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?

Joe Felz Plea Destroys Disney Dan’s Deception

The Joe Felz Guilty Plea contains an explicit admission of driving under the influence of alcohol. This is an actual literal signed confession in his own handwriting. This can’t be good for the cops who conspired to drive Felz home instead of hold him to account for his actions. That would be (former?) Sergeant Jeff Corbett and former Chief Dan Hughes.

For those of you having a hard time reading that on your phone I’ll transcribe it:

“ON OR ABOUT 11-9-16 WHILE IN ORANGE COUNTY, I WILLFULLY AND UNLAWFULLY DROVE A VEHICLE UPON A HIGHWAY WITH WILLFUL AND WANTON DISREGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL”.

While. Under. The. Influence. Of. Alcohol.

I need some help here because I cannot for the life of me manage to square that with the following as written by then Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes:

“The sergeant conducted the assessment and made the determination that the city manager had consumed alcohol, but did not meet the criteria of 23152(a) CVC. The city manager was driven home and his vehicle was towed.”

Why would Dan Hughes tell our city council that Mr. Felz did not meet the criteria of “23152(A) CVC” only for Felz, 405 days later, to rebuff him and admit to having done just that? It’s almost as if Hughes was lying to the city council and simply hoped this would go away on his way out of the door to Disney.

Let us be clear here for a minute and lay out the details as we know them:

  • No arrest was made at the scene of the crime. The police had Felz’s car towed and gave him a ride home.
  • No Citation was issued at the scene of the crime. Felz paid the bill for Sappy McTree, proof that he ran over public property, later.
  • No Breathalyzer was administered to the not-accused.
  • It was months later when the District Attorney finally filed charges.

Now ask yourself – In what world does Joe Felz admit, in his own writing on that plea deal, that he was driving under the influence if there wasn’t proof? That must be some damning video that the city refuses to release. Make no mistake here either – the city won’t release the video of the Felz incident unless forced to do so by the courts because doing the right thing is a foreign concept to our local government.

You add to that the allegations from former District Attorney investigator Abraham Santos that the DA wasn’t going to look into the possible criminal actions of Dan Hughes and his cabal of miscreants AND the current allegation that the Sergeant on the scene who administered the “Field Sobriety Test”, Jeff Corbett, was recently put on Administrative Leave over this very case and you have the makings of a conspiracy to subvert justice and engage in a cover-up.

I’ve put in records requests for the video from Felz’s “incident” and it has been denied by the city twice. Once under the old guard and once under the current crew. The legal reason for denying the release is 6254(f) for those who might want to know the minutia.

Essentially the city refuses to release the Felz incident bodycam/dashcam videos because they don’t have to? I don’t know because our City Attorney seems to pride himself on being a pompous ass.

From my conversations on and around this issue it basically boils down to this:

Joe Felz was friends with people and those friends don’t want him embarrassed by his own actions. We simple plebs who don’t live our lives feeding off of the government teat should just shut up and trust that our government is doing the right thing and that they have things under control. No evidence of this will be given because apparently in a Representative Democracy it is too much to ask for our government to prove their worth and not simply demand obedience of the ratepayers.

We will get no civilian oversight. We will get no details on the case. We will get no answers. We will get what they give us which amounts to lies and resentment coiffed in legalese. Well, that and Jennifer Fitzgerald’s sad, sad tears of sadness.

The trouble here is that the deference that is being afforded to Joe Felz to save him from embarrassment isn’t afforded to the little people who fall under the boot of our same government. Keep an eye on the F.P.D. Facebook Page if you want evidence of the double standard in place when it comes to haves/havenots. Here’s a pretty standard example of the dignity afforded to criminals not the City Manger:

FPD FB Double Standard

Joe Felz was City Manager which means the then Chief of Police worked with him and both were only answerable to the City Council. The same City Council who has all but turned a teary eye away from this whole issue. Even the illusion of City Council accountability has now changed with our new Chief’s new contract which actually delegates authority over the Chief of Police to the City Manager.

Let that sink in for a moment.

We have proof, in Joe Felz’s own writing, that he drove under the influence. We know from his payment for damages that he hit a tree. It is believed by many based upon photos from the scene that he attempted to flee the scene of the crime. We also know that despite all of this Dan Hughes decided to give him a pass on his criminal behavior despite not giving that pass to countless regular schmucks who mess up less in life. AFTER all of that our Council has not demanded public disclosure. They have not demanded any sort of oversight. And when the Contract for the new Chief of Police came up they opted to delegate their authority away to the position, the City Manger, who benefited from this very case of official corruption. This isn’t just not learning, this is doubling down on stupid.

It’s bad enough that we didn’t get anything positive out of such a terrible situation but we never even got a fight. Seemingly convinced of his own inability to sell an idea to the public or his fellow council members, even a basic idea like good government, then Mayor Whitaker couldn’t even be bothered to agendize anything even remotely relating to oversight or accountability in any facet of our city. To be fair the entire council is complicit in this problem, especially Jennifer Fitzgerald who was Mayor when the incident occurred, but they aren’t all running on their record of transparency for higher office so it needs to be pointed out.

BruceTransparency

This whole situation would be comedic if it wasn’t so pathetic and sad and infuriating.

Joe Felz’s Wild Ride Ends in Plea Deal

The wheels of justice in the Joe Felz case have finally ground to a halt with Mr. Felz finally taking the plea deal we all knew was coming.

After 405 days of waiting Joe Felz has finally admitted guilt to reckless driving. Of course he has been given a pass on his alleged drunk driving and his proven destruction of property by our oh-so-competent District Attorney’s office.

I wonder how many nobodies get the same treatment? I’d reckon not too many if the constant MADD awards presented to FPD at City Hall are any indication.

Mr. Felz will have to pay restitution, $390 in fines, serve 40 hours of community service, attend “victim impact counseling”, serve 3 months in the “first offender alcohol program” and spend 3 years on “informal” probation with no mandatory supervision if reading this correctly.

This is a curious case where the county and courts have agreed that Felz has a big enough of an alcohol problem to warrant going into a 3-month program. His problem, which resulted in him crashing his car and ensuing property damage somehow was not bad enough to justify taking his license away as happens with so many poor saps caught up in Fullerton’s outdoor saloon who hit nothing. Curious the way power protects power.

With the “ongoing investigation” over maybe now we can get to the truth of what really transpired the fateful night of 08/09 November 2016.

Happy Felziversary

Poor Sappy.
Poor Sappy. So young, so vibrant…

One year ago today I wrote my first piece for this site, Friends for Fullerton’s Future. It was on the tail end of my lackluster city council bid when I was approached to join the site. I was asked to keep up the writing that I was doing during my campaign but here instead of my own site to which I was agreeable. No timelines had been discussed or content hashed out but the premise was we would revive FFFF because nobody else was effectively putting a spotlight on Fullerton’s abysmal government.

Then Joe Felz killed Sappy McTree after drinking his way through every election party in downtown.

One year ago this morning Joe Felz “took a wide turn” and ran down a tree only for Fullerton’s Finest to be called to the scene of the crime and offer cookies and a glass of milk to our beleaguered city manager instead of the breathalyzer and night in the drunk tank any regular Joe would have received. (more…)

Fitzgerald Hates on the Haters

It looks like I might be a “hater”. As one of only a handful of people to come out against the “Pine Forest Staircase” I’m going to make the leap that Fitzgerald is talking about me and therefore will respond accordingly.

Fitz Haters

Let us take the points in reverse order.

This is not a “New” community amenity as this is one of Fullerton’s oldest parks. All of those people who remember the Duck Pond aren’t having a massive shared delusion as it really did exist. The city let this park fall apart and is now trying to sell it as a win that they’re finally fixing what they themselves broke.

Duck Pond In Hillcrest Park Fullerton
Duck Pond In Hillcrest Park Fullerton

Fixing something you broke isn’t an act of respect. The city let this park fall into complete disrepair owing to budget constraints and poor management as folks like Fitzgerald prioritized six-figure pensions for her friends (Danny Hughes, Joe Felz, et al). To make matters worse the city council has yet to budget for more staff to maintain this park once it is completed. Add to that the likely budget cuts coming thanks to her (and her cohort’s) over spending on FPD/FFD Overtime/Pensions.

FPD Pay

The Pine Forest Stairs are shoddily constructed and were significantly overpriced. “People like them and use them” Fitzgerald and her friends claim. Do you know what else they’d like and use? Better made stairs that cost less.

Something didn’t line up…

This type of fiscal deflection is ludicrous from an elected official who should be demanding the best bang for our buck and not running interference for developers. To be fair this is a common refrain from elected officials. One needs only listen to Bruce Whitaker justifying overpaying for a park because it’s in the “Gem District“. The council literally rewarded owners for their negligence at a premium price in the instance of Pearl Park.

Duck Pond Destruction

This project isn’t restoring the park to it’s “original grandeur” as you do not restore something by completely altering it. This is a renovation and not a restoration. A bridge nobody will have cause to use is further destroying what was the duck pond and the pine stairs are totally new. Words matters and the idea that this is a “restoration” is an outright lie. Is the city putting the trees back into the park? No. They were too busy pumping water into Laguna Lake to bother putting any of it on the trees they let die and then had to remove.

And finally let us talk about Fitzgerald’s economic illiteracy here.

“A fantastic use of park fees”.

Park Fees are fees the city takes for new development. When the city allows a new mega-apartment complex to go up they collect a bucket load of money for the purpose of adding or improving parks. I’ve addressed this issue before here.

If this is a legal use of fees is debatable but is it a good use let alone a “fantastic” use of fees?

No.

This is nothing more than Jennifer Fitzgerald perpetuating the ‘Broken Window Fallacy’ as explained by Frédéric Bastiat.

I’ll sum it up simply.

The city council and city management broke Hillcrest park and are now using millions of dollars that could have been used to buy land in Coyote Hills or to fix our long neglected “Poisoned Park” or even to purchase Fullerton’s now most expensive park which Whitaker was all too happy to overspend taxpayer’s money upon.

This money is being used in the least efficient way possible because it is fixing that which never should have been broken. It wasn’t an accidental breakage either. Hillcrest Park has suffered decades of neglect as council after council ignores any semblance of accountability while generation after generation of overpaid bureaucrats toil away on grand schemes to fix what they should have been protecting in the first place.

Fitzgerald’s reasoning logically follows that we should neglect and destroy all of our parks in order to spend money fixing them. Wouldn’t that just be “fantastic”?

Quimby

After years of unbalanced budgets we can’t really expect much more from Fitzgerald or the Fullerton City Council but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be outraged at their cavalier attitudes or sheer incompetence.

I still naively expect elected officials to work for what is in our best interest and to be able to explain away criticisms without resorting to childish colloquialisms.

Fitzgerald might be correct in that “haters will always hate” but it is also true that economic illiterates will never math.

(D)s Prioritize Higher Taxes Over Veterans

SQS-Brown Cemtery

Let us talk about priorities. Why has Sharon Quirk-Silva not re-introduced a bill for the Veteran’s Cemetery in Irvine?

Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced a bill into the Assembly for the Veteran’s Cemetery in Irvine (AB409) which never even got a vote in committee.

The (D) Super-Majority outright ignored it. Her bill was later rolled into SB96. SB96 was a budget “trailer bill” which is basically an empty bill that is passed by the Senate with one line to be “Gutted” and a new bill full of legislation to be “Amended” into it by the Assembly before coming back for a vote before both houses. It’s a procedural trick which violates the spirit of the law and the very premise of good and open government.

To complicate matters because the Cemetery was rolled into SB96 with 95 other provisions, one of which is also an appropriations item, it is unconstitutional not once but twice and once specifically owing to the provision for the Veteran’s Cemetery itself. (more…)

Fullerton PD Still Selectively Enforces the Law

In the last week or so Fullerton P.D. has been making it extremely clear that they take D.U.I.s very, very seriously.

This isn’t really news as the City Council regularly helps present M.A.D.D. awards to officers with the most D.U.I. arrests.

 

Fullerton Mayor Greg Sebourn, third from left, with Fullerton PD officers being honored for their contribution in getting drunk drivers off the road.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

There is very little sympathy for people who make the stupid decision to drink or do drugs and then drive. This makes sense as when you do so you’re putting not just your own life on the line but are risking the lives of anybody in your potential path.

The however, of course, is if you make such a colossally stupid decision and happen to work for the city.

Were drinking or drugs involved in the January accident and circumstances around the rolled Parks and Rec vehicle? To this day we have no information.

Better yet is if you happen to be one of the high priests of local government. City Manager perhaps. Then you can “take a wide turn” while smelling of alcohol with near impunity.

Dearly Departed Sappy McTree

For those who may have forgotten, back in March Joe Felz was charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage. He was charged in relation to his 09 November 2016 accident where he “smelled of alcohol” after running over a tree. Instead of being cited or arrested he was given a chance to talk to the Chief of Police, Danny Hughes, before being given a ride home. Hughes also spoke to then Mayor Fitzgerald.

Thanks to denied Public Records Requests and the burden of suing to get information the city won’t legally hand over we don’t know who called whom that night or who ordered the cover-up and obstruction of justice. We don’t know who arranged to let the City Manager escape the crimes that Fullerton P.D. and City Hall are ever so eager to wield against the commoners. What we do know is the following:

Joe Felz smelled of alcohol and hit a tree.
Felz went on leave for two weeks before vacating his position.
Felz then let his job with the city over “Personnel Matters“.
Jennifer Fitzgerald had the sadz when he left.
The D.A. investigator in charge blew the whistle on a cover-up.
Felz’s D.U.I. case has been postponed twice.

We find out on Monday if former City Manager Joe Felz will actually be prosecuted for the crimes with which he’s been charged. We’ll be watching to see if the District Attorney has any interest in actually prosecuting one of the aristocrats in our midst. More likely they plan to keep continuing the case in the hopes that anger subsides and the status quo of corruption can settle back into place. The worst thing that could happen to the Fullerton Police Department, and the sycophantic City Council, is for the truth to come out so the smart money is on a plea deal or a dropping of charges.

Something to keep in mind here is that our City Council has been silent on this whole fiasco. While it is true that the Felz case is still pending, 9 months after the accident, there is no such investigation going on with F.P.D. and the alleged cover-up. Nary a word has come from Council or the City Manager’s office. This council, all 5 of them, are perfectly fine with police corruption and a total lack of oversight. They could have demanded oversight before hiring a new chief. Or before hiring a new City Manager. They didn’t even bother to address the issue. These 5 are more worried about angering the F.P.O.A. campaign monster than doing the right thing. To add insult to injury the thin blue line would rather wallow in their own corruption than oust their “bad apples” once again proving that the whole bushel has rotted.

Nothing changed after Kelly Thomas died and nothing has changed after Joe Felz’s wild ride.

We’ve been waiting to be proven wrong on this issue. We’ve been waiting for council to demand accountability. We’ve been waiting for the council to demand oversight. We’ve been waiting for the brothers and sisters in blue to step out of the shadows and tell the truth. For 9 months we’ve been waiting and it looks like we’ll be waiting forevermore. For all of the pomp and circumstance about public service and the public good it is once again clear that our government institutions and those inside it are interested in anything but.

Newman Recall Effort Reaches 85,000 Signatures

The effort to recall California State Senator Josh Newman, our local representative here in CA’s 29th District, has reached massive numbers in what is likely record time. The recall effort was initiated after Newman threw his fiscally responsible campaign rhetoric into the circular file and opted to vote with his caucus to raise taxes on the working poor. He knew full well that the voters would never approve such a scheme were it put to a vote but little did he know that voters would retaliate by seeking to remove him from office.

With nearly 85,000 signatures, well above the 63,000 required, having been submitted for the recall it look as if Josh Newman will be facing another vote much sooner than he anticipated.

The Tax Bear Cometh

We’re still waiting on word for how SB96, the budget trailer bill that cynically tries to change the recall laws mid-stream, will play into this whole scenario but expects lawsuits to be filed and candidates to come out of the wood-work to claim credit for something they likely had zero to do with thus far into the process. As things move forward we’ll keep you updated because this is sure to stay interesting.

What’s a Million Dollars Between Friends?


Our lobbyist Councilperson Jennifer Fitzgerald has asked her supporters on Facebook to show up at tonight’s Council Meeting to support the purchase of land on Pearl Drive to be used as a park.

Our friend David already went over some of the ridiculousness of this purchase in a previous post but it bears getting a little more attention.

The first point to be made is that this item is on the Consent Calendar tonight. Consent Calendar items are items during a meeting that get no separate discussion and are voted on together unless specifically pulled for comment by a member of the public or council. A typical Consent Calendar item would be the minutes to a previous meeting or perhaps a legislative ordinance change forced upon us by Sacramento.

A typical definition of a consent calendar would be as follows:

Under parliamentary rules governing City Council meetings, Consent Calendar items are reserved for items that are deemed to be non-controversial. They allow a City Council to save the bulk of it’s meeting time for issues in which there is a need for a serious public debate.

Often though the items end up being things that the city doesn’t want to discuss or scrutinize in detail. Tonight’s meeting has 12 consent calendar items with this purchase being the 10th.

The Consent Calendar is hardly the proper place to drop a $1.2Million+ project and it’s more amusing given that councilwoman Fitzgerald is asking for support on an item that is scheduled to take no public comments. It’s somewhat infuriating that the city of Fullerton is so free with money that it doesn’t feel the need to openly discuss an expenditure that is over 18x the median household income of our residents. Worse still when basic details of the deal are lacking from public view.

The parcel in question is slated for purchase with a whopping price tag of $755,500 based on a use assumption that is faulty at best (see David’s post). Then we have $148,000 for an unexplained “administrative settlement”. Then $300,000 for “improvement costs” that will of course be more than $300K owing to the additional paragraph stating that “An updated estimate will be established upon completion of the community meetings.”

What attachments or reference points do we have so we as a city can analyze this project? None. There is no explanation because a properly scanned, searchable PDF is too much work to manage at City Hall despite numerous requests over the years. I’m sure somebody will sound off that there have been “community meetings” that were announced on Nextdoor or some such nonsense so as to suggest the lack of need for the city to do it’s due diligence on transparency. This will likely come from the same people who complain about Public Records Requests from the public in a city known for a culture of corruption and abject secrecy.

Despite being an ongoing project, per the item’s own sparse agenda attachments, since 2002-2003 and we don’t have a breakdown of costs? A thorough estimate? A reason for the administrative settlement? A list of code enforcement violations?

Even the details we do get don’t tell the whole story.

“The amenities required being demolished”? How about we mention that the city paid over $19,000 for part of that very demolition? It seems that just about every pertinent detail has been washed from this item which maybe explains why it was on the consent calendar in the first place. You do have to the give the city credit for their optimism in hoping they could sneak this through the consent calendar knowing full well that we malcontents are always willing to call them on their shenanigans.

I reckon the only thing more infuriating than a bureaucrat putting forth this kind of lazy and shoddy work is a legislative body so uninterested in demanding real data and accountability that those bureaucrats know they can get away with this nonsense.

The old adage “Trust but verify” is absolutely foreign to the Fullerton City Council.