Take Care of Your Toys

Held up by wishful thinking…

When you were a kid your parents most likely told you what parents have been telling their children for thousands of years: if you don’t take care of your toys you won’t have any toys to take care of.

Too bad such admonitions are often lost on the custodians of public property. How often have you seen property owned by you and me left without proper maintenance or even abused by it’s supposed caretakers? It happens all the time, and with impunity. But how often have you seen a government actually refused resources because they can’t take care of what they already have? That’s right. I can’t remember a single instance, either.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

FFFF has already opined on the ridiculous waste of money, $4.6 million and counting, being poured into two new elevator towers at the Fullerton Depot – right next to the existing elevator bridge. Why? Because some other government agency was willing to blow the money.

It’s bad enough the new elevators are unnecessary; they are also in the wrong location since so many commuters will use the Harbor Boulevard underpass to get where they want to go – to the bridge that gets them to the huge parking structure west of Harbor.

But the most unkindest cut of all is the brutal fact that the existing bridge is a disgrace to the entire City. The glass elevators have been etched with so much tagging that they are becoming opaque; the paint, where it hasn’t peeled off, is discolored and oxidized; and the steel stair steps are rusted through. The deformed stair treads have been patched here and there with caulking, and that, too, is decaying.

The Windex didn’t help…
Bad caulk…
The closer you get, the worse it looks…
The underside. Rust never sleeps…

 

So next time somebody like Jan Flory or Jennifer Fitzgerald sneeringly defends of the “experts” in City Hall, please point them in the direction of the Fullerton Transportation Center; and remind them that thanks to the ever-generous taxpayers nobody in City Hall has to worry about breaking their toys. New ones will always be handed out.

 

College Town – Still Not Ready for Prime Time

 

An appropriate mascot

It’s back! Thanks to our tireless activist Joshua Ferguson, who snapped this picture up during a recent visit to City Hall this morning:


College Town originally came up before the Planning Commission on February 10, 2016.  Opposition was so strong to the plan the opposition’s “Our Town Not College Town” signs started springing up faster than mushrooms and the Planning Commission meeting was packed with angry residents opposed to the proposal (full disclosure: I played a significant part in organizing the opposition to that plan). In the end, five members of the Planning Commission agreed that adding 10,000 residents while diverting even more traffic to Chapman by closing a portion of Nutwood was a ridiculously ill conceived the idea and the proposal was tabled.

So what is the new and presumably improved plan for College Town? Your guess is as good as mine, but the early picture isn’t encouraging.

See that website on the picture? The one that says www.collegetownfullerton.com? Go ahead and click the link. Here’s a screen capture of what you found when you checked as of todays’ date:

All of your Nutwoods are belonging to us

According to Google’s English/ Japanese translator the phrase above translates to “Chat lady’s job contents and rewards.” Your guess is as good as mine what that actually means, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean “so tell us what you think about College Town.”

So how did this happen? Apparently, the City registered collegetownfullerton.com back in 2011, but they apparently allowed the domain name to lapse, allowing Chat lady here to swoop in an take over the domain around September 15, 2016.

Everybody supports College Town! Pay raises for everyone!!

A little personal anecdote: back in the 2012-2013 timeframe, the City complied with the notice requirement by sending out notice for around a dozen meetings with a smaller number of invitees (just 2 or so blocks at a time would be notified of each meeting) rather than inviting everyone in the affected area to one single meeting. The “informational” meetings would then be set up in the Chapman Park clubhouse, and they would set up for a full house, even though only a few people would actually show up, which the City used to create the impression that opposition to the concept was non-existent.

As infuriating as that strategy was, I had to at least admire its ingenuity. Personally I would have preferred that the City and Cal State Fullerton actually listened to residents before trying to shove their little sandwich down our throats a second time, but it is at least comforting to see that the Ernst Blofeld-level strategist behind the original campaign has been replaced by Dr. Evil. Off to a heck of a start.

Todd Spitzer’s Mental Melt Down

Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Todd Spitzer gets emotional while reflecting on an incident more than 5 months ago at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in Lake Forest. He handcuffed Jeobay Castellano and called police when the man would not stop trying to proselytize even when Spitzer told him he was a Christian.
///ADDITIONAL INFO: – Photo by MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Sometimes you get to see someone become unglued right before your very eyes. It’s never a pretty sight.

Today, in response to what must have appeared to the OC 3rd District Supervisor as bad publicity, Todd Spitzer unleashed a press release attacking his former employee, Christine Richters,  who is suing the County for wrongful termination by Spitzer.

FFFF posted about the subject, here.

The press release was sent with a personal message directly to FFFF, which means that Spitzer, or somebody on his 3rd District staff is spending public resources monitoring and communicating with a 4th District blog.

This is weird. Bizarre.

Issuing a press release attacking the plaintiff the very day after the official County spokesperson declined comment because of pending litigation, shows that the wheels have fallen off Spitzer’s clown car.

And now, take a moment to review the actual press release:

Are you smelling the same stink I am? If the job of executive assistant to Spitzer was so demanding, and if it required “basic computer skills” that Ms. Richters lacked, then why was she ever hired by Spitzer in the first place, and why was she kept around for over three years?  And if the job were so rigorous in its professional demands, then why did it pay 16 bucks an hour?

I love the accusation that Richters is “smearing” the County, as if the megalomaniacal Spitzer is equivalent to the County. The “County” is fighting only because Spitzer and his four fellow Supervisors get to make a decision based on their own instincts for self-protection – from their own, hand-picked employees.

I also love the part about Spitzer’s “best efforts” trying to get Richters a job in the bureaucracy somewhere. Who ever heard of an OC Supervisor being unable to get a former worker embedded in some footling job or other? That’s an obvious lie.

The crown jewel of this turd-bedecked tiara is the defensive, almost weepy assertion about Spitzer working late nights and week-ends for 25 years on behalf of the taxpayer. Spitzer has been working tirelessly, all right: working at self-promotion to gratify an insatiable lust for self-aggrandizement. Over those 25 years Spitzer has left a disastrous trail of self-interested decisions that have cost the taxpayers of Orange County and California billions of dollars.

The disasters are starting to mount for Spitzer, our would-be District Attorney, and at each turn of the screw we see somebody who is increasingly becoming psychologically unhinged.

Who Says Fitzgerald Doesn’t Know how to Balance a Budget?

Fullerton City Councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald deserves all the criticism she gets for her primrose path approach to budgetary issues, the extravagant public employee pay raises she approved, and her false claim during her re-election campaign that Fullerton’s budget is balanced!,among other issues.

As balanced as our City Manager was when he reviewed it.

Still, it’s important to note that Fitzgerald does understand the concept of a balanced budget, when it is important to her.

As an example, here is a screen capture from her 2012 campaign statement. As you can see, she contributed $350 of her own money to that initial campaign:

And here is another screen capture of the same campaign statement showing how much of her campaign funds she directed towards her own company (C7 Communications) during that election:

$2,100.02 is a heck of a lot more than $350, meaning her campaign basically turned a profit for her personally of $1,750.02. Whatever else you may think of Fitzgerald, she takes care to make sure her personal finances are balanced. Fullerton’s? Not so much.

The Saga of Christine Richters

Sex sells…

A very considerate friend just passed along this tidbit. Sort of an iffy news source. Still…

An ex-Orange County employee (and Fullerton native), Christine Richters is suing the County because she says her boss, 3rd District Supervisor and District Attorney hopeful Todd Spitzer wrongfully terminated her. Nothing unusual there. Apparently Spitzer goes through staff like normal people go through those disposable dental floss gizmos.

The hook here is that Ms. Richters, who disappeared from Spitzer’s staff last October, happens to be a former Playboy Playmate of the Month.

Um…okay.

Eternally young at heart…

 

What qualifications Ms. Richters had to be hired as a County Supervisor’s aide first place remains to be seen, as do the merits of her lawsuit.

Of course all of this is bound to reflect badly on the megalomaniacal, hair dyed Dorian Gray of OC politics. Spitzer already has problems stemming from his gun-totin’ handcuffing of a Christian evangelist in a Wahoo’s restaurant a few years ago.

One thing is certain, though. There are very few people who can claim as their employer both Todd Spitzer and Hugh Hefner.

UPDATE:  FFFF has received a copy of Ms. Richters’ legal complaint.

Behind the Bullshit Goes Bye-Bye

We’re great guys. Or else…

Of all the money that former City Manager Wild Ride Joe Felz wasted during his shaky tenure, nothing was quite as egregious as the annual fifty grand Stumblejoe blew on Behind the Badge, a silly, pointless PR outlet that passed along empty feel-good tales involving Fullerton cops. No one knows if anyone even bothered reading this pabulum. The idea of us taxpayers actually forking over this dough in order to be administered unhealthy doses of saccharine PR back at us was bad enough. The fact that this policy decision was made, maintained and mismanaged by a bureaucrat made it worse.

Fortunately, last Tuesday, the City pulled the plug. City staff teed up the item as a cut – unless three councilmembers voted to save it. They didn’t. Here’s the video.

Of course cop supported candidates Bud Chaffee and Jesus Silva thought the whole idea was just peachy. Predictably, Jennifer Fitzgerald seemed to be going along. Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn opposed wasting any more on this crap. Sebourn correctly pointed out that the cop union, having plenty of money to stick its snout in Fullerton politics, can easily afford to promote the good deeds of its membership.

Whatever changed Jennifer Fitzgerald’s mind to drop support for this ridiculous concept that has cost us $200,000 in the past four years remains a mystery, but she suddenly did a 180. Hopefully FFFF had something to do with the sudden shift to fiscal responsibility.

In the end the self-serving BS rhetoric of Chaffee and the feeble gibberish of Silva amounted to nothing and the council unanimously went along with the proposed package of cuts that included Behind the Badge.

Rest assured, Friends, FFFF will be following up with a Public Records Act request to get a copy of the termination notice.

 

It’s Official. Fullerton has the Worst Roads in Orange County

Not bad.

Well done, Fullerton.

A recent report from the OCTA lists OC cities’ “pavement condition indexes” and Fullerton shows up at the very bottom.

And the projected future conditions look even worse.

But that doesn’t stop councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald from shamelessly touting the “success” of her road repair efforts in her campaign material.

Here’s a video of councilmembers Fitzgerald, Flory, Chaffee and Popoff making excuses for the sad condition of our asphalt.

 

Coto Joe Gets Big Union Stamp of Approval

 

Love is all around…

File this one under predictable public employee union self-service. The Orange County Employee Association has endorsed the carpetbagging candidacy of Joe Kerr to represent our 4th Supervisorial District.

The OCEA is a big union that represents the vast majority of County employees. As such, it is always involving itself in County politics, placing it’s own interests in the path of accountable, affordable government.  And what better mission for a labor union than to elect one of its own – a former union boss, in fact.

It’s not surprising that the union would place its own self-interest ahead of the public. They obviously see nothing wrong with a guy who lives in a rich, South County enclave trying to represent the working class neighborhoods of north Orange County; or if they do, it takes a distant back seat to electing somebody that will pay attention to their needs. And their needs are ever greater pay and benefits, regardless of the quality of service they provide.

This “early endorsement” serves only one purpose: to clear the field of potential Democrat opponents for the carpetbagging Kerr.

In 2010 the field for this seat was cluttered with several Democrat small fry and none of them made the November run off. And that’s something the unionistas prefer to avoid this time around.

Fitzgerald’s 5 Year Deception

At last night’s Fullerton City Council meeting (21 March 2017) I spoke on Agenda Item 3 regarding budget strategies. Amongst other comments I asked for clarification on what was meant by “Structural Deficit” considering that both Fitzgerald and former Councilwoman Jan Flory constantly claimed we have/had a balanced budget. I asked what changed overnight to take us from a balanced budget on 08 November 2016 into a “Structural deficit” today.

Structural Deficit Evidence

What I got regarding an answer was Councilwoman Fitzgerald dodging the question and blaming Sacramento and the CalPERS rate change. And I quote:

“And I will go ahead and answer the question that was brought up over balanced budgets and what happened overnight and I will tell you, I mean, for former Council member Flory and I, when we talked about balanced budgets. Our 5 year projections, every year showed a balanced budget and what happened overnight is CalPERS decreased the amount of returns that they assumed that we were going to receive. So, that is what happened to those 5 year projections to change them.”

There’s a lot to unpack so strap in kiddos.

(more…)

We Paid a Head Hunter $23,000 to Discover Karen Haluza!

Haluza

Yeah, you read that right.

The City  actually hired a recruitment company to find a new Community Development Director – somebody who lives four blocks from City Hall.

Which begs the question: were Joe Felz and his crack assistant Nicole Bernard so busy they couldn’t have conducted this recruitment themselves through the HR department?

Anyway, here are the invoices:

Teri Black 14-1004-01 Teri Black 14-0905-02 Teri Black 15-0208-07

Insiders have said this job was going to Haluza all along, which means that whatever money was spent on the recruiter was wasted in the appearance of an on-the-up-and-up recruitment process. Of course we’ve all seen how Felz wasted monies large and small, even as the S.S. Fullerton was taking on water badly.

The fact that Haluza has been an unmitigated disaster since joining the city staff is a somewhat different issue, but it makes the price tag a little harder to swallow. One wonders what the losing candidates looked like.