EV Free Lunch. Fullerton Megachurch Gives City Employees a Love Offering

Lunch is on me.

Since at least 2013, Fullerton’s EV Free megachurch has been paying for and hosting a lunch as a gift to City of Fullerton employees. Probably not coincidentally, 2013 is when EV Free congregant Jennifer Fizgerald began her first year on the Fullerton City Council. Last year the event included a tri-tip lunch and “prizes and a raffle to win gift cards to local Fullerton businesses.” These events must cost the church thousands of dollars.

http://www.evfreefullerton. com/2016/06/an-olympic- fullerton-city-luncheon/

It should be crystal clear why it’s wrong for an organization to buy lunch for city employees, one or all. This church frequently petitions the city on land use issues, and it even hires city police to manage its parking. If a business like Chevron or Red Oak Development or Renick Cadillac tried to glad hand City functionaries and employees like this, the public would be outraged. It is a clear conflict of interest for city employees to accept gifts like this.

For its part, the church ought to revisit Scripture as it relates to Pharisaical behavior. I don’t remember Jesus Christ or his disciples buying lunch for the Romans, but then Jesus didn’t have two denarii to rub together.

However, it is not our business to tell a church what to do, although we may well look askance – as when a Grace Ministries’ representative stood up at a public hearing and claimed his church’s members supported the bar owners’ districting map.

The action of the city government, led by City Manager Joe Felz, in accepting these gifts, is appalling and not only exhibited a complete lack of judgment and awareness, but placed the City in the position of a gift-receiver from an entity that does substantial business in Fullerton. If an individual were the sole recipient of this largess questions of integrity would immediately follow. That Joe Felz entangled the people of Fullerton in this situation is deplorable.

And where has our City Council been on this? MIA, as in so many other things.

56 Replies to “EV Free Lunch. Fullerton Megachurch Gives City Employees a Love Offering”

    1. From now on, all planning applications will be submitted with $3000 in gift cards to Outback Steakhouse.

  1. “If a business like Chevron or Red Oak Development tried to glad hand City functionaries and employees like this, the public would be outraged.”

    Absolutely 100% on target, since EV is a church they’re given a pass, (religous) people are willing to look the other way.

  2. You get the feeling with these churches that the real foundation is wealth and influence no matter how else they package themselves. As the author notes, what they do to get wealth and gain influence is their business.

    It’s outrageous that public employees would even think it appropriate to be offered a gift, let alone that they should take it. This is just another example of how the City leadership has become morally bankrupt – looking the other way when cops commit crimes, approving lousy housing projects in order to raise revenue, using their job as a councilperson to help a lobbying business.

    It all stinks.

  3. I am an EV Free member. I think the leadership means well, but these folks get star-struck when they start making connections with local politicians (this is extremely common for church leaders). The power of these local authority figures is alluring when your job is to make some sort of impact on the community. Combine that with the a bit of inherent opportunism that’s required to actually build up a church and you have a recipe for poor judgement, all pre-authorized by simply invoking the name of God.

    It would be easy to fix though. Just stop doing it.

    1. Excellent comment. “Star-struck” indeed when one of your members IS one of the local politicians. But the relationship is poisonous for your church and shameful for the City.

      Let Jesus Christ be your guide. Jesus ate with the Pharisees but he didn’t buy their lunch.

      1. As Mark Twain once argued: “no church property is taxed and so the infidel and the atheist and the man without religion are taxed to make up the deficit in the public income thus caused.

  4. I’m becoming more and more disillusioned with this place. The time is near to find another church.

    The link to the church website makes a curious reference to John Schaefer. You are probably unfamiliar with this man. A long time member of the church, he was the City Manager and former Police Chief of San Marino until a year ago. Go back a bit further to the mid-2000’s. John was the Chief of Police for Placentia. He got himself into trouble and the City Council placed him on Admin Leave. He resigned soon thereafter. Did the elders probe for specifics before hiring John as a pastor last year? I bet not.

    I’m beginning to wonder if the only requirement to be bestowed title of “Pastor” at EV Free is a heartbeat. I can count on two hands and two feet the number of people placed into leadership roles who have no business being there. None whatsoever. Their education or experience in ministry doesn’t exist, or their character and beliefs are of serious concern.

    I’ll tell you another thing that aggrieves me deeply about these luncheons WHICH I HAD NO IDEA WERE TAKING PLACE. There are smaller, I’ll call them ‘unofficial ministries’ started by church members which the church supports only insofar as concept. The church doesn’t usually provide financial assistance. For brevity sake, I will offer just one example. A church member was concerned that disabled and elderly church members living far away had no transportation on Sundays. He bought a used handicapped-accessible van specifically for this purpose. He graciously acts as their shuttle driver week after week. The van has turned into a money pit. I’d hazard a guess his out of pocket expenses for the purchase, repairs, and operating costs exceed $15,000 to 20,000 and continue to grow.

    People like the “man with the van” have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been thanked with anything remotely close to that luncheon for City employees. Heck, I’m not sure these people are acknowledged *informally* by church staff & elders for their sometimes enormous sacrifices. Seeking praise for good deeds should never be the basis for doing good deeds, so I’m not sure a luncheon would be appropriate anyway.

    Nevertheless, it’s really offensive that church money is being spent to praise and feed groups of people simply because of who their employer is. The money should be rightly spent in other ways that advance the mission of the church.

    To you who are not Christians and find this all highly offensive, I am deeply sorry. EV Free has failed the City of Fullerton. EV Free has failed its congregation. EV Free has failed the community. We are hypocrites, we are sinners, and we ought to be far better presenters of the Gospel message in all that we do.

  5. Love the pic with Stu Hamilton in the upper left hand corner. Hamilton is the former POA president that voted to allow Hughes to hand pick supervisors versus allowing the testing process to compile a ranked list-based on testing, interviewing, experience.

    Interesting stuff about Stu-he’s the officer that years ago ran in the “opposite direction” of an armed person discharging a firearm in an apt complex(think about that)

    Hmm….POA pres at luncheon, luncheon provided by mega church thats pays Officers a lot of over-time to help them cross the street on Sundays…. hmm-peace be with you

  6. Show a picture of a bunch of Public Works people covered in dirt from busting ass all day for almost no pay just so you can bitch about the police officer in the background… These are the guys you will be having laid off soon, not the officers or fire. I can’t wait for the day when you all realize no one is working on utilities anymore. You all act like this thank you is just for Joe and police. Did any of you stop to think about the people that actually are making your city habitable? Honestly? Heaven forbid someone wants to say a thank you to them also. How is feeding the guys that work at 2am in the streets a form of bribery? You people are retarded.

    1. If you don’t understand the conflict of interest, then maybe it’s a good thing you’re gone. And by gone I’m sure you mean your 2.5 at 58 pension for doing “maintenance work.”

      1. Conflict of Interest: a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.

        A church thanking ALL employees, even ones that can not do anything for them is not conflict of interest. Also what they do is not unique or beneficial. If they took your council member or mayor on a private venture to use the influence they have, then sure. Maintenance workers can’t do anything for you. Also you realize it’s 2% @ 62 right? You obviously don’t know what maintenance workers do and you clearly don’t know how the City works, like most of you on here.

    2. Thank you for working for our city, I deeply appreciate what you and other city persons have done to make Fullerton a nicer place. At this point in time, a government job makes more in salary and pension than its private sector equivalent. Enjoy your early retirement that WE taxpayers fund.

      I Am SoDoNoCha

      1. That’s not true, also a private sector equivalent does not exist. Fullerton can not compete with the rest of the public sector. Nearly all municipalities make more than Fullerton and that is the reason no one stays. We are not competitive. Is it our fault? Of course not, but the idea that any of you think this is sustainable is idiotic. You have been giving FPD and FFD bumps in pay to keep them competitive and now they feel entitled all the while having the Misc Employees suck it up by taking cuts or layoffs and now they are all leaving you. Your City is more than black and white cars and big red trucks.

        Fact is, you need more revenue. You can’t bring in business and now you are dying a slow death.

        1. Oh, boo hoo. Take it up with your cop and fire hero brethren. Don’t come crying to the taxpayer.

          Oh, yeah, try to start doing a better job: the roads are a mess the city is overbuilt and the parks department is squandering millions on stupid, make-work projects.

          1. No, YOU are supposed to take it up with YOUR cops and firefighters dumbass. You think employees live in Fullerton? They can’t afford it you elitist shithead. Do a better job on roads and parks… YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT. Nothing more to the argument. You can’t afford what it takes to have nice things because you have shit for revenue sources and you keep electing people who don’t have very good decision making skills. That is YOUR fault.

            1. Oh, poor, poor employees. What a tough life. Early retirement from a life of ass-dragging and feather bedding. You’re breakin’ my heart.

    3. “These are the guys you will be having laid off soon,”

      Uh, no. That would be the city council doing that (but no one will be laid off. Private sector equivalents work ’til they’re 67 and they work a hell of a lot harder than you ever did, I’m sure.

      As for making the city habitabl;e that is/was your job for which you are/were well paid with great benefits and a pension (probably retroactive) that’s sending the REAL working people into municipal bankruptcy.

      Bye. Good riddance. Hope you enjoyed your tri-tip.

      1. “Uh, no. That would be the city council doing that (but no one will be laid off. Private sector equivalents work ’til they’re 67 and they work a hell of a lot harder than you ever did, I’m sure.”

        UH NO, There is NO private sector equivalent so stop that horseshit right now if you think so then you don’t know what they do. 67? What planet are you on? The national average for retiring right now is 63. Also retirement is at 62 for Fullerton so stop your bitching.

        Well paid? That falls under the no equivalence again. Regardless a Maintenance worker makes less than 30k a year, benefits are nice but they don’t pay for a mortgage and therefore unsustainable. No one can afford to be a maintenance worker until they are 62 and expect to own a home or even rent for that matter in orange county.

        Educate yourself please, for everyone’s sake.

        1. What do you mean there is no private sector equivalent? That’s self interested bullshit talk. There isn’t one job inside a city org chart that couldn’t be done better and cheaper and with more accountability from the private sector.

          No more EV Ffree lunch for you.

          1. Show me. Instead of talking out of your ass, give me the equivalents. I’ll wait. Those job descriptions better be identical and for the private sector or i’ll call your dumbass out on it some more.

            No more infrastructure for you.

            1. Where to start?

              Landscaper, maintenance worker, electrician, pothole filler, pipe welder, paper-pusher, volleyball handerouter, really the list of jobs being done by public employees is all easily replicated outsourcing. Then no more extravagant salaries, no more ridiculous benefits, no more lousy employees who can’t be fired – just people who know that their performances are not going to get them an automatic “step” increase no matter how abysmal their effort.

              And you’d better quick hijacking threads or I’m going to send your dumbass to the cornfield.

              1. SOURCES. Do you know what that means?

                Nearly, all people are cross-trained and do all of the jobs you mentioned in 1 capacity. Also a study was done back when you originally laid off workers and it costed the City more to out source most jobs. You do not get the same services from someone under contract without paying the difference. Does 2010 ring a bell?

                Hijacking? OH! Is that what it’s called when someone invades your echo-chamber? Stick your harpoon where the sun don’t shine, I could care less. I’m a resident and I’ll speak my mind just like you arrogant elitists.

                1. Where are your sources? A nameless study commissioned by public employees that said it was more expensive to do things for less? LOL.

                  Cross trained? To do what? Joe Felz your glorious leader couldn’t do a damn thing but drink and drive. Well, I guess that’s cross training of a sort, mukti-tasking, anyway. And he “retired” well befor 62 didn’t he? And I must presume he was your best and brightest, right?

                  Case closed.

                  There isn’t a single employee at City Hall who could get by in his equivalent job in the private sector.

                  Now go cook your bunny.

      1. Mr. Poor-mouth Ex-employee is smart not to use his name. We would know exactly what his pension is costing us.

        1. You were probably paying 2 nickels and a shoelace so he moved to Anaheim because you guys are BROKE!

            1. Anaheim, Buena Park, La Mirada, La Habra, Irvine, Long Beach, Cypress… list goes on. Lots of people give out plenty of nickels. You can keep your’s and heck while you’re at it, why not tie that shoelace around your neck as you slowly hang yourselves into debt.

              1. Exactly! Debt. Right where you and your stupid councilmembers have put us. If things are so great in those other cities why don’t you go work there!

                1. No they are your council members.

                  Also I do work for one of those, but your community is the one with the biggest crybabies so I enjoy watching. Well we have our version of you guys but you actually have a website! lmao crying over potatoes and gravy

      2. So dumb, did you just use everyone at Fullerton’s salaries when they are clearly not referencing them all?

        That’s not the argument moron.

        1. So what is your argument? That Fullerton’s poor underpaid employees deserve a free lunch?

          Haha! Theater of the absurd.

          1. The argument is not only that it’s not a conflict of interest but your bitching is unwarranted.

            Sounds to me like you just want a reason to bitch at something that not only doesn’t effect the city financially, but also doesn’t even concern you.


            Hows that for theater of the absurd.

            1. You will find it very lonely believing that public workers are entitled to free food and gift cards. Well, I guess you an Fitzgerald can sit around bitching about the meanies on this blog.

              1. Yes because 1 thing once a year of potatoes and gravy is an entitlement… I’m curious if a private organization donated to the one you worked at, would you not eat the potatoes or be upset? Probably not.

      1. The argument is city employees getting a gift – allegedly for just doing their jobs, jobs they are well-compensated for. It’s wrong and it has to stop.

        1. Okay the city can’t accept gifts, no more road reconstruction grants as that’s a gift to the city. No more helping out with donation centers because the city is accepting the donations.

          Let me ask, if the Church says we are “Donating” potatoes and gravy to City Employees, would you stop crying? All they would have to do is change the verbiage and WALA!! No more complaints right?

          1. Now you’re just making yourself look ridiculous. You really want to compare a State grant with a gift to city employees from a private organization? You want to compare a road project that benefits all residents to a free lunch that benefits the recipients only?

            You’ve just demonstrated the intellectual reach of the typical unionized public employee: stupid, ignorant, and self-entitled.

            “Wala” = GED

            1. That’s just sad… You can’t even understand the parallels being drawn. Tell me, is your degree in liberal arts, sociology or psychology? It would explain the amount or arrogance and stupidity in one go. You implied that you know the church is a private organization (which I hope you understand) and that means it can do whatever it likes whenever it likes. Did your professor tell you that a private person like myself can literally GIVE property to the city? Did you also know that you can donate with stipulations of private property? The stipulation of the “food donation” they can just say we are donating for the purpose of consumption by employees and that is how you get it. Why would the City say no? Just because you want potatoes? Why does the City have to say no to one donation and not the other when everyone in the organization benefits? The taxes purchasing the food are cycled back into the community. It sounds to me like you are just mad you aren’t getting potatoes…

          2. You’re right! City employees need to be treated like a charity case. Let’s get them some of that federal cheese!

            1. Yes because a thank you of potatoes and gravy is a charity case!

              If you goons really want some I’ll make you a batch, seriously….

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