Fortunately, An Adult in the Room

This is a story about selfishness, small-time greed and entitlement.

No, it’s not about my 3-year old nephew.

It’s about members of the Fullerton Fire Department and their Chief, Wolfgang “Wolf” Knabe and the culture of permissiveness overseen by our former City Manager Joe “Fast and Loose” Felz.

Back in September a couple of off-duty fire department employees managed to get themselves lost in Yosemite by foolishly trying to take a shortcut across some sort of moving water. The hue and cry went out – all the way to Fullerton. So members of the FFD drove City vehicles up north to show solidarity with their lost comrades who were discovered a day or two later.

What happened next may or may not surprise you depending on your familiarity with the sense of entitlement held by Fullerton’s “public safety” employees.

Chief Knabe, who makes well over $200,000 a year and is Fullerton’s highest paid employee, attempted to stick the taxpayers of Fullerton with the cost of gas, steak dinners and hotel accommodations for this purely elective field trip.

Here are the relevant documents.

Firefighters Javier Avelar, sixth from left, and Dave Brown, seventh from left, seen here joined on Sept. 13 by colleagues who trekked to Yosemite to help find them after they were reported missing by family.


Hero presser: Fullerton/Brea Fire Departments fire chief Wolfgang Kanabe explains during a press conference in Fullerton on Wednesday, how two Fullerton firefighters went missing in Yosemite during a six-day backpacking trip. They were supposed to return on Sunday. Searchers found them Tuesday. September 14, 2016. (Photo by Ken Steinhardt, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Knabe tried to justify the whole episode as some sort of job-related effort and a PR triumph for himself and his department, but fortunately our Finance Department Director, Julia James, was having none of it, and quite appropriately deemed such a reimbursement as a gift of public funds.

In the end Wolfie had to use a “donation” account (which is still public money), and which begs the question of whether or not donors are giving money to the department to pay for steak dinners for our Heroes.

60 Replies to “Fortunately, An Adult in the Room”

      1. YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT!!! These men almost died??? Do you have any clue what their families went through? Did you see these men when they came back??? Fuck off you idiot!!! This wasn’t planned just probably like how you weren’t planned when your mom fucked around like a slut. You want to be ridiculous, well let me give it right back to you!!

        1. Wow, somebody calls bullshit on a stupid an unnecessary junket that contributed NOTHING to the discovery of the whereabouts of these clowns who STUPIDLY got lost in the woods for a couple days – and what crawls out of the woodwork? GED vocabulary YOU.

          Furthermore these two dufuses had no business being in the wilderness alone judging by their total novice behavior. I sure hope THEY aren’t on some sort of “rescue” brigade, but I bet they are.

          P.S. next time these boys get lost let their families pay to send their coworkers to streak dinners and nice hotels rooms.

          1. Exactly. If over-paid Wolfie cared so damn much to be there HE should have paid for it – not us.The sense of self-importance and entitlement is remarkable but no longer surprising.

        2. You’re just humiliated because your “heroes” got themselves into a little trouble and had to be found by other heroes.

  1. Tried to take a shortcut across a river? Seriously?

    I hope the Department of the Interior and Mariposa County presented these boys with a bill for their “rescue.”

    1. “On Monday, they were able to find the shoreline of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and tried to cross an area blocked by a boulder. Reluctant to take the longer hiking path, they opted to swim around the boulder.
      A strong current pulled them in different directions, the chief said, with Brown making it to land while Avelar struggled with a flotation device. ”

      This story doesn’t make sense. There is no current in a reservoir, is there?

      1. It didn’t make any sense to me at all which is why I just called it “moving water.”

        The lesson is simple. Tenderfoots ought not to venture into places they don’t belong.

      2. As you haven’t followed the story correctly, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir had very bad conditions that time they were lost and water temperatures were unbearable. There was indeed a VERY dangerous current in the reservoir that you wouldn’t of even the slightest bit been able to make it out alive. So I hope I answered your question for you 🙂

        1. DON’T EVER MAKE DONATIONS TO FULLERTON FIRE DEPARTMENT “There was indeed a VERY dangerous current in the reservoir that you wouldn’t of even the slightest bit been able to make it out alive”
          Good thing they are alive. Nevertheless, very childish to play adventurous heroe games off their territory and without anyone to save but themselves . Are donation funds suppose to pay for their filet mignon barbecue field trips?

        2. Those guys went for a swim? Wow. They really panicked. Good thing others don’t rely on them for their judgment in tough situations.

    1. Shame on you!!!!! I really hope you regret saying that. When something bad happens to you or your loved ones, who will be saving your butt’s??? The Fire Department. Remember that 😉

      1. Funny how the Heroes and their kinfolks are always hoping “Fullerton Fire” doesn’t save us when we need it EVEN THOUGH WE PAY FOR THEIR EXORBITANT SALARIES, BENEFITS AND MASSIVE O/T BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE A CHOICE.

  2. By making it a tax payers expense trip and a PR event they turned a caring gesture into a crass self serving gesture. Is scoring high on the narcissistic scale a requirement for Fullerton City employment?

    1. Hmmm… Educate yourself please. These men & their families must have gone through hell. It’s not often at all that people make it out alive. From my understanding they are both very experienced hikers with survival skills that you won’t ever have. It’s there duty to save lives, even people like you!!

      1. They were SOOOOOO experienced they went for a swim in Hetch Hetchy instead of finding a way around a boulder, thus risking hypothermia and drowning? Lame. Brains.

        Survival skills? That’s HILARIOUS!

  3. Thanks to Julia James who may have been having a real hard time under the Fitzgerald/Felz Regime just trying to do her job.

  4. Why should my Fullerton tax dollars go to pay to rescue vacationers in Yosemite?

    If I get lost in the high desert, will Knabe come rescue me with city equipment?

    What the hell is going on?

  5. Thanks to the drunk Joey Felz, Fullerton’s public servants redole like lords of Fullerton off of our forced tributes known as taxes. Public servants are compensated for their efforts, not for hanging out with their friends. Searching for lost friends in Yosemite is a noble effort because it is a selfless gesture. These same persons expecting to be compensated for their hotels and meals while in Yosemite is sleazy and negates their hero image firefighters shove in the public’s face.

  6. This whole thing is outrageous! If Wolfgang and his fellow firemen compelled to help out a couple of their brethren in need, why the hell can’t they dig into their own wallets and pool their resources to cover their expenses? Why on earth should they even be allowed to dip into some “donation” fund? For cryin’ out loud, they drove all the way to YOSEMITE and back! Jeez, what a freakin’ sense of ENTITLEMENT!

    BTW, I would also like to thank Julia James for doing the right thing!

  7. This whole website and article disgusts me, especially the author!!! It’s absolutely awful!!! Why are you guys acting as if these men didn’t need help??? You really think these men with the best survival skills would “foolishly” get themselves in this situation??They went DAYS without food, one I think suffered from hypothermia, one hiked 15 miles on a broken foot or ankle, THEY WERE SEPARATED, and had to try to survive through a bad current in a reservoir that yes, had very bad conditions the day they were in it. That was only the half of it because I educated myself and read the articles to know how bad it truly was. I know myself, or any of you couldn’t of survived. Their families had no idea where they were, and an extensive search had to be done with volunteer crew members who wanted to bring their brothers home. Maybe educate yourselves on the story. You are all the type of people who don’t have hearts or knowledge to know how bad it must of been anyways . They risk their lives every single day to protect our city of Fullerton. Firemen are human, and also real life heroes. They deserved dinners, and what ever else this article is bashing them for. Shame on all of you for not wanting to help the people who help keep this city safe everyday. You are really ranting and raving over $750.00???? Pathetic. I really hope you all find happiness & learn to be compassionate towards others. I feel bad how miserable, ignorant,judgmental, and uneducated you all are.
    This is especially for the author.

    1. ” and an extensive search had to be done with volunteer crew members who wanted to bring their brothers home.”


  8. WOW!!!!!! Whoever the fuck took their pathetic excuse of their time to write this gets hit by a car and then Fullerton fire doesn’t save their sorry ass life. YOU HAVE NOOOOOO CLUE what these men went through. All the fucking idiots who commented are just as big as an imbecile as this jack ass who wrote this. You and all these people are pussy ass bitches who can’t even show their face or their name. Do your self a favor and educate your self on what happened and CLEARLY if you knew the correct story you couldn’t even fathom making this post. I’m emberassed for you and for children who call you a parent, your brothers, your sisters, and your spouse for having any relation to you. Fullerton Fire thank you for the love and support you showed the men who had to go through this tramatic experience and the people who don’t support them, you are everything that is wrong with the world, IGNORANT AND HATEFUL!!!!

    1. Yes, thank you Fullerton Fire for the love and support you showed them. Next time an off-duty co-worker gets lost in the sticks “support” them on your own dime.

    2. Funny how the Heroes and their kinfolks are always hoping “Fullerton Fire” doesn’t save us when we need it EVEN THOUGH WE PAY FOR THEIR EXORBITANT SALARIES, BENEFITS AND MASSIVE O/T BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE A CHOICE.

        1. I expect them to rescue me if I need it. I paid for it. Plus I don’t have a choice. Heroes have a monopoly on hero biz.

          And the word is “you’re.”

    3. “You and all these people are pussy ass bitches who can’t even show their face or their name.”

      …says someone posting anonymously as a “mad man”

      I guarantee you that this poster has a plank in their own eye as they point out the sawdust in everyone else’s eye.

    4. Pussy ass bitch = someone who wanders off into the forest without a clue what he is doing and needs someone else to come find him.

  9. So, if members of the City of Fullerton finance department get lost in Yosemite we are expected to pay to send their colleagues up there to show solidarity with the lost bookkeepers?

    1. Read it.

      What’s your point?

      If your co-workers go on vacation and get lost, good luck with telling your employer that your taking a couple days off to go look for them, and that they’ll be getting a bill next month for all of the food and lodging that you needed to go look for them.

  10. Hello! It’s a very sad story, but I just want to know why you ” tax payers” care so much about steak dinners? Let’s say if everyone in Fullerton paid taxes ( which isn’t the case). That is around 135,000 people. If you take 750.00 divided by 135,000 people that = .005.
    So from my understanding this post was made to fight over way less than a penny getting spent per each tax payer?….. I’m confused and fail to see the big deal….. I’ve also read in the documents that taxpayers money didn’t get touched. Whatever the correct story is, In my opinion I would want my tax dollars to be spent on people who actually work hard for a living…..

    1. No, the story is about an attempted illegal gift of public funds. Do you think it’s OK to steal $750 when it’s against the law?

    2. How wonderfully well you have tried to obscure the point. It’s petty theft. get it? Getting ripped off for the small change means the big bucks have already been stolen.

      Off you go now to shoot hoops or lift weights or take the truck and five “fire” fighters to the supermarket to get the firehouse chili fixin’s.

    3. Oh brother. let’s start dividing every rip-off by 135,000 to watch the problem go away. You sir (or madame) are an idiot.

      1. Besides missing the point I think your math is suspect as well if you believe that 135,000 people are taxpayers.

        How much you figure children pay in taxes?

        How about Teacher’s?

        They are more heroic and work harder on a daily basis than fireman, shouldn’t they be able to pilfer $750 without us raising a fuss?

    4. Wise Math Guy,
      1-these FFD individuals tried to have the City take the tab and a true hero turned ithem down
      2-that they’ve tried it this one time, very well opens the possibility that they have often expensed stuff which -not being as obvious and publicized as this one– should have not been expensed.
      3-if there was a desire to emotionally and financially help the adventurers should have been done by setting a private fund raiser without using the FPD institution
      4-An aggregate of a $0.05 culture several times a day by every public department makes a large amount
      5-if I set up a successful scheme to receive $0.05 from each American taxpayer ,that makes me an American millionaire thief
      …Unnecessary to go on and on because I have just proved that you are neither wise nor good at practical math

      1. lol I can’t help but laugh. You really think they planned this whole thing out JUST to use $750 dollars of the City’s money? If you find that true, you are truly the most stupid people on this planet and are taking up the oxygen in the air. They make well more than $750 bucks a shift, in fact I bet that’s close to doubled. So all you guys fired up, go find a real job instead of playing on this pathetic website. I’m even ashamed of myself that I contributed to these comments because I’m arguing with a block wall and probably people on welfare who think everyone owes them the world. I really hope they don’t pay it back , just to piss all of you off. im so sorry, maybe start a donation fund to get your worthless penny back from this whole situation? 🙂 take care idiots. Maybe this week I’ll go take my kids to the fire station to show them what wonderful heroes we have protecting our city. Hopefully I’ll even run into Kanabe to thank him for all the wonderful things he did for his men in Yosemite! Don’t hate them cuz you ain’t them. 😉

        1. “They make well more than $750 bucks a shift”

          Yes they do. So they can afford to pay for their own steak dinner and hotel rooms without having to steal that stuff from us. Thanks for confirming that.

          1. Mr Harpoon, that is indeed a true statement. Mr. Wolfgang actually suggested stealing the money from the donation fund.

            1. Anonymous,
              Is a FFD donation fund? Please, inform donors whether such fund intent is cover off-duty-hundred-miles-away-Indiana Jones-shortcomings

        2. “Maybe this week I’ll go take my kids to the fire station to show them what wonderful heroes we have protecting our city.”

          A comedian!

        3. Have a good time showing your children what a boot licking sheep you really are at the fire station, and don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you when you sign off this blogs website

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