The Fullerton City Council held a special meeting the other night to address the City’s projected budget deficits. It ain’t pretty.

Man, that's a big ugly hole...

But even uglier was watching the discussion unfold on what to whack and what to keep when the discussion turned to the City’s membership in the California League of Cities –  a do nothing operation run by bureaucrats for the purpose of promoting their own policies. The annual membership cost is something like $75,000 – not an inconsiderable sum.

To their credit both Shawn Nelson and Sharon Quirk-Silva recognized the elective character of this annual expense and are willing to dispense with it – a gesture both symbolic and practical. And then into the breach to save the day leaped council members Don Bankhead and Pam Keller, relating how important membership in this organization really is. Looks like Dick Jones is the swing vote on this.

Mmm. Shrinp cocktail and Jack Daniels.

Hmm. Bankhead and Keller. League of Cities. Now why does that ring a bell?

Oh yeah, now I remember.  And here. These two spendthrifts attended the October 2008 League of Cities conference in Long Beach, a mere 25 miles from their front doors and racked up $400 per night waterfront hotel bills. Keller’s total was an embarrassing $1200+. Not even her die-hard posse could defend that profligacy.

Party hats extra?

The League of Cities is wonderful metaphor for government that can’t be bothered to control its spending and is accountable to no one. The real purpose of this operation is to give bureaucrats and ambitious local politicians a chance to hobnob, network, self-promote, and eat, drink and be merry on our dime. In some circles it is being claimed that Keller is using the League to wangle a seat on the OCTA, where her mission will be to promote Curt Pringle’s HSR agenda.

As long as free spenders like Bankhead and Keller promote this expensive joke we know we are not being properly represented.

And thanks to Nelson and Quirk-Silva for being accountable to the people of Fullerton.


  1. Why does the League have any expenses? Don’t they already have facilities to meet at? Invite them over to our community center. Is it not nice enough? What service does the League provide to the taxpayers of Fullerton? If there was a $100 per year per council member fee, I could go along with that…maybe. But $75K gets us what? Oh, I see, it’s just more lobbying. I didn’t know that taxpayers – you and I – are subsidizing even more Sacramento lobbying!

  2. Fullerton is also a member of SCAG — another worthless organization which pretends it has clout in planning, but no real authority (but they don’t want you to know THAT) — like the LoC, they surely don’t respond to any body of voters other than their membership. SCAG’s staff salaries are enormous, and they’ve got a really nice HQ around 7th and Flower, surely not a low-rent neighborhood. SCAG’s CEO once worked for the City of Moscow. Membership in SCAG is voluntary, and can’t be cheap.

    1. Unfortunately SCAG has real authority. or at least the ability to impose mandates on folks – thanks to Sacramento. SCAG determine “affordable” housing targets and will be a big playah in the SB375 fmaster plan that is unfolding.

  3. Keller and Bankhead have lived their lives believing that government spending is what makes the world go around. That fallacy is finally coming to light. Wasting money on worthless projects and gimmicks only diverts our resources from real productive goods and services. The bureaucrats that are backing the HSR are only in it for their own benefits. The Anaheim to LA HSR , headed by the snake oil salesman Pringle and followed by fools like Keller, is a trick that will do nothing for improving public transportation in Orange County. The people need to wake up and stop the elected spendthrifts from taking the City, County, State and Country further into the abyss.

  4. Nice headgear but the dunce cap belongs on Bankhead. Keller would look better in an orange jumpsuit.

  5. The membership is only mebership…there are addl costs for meals, events, panels..etc..etc!

    Also, the City of Orange, left the League of Cities last year

  6. The League of Cities and the County Supervisors Association (CSAC) exist with their high dues structure because these organizations work hard to make city and county electeds think they are imporant and can influence State poilcy, including the State budget. It is a charade that has gone on for years and will probably continue. Few local electeds see through it for what it is, instead most choose to be annoited with the atmosphere of importance that these organizations bestow on the electeds and to use their forum(s) as a vehicle for self-promotion. Sad commentary on political manipulation of electeds.

  7. John Dumitru and Denis Bilodeau forced the City of Orange out of the League of Cities, even with Caveccehe and Smith wanting to stay and drink the koolaid!!!

  8. Pam Keller and Don Bankhead must be voted off of fullerton’s city council because both are a fiscal menace to our city. As for the city’s budget deficit, it will only get worse as Obama’s optimistic economic “W” recovery curve is statistically morphing into a “y” curve.

    1. OC League Division………………………..$24,000
      State League…………………………………$27,000
      OC Council of Governments………………$5,000
      demographic research………………………$3,000
      Monthly OC league meetings……………..$1,500
      State wide League policy committees…. $1,000
      Total budget for “League activities” including workshops, conferences, travel expenses, hotels, meals, drinkies:

    2. To be clear, the budget that was discussed at the council meetings had $23,000 or so for “expenses” so add that to the $51,000 and what do you come up with?

  9. The $50,000 difference from the initial post to what Judith is reporting is substantial but it does not lessen the sting of wasteful government spending.

    There are other more specialized organizations for specific government agency managers like the city managers or city engineers. Those are much more useful, beneficial, and economically affordable in the middle of a recession. I might be able to support those. A $24,000 membership…my god!

    1. Greg, I’ve been told that you can’t be a member of the State and not the County branch. That’s 51K right there. Then the meetings and conferences and associated costs pile up. Check out comment #14.

      Kaluzny is just an apologist for the spendthrifts Keller, Bankhead and let’s not forget dear old Jones. All endorsed by the dismal and sinking Fullerton Observer – for whom Kaluzny writes atricles.

  10. I was too slow to hit SUBMIT. Had I read Admin’s breakdown right then (#14), I think I would have busted a blood vessel.

    Why do our elected representatives (ALL OF THEM- City, County, State, Federal) assume it is ok to spend OUR MONEY so freely? How can they possibly justify it?

  11. Kaluzny “You could at least be accurate.” is ironic when juxtaposed with the Fullerton Observer.

  12. Actually the League fulfills one interesting function. It collectively bitches about all the money the Legislature takes from the cities, even as the elected members try ever so hard to get themselves elected to – the Legislature!

    But Keller pimping the HSR? I can’t see her supporting the mess that would create through Fullerton, but….

    Oh, wait. I can.

  13. Watching Keller in a recent council meeting saying that “we are not charging enough for copies..”..she was saying that a friend of hers told her..we could maybe make some more money off of the citizens by raising this and other fees in the City..soo maybe just maybe she can do without her League of Cities and save some money..instead of punishing an already hurting citizenry. ? .
    Years ago I attended several of the League of City meetings and standing in the back of the room observed a good old boys and girls club that just compared notes on what they could do in their City and it always meant spending money. This is where they got the idea of taking the Redevelopment money …I believe it was Bankhead who said..if we don’t take it ($) then someone else will. know where this story is going..take the money and play with it as we (The City Councils) wish. Nevermind it comes from our pockets in the first place in the form of diverted property tax monies..but I digress, the League of Cities is not necessary..plain and simple and we should follow the City of Orange’s lead and opt out!

  14. Right on BF, show up at the city council meeting to remind em they represent us (Fullerton residents) not staff. Elected officials have a strange way of forgetting the basics once they get elected.

  15. Simple solution for Fullerton officials and politicans: have cops giving more traffic tickets, evict people from their homes for banks, install traffic cameras, keep raising taxes and hidden fees.
    The worst has yet to come to Fullerton: do you know that Fullerton is in serious financial troubles with budgets, spending and pensions?

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