Felz Blows Off the HJTA. Illegal Water Tax Ripoff Continues. Lawsuit Imminent.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association fired off another pithy letter to city manager Joe Felz last week, accusing him of intentionally delaying the termination of the illegal 10% in-lieu water franchise tax while continuing to collect over $100,000 per month from Fullerton residents in violation of the state constitution.

The letter states that Joe Felz verbally admitted to the illegality of the fee and promised action within a certain timeframe. But honesty is not a virtue within city hall, and nine months later Felz and his trusted council majority of Bankhead, Jones and McKinley still allow the city to continue its theft without comment or remorse.

Mr. Bittle closed out his letter with a threat of a class action lawsuit that would seek a refund on behalf of all Fullerton water users. As one of the 135,000 ripped-off residents, I’d say that’s a great idea.

 

36 Replies to “Felz Blows Off the HJTA. Illegal Water Tax Ripoff Continues. Lawsuit Imminent.”

  1. Very cool.

    We can also look forward to the distribution of any refunds to be an absolute nightmare — think about the folks who’ve left and the renters. How do they get the dough they deserve?

    Felz needs a plan for that.

  2. Of course this is dereliction on Felz’s part. However he had to have the backing of the Three Sluggish Tree Sloths and probably Quirk, too. They’ve been stalling since last June – well really since at least 1996!

    Of course Mighty Joe hasn’t go a freaking clue how to close that immediate $2,500,000 budget gap, but rather than cut salaries and benefit during labor negotiations you can bet they’ll start closing down facilities to make the public pay for City profligacy.

    1. My police sources estimate a $1.5 per year savings by contracting with the OC Sheriff Department for policing.

  3. Subject: Police arrest civilian Police employee for theft

    Contact: Sgt. Andrew Goodrich, Fullerton Police Department (714) 738-6838
    Sylvia Palmer Mudrick, Public Information Coordinator, Fullerton City Manager’s Office (714) 738-6317

    A 22-year Fullerton PD civilian employee was arrested today for grand theft. The theft was discovered by another employee, who immediately reported it, and an investigation began.

    Fullerton Police Acting Chief Dan Hughes said that April Baughman, 52 years-old, was arrested this afternoon after it was discovered that she had been stealing money from the property room for about two years.

    Chief Hughes said he was notified today at about 11:30 a.m. that there was a discrepancy in the cash count from a money supply kept in the property room. An investigation immediately began, which confirmed the shortage, and focused on Baughman as the primary suspect. As the investigation continued, it became apparent that Baughman was the person responsible for the theft. She was arrested by officers, transported to the Orange County Jail, and booked.

    The thefts are believed to have occurred between 2009 and mid-2011. The exact dollar amount is not known at this time.

    Chief Hughes said that this theft was uncovered by a sworn department employee, who immediately reported the discrepancy to his division commander.

    “When there are violations of public trust, or actions which result in the reduction of confidence in the police department, disciplinary action will be taken swiftly and decisively”, Hughes said.

    Chief Hughes will be available for additional comments or questions Friday morning. He can be reached by calling (714) 738-6840.

    http://www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/civica/press/display.asp?layout=1&Entry=2610

    1. She was forced to resign within a couple of hours of getting busted. Now if only they could get the bad uniforms out that quick.

  4. “When there are violations of public trust or actions which result in the reduction of confidence in the police department, disciplinary action will be taken swiftly and decisively,” Hughes said in the statement. -oc register-http://www.ocregister.com/news/police-342782-employee-fullerton.html

  5. Fullerton’s city manager Felz’s six figure salary implies he has the rare ability to fiscally and legally manage our town’s resources and revenue while juggling the political whims of whomever is on fullerton’s city council, In short, I believed city managers earned their pay because they were smarter and worked harder than most people.
    Believed is in past tense because after a little googling research I found out many average slobs with an eye only for the public trough may take accelerated, distance learning classes from most cal state anywheres or Phoenix University and be conferred a masters degree in public administration.
    Wow! anyone with a useless degree in liberal arts may strike it rich by speed reading his or her way through diluted coursework and having his or her mom do their diluted research papers for them.
    What happened to academic integrity? Judging from city manager Felz’s lousy job performance , I wonder if Felz was the fastest speed reader in his accelerated, distance learning public administration masters degree program?
    What is really disgusting is for every sham city manager like felz there are ten more losers with pieces of paper stamped with “I am a city manager” waiting to take his place and voraciously feed on our tax dollars while watching our municipal infrastructure crumble into dust .
    Now, I could be wrong about Felz’s education so he is more than welcome to correct my error

    1. Felz has two degrees in sociology from CSUF. Not exactly relevant to his responsibilities now.

    2. from the city of fullerton website”Felz, a California native, holds both bachelor (1982) and master (1985) degrees in sociology from California State University, Fullerton.” OMG!, nothing qualifies this slob as a city manager except his connections within Fullerton’s city government. he just hung around long enough to be trusted by the evil two, Jones and Bankhead, and accepted the thrid evil , Pat McKinley. total cronyism. somewhere my memory is jarred. I believe Rosemary Castro who is employed by fullerton’s parks and recreation and is connected to richman community center lived under the same roof as Rusty kennedy at 1031 n richman avenue in fullerton. But then this is my opinion

  6. Just another question to ask our city leaders about, next Tuesday at council!

    Why have you not responded to the HJTA as promised Mr. Felz?

    Between this and another dishonored Fullerton Police employee, it is too much for any citizen to take!

    Just when I was hoping and praying that the worst about our city was behind us, new revelations come out which sink our city further into a quagmire!

  7. For Samara and Fullerton City Council. 🙁

    Long Beach Police Officer ordered to stand trial on 18 felony counts of domestic violence (March 1st, 2012)

    LOS ANGELES — A 29-year-old Long Beach Police Department officer was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on multiple counts of domestic violence in a case of alleged ongoing abuse that included beatings with police issued-equipment and death threats.
    http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_20083358?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    1. Well for one you cant call the cops on the cops, as dan said at city council- when your afraid of the cop stopping you- call 911,you cant go to city council and tell them-anything. they do nothing, and Felz’s response to everything is, an outside CONSULTANT…that he makes us pay for, what exactly do you do Felz? What is he SUPPOSED to be doing?….he just got a huge 29 thou years raise- good job joe…standing by your cronies- and not the city- Mr felz your shelf life is about expired. Lets see if “they” invite you to their parties anymore, once your usefullness is no longer needed…remember all those people you stepped on your way up? Huh JOe, those people in parks n rec, the museum? …just sayin..I can see your political career ending from here. I would be funny if it werent my money.

  8. Fullerton??

    As city officials worry about losing millions of dollars due to the end of redevelopment, at least one city council member wants to be paid for helping to guide the wind-down.

    “Wasn’t slavery outlawed in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution?” asked Councilman Ara Najarian at a council meeting this week.

    The request comes after City Council salaries were decreased by 5% in tandem with the state’s mandate to shut down redevelopment agencies, which took effect in February. Lawmakers approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to use property tax revenue that has paid for developments such as the Americana at Brand and affordable housing units to help cover the state’s budget shortfall.

    As a result, the City Council took on a secondary role as the so-called successor agency, which is in charge of making decisions about how city officials use the limited money they will get from property taxes to pay off existing redevelopment-related obligations, such as millions in bond issuances.

    Najarian said that he expects the work to end redevelopment will be extensive, and that the council likely will have weekly meetings to tackle it. The state law does not require successor agencies get paid for their work, but it also doesn’t specifically ban it, city officials said.

    Gillian van Muyden, the city’s general counsel for redevelopment, said officials are already looking into the gray zone.

    Without a redevelopment stipend, council members make about $27,000 annually, including pension, other stipends and car allowances. The city also covers medical benefits, which comes to an extra outlay of about $250 or $350 per month per council member, depending on healthcare dependents.

    Redevelopment used to pay nearly 40% of the council’s salary, but the stipend was reduced last year due to state rules regulating redevelopment pay as a function of population. Glendale’s population fell below 200,000 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, triggering the stipend reductions.

    Councilman Rafi Manoukian said he was unsure if he’d want to push for a stipend, since the amount of work involved is unknown.

    “The laws themselves are unclear,” Manoukian said. “It’s kind of premature to even deal with this issue.”

    City Manager Scott Ochoa said the state never planned to make dissolving redevelopment easy.

    “The idea of them specifically calling out compensation for such local governments really goes against what they had intended,” Ochoa said. “The idea is, ‘We don’t expect you to be paid. We expect you to do this for free.’”

    The city may use an estimated $1 million in property taxes it expects to receive during the first year of the wind-down for administration costs. It will also get a smaller amount, which works out to 3% of property tax, in future years as the dissolution continues.

    If the council received a stipend for its successor agency role, that money might come from the administrative funds staff needs to pay property rents and redevelopment staff salaries.

    A finance report earlier this month said redevelopment funds paid for about 39 full-time positions. Officials have yet to announce whether the end to redevelopment will mean layoffs.

    The city’s General Fund may cover $1.9 million worth of salaries and benefits through June, officials have said.

    Ochoa said if council members did get a stipend, it would likely be on par with their redevelopment pay of $120 a month.

  9. Does this mean that the money that city council members and planning commission members were receiving from “shadow sources” will now have to be paid from city funds open to the public record.
    Wonder how this will be handled/hidden?
    Creative Accountig 101.

  10. Has anyone gone on the City council web site to look at next Tuesday’s agenda…no less than 8 law suits…nice work Joe.. & city atty.

  11. This seems sort of self serving to me on the City Attorney’s part?
    What’s Jones’s law firms incentive to keep the city of Fullerton out of trouble, if his firm makes more money keeping us in deep doo-doo?

    1. I read an American Bar Association book on being a board member of of a non-profit corporation. The ABA specificaly warned of such danger from an non-profit’s lawyer.

      1. Perhaps the remedy is that when when a city’s contracted legal fees exceed the cost of a real good salaried lawyer, the city should cancel its outside legal contract and hire a real good salaried lawyer.

  12. Lets just look at the atty’s track record, how much money have we paid out as him as our wonderful council? vs how much we can save having someone actually defending the city instead of his cronies.
    Im with Steve Brow and his remedy.

  13. Contempt for all. Now that is equality! Let the Supreme Court be damned. The city of Fullerton Administration is above the law.

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