FFFF has published lots of posts about the way in which our highly paid “experts” in City Hall have made it their business to run interference for the numerous scofflaw bar and “club” owners downtown when it comes to ignoring annoyances like Conditions of Approval and the municipal code’s Noise Ordinance.
Both topics have been addressed in the same way: if they can, they simply ignore the situation. The blind eye approach has worked most of time. When it hasn’t, Step 2 is invoked. Step 2 is to diligently pursue making the laws laxer, so lax in fact, that the lawbreaking is no longer lawbreaking. This bureaucratic gambit is really nice because the Planning Department Staff can always claim that something is in the works that will address the situation. Of course that’s a lie. What’s really happening is that the department is trying really hard to come up with a legal absolution so low even the lowest douchebag can slither over it.
At every step of the way, the scofflaws – Jeremy Popoff of Slidebar fame and the Florentine Mob spring most readily to mind – lubricate the gears of Fullerton’s small town political machine who have seemed ever-ready to support the law breaking.
While we here at FFFF have extensively covered the abuse of CUPs and other land use issues, the history of the ongoing issue of nuisance noise traces a perfect trajectory of incompetence or casual corruption, or most likely, of both.
The story spans three city managers, four planning directors and a whole slew of elected ciphers who would rather defend purveyors of nuisance over the right of their constituents to quiet enjoyment of their property.
Whenever government gets itself into a bind, the first impulse of our bureaucratic overlords and their elected representatives is to resort to the taxpayers for relief. In Fullerton the case is not much different except that here, allegedly, managers and department heads have agreed to 5% and 10% cuts, respectively during our time of troubles. Likewise, according the the union boss, rank-and-file paper pushers have been told to accept the same 5% deal. Whether this gesture of sacrifice is meant to be reimbursed if the proposed 17% sales tax increase is approved by voters remains to be seen.
But that’s not the point of this post.
The point of this post is to ask whether anybody has requested the same sacrifice from our Heroes – the guys and gals who provide “public safety” services to us peons. Word out of City Hall is that no offers have been made voluntarily and none have been demanded. Could it be that’s because the Hero unions are much richer and much more political than the organization representing other city workers?
We are always being bombarded by Hero propaganda that promotes the selfless service and sacrifices by people who ride around in cop cars and fire trucks. Well, I’ll believe that when these worthy public servants step up to the proverbial plate and take the same haircut as everybody else.
Entertainers and politicians are often cited as saying there is no such thing as bad publicity.
However, former Fullerton City Manager Joe Burt Felz is not a professional politician or entertainer, although his political machinations and his alcohol-induced behavior have been cause for entertainment.
You will certainly recall Felz’s now infamous “Wild Ride” in which the badly inebriated Felz took a wide turn on Glenview Drive, ran over poor Sappy McTree, and then tried to elude the cops on on three tires. His subsequent catch and release by a corrupt Fullerton Police Department is now the stuff of legend – and the cover-up of which is the cause of the City’s egregious lawsuit against Joshua Ferguson and this very humble blog.
Well it turns out Joe has been misbehavin’ and not following his court mandated service. His probation was revoked on December 6, 2019.
A hearing to to review Poor Joe Burt’s violation was held December, last.
Who knows if Felz has ever bothered to delve into the mysteries of Victim Impact Counseling? And who knows if he got, or will get a pass because, after all, judges are just public employees in silly robes? And they always stick together.
According to The Fullerton Observer, North Orange County Community College District trustee, Molly McClanahan has pulled the plug on her career as an alleged overseer of the bureaucracy at the local junior colleges. Her seat will remain vacant until the November election, a rather telling sign of how critical the job is.
Of course Molly didn’t get on the board via an election like her successor will. No she got this job 25 years ago as a boohoo consolation prize for being recalled from the city council by the people of Fullerton in June, 1994. The cause? A completely unnecessary utility tax that was foisted on us to save the city from imminent destruction. Like her two compatriots, Don Bankhead and Buck Catlin she refused to leave the council until a judge forced the City to hold a replacement election. Same arrogance as ever, yesterday, today, tomorrow.
On the council Good Old Molly never veered from a completely predictable path. Always handy with a bubble-headed cliché, she was a constant supporter of Redevelopment boondoggles and expansions, and any other nonsense put in front of her by “staff.” Her supporters always bragged that she “did her homework.” Yet when it came time to take the test there was never anything that remotely smacked of intelligence or the willingness to vote alone, if necessary.
Likewise, McClanahan’s career trajectory over the past two and a half decades on the JC board has not deviated a bit in its pathetic parabola: cover for bureaucrats, never demand accountability from anyone, just do what you’re told. She was caught being wined and dined by bond salesmen who placed the massive bond on the ballot in 2016 under the phony guise of helping veterans, and that pretty much sums up her legacy.
The Voice of OC has a detailed story about how our city council approved giving half a million bucks to something called the Illumination Foundation to acquire and operate a homeless shelter somewhere in Fullerton.
As usual Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory pretended to care about the fact that the public has not been informed of the location of this place even though they know very well where it is. In the end they went along with their brethren Jesus Silva and Ahmad Zahra and voted 4-0 to commit $500,000 to this philanthropic endeavor (their philanthropy, our money). Bruce Whitaker was missing in action.
Of course Fitzgerald is running for re-election next year in District 1, so we can be certain the proposed property won’t be anywhere near her house, or that of Flory.
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.