Friends for Fullerton's Future 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.
For several months FFFF has been stymied in our attempts to find out who talked to whom in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 when former City Manager Joe Felz drove off Glenwood Avenue, ran over a tree, and tried to motor off. Although he was stopped by the cops and smelled of liquor, calls were made and Felz got off scott free. For a while.
We want to know who had a hand in this dereliction of duty on the part of a police department that has become psychologically addicted to MADD DUI award ceremonies at council meetings. We want to know the role of former Chief Dan Hugheswho admitted to communication with councilmembers; of then-mayor Jennifer Fitzgeraldwho claims to have no responsive documents although she has admitted to getting a call at 3 AM of the morning in question; of the ever-egregious Watch Commander on November 9th, Andrew Goodrich, whose frequent indifference to competent police work has been well-documented on these pages; of one Sergeant Corbett, who showed up at the scene and gave Felz the Breathalyzer pass so that no irrefutable evidence of Felz’s inebriation exists.
Over the months we have been stonewalled by the excuse of phony police investigations, phony personnel investigations, by ridiculous reading of the law, and by the outright prevarications of Fitzgerald.
Now we’re going to try to get to the bottom of this: to find out who was behind the Felz Free Ride and the obvious creation of a double standard for drunk drivers in Fullerton. We have been advised brusquely by City Attorney employee and sex law specialist Gregory Palmer, Esq. that we have recourse. So we have engaged the services of an attorney, Kelly Aviles, to help us find out what the people in City Hall don’t want us to know.
Aviles is a California Public Records Act specialist who serves as litigation counsel for Californians Aware, an organization that helps journalists in the fight for government transparency. Aviles has represented several major news organizations in lawsuits to turn over unlawfully withheld public records.
Sometimes you get to see someone become unglued right before your very eyes. It’s never a pretty sight.
Today, in response to what must have appeared to the OC 3rd District Supervisor as bad publicity, Todd Spitzer unleashed a press release attacking his former employee, Christine Richters, who is suing the County for wrongful termination by Spitzer.
The press release was sent with a personal message directly to FFFF, which means that Spitzer, or somebody on his 3rd District staff is spending public resources monitoring and communicating with a 4th District blog.
This is weird. Bizarre.
Issuing a press release attacking the plaintiff the very day after the official County spokesperson declined comment because of pending litigation, shows that the wheels have fallen off Spitzer’s clown car.
And now, take a moment to review the actual press release:
Are you smelling the same stink I am? If the job of executive assistant to Spitzer was so demanding, and if it required “basic computer skills” that Ms. Richters lacked, then why was she ever hired by Spitzer in the first place, and why was she kept around for over three years? And if the job were so rigorous in its professional demands, then why did it pay 16 bucks an hour?
I love the accusation that Richters is “smearing” the County, as if the megalomaniacal Spitzer is equivalent to the County. The “County” is fighting only because Spitzer and his four fellow Supervisors get to make a decision based on their own instincts for self-protection – from their own, hand-picked employees.
I also love the part about Spitzer’s “best efforts” trying to get Richters a job in the bureaucracy somewhere. Who ever heard of an OC Supervisor being unable to get a former worker embedded in some footling job or other? That’s an obvious lie.
The crown jewel of this turd-bedecked tiara is the defensive, almost weepy assertion about Spitzer working late nights and week-ends for 25 years on behalf of the taxpayer. Spitzer has been working tirelessly, all right: working at self-promotion to gratify an insatiable lust for self-aggrandizement. Over those 25 years Spitzer has left a disastrous trail of self-interested decisions that have cost the taxpayers of Orange County and California billions of dollars.
The disasters are starting to mount for Spitzer, our would-be District Attorney, and at each turn of the screw we see somebody who is increasingly becoming psychologically unhinged.
And not like Doug “Bud” Chaffee means it when he says our fire department is “second to none.” The unintentional irony of Chaffee’s words escapes the Hero worshipers. He’s right. Our fire department is second to none because they are all virtually the same. Same standards, same recruiting pool, same ridiculously grand benefits, same sense of unearned entitlement. Response times? The differences are statistically minuscule, statewide.
But back to the cops.
If you were an honest person with a sound work ethic what would you do to work for the absolute best police force in the State of California? Would you work for less money than you could in a department with a worse, or much worse reputation? Maybe not if you really had the sense of excellence that is pretended by all police departments, but that we know to be a pure myth. You are not a parasite, or a racist, or a belligerent fool with a gun and a Taser who is delighted to have a union that will oppose any real investigations into bad behavior, and that has no qualms about possibly bankrupting the city that employs you.
Wouldn’t it be great to have 150 great cops who are interested in serving the public and a lot less inserted in grabbing what they can under the delusion that somehow the taxpayer should be eternally grateful to any thug or idiot with a badge and a pistol and a club?
How can this happen? Not by denying the obvious Culture of Corruption that has become the unfortunate hallmark of our department, and that was vigorously denied by our former Chief, Dan Hughes who spent the final twenty years of his career being nurtured by the culture, and nurturing it in turn. No. We need an outside agent who is rigorously analytical, ethically sound and emotionally confident. Somebody like Joseph McNamara immediately springs to mind. And then you start recruiting decent, empathetic, intelligent human beings – not messed up LAPD castoffs, perverts, kleptomaniacs, self-righteous thieves, lazy sociopaths, paranoid thugs and drug addicts who become liabilities the day they are hired. You institute a culture in which bad behavior will result in termination, not cover up.
In the meantime the lazy, stupid and violent bad cops would be weeded out as quickly as possible under the ridiculous two-tiered justice system known as POBR.
Here’s a fellow named Skip Davis who gives our “honorable” City Council an earful about the proposal to create a new property tax in downtown Fullerton to pay for the mess created by City politicians in the first place: the Culture of Booze.
It was fun to watch ol’ Skip unload on the notion of a Bizness Improvement District with its attendant tax, a tax generally aimed at people completely innocent of the mayhem that our City Council caused and their cops can’t control. But Skip makes a salient point: why is his retirement income so easy for the government to lay its hands on when the Heroes in the back of the room have completely sacrosanct (and massive) pensions.
Last night’s budget workshop showed some pretty dire forecasting. Due to exploding pension costs, especially for our good friends in “public safety” Fullerton is going to deplete its reserve funds in five years, just like other standout OC cities such as Westminster and Garden Grove and Stanton.
The “unfunded pension liability” issue has been around for years, despite the public employee union’s efforts to minimize it, but here our Director of Administrative Services, Julia James, informs the Council that the California Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) is still using happy-talk return projections. The City’s cost to pay for our fire and police Heroes is expected to double.
Hmm. Did you catch our lobbyist-councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald interrupt Ms. James at the 4:25 mark in a sneering attempt to downplay the crisis as bureaucratic alarmism? Fitzgerald has all sorts of selfish reasons to avoid talking doom-and-gloom, namely, she has been right there over the past four years as the S.S. Fullerton was taking on water and rather than try to plug the holes was happily drilling more. Naturally her pals in the police and fire unions are not going to want to share the pain. And James’s talk about possible revenue sources to staunch the bleeding includes a tax, which would be a likely coffin nail in SparkyFitz’s already dubious political future.
The other day FFFF had representation in the comments section of from “Roy,” in a post about – Roy. He’s a reasonable sounding fellow who claimed to be the jury foreman on the Kelly Thomas murder case, and who also got a ration of shit on the John and Ken radio program as he defended his work on the jury that exonerated the cops who baited, harassed, and killed a schizophrenic homeless man.
When asked (by me) if he had ever worked for the DA Roy said that he had completed the District Attorney’s TAP program, a gig that takes civil lawyers and immerses them in the DA culture for a couple of months. Roy noted that this relationship had been disclosed during the voir dire of the jury selection process.
Well, this got me thinking of the completely inappropriate placement of a juror who had received psychological indoctrination into the mindset of the prosecution apparatus. But it also made me wonder about the defense attorneys who accepted Roy and the possible reasons for their approbation.
One of the very first things they must teach in TAP to would-be prosecutors, is that to get ahead in that line of work you need convictions; and the cops are the guys whose testimony will get you convictions. The abstract concept of justice doesn’t come within a million miles of the equation. If justice is done, well, what a happy coincidence! Therefore, a virtually complete trust must be given to whatever the police have done, or, to be more accurate, what they say they have done. And if you are a defense attorney representing cops, what better sort of chap to have on your jury; and better still if this guy gets himself appointed foreman.
But what about the Tony Rackauckas? Did the DA believe that Roy was possibly a reliable vote for conviction given his prior TAP relationship? Of course it’s possible that both these potential prosecution and defense motives are accurate, which would explain Roy’s presence on the jury.
On the other hand, there has been a lot of speculation that DA Tony Rackauckas intentionally boobed the case by charging the wrong persons with the wrong crimes; and that he also blew it by trying the case himself, even though he hadn’t personally prosecuted a case in decades.
And then it hit me. Maybe both sides wanted Roy on the jury for the same qualification: a person able to grasp the big picture, that is, a subliminal or maybe even overt desire to protect a system in which the prosecutors and cops exist in a symbiotic relationship where convictions mean everything, and neither are held responsible for arresting and prosecuting the wrong people and gathering information any way they can get it.
Today the OC Register ran a story about the DOJ dropping a civil rights case in the matter of Kelly Thomas, the schizophrenic homeless man who was bludgeoned and suffocated to death by six members of the Fullerton Police Department in July, 2011
What the Feds have been doing for five-and-a-half years is anybody’s guess, but the answer is more than likely, nothing. The criminal case against cops Ramos and Cicinelli was thrown away by our do-nothing DA over three years ago. Kelly’s father, the mercenary Ron Thomas, was paid his blood money 14 months ago.
Here is U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker’s fatuous comment: “Neither accident, mistake, fear, negligence nor bad judgment is sufficient to establish a willful federal criminal civil rights violation.”
Thomas was obviously singled out for special treatment by Mssrs. Wolf and Ramos on that hot July night precisely because he was mentally ill and homeless. And that special treatment consisted of harassment, intimidation and death. If that’s not a civil right violation, I can’t imagine what is.