The Friends for Fullerton’s Future candidate questionnaire

With the filing period now closed, the election season is in full swing for the first district election on Fullerton City Council history (the full list of candidates who have qualified and their candidate statements can be found here).

The transition to District elections is proceeding smoothly.

As someone who has run for office before, I know that the single biggest challenge for any candidate is raising enough money to get your message out so that voters even know who you are. Nobody likes the direct mail pieces that inundate our mail box during election season but the candidates who pay for mail are the ones most likely to win, like it or not. And as a voter who has cast a ballot in every election since his 18th birthday, my biggest challenge for every election cycle is sorting through all that BS to find out which candidates have an actual plan, and are sincere about and committed to that plan.

So as a service to both candidates and the electorate, we have prepared the official Friends for Fullerton’s Future City Council candidate questionnaire, which we will email it to all candidates who qualify for the ballot. Unlike most questionnaires, ours has no word limit. Brevity is always recommended, but if you think your position takes three or more paragraphs to explain, then that’s what it takes. Whatever you write, we will publish it, in full, and let other residents know where you stand and why. The first one to turn in their questionnaire will be the first article we will publish.

The complete questionnaire is below the cut.

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Chaffees Buying His and Hers Campaigns

I’m not sure what’s funnier, that Doug Chaffee is hiring canvassers to beat Tim Shaw in the top-two general election race or that he and his wife are spending an equal amount of money to help her buy a seat in District 5 in Fullerton.

It’s going to be hilarious to see how much money Doug blows to be outvoted 4-1 every meeting.

As for Paulette, you’d think with such deep roots in District 2 5 she’d be able to get grassroots support instead of simply paying for AstroTurf. But hey, you know how those his and hers gifts come as a packaged deal.

Chaffee Gigs
His and Hers Campaigns

We should also take note that she “prefers” that you live in 92831. Kind of like it’s only preferred that Paulette lives in and is not carpetbag into District 5.

The Wheels are Coming off Rolling Hills Park

A little over a year ago, we ran an article about the deteriorating condition of Rolling Hills Park (right around the time Parks and Recreation were gearing up for the premier of the so-called “fitness stairs”). We even made a little joke about the condition of a certain fire engine play set:

 

Hey, kids! This is what our City Manager’s car looked like after he totaled it!

Flash forward a year and the joke is a lot less funny, because this is what the foundation of this children’s toy looks like now:

But don’t worry! According to a July 25 email from the City to a concerned resident, this equipment is a “solid piece of play equipment” that “offers “safe play for the time being”

And it will provide many more years of play time for personal injury lawyers after that.

This denial does seem to be a pattern at Parks and Recreation – we also have the fitness stairs disaster (documented by Mr. Peabody here), which they continue to ignore, and the Laguna Lake fiasco, which was ignored until the statute of limitations on the architect ran out. At least in this case, the City allows that its current plan is to remove and replace all the existing play equipment as part of its upcoming renovation. To that end, our sources tell us the City has placed yellow tape around the dangerous equipment, which has proven to be an extremely effect deterrent in the past.

You shall not pass!

A community meeting concerning renovations to Rolling Hills Park is scheduled for August 15, 2018, at 6:30 pm, at E.V. Free Church, located at 2801 N. Brea Blvd., Commons Building, Room C-212. If you utilize Rolling Hills Park, or you are a taxpayer who would like to prevent another avoidable personal injury lawsuit, you may want to attend and make sure the City follows through on its promises. And if your neighborhood park is in similar levels of disrepair (or worse) remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Complain loudly and often, and be sure to cc someone at FFFF when you do.

Another One Bites The Dust

Detective Barry Coffman, former president of the Fullerton police union, is the latest victim of housecleaning at the Fullerton Police Department.

The Original Tommy Burger

Two weeks ago management kicked Coffman out of his comfy detective chair and forced him onto patrol duty with the working stiffs. Coffman must have been unhappy because he started calling in with tummy aches. When Coffman saw that his pitiful work stoppage had no effect on management, he gave his two week notice. If I were a betting man, I’d say he stopped coming into work altogether.

For those who don’t remember, Coffman was responsible for defending the indefensible behavior of his union and its members after they murdered Kelly Thomas, repeatedly denying the existence of any corruption inside the FPD despite all of the evidence to the contrary. In addition to handing out ridiculous “excessive horning” tickets during a public protest, Coffman was also responsible for this sad tale where his lazy police work helped land an innocent couple in county jail.

Coffman’s early retirement means he left a few years of weighty pension gains on the table.  Farewell and good riddance.

Grand Jury Subpoeneth

Numerous officers within the Fullerton Police Department are receiving Grand Jury Subpoenas like the one pictured below.

Probably not a coincidence that the lucky recipients are, reportedly, the same officers on scene when former City Manager Joe Felz ran over the tree in November 2016.

You know what, I’d really hate to be former police chief Dan Hughes, or former Sergeant Jeff Corbett, right now!

Sad Clowns and Whiny Bitches

There isn’t much worse in this world than a sad clown.

I feel for this clown. Something bad happened to him. He’s a clown! He’s supposed to be happy. He’s not. Clearly this is wrong. This is not his natural state.

One could say the same thing about a man. A man who’s not in his natural state is a sad thing to behold. He’s supposed to be something. He’s supposed to exude something.  For some men it’s confidence. For others, it’s strength. For a few men, it’s hope or inspiration. Whatever it is, a man’s natural state is something good.

Whatever it is, be you.

Celebrate.

Unless you’re a whiny little bitch.

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Fullerton’s Mixed Primary Results

Recall Bull

Bulls**t or not, Josh Newman got crushed by the voters in the mid-term primary which is currently sitting at nearly 60/40 in favor of Recall (though the totals will change slightly). Newman’s supporters seem to be caterwauling about how (D)s only show up in Presidential races and low turnout caused Newman’s electoral demise but to that I say “so what?”.

If your electoral success is predicated upon people who are too lazy to mail back an absentee ballot more than once every four years I don’t have much sympathy in your loss.

Josh Newman could have easily survived this recall had be run as the man I interviewed on my podcast but instead he ran into the arms of Brown/deLeon and got the shellacking he deserved. A little less contempt for voters and a lot more explaining of facts/reasons would have gone a long way but alas that’s not how he rolled. His staff is now unemployed owing to his arrogance.

It is true that I likewise lost in the recall. Current results have me at about 12% of the vote across the 3 counties. Obviously I would have preferred a better showing but if this is the way I go out I’ll take it because removing Josh Newman was more important.

SD29 Primary Results

I’ll suffer through L2 if it means humbling a man who lied to my face at his swearing in ceremony. My bet is that Newman will be back in 2020 but for now he has 2 years to consider this an abject lesson in how Representative Democracy works in California. You don’t raise our taxes and then insult our intelligence without some consequences.

In other election news two of Fullerton’s own, and yet worst, appear to have made it passed the June 5th Primary in contentious races: Doug Chaffee & Young Kim.

In the still being counted Supervisor race, for the seat being vacated by Shawn Nelson, Chaffee is ahead of Kerr by a few hundred votes for Top2. Kerr may still have a shot to knock him out of it but it seems unlikely. It is also likely that provisional ballots could swing left and Kerr/Chaffee could knock Shaw out so I wouldn’t want to be sitting in Shaw’s seat right now.

Chaffee as Supervisor
Really? Doug for Supes?

In the big money race for Royce’s seat we see that Kim managed to absolutely STOMP local boy Shawn Nelson with the help of DCCC attack ads and other (R)s splitting the vote.

Young Kim over Nelson
The End of Nelson?

Young Kim owes Huff and Libertore a round of drinks for their hard work in keeping Nelson out of Royce’s seat and then the (R)s will likely need to apologize to Nelson after Cisneros stomps Kim should she agree to a debate.

There were only two people running for Assembly so they both advance and that race stays uninteresting until November.

Did you vote in any of these races? Are you happy with the election results? What did the voters get right/wrong? What do you think we should expect in November?

Visit the Train Station and Go To Jail

Some of you might remember Fullerton’s previous attempt to deal with homeless persons at the train station.  Those signs were removed not long after my blog post went live.  Fast forward to this week, the City has tried once again with a different strategy — declare the train station a “Paid Fare Zone” with threats of citation and arrest.

This attempt isn’t any better, taking the form of a metal scarecrow decorated with words.

Neither Penal Code 602.1(a) or Fullerton Municipal Code 7.105.010 require a fare to be paid.  The Penal Code section has to do with obstructing or intimidating a business and then refusing to leave when asked.  The Fullerton Municipal Code wording is clumsy and ambiguous in its own way:

7.105.010   Trespassing unlawful.
It is unlawful for any person to be upon any publicly or privately owned property at any time, except upon lawful business, or with permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession of such property. (Ord. 2799, 1992).

I doubt that ordinance was intended to declare public property off limits merely on the basis of convenience, as they seem to be doing here.  So it’s more than likely any attempt to enforce a “paid fare zone” under the guise of Trespassing would be decimated by a good, and maybe even a bad(!) attorney in court.

Nevertheless, this whole thing demonstrates an embarrassing amount of ignorance on the part of City Hall and the Police Department.

1. The “Paid Fare Zone” Must be Violated to Buy a Ticket.

A person wishing to buy an Amtrak or Metrolink ticket must access the platform — and violate the “paid fare zone” — before they’ve had an opportunity to look at the schedule board or buy a ticket.

Same story on the south platform, take five steps off this OCTA bus, and you’re immediately in violation.

2. Good Reasons Not to Have a Ticket.

Metrolink tickets have a 3-hour time limit on One Way, and the first segment of a Round Trip ticket.  Say you’re traveling somewhere like Ventura or Palmdale with a necessary layover in Los Angeles.  A ticket purchased too early will expire before reaching your destination, and subject you to a possible citation.  People in this situation often wait until the very last minute to buy a ticket.

Note the ticket expires at 6:43pm, three hours after purchase.

Amtrak tickets can be purchased on-board the train, meaning you won’t have evidence of a paid fare while on the platform.  This is not the usual way of doing things as you would normally visit the ticket office.  Nevertheless, they allow it.

Both Amtrak and Metrolink have e-ticketing options that allow purchase up to the last minute using a smart phone.

Any strategy that bullies passengers into buying tickets a certain way to comply with a “paid fare zone” is no good.

3. Passenger Safety.

Amtrak has two or three employees who remain indoors most of the time, and Metrolink has zero employees on site.  There is no dedicated security or police force.

Until this week, a person traveling alone could be accompanied by a friend or family member dropping them off until their train departs.  But now, fewer people allowed on the platform makes everybody less safe.   Who’s going to call the police, or intervene in a bad situation, if a lone passenger is being attacked and nobody else is around?

Elderly or disabled passengers will have added difficulty getting around and hauling their luggage to the train.  That’s because nobody is available to help.  There are no luggage carts like at an airport, and no employees on an electric cart to assist.  This is just another reason why a “paid fare zone” is a terrible idea.  Instead of allowing a passenger’s loved ones on the platform to assist them on/off train and help carry their belongings, it’s just a matter of time before somebody falls and suffers a traumatic injury.

My friend took the photo shown above.  The man in the wheelchair cannot wheel himself around and is dependent on others to help him.

How does the City expect people like him to get to/from the train when his caregiver must buy a ticket to legally be within the “Paid Fare Zone”?  That’s not only ridiculous, but probably illegal under ADA laws that protect caregivers.

4.  The Pedestrian Bridge is a Public Thoroughfare.

One of the justifications for building the pedestrian bridge in the early-1990’s was to connect the neighborhood south of the tracks with Downtown Fullerton so people didn’t have to cross the train tracks at ground level and risk getting hit by a train.

There’s literally hundreds of people who use the pedestrian bridge daily, many of them kids walking to/from Fullerton High School.  But under the “paid fare zone” they too must enter the zone without a ticket and risk citation or arrest.

5.  Railfans

People have visited the train station to watch trains and socialize with others for over a hundred years.  There’s nothing inherently strange about it.  Anybody raised in Fullerton was probably brought here by their parents at a young age to do the same.

There are small, informal groups of railfans who do this on a more frequent basis and congregate on the platforms various days of the week.  Some of these groups include current/former/retired City employees.  We also have railfans from other parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, and sometimes Asia who visit Fullerton just for this reason, and they frequent many of the downtown restaurants.

The regular Fullerton railfans are an extra set of eyes and ears for any sort of bad situation or suspicious activity.  Railfans have pulled suicidal people off the railroad tracks, and have come to the aid of injured railroad employees or passengers before.   They’ve also prevented high speed derailments at the train station by noticing track or equipment defects gone undetected.  Many of the police calls for service originate with one of the railfans noticing something not right.

All of these things make Fullerton a better place, all at no cost.  To expel them from the platform because they don’t have a ticket is foolish.

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The fact these signs are intended to drive the homeless away should be painfully obvious.  There’s no other justification to put them up.  My sources at City Hall are saying FPD Cpl. Dan Heying in his role as Homeless Liaison Officer, Dave Langstaff and Ty Richter in Public Works, the City Manager’s office, and Deputy City Attorney Ivy Tsai are all involved.

I’d like to believe this is an innocent mistake on the part of the City.  But the speed at which the signs are removed (again) will be the real test.

T-REX LOOK AT ROYCE MESS

T-REX NOT A VOTER. CAN’T REACH TINY BALLOT WITH TINY ARMS, BUT T-REX ALWAYS READ BALLOT STATEMENT. VERY INTERESTED.

WISE DINO ONCE SAY, NEVER MAKE MESS YOU CAN’T CLEAN UP.  T-REX KNOW THIS WELL. WHY HE ALWAYS DO HIS BIG MORNING BUSINESS NEAR RIVER.

T-REX LOOK AT BALLOT STATEMENT FOR CA-39 CANDIDATES.

WHAT A MESS.

ED ROYCE MUST ALSO HAVE VERY TINY ARMS.