More Fringe Recognition: Government Small Change Adds Up

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Although the worst governmental bureaucratic bungles and miscreance often costs millions, some are relatively inexpensive and can be brushed off (by the perpetrators) as small change. But these small change expenditures have to be paid for by somebody, and that somebody is you and me. And it all adds up. Quickly. Anyhoo, here are the nominees for the 2009 Government Small Change Adds Up Fringie Award.

1. County Deployment of Certified Helment Fitters. We can’t even calculate the wasted time and resources, and it probably isn’t very great. Still the whole thing was such a wonderful example of a decent idea (giving poor bike riding kids safety helmets) that quickly metastasized into a typical farce. We did get to learn, however, that Pam Keller is a certified helmet fitter. Front. Back. Got it?

2. Roscoe’s Famous Nuisance “Sound Study.” This little gem cost the city (us) $16K, and was a part of a plan to let Jack Franklyn keep playing amplified outdoor music. The “study” was performed by BonTerra, a land use opinion for hire, and not a qualified acoustical engineer. It all came to naught when the council finally decided to stop a very long pattern of looking the other way to multiple Municipal Code violations.

3. Red light camera legal fees. As a subset of another category we include this one. over $14,000 to attorney’s Jones and Mayer who lost the red light camera lawsuits. Well, that’s not so very much, is it?

4. Chief McKinley’s Cop Vest. We hear it was developed on lots o’ company time, but the cost to the taxpayers came in another form, too. A $100,000 stimulus grant in Obama Bucks bought a bunch of these vests for McKinleys own cops. Loretta Sanchez took the credit for these vests that cost twice as much as their predecessors. Still, they do have pockets for your penlight and your house keys. Decoder ring accessory optional.

This episode did create a wonderful image that is being considered for a Special Fringie Award. No hints. Use the link!

The Fringies on A Roll: Worst Bureaucratic SNAFU

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What’s that you say? The pickings are just too plentiful to settle on a mere handful of nominees? True. But let’s not let that hinder our purpose. And remember. We are not just scoping out the most expensive screw-up by highly paid public servants. No. We are also going after the comical and the perplexing, too. So here goes, in the category of Worst Bureaucratic SNAFU. And by SNAFU we really mean embarrassing bungle. And by embarrassing bungle we mean FUBAR.

1. The hilarious Magical Football Stadium that materialized out of nowhere at FJC when NOCCCD bond revenue squanderers revealed their complete contempt of, or ignorance of, (or both) the California Environmental Quality Act; a law that you or I would violate only at the risk of incarceration.

2. The Poisoned Park. True most of the horrific damage was done years ago in the whole Union Pacific Park fiasco, but City Manager Chris Meyer has put his own special stamp of futility on the mess by unilaterally closing the non-toxic part and ordering – you guessed it – more Redevelopment! The perfect bureaucratic antidote for what ails you! Waste millions? Don’t worry, there’s more where that came from!

3.The Great Hillcrest Park Massacre. So what do you do when you own an historic resource? That’s easy. First you neglect it terribly for years and years; then you let pervs hang out there; then you waste money building unnecessary and unwanted facilities that you can run and charge the public for; finally you just start ripping it up so you can rebuild it. Bravo! Well done!

4. The incredibly stupid affair of the Red Light Cameras documented here, here, and here. Policy disaster; financial embarrassment; dismal legal entanglements. You want ’em? We got ’em. The sad tale of Fullerton’s relationship with Nestor Traffic Systems and the eventual legal bills for lost law suits paints an ugly picture of bureaucratic bungling.

5. The Trail of Tears. Rather than abandoning the idea of continuing the foolish “Trail to Nowhere” along the contaminated Union Pacific ROW (see nominee #2), the City is forging ahead, trying to get other people’s money to extend the horse trail without horses; the bike trail without bikes; the paseo without paseo-promenaders. As in most of these cases the City Council is complicit in the thing, but as we all know…

Good God who’s in charge over there?

The Big Fringie: The Most Awful Political Candidate

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In an off-election year we normally wouldn’t even dream of collecting nominations. Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for the voters) Mike Duvall got caught on a hot mike, plus we have several early contenders for 2010 to consider. And consider we shall. And by consider I mean rake over the coals. In the category of The Most Awful Political Candidate 2009, the nominees are:

1. Chris Norby for County Clerk. This brief but hysterical run included the now immortal slogan “preserving your vital records,” a motto so energizing that it was being repeated across the County by frenzied campaign volunteers. Here, here, here.

2. Of course the Ackerwoman campaign in the 72nd Assembly District. Lying deceitful, transparently crooked. She even made Norby look good. And her candidacy dredged up all of the OC Repuglican bottom-feeders for us to contemplate. Yech. Arf. Grrrrrr. There are too many posts to link. if you actually care (and we don’t blame you if you don’t) just do a search in our handy search box.

3. 2010 is right around the corner. For Anaheim Hill’s resident Harry Sidhu it’s been right around the corner for the better part of 2009. See, Harry’s been running for OC 4th District for quite some time already. Why is his campaign awful? First because he is now just coming across as a perpetual office seeker, he was just re-elected to the Anaheim City Council last fall, and because the SOB doesn’t even live in the district.

4. Lorri Galloway. See above. At first some of us thought she was just a decoy set up by Tom Daly promoter, John Lewis. Some still think she was and later double-crossed him. At any rate she promised to bring pretty shoes to the BOS and boy did that little joke go over well. Later she started handing out fortune cookies. Sad. She doesn’t live in the district either! What is it with these people?

The Fringies Advance Apace: Worst Vote 2009

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UPDATE: WE HAVE NOW INCLUDED LAST NIGHT’S (12/15/09) CITY COUNCIL VOTE TO APPROVE THE RICHMAN HOUSING PROJECT (SEE #6). SINCE THE COUNCIL IS DONE VOTING IN 2009 WE CAN NOW CLOSE THE NOMINATIONS.

The Worst Vote 2009 category is reserved for politicians who really stepped in it big time. This is one of the biggies, so you won’t want to miss this award. Here are the five nominees:

1. Councilman Don Bankhead deserves recognition, all right. In a 22-year council career jam-packed with horrible decisions this year he truly distinguished himself. His “until death” support of the completely horrendous $6 million McDonald’s relocation move was just breathtaking. Even Doc Heehaw opposed that one, and that’s saying a lot.

2. A joint nomination: Don Bankhead (again!), Pam Keller, and our old pal Dick Jones for their brainless devotion to the Redevelopment expansion founded on a fraudulent finding of blight. We have catalogued all the idiotic things said in defense of the indefensible, and its an impressive catalogue of confused thinking, indeed. And FFFF has sued the Agency to help it get it’s collective mind right.

3. Another joint nomination. FSD Trustees Hilda Sugarman and Ellen Ballard for voting to hire (for up to $100,000) a consultant to “study” the feasibility of a parcel tax. Minard Duncan is also included in this nomination since he abstained, too cowardly to even make a decision one way or the other. Say why does Ed Royce keep endorsing Ballard and Sugarman? (Rhetorical question only – no response necessary).

4. The Fullerton Planning Commission for actually granting Jack Franklyn a bogus “special events” permit covering numerous events  for several months so that he could continue to offend his neighbors with outdoor amplified music at Roscoe’s Famous Nuisance. We also note that one of his neighbors subsequently went out of business and another Franklyn enterprise is moving into the empty space.

5. The entire City Council for mindlessly jacking up the commodity rates on water and in doing so increasing the in-lieu franchise payment to the General Fund. Not a single council person even bothered to ask why. Shame, shame, shame.

6. Don Bankhead, Pam Keller, and Dick Jones. Again. And Again. For their vote to approve the utterly ill-conceived, staff-created Richaman Avenue subsidized condo project. Shawn Nelson recused himself.

The Fringies Continue: Least Distinguished “Journalist”

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As you Friends may well imagine, this category is chock-full of worthy nominees. In fact, choosing them was a real challenge. 2009 was an excellent year for journalistic incompetence, and our nominees each qualified for slightly different reasons. The nominees for Least Distinguished “Journalist” are:

1. Sharon Kennedy. She is nominated for her reprehensible tactic of forwarding Chris Norby’s anti-Redevelopment essays on to City Hall, where a staffer wrote responses and Don Bankhead, between pudding breaks, signed them. Hardly the actions of a responsible journalist. Which is why we put the word in quotation marks in our title.

2. Barbara Giasone. Barbara distinguished herself last year by snagging the coveted Wurlitzer Prize. This year she earns a Fringie nomination by an entire year’s worth of vapid vacuity. Just think of it. The Earth has accomplished a full orbit of the Sun and Babs has not made a single journalist contribution to the folks of Fullerton. An accomplishment crying out for recognition.

3. Frank Mickadeit. This homunculus receives his nomination for outstanding and relentless ass-kissing of the Repuglican elite – formerly people like Mike Carona, but this year Ackerman, Inc., as he slavishly passed along all of Dick Ackerman’s bullshit to the dwindling number of OC Register readers.

4. Lastly, lets not forget Mickadeit’s Register colleague Martin Wisckol, who seems to suffer from the same sick infatuation with the Repuglican clique’s collective posterior that infects Mickadeit. This year Wisckol distinguished himself by acting as Ackerman, Inc. press agent, doing so from the very beginning of the Ackerwoman scampaign. Our intrepid reporter even contacted the Ackerwoman in France as soon as the Duvall deal went down. Later he passed along her lame “businesswoman” resume as a matter of fact, not invention. Suspicious minds smelled collusion. Suspicious minds were right.

The Fringies: Nominations Begin

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Yes, Friends, it’s time to recognize the outstanding among us Fullertonians. And by outstanding I mean the brain-dead, the lethargic, the incredibly stupid, the greedy, the shifty, and, every so often, the actual achievers. So let’s start. 

In the category of Stupidest Statements Made in Public in 2009 we have four nominees. It’s interesting because three of them center around the person of City Council woman Pam Keller.

1. First is Pam Keller herself with the now legendary “fiscal conservatives as the five of us are” comment. It’s not long but it’s pretty breathtaking. Here’s the link to the post.

2. Second is the loud-mouthed member of Pam’s Posse with no “political whatevers” who made a spectacle out of herself with a long-winded, lame, and ultimately satiro-brilliant string of drivel about why Pam Keller should be mayor. Although not nominated because she didn’t actually say anything,  Saint Joan at the Stake in the background deserves special recognition for wonderfully pious gestures and glances skyward. Enjoy again

3. Third, this wonderful piece of utter nonsense uttered by every one’s favorite hysterical corn pone pontificator, Dick Jones, on why you don’t change horses in mid-stream, and why Don Bankhead should be mayor two years in a row – because (not in spite of the fact!) that the City’s proverbial barrel bobs along in a “raging financial torrent” toward Doc Heehaw’s “symbolic Niagara Falls.” Great fun.

4. Finally, there’s  this pearl  mumbled out by Council aspirant Marty Burbank last summer: “as a lawyer” he doesn’t know if the Redevelopment expansion is legal, but of course he supports it anyway. Well he certainly demonstrates all the requisite qualifications to be on the Fullerton City Council with this gem.

Fringe Alert!

You won't want to miss this...
You won't want to miss this...

Yes, Dear Friends, it is that time of year again. Well, not really “again” because we’ve never done it before. And whether we ever do it again will depend on whether Fullerton’s politicians and decision-makers quit doing and saying hare-brained things. Aw, momma, that’s a lead-pipe cinch.

Whoa, there, you say! What in the world is JFD going off on? Is somebody putting weird stuff in his kibble?

Remarkable qualities deserve recognition. The Fringies are coming!
Remarkable qualities deserve recognition. The Fringies are coming!

No! What I’m going off on is the First Annual FFFF Fringie Awards. That’s right. We will recognize the most recognizable 2009 behavior by our political lords and masters/mistresses by awarding recognition for it. Several categories will be included, as well a special life-time achievement award.

Stay tuned as we announce the nominees! And don’t hesitate to make your feelings known. The Academy will take all views into consideration.

Just A Quick Question to The Fringe

Has anyone other than me wondered why neither of the two main partisan blogs in OC – the Liberal OC and Red County have even mentioned the OC Fair scandal a-brewin’?

Red seems intent to chatter about all sorts of Fair topics – but not the crooked Foundation itself. Blue doesn’t seem to have posted a comment about the Fair at all.

Are these two paragons of “reasoned debate” both so involved in reasoned debate that they have missed one of the biggest stories of the year?

Just asking.

High Culture At Last Comes to Downtown Fullerton

Brains and ambition...
Brains and ambition. The current events quiz approaches.

As the interim FFFF Life and Times Editor, I have been remiss. I guess I missed the event yesterday, but apparently a KROQ radio show turned up at the Slidebar in DTF to put on their regular Miss Double D-cember program, an uplifting show that gives its participants an opportunity to display their manifest talent(s), and the spectators (seemingly of both sexes) a chance to inspect those talents. The program also featured a Gene Simmons look-alike, a dwarf, and a bunch of Marines in dress uniform. I’m pretty sure this event was not subsidized by the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency.

Here’s a link to the thought provoking (OC Weekly, naturally) photo montage.

For me, one question remains. Why are Marines so short?

FFFF Image of the Month

Here is Fullerton’s own congressman, Ed Royce, taking a rather, er, informal pose with a tall willowy blond woman at a recent White House function. Why this woman’s hand is on his chest is anybody’s guess, but judging by the happy look on Ed’s face he has granted his willing assent for this familiarity by a new friend.

Ed-Royce-poses-with-Obama-party-crasher-Michaele-Salahi
Come back to my place and I'll show you my stamp collection...

Oh, and by the way, this is the female half of the uninvited couple who crashed the White House party, setting off a bit of a storm, security-wise. Since Ed is a super-duper foreign affairs expert, let’s hope she didn’t pump him for any high-level information.