FFFF supports causes that promote intelligent, responsible and accountable government in Fullerton and Orange County
Author: The Fullerton Harpoon
The Fullerton Harpoon is a retired commerical fisherman having served many years on the Japanese whaler Nisshin Maru where he unfortunately lost the right side of his brain and his sense of propriety in a Greenpeace attack.
According to sources in the FPD, a Fullerton cop was involved in a La Habra DUI crash in the wee hours of an early July morning. Allegedly, a city vehicle was wrecked.
I can’t confirm this story, but boy, it sure sounds plausible given the department track record of hiring the best and brightest.
Look for the usual stalls: a never ending “internal affairs” look-see; and equally extended “DA investigation:” and then a lengthy and confidential “personnel review.”
A few years ago, FFFF reported on a city-owned Parks and Rec vehicle that crashed and flipped in the intersection at Highland and Chapman, an incident of which all traces vanished into thin air. If this tale is true we can expect an equally diligent cover-up, this time perhaps involving the La Habra Police Department.
An institution, namely our City Council, that has been moribund/and, or corrupt and cowardly for at least 40 years has finally sprouted a few darling buds, raising hopes that our future is no longer simply a matter of waiting for mental and moral entropy to render our city into a puddle of putrification.
Well, what happened? you ask. Last night the City Council pronounced a loud no to bureaucracy- driven nonsense. Let me explain.
Yesterday evening the Council took up the matter, again, of extending an “Exclusive Negotiating Agreement” or ENR, with some guy who wanted to put a non-profit aquaponic farm on the site of our embarrassingly fenced off Union Pacific Park on Truslow Avenue. The biggest trouble (among many) was that this type of venture is thoroughly dependent upon the financial kindness of strangers and can’t possibly sustain itself.
No problem there! said our Planning Director and incoherent word salad shooter, Matt Foulkes. The aquaponic farm shall be surrounded by a fence and a hedge, and a private event center to pay for it all! In true staff fashion a last minute “letter of intent” from an event coordinator was offered up yesterday afternoon to show the marvelous potential of converting a park into a private facility – open now and then to the public – at the convenience of the operator.
Councilman Ahmad Zahra was in fine fettle – drumming up a handful of forlornly ignorant boosters; and his hapless colleague Jesus Silva stammered and stuttered support for this nonsense as well as his limited ability permits. He moved for an extension of the agreement
But then the fun started: several speakers pointed out both the idiocy of making a deal with a single, impecunious guy. Other pointed out the hypocrisy and nonsense of permitting an event facility that has no parking.
Mayor Bruce Whitaker cogently and patiently explained his rationale for offering a substitute motion to end the deal then and there: the park is part of a much larger Specific Plan area being developed (behind closed doors) and it made no sense to pursue piecemeal development with a single individual on the 1.7 acre site.
Councilman Nick Dunlap echoed that idea and observed, kindly, that the aquaponic guy already had 18 months to work something out with nothing to show for it. Like Whitaker he suggested an RFP process to determine ideas for the site.
Finally Councilman Fred Jung unloaded on the hot mess, decrying the City’s inability to address the park over the years and the arrogance of city staff thinking it could determine what was best for “the community.”
In the end Whitaker’s substitute motion carried the day 3-2 with Zahra and Silva trying desperately to defend the honor, competence and integrity of a planning staff that hasn’t got any of those qualities.
Late yesterday afternoon the City of Fullerton announced that City Manager Ken Domer is quitting. Observers have noted a growing dissatisfaction by a majority of the council with Domer’s lack of management ability.
The City press release quotes Domer, thus: “I really can’t stay any longer. It used to be so easy to do the things I do, in the way I do them. Now I have to try to answer embarrassing questions all the time. It’s not supposed to work like that.”
Most recently Domer tried to get the council to go along with privatizing the business registration function – a move that would actually cost the City money, and, by relocating an existing employee, maintain the current employee headcount. This item was rejected by the City Council in a 3-2 vote, now a familiar trend.
In the press release, Domer continues: “I will always value my four years in Fullerton. Working with Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory was so rewarding for me. And I mean that literally. And of course Jesus Quirk Silva and Ahmad Zahra always had my back, and I had theirs.”
In his brief tenure as City Manager Domer will be remembered for unbalanced budgets, a failed sales tax scam, crumbling infrastructure, lack of code enforcement, bending over backward for downtown bar scofflaws, ridiculous vanity construction projects and many other accomplishments. But he may be best remembered for the City’s reckless lawsuit against this very blog, and the incredibly corrupt decision to approve Joe Florentine’s forgery of an official city planning document.
When reached for comment, former councilperson Jennifer Fixgerald noted, “Ken Domer is a real treasure; a pleasure to work with; worth his weight in gold.”
Of course everybody is now familiar with how, in 2003, the Florentine Mob successfully put a permanent building on an area that only had an “outside dining” encroachment agreement. The details of the case reveal an incompetence and misfeasance on the part of city staff that is truly mind-numbing, the principle party being F. Paul Dudley, Planning Director, who “approved” the illegal permanent structure as it was being built in June, 2003. He also seems to have personally approved a loan to the Florentine crew, and rental terms on the space that weren’t approved by the City Council.
Of course it wouldn’t be Fullerton unless our legal-eagle Dick Jones also played a part in the fiasco, and in the inevitable cover-up. He actually put his signature on a completely different agreement in August, 2003 – two months after Dudley did his sleazy back-room deal. How’s that for staggering incompetence?
Note that “for some reason” the agreement was not formally executed until August. For some reason? Jesus H., Jones, did you even bother to ask why you signed something that was obsolete, or why in Hell you were signing it?
So the embarrassing enclosure was allowed to continue in July, 2003 even though the furor continued for months, and the deal was finally buried in 2004 whereby the parties involved, Shawn Nelson, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Mike Clesceri and Leland Wilson surely hoped it was forever interred.
Well, now it’s 2020. The legal party responsible to remove and restore the encroachment area has fled the scene, and the embarrassment of the Florentine addition that squats on public property, remains.
The owner of the rest of the building, Mr. Mario Marivic is apparently embroiled in a legal fight with the FloMob, and good luck to him. But good luck to us, too. Because we, the citizens of Fullerton, have an unowned room addition on our right-of-way, and the people on the hook for its possible removal are gone. Mr. Marovic is under no obligation to remove the structure, and he is not even under any obligation to pay the measly 25 cents per foot that the egregious F. Paul Dudley “negotiated” with the Florentines. The City’s options are limited: it can terminate the encroachment and pay to remove the building addition itself, or it can negotiate a new lease agreement with Marovic, and the sidewalk stays as is. Either way, the public loses.
So this Ghost of Incompetence Past continues to haunt us almost 20 years after the con was consummated. Mr. Dudley has been six-figure pensioned, and the inept councilmen who were indifferent to the notion of government accountability are dead or moved on. But Attorney Dick Jones is still around, profiting off of the gullibility, incompetence and militant ignorance of our “leaders.”
Pulled from the City of Fullerton’s website, here is the official ballot statement of opposition to the new sales tax proposed by our Mayor-for-hire. Jennifer Fitzgerald. If you think about it the tax proposal is a monumental indictment of the tenure of Fitzgerald and her yes vote, Jan Flory, on the city council. Employee pay raise after pay raise, unbalanced budget after unbalanced budget.
VOTE NO! Ask yourself: Does the City of Fullerton need even more money from me? If this tax passes, every time you make a purchase, you will pay 9% sales tax in Fullerton, the second highest sales tax in Orange County. The ballot measure title is deceitful. This massive tax increase is not dedicated to fix Fullerton streets, which are rated the worst in Orange County by OCTA. Rather, the money would go into the General Fund and could be used for anything. This 1.25% sales tax increase would be permanent. It is general, not specific, meaning the City Council could spend this money on salaries and pension benefits for City Administrators and other City employees. Over the past decade, Fullerton’s failed leadership spent nearly all revenue increases on salaries and pension benefits: Since 2011, sales tax revenue grew by 51%, property tax revenues increased 52%. Between 2015-16, Council majority approved $19.5 million in pay increases. Since 2011, the Council raised its two largest department budgets 41% and 55%. In 2019 alone, according to Transparent California: 146 City of Fullerton employees received over $200,000 in total compensation, while 51 employees received over 249,000 in total compensation. Fullerton pension recipients collected over $43 million. The City has already increased water rates by a whopping 29% since June 2019, and is scheduled to increase rates again by another 11% next July 1st. The facts are: the City had plenty of money to repair our roads many years ago had it adopted sensible reforms and reasonable, balanced budgets. Fullerton should already have smooth streets and water pipes that do not routinely burst. Vote NO on higher sales taxes!
Well, now that the names of those receiving Trump Bucks as part of the Great Federal Covid Giveaway 2020 have been published, we here at FFFF thought we’d see if we could dig up some local recipients of government welfare, you know, just to see if we knew any names on the list.
So our City Attorney has fallen on hard times and lined up for a bailout. I really wonder if this is the sort of “business” anybody envisioned when the light bulb went on. Jones has made a fortune dispensing bad advice to cities across Southern California and here in Fullerton he has made a name for himself by suing honest citizens to hide his own errors. On one issue alone, Jones managed to cock up the law, participate in a conflict of interest, and support the forgery of public documents
By now you Friends are well aware of the flaming crash and burn known as Yes on K – the $300,000,000 Fullerton Joint Union High School bond grab that was hammered at the March 3rd polls. Yes, we know about the scam: the last minute approval, the deceit and flim-flam, the illegal use of public facilities and personnel to foist this bureaucratic-inspired, taxpayer funded joyride on the public.
Maybe the worst offense by the educrats and their pals who worked behind the curtain for Measure K was the way in which the legal campaign reporting requirements were mysteriously dodged – no records of the Yes on K campaign were to be found on either the Secretary of State’s website, or on the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ pages. How come? We’ll never know because those in charge of such things don’t care and know they are shielded by a system that tolerates it.
But that omission spurred a complaint by anti-K activist Tony Bushala, whose complaint produced, finally, an actual record by the Yes On K Committee. Now we finally get to know who funded this dumpster fire, who organized it, and who profited by it.
First, let’s examine the names of the contributors. You’ll notice that there aren’t very many. And please note that there are are no citizens listed. None. Just parasites of the educrational system: architects and engineers, all. People who have been cajoled, sweet talked, coaxed into giving money – lots of money – to the cause.
Something called Ghataode Barron Architects got stuck for an amazing 50 grand. Let’s remember that name, folks. Another happy contributor was pjhm, a lower case sucker looking to make bank on our dime. And there’s an architectural consultant from North Carolina? Really? Our overpaid administrators had to work overtime to find somebody across the country , Little Diversified,that was dumb enough to be shaken down for a lost cause. Obviously, the Newport Beach office didn’t inform corporate about how little $49,900 buys you in Fullerton these days. Finally, let us not overlook PBK, another architectural operation that has gotten greasy-fat off over priced school construction.
Fortunately the campaign filings also reveal some of the educrats who got themselves reimbursed out of petty cash for “phone bank supplies,” whatever that means. Here they are:
Hmm. Will Mynster. Now where have I seen that name before? Oh, right Principle of Troys HS and an architect himself – an architect of illegal use of public school resources and property for campaign purposes. Renee Gates is an Assistant principal in the district. So is Dan Sage. So is Caroline llewellyn. So is Jacqueline Barry. So is Marvin Atkins. So is Marcene Guerro. So is Steve Garcia. So is Belinda Mountjoy. So is Katie Wright. So is Jill Davis. Adam Baily has graduated to full-fledged principal. Todd Butcher is the guy in charge of construction for the district – a guy whose livelihood depends on a flow of cash from these massive bonds. What these six-figure educrats were reimbursed for remains a secret, although one supposes that manning the phone bank as the campaign took on salt water required lots of pizza and red wine. The real point here, of course, is that the whole operation was run by well-paid public employees with a personal interest in the outcome – and no private citizens, at all.
And finally we come to the campaign consultant, who, along with some unnamed bond salesman shares the credit for this fiasco, although we should be thankful for their failure.. The name is Clifford Moss, who charged the District, er, um, the Committee over $30,000 in “fees,” not counting what they raked in as overhead on stuff like crummy mailers and yard signs. Clifford Moss. Hilariously Cliff’ got their ass handed them by a local guy, Tony Bushala, who didn’t cost anybody else anything. And it looks like Clifford Moss’s Laura Crotty, who somehow managed to spend fifty bucks on name tags, won’t be bragging about her 2018 100% campaign win rate anymore.
The Yes on K campaign blew over a hundred grand, outspent the opposition 10 to 1 and still lost in the “Education Community.” For those in the business that might suggest a rough road ahead – almost as bad as Fullerton’s notorious potholes. But the K Committee left almost 90 grand in the locker room, so don’t be surprised Dear Friends if they don’t try to slip this onto a future ballot at the end of some little-advertised board meeting.
I just took a quick tour of the required Form 460 campaign documents for the “committee” that is pushing for the $190,000,000 Fullerton Elementary School Bond measure on next Tuesday’s ballot. Sure enough, Schedule A, the contributor list for mid-January to mid-February was studded with district contractors, architects and other commercial hangers-on whose livelihood depends upon the goodwill of the administrators who no doubt illegally leaned on them to pony up. It was also turned in grossly incomplete and hopefully isn’t representative of the quality of homework turned in required by students in the district.
The list was also remarkable for the relatively few district employees willing to drop their proverbial dime to the cause a few dozen. Remember that the district has hundreds of employees who pull down $100,000 or more, annually. In some cases, a helluva lot more.
But what really caught my attention was Schedule G, a page of which I faithfully reproduce below:
Here we see an “independent agent” named Rob Coghlan dishing out $3500 for fundraising parties at a couple of downtown restaurants. How amusing. Well, hell, I like a good time as much as the next Irish-American, but really, $3500 to try to to raise money? Or maybe it was just to recognize previous camp follower donors. Who knows? But I do know that Robert Coghlan is an administrator in the school district. I sure hope he hasn’t been working during company time to lean on district contractors or employees for donations to his cause; or that maybe he really likes depositions.
Well, at least the truth is getting traction which is rare in Fullerton and even rarer within the yellowing pages, paper or electronic, of the Fullerton Observer. If you go to their on-line site, here, you’ll see what I mean. FFFF’s post about Paulette Marshall using fake websites as political advertising vehicles – in violation of FPPC rules – is repeated with minor rewriting. Even the images are the ones we published first.
No attribution, no nothing. Not even thanks for discovering something they never could have figured out on their own.