One of our Friends pointed out this sad tale, as reported in The OC Weekly, a story of brutal gullibility, incompetence and indifference in which once again, the FPD is responsible for the prosecution of innocent people who end up spending a considerable amount of time in the County lock-up. Andrew Goodrich has informed the public, however insincerely, that the FPD really does try to arrest the right people. But when you read the case of Josh Eddleman and Jerrie Harvey, you really have wonder.
The other day FFFF ran a post on recent efforts by the Fullerton Police Department to share its Heroic doings with the public. Some were struck by the blatant and ongoing hypocrisy of the department’s alleged attitude toward DUI driving, given the fact that our former drunk-driving City Manager, Joe Felz, was given a free pass by the FPD after running off the road, plowing over a tree, and trying to escape the scene of the crime.
I’m struck by the constant effort of the department to spin PR yarns to make itself look good – despite all the evidence to the contrary. Get a load of the “while you were sleeping” shtick. It’s the old “we Heroes are keeping the streets of Fullerton safe while you get to sleep safe and sound – and how can you put a price tag on that?” routine. This relentless drum beat of the upbeat continues long after Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes‘ departure, meaning that the strategy of fooling the public into mistaking a tsunami of PR for reform, is alive and well.
Anyway, I though I’d share a few other FPD activities that happened while we were sleeping, or maybe even when we were wide awake, sort of a public service announcement. Please observe the veritable FPD crime wave:
In the last week or so Fullerton P.D. has been making it extremely clear that they take D.U.I.s very, very seriously.
This isn’t really news as the City Council regularly helps present M.A.D.D. awards to officers with the most D.U.I. arrests.
There is very little sympathy for people who make the stupid decision to drink or do drugs and then drive. This makes sense as when you do so you’re putting not just your own life on the line but are risking the lives of anybody in your potential path.
The however, of course, is if you make such a colossally stupid decision and happen to work for the city.
Were drinking or drugs involved in the January accident and circumstances around the rolled Parks and Rec vehicle? To this day we have no information.
Better yet is if you happen to be one of the high priests of local government. City Manager perhaps. Then you can “take a wide turn” while smelling of alcohol with near impunity.
For those who may have forgotten, back in March Joe Felz was charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage. He was charged in relation to his 09 November 2016 accident where he “smelled of alcohol” after running over a tree. Instead of being cited or arrested he was given a chance to talk to the Chief of Police, Danny Hughes, before being given a ride home. Hughes also spoke to then Mayor Fitzgerald.
Thanks to denied Public Records Requests and the burden of suing to get information the city won’t legally hand over we don’t know who called whom that night or who ordered the cover-up and obstruction of justice. We don’t know who arranged to let the City Manager escape the crimes that Fullerton P.D. and City Hall are ever so eager to wield against the commoners. What we do know is the following:
We find out on Monday if former City Manager Joe Felz will actually be prosecuted for the crimes with which he’s been charged. We’ll be watching to see if the District Attorney has any interest in actually prosecuting one of the aristocrats in our midst. More likely they plan to keep continuing the case in the hopes that anger subsides and the status quo of corruption can settle back into place. The worst thing that could happen to the Fullerton Police Department, and the sycophantic City Council, is for the truth to come out so the smart money is on a plea deal or a dropping of charges.
Something to keep in mind here is that our City Council has been silent on this whole fiasco. While it is true that the Felz case is still pending, 9 months after the accident, there is no such investigation going on with F.P.D. and the alleged cover-up. Nary a word has come from Council or the City Manager’s office. This council, all 5 of them, are perfectly fine with police corruption and a total lack of oversight. They could have demanded oversight before hiring a new chief. Or before hiring a new City Manager. They didn’t even bother to address the issue. These 5 are more worried about angering the F.P.O.A. campaign monster than doing the right thing. To add insult to injury the thin blue line would rather wallow in their own corruption than oust their “bad apples” once again proving that the whole bushel has rotted.
Nothing changed after Kelly Thomas died and nothing has changed after Joe Felz’s wild ride.
We’ve been waiting to be proven wrong on this issue. We’ve been waiting for council to demand accountability. We’ve been waiting for the council to demand oversight. We’ve been waiting for the brothers and sisters in blue to step out of the shadows and tell the truth. For 9 months we’ve been waiting and it looks like we’ll be waiting forevermore. For all of the pomp and circumstance about public service and the public good it is once again clear that our government institutions and those inside it are interested in anything but.
Everyday the people who run the County of Orange blow through so much dough that the amount of waste is incomprehensible to the layman. It’s incomprehensible to the County Board of Supervisors too, because of course, it’s not their money.
But then there are the examples, though relatively small, that truly give us cause to doubt the reason and the integrity of our County government. Thus the Todd Spitzer Wahoo’s Fish Taco incident that brought about a lawsuit that the County lost, putting us taxpayers on the hook for the legal fees of the other side. Fees of $121,396 to be precise. Here’s the payout as reported by Voice of OC, who just happens to be the other party in the lawsuit.
Here’s the backstory: In April, 2015, 3rd District Supervisor (and now DA candidate) Todd Spitzer,took a loaded gun into the aforementioned restaurant and slapped handcuffs on a harmless proselytizer who was annoying him. A few moths later, word leaked out about this bizarre behavior and Spitzer, trying to put a positive spin on his weird behavior engaged the services of the County’s PR person, Jean Pasco to help craft a press release that would make Spitzer look good and (ironically) cast the offending evangelist as mentally unstable. The memos and the PR draft never saw the light of day.
The Voice of OC got wind of the e-mails between Spitzer and Pasco and made a public records act request to get them. Request denied. Then The Voice sued to get the documents and the Supervisors, including our own Shawn Nelson, endorsed the ludicrous idea that these documents could somehow be legitimately withheld from public scrutiny. Voice won in court, got their documents and ran their story. And then this week the taxpayers of Orange County got stuck with Voice’s legal tab – over $120,000. Again the Supervisors, including Nelson, voted to make us pay for their idiotic decision to protect one of their own club from…us.
The politicians are always telling us about their dedication to public service. But if anybody ever needed a perfect example of how they will use our money to protect themselves and their employees, he need look no farther than the Todd Spitzer Wahoo’s Fish Taco Tale.
Remember that CSUF professor who was accused of assaulting a student during a heated political argument in February? He actually managed to get himself fired over the incident… no small feat for a government employee. Surely the school’s careful and expensive termination of Eric Canin would stick, particularly after multiple investigations confirmed that he did indeed strike a student, right?
Here’s the article from the Daily Titan spelling out the re-instatement. You have admire the nonsensical gobbledygook with which a system created and designed to protect public employees can shroud some simple facts, i.e. in some unfortunate manner Canin’s hand made contact with someone’s face.
It looks like an unrepentant Dr. Canin will return to CSUF for the fall semester. Students wary of Canin’s penchant for pugilism may take comfort knowing that Canin’s physical presence on campus will be severely limited, as he has been consigned to teaching two online classes. Ironically one of the classes is called “Culture and Communication” wherein I suppose Canin does not espouse physical rebuke as any sort of effective communication tool.
The other day I invited Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker to write a post informing FFFF readers about what he believes he has accomplished in his seven years on the city council. The moment seemed opportune. The Mayor had engaged in a brief repartee with some of our commenters who didn’t seem too pleased with him; and of course Whitaker has declared his candidacy to replace State Senator Josh Newman, should Newman be recalled. I pointed out that Whitaker’s post would be read by thousands of people in the next few months and it wouldn’t cost him a penny. We get as many new visitors everyday – several hundred – as returning Friends.
But we’ve heard nothing from our Mayor. Oh, well.
In lieu of a post by him, I am creating an open thread where friends and foes alike can share their opinions about what Whitaker has achieved on our city council and how this records may be extrapolated to a State Senate performance.
When you can’t win, just keep changing the rules until you do. That’s the mantra of the California Democrat party and bag men in the State legislature.
Let’s take the case of the recall against State Senator Josh Newman, who within his first few months in office caved in to the party bosses and voted to raise $50,000,000,000 innewtaxes, the majority of which will be paid by the people who can least afford it – the working poor, old people on fixed incomes, students, etc.
The consequent recall effort proved so popular that 85,000 signatureswere submitted in barely two months, and that caused a veritable panic among the Democrat elitists who run Taxifornia. What’s a limousine liberal to do?
Cheat, that’s what.
Exhibit A for the prosecution: Democrats’ use of the budget process to change the state’s recall process that was already well-underway in the case of Newman, making the recall process longer and more onerous – a violation of due process and civil rights if ever there was one.
Exhibit B for the prosecution: Democrats use of political operatives on the California Fair Political Practices Commission to relax the rules regarding campaign contributions to the target of the recall, paving the way for wealthy left-wing donors to prop up Newman.
We are used to the nonsensical rhetoric about the “appropriate” way in which recalls should be used (only when it suits the agenda of those who make such ridiculous arguments), but the use of government power to muzzle the electorate has to be seen as a much more sinister trend. If ever the politicians in Sacramento get away with using their legislative power to get rid of political opponents you can bet it won’t be the last time they do it.
Most government projects have three things in common: they are bad ideas promoted by bureaucrats, they are obscenely expensive, and there is no accountability attached to them.
In Fullerton we have lots of examples over the years that touch all three bases. But if ever one needed a veritable poster child for government fiascoes, the ill-conceived “Downtown Core and Corridors” Specific Plan would be it.
Back in 2010, the City of Fullerton put in an application for a “project” to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Strategic Growth Council” an assemblage of bureaucrats and political appointees selected by the governor to promote sustainability and responsibility in urban (and suburban planning). On the face of it, the idea was to promote development that would be eco-friendly – somehow, someway. Lo and Behold! Fullerton received a $1,000,000 grant to create the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan, a massive overlay zone. In 2013 a committee was appointed to make this look like a community driven enterprise, but as so often happens the committee was led along by the consultants and staff who were being paid, and paid well, out of the grant money. Some members of this committee only went to one meeting, the last one, in May 2014, a meeting consumed by passing out certificates of participation to committee members for all their hard work.
In the meantime, the intent of the creators of the specific plan became crystal clear: opportunity for massive new housing projects along Fullerton’s busiest streets, development that would not even have to undergo the scrutiny facing normal projects so long as the permissive guidelines of the specific plan were met. Naturally, lots of people objected to the continued over-development of Fullerton, and the utter disconnect with what the Strategic Growth Council was ostensibly promoting. Perhaps the most obnoxious thing about the specific plan proposal was the way it was being used, unapproved by any policy maker, to promote other massive apartment projects already in the entitlement process.
And then a funny thing happened. The Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan vanished into thin air. Although recommended by the Planning Commission in August of 2014, the plan and its Environmental Impact Report never went to the city council for approval. 2015 passed; and so did 2016 without the plan being approved. Even modifications rumored to have been proposed by the now-departed Planning Director Karen Haluza never materialized for council review or approval.
Some cynical people believe the plan was postponed in 2014 because of the council election, an election that returned development uber alles councilmembers Greg Sebourn and Bud Chaffee. And they believe that the subsequent attempt to erase the plan from the municipal memory was perpetrated by none other than the hapless city manager, Joe Felz and lobbyist councilperson Jennifer Fitzgerald, (so the story goes) two individuals who had every incentive to shake down potential developers one by one, rather than granting a broad entitlement for new and gargantuan development. Felz had a massive budget deficit to fill, and Fitzgerald had massive lobbying opportunities from potential Pringle and Associate clients.
What is undeniable is that three long years have passed and no action has been taken to either approve or deny the specific plan. The grant money approved by the State has been a complete waste – a travesty so embarrassing to everybody concerned that no one seems to want to demand an explanation for this fiasco. Neither the city bureaucrats or council, nor the State has any incentive to advertise this disaster, and you can bet there never will be an accounting.