City is Still Shilling for Bar Owners

cronyism

For the last, well forever really, the city has been trying to figure out how to change downtown to make it more… something. I can’t quite figure it out. By the looks of it the only goals City Staff have are to pack as many residents into as many high-density apartment complexes as possible and to hand over as much of Downtown to the local “restauranteurs” which is Ted White (Director of Community Development) for “Bar Owners”.

This past Wednesday night one such plan hit our Planning Commission. The plan was 70+ pages of muddled definitions and empty promises. I’ll summarize:

City Staff has been ignoring their jobs and our municipal code for 15+ years because reasons. It’s hard to do the job we pay them to do so they want to do less of it and they want to relax the rules so the rule-breakers have fewer rules they have to break while making piles of money.

Instead of cleaning up bad definitions and attempting to hold businesses responsible for the melees enveloping downtown each weekend, the city would rather permanently legalize downtown getting louder and more rowdy with the promises that this time, with no indication of staffing changes or practical enforcement, they’ll hold bar owners to a standard of behavior, or perhaps a guideline, or at least an amorphous shape resembling a line if you squint really hard.

It reminds me an old UN Peacekeeper joke where whenever they see somebody doing something wrong they yell “Stop! Or I’ll Yell “Stop!” Again!”. This time they mean it for realsies.

Ultimately Wednesday’s item was held until a possible study session in January and a new meeting in February, which is when we’re totally screwed. The bar owners will get everything they want and then some come February because the Planning Commission is changing. A lot. (more…)

City Refuses to Learn from Mistakes

On Tuesday our City Manager, Ken Domer, wants Council to award Acting Chief Dunn with an Interim Chief gig. With this new gig comes a new contract as the new council decides who to put in the role “permanently”. Like all things in government there are already some serious questions in how this is playing out legally. Let’s see if you can spot an obvious problem in the contract.

Ok, I’ll give you a hint (emphasis added):

SECTION 12 – CONFIDENTIALITY AND NON-DISPARAGEMENT
Except as otherwise required by law, in the event the City terminates Employee with or without cause, City and Employee agree that no member of the City Council, the city management staff, nor Employee shall make any written, oral, or electronic statement to any member of the public, the press, or any City employee concerning Employee’s termination except in the form of a joint press release or statement, which is mutually agreeable to City and Employee. The joint press release or statement shall not contain any text or information that is disparaging to either City or Employee. Either City or Employee may verbally repeat the substance of the joint press release or statement in response to any inquiry.

 

What’s the problem, you ask?

Your right to know how the most senior members of Fullerton’s government behave is being voted away, again, by our City Council on Tuesday. Watch it pass 5-0. Bureaucracy Commandment #3: Protect thyself and thy brethren. I’m actually a little surprised this contract wasn’t buried in the Consent Calendar in the hopes nobody would even notice.

Take a look at Fullerton’s track record. Our previous city manager and 2 of our last 3 Police Chiefs resigned in disgrace — City Manager Felz hit a tree allegedly driving drunk, Chief Sellers went on medical leave in the midst of the Kelly Thomas scandal and most recently Chief Hendricks left after allegedly battering an EMT.

With contracts like this one, you have no right to know about any of it.  That of course means you have no right to pressure City Council to do anything about it, either.

See the sickness?

When Hendricks resigned the city lied by omission and gave you nothing but a puff piece about how awesome he was for Fullerton. When I called the City’s Public Information Officer I was told, laughably, that Hendrick’s alleged battery for which he went on admin leave was unrelated to his resignation.

This contract is written so poorly that Dunn could shoot somebody in the face and BY CONTRACT nobody from the council or city could tell the public, media or other city employees why he was fired.

More to come on this outstanding contract at a later date.  In the mean time, remember, your right to know stops where an employee’s paycheck begins.

This is Why Chief Hendricks Resigned

Today the City of Fullerton put out a Press Release stating that Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks was resigning. They extolled the virtues of his employment and when I called to ask about the resignation I was told that I was making an assumption that the Chief was resigning owing to his current leave of absence and possible criminal prosecution.

Let us clear a few things up here for the record.

First and foremost the City, per their Public Information Officer, agreed to waive the contractual requirement that Hendricks give 45 days notice upon his written resignation. It allowed them to appoint Acting Chief Dunn as…. Interim Chief Dunn, a distinction without a difference, unless you happen to have a pension stored at CalPERS.

Second, despite the Chief being on leave for over 2 months, this was announced on a Friday when City Hall is closed. Want further details? Too bad, you’re gonna have to wait until Monday when everybody is focused on Tuesday’s Mid-Term Election. This is government document-dump obfuscation 101. You don’t release information in this fashion unless you’re trying to bury the news and avoid answering questions.

Why did the City agree to waive the 45 day requirement? Why was this done now being that we already have an acting chief? Why didn’t the city work to fire Hendricks for contract violation owing to the ongoing investigation? What is the status of that investigation?

No clue. No responses. No answers. Gonna have to wait until Monday folks, sorry.

Let this be an abject lesson that City Manager Ken Domer does not believe in transparency contrary to his public and private statements. I had high hopes for Domer, but alas he is proving himself to be just another bureaucrat working to keep the bureaucracy funneling money into his and his cohort’s retirements. Don’t expect our tired and constantly campaigning City Council members to ask any of these questions or work to make things more transparent.

Fret Not Friends!

We want answers and I’m sure you want answers as well and thanks to an anonymous source from the great beyond we have some details that the city will never tell us because reasons.

Here is the redacted (for privacy) and highlighted (by me) highlights of what really happened at that Lady Antebellum concert back in August and why our Chief decided to resign with no notice.

We’ll leave the conclusions to you.

Paulette Chaffee’s Silence Could Cost Taxpayers

If Paulette Marshall Chaffee receives the most votes in the District 5 Election on 06 November – will she resign the office or allow herself to be sworn in?

It’s not a tough question but Mrs. Chaffee has refused to talk to anybody or answer any questions. I emailed both campaigns asking for comment before posting the original sign theft post. No comments or responses came. Likewise Voice of OC, KTLA, Fox11 and the OCRegister have all tried to get various answers from her to no avail. She has ignored them all. She has also, by way of her silence, manipulated the voters in District 5 by sending mixed signals.

With her signs still hanging all over the district, her mail still hitting voter mailboxes and her husband’s campaign overlapping her own race (which throws a few percentage points at her by sheer name association)  she is, by all visible metrics, still running despite her Facebook and website deactivations.

With consideration of how power signs can be in an election, which I know from personal experience, I opted to do some research.

I started by looking at her 460 disclosure forms and found that she used Cogs South and Impact Signs to print and place her campaign signs. The signs cost her $470.oo to place ($3/sign plus distance charge).

Paulette460-Signs

Cogs South are the local go-to for signs and are great people to work with so I also took the liberty of giving them a call. When I asked if a candidate could pay Impact Signs to remove signs I was assured the answer was yes with the only qualifier of it maybe taking a few days. When I asked how much it would cost to have the signs removed, being that that $3/sign cost included post-election takedowns, I was told no more than that cost again. Most likely less.

Even if we assume the same cost per sign again, it would cost Paulette Marshall Chaffee one phone call and $470.00 to have her signs removed from around District 5.

$470.00.

That’s what Chaffee is unwilling to spend to show that she really is suspending her campaign. (more…)

Election Meddling – Silva’s $400,000 Arrogance

ElectionMeddling

Make taxpayers shell out $400,000 or meddle in an ongoing election.

Pick one.

That’s the quandary in front of our city council tonight in the form of agenda item 4:

4. FULLERTON MUNICIPAL CODE AMENDMENT REGARDING CITY COUNCIL VACANCIES
Consideration of an ordinance to repeal Fullerton Municipal Code Section 2.02.020 and follow procedure for filling City Council vacancies as set forth in Government Code Section 36512.

Without getting too much into the weeds the problem the city is trying to address is specific to the costs and ramifications of Jesus Silva winning the race for the District 3 council seat.

The voters in District 3 have 3 choices on their ballots; Greg Sebourn, Jesus Silva & Nickolas Wildstar. If either Sebourn or Wildstar wins this municipal code change does nothing in the foreseeable future.

https://www.fullertonsfuture.org/2018/chaffee-quits/

If Jesus Silva wins then he vacates his current At-Large seat and we, by law, must hold a special election. That special election could cost us between $391,532 – $428,150 per the OC Registrar of Voters.

Silva likely didn’t even know he was risking socking the taxpayers with that hefty bill until somebody else pointed it out to him. Or perhaps he just didn’t care. That his wife was on council when the to be repealed ordinance was passed points more towards didn’t care than didn’t know.

We went through 2017 knowing this was an issue and the City Manager couldn’t be bothered to deal with it. Then most of 2018 came and went. Nothing. Instead of worrying about a near half a million dollar liability Ken Domer had the council worrying about which volunteers to fire from the various boards and committees around town. As a former member, I’m glad the Economic Development Committee is gone but if you’re going to muck with the municipal code perhaps worry about the parts costing us, or potentially costing us, real money before worrying about a committee that rarely met because it rarely had quorum.

Now this issue is on the City Agenda for the coming City Council meeting tonight. During an election.

Yes, the election is on 06 November but absentee ballots are already in the mail and thus the city is asking council to change the rules of elections DURING AN ELECTION. People will have already voted in District 3 BEFORE the council decides what to do tonight.

Silva 2018 Meddling
Quote Silva from 3 days ago: “Absentee ballots are starting to arrive.”

This is ridiculous.

I don’t want the city to have to spend $400,000 to fill a vacated seat if Silva wins in District 3. However – and this is a big however – Jesus Silva decided to run knowing that his run could cost us that much money and he did it anyways. That he did it anyways speaks to his character.

That is a political consideration and changing the rules during the election screams of a partisan fix to a problem Silva could have avoided by not throwing his at-large seat away in the quest for 2022 incumbency. Voters make decisions on issues that cost and matter less than $400k and deserve to judge this issue without council interference after the fact.

But how did we get here? (more…)

Campaign Mail – Quirk-Silva’s Irony

It’s junk mail season and time to keep an eye on the nonsense being sent out by and for candidates and issues. One of the best pieces we’ve seen thus far in the cycle is this little nugget from the CADEM’s supporting Sharon Quirk-Silva for Assembly.

SQS Ford Irony
But just her?

They believe HER.

The irony and timing on this is pretty great considering that Quirk-Silva herself is being investigated by the State Assembly for political retaliation against Daniel Fierro, by way of trying to pressure fellow (D) Fullerton council candidate Ahmad Zahra into dropping Fierro as a client.

But they believe HER.

If you make a sexual assault claim against an SQS ally she’ll allegedly retaliate against you, as will her husband Council member Jesus Silva.

And yet they believe HER.

Riiiiight.

This is partisan schtick at it’s worst and I almost expect this to backfire spectacularly.

Where was this #IBelieveHer version of Sharon Quirk-Silva when Fullerton Officer Albert Rincon was being accused of sexually assaulting 7 women and costing the taxpayers of Fullerton $350,000?

Where was this #IBelieveHer Quirk-Silva when a judge said of that case:

“At the end of the day, the city put Rincon back onto the streets to continue arresting women despite a pattern of sexual harassment allegations. A reasonable juror could conclude based on these facts, that the city simply did not care what officers did to women during arrest,”.

For those of you wondering about the timeline on all this regarding Rincon and Quirk-Silva – from that same Oct 2011 article:

The Rincon case began in 2008, when Kari Bode and Gina Nastasi accused Rincon of groping them and exposing their breasts. They sued the department in 2009.

So where was #IBelieveHer Sharon Quirk-Silva when Officer Albert Rincon was allegedly molesting women on our city streets?

Oh. She was Mayor.

SQS Mayor Timeline

She was Mayor again in 2012 AFTER that Judge rebuked Fullerton for doing essentially nothing to an officer accused of at least 7 known alleged accounts of sexual assault under the color of authority.

And she seems to have done nothing. Apparently appeasing the police union was more important than Believing those women.

To make matters worse – Sharon Quirk-Silva just 6 short weeks ago, voted AGAINST SB1421 AND AB748.

After Jerry Brown sided against SQS and signed both of those bills into law, the ACLU stated:

“Together, SB 1421 and AB 748 will shine a much-needed light on police violence and abuse. Specifically, SB 1421 restores the public’s right to know how departments investigate and hold accountable those officers who abuse their power to frame, sexually assault, or kill members of the public. AB 748 will ensure law enforcement agencies throughout the state release police recordings of serious uses of force, including body camera footage, which are valuable tools for civilian oversight at a time of growing concern with police violence.”

SB 1421 is especially problematic for Quirk-Silva’s “#IBelieveHer” narrative in that it will make public some information specific to the powers of police officers, especially regarding sexual assault tied to the abuse of power to coerce a victim into sexual acts.

SB1421 directly addresses the problems with Officer Rincon and how it was handled within FPD and our city. Thus despite her firsthand knowledge of the problems being addressed by these bills from her time as our Mayor she opted to side with those who would abuse their power rather than the victims and the public seeking information about bad actors in uniform.

Yet they believe HER.

This is because Sharon Quirk-Silva apparently only “Believes Her” when the “her” in question can be used as a political cudgel against her opponents or to rally her more rabid base of supporters. When it comes to actually believing victims of sexual assault, in the end Sharon Quirk-Silva’ actions speak louder than her words. She can be counted on to run the gamut of doing nothing to actively, allegedly, trying to silence the victim and ultimately voted to keep information about official misconduct quiet.

Sign Thief’s Vehicle Traced Back to Mayor Chaffee’s Estate

We just received word that the vehicle seen used by the Fullerton sign thief was discovered this morning parked in the driveway of the home of Fullerton Mayor, and 4th District Supervisor Candidate, Doug Chaffee.

Despite Mayor Chaffee living up the hill in the 2nd District, his wife Paulette recently moved south to the 5th district, where she also happens to be running a city council campaign. Why would the vehicle in question drive all the way down to South Fullerton to meddle in a different district’s election?

If you watch the video which was posted earlier today, you’ll see a mysterious figure stealing a campaign sign from private property near downtown Fullerton. Looking at the video it certainly seems to match the Grand Cherokee that was discovered at Chaffee’s house by an intrepid Friend.

It is sadly common for those running for office to try and silence their opposition but it’s hard to believe the wife of a sitting Mayor would be so brazen, especially with both of them running for office simultaneously.

This is petty theft and is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of either 6 months or 1 year in a county jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.

That’s a decent sized risk for the rest of us but I suppose the Chaffees are above such considerations.

** UPDATE **

A request for comment was sent to both campaigns with neither responding by the time of publishing.

Should anyone hear from the Chaffees, please let us know.