Downtown Rules Apply or They Don’t

welcome-to-fullerton

I’m in Downtown Fullerton as I type this post. Specifically I’m at an office space some friends and I are thinking about renting for our podcasts, the same office space I used for the live video on Flory’s appointment. I’m here because I wanted to reshoot that video owing to the technical and delivery problems of my first ham-handed efforts and I wanted to see how practical this space is for our purposes at night.

I knew the train schedules and checked the sound levels with a decibel meter for quality and started figuring out some of the technical things I wanted or needed to change. Then 8pm hit and I encountered something I hadn’t really planned around – live music emanating from across the transportation center.

Let’s get to brass tacks here; it was coming from the Slidebar – a favorite punching bag of commenters here on FFFF and some of the people I know around town. But this is a problem for me because generally I LIKE the Slidebar. I know Jeremy and he’s always been civil with me. I know Josh and he allowed me to take photos inside the bar back when I shot bands for a hobby. I have little desire to bother people I have no beef with personally and who have been cool with me historically.

SlidebarMotto

When I go after things I try to focus on issues and the people I think are causing the problems. I spill a lot of digital ink railing against Fitzgerald, Silva, now Zahra and so forth because I think they’re bad leaders and corrupt politicians – but I try to leave their personal businesses and family lives out of my posts, comments and claims as best I can because that’s not where my interests rest unless those things prove to be connected to some form of political corruption, grandstanding or malfeasance.

But tonight I got irritated. I got irritated because this city plays favorites and that favoritism, while common everywhere, shouldn’t exist from government and shouldn’t impinge on my ability to do my work in an office I want to rent. Further, the city lies about basic provable things because they think nobody will bother to call them out on their nonsense. I saw this when Fitzgerald ran all over Fullerton claiming our budget was balanced. I saw this when the city lied about Red Oak’s bonafides to convince the council to approve a zone change. I saw it and heard it again tonight.

You see, I have a decibel meter as I said above and I used that meter to check the ambient noise in this office. Prior to 8pm the noise level was about 45db. When a train went by it went into the mid-50s and when I spoke loudly it went into the low-60s. Then just after 8pm when a band hit the outdoor stage at the Slidebar my meter was reading an ambient level of 65db. So I took a quick walk across the parking lot and at the property line of the Slidebar it hit an average of 82db.

82db. At the property line. Even the new “Noise Zone” doesn’t allow for 82db at a property line.

And yet here we are with a blatant disregard for the rules because those rules don’t apply equally. This is how a sidewalk got stolen in Fullerton and this type of favoritism and cronyism shouldn’t be forgiven or accepted.

Now anybody who knows me knows I’m a limited government guy and I don’t like to call the government or police on anybody for anything if it can be avoided. But I don’t have the patience to tell a business to cease their ways every night and I wasn’t about to waste my time with bouncers so I called FPD to test a few theories.

And then I waited. I waited for 50 minutes for an officer to arrive at the Slidebar. I waited and watched from across the street as the officer parked, went inside and then left. Leaving without so much as asking me about my complaint or following up with me at all – even after I told the dispatcher my name, phone # and where I would be located.

I have video evidence of the noise, video evidence of the db ratings. And yet.

And yet nothing. Nothing because the rules don’t apply to too many establishments in Downtown Fullerton.

After some more work and some more irritation I took a longer walk around 11pm and took readings all over Downtown. The ambient noise was anywhere between 55-65db away from bars, 70db or so when people were talking normally and pushing passed the 80s at the property line of most of the clubs. Joe’s was the worst offender with an average reading of 86db at the back entrance, followed by several others in the low-80s.

86.4db at Joes

But it gets more irritating.

If noise was the only complaint downtown it might be easy to mitigate the issue but this isn’t an isolated problem. We have a “Restaurant Overlay District” which treats obvious bars as restaurants for the sake of rights and conditions of business. A bar might need to add parking whereas a restaurant would not for example.

However when Ted White stood in front of the Planning Commission and said it was hard for “restauranteurs” to abide by a 50% rule that requires restaurants to sell 50% +$0.01 in food to not be classified as a bar I knew it smelled fishy. So fishy that I asked around and some friends put in a records request for those numbers, as our municipal code requires all such businesses in Downtown to maintain them, and Matt Foulkes responded that no such information existed. When clarification was sought asking if that meant that the city has never sought such info he stated that was in fact the case.

No Evidence of Bars

A key issue here is that Ted White, a guy we pay 6 figures to solve problems, just makes up or repeats nonsense arguments to the planning commission with zero information to back up his claims. Information that was at his disposal if he wanted it. But he didn’t want it. He doesn’t want to tell the truth about who is out of compliance. He doesn’t want to out the people who are in blatant violation of our municipal code all while he shills for rule changes and preferential handouts to those very businesses. Changes such as paid parking to benefit them, louder noise levels and other relaxed rules. It’s hard to blame him though because he’d have to be somewhat of an idiot to take this info to a council that holds fundraisers in the offending establishments.

According to further information provided through records requests I put in with the city, Eat at Joes, the Slidebar, Stubricks, Branagan’s and JP23 have been operating illegally without the appropriate permits, some for more than a decade. I saw tonight as they blatantly violated capacity limits, noise ordinances, cover charge rules and on and on without nary a worry because staff, the Planning Commission and City Council have no interest in holding certain businesses to account and therefore any actions by PD (if any even happen) are ultimately futile.

That the Slidebar had the police called and went right back to blasting a DJ at over 80db at the property line two hours later shows how blatant the disregard is for the rule of law and the welfare of their neighbors and why should they care? If the rules are cooked in your favor are you really going to ask to have them changed? I must stress again that this isn’t meant to single out the Slidebar. I used them for my example because they are the closest in proximity to me and I can hear their music even now.

Now, if the argument is that the rules are stupid and need to go away then nobody should have to abide by them. But that’s not the case – the argument from the city is that the rules are hard to enforce and so we need to give “amnesty” to the rule breakers all while new businesses must abide by every whim and crony manipulation put in front of them by city staff. Unless those rules remain too hard to enforce and then something something bureaucracy. Keep in mind that the new “Noise Zone” that Community Development Director Ted White was pitching to the Planning Commission allows for amplified sound of up to 75db but tonight, when a lower threshold is law, few places are abiding by either. Not Joes, not Heroes, not the Slidebar, not Bourbon Street, not Commonwealth or Palapa or Florentines or Matador, not Ziings or Back Alley. Stubricks, Hopscotch and Continental were all fine and I couldn’t get a good reading at Branagan’s because Ziings was throwing off the levels with their bass.

Right now it is after 1:15am and a DJ is playing. I can hear them from across the street and if I take my decibel meter out to the offending property line again I’m sure that they’ll be in violation of even the new planned rules for outdoor amplified sound. And if I call in another complaint nothing, again, will happen. Then in a few weeks or perhaps months we’ll get to watch as Ted White again comes to Planning Commission and then Council to promise that if the rules are just relaxed a little more, this time the businesses will comply even though they did’t comply with those newer, “better”, more relaxed standards tonight.

The way the city handles all of this is unethical, immoral and just plain wrong. Contra Jan Flory it’s time that Council, commissions and staff started to work for us for a change. They need to stop being advocates for cronies, favorites and friends and instead be arbiters of facts and figures and honest government. We taxpayers and residents are the heart of this city and we deserve to be treated with honesty and respect.

Chronic Failure Downtown Fullerton

43 thoughts on “Downtown Rules Apply or They Don’t

  1. The “Downtown Game Plan,” where Fullerton staff relaxes rules even more to allow for more bars to operate in downtown Fullerton. Yet, strangely, voters were not even given the choice to vote on whether they wanted cannabis in Fullerton- The City Council decided they did not want it, so Fullerton gets screwed with no cannabis dispensaries or lounges, just more bars. The logic behind this is??? Bueller???

    Also, I will never set foot in Florentine’s/100N/Palapa Grill precisely because Joe Florentine and F. Paul Dudley (who rakes in $151K in retirement/yr) cooked up that scheme to steal the sidewalk from the unsuspecting residents of Fullerton. I say take the sidewalk back and give it back to the residents of Fullerton, as that is the only way Florentine can make it right with the people. Not until then Joe, because you know it’s bad freaking karma dude to have stolen 1/2 a public sidewalk for your personal financial gain. It also smells like a sewer inside all your restaurants, so there’s that too.

    To show some level of maturity, I have definitely changed my mind on Dripp Coffee though– it took 2+ years and Tazon going in there, but that corner is really nice now, and both Tazon and Dripp have a good thing going. Not cheap, but a nice experience nonetheless. Now, if the city would just build that 200 space parking structure behind A&Vs…

  2. Did you call Jeremy and ask him if he could turn the volume down just a bit? Maybe he doesn’t walk the boundaries of his conditional use permit With with a scientific instrument to measure sound and was just unaware that he was exceeding the limitations the city had imposed. Or maybe the band did not get a copy of the document you posted and set the volume level at 11. Or maybe, just maybe you have your level of concern dialed a bit past ridiculousness.

    1. Except according to the city he doesn’t even have a conditional use permit.

      So there’s that problem with the argument.

      Read the post. The point wasn’t to just get Jeremy to turn his music down, which I suppose I’m supposed to do every time I try and work? The point was that Fullerton staff doesn’t even know what’s happening downtown and yet they peddle nonsense like facts.

        1. Let’s be honest here – if I had walked over to Slidebar and shaken hands and had a friendly little chat, would the business model have changed? Or would the volume that night have been lowered?

          Are people expected to walk over and have a conversation every time they want to relax, work or sleep without having to listen to music from any given downtown nightclub?

          1. Exactly.

            Fuck these people who think they have a right to disturb the neighborhood until someone reminds them in person they’re being selfish pricks.

            OBEY AND ENFORCE THE LAW, FULLERTON.

            Of note, not one of these shitheads offered to have a personal conversation with Kelly Thomas before calling the cops for “grabbing door handles”. These are straight up entitled hypocrites who survive by making friends with politicians.

            1. Amen. Popoff has Kelly’s blood on his hands and he knows it. He doesn’t care, but he knows it. If we had an honest police department and an honest DA (instead of what we do have), Germ Popoff would have been in the docket right along side Ramos and Cyclops.

    2. Screw you. That douchebag has been blatantly violating the FMC for years, plus he doesn’t have a CUP, so there’s that.

      That slimy fucker knows exactly what he is doing and has had Fitzgerald running interference for him with staff for years. That was one of the reasons. The last Planning Director quit.

  3. A lot of rules don’t apply in Fullerton. Everybody’s looking the other way, somebody knows somebody, someone’s owed a favor, favors are given, you scratch my back / I’ll scratch yours. FPD enforce some rules with certain people, they don’t enforce a lot of rules with others… and, so on and so forth. Leaves us all scratching our heads wondering what the heck is going on in this city. I’m convinced every drug dealer in DTF , Fullerton , Independent Skate park all have some kind of free pass because they are all well known and yet all openly sell, distribute in this city like they ain’t afraid of anyone. Police drive by them and nothing. Craziest thing. Especially because all these drug dealers are selling to our community of kids. Forget the noise problem of DTF. Yeah, annoying as hell …… this city has bigger problems . Like the drug sniffing dogs needed now at our local Fullerton high schools because the drug problem is so out control that these dogs are now needed. Crazy huh! Drug sniffing dogs in Fullerton at our local high schools. What a quaint little city we live in.

  4. I highly doubt Ted White has seen DTF in its prime at night and the wee hours of the mornings. I doubt any of City Hall officials have walked the streets of DTF at the hours you’ve mentioned. They would never be caught dead in the filthy, slimyness of their quaint little city downtown night life where all the drunks, drug users, homeless are fighting , vomiting on our sidewalks , urinating on our streets and everything else disgusting goes on. All these owners know somebody and a lot of them have free passes and wont ever get touched or reprimanded or fined because the City needs their business and money. Best to just go to bed and try and get some sleep. Trust me all the Fullerton City officials are all tucked and snug in their Fullerton homes with not a care in the world about DTF and the noise level , problems it’s creating for all us people in Fullerton on this side of town. LOL!

    1. That’s why I liked Joe Felz. He knew how to party in downtown Fullerton and he wasn’t afraid to throw down when things got crazy in the parking lot.

      1. Ahhhhh, yes, old used car salesman Joe Felz. Man, he has a great smile. And, sure does love his drink. Only thing he does know how to throw down. Great example , reminder again of Fullerton PD driving out to check out “a problem “ only for it end with a “nothing to see here folks”. Just another great guy on the drink, in his car, crashed up on a sidewalk , trying to drive away to get home……and, Fullerton PD more than happy to drive him home safely to tuck him snug as a bug night night in bed. Shhhhhhhhhh. And, they all lived happily ever after………

    2. “…or fined because the City needs their business and money.”

      That’s wrong. The City does need their money, but they aren’t getting it. The taxpayers are subsidizing the douchebag cartographers Popoff and Florentine. Fitzgerald and Flory get a few buck and that’s it.

  5. Josh, why dontcha use that meter to read how loud your head noise is. I’m sure it’s non stop screaming inside that lil head and very confusing. I’m sorry you have to deal with that. Or, for God’s sake…get a decent job and a hobby.

    1. Ferguson has done nothing but good for the people of Fullerton, cleaning out the dirty drunk cops and corrupt beaurocratic managers so the rest of us can sleep at night, knowing that it will at least take them a few months to find new dirtbags to promote.

      I think Ferguson is a goddamn hero, and you sir, are a piece of shit.

      1. He hasn’t done jack shit dumbass. He has a blog….all those you mention did it to themselves through natural selection and their respective departments removing them for bad behavior. Once again, he has a blog. A blog. Lol.

          1. All of em dummy. Why do you think they are gone? Ferguson has absolutely nothing to do with the process whatsoever. The good ones are pushing out the bad. Happens everywhere in every profession. Everyone is human, you get bad employees and good ones. It’s a crapshoot what you get. If any of you had actual careers you would understand. And I’m sure all 10 of you on this thing have worked with a POS at some point too.

        1. Natural selection?

          Hahahahaha. All those poor dumb Fullerton cops who couldn’t refrain from breaking the law? Petty thieves, pickpockets, perjurers, sexual perverts, pill poppers, homicidal maniacs, one-eyed cretins? No natural selection took place, I can tell you that. If it did there would be no FPD at all!

    1. Posting because it’s fun getting you folks all geared up with nowhere to go! And I love the comedy on here. Dumbass, why would anyone else read this non sense.

      1. Gross, stinky beard like that rat tail that hung off Jeremy Poopoffs face for years, Hot Topic the bar has been a whack place and always will be. How unfortunate this pit took over the Hub.

  6. What about some accountability for the place that sold that drunk driver so much booze he ended up on top of pedestrians on the sidewalk ?
    Where is the ABC ?

    1. Or the accountability for the other 36 people FPD has arrested for DUI near downtown this year alone?

      Please. These bars, *ahem*, restaurateurs give big money to Fitzgerald and her floozies.

      Why would there ever be any accountability for any of her friends?

    2. Might be more to the story ? Other witnesses have accounted that a group were beating on his car and he was trying to get away from them? I’m sure in the days to come there will be a clearer picture from A-Z and answers to all the Whys and How did this transpire. With all that said …. unfortunately, drinking and drugs also played a part of this tragic situation. Thursday – Saturday night Fullerton crawls with hundreds of people who are drunk, high, fighting, urinating on the streets, sidewalks, alleys, parking lots, parking structure stairwells…. you name. DTF without a doubt serves the nightlife and promotes drinking with all the bars located within a small square area of our city. Add the drug dealers who have set up in our city, in DTF, at Independent Park off Valencia, dealing , selling, distributing drugs to our high schoolers, college kids, and visitors to city and you have a bad combination. Of course this happened. It will continue to happen as long as leadership treats DTF like the pithole it’s quickly becoming. During the day DTF is tolerable…. but, I would never bring my family or kids to DTF in the evening to any of the restaurants for a family dinner , shopping, or anything else. It’s disgusting, dirty, and caters to drunks and people high on drugs. Probably why Brea is quickly becoming the place to go for those of us who don’t want to deal with vomiting, drunk, urinating, fighting high riff raff. And, while all this is going on for those with students in our highschools. Drug sniffing dogs are being brought into our high schools because of a out of control drug problem with drug dealers, distribution within the schools. Lack of transparency also runs deep with our school district , school administrators as well! Common theme here in Fullerton! And, is it just me or is Fullerton now in the hews for something negative almost every single week. What does that say about our quaint little city!

      1. “I’m sure in the days to come there will be a clearer picture from A-Z and answers to all the Whys and How did this transpire.”

        Hahahahaha. Wanna bet? let’s put the intellectual giant Kenton Hampton on the job!!!

        1. Oh Dick….biligerent drunks and high drug users aren’t the norm buddy. But, if it offends or confuses you that other people would point out right / wrong , acceptable / unacceptable behavior I’m sure Fullerton has a safe place for you to go and peacefully process this wild concepts! Say hello to any Fullerton City Council members you see while there. Good luck to you Dick!

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