up category the award goes to the Roscoe’s Famous Nuisance Noise Study, a wonderful example of ill-conceived bureaucratic waste on a small scale that makes us really worried about the big stuff.
7. The Most Entertaining and/or Disturbing Image of 2009. Barney Wewak for the win. Aw, c’mon, was there ever any doubt? The picture even has a dog in it. Arf!
8. Best Vote 2009. This one was pretty easy for the judges since by the time they got around to this category they had inhaled copious amounts of medicinal weed acquired from the Dick & MaryJane Jones Dispensary. Our old friendSharon Quirk-Silvagets a double victory for seeing the proverbial light on the God-awful McDonald’s relocation; and also for opposing that fraudulent Redevelopment expansion.
9. Our final category is theMost Awful Political Candidate of 2009, and it goes to none other thanChris Norby for his abortive County Clerk campaign. Rarely had the judges seen such a blatant fixation on public sector job preservation and such a mismatch of skill set to position. The campaign slogan “Preserving Your Vital Records” was so insipid and so lame I have to lift my leg on it. Again. There. Clean up in aisle #9! Well deserved Fringie, indeed!
Finally, the Judging Committee decided to award three special Fringies in 2009 in order to recognize excessively, aesthetically unattractive behavior on the part of some of our political personalities.
10. Special Fringie #1. The call by Pam Kellerfor a City-run blog – with no bloggers – was such a wonderful monument to fatuousness and political tone-deafness that as a statement and an act it really was in a class by itself. You can enjoy our original post here and listen to Keller’s statement. Well done, Pam! You excelled yourself.
11. Special Fringie #2. Well of course we had to acknowledge Linda Ackerwomanwhose scampaign in the 72nd must be considered positively evil (yes the judges said evil!) by any normal person. This creature did not qualify in the most Awful Political Candidate category since the whole operation seemed more like a jail break than a campaign. Who knows how many hundreds of simoleons per vote this cipher and her Sacramento-organized goons wasted. Oh well. It least it wasn’t our dough!
12. Special Fringie #3. The judges believed that they would have been remiss without a tip o’ the Fringed cap to Congresscritter-for-life Ed Royce, the rat who managed to swim away from the giant suction-vortex of the sinking S.S. Ackerman and happily scampered up the waiting rope ladder onto the S.S. Norby. Well done little rodent!
And so friends, that concludes the 2009 Fringie Awards. We hope you have enjoyed them as much as we have enjoyed bringing them to you. And if you didn’t, tough.
Here’s looking forward to a new year filled with wonderful material from our favorite folks in Fullerton!
Although the worst governmental bureaucratic bungles and miscreance often costs millions, some are relatively inexpensive and can be brushed off (by the perpetrators) as small change. But these small change expenditures have to be paid for by somebody, and that somebody is you and me. And it all adds up. Quickly. Anyhoo, here are the nominees for the 2009 Government Small Change Adds Up Fringie Award.
1. County Deployment of Certified Helment Fitters.We can’t even calculate the wasted time and resources, and it probably isn’t very great. Still the whole thing was such a wonderful example of a decent idea (giving poor bike riding kids safety helmets) that quickly metastasized into a typical farce. We did get to learn, however, that Pam Keller is a certified helmet fitter. Front. Back. Got it?
2. Roscoe’s Famous Nuisance “Sound Study.” This little gem cost the city (us) $16K, and was a part of a plan to let Jack Franklyn keep playing amplified outdoor music. The “study” was performed by BonTerra, a land use opinion for hire, and not a qualified acoustical engineer. It all came to naught when the council finally decided to stop a very long pattern of looking the other way to multiple Municipal Code violations.
3. Red light camera legal fees. As a subset of another category we include this one. over $14,000 to attorney’s Jones and Mayer who lost the red light camera lawsuits. Well, that’s not so very much, is it?
UPDATE: WE HAVE NOW INCLUDED LAST NIGHT’S (12/15/09) CITY COUNCIL VOTE TO APPROVE THE RICHMAN HOUSING PROJECT (SEE #6). SINCE THE COUNCIL IS DONE VOTING IN 2009 WE CAN NOW CLOSE THE NOMINATIONS.
The Worst Vote 2009 category is reserved for politicians who really stepped in it big time. This is one of the biggies, so you won’t want to miss this award. Here are the five nominees:
1. Councilman Don Bankhead deserves recognition, all right. In a 22-year council career jam-packed with horrible decisions this year he truly distinguished himself. His “until death” support of the completely horrendous $6 million McDonald’s relocation move was just breathtaking. Even Doc Heehaw opposed that one, and that’s saying a lot.
2. A joint nomination: Don Bankhead (again!), Pam Keller, and our old pal Dick Jones for their brainless devotion to the Redevelopment expansion founded on a fraudulent finding of blight. We have catalogued all the idiotic things said in defense of the indefensible, and its an impressive catalogue of confused thinking, indeed. And FFFF has sued the Agency to help it get it’s collective mind right.
3. Another joint nomination. FSD Trustees Hilda Sugarman and Ellen Ballard for voting to hire (for up to $100,000) a consultant to “study” the feasibility of a parcel tax. Minard Duncan is also included in this nomination since he abstained, too cowardly to even make a decision one way or the other. Say why does Ed Royce keep endorsing Ballard and Sugarman? (Rhetorical question only – no response necessary).
4. The Fullerton Planning Commission for actually granting Jack Franklyn a bogus “special events” permit covering numerous events for several months so that he could continue to offend his neighbors with outdoor amplified music at Roscoe’s Famous Nuisance. We also note that one of his neighbors subsequently went out of business and another Franklyn enterprise is moving into the empty space.
5. The entire City Council for mindlessly jacking up the commodity rates on water and in doing so increasing the in-lieu franchise payment to the General Fund. Not a single council person even bothered to ask why. Shame, shame, shame.
6. Don Bankhead, Pam Keller, and Dick Jones. Again. And Again. For their vote to approve the utterly ill-conceived, staff-created Richaman Avenue subsidized condo project. Shawn Nelson recused himself.
Our good friend Joe Sipowicz asked a really good question today on another post. Asked Joe:
How many Chamber board members have received subsidies, favors, or looks-the-other-way by the police in the past? Does the Director owe her job to the influence of City Council members? Inquiring minds want to know.
Well, Joe, we have inquiring minds too, and decided to check out the Chamber’s board of directors. And what we found ain’t pretty:
A 21 member board. Lets review some of the members, who they work for and see what other telling associations we can discern (in no particular order):
1.Albert Napoli – MWD ( a government sanctioned utility monopoly)
2. Mark McGee – MG Disposal (sole garbage contractor for the City of Fullerton)
3. Burnie Dunlap– St Jude Hospital (former member Brea Redevelopment Agency!)
4. Daniel Kang – Grace Ministries (non-profit Church; beholden to City for gobs of entitlements)
5. Ron Hurst– Fullerton Marriot (Hotel originally built by money put up by the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency
6. Chris Reese – CSUF (a government educrat!)
7. Pat Butress – So Cal Edison (government sanctioned utility monopoly)
8. Jack Franklyn– Heroes (well-known recipient of City look-the-other ways for non-permitted construction and out door amplified music, etc.)
9. Kerry Stock – Costco (Fullerton’s original big-time redevelopment project)
10. Ryan Dudley – The Cellar (son of former Develpment Services Director, Paul Dudley – hmm THAT name sounds familiar!)
11. Cameron Irons – Vanguard Investments (and former partner in downtown restaurants operating out of Redevelopment subsidized buildings)
12. Leland Wilson – Realtor (former Mayor and Chairman of Fullerton’s Redevelopment Agency!)
Okay, we’ll stop there since we are way past a board majority; a majority of folks who have connections to redevelopment, government, family ties, or lots of reasons to be grateful to the City of Fullerton. And we mention in passing their Executive Director, Theresa Harvey, former director of the Fullerton Boys and Girls Club (non-profit operated in building owned by City, etc., etc.).
Please note that we have also passed over a couple of downtown bankers (that relationship needs to be explored), some sort of political consultant, and a lawyer. It appears as if the Chamber board is almost devoid of anybody actually making and selling anything. But, boy do they have ties to the Fullerton City government, government in general, or operate in government sanctioned monopolies.
Is there really any wonder why this crew supports Redevelopment expansion – the greatest anti-business threat in Fulleron’s history? Most of them are connected to the government, and hardly any of them are really in the kind of real, honest-to-goodness retail or manufacturing businesses of the sort that Redevelopment preys upon.
So we did it. Friends for Fullerton’s Future has appealed the appalling decision by the Fullerton Planning Commission to grant a bogus “special event” permit to Jack Franklyn’s “Roscoe’s” in order to legitimize his ongoing violation of the City ordinance regarding outdoor amplified music in the C-3 District.
We’ve been over this already so there’s no need to rehash all the details except to say that for some reason the City has been complicit in this ongoing permit-dodging scandal: no permits, no code enforcement, a cooked-up noise study, a phony special event permit. The list goes on and on. Now the City Council will be able to weigh in on the subject. We expect lots of chit-chat but the real issue is so simple: the law says you can’t do it! If you want to change the law, then do it. But not before all the necessary CEQA responsibilities are met. And that means an EIR!
For some strange reason, the surrounding business owners and/or residents of properties within proximity of Roscoe’s were NOT notified to allow input at the Planning Commissions recent Public Hearing. A violation of the law (Sec 15.58.060).
Is an on going ’special event’ spanning 3 months the intent of this section? Obviously not. (Sec 15.58.020)
Was the application filed 90 days prior to June 14th? N0. (Sec 15.58.040)
Here’s the relevant section of the Fullerton Municipal Code:
15.58.010. Intent and purpose.
The intent of this chapter is to identify special events and to specify the requirements and provisions for their approval regardless of the proposed location or zone classification. The requirements and provisions established for each special event are intended to ensure the general safety, health, and welfare of the community and to ensure that the temporary operation of the special event will be a compatible activity for the neighborhood in which it is located. (Ord. 2982, 2001)
A “special event” is an event that will be conducted outdoors to which the general public is admitted or invited. Such an event includes a carnival, festival, tent or car show, circus, parade, auction, rally, or a similar kind of temporary outdoor exhibition or performance. A temporary commercial activity, such as a “sidewalk” or parking lot sale, which is intended to promote the sale of merchandise from on-site businesses, shall not be considered a “special event.” (Ord. 2982, 2001)
15.58.040. Application for permit and fees.
A. An application for a special event permit must be on file with the Director of Development Services at least 90 days before the scheduled special event. The City Council may, by resolution, set appropriate fees for the filing of the application.
15.58.060. Procedure for review of application.
B. A permit for a special event proposed on all other types of private property shall not be issued without a review and approval of the application by the Planning Commission. Prior to the Planning Commission reviewing the application, the Director of Development Services shall do the following:
1. Consult with other departments of the city on the request.
2. Notify business owners and/or residents of properties within proximity of the proposed venue, stating the nature of the request, the date, time and location where the Planning Commission will review the request, and the opportunity for the public to comment on the request during that review.
3. State all reasonable concerns and issues identified by city staff and the general public when the Planning Commission reviews the request. (Ord. 2982, 2001)
All this begs the very obvious question: why is the City bending its own laws past the breaking point to accommodate Jack Franklyn and his outdoor nuisance? The City Manager and his planning staff are obviously doing this for a reason. What could it be?
Just what exactly does “temporary” mean? “Roscoe’s Famous” Deli,” and famous noise polluter in downtown Fullerton is back to the Planning Commission Wednesday night to try to get a “special event permit” for outdoor amplified music.
The Planning Commission and City Council already agreed that outdoor amplified music is not a good thing for our community. Allowing loud music to be permitted on a permanent basis will stump Fullerton’s bright future of continuing to become a center of mixed-use commerce and residences as defined by the current downtown zoning (C3.) If we want our downtown to unfold in a positive direction it’s imperative that we as a community find a balance between business, entertainment and living in the downtown. Its real simple: if you want loud noise you need to put it inside. In fact the city required Tuscany Club to keep it’s door shut during the hours it has its loud entertainment- that sounds like a reasonable idea doesn’t it ?
As usual the City staff has gotten everything ass-backward.
Instead of establishing an objective code and requiring that businesses abide by it, they are actually justifying a likely nuisance as way to experiment with amplified music outdoors, and thus circumvent the existing Code. The taxpayers have just paid for an acoustical study. What are the results? Those results should be used to amend the Code or leave it as is. Then it should be used as a mechanism to approve or deny permits – “special event” or otherwise, and if necessary, code enforcement. The special event permit also strangely omits hours of operation. That’s pretty negligent, and we wonder why.
Roscoe’s didn’t get approved for a permanent permit to play amplified music outdoors; now they are trying to get a temporary permit to do that very same thing…. Hey that’s very creative, but we don’t think a special event permit should evade that original denial, and we don’t think a temporary permit was ever intended for eight events spanning an entire summer! Can you imagine having a neighbor that continues to have a backyard party with a loud electric band every weekend ? That’s how a lot of Roscoe’s neighbors feel…
This is the Municipal Code that deals with temporary event permits in the City of Fullerton:
The Fullerton Municipal Code defines a special event as “an event that will be conducted outdoors to which the general public is admitted or invited. Such an event includes a carnival festival tent or car show, circus parade, auction rally or similar kind of temporary outdoor exhibit or performance” (Accents added).
As follows is the roster of Roscoe’s “special event” application-
Roscoe’s Special Events Request List:
Sunday June 14th Bootlegger Bike Fund Raiser. 4-9 pm
Saturday June 20th Silvia’s Engagement party. 7-12 pm
Sunday June 21st Fathers Day Celebration. 4-9pm
Sunday June 28th SOCO Guest Bartender Fund Raiser. 4-9 pm
Sunday July 12th Bootlegger Bike Fund Raiser. 4-9 pm
Sunday July 26th SOCO Guest Bartender Fund Raiser. 4-9pm
Sunday August 9th Bootlegger Bike Fund Raiser. 4-9pm
Sunday August 30th SOCO Guest Bartender Fund Raiser. 4-9 pm
Friends, you decide if this is just a way to get around the rules that all the rest of us are supposed to abide by. Let’s not forget that in the original permanent use hearing the City ignored its own environmental review obligations. Why is Famous Roscoes and its owner, Jack Franklyn, receiving all this special consideration and hand holding from the City? The law is the law. We all live by it everyday, and so should he.
Under the wise direction of newly elected Fullerton Mayor Don Bankhead, City Attorney Richard Jones instructed the other City Council Members to deny Roscoe’s Famous Deli owner Jack Franklin’s appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of an application to maintain a bandstand for live and recorded amplified music outside. Councilperson Quirk said “I’ve never had one person come up to me” and complain about the loud music and that it can’t be that loud because she “cant hear it from [her] house” which is about a mile away. However, Mrs. Teti who lives next to Richman School some 3,000 feet away, told this reporter that she had spoken to Quirk on several occasions regarding her family’s years long plight of being awoken between the hours of 10PM and 2AM by loud music and amplified background crowd noise emanating from Roscoe’s.