The Curse of Other People’s Money

It’s a sad fact that local politicians usually have no qualms about spending money from off-budget sources – like State and Federal grants to do this or that uber-important thing. And these things don’t really undergo much scrutiny at all because the money the locality gets, if it finds itself awarded such a grant, isn’t competing with other municipal needs. And, better still, the awarding agency very often has no interest in seeing how successful the grant actually was. See, this requires a rear-view mirror, which the government go-carts just don’t have.

It might work…

This topic came to light during discussion of the ill-fated “Trail to Nowhere” that was going to built with almost $2,000,000 bucks raised from some State of California bond rip-off or other. We heard from the drummed up “community” that the money had been awarded, so better take it; these people being not at all concerned that just maybe the money could be better spent on a project elsewhere. And let’s not worry about the fact that nobody will be responsible for the failure of the scheme.

Phase 1 was a complete failure so Phase 2 is bound to work!

Which brings me to Fullerton’s history of grant money, utterly wasted, and with absolutely no accountability. Specifically I am referring to the long-lost Core and Corridors Specific Plan. I wrote about it seven years ago, here.

I’ll drink to that!

Back in 2013 or so, the City of Fullerton received a million dollars from Jerry Brown’s half-baked Strategic Growth Council to develop a specific plan that would sprawl over a lot of Fullerton, offering by-right development for high-density housing along Fullerton’s main streets – a social engineering plan that would have drastically changed the character of the city. The reasons for the entire project’s eventual disappearance off the face of the Earth are not really important anymore. What is important is that the grant money – coming from Proposition 84 (a water-related referendum!) was completely and utterly wasted.

A page on the City’s website dedicated to the Core and Corridors Specific Plan had quietly vanished by 2017, never to be heard of again.

It doesn’t matter how it turns out. It’s the gesture that counts.

The lesson, of course is that Other People’s Money causes public officials – the elected and the bureaucratic – to take a whole other attitude toward spending on stuff than it does if the proposed projects were competing with General Fund-related costs – like the all-important salaries and benefits; or competing for Capital Improvement Fund projects that people actually expect a city to pursue. And it’s very rare indeed for a city council, like ours, to realize that grant money can be misused and actually wasted.

And so I salute Messrs. Dunlap, Whitaker and Jung for voting to return the Trail to Nowhere grant money – an act of true fiscal and moral responsibility.

39 Replies to “The Curse of Other People’s Money”

  1. People like Zahra and Charles believe in the concept of free money.

    Never vote for a public employee. Their understanding of economics is informed by guaranteed return pensions, deficit spending and zero accountability.

  2. Bureaucrats are those who are incapable of real work. Those that can, do. Those that can’t get government jobs.

    1. They’re smarter than all the rest of us. Little to no risk of getting fired, guaranteed pensions & health benefits for life regardless of economic situations, etc.

      The dummies are the ones who keep paying for this stuff and getting nothing in return.

    2. The trail posts are old news. Find something else to b*tch about. Developer Bushalas not mowing the City grass. So don’t pay someone who is. Ahmad beat you so you had your boys refund the grant. 🙁

  3. And if, on the rare occasion that somebody in government does ruminate on an undeniable failure, the problem is always that not enough money was spent!

    1. First lesson few learn in politics.
      The Government has no money of it’s own. All monies they have ,have been collected from us. Read and repeat

  4. It’s of a absolutely no concern to Fullerton that the money might be spent “better” in some other city. Out of scope. Not our call. We don’t see the other applications. How should we judge that?

    We apply for a grant, we get it or we don’t. It’s not our call to make.

    But not making plans and applying for the grant would be ridiculously irrational and to completely misunderstand how the process and in general, how the world works.

    Par for the course at friends for Fullerton fucking itself.

    1. Mind hurts us so bad sometimes I get angry over the least little thing and we foam at the mouth. Pay no attention to me. Us.

    2. We KNOW it can be spent better someplace else because the Trail to Nowhere was a complete waste of money. It couldn’t help but be be spent better elsewhere. It couldn’t be wasted worse.

      This is called logic.

      1. No it’s not logic. It’s your opinion, and again, it’s not how it works. There’s a grant process and they went through it successfully only to be shot down after a lot of work.

        Any wider area plan forthcoming from the council majority yet? A dog to wag the tail?

        All bullshit from bullshitters.

            1. And yet you never mentioned the million bucks in grant money that was completely wasted by Fullerton on the Core and Corridors Specific Plan boondoggle.

              But maybe you didn’t consider it a waste. Or maybe shame on somebody else for not holding Fullerton accountable. Got it.

                1. So, you don’t know what sunk cost means, either. But rave on. It’s sort of like watching a ship sink (see what I did there?).

  5. Holy shot this article is a joke like most here.

    This blog should be called Friends of Tony.

    The “drummed up community” is an obvious lie. I was at the council meeting and watched these real-life community members crying when the three stooges voted this project down that would have created a safe space for their children to ride bikes and play. Places like this are hugely lacking in the south.
    This was a HUGE disservice to our poorer community and it would have cost the city nothing but would have benefited so much.

    And it was canceled for what? For a dream of a development by Bushala who has no record of developing anything? The guy doesn’t even maintain the properties he already owns. They are literally dilapidated.

    1. Ahaha. A safe space in junkieville. Suddenly the program turned to comedy and comedy gold it is.

      BTW, everyone keeps saying that Bushala is a multi-millionaire developer so…

    2. Newsflash, Uninformed Citizen. South Fullerton has the same number of city parks as north Fullerton. You can count, can’t you. And just who are the kiddies who were going to play and ride bikes along this foolish “trail”? Where do they live? How are they going to get there? Who would have looked after their safety from the homeless junkies? Zahra? That Egleth person or Shana Charles or Alice Loya who have never darkened a “rec trail” in their lives.

      The only potential users are residents of SOCO Walk – to take their pent up pooches to relieve themselves. And they would never get past Highland Avenue.

      Admit it, at long last, Alice. This nonsense had to stop.

    3. And who is the “community”? Avid trail user Egleth Whatershername and a couple of Zahra stooges blathering nonsense in Spanish? Where is the community?

      And let’s roll out the “poorer” so that the community can be patronized by liberal goofballs who love throwing money around in hapless gestures without a hint of accountability – just so long as they can make their precious gift to the “underserved community” and be offended if somebody dares to ask how much will it cost to take care of the present.

  6. Uninformed citizen says; “and it would have cost the city nothing but would have benefited so much”. Really? Why didn’t Staff say one word about the ongoing costs to remove graffiti or to clean the trash from the homeless encampments that will inevitably take over? Surely, there must be some idea of what that would costs. How about the cost of our poor overworked Staff that would have to take their valuable time to administer the project? Not a word there either. Or the costs to maintain the lighting and landscaping? Total silence. Doesn’t Parks and Rec. Staff have anything else to do but meet with more architects, consultants and contractors? Nobody said anything. Good thing three council-members weren’t fooled by Staff’s omissions and Zahra’s and Shana’s pimping and whining.

    1. And of course (Un)informed Citizen neglects the $300,000 in Park Dwelling Fees right out of the City’s budget. Really these people are staggeringly ignorant. And brainwashed.

      Last time around Alice Loya said maintenance would be the same as in city parks (that was a lie) but didn’t bother producing a number.

      1. “park dwelling feed” and “right out of the city’s budget” is a phrase you will have trouble reconciling.

        I don’t think you’re staggeringly ignorant though. Just the regular kind.

        1. Sir, you have reached a new level of stupidity. Congratulations, I guess. At the top of your class.

        2. The projected expenditure of Park Dwelling Fees is part of the City’s annual budget. Are you that damn ignorant? Just go away.

          1. Your only chance of you winning any argument is for people like me to just leave, yes, everyone gets that.

            Park dwelling fund is an account. It is used for parks and trails. Either OP doesn’t get that or he was trying to mislead.

            Every dollar of spending is part of the budget. In a budget you list all your assets. The dwelling fund is an asset. So it’s listed in the budget.

            But to say the $300k comes straight “out of” the city budget is to act as though the budget is just one big pile of money. It’s not. It is multiple accounts and state and local laws say what you can do with those accounts.

            My guess…. op doesnt understand that and is just wrong. Meanwhile you are attempting to mislead.

            Money is fungible. Accounts are not. There are laws.

            1. Rave on. The word is not “account.” It’s “Fund.”

              And each Fund has a budget. The $300,000 wasted on a Trail to Nowhere can’t be spent on park improvements in all of our other parks and trails. Likewise the General Fund money wasted maintaining it and watering it can’t be used to repair our other decrepit park facilities.

              Pull your head out of your rectum and look around. There’s a whole real world out here.

              1. Propaganda bullshit… totally unconvincing to anyone who isn’t ready to eat shit.

                The trail plan is for a trail. It goes from point A to point B. It doesn’t go “nowhere” in a developed city because everywhere in town is somewhere.

                1. You really hate that Trail to Nowhere line, so it must be true.

                  It doesn’t go where anybody wants to go. Nowhere. The Greek word for nowhere is “utopia.” So perfect for the boobish liberal mindset: who cares if it fails? We spent the money so we’re good with the pantomime.

                2. There have already been three, yes, THREE people murdered on that U.P. “trail” since it’s idiotic inception in the late 90’s. And, by the way, JH, it is currently a “trail”. Go there and walk it from point A to point B. Then turn around and walk back. You really are dumber than a sack of door knobs.

  7. Ahmad has failed in representing the residents of district 2. Perhaps if he knew how to build a coalition rather than whining like a bitch, our district can have nice things.

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