What is it About OCTA and Bikes?

What is it about the Orange County Transportation Agency and its love of bicycle boondoggles? We know they are obligated to pretend they care about multi-modal transportation, but why the silliness? FFFF readers will recall we talked about the ludicrous $800 per bike ride fiasco overseen by former County Supervisor and OCTA Boardmember, Shawn Nelson.

Sturdy looking, but up to the challenge? 

Now it appears that Nelson’s sclerotic successor, Fullerton’s own Prince of Potholes, Doug “Bud” Chaffee is following in the noble tradition.

 

I just received a self-promoting e-mail from Supervisor Chaffee touting OCTA bike day. For ten bucks you get bike training, a nifty bike helmet, bike lights and a delicious lunch. What the subsidy for these days of fun is the public is not informed. However the impoverished need not worry; for “scholarships” are available on a limited basis although we are not enlightened as to who might qualify, and how. The provided link says nothing about “scholarships.”

Now while there’s nothing wrong with bicycle safety, per se, one wonders why we are paying for classes on how to ride a bike, and on “fun” bike tours and “advanced” bicycling skills. And why does the public have to pay for the political promotion of “public servants?”

 

Profiles in Courage

During a quick stop at the on-line Fullerton Observer I read an article by Jane Rands about a dope forum held by the folks at NUFF – an organization of mostly geriatric liberals whose mission seems to be to promote safely pro-government candidates and causes. Aha, thought I, perhaps someone will stand up for the rights of the people of California who have voted twice for marijuana legalization and twice have been thwarted, whenever possible, by the Drug Warrior/Prison Industrial Complex.

Weed Tribunal

The three members of a panel, selected by who knows who, were Ahmad Zahra, Temp Fullerton Top Cop Bob Dunn, and some dude named Richard Ham about whom I know nothing.

Whatever hopes I had about this get together were quickly dashed reading the article. Smilin’ Zahra, it seems, once got a prescription for medical weed for his fibromyalgia, but was too chicken to try it. Scary stuff. Ever the wordy equivocator, Zahra seemed to be all for lots of regulation because gosh darn it, the kids have already been exposed to cannabis by illicit shops popping up next to schools.

The large and seemingly self-satisfied Chief Dunn, who used to be a spokeshole for the notorious Anaheim Police Department, gave the usual cop-blather about the evils of drugs (kiddies were getting into mom and dad’s digestible stash!) and reminding Fullerton’s tremulous seniors that drug driving is a crime. In typical police fashion he suggested that a confused public causes his boys “a lot of effort with little return.” Same ol’ bullshit the cops have been peddling for 60 years. In a grand gesture of philanthropy, however, he did let it be known that he and his posse intended to follow the law. Gee thanks, Bob.

The third member of the Dope Troika was Mr. Ham, a Korean business guy in some sort of hotel business. Good thing he was there, because somebody was able to point out the all the flaws in the present system where cities are allowed to opt-out of legalization and the ultimate consequences of California ridiculous 2016 referendum: the maintenance of an illegal, underground system of cultivation and distribution.

Zahra proclaimed the meeting a “good start” begging the question of why in the world anyone needs to start considering these issues. Why there is any confusion about marijuana in this state after over twenty years of legalization? It’s because the cops and the cowardly politicians don’t want clarity, they don’t want freedom and they don’t want to be deprived of the seizure asset income they get from the War on Drugs.

Mr. Zahra did accomplish one thing. Because of the presence of Mayor Jesus and Jan Flory he warned of the dangers of a Brown Act violation, chasing our stalwart mayor out of the room.

Chasing Rainbows

I noticed two things in the Fullerton Observer the other day that on the surface are pretty innocuous but that upon a little reflection seem to be symbolic of the way our city government has operated over the years.

AhmadZahra
Movin’ on up

The first is the City’s proclamation of Arab American Month, a first, and no doubt conceived by new councilmember Ahmad Zahra who is himself an Arab American. Here is Zahra:

“As an Arab-American myself, I’m very proud of this moment, and I’m proud of our city for being such a wonderful, diverse place where everybody can celebrate who they are but work together for what is best for our community.”

Diversity and celebration. Hmm. Well, okay, a little color toner and some quality legal-sized paper, a few minutes of everybody’s time and you’ve got your proclamation. Go in peace.

The second item is about the rainbow flag flapping on the pole in front of City Hall. The City Council in March approved flying the banner that symbolizes LGBTQ rights, etc for LGBTQ Month. Mr. Zahra is also gay and this may account for the fact that Fullerton has finally got around to this pressing issue. This is a bit more problematic because here we have an official endorsement by the City. Personally, I’m all for equal rights for everybody – including marriage, and I couldn’t care less if Jennifer Fitzgerald orders that a Goofy flag fly over the City Hall. Still, it gives one pause to consider the priorities of our esteemed leaders – nobody’s rights are threatened by not flying the flag; meaning, of course, that the whole thing is an empty gesture.

And this brings me, finally, to the point of this post. We have a city council that has spent us to brink of fiscal disaster with no accountability, no responsibility and no concern at all for the taxpayers and citizens of Fullerton. They have squandered millions on vanity construction projects that were mismanaged, unnecessary, or downright dangerous. They have let the streets of Fullerton become the joke of Orange County. They have turned over downtown Fullerton to a gang of scofflaw saloon owners. They have nurtured a deadly Culture of Corruption in the police department, an infection that reaches from top to bottom. Meantime they are determined to ignore any of the calls for a correction to the course they have navigated.

More negativity. Just think positive!

Ask yourselves this question: Are any of the real municipal problems of Fullerton ever addressed? The answer, sadly, has been no. Meanwhile, empty symbolism and diversion are the order of the day. It’s easy pandering, and to the uninitiated might even look like something is being accomplished.

The question whether hollow gestures are better than none at all, especially when promoted by incompetent or corrupt officials, may remain academic. What is a practical reality is that in a month or so Fullerton will begin its Annual Can Kick – known as the budget approval. But the can is getting more obdurate every year and the lies coming from Fitzgerald and Flory ever more outrageous. Soon we will be able to see what sort of new flags from Mr. Zahra and his colleagues will be run up the flagpole. Will anybody salute?

Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned…

Dueling Incompetence

Fullerton’s City Council, on the other hand reminds me of Porch Boy from Deliverance: good at one thing and, well, everything else? Not so much.

Our council’s skill-set is entirely focused on hiding screw-ups – from auto crashes to mismanaged construction progress to a breathtaking budgetary neglect that can only be discussed by lying about it.

At the heart of the matter is a council that is just incompetent, and worse, refuses to hold anybody accountable for their expensive errors. But the one thing that can be relied upon: no one will ever admit mistake.

The bars stayed open and the band played on…

If you had any doubts on the matter, simply refer yourselves to the silly charade of picking a council replacement. The fix was in from the beginning. There was zero chance anybody but the egregious Jan Flory would be chosen, despite other applicants who had actual ability. Why? Because Flory was already complicit in all of Fullerton’s misadventures that have led to an an FPD Culture of Corruption, an out of control booze riot downtown, a near empty treasury and the worst roads in Orange County; and if anybody was willing to stay the course, lie about a balanced budget, blame the stingy taxpayers for the state of the roads, and prop up clearly useless and grossly overpaid city manager and city attorney it was her.

But the people that have made a mess out of Fullerton are running out of options, especially pension options, when the State pension board decides to lower its actuarial assumptions again. And then the gravy train will run out of gas. And who will be asked to fill ‘er up? That’s right you and me.

 

The Return of Dr. Ott

Friends, it’s been a very long time indeed since we called upon the kind offices of our in-house psychiatric consultant, Dr. Reinhold Ott, professor at the esteemed Intsitut für Psychologie Schwabische at the University of Tubingen.

The penetrating gaze of Dr. Reinhold Ott, M.D., Ph.D

We here at FFFF were wondering just what sort of personality is behind the arrogance of carpetbagging, and worse, the theft of property in the manic pursuit of elected office. Of course we are talking about the egregious Paulette Marshall Chaffee, the Fullerton City Council candidate who cooked up a phony residence in District 5, and who was very recently busted on video stealing an opponent’s campaign signs.

And so we reached out to Dr. Ott to get his professional take on Mrs. Chaffee. Here is what the good doctor had to say:

Thank you for providing what appears to be an interesting case. As always, I must preface my comments with the disclaimer that I have not interviewed this subject personally. Even so the evident behavior of this individual provides sufficient information to outline a fairly reasonable psychological profile.

There is a species of profound megalomania that is, unfortunately, not uncommon. This personality disorder renders its possessor unable to realistically place himself or herself in a world with other sentient beings. Others merely serve as tools or objects that exist for the glorification of the subject. While almost everyone suffers from a mild ego-driven solipsistic outlook, the severe narcissist (for so we must describe our subject) has become conditioned to project this outlook into a permanent and malignant personality.

Examining the behavior of our subject, one quickly recognizes ultra narcissism in the blind self-absorption that renders one incapable of realistic analysis of the world about oneself. The individual in question has determined that the best public good is perfectly congruent with her own interest of political aggrandizement. The fraudulent creation of a domicile in an area in which she does not live is consonant with the personality type we have observed above.

The idea of self-entitlement that accompanies the severe narcissist explains this individual’s theft of property that publicly challenges her behavior and that, therefore, must be removed from public perusal.  The problem of personality disorder is thus compounded by moral and civil dereliction that, ironically, accompanies the subject’s protestations of desiring the “public good.”

The resignation statement offered by our subject to her followers is not atypical of the megalomaniac. It drips with self-pity, righteousness, and of course paints the perpetrator of misdeeds herself as victim. The embarrassed withdrawal is described as a righteous sacrifice made for the public welfare of the community.

It is important to stress that the symptoms of narcissism may often be confused with mental debilitation caused by the onset of deleterious effects of various species of dementia. Often these effects are compounded by both physiological and psychological causes working in tandem.  

In closing, I feel compelled to reiterate that the personality revealed by our subject is not rare. The political sphere is viewed as a particularly suitable stage by this type, since it often offers effusive public praise and generally requires no particular ability. 

Quirk-Silva Duo Under Investigation for Retaliation Against Sexual Assault Victim

Here’s a convoluted story from the Los Cerritos News about Fullerton councilmember Jesus Silva and his wife, California State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.

EXCLUSIVE: Fullerton Asm. Quirk-Silva Under Investigation for Influence Peddling and Retaliation Against Accuser of Asm. Cristina Garcia

The California State Assembly investigation involving groping allegations against Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia leveled by Cerritos resident Daniel Fierro has morphed into a wide-ranging political influence and retaliation investigation revolving around Garcia, 65th District Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), and her husband, Fullerton Council Member Jesus Silva.

Jesus and Sharon are accused of threatening a businessman with political retribution if he didn’t fire a public relations firm run by Daniel Fierro, a former Assembly staffer who accused Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D) of groping him earlier this year.

During the meeting, Quirk-Silva echoed her husband’s statements and made it clear to the businessman that he should fire Fierro because of his sexual harassment and groping allegations against Garcia.

The reportedly shocked businessman was then told that “not doing so might result in her [Garcia’s] political disfavor.”

Quirk-Silva denied all of the allegations via her office’s spokesperson. But if they are true, they could have serious implications for Fullerton’s political power duo. Would the Quirk-Silva’s really engage in threats of retribution against the victim of sexual assault? That doesn’t seem like a good choice in the current era.

Another One Bites The Dust

Detective Barry Coffman, former president of the Fullerton police union, is the latest victim of housecleaning at the Fullerton Police Department.

The Original Tommy Burger

Two weeks ago management kicked Coffman out of his comfy detective chair and forced him onto patrol duty with the working stiffs. Coffman must have been unhappy because he started calling in with tummy aches. When Coffman saw that his pitiful work stoppage had no effect on management, he gave his two week notice. If I were a betting man, I’d say he stopped coming into work altogether.

For those who don’t remember, Coffman was responsible for defending the indefensible behavior of his union and its members after they murdered Kelly Thomas, repeatedly denying the existence of any corruption inside the FPD despite all of the evidence to the contrary. In addition to handing out ridiculous “excessive horning” tickets during a public protest, Coffman was also responsible for this sad tale where his lazy police work helped land an innocent couple in county jail.

Coffman’s early retirement means he left a few years of weighty pension gains on the table.  Farewell and good riddance.

Coto Joe On The Move Again

Remember last year when County Supervisor candidate Joe Kerr kicked off his 4th District campaign by claiming he had moved from his Coto de Caza palace to someone else’s house on Stony Lane in Brea?

Perhaps the rent was too high, or maybe the neighborhood just didn’t feel right. A few days ago Coto Joe registered to vote at the fine Merrick Apartments over in Placentia. Here’s a closer look at his new digs.

Free furniture.

Joe’s wife is still registered to vote 35 miles away behind the gate at Joe’s million dollar south county home.

Who knew “firefighting” paid so well? Well, almost everybody…
Left behind for apartment 49D.

The clumsy execution of this carpetbagging scam reminds one of another failed Supervisor candidate from a few years ago.

Welcome to the traveling circus.

A Trip Up and Down Memory Lane…AKA The Pine Wood Stairs.

“Pine Wood Stairs” looked a lot better in concept than in reality…

Back in May, FFFF documented the lamentable construction disaster of the Pinewood Stairs, a $1.6 million boondoggle created by City staff, whose construction defects were so bad and so plentiful that a reasonable person might even inquire about how we could get our money back. In fact, City Councilman Sebourn mumbled something about getting our money back, then said he was just kidding. Bruce Whitaker said nothing at all. On Facebook City Hall bureaucracy advocate Gretchen Cox cooked up a story about some alleged City “report” that exonerated all concerned.

Nine months have passed and I thought it might be interesting to revisit the site of the fiasco and share a visual tour to take another look.

Here’s a typical example of a project with nobody in charge and nobody who knows what they’re doing.

The caisson footings with the wood posts are almost all cracked; some of the posts aren’t even vertical. Some of the caissons are out of plumb, too.

Aspects of the construction reveal building that was cobbled together to make the contraption fit together.

 

Now, as then, the wooden rails are extremely rough and splintiferous.

Rough cut

The lack of quality workmanship, structural and cosmetic remains in evidence. And those fraying cable ends? Why, they’ve been taped! Of course the tape is falling off.

Simple things – like removing the cardboard tube form from the caissons seem to have eluded the City’s crack inspection team. Crack. Get it?

Basic design oversight problems were jerryrigged and never addressed properly at all.

Weird features that are nothing but potential for risk management headaches and taxpayer payouts are still much in evidence – like this trip hazard. Shrug, indeed.

Loose cables. Down the hill goes the toddler.

As usual, maintenance of  public property remains a challenge for the City. Loose ends are not their specialty.

How hard is it to keep a tree alive? Don’t bother asking. You won’t get an answer.

The effects of the inevitable pedestrian shortcuts betray both design and maintenance failure. It looked better on paper.

We have been reassured by people who don’t know what they are talking about that everything was just grand about this grand failure; but, the evidence did and still does point to the exact opposite: a project that suffered from fundamental design shortcomings, incompetent and careless construction, a construction manager whose only function seems to have been to cash our check, and inspectors who were (and probably still are) a disgrace to their profession.

As you can see driving up Harbor, the City is now building its splendid new entry to the park – including a bridge – costing millions and accomplishing nothing but wasting park construction resources. Apart from the obvious uselessness of the project I have to wonder if it will suffer from the same dereliction that informs the so-called “Pinewood Stairs.” Nothing leads me to hope for the contrary.

Ed Endorses Young Kim

No there, there…

Running true to form, Ed Royce (R- Bad Dye Job) has apparently endorsed his vacuous protege, Young Kim, to replace him in Congress. It would seem that the job of County Supervisor isn’t as inviting an opportunity for this dedicated public servant to be serviced by the public.

Yes. I could do that job.

This really isn’t much of a surprise, given the Little Corporal’s penchant to endorse unqualified candidates for office. Of course a ling cod would make a better congresscritter than Young Kim, but that cuts no ice with Royce, whose career has been marked by a decided indifference to the well-being of his constituents.

The Village People just called…

This is good news for Tim Shaw who is now the only Republican candidate for 4th District County Supervisor, and as things stand, would certainly make a run-off against the Democrat’s carpetbaggin’ union goon, Coto Joe Kerr.

Still doesn’t live in district…