The 2018 4th District County Supervisor race just got a little more interesting with her announcement that La Habra City Councilwoman Rosie Espinoza is joining the fray.
Espinoza ran against Chris Norby in June, 2006 and did poorly. She ran again in June, 2010 and failed badly once again.
What gives this story a dash of interest is that Rosie is a Democrat and it is well-known that the public employee unions have made a concerted effort to limit the Dem candidates to one, namely Joe Kerr. The shameless union campaign hustle of Kerr, who actually lives with his family in ritzy Coto de Caza, now has a bit of a problem, to wit: a Democrat candidate who actually lives in the 4th district.
The other interesting angle is that Ms. Espinoza will be running against another La Habra councilcreature, Republican Tim Shaw, know best for his underling relationship with Redevelopment prostitute and general scum-sucker Bob Huff (R – Ed Roski). Shaw has probably been counting on being able to carry the northernmost precincts in the district on name recognition – thus making a November runoff and hoping for the best. Oops!
If she’s even paying attention, the news of the Espinoza campaign should be somewhat warmly received by the other repuglican in the race, Young Kim, the utterly unqualified political job-hopper who is looking for another taxpayer-funded gig after having been dethroned by Sharon Quirk-Silva in the 2016 State Assembly election.
The other evening the Fullerton City Council discussed the issue of letting bar owners cram more of their top-shelf patrons into downtown Fullerton night clubs, a move that the bar owners ludicrously claim will actually help with all that mayhem that occurs on a typical week-end evening. As a tangent, the idea of taxing the generators of all the trouble came up.
Here is our esteemed Mayor, Bruce Whitaker, calmly explaining why some sort of public revenue generating scheme would a bad idea.
This is so disingenuous in several aspects that it’s hard to know where to start. The idea that the private business interests are the best at providing some sort of “management” at the lowest cost is absurd given the fact that the taxpayers are already providing vastly subsidized security and maintenance in the downtown war zone. It is the o-so trustworthy bar owners (that Whitaker claims have the biggest stake in a smoothly operating downtown) who benefit from public services they aren’t paying for.
Whitaker knows very well that the open air saloon known as Downtown Fullerton costs the taxpayers more than $1,500,000 per year. It’s a classic money pit. The irony is rich. The idea that the city government might milk DTF is absolutely absurd. The fact is that Whitaker’s bar-owner campaign contributors are making money on the backs of the rest of us – and Whitaker – despite his rhetoric – knows this damn well.
The real point is that once again Whitaker and his spineless council colleagues are going to bat for their saloon owning pals, people who have stolen public sidewalks, habitually violated the City’s noise ordinances, whose patrons wreak havoc on our streets and on themselves every night. Whitaker and the City Council have not only turned looking the other way into a full-time job, they have gone out of their way to prop up and publicly subsidize the booze peddlers they enabled in the first place.
Anyhow, like I said, Bryan’s just looking to make some extra dough on the side, so let’s give a brotha’ a break, right? If you’re looking for “boutique” real estate services and someone to bring a special brand of negotiating talent to the table, Bryan may be just be the fella to meet your needs.
Most government projects have three things in common: they are bad ideas promoted by bureaucrats, they are obscenely expensive, and there is no accountability attached to them.
In Fullerton we have lots of examples over the years that touch all three bases. But if ever one needed a veritable poster child for government fiascoes, the ill-conceived “Downtown Core and Corridors” Specific Plan would be it.
Back in 2010, the City of Fullerton put in an application for a “project” to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Strategic Growth Council” an assemblage of bureaucrats and political appointees selected by the governor to promote sustainability and responsibility in urban (and suburban planning). On the face of it, the idea was to promote development that would be eco-friendly – somehow, someway. Lo and Behold! Fullerton received a $1,000,000 grant to create the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan, a massive overlay zone. In 2013 a committee was appointed to make this look like a community driven enterprise, but as so often happens the committee was led along by the consultants and staff who were being paid, and paid well, out of the grant money. Some members of this committee only went to one meeting, the last one, in May 2014, a meeting consumed by passing out certificates of participation to committee members for all their hard work.
In the meantime, the intent of the creators of the specific plan became crystal clear: opportunity for massive new housing projects along Fullerton’s busiest streets, development that would not even have to undergo the scrutiny facing normal projects so long as the permissive guidelines of the specific plan were met. Naturally, lots of people objected to the continued over-development of Fullerton, and the utter disconnect with what the Strategic Growth Council was ostensibly promoting. Perhaps the most obnoxious thing about the specific plan proposal was the way it was being used, unapproved by any policy maker, to promote other massive apartment projects already in the entitlement process.
And then a funny thing happened. The Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan vanished into thin air. Although recommended by the Planning Commission in August of 2014, the plan and its Environmental Impact Report never went to the city council for approval. 2015 passed; and so did 2016 without the plan being approved. Even modifications rumored to have been proposed by the now-departed Planning Director Karen Haluza never materialized for council review or approval.
Some cynical people believe the plan was postponed in 2014 because of the council election, an election that returned development uber alles councilmembers Greg Sebourn and Bud Chaffee. And they believe that the subsequent attempt to erase the plan from the municipal memory was perpetrated by none other than the hapless city manager, Joe Felz and lobbyist councilperson Jennifer Fitzgerald, (so the story goes) two individuals who had every incentive to shake down potential developers one by one, rather than granting a broad entitlement for new and gargantuan development. Felz had a massive budget deficit to fill, and Fitzgerald had massive lobbying opportunities from potential Pringle and Associate clients.
What is undeniable is that three long years have passed and no action has been taken to either approve or deny the specific plan. The grant money approved by the State has been a complete waste – a travesty so embarrassing to everybody concerned that no one seems to want to demand an explanation for this fiasco. Neither the city bureaucrats or council, nor the State has any incentive to advertise this disaster, and you can bet there never will be an accounting.
We have a new police chief in Fullerton, and only eight months after his predecessor obstructed justice by giving a DUI city manager a get out of jail card, and retired with a massive pension to become a Disney employee.
The new one is named David Hendrick who was approved unanimously by our city council this week. That includes, of course, self-professed conservatives Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn, who evidently saw nothing wrong paying Mr. Hendricks $230,000 per annum – $5,000 more than his boss, the city manager, and $25,000 more than his predecessor. Of course this gross pension spike will be borne by the taxpayers of Fullerton until Mr. Hendricks and his beneficiaries scoot off to their eternal rewards – in about 30 or 40 years.
Being a political creature means keeping your happy face on – even when your happy speech is done. On Saturday our lobbyist-councilperson Jennifer Fitzgerald happily talked up her moronic wooden stairs that don’t do anything – $1,600,000 worth of nothing. She was soooo excited (twice). Even her pal Jan Flory was there to help put a shine on this smoking road apple. But when her talk was done, Fitzy sure looked grim walking away from this monumental misadventure in government waste.
Maybe the enormity of the waste actually set in? Shame? Guilt? Anger?
Since at least 2013, Fullerton’s EV Freemegachurch has been paying for and hosting a lunch as a gift to City of Fullerton employees. Probably not coincidentally, 2013 is when EV Free congregant Jennifer Fizgerald began her first year on the Fullerton City Council. Last year the event included a tri-tip lunch and “prizes and a raffle to win gift cards to local Fullerton businesses.”These events must cost the church thousands of dollars.
It should be crystal clear why it’s wrong for an organization to buy lunch for city employees, one or all. This church frequently petitions the city on land use issues, and it even hires city police to manage its parking. If a business like Chevron or Red Oak Development or Renick Cadillac tried to glad hand City functionaries and employees like this, the public would be outraged. It is a clear conflict of interest for city employees to accept gifts like this.
For its part, the church ought to revisit Scripture as it relates to Pharisaical behavior. I don’t remember Jesus Christ or his disciples buying lunch for the Romans, but then Jesus didn’t have two denarii to rub together.
The action of the city government, led by City Manager Joe Felz, in accepting these gifts, is appalling and not only exhibited a complete lack of judgment and awareness, but placed the City in the position of a gift-receiver from an entity that does substantial business in Fullerton. If an individual were the sole recipient of this largess questions of integrity would immediately follow. That Joe Felz entangled the people of Fullerton in this situation is deplorable.
And where has our City Council been on this? MIA, as in so many other things.
Here is a recent comment from one of our Friends, Just Off Euclid, in response to watching another one of those super-expensive “State of the City” videos that we buy to make City Hall and the politicians therein, look good.
Thanks for sharing that nauseating bit of municipal self-promotion. I note:
Whitaker sitting in front of Laguna Lake where untold millions of gallons of prime MWD water were lost with no apology, no accountability, no responsibility. Fitzgerald brazenly bragging about the moronic stairs to nowhere. Donwtown stakeholders are committed she says. Committed to what? Profit at our expense. Sebourn, with his ass parked in the Corporate Yard as the streets of Fullerton crumble; “we’re ready” he boasts. ready for what?
And then the images of the vast Joe Felz/Karen Haluza stack n’ pack tenement blocks. Who is the target audience for that? Developers, I guess.
Jesus. How much did this bullshit cost?
We don’t know how much it cost. Not yet anyway. But here are some invoices that indicate the cost of 2015 and 2016 productions:
Insiders have said this job was going to Haluza all along, which means that whatever money was spent on the recruiter was wasted in the appearance of an on-the-up-and-up recruitment process. Of course we’ve all seen how Felz wasted monies large and small, even as the S.S. Fullerton was taking on water badly.
The fact that Haluza has been an unmitigated disaster since joining the city staff is a somewhat different issue, but it makes the price tag a little harder to swallow. One wonders what the losing candidates looked like.