A Hill. Wrapped in Plastic

A few weeks ago while at a local eating establishment in the Downtown area a gentleman stopped me by name, which isn’t always a good thing in malcontentville, and asked me to inquire about the plastic sheeting up near the YMCA.

You may have seen it while driving North on Harbor Blvd:

YMCA-Plastic

So ask I did. Here is the recent answer according to some undisclosed source at the Public Works Department as communicated by the Clerk’s office:

YMCA-Plastic-Email

“Plastic sheeting the slope on Harbor Blvd is done with City staff and costs about $12,000. We have been sheeting the slope for 6+ years.”

I’ve not sent in followup requests for invoices or details about this particular project but I’m sure if somebody wanted to do so the city would be happy to explain why spending at least $72K for this particular issue/area is the best solution and has been the best solution for over half a decade.

What say you friends? Is this project worth $12k/year for who knows how long?

More for Less in Public Works

It looks like Fullerton is again in the business of paying more for less when it comes to hiring bureaucrats to bureaucrat. One of our newest hires, Mary “Meg” McWade, who is set to replace Don Hoppe is going to be paid $195,000 + bennies. This despite some questions about qualifications.

Being that the Director of Public Works is also the City of Fullerton’s “Civil Engineer” it is preferred that our Director be, well, a certified engineer.

If you look at the qualifications for this Director position you’ll find:

I suppose emphasis on preferred. (more…)

It’s SB1421 Day

Today is the Day.

Today Police records are supposed to become a little more transparent and officers with “sustained” complaints (and a few other issues) get to share with the world their bad deeds by virtue of some Sacramento mandated sunshine disinfectant. With SB1421 to the rescue we might finally get to see what happens behind union closed doors when officers misbehave.

The law changing and becoming effective today, owing to the holiday, convinced some friends to put in a few records requests based on suggestions which we complied and others which were emailed to us after this post dropped.

Thanks to everybody who shared what they knew and pointed us in a few interesting directions. I was copied on the request and it contains over 40 officers both current and former, most of whom we believe to have had sustained findings against them. Because police departments refuse to tell us who has findings against them we had to take quite a few guesses based on the best information we could obtain. That or pay FPD $250+ to maybe compile a list per their Public Information Officer.

Being that we’re volunteers who don’t run ads or try to monetize FFFF we opted against the $250 check to FPD.

With the requests in the virtual mail we should be seeing some interesting things provided that the records aren’t obfuscated, buried and denied. We’ll keep you posted as things come back or don’t.

We’re also always open to suggestions so if we missed anybody let us know the details in the comments or via email. Who did what and where should we look? What officers had sustained findings in other departments? We’ll send requests for those records as well.

(more…)

Who Are the Bad Apples?

Bad Cop

Over the years we here at Friends for Fullerton’s Future have written about what feels like countless stories on the culture of corruption. A lot of facts, some rumors and a lot of annoyance as the city, police department and union goons do everything in their power to keep all of us from knowing anything even slightly negative happening behind the badges of our betters.

Well, on January 1st, 2019 California law changes to allow a little bit of information to eek its way past the Blue Wall of Silence. Thanks to the usually ridiculous California legislature and soon to be former Governor Jerry Brown, we’ll be able to learn about some of the actions perpetuated by some of the officers around the state. Here’s the law in question.

You’ll want to read section C and the bits about lies and dishonesty. I previously had it quoted it here but it’s too much legalese to blockquote. Basically if it’s proven that a cop lies or falsifies a report you can get the records of those findings.

(more…)

Ahmad Zahra 1, FitzSilva 0

AhmadZahra

I was pleasantly surprised at Fullerton’s City Council meeting last night and that rarely happens. I was surprised because Ahmad Zahra stood his ground on the principle of Democracy being the preferred way to settle our current council vacancy caused by Jesus Silva. He withstood Fitzgerald’s venom laced claws and boxed Silva in so much that Silva had to contradict himself by claiming to believe voting is important except, you know, with regards to, uh, the vacancy he created in playing musical chairs.

I had heard going into the meeting that Jan Flory had lobbied 2 if not 3 of the current council members to be appointed to the vacant seat. I had also heard and believed that Fitzgerald and Silva were going to push for an appointment process to get the Flory ball in motion. I also knew, just from historical context, that Whitaker would vote no on that because he and Flory are opposites on most items and he gains nothing by supporting her. I did not know how Zahra would act or vote despite allegedly meeting with and being lobbied by Flory. Owing to Zahra’s campaign and his coziness to people I believe to be ethically challenged I didn’t hold out much hope and assumed he might go along to get along.

Then Zahra showed up to play ball and stomped on my assumptions. (more…)

Is the Flory Rumor True?

FergusonDeadWrong-Flory
Except we do, and our own budgets prove it.

Rumor has it that former councilwoman Jan Flory is lobbying to become the appointee to our City Council tonight and has already secured both Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jesus Silva’s votes. This is the same Jan Flory who voted, with Jennifer Fitzgerald and Doug Chaffee, on multiple unbalanced budgets and who helped lead us into our structural deficit. The same Jan Flory who puts City Staff above the very citizens they’re supposed to work for and represent.

Want to know why our roads suck so bad? Blame Jan Flory and her cohorts who think bureaucracy is the true heart of Fullerton. Want to know why Downtown is such a train-wreck? Yeaup. Same cabal of incompetence.

If the council votes to appoint somebody the voting members will own every vote put forward by the new council member. In effect, if they vote for somebody like Jan Flory, who helped sink our budget for years, they will be responsible for both their own votes on the budget (and similar items) as well as hers.

Appointing somebody is bad. Letting Jesus Silva vote on an appointment to the very seat he himself vacated is worse. Having council vote to give themselves the bulletproof majority needed to walk all over the people of Fullerton is downright despicable.

The people should really have a say who in represents them and voting to appoint somebody, especially somebody who will raise our taxes, is the essence of being anti-democratic. Our republic was literally founded against the premise of taxation without representation.

Funeral for Fullerton’s GOP on Tuesday

GOP-death-feature-image-4

There has been a lot of talk lately about the problems, changing issues and demographic shifts which have basically killed the CA and OC (R) parties. We’re yet to really see anybody do a post-mortem on Fullerton so here I am to explain why Fullerton is going to get higher taxes and no accountability in the days to come using just our recent past.

While Gil Cisneros bought and took a long held (R) Congressional seat and Doug Chaffee bought and flipped a (R) Supervisor’s seat, the shift in parties in Fullerton is more nuanced and problematic.

Fullerton’s (R)s aren’t in demise because Silva beat Sebourn – Fullerton completely lost their (R) bonafides when Jennifer Fitzgerald joined our council.

Fullerton, for the last 6 years, had a 3-2 (R) majority on council. You wouldn’t know it, because despite being a (R) and a darling of the (R) power brokers in OC politics such as Ed Royce, Shawn Nelson and the rest, she spent more time voting to give the 2 (D)s a majority on council than standing behind her own talking points and election material. Cronyism? She’d vote for it. Non-competitive contracts? Yeaup. Huge pay and benefit giveaways to our heroes? Obviously. There rarely seemed to be an issue on the (R) platform she wouldn’t throw to the wolves. While this isn’t new for Fullerton (R)s, per se, Fitzgerald encapsulates everything that has cost the (R)s so dearly. Sure, she made some noise on SB54 that comes out of the quasi-GOP handbook but that wasn’t a policy issue that impacted Fullerton so much as a soapbox to pretend she has some sort of principles.

Over the years Jennifer Fitzgerald was always ready to vote with Doug Chaffee and especially Jan Flory in order to shaft taxpayers and give government employees, employees with no accountability or real oversight, more and more and more while our services dwindled and our city suffered.

I can’t even count the times that fellow (R)s Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn were on the opposite side of the vote from Fitzgerald.

When she ran in 2012 she ran on ending pension spiking and all of the things that (R)s claim to care about and then she spent 4 years betraying her entire campaign website. Yet this isn’t just a post-mortem of Fitzgerald’s current time on council. This is one of the OCGOP and Fullerton (R)s.

Her abysmal record should have sent her packing in 2016 but instead the OC GOP stood strong behind her with Royce, Nelson and the rest handing her endorsements and support which helped her secure more funding and the W. All this in spite of flat out lying about Fullerton’s “Balanced Budget”.

When your party has no ideology and will support cronies for the sake of cronyism you become nearly indistinguishable from the opposition – especially when you vote with them the majority of the time.

It was no surprise that Jesus Silva beat Greg Sebourn in Fullerton’s 3rd District. I like Greg and I think he is a better choice for council but he isn’t on the payroll of a lobbying firm and doesn’t seem to play the crony game and therefore the OC GOP had little use for him and let him twist in the wind. Bruce Whitaker was the obvious choice for LA/OC/SB (R)s to send to Sacramento in the Newman Recall and yet they backed the empty suit that is Ling Ling Chang. All of these problems are the makings of the blind allegiance of (R) voters to their party elders who do nothing but sell them out.

Fullerton has real problems which require real solutions. Our budgets are getting worse and our services are getting sparser. By way of example, we don’t have the staffing to read water meters within the required 60 day window of billing cycles so people are being overcharged for water and there seems to be no recourse. Our parks are falling apart unless we manage to secure state grants to fix them and our roads continue to be in terrible shape. The list of issues that are going to require adult math and belt tightening, especially in regards to Police and Fire, is long. (more…)

A New Council Member on Tuesday?

18Dec2018 Council Meeting

The agenda is online (HERE) for next Tuesday’s council meeting and the one major item of note, item #3, is the possible appointment of a council member to fill out the remainder of Jesus Silva’s abandoned at-large seat.

Item 3 States:

3. On December 4, 2018, Council Member Silva was sworn in as the District 3 City Council Member. This created a mid-term vacancy in Council Member Silva’s prior at-large City Council seat which expires in December 2020 and requires the City Council to consider the legally available alternatives for filling the vacancy.
Recommendation by the City Clerk’s Office:
  1. Appoint a qualified individual to the fill the vacancy through the remainder of the term, either through direct appointment or following a process for applications and / or interviews and / or other steps as determined by City Council.

  2. Direct Staff to prepare resolutions to call a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term for consideration at the next City Council meeting.

  3. Continue discussion to the January 15, 2019 City Council meeting.

This agenda item, according to City Manager Domer, was written intentionally vaguely so that council can do whatever they want on Tuesday. If they want to just appoint somebody on Tuesday, solidifying the premise that they’ve already been wheeling and dealing behind closed doors, then they can appoint whomever they want. If they want to take a different path, such as an election, they can direct staff to start that process as well.

This item will be somewhat fun to watch because of how it played out up to this point. It only matters because Silva beat Sebourn. As for the ability to appoint a crony to fill out Silva’s seat, that was passed 3-1-1 with 2 (R)s swinging into the Yes column on 16 October 2018 and again 3-1-1 with Fitzgerald ($R), Whitaker (R) and Silva (D) voting for this move on 06 November (election day) 2018.

Direct Appoint Council Vote

If another liberal (D) ends up on council after Tuesday, the (R)s in Fullerton will have nobody to blame but their own council majority. A council majority that this vote could cost them.

UPDATED: Corrected the 06 November vote. A previous version claimed it was 5-0 when it was the same 3-1-1 as the 16 Oct meeting.

Fullerton Might Just Hate Your Business

Closed for Business

I often laugh when government hacks and bureaucrats claim that a city, body or agency is “open for business” or other such nonsense platitudes. The idea that we’re customers and not captives to their regulatory whims is patently ridiculous. But this idea of being open for business by virtue of stealing from you slightly less, or because you favor one entity over others never seems to fade.

By way of example I’ll offer the last Planning Commission meeting, as written about here, where city staff tried to make the case that because rules and regulations relating to Downtown Fullerton were too onerous and hard to enforce the city needs to do away with them and replace them with rules more favorable to bars pretending to be restaurants. All to be more agreeable with the needs and wishes of our Downtown denizens. Ted White, our Community Development Direct, made this laughable claim and a few others I’m going to be discussing at some length in future posts as I take it all apart. The more I’ve been thinking about this last meeting the one thing that strikes me as most irritating is that the city is only worried about Downtown rules being too onerous and problematic. There are countless parts of our Municipal code which are outdated, unenforced and unenforceable and yet Downtown seems to be the only area of constant focus for nigh onto forever.

The actual issue and thing people need to understand is that Mr. White and his cohorts, who only answer to the City Manager who himself only answers to Council who themselves are owned by special interests and moneyed business owners and don’t really care about we citizens, don’t really care if rules are too onerous or burdensome or just plain ridiculous. Let us turn the wayback machine on and look at the FilmLA sponsored claptrap that made it through the Economic Development Commission (with nary a soul bothering to read the ordinance before voting Aye) and then all the way through to being approved by our anti-business council.

FilmLABullshit

Do you see what I saw when I was on EDC and arguing to take this ordinance apart?

You need a permit to take even still photos ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY if they are “commercial” and nowhere does the city define “commercial”.

Doing some advertising? Photos for Yelp? Pictures on your website? Are you a fashion or beauty vlogger? Taking real estate photos?

Congrats. That might all be “commercial” because the city refused then and still refuses today to define the term commercial for the sake of the ordinance. I know because I asked them to define it and they wouldn’t. Ok, so you need a permit which isn’t too onerous I suppose to most people.

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE. (more…)

Another Possible Cover-up by FPD

This involves some rumors. Proceed accordingly.

Roseler-Stabbing-Investiation

A few months ago an unnamed Fullerton Police Officer was allegedly stabbed in Placentia by an unidentified “Hispanic male”. Four agencies swarmed (Placentia PD, Fullerton PD, CSUF State Police & OC Sheriff’s) and a suspect was picked up, had his info blasted on social media and in press releases — only later to be cleared and released.

Carerra-Arrested

This is where all four agencies left things and no new information has been publicly presented.

Here are the relevant news stories.

Per CBS (22 Sept):

The Fullerton Police Department, Orange County Sheriffs Department and Cal State Fullerton Police Department, made an extensive search of the area.

Officers detained and later arrested a parolee named James Carrera, a 19-year-old Placentia resident. Carrera was booked on an assault with a deadly weapon charge.

Police did not know if the officer was targeted but they said Carrera was out on parole for weapons violations and possibly knew the officer.

Per OC Register (23 Sept):

The victim was released hours after being treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, according to Fullerton Police Lt. Tony Rios. He said the injured officer was at home recovering the day after the attack and is expected to return to duty in the next few days.

“I spoke to him this morning and he seems to be doing well,” said Rios. “He’s a strong young guy and he should be back soon.”

Per KTLA (23 Sept):

Investigators described the attacker as a Latino man in his late-teens or early-20s, of thin build. He had short, black hair and wore a baggie, black T-shirt.

Rumors lately have it that the officer made up the “Hispanic Male” and has been put on admin leave with nary a word or apology by the cites or agencies involved. Apparently now we’re hiring Leopold “Butters” Stotch’s mom at Fullerton PD:

SomePuertoRicanGuy

Alas, that might turn out differently because ultimately Mrs. Stotch confessed. Instead we now actually know, thanks to diligent records requests, that the officer in question is one Nathan Roesler.

Roelser Got Stabbed (more…)