Behind the Bullshit Goes Bye-Bye

We’re great guys. Or else…

Of all the money that former City Manager Wild Ride Joe Felz wasted during his shaky tenure, nothing was quite as egregious as the annual fifty grand Stumblejoe blew on Behind the Badge, a silly, pointless PR outlet that passed along empty feel-good tales involving Fullerton cops. No one knows if anyone even bothered reading this pabulum. The idea of us taxpayers actually forking over this dough in order to be administered unhealthy doses of saccharine PR back at us was bad enough. The fact that this policy decision was made, maintained and mismanaged by a bureaucrat made it worse.

Fortunately, last Tuesday, the City pulled the plug. City staff teed up the item as a cut – unless three councilmembers voted to save it. They didn’t. Here’s the video.

Of course cop supported candidates Bud Chaffee and Jesus Silva thought the whole idea was just peachy. Predictably, Jennifer Fitzgerald seemed to be going along. Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn opposed wasting any more on this crap. Sebourn correctly pointed out that the cop union, having plenty of money to stick its snout in Fullerton politics, can easily afford to promote the good deeds of its membership.

Whatever changed Jennifer Fitzgerald’s mind to drop support for this ridiculous concept that has cost us $200,000 in the past four years remains a mystery, but she suddenly did a 180. Hopefully FFFF had something to do with the sudden shift to fiscal responsibility.

In the end the self-serving BS rhetoric of Chaffee and the feeble gibberish of Silva amounted to nothing and the council unanimously went along with the proposed package of cuts that included Behind the Badge.

Rest assured, Friends, FFFF will be following up with a Public Records Act request to get a copy of the termination notice.

 

Behind the Badge on the Chopping Block?

We are notoriously bad at getting our story out…

Next Tuesday’s Council meeting brings us another Budget Show, one more in a line of footling meetings strung out like faux pearls on a cheap necklace.  This one is particularly entertaining since it acknowledges a big structural deficit that the suggested cost savings will do almost nothing to correct: “modest” revenue increases are broadly suggested, but apart from some fee increases and one-time sale of “surplus” property nothing meaningful is proposed. Obviously the recommendation for a utility tax or a sales tax increase will be sprung like a rabbit out of the magician’s hat at the last moment.  

One entertaining bit of the agenda memo is the inclusion of a small table identifying some of City Manager Allan Roeder’s “loose sofa change,” giving the impression that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Roeder regrets his previous offhand dismissal of a $50,000 per year contract that accomplishes nothing as not worthy of councilmanic attention. Of course I am referring to the ridiculously conceived and suspiciously ill-managed “Behind the Badge” agreement that was improperly contracted by Wild Ride Joe Felz in the first place.

Well, good for Roeder, even though desperate times call for desperate measures And it takes a lot of desperation for a City bureaucrat to even tacitly acknowledge the expendability of a contract. The irony here is thick. It is the exploding pension cost of the Fullerton police Department that is breaking our bank. Even as we pay for the cops to peddle their dopey PR right back at us. 

Our Police Force Could be Second to None. An Essay

No, seriously. I mean it.

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.

It will take years. Maybe 10 or 15.

The sooner we start, the better.

Don’t Just Complain – Do Something

We’ve covered the Red Oak development before – a four story, 295 unit development at 600 Commonwealth which does not have adequate parking and would create serious traffic concerns as residents block traffic on the West side of Commonwealth to turn into the project during rush hour.

Behold… it’s coming.

On January 16, the City Council on a 4-1 vote largely approved the Project, leaving the door just barely cracked for minor revisions to the proposal. I have spoken with the developer of the project, who has discussed potentially alleviating the parking issue by adding a level to the proposed parking lot, and while this would admittedly help the parking issue if they followed through, the traffic problems would remain. Think about it – just how exactly will the Westbound side of Commonwealth be traversable during rush hour if the left lane is being blocked every five minutes by a tenant looking to turn into their home?

So what’s different about this vote? Someone decided to do something about it.

The group Friends for a Livable Fullerton has decided to not take the vote lying down and have been circulating a petition. If they are able to collect the 6,800 required signatures it will qualify for a public vote of the voters of the City of Fullerton to overturn the Council’s resolution.

Pictured: Activism

So here’s the deal: Friends for a Liveable Fullerton need signatures and even more important they need people to circulate those signatures. So if you agree that it’s time to take our City back then help the volunteers at FLF. They can be reached through their facebook page at  or via email at  and help them get the signatures they need.

Behind the Badge: The No-Bid No No and An Email to the Council

I rescued a cat. The beat down on that kid never happened.

FFFF has tracked the obscene waste of taxpayer money – $200,000 so far – on a vacuous, pro-cop PR outlet run by Cornerstone Communication called “Back the Badge.” We have noted a supremely fuzzy contract, approved only by a bureaucrat and managed in the most slip-shod fashion.

On February 2nd, Mr. Travis Kiger sent a communication about it to Mayor Bruce Whitaker. We faithfully reproduce it, here:

Mayor Whitaker,

After reviewing the contract, purchase orders and payments to Cornerstone Communications, along with the communication from the city below, it is clear that the City Manager issued the contract and payments improperly.

City code 2.64.050 and city policy requires a Formal Bid Procedure be followed for awards over $50,000. On 3/28/2013, the City Manager signed a contract with Cornerstone Communications not to exceed $40,000 with no evidence of a Formal Bid Procedure. On 5/20/13, less than 2 months later, the city issued a purchase order extending the contract by 6 months and $23,000. This PO brought the total contract value to $63,000 in the first year. This maneuvering suggests that the City Manager intentionally bypassed the city’s requirement for a formal bid procedure.

This issue is even more alarming considering that City Manager and the Chief of Police had an existing relationship with Bill Rams, the proprietor of Cornerstone Communications, prior to the initial contract issuance.

Additionally, there were $32,000 of payments to Cornerstone Communications from 4/1/14 through 11/1/14 that were made without an active contract or purchase order. This is an egregious error that is further complicated by city management’s pre-existing relationship with the vendor.

There are other problems with this vendor relationship. Purchase orders were issued in excess of the contracted amounts and term without an updated contract. The contract is open ended, vague and does not provide for specific performance. The contract does not require the vendor to deliver performance reporting, nor is there evidence that the vendor provided evidence of effectiveness of deliverables, which is customary in online marketing agreements.

Given the improper nature of the issuance of the contract, which was renewed over four consecutive years without the approval of the City Council, and the sudden departure of the City Manager who oversaw this contract, I strongly believe the council should review the contract and payments to Cornerstone Communications at a public meeting immediately.

Thank you,

Travis Kiger

Email re Cornerstone Communications

Cornerstone Communications Contract and Invoices

Now let’s see what Mr. Whitaker and the City will do with it, if anything.

Whitaker Wants to Hear More From You; Bored, Tired, Cranky Fitzgerald Wants to Hear Less

Watch as Mayor Bruce Whitaker restores the public’s full speaking time. Following in Jan Flory’s footsteps, Jennifer Fitzgerald puts her disdain for the public on full display. Councilman Silva shows a healthy attitude about hearing from the public and staying up late from time to time: “It’s what we do.”

When lobbyist Fitzgerald began her mayoral term last year, she cut public speaking time to 3 minutes. Of course she gave out-of-town developers all the time in the world.

Getting to the Bottom of It

We may have bid a fond adios to former City Manager, Joe Felz, but the mess he leaves behind still needs to be attended to.

The most timely issue is Fullerton Police Department personnel conduct in the Case of the Missing City Manager. The police on the scene of Joe’s Big Crash drove him home sans Breathalyzer test, and despite the fact that his vehicle had careened out of control and run over a parkway tree; and this after an evening of fun DTF libations and despite the fact that a cop on the scene smelled alcohol emanating from Joe. Did the cops follow their own rules? Or did they help their boss boss get away with a couple of crimes? From here, it looks pretty bad.

It’s been six weeks and nobody knows what’s being investigated. Or even if there’s any investigation at all.

What’s happening now? Certainly there’s no evidence of an internal investigation. Nothing more about the hiring of the mysterious “independent person.” And who really knows if anything got sent to the DA? Our city council (at least certain members) is in the dark, and so are we.

When the perps are about to get away, you gotta do what you gotta do.  Filing a personnel complaint initiates an internal investigation, or at least a pretend investigation, into the events of election night, just in case one doesn’t already exist. So one of the Friends decided to do just that.

View compliant

When the investigation is complete, this complaint entitles the filer to a letter from the Chief of Police indicating whether the finding was sustained or not sustained. That’s not much, but something is better than nothing.

FJC Hornets Take Top Spot in Final National Football Poll

Running past the opposition…

The Fullerton Junior College Hornet football team have been named the number one JC team in the country per JCFootball.com. The team went 12-1 in 2016 and was one aggressively lousy call away from beating Saddleback, and running the table.

So congrats you Hornets and die-hard Hornet fans.

And maybe somebody in the FJC administration will wake up and decide to start playing home games at FHS or over at CSUF.