Fullerton’s Version of Transparency
I’m not going to wax poetic or waste time building a narrative or telling a story today. Today I just want to lay out a simple example on how Fullerton deals with transparency.
On Wednesday, 16 November 2016 at about 9:00 PM, a Fullerton Parks and Recreation vehicle collided with another car at the intersection of Highland and Chapman.
Not long after learning about it I put in a Public Records Request asking for information on the case, vehicle and so forth and got little to nothing back. So I just ignored the issue and waited.
Up until that point nearly nothing had been reported (if anything) on this accident and the city had said nothing. Being that this is a city owned, meaning taxpayer funded, vehicle we should expect at least some acknowledgement as to what happened or even that it happened.
Instead we got crickets.
I started asking around again and rumor has it that the driver was intoxicated and three parks employees were in the vehicle and all were subsequently fired.
So recently I again put in a Public Records Request asking about such information. That request was denied on a grip of what I call “so sue us” or “you have remedies” grounds.
Then I put in another Public Records Request asking for, and I quote:
“…I now want all information released to the public about the incident involving that vehicle including any PRRs responded to, emails sent or received, reports released, press releases, etc.”
And the response from the city was:
“There are no records responsive to your request.”
When I asked for clarity:
“Is it the city’s position that nothing has been said in any way about this incident?”
They doubled down with:
“There are no available records regarding the incident.”
No available records regarding this:
No available information says the city, not even an email.
So city employees can destroy a city vehicle, which allegedly is still sitting at the Basque yard, not to mention possibly damage private property and we poor plebeians aren’t allowed to know anything all while our pompous and pretentious council pretends to care about transparency.
In all this time they could have asked for an update, asked staff what happened, explained why they might not be able to talk about a public incident (lawsuit, etc) but no. They sat and asked no questions and offered no insights.
So the next time our Council, Planning Commission, City Staff or City Manager claim to care about transparency just point to this incident and laugh at them. Laugh at them and then possibly give them the finger.
10 Replies to “Fullerton’s Version of Transparency”
The records probably got lost in one of the many potholes around Fullerton.
Hey … they still cannot come up with a GOOD good reason why West Fullerton has a lack of STOP SIGNS.
I guess so many deaths have to occur first…
In the meantime, the City produces a “critical incident review” exonerating its officers from any responsibility in killing a 22 year old citizen less than a month from when it happened.
Why? Because releasing video to protect cops helps the city’s reputation. Releasing facts about drunk Parks employees does not.
In the end, it’s not the public’s best interest that matters, it’s the best interests of public employees.
That was uncalled for. Having been a cog in the State machine, let me tell you that the lower rank and file are generally never shielded from fallout; if anything they are typically the patsies. That is unless 1. They have a damn powerful union (doubtful in this case) or 2. They were employed because the city is their ‘family business’ (nepotism in all levels of public service is the greatest threat to effective government, and it is EVERYWHERE…)
How ridiculous. It’s almost impossible to fire a public employee.
Bruce Whitaker is all over it.
Perhaps, if was our formal Fullerton City Manager Joe again, or perhaps it was our City Attorney, in this case it would be critical to release any video, imagen where Fullerton reputation would end. Well, if they would have been more open, instead of hidden the facts. We wouldn’t be here making assumptions.
Fullerton is engaged in yet another cover-up. It’s just part of the process now. They never learn.
Was this maybe another drunk driving cover up by Disney Dan? Was there an associated crime report?
Find out what officers were involved. File a citizen complaint report with the PD based on your concern of the rumors you heard and ask them to investigate. Ask for access to that report. Or get a letter from the PD saying go home there is nothing to see here.
It’s inconceivable that no police report was taken in conjunction with the incident, even if nobody was arrested. Policy for most (I’m not sure about Fullerton) cities is that any significant damage to city property should be documented, usually by the police department, as either a vandalism report, traffic collision report or an incident (non-criminal, non-traffic, basically just written documentation with pictures) report.
Speaking of that area….Chapman and Highland has a traffic light, but God help you if you try to cross the crosswalk one block away at Chapman and Malden. I’ve written to the PD about it and requested enforcement. Nothing. I have literally tried to cross there while standing in the roadway in the crosswalk at the curb while 20 cars or more speed by. Nobody stops. Nobody gets a ticket.
Then there was the time when the power was out at Chapman & Highland for service of the signal (SCE trucks were there). No stop signs had been set out as should be policy, nobody was stopping going either way, it was super dangerous and I thought for sure there would be an accident. I called the PD, advised them of the problem, and they (fairly rudely) told me that it was a public works problem, not a PD problem. I had to point out to them that failure to stop at an intersection with a signal where the power was out was a violation of the law, quoted the section, and pointed out that it was, in fact, a PD problem. I told them they should dispatch a motor there until public works or whoever was servicing the light could set out stop signs. I was ignored.