How the Newman Recall Could Kill the Gas Tax

Take a second and watch recall leader Carl DeMaio explain how recalling Josh Newman is the first step in a three stage plan to rescind the new car tax and fix California’s roads without new taxes.

To sum up his plan:

  1. Recall Newman and eliminate the 2/3rds Democratic majority in the state senate.
  2. Give legislature 30 days to rescind gas tax before additional recalls commence.
  3. Pass statewide initiative to commit existing tax dollars towards road repairs.

Now that’s pretty ambitious. But remember that this tax is just the first test case for the Democrats, who are working on other tax hikes as we speak. They’re now desperate to fill in the enormous financial gap left by the public pension crisis. Even just the elimination of Newman has the potential to stop the state from reaching back into our pockets over and over again.

Dick Jones the Developer?

Late last year three downtown properties along E. Amerige Ave. were purchased for $1.3 million by a trust named after one Richard Jones and what is presumably his wife. Hey, that’s the same name as Fullerton’s long-time city attorney of the firm Jones and Mayer.

New homeowner

Yes, it’s the same guy. He bought these three lots for $1,300,000 last last year. That’s a $100 per sq ft, which is kind of pricey for bare dirt. Fortunately the property also contained two old homes. Which one is Dick moving in to?

He never had a chance. Last week a Friend noticed that the two homes had quietly been bulldozed and the 1/3 acre lot stood bare. In preparation for what, we don’t know.


What we do know is that Attorney Jones has been hankering to build some high density commercial property somewhere near downtown. We also know that these properties are in several special parking districts, which means that Dick may be able to erect a structure that forces the burden of parking onto his neighbors or on to public lots and streets, exacerbating Fullerton’s parking problems.

Now that Dick is ready to build up, will years of swapping favors for city staff and kicking up dust to camouflage the city council’s failures finally pay off? We already know that he has no problem ripping off his clients for millions of dollars in unearned pensions. Are there any more ethical lapses or conflicts of interest looming alongside Dick’s road to riches? We’ll find out.

A March for Science, Road Closures and the ACLU

On Saturday the city will shut down several public streets for an event called the “March for Science.” It’s the local version of a nationwide protest of federal budget cuts to scientific research. While the event organizers claim that it is non-partisan, critics say its the nerdy version of yet another anti-Trump protest.

Mad scientists

Naturally the city bureaucrats were eager to accommodate to the public’s expression via a gathering on the city hall lawn and a march through downtown streets, right? Of course not. The City of Fullerton declined the assembly. Organizers were told to come up with $12,000 for city fees, a $2 million insurance policy and provide 90 days notice before starting the march.

What were these fees supposed to pay for? $8,000 went towards some sort of a traffic control plan and $4,000 was earmarked for police fees. Specifics costs were unavailable, but we can read between the lines: it’s $12,000 to put up plastic barricades and have some cops stand around, collecting overtime.

The ACLU got involved and lit up the city for charging excess fees they claim were intended to “discourage community members from exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Predictably, the ACLU communique prompted a change of heart at city hall. City management found a way to drastically reduce fees to a mere $175. The march will proceed as planned, without most of the ridiculously expensive bureaucratic requirements.

The moral of this story, of course, is that city hall’s default reaction to 1st amendment activity is to put up artificial financial/administrative barricades and prevent the unwashed masses from organizing and criticizing government. Around here, if you can’t bring in a lawyer to assert your rights, you’re nobody. That sounds familiar.

On the other hand, I am reminded of a peaceful Fullerton march that occurred in 2011 without lawyers, city approval, plastic barricades, insurance policies, traffic control, fat cops on overtime or any sort of certificate of authenticity. How did that happen?

 

The Nicholas Jr. High Sex Abuser: What Went Wrong?

Over at the OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano got his hands on the deposition tapes for the civil trial of Melissa Nicole Lindgren. She was the young Nicholas Jr. High teacher who is doing 4 years in state prison for lewd acts against three Fullerton students.

Despite numerous warning signs, the abuse occurred under the school administrators noses for several years before she was finally arrested in 2014.

Sad Days Ahead

Mr. Arellano’s article goes into great detail, but here is the most important question:

Who is responsible for leaving this predator in the classroom after numerous warning signs?

Let’s take a look at the suspects:

The Fullerton Police Department: Received an anonymous letter alleging inappropriate activity with students. Detectives claim they investigated the issues, but they ultimately cleared the teacher.  According to one inside source, the FPD’s failed investigation actually hampered the school district’s ability to take action.

Matthew Barnett, Nicholas principal: Noted many warning signs, but ultimately “couldn’t put his finger” on Lindgren’s indiscretions until she was arrested. He also forgot to interview Lindgren about the accusations in the anonymous letter. Barnett has since been promoted to “Director of Educational Services” at the Fullerton School District.

The Fullerton School Board: Fairly useless in disciplinary matters. Most of the school board is content to take cover behind state laws that prevent them from resolving personnel issues. The one action the board did take responsibility for: paying a $3.25 million settlement to Lindgren’s victims.

The teachers’ union: School administrators will tell you that their investigatory and disciplinary powers are extremely limited by special state laws that protect deviant teachers like Lindgren. These laws are put into place by elected officials at the behest of the powerful California Teachers Association. These protections clearly hindered the district’s ability to investigate and terminate a child predator in their midst.

“I can’t think of a single thing that we could have done in our roles to do anything differently,” said Barnett.

So back to the question. Who is responsible for allowing this teacher to run wild?

Take your pick. But wherever blame is cast, there is one certainty that nobody will admit: The Fullerton School District can’t offer any assurance of your child’s safety. And everyone involved seems to be OK with that.

CSUF Republicans allege professor-on-student assault at Trump protest

Members of the Cal State Fullerton GOP club say that an anthropology professor physically attacked students yesterday during an on-campus clash with anti-Trump protestors. The Register and Breitbart have the stories.

It’s too early to tell if any of this is true. But that doesn’t mean we can’t tell you what will happen next.

CSUF administration will announce that they’ve called in an “independent investigator” who is really just an on-call attorney, hired to minimize the school’s liability and facilitate the quiet payoffs of any lawsuits.

The employee will be placed on paid administrative leave until the media and the students become tired of silence and move on to something else. Some sort of internal investigation may occur, but the findings will be hidden from the public and any students who were harmed.

The CSUF police force, part of the same beaurocratic structure that is responsible for this madness, will ultimately find no reason to press criminal charges upon their coworker.

During this excercise, pretense of concern for student safety will be audibly reiterated, but realistically disgarded. The administrators will focus all of their energy balancing the nearly unlimited employment rights of potentially abusive faculty with their need to protect the reputation of the institution that allowed this assault to occur.

Nevertheless, we persevere. Stick around, friends. We’ll keep a close eye on this one.

Fullerton in the News: Pervs and Violence

There’s been flurry of news stories about Fullerton in the last 48 hours. Here’s a quick list:

Troy Students arrested for alleged school shooting plot.

Two Fullerton high school students were arrested for allegedly plotting a school shooting that they were overheard describing as “bigger than Columbine,” police said.

ABC 7 Story

2 Female Students Sexually Assaulted Within Minutes of Each Other at Fullerton College; Man Sought

Two female students were assaulted within seven minutes of each other at Fullerton College on Tuesday night, and police were asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.

KTLA Story

CSUF Perv alert

On February 1, 2017, the CSU Fullerton Police Department (UPD) received two reports of a male who was “touching himself” on the outside of his clothing at 10:41 am and at 11:48 am in a CSUF Parking Lot.

CSUF Memo

Good Afternoon. It’s January 30, 2017…

and Fullerton College safety officer Dino Skokos is still on paid administrative leave.

Come to think of it, we’re still waiting for the word on Fullerton PD’s criminal investigation into this assault and battery. Do you think they ever started one?

Nothing intelligent was forthcoming…

And what have we heard from Fulleron’s representative on the NOCCCD Board? Deafening silence, of course.

You Played Yourself

The other night the council approved the rezoning of the massive Red Oak development site on Commonwealth. The move was made while waxing vigorously about forcing the developer to reduce the project density and increase site parking. The team concluded that holding back the site plan approval until March 7th will give them time to negotiate some sort of fix.

A fiery kiss goodnight.

But in the needless granting of partial approval, the council gave away nearly all of the city’s leverage. You see, the approval of the zoning change brought forth the Specific Plan, along with its density and parking specifics. If the council tries to require additional parking, any decent attorney will point to the already approved Specific Plan and shove it back up the council’s rear end.

The council simply surrendered its ability to get what they wanted. Naturally, city staff and the city attorney sat quietly and helped them proceed. Of course. They are eager to collect those development fees.

At one point, Councilman Bruce Whitaker voiced his commitment to only voting for/against projects in their entirety, perhaps to avoid this exact consequence. But he forgot to be persuasive, and the rest of the council evaded that moment of enlightenment and proceeded to ride off the cliff at full bore.

If only there were an expert nearby…

Now someone less cynical than I might assume that the council fell into this trap out of sheer incompetence. But one must also consider that the screw up conveniently paves the way for the council to be “forced” to complete the Red Oak approvals. They will buckle under legal duress while pretending to be sympathetic to the public’s concerns.

Of course, all of this could be wrong, and the tough-talking council could actually deliver on their promise to significantly reduce the project before it gets built. But when has that ever happened?

Planned Parenthood Blows Wad

Remember that old Zakie Farmer’s Market building down on Orangethorpe? Yesterday my greasy broker called with an interesting discovery. This odd building was quietly sold to Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties in 2006 for $3,375,000. They had credit and they wanted to build one of those women’s clinics here in Fullerton.

Planned Parenthood spent three years submitting plans to the city but abruptly gave up in 2010, leaving the property to sit idle for a total of nine years. They finally sold the property in 2015 for $1,750,000. That’s a $1.6 million direct loss, excluding any opportunity costs, mortgage interest or property taxes. Our team of crackerjack financial analysts estimates the total loss at $3.4 million. That would be more than the original purchase price!

This was a major screw up by any measure. So what caused PP to buy this overpriced pad, kick it around for a few years and then leave it to las cucarachas?

And why does any of this even matter?

It doesn’t.

Unless you are a donor to Planned Parenthood, in which case you might like to know where your money went. Or it might matter if you’re a taxpayer. Planned Parenthood receives about $550 million a year in government subsidies, making each of us some sort of stakeholder in this giant misadventure.