Jaramillo High on Retail Pot

Green means green. One way or another…

You heard right, Friends. Very high.

Wanna ganj?

Earlier today, one of our Friends shared a couple Vivian “Kitty” Jaramillo posts from the Next Door site sharing her views on the subject of marijuana tax revenue. Jaramillo says she’s running for the Fullerton City Council, and has big plans for solving the budget problem.

I don’t know when the lightbulb will go on for our current council majority that our city is dying. We have been pinching penny’s for much too long and our city’s infrastructure shows it. If they would put on their thinking caps and allow legal dispensaries they could be the super heroes of Fullerton. Vote only candidates in favor of legalizing

Responding to something called Legalize Fullerton Dispensaries, Jaramillo shared:

Thank you for your continued interest in legalizing marijuana dispensaries in Fullerton. Unfortunately we still have the same 3 councilman, Whitaker, Jung & Dunlap, who voted against this issue. So let’s be sure when any of these 3 are up for re-election to show up and vote them OUT! Our city is losing millions of dollars each year that dispensaries are not allowed. We all know how desperate we are for a stronger budget……

I can’t guarantee that these are genuine comments made by Jaramillo, but when you consider the poor grammar and punctuation, they have the ring of genuineness. And of course, Jaramillo’s world view, “pinching penny’s” (sic) is the problem, not excessive pay and pensions to thousands of employees over the years.

Her stake-out makes sense if she she believes the Long Beach Cannabis Cartel can be a source of political fundraising; and, of course her political soulmate, Ahmad Zahra, has long been known a wannabe player in the legal dope store game. Zahra supported the proposed ordinance that could have resulted in legalized dispensaries within 100 of your house. Zahra has also been associated with the “consulting” work of one Melahat Rafiei who recently pleaded guilty for conning a would-be dispensary operator in Anaheim out of hundreds of thousands that were meant as payouts to officials, and to trying to bribe Irvine City Council members.

Now, it could be that Jaramillo really believes that dispensaries are an economic salvation for Fullerton, and the more the better, and any negative impacts are worth the price of happy public employees and timely CalPERS payments This may put her at odds with the Fullerton Police Department that has a long-standing opposition to this sort of thing; she must be counting on the cop union to paver her way to office.

Kitty Throws Hello Party For Self

A couple weeks ago FFFF posted about Fullerton’s 4th District Council election this fall. Incumbent Bruce Whitaker will be incumbent no longer – finally termed out. One of the subjects was the candidacy of Ms. Vivian “Kitty” Jaramillo, a former City employee, former council candidate, and most recently an annoying presence at City Council meetings.

Well, it turns out the wheels of another Jaramillo candidacy were indeed in motion. Here’s an invite to her coming out party. Oops. Somebody doesn’t use spellcheck.

“Appetisers” for all…booze is extra.

Josh Newman and Sharon Quirk-Silva are taking time out of their busy schedules messing up California to be there, so Ms. Kitty must have the backing of the OC Democrat operation, although this time there will be no fake candidates created to protect an incumbent.

So the first battle line is drawn: do we want another former public employee on the Fullerton City Council? Do we want one who will certainly be willing to raise our taxes to support her pension? Do we want Ahmad Zahra to have a third vote to promote stupid vanity projects that will promote his “brand?”

The 2024 4th District Election

As the Friends know, Fullerton’s First, Second and Fourth City Council District representative jobs are up for election this fall. And while it’s a little early to speculate on who’s going to run and what the outcome might be, it’s fun to do a little introductory review.

Dunlap-Jung

Incumbents Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap are incumbents in the First and Second Districts, respectively. If they want to run again, and I haven’t heard they won’t, the power of incumbency is hard to beat.

Going, going, gone…

The Fourth District, currently represented by Bruce Whitaker will be wide open. Whitaker is termed out after 12 long years on the Council and his replacement will decide the balance of the Council if Dunlap and Jung run, and are re-elected. The current 3-2 division is based on ideological difference, the difference is between looking out for the taxpayers – at least once in a while – and doing whatever idiocy the bureaucracy wants to perpetrate.

Yes, I do so live here.

At this point the candidate pool seems weak. Last time Whitaker squeaked by past a dude named Aruni Thakur, a school board member who didn’t live in the district. Could Thakur do the (fake) carpetbagger routine? He had the full support of the unions and the County Democrat Party four years ago, but it wasn’t enough for poor Aruni, who was hammered with his carpetbaggery. With no incumbent this time around his political greed might pull him in.

Vivian “Kitty” Jaramillo

Then there is a woman named Vivian “Kitty” Jaramillo, an individual who has made a nuisance of herself recently attacking the Council majority with the usual feigned outrage. Ms. Jaramillo is retired from “work” as a life-long municipal employee whose professional career started in Fullerton handing out parking tickets and graduated into being a code enforcement busybody. She would be a perfectly reliable yes vote for anything floated by city staff, and just the sort of running buddy Ahmad Zahra dreams about to support a sales tax. Word on the street is that the OC Dems are already behind her candidacy, which would preclude the aforementioned Thakur from getting involved.

Jaramillo ran for the City Council in 2012 and came in 7th in a city-wide election. Two years ago she was appointed to the redistricting committee where she championed the failed, ridiculous district map meant to keep the lamentable knucklehead Jesus Quirk-Silva in office.

Jaramillo’s other claim to fame, besides pestering the City Council these days, is suing the City in 2015 to create city council districts – very likely so she could run herself someday when Whitaker termed out.

So far no one from a more responsible philosophical perspective has raised their hand in D4, but as noted above, it’s still early in the year and filing doesn’t take place for almost another five months.

Council Ponders Parking Puzzle Pilot Program

Lots of people have lots of cars. And the on-site parking plans of the 50s, 60, and 70s multi-family housing just don’t work anymore. We all know that. Even single-family neighborhoods suffer from the same issue – adults’ cars, their kids’ cars, and a garage full of crap.

In 2023 the Fullerton City Council directed staff to consider the issue of early morning parking prohibition, a device to keep people from parking on the streets overnight. The current situation is that certain streets with multi-family housing or old, pre-1940 houses have been granted a waiver. An applicant’s address could also get a one-year “hardship” permit with an extensive review process and a $250 permit fee.

After an 11 month gestation period, staff labored hard and gave birth to a “pilot plan” proposal that would keep existing street and individual waivers/permits, but that would make it easier, supposedly, to get a one year permit – with four one-year options.

The issue is Item #7 on the 3/19/24 Agenda consent calendar.

The staff report provides the usual entertaining history of a Fullerton topic, like downtown nuisance noise, that never seems to get fixed.

As usual there are options presented that are really just non-starters to make the desired option look better. Option 1 is to do away with overnight parking altogether – a surefire recipe for political disaster. Option 2 is to get rid of street/block waivers and also hardship permits, and let anybody apply for an overnight permit – another sure loser.

And so Option 3 (as described above) gets the brass ring, with the proviso that it be a 2-year pilot program to see what happens. As noted, staff is proposing a streamlined process, online portal, etc., etc., with one goal being to help disadvantaged neighborhoods (of course “disadvantaged,” like “underserved” is code in City Hall for Latino, so that’s an interesting use of the word). This option begs the question: if the permit process could be streamlined why wasn’t it – a long time ago? There is no mention of the new permit fee amount.

The staff report contains a long list of possible additions that could be made, presumably to help a City Council that can’t be trusted to come up with its own.

What I think is really interesting is that there is no option for doing nothing. Not every snake or green-glowing rock needs to picked up and examined, and I get the impression that there is a political undercurrent here. Commonsense suggests that adopting a revision for the purpose of allowing more cars to park overnight will still annoy some residents who may not like others parking in front of their house all night – especially in the vicinity of under-parked, older apartments.

Trail to Nowhere Gets Use

The other day FFFF noticed a gentleman who was actually an active bicycle user of the City’s much-vaunted recreation trail through the industrial wasteland of central Fullerton. In fact, this fellow has two bikes!

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This poor chap seems harmless enough, but guy’s presence once again raises the several issues regarding the proposed $2,000,000 trail, mostly about safety and maintenance, but also about the homeless problem that has plagued the City’s Union Pacific right-of-way for two decades and actually helped close the dead Union Pacific Park years, and years ago. Potential users, even if there were any identified beyond the insane projection of 105,000 per year, would surely think twice about the neighborhood and the company they would be keeping whilst recreating on the Trail to Nowhere.

No one in City Hall, not staff, and not the incurious City Council who unanimously approved this waste of money, explained why the fate of the UP Park won’t also be visited upon the Trail to Nowhere. The physical conditions still appertain and the existence of the homeless and the Fullerton Toker’s Town gang is as prevalent as ever.

You would think that no one would want their fingerprints on this new disaster-in-waiting, but there seems to be the understanding that in Fullerton all you have to do is wait for a year or two and all past sins will be forgotten if not forgiven. This is called no-fault government, and man, we got it bad.

The Desecration of Emmanuel Perez

RIP

In a post only a month ago I wrote about the presence of a memorial shrine on the now-approved, ill-conceived “Trail to Nowhere,” likely evidence of a mortality, causes unknown. But we knew the name of the victim because a small cross gave his name, Emmanuel Perez, and his vital dates:1990-2018.

On a recent tour of the Trail to Nowhere FFFF noticed that the cross bearing Mr. Perez’s name has vanished, removed by somebody after having been there unmolested for many years judging by the age of the shrine.

Gone, not forgotten…

Who did it, and why?

The only plausible reason is that someone who reads this blog, or knows someone who reads this blog wanted it gone, and took it.

It’s possible that family members or friends removed it, but that sort of defeats the purpose of a memorial, and why, after all these years?

It could have been a City employee, dispatched for the purpose of removing an embarrassment to the City’s beloved boondoggle. That would be ironic given the trash, industrial waste, homeless and drug addicts that are the hallmarks of both Phase 1 and the proposed Phase 2 of the Trail to Nowhere. The City has never shown any interest in maintaining the existing property it owns.

Nothing to see here…

Or could it have been a zealous Trail to Nowhere advocate, those busy Zahra minions, who decided that a memorial to dead man was not the sort of landmark that would make good publicity for an allegedly safe facility. Or maybe it could have been a Fullerton Observer.

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It might even have been taken by the fellow who is currently making his abode about 100 feet from the memorial site, to add to his collection of Fullerton memorabilia.

Mr. Perez is gone and so is his cross. But neither are forgotten. FFFF is offering a reward for information about who purloined the memorial cross of Emmanuel Perez. Send us an email.

A Walk on the Wild Side: The Sights and Sounds and Smells of the Trail to Nowhere

So, the other day I decided to take a trip along the Trail to Nowhere, the second phase of a supposed recreation trail that doesn’t even line up with the disastrous failure known as Phase I.

FFFF has shared lots of images of the proposed trail, yet hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of the, er, ahem, colorful neighborhood through which it passes. Well, “neighborhood” isn’t quite the right word to use, because except for a couple of Truslow Avenue house backyards it is bordered on both sides by land zoned for industry with all of the sorts of uses, legal and non-permitted, one might expect.

Of course we’ve read all about the ill-designed and ill-conceived Phase I, ballyhooed by City staff as the predecessor that makes Phase II inevitable. Well, plausible, anyway. Phase I is a repository of graffiti, garbage, and occasional residents. The start of this alleged trail is on the old UP bridge over Harbor Boulevard. FFFF readers may remember this site as the nocturnal murder of a gentleman.

Murderer’s Row…
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

The complete lack of maintenance on Phase I ought to have been a warning to our City Council. But it hasn’t even been noticed. The pungent smell of human urine permeates the weeds behind the Elephant Packing House. But, so what? It’s trail-ish.

Phase I’s inauspicious beginning. It gets worse.

The view looking westward from Phase I isn’t promising. Here you see that Phase I doesn’t even line up with the proposed Phase II corridor; and the slope of Highland Avenue as it dips down to its railroad underpass makes the cross-slope ADA non-compliant.

The Phase I trail has disappeared.

Crossing Highland (damn, watch out for traffic!), we get to Phase II. FFFF has already shared multiple posts about soils contamination in this location. There are lots of testing wells for carcinogenic Trichlorethylene (TCE), but nobody in City Hall seems to be concerned about moving and exporting, or alternatively, remediating these soils. It certainly isn’t in the project budget submitted in the grant application to the State.

Well, well, well…

The folks who frequent the Trail to Nowhere habitually leave evidence of their presence.

Further west we get a glimpse back eastward of the long, blank backsides of old industrial buildings, a view not likely to cause cries of elation among the brainwashed green grass/blue skies crowd.

Is it safe? Is it clean?

Across Richman Ave in our westward trek is where things really get fun. Razor wire seems to be the decoration of choice among the junkyards in this segment of the Trail to Nowhere.

Small auto/tire use is prevalent along the trail, of course. And more backsides of buildings.

The trees won’t block the view…
You mean there’s more?

As we press onward we see the view of more businesses that we would enjoy if we were recreating on the trail.

Bring on the niños.

There’s a metal coating business along the route, and even an asphalt plant! The odors are unmistakable, and the industrial education value is priceless!

Smell that smell, bike riders.

We would be remiss if, at this point, we didn’t pause to pay our respects to Emmanuel Perez, fate still unknown.

RIP

A bit later we come across a long masonry wall on which some talented young urban artists have left their mark for aesthetic posterity.

Sure is colorful…
Garbage in, garbage out. Indeed.

The final four or five hundred yards of our journey run parallel to the Burlington Northern/ Santa Fe main line tracks that run about 50 feet away, and about 3 feet higher than the “walking and bike” trail. I leave it to each reader to judge the propriety of this strip as a positive recreational opportunity. But see below for the “sound” part of the program.

Over there is run and play and enjoy… (Photo by Julie Leopo/Voice of OC)

Now, finally, we arrive at our all-important destination. The back corner of an empty Independence Park parking lot. This is a park you might want to go to if you lived in this part of Fullerton; but really, what soft-headed urban adventurer would choose this route?

You have arrived at your destination.

Finally I offer a sample of the auditory delights awaiting the hopeful recreation enthusiast on the Trail to Nowhere – apart from the sounds of auto repair, metal work, spray painting and tire changing. The BNSF mainline freight trains rumble alongside our trail, and are not shy in expressing their presence. You can barely hear yourself think. These trains are often a mile long.

Now Gentle Friends, my photo essay is over, and my duty to show Fullertonions the ambiance adjacent to the proposed Trail to Nowhere is fulfilled. Most people, when asked, would say an old railroad right-of-way conversion to a rec trail is good, because it is good – in principle. But folks perusing these images would be well-advised to traverse the strip themselves, perhaps with police escort; and, after enjoying the sights and sounds and smells, consider whether or not the Trail to Nowhere should be redeveloped with the area, in a thoughtful broader plan, instead of the way it proposed now; and, whether the State grant money might be better spent elsewhere.

Who Was Emmanuel Perez?

While I was strolling along the ill-fated Trail to Nowhere the other day, I came across a small shrine-like set-up just where the UP right-of way starts its parallel run with the BNSF mainline.

This is what I saw.

This small memorial is dedicated to somebody called Emmanuel Perez who died at 28 years of age, six years ago. I did some quick searching and found no news references to anybody dying here, whether by foul play or by train accident. But Fullerton has a history of keeping bad news out of the news.

Naturally, Voice of OC “photojournalist” Julie Leopo failed to publish this image after she took her guided tour of the area, helpfully provided by “journalist” Skaskia Kennedy. That would not have been good for the pre-arranged narrative.

Death on the Trail to Nowhere is not new, but this is one I hadn’t heard of. If anybody can shed some light on the life and death of Emmanuel Perez, let FFFF know.

Mr. Average Gets A Raise

What do you do when your City Manager is spectacularly unspectacular? If it’s Fullerton you give him a raise.

I’ll drink to that!

See, in Fullerton if you’re a City Manager who avoids getting drunk and driving over a tree before trying to evade the law, you’re doing pretty darn good.

Don’t let the amorphous shape fool you. Oh, wait…

And so Mr. Eric Levitt, who has been City Manager for less than 2 years is getting an 8% raise from $250,000 to $270,000. This gentleman is hardly any different than the two temps who preceded him and gives precisely the same deference to an incompetent collection of underlings. In the past 20 months he hasn’t shown any interests in establishing a corps of excellence – just the opposite in fact, and this must be cause for comfort for a City Council that thrives in a culture of not bad is outstanding – just try not to let us make ourselves look too bad.

Last year, the City Manager predicted dire economic issues ahead for Fullerton, massive deficits, of course; and by the end of 2023 Levitt had already started paving his own path of least resistance by hiring a public opinion pollster to drum up support for a general sales tax. This year’s mission will be to revive the ill-fated Measure S, give it a new letter from the alphabet, and let the cops and emergency medics pitch it to the public.

What a performance.

High Speed Rubbish. Mate.

I came across this video gem the other day. Look and sound familiar? The Australian TV show Utopia, goes after high speed rail as never making economic sense. But economic sense ought not to get in the way of progress, and the idea of intercity transit going real, real fast is irresistible to some, including the army of consultants, engineers, union construction workers and land grabbers who make bank on the concept.

California’s HSR Authority has been a sink hole for billions and billions of dollars, escalating costs, tortuous delays, etc., etc. And yet it gasps on, staggering along thanks to its own bureaucratic inertia – an idea sold to the voters over 15 years ago and with little hope of opening the easiest segment before 2030.

Meantime, this titanic boondoggle is scoping the all-important line from Anaheim to Los Angeles where the line currently under construction in the Central Valley may never reach in this century. Cutting through this urban landscape, including Fullerton, will cost a fortune, of course, and the HSR won’t be able to go much faster than existing train service. What would it mean for us if this dopey authority cut a swath through Fullerton? It won’t be good, that’s for sure.

But who cares? In California it’s not efficacy that matters. It’s the grand gesture, and in this case the laughable assertion that California will be appreciably better off by spending hundreds of billions of dollars to buy a few train trips per year.