Nine Months Later And You’re Still Paying the Illegal Water Tax

It has been said that the only two certainties are death and taxes.

That sure seems to be the case when you consider Fullerton’s illegal 10% tax on water that you are forced to pay with each bill. The cowards haven’t even got the guts to add it as a line item on the bill. Wouldn’t want nosy citizens asking embarrassing questions, now would we?

Nine months ago the City was challenged on the legality of the notorious “in-lieu fee” that adds over $2,500,000 to the City General Fund coffers every year. What did they do? They decided to study. And study. And study some more.

The Three Dead Batteries.

Well, the study isn’t done yet. But guess what? You still pay that tax. An honest government would have gotten a definitive legal opinion from a competent attorney (ahem) and immediately reported to the public. Not in Fullerton, where the idea seems to be to keep soaking the public until some judge, or a recall election makes them fix the problem. In the meantime they’ve collected two million bucks to pay for things like councilmen Don Bankhead and Pat McKinley’s six-figure pensions.

But everything’s just fine. Go back to sleep again.

The Shameful Water Triple (Er, Quadruple) Dip

UPDATE: Of course the comment from “Do the math” is right on the money. The 10% in-lieu fee is defined as a percentage of gross revenue – including the in-lieu fee itself! This tricky little dodge adds 10% of the 10% – an add-on of yet another 1% to the cost of your water bill! Uh, oh! Quadruple dip!

The Desert Rat

Way back in 1970 the Fullerton City Council passed Resolution No. 5184 dictating that 10% of the gross revenue collected by the Water Department was a reasonable amount to cover ancillary costs from supporting City departments. Here’s the key language from the Resolution:

That an amount equal to ten percent of the gross annual water sales of the Municipal Utilities Department during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1970 is hereby transferred to the General Fund in payment for the services of the Finance Department of the City and of the City Administrator, the City Attorney and the City Clerk to the Municipal Utilities Department of the City as a part of the operating costs of the waterworks system of the City during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1970.

That at the end of the fiscal year ending on June 30, 1971 and at the end of every fiscal year thereafter, a sum equal to ten percent of the gross annual water sales of the Municipal Utilities Department of the City shall be transferred to the general Fund of the City in payment for the services, during such fiscal year, of the Finance Department of the City and of the City Administrator, the City Attorney and the City Clerk to the Municipal Utilities Department of the City.

What sort of justification proved that 10% of the water revenue in 1970 should have gone to the General Fund is anybody’s guess.

In 1982 the City Council passed an ordinance permitting itself the authority to collect an “in-lieu” fee from  the water utility as a fixed percentage of revenue. Despite the name change, the City continued to add the historic 10% to Fullerton’s water bills, and rake it off directly into the General Fund – without so much as a second thought.

A bit confusing? Not really. The original justification for the fuzzy 10% figure was to reimburse the City for vague incurred costs; calling it an in-lieu fee never changed the inescapable fact that the 10% amount was supposed to pay for actual costs associated with running the waterworks. Either way, as of 1997 and the implementation of Prop. 218, that became illegal.

Flash forward to today, and peruse this year’s budget documents. The Water Fund is Fund 44. Check out the total column on the right.

Summary of Appropriations by Fund.

Notice the amount directly allocated in the 2011-12 budget to the City Manager and Administration: $1.7 million ($29,917 + $1,678,962).

Now let’s see some actual charges. Observe Fiscal year 2009-10, over there, in the left column.

Summary of Expenditures and Appropriations by Fund

Good grief! As you might have guessed (based on this year’s budget), in 2009-10 the City directly charged the Water Fund over $1.5 million for the City Council, City Manager, and Administrative Services; plus fifty grand for Human Resources, and $100,000 for Community Development!

And this means that those services that were originally being used to justify the 10% levy on our water bills are already being charged directly to the General Fund. Double Dip!

Of course it gets worse. We now know the 10%  is a double dip; but hold on to your water bill. Because the directly charged costs for “administration” are considered part of the base waterworks cost; the automatic 10% in-lieu fee (which was supposed to pay for “administration” but that pays for nothing), is applied to that! That increase this year is at least $170,000, if you add 10% to that $1.7 million figure we saw in the first table. Triple Dip!

And that, Friends, is a triple gainer off the high board and right into the deep end of the pool.



Your Tithe is Man-dated At The Altar of The Almighty Bureaucrat

The upkeep just kept getting more expensive...

Everybody who goes to church is familiar with the concept of tithing – literally giving one tenth of your income to support the church and its good works. Of course the act is voluntary.

The people who pay for water from the Fullerton Water Works have been paying a tithe, too. You see, since 1970 the Citycrats have decreed that ten percent of the cost of a monopoly supplying you with water will be added to your bill, and then be immediately re-directed to the City’s General Fund.

In the early days, when water was dirt cheap it was a way to help pay for certain indirect costs of employees who were considered overhead support for the water works. It was called an “in-lieu franchise fee” like the ones the City charges other utilities to operate in Fullerton. Still, there was an immediate problem that nobody addressed: it was bad management, and bad accounting, and opened the door for all sorts of abuse. Decades later, in 1997, Proposition 218 was passed that specifically addressed the scam of governments charging “fees” that were nothing more than hidden taxes – just like Fullerton’s 10% in-lieu fee. It was now required that fee amounts be established through objective supportable analysis that was conducted transparently, in the light of public scrutiny. No longer could governments legally charge for more than any service was worth.

But Fullerton did. For 15 years the City continued to charge, then rake off a ten percent tribute from the Water Fund that went to pay for things like pensions and pay raises for all Fullerton city employees, stuff that had nothing to do with providing water to you. Not only did the city councils know about the scam, they heartily approved the slight-of-hand, year after year.

Meantime, the cost of water skyrocketed, increasing nearly 350% between 1997 and now, jacking up the illegal tax from $700,000 a year in 1997 to over $2.5 million a year now. That’s a rate of about 23% a year, just in case you’re inclined to keep track. A staggering total of almost $27 million has been surreptitiously extorted from you since Proposition 218 went into effect.

Those who support this cheapjack end run think it’s right and proper for you to pay this tithe without your knowing it, and without your consent. After all they’ve had plenty of opportunity to insist, at least, that notification of the 10% diversion be made on each water bill. But they never have. And that’s because their first priority is continue funding six-figure pensions, automatic raises for employees, and all the other things that constitute business as usual in their Church of The Almighty Bureaucrat. It’s their church, and as far as the High Priests and pharisees are concerned, you taxpayers can just sit in the back pew, way, way back there in the dark, and keep your mouths shut.

The Moral and Mental Degeneration of Pat McKinley

Way out here at the end of Screech Owl Road it gets pretty quiet. With the exception of the wind and the occasional rotor-thump of the Marine helicopter squadrons you have few distractions to clutter your thoughts. And lately I’ve been giving some thought to Pat McKinley, former Fullerton Police Chief, and now city councilman.

Lookin' out for the ladies, oh yeah!

Back in October the Friends were treated to one of the most startling revelations of moral failure imaginable when McKinley was cornered at a women’s club lecture on self-defense, and was asked to explain what women should do when a cop like Albert Rincon attacks them in the backseat of a police patrol car. See, McKinley hired Rincon and despite numerous complaints Rincon stayed on streets, eventually getting the City embroiled in a civil suit and earning the wrath of a respected federal judge.

McKinley’s shocking response to the Soroptimists:  “Those ladies aren’t like you;” and the sexual battery was only “inappropriate touching;” “not a good thing, but it ain’t a dangerous thing.”   “Call Chief” is what McKinley recommended women do when sexually battered by a Fullerton cop! No FFFF didn’t make that up. Here’s the video.

Later, McKinley tried to wriggle out of his statements by explaining that what he really meant to say was that the women in question were not “credible,” the implication being that he, McKinley, was the proper judge to determine what sort of women are credible or not. Given that as Chief, McKinley hired a virtual rogues gallery and gave them all badges and guns, it’s sort of hard to imagine why anybody would consider McKinley an authority on moral credibility. McKinley’s lame defenders actually put out the word that McKinley had somehow been tricked into saying all those awful things.

But now consider this inescapable fact: the Fullerton City Council just agreed to pay out $350,000 to only two of these “not credible” women. What the Hell? If McKinley believed they were not credible why on Earth did the City consent to settle? Maybe it had something to do with the harsh upbraiding the Fullerton Police Department received courtesy of Judge Andrew Guilford. If it did, you would think the taxpayers of Fullerton were due an apology from somebody. Anybody.

I also note then when asked by David Nazar if he was proud of the Fullerton PD, he immediately said yes, hesitated, and then added “except for the two.” Since I presume he was referring to Manny Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, we can conclude that he has no regrets about hiring Albert Rincon in the first place.

It’s about time the anti-recallers get their stories straight because you can’t have it both ways. Either McKinley is a disgusting misogynist or he’s losing his marbles. Well, gee, maybe it’s both.

Thanksgiving from the Desert

Friends, greetings from my lonely and dusty compound way, way out on Screech Owl Road – past the meth labs and the Boho Sci Arc schtickers.

Two year’s ago FFFF published a Thanksgiving message from one of our errant bloggers, the original Harpoon. It was just so doggone pithy and pleasant that I  figured it would be better to reproduce it than write my own. So here it is.

Dear Friends, Happy Thanksgiving. Some of you may wonder what an old, crusty, salt-bitten sea gherkin like the Harpoon is thankful for (some of you may not, and may not care).

I am thankful for being part of  a society in which I can hurl my outrageous barbs (i.e. my current working version of the truth) at powers-that-be, and not get locked up;

I am thankful for having a bunch of fertile words and ideas bequeathed to me by people a lot smarter than I am, who happily deigned to bestow their gifts, Bodhisattva-like on the rest of us;

I am thankful for our Friends – a rare few who are able to view the socio-political terrain, and realize that we can do better – a lot better, and who are not terrified by the thought of criticizing the Chimps in Charge.

I am thankful for all the inert Clumps in the dead, sterile center, who peer out to the fertile, incubatorial edges of their paltry weltanshauung and start to sweat yellow fear pellets; for without them we fringers would have no frame of reference ourselves.

And so, from the cold, green-gray waters of the Sea of Japan, I wish one and all of the Friends a Happy Thanksgiving.

Pat McPension Gets Leash Yanked

Releasing his inner She Bear may be problematic.

Yesterday, on another thread folks were asking about the upcoming vote for next year’s mayor. I’ll be doing a post on that, real soon. In the meantime enjoy this post by the Desert Rat that was originally published on December 13, 2010. It includes some valuable video in which you may watch the Three Deaf Dinosaurs in action.

– Joe Sipowicz

Well, that didn’t take long. Mr. Pat McPension, he of the $215,000 a year pension (yes, you read that right), exercised his second vote in office denying the Mayor Pro Tem job (if you believe in things like fair rotation) to Sharon Quirk-Silva. SQS’s problem is that she is a Democrat, and hence, in some people’s eyes, the embodiment of all evil.

Now why would Pat McPension stick it to a woman who actually endorsed him in his recent election bid? Well, if you don’t know that answer you haven’t been paying attention to Fullerton politics for the past 30 years.

Check out McPension’s opening statement for clues. Then watch the painful yank on his choke chain.

Aha! Lois Godfrey. Queen Bee of the Raymond Hills Repuglican Women, an organization dedicated to promoting RINO candidates just like Pat McPension. In fact her husband was the worst one of the bunch. These idiots actually think Doc Jones is a real conservative!

Now Lois and her electric blue-haired gaggle have been backing these zeroes since the 1980s when their patron saints were Dick Ackerman, Buck Catlin, and the hideous gargoyle, Linda LeQuire.

And of course let us not forget the role of Little Corporal, Ed Royce, for whom no candidate is too old or stupid to be foist upon Fullerton for his own purposes.

So McPension owes his dubious political accomplishment to these worthy repuglicans; and at the first opportunity they must have made it very clear to their new boy what was expected of him from those who got him elected.

Just for the Hell of it I added Sharon Quirk-Silva’s pretty dignified admonition to her colleagues after the vote. While I don’t agree with a lot of her politics, I will note for the benefit of the brain dead repuglicans whom I know read this blog:

Quirk voted against the illegal Redevelopment expansion. She voted against the worthless Richman housing project. She voted against the idiotic Transportation Center Master Boondoggle. Your repuglican heroes voted for all three!

So go stick that in your blue wigs and smoke it!

Yup, Don Bankhead Was At that Ritzy Hotel, Too!

They put a mint on my pillow!
They even put a little chocolate mint on my pillow!

Here’s a really fun post I did about 20 months ago making sure people knew that it wasn’t just a spendthrift Democrat who blew over a grand at a fancy hotel at a useless League of Cities meeting. Turns out the RINOs Bankhead and Jones did, too. The way they see it, it’s their money, not yours.

– The Desert Rat

Okay, like I said the other day, I’m a fair guy. Fullerton Mayor Don Bankhead attended that fall of 2008 League of Cities Meeting in Long Beach right along side Pam Keller. Like Keller, Bankhead also put in for a double occupancy room for three nights. Here’s the smoking gun.

Over $1100 for a swank hotel room barely 25 miles from Bankhead’s house. And this during the vast economic melt-down of late 2008. Bad judgment? Sure, to you or me. But not to a guy who has likely spent twenty years going to these schmoozefests on our dime.

Sayonara, baby!
Sayonara, baby!

A juicy side-irony is the fact that this is the same piece o’ manpower that Doc Jones seems to think is the right guy to lead Fullerton through tough economic times. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the dimwit Jones.  Hell, Jones was at the no-tell hotel, too!

Well, anyway, Don Bankhead, like Pam Keller, is up for re-election this year, if in fact he decides to run, which of course he will. So you can bet the desert acreage that both of them are going to be targets because of their willingness – no, eagerness –  to waste, public money.

They’re Having A Party!

Looks like the anti-recall sponges and parasites have decided to hold a party to raise money for the Three Blind Mice.

Well, good for them, say I. After all, we really need to see what kind of creeps will support the incompetents who created and tolerated the Culture of Corruption in the Fullerton Police Department.

Here’s the flier:

View the flyer

Of course they were going to trot out the Jurassic McClanahan and Catlin – who were both recalled alongside Bankhead in 1994 for imposing a tally unnecessary utility tax on Fullerton. Oh! And here’s Jan Flory who not only supported the utility tax, but even wished it were doubled. And all of them voted year after year to stick us with a 10% tax on our water bills for no damn good reason other than that they could get away with it. Oh, yeah, they also supported every single Redevelopment boondoggle, giveaway, disaster, and money pit.

And Dick Ackerman? Ho ho! We’re onto that slime ball’s influence peddling schemes. Just a few weeks ago the Three Desiccated Dinosaurs awarded the lobbyist Ackerman’s clint a multi-million dollar subsidy for an unnecessary housing project. Awarded for services rendered, no doubt.

Well, there’s your sad crew of anti-recall characters. Here’s a thought: let’s sweep the whole rotten Phalanx of Failure into the garbage can of Fullerton history – once and for all!

Can anybody say protest at the Villa del Sol?




More “Leadership” Poultry Courtesy of Loretta Sanchez

Gotta keep movin'...

When I was a kid, liberals were all about civil rights, social justice, anti-police corruption, women’s rights, etc., etc., etc.

Maybe professorial tenure, home mortgage interest deductions, and appointment to a City Community Service Commission or Bicycle Committee tends to make one complaisant. I don’t know.

In the wake of the Kelly Thomas murder at the hands of the FPD, and the revelation of a potential serial sex offender in FPD uniform, Fullerton’s liberals have been silent as a graveyard. A great letter to the Fullerton Observer by a guy named Steve Baxter sums up the situation to perfection.

Maybe this silence marks the difference between a statist liberal and what is now being called a “progressive.” I don’t know.

But one thing I do know: the first category includes our esteemed Congressional She-Bear, Loretta Sanchez, whose district includes south-central Fullerton, as well as some of the locations where women allege they were sexually assaulted in the backseat of an FPD patrol car!

Here’s an e-mail from one of the recall petition signature gatherers who re-enforces the ugly truth that Ed Royce isn’t our only congressional problem.

I was at the Stater Brothers today with my recall petition and I had an interesting conversation with a 50-ish red-headed woman who happens to work for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.  I asked her if she was interested in signing my petition to recall our City Councilman and Mayor and was sort of shocked when she declined.   As she was putting away her groceries I asked her what Ms. Sanchez position was on the recent events that had occurred in Fullerton, and she told me that Ms. Sanchez was staying out of the matter because it didn’t involve her constituents.  I said that that was odd because I had voted for her in the last election and that I live in West Fullerton.  She said that Loretta’s district only encompassed a sliver of Fullerton and that where Kelly Thomas was beaten to death was out of her district!
I sort of left it at that, however when I got home and checked the district map for Loretta Sanchez I saw that not only is my home in her district, but the site where Kelly Thomas was beaten to death is maybe 200 feet from the boundary.
Is there any way that you guys can inspire this champion of women’s rights to engage in what’s going on here in Fullerton?  I got the distinct impression that Loretta Sanchez was looking to stay out of the fray and distance herself from what’s going on in her district, and I think that it’s important that she get involved or make a statement on what her position is pertaining to violations of Kelly Thomas’s civil rights, as well as the violation of the these recent allegations of sexual assault under color of authority by members of the the Fullerton Police department.
Best Regards,
p.s. I’ve changed my political affiliation to “decline to state” on my voter registration so there is no love lost on Loretta.


It’s pretty obvious that Ms. Sanchez has seen her main chance in trying to ignore things in Fullerton and hope like hell that no one will ever associate her with what was done, or in her case what hasn’t been done. Comically Ms. Loretta found time from her busy schedule to attend the Fullerton Library re-opening – a building also not in her district – while 500 feet away people of good will were protesting the murder of a helpless homeless man at the hands of the FPD.

Disgustingly, Sanchez seems a lot more interested in the civil rights of Vietnamese women (who live eight thousand miles outsider her district) than with her own constituents.

Sanchez could get the Department of Justice fired up with a phone call. But even that smallest of gestures would require a modicum of courage.

Don Bankhead, Champion of Ethics and Civil Rights!


Laughing all the way to the Blank. Head.

But not recently.

Politicians should always be careful about what they say. The public has a nasty habit of remembering their pronouncements.

Back in 1990 during his failed bid for County Sheriff (remember, right before his “total disability” pension claim), Don Bankhead needed a hook to get folks interested in his bad comb-over, lackluster self. So he discovered that he was really a reformer who was interested in establishing an “ethics unit” at the OCSD, you know to clean up the mess over there. Read all about it in an LA Times article, here. Enjoy the rich irony as Bankhead pontificates:

We’ll put the shine back on the badge and we’ll all have a good clean Sheriff’s Department,” Bankhead said. “If no one’s rights are violated, we won’t get sued.”

Now fast forward to Tuesday night’s Fullerton City Council Closed Session Agenda that is littered with lawsuits against Fullerton and its lawless police department. If ever there was a department in need of an ethics unit it would be the FPD – over which Bankhead has refused to provide civilian oversight since 1988.

In the past few months the media has learned of FPD personnel charged, convicted, or alleged to have participated in grand theft, credit card fraud, kidnapping and sexual battery, assault, false arrest, and perjury, all culminating in the brutal bludgeoning death of a mentally-ill homeless man. And Mr. Ethics? Silent as a graveyard.

A word of advice, Mr. Bankhead. Time to get going establishing that ethics unit where it will do the most good. In your own department.