The LA Times Only Cares About Women When it Helps Their Team

Adan Ortega
If you don’t look like him, he won’t represent you.

The hacks over at the Los Angeles Times are super concerned that Adan Ortega was removed from his non-paying gig as Fullerton’s representative to the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) because he’s a champion of the working classes or some shit. I don’t know, I lost interest in their most recent #MeToo story when I remembered that Fullerton City Council member Ahmad Zahra has been charged with battery against a woman of color and the LA Times has said precisely ZERO about the story.

Their interest in such topics tend to have a very partisan flavor and it’s both predictable and boring.

Because of course they did, the LAT omitted that Ortega is a racist because he’s the fashionable type of racist that the LAT employs and endorses. They also omitted that he’s a grifter who quite literally is a lobbyist in the municipal water industry and therefore is logically conflicted out of putting the residents of Fullerton first in his now former position on the MWD.

Gee, it’s almost like there were good reasons to replace Mr. Ortega outside of the claims being made by the local union hacks. I could point to his $5000/mo consulting gig over in 29 Palms (Page 70) or perhaps that MWD was even a client of his but that would be journalism.

Adan Ortega Conflicts
The list of conflicts goes on and on and on…

Sadly the press was too busy reprinting the talking points of Ortega’s allies to get into the details of a basic google search.

Because of their tedious brand of hackery, the press, largely, should not be taken seriously or at face value until they either admit their biases or start acting like honest reporters. A good place to start would be to report about the news as it relates to ALL elected officials as opposed to just those accused of wrongthink.

By way of example they could avoid talking, relentlessly, about Tito Ortiz not wearing a mask because of the dangers of Covid-19 while simultaneously ignoring that Ahmad Zahra violated social distancing guidelines in order to, allegedly, batter a women of color. Unless of course he allegedly battered her from 6 feet away.

Zahra-Busted
Why is this man smiling?

But of course this won’t happen because journalism is thinly veiled activism and almost nobody wants to agitate against their own allies. They don’t want to lose out on an invite to the socially distanced soirees.

This isn’t an issue isolated to the wasteland of Los Angeles either.

ALL of the other major outlets, both in print and on Tv, who couldn’t get enough of Tito are guilty of the same partisan hackery. The OC Register, to their credit, ran a puff piece talking about how stunning and brave and bravely stunning Zahra is in reference to his being charged with battery but the rest of the gang have been nowhere to be seen. I expected better from the Voice of OC but alas they too have fallen victim to this consensus of reporting conformity.

While City Hall continues to attack us in the courts and pretend we’re not journalists, I’d like you  to remember that we’re the ONLY local source willing to upset the status quo to tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not.

The Florentine Mob Pulls Out

Sit down and grab some sidewalk, brother…

It’s taken well over thirty years, but apparently the Family of Tony Florentine is calling quits in downtown Fullerton. Normally, such an occasion would be cause for gratitude, reflection, fond memories, etc., etc., ect.

But not in this case.

The reason nobody is indulging in kind reminiscence is simple. Over the years the family has been in on, and accused of some very shady stuff. Forget about shitty food and consider the following fun events, documented right here on the pages of FFFF, even if ignored by City staff, the Fullerton Police Department and the Fullerton Fire Department.

  1. Joe Florentine accused by former employee of torching his own business – The Melody Inn – back in the late 1980s.
  2. Tony Florentine magically converts an outside dining permit into a permanent structure built across a public sidewalk in the early 2000s.
  3. Tony’s bright kid, Joe, illegally converts the family restaurant into an illegal night club in the mid 2000s.
  4. In 2012 Papa Tony files phoney FPPC complaint against Tony Bushala in an effort to help his Gang of Three avoid recall. Complaint denied.
  5. After gaining a CUP to operate as a club, Joe Florentine never installs the fire sprinkler system required of the CUP.
  6. Seeking approval of yet another CUP in 2019-2020 even though the terms of the previous CUP had never been met,  Joe Florentine forged and had notarized an application that by-passed the building owner, thus placing the City in legal jeopardy.
  7. Last spring the Florentines decided they were entitled to remove on-street parking in order to help themselves.

It’s hard to say what other misdeeds and actual crimes have been committed by the Florentines, over the years. Stories abound. But what we know gives us plenty of reason not to consider their departure with any sort of remorse.

And the very continuation of the bad behavior gives us plenty of reason to ruminate on the political climate that permitted the ongoing flagrance and fraud. Decision makers in City Hall have been running interference for, enabling, and diligently looking the other way through this little reign of terror. Does anybody care? The old City Councils never did. Will the new one?

Two BK Chuck Sargeant

Driving around Fullerton’s District 2 the other day, I noticed a certain District 2 City Council candidate’s signs screwed directly into trees. Having never seen anyone do something like that and still mourning the loss of Sappy McTree to drunken wannabe bureaucrats, I had to figure out who Chuck Sargeant is and what kind of person would go around screwing Fullerton’s trees in such a way?

Yes, Fullerton has a long history of choosing foxes to guard the hen house that is our city budget. Yes, it’s so bad that they’re trying to raise our taxes. But even then, I was a tad surprised to find that District 2 candidate Chuck Sargeant had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1992.

And he didn’t pay taxes for 3 years and the state placed 10 liens against his property.

And then he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again in 2012 (that bankruptcy didn’t clear until 2016, the same year he was running for council last time).

And I wouldn’t have even looked into him had Gnarly Charlie not gone and screwed his freaking signs into trees all over Harbor Blvd.

The last thing Fullerton needs is another council member like Ole Chuckles who spent money he didn’t have and screwed creditors to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. So there it is… Fullerton District 2 Council candidate Two BK Chuck.

Looking Out for the Little Guy (who makes more than $200,000 a year)

A few weeks ago the Fullerton Rag posted City Council-member Ahmad Zahra’s comments to the Black Lives Matter protest in Fullerton on June 6. It is interesting snapshot on an elected Democrat’s efforts to appease the party activists while keeping that sweet PE union cash flowing. It went about as well as you would expect (fast forward to 2:35 to hear the crowd turn):

The latest attempt to thread that needle comes courtesy of Faisal Qazi, a first time candidate who appears to be the Democrats de facto candidate for the Second District City Council race.  His facebook page currently advertises a pro-BLM tilt, which one would presume would mean he opposes the longstanding practice of covering up for problem officers. However, this (since deleted) post shows a pretty strong blind spot where public employees in general are concerned, which should call that assumption into question: 

Translated: “Lets go after all the waste in the system, except for all the waste in the system.”

Apologies to longtime readers (for whom this will sound like a broken record) but, according to Transparent California, there are almost 200 City employees making at least $100,000 per year. And that is not counting benefits (the $100,000 club has over 600 members in our fair City when benefits are included). On what universe would this be considered “already low wages?”

Oh, and for extra irony, try guess which department most of the public employees in the $100,000+ club belong to?



The problem in our local government, as friend of the blog Dave Zenger put it recently, is that too many people believe “the myth that (civil servants) are underpaid and hence deserve civil service pensions and protections. That may have been more or less true until the employees unionized, but it hasn’t been true for 50 years.” 

And the result? Generations of “fiscal conservatives” on the City Council who voted for every pay increase that crossed their desk, followed, apparently, by generations of BLM supporters with a see-no-evil approach in their own backyard to the core issue that gave rise to the movement in the first place. And who will probably also vote for every pay increase that crosses their desk. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Fullerton Lies to the ACLU, LA Times and Others

The City recently sent out a file from the City Attorney, via Assistant City Clerk Klein, that lists officers who’s records are disclosable under the Records Law known as SB1421. This was sent to those who had requested these files such as myself, the ACLU, LA Times and others. The following is my response;


Dear SB1421 Requesters and interested parties,

It has come to my attention that the City of Fullerton has broken California’s Public Record’s Law, specifically related to SB1421, by denying you records which are quite clearly publicly disclosable.

In the link sent to you by Mea Klein, Assistant City Clerk, as provided to her by the City Attorney, you were told that there are 27 Officers “REQUESTED BY NAME, BUT NO DISCLOSABLE FILE AVAILABLE (27)”. This is patently false.

The City of Fullerton is currently suing me, my compatriot David and the blog Friends for Fullerton’s Future directly related to the published findings on several of these officers.

City of Fullerton Is Suing Me And This Blog

In looking at this list I can quite easily name Officers on that list who have disclosable records under SB1421 including but not limited to Kathryn Hamel, Paul Irish, Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo, Christopher Wren & Nathan Roesler.

A sustained finding was found against Hamel and one cannot simply unring that bell as seen in the recent Contra Costa County tentative decision (CASE NAME: RICHMOND POLICE VS. CITY OF RICHMOND).

This FFFF article related to Hamel is specifically mentioned in the lawsuit against myself and FFFF:

Fullerton Police Cut a Deal to Bypass the Law

Christopher Wren had a sustained finding against for dishonesty related to a workplace affair with a subordinate. In IA Case #17-0038 one of the sustained findings against Officer Wren is as follows:

“6. On December 17, 2017, when Lieutenant Cleggett asked you about your whereabouts, you dishonestly stated to Lieutenant Cleggett that you had been on the phone with your wife the entire time and did not notice Lieutenant Cleggett’s text message.”

This statement of dishonesty was directly related to misconduct as outlined in the timeline of Wren’s activities and being in violation of policy.

Likewise with Christopher Wren, an article is specifically listed in the lawsuit being waged against myself and FFFF:

What Happened to Officer Christopher Wren

The idea that the city attorney is unaware of the sustained findings against their officers which are disclosable under SB1421 is laughable when those very stories are being used by the same attorneys as evidence in a lawsuit where the city seeks a prior restraint against myself and FFFF.

The blog has likewise published stories on how Paul Irish was terminated for dishonesty;

Fullerton’s Veritable Serpico Problem

Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo admitted in his plea deal that he both used excessive force and falsified a police report.

Sonny’s Admission of Guilt

Nathan Roesler filed a false report with the City of Placentia which resulted in an innocent man being arrested for a crime that wasn’t committed against Roesler. This was referred to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Another Possible Cover-up by FPD

These are the cases which are readily and easily pointed out which I believe to be disclosable under SB1421 which calls all of the other officers on the list into question. The City is blatantly lying to you, your organizations and agencies as well as the public and concerned entities about disclosable records despite being in a separate lawsuit over these very violations of SB1421.

If you are honestly seeking these records and others from the City of Fullerton you will likely have no recourse but to seek remedies in order to get to the truth. I have already been forced to take this route unfortunately.

They are likewise violating the law in regards to the officer whose records are “PENDING; NOT YET PRODUCED (3)”. The incident in Corbett’s case was from 2016 and Paez’s was in 2017. The timeline has long passed for required production in both of these cases.

Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best in your efforts to get to the truth.

Sincerely,

Joshua Ferguson
Host, The Hourly Struggle
Writer, Friends for Fullerton’s Future
Concerned Citizen


For the record, City Manager Ken Domer is fine with these lies as he could put an end to them but works with the City Attorneys to keep them going. The same for Police Chief Dunn. He has no desire for you to know which of his officers are corrupt or he’d demand the city follow the law.

The City Council? 4 of the 5 of them have repeatedly voted to sue us without so much as questioning the liability the City Attorney themselves caused. Remember, when the City Council wants YOU to follow the law – they have no problem shielding police from it.

Despite all of their bluster over Black Lives Matter, Jesus Silva & Ahmad Zahra don’t care about police misconduct or oversight. Jan Flory & Jennifer Fitzgerald don’t care about integrity or accountability either. Remember, they all voted to sue US to keep the records of corrupt police from YOU. Hell, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Jesus Silva’s wife, voted AGAINST the very law in question here (SB1421) if you want perspective of how little these people’s rhetoric matters.

Encouraging Children to Break the Law – That’s the Troy Difference!

Let’s start with Exhibit A.

California Education Code, Section 7054(a) which states in pertinent part:

No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board of the district.

And now Exhibit “B”. This little enticement by The Troy Difference to break that very law.

High School Graduation tickets are generally limited to six tickets per student, which limits how much of one’s extended family can attend (and immediate family, if it is large enough). Giving out tickets based on their political beliefs is utterly repugnant, in addition to a violation of the law.

Now, there is one important caveat here: the Troy Difference is a PTSA organization and not, strictly speaking, the school district itself. Therefore the District could potentially claim that they had no knowledge of the offer when it was made and took appropriate steps to shut down the PTSA’s action and prevent them from following through.

Did they? Nope, not even close. The Precinct walk and the illegal promise proceeded as planned. Here’s the precinct captain at 9:00 am on February 22, 2020, well after the blowup over their campaign tactics (Exhibit “C”):

It gets better, as the volunteer states that “Ms. Gates” is more involved in the offer (Renee Gates is the Current Assistant Principle). Also, this does not appear to be the only Troy organization which has been making this pitch.

This is not the conduct of a campaign that is secure in their position. This is a campaign that is afraid it is losing and is willing to break the rules to prevent that from happening.

Vote No on Measure J and especially on Measure K.

Doug “Bud” Chaffee Sticks Weenie in Kimchi. Feels Good.

Well, here’s something you don’t see every day. Orange County Supervisor, former Fulleron disaster-maker, husband and co-conspirator of thief Paulette Marshall wishes us happy Korean American Day. And an easy slam-dunk gets screwed up by sharing a flag of…North Korea!

Hey, who’s side is he on?

I’m wondering what positive effects the North Korean “community” has on Orange County. Mass starvation, saber rattlin’, murder-by-dog-pack, gulags, nuclear gangsterism? Go ahead, Doug, tell us.

Erection Dysfunction

 

If someone takes the time to review the history of Fullerton over the past forty years, one thing becomes shockingly clear: when it comes to building things, maintaining things and planning for things, the City government just can’t do much of anything right. And yet over this long history, the City and the public seem to have the shortest of memories.

For the denizens of City Hall, the fact that the jalopy has no rear view mirror makes perfect sense. After all, if you’re pulling down well over a hundred Gs, with a trampoline retirement coming your way, why spoil things with strange notions like accountability and responsibility? It’s so much easier to pretend nothing bad has happened.

A little Jack Daniels gets you through the morning.

The people who live here on the other hand, have no such incentive; quite the reverse, in fact. So how come constant repetition of the disastrous lessons from the past are tolerated? Is it easier to just ignore the millions upon millions wasted in foolish vanity projects, make-work comedies, and deteriorating infrastructure? Maybe.

But I hope that by continuing the drumbeat started on this brave blog 11 years ago, sooner or later the populace will wake up to the ineptitude and dissimulation by its highly paid, and so far untouchable masters of disaster.

And so join me Friends as I take you on trip down memory lane, Fullerton style.

Today almost nobody remembers the comical City endeavor to transform Harbor Boulevard in the early 80s by removing on-street parking, adding medians, spike-laden, pod-dropping floss silk trees, and bizarre concrete peristyles along the sidewalks. Comical, did I say? It would have been funny except that it doomed the businesses along Harbor to slow entropy. The ridiculous peristyles were soon removed but the rest of the mess lasted for decades and many of the hideous trees and broken sidewalks are still there as a reminder that the City is perfectly willing to waste millions on hare-brained, concept-of-the-day tomfoolery that gives them something to do.

The stupid that men do lives after them…

The Allen Hotel, was Fullerton’s first foray into “affordable” housing back in the late 80s. It was a slum, alright and thirty years after the City’s bungling acquisition, the site is just begging for more “redevelopment.” Will it get it?

The once and present tenement…

The CSUF Stadium & Fundraising Fiasco of 1990 ought to give plenty of pause to those contemplating Big Projects with public money. The brainchild of slimy City Councilman and later slimy State Senator, Dick Ackerman, the idea was to build a permanent home for the CSUF football team. Only trouble was that the $15,000,000 stadium was completed the same year the plug was pulled on a dismal gridiron program. In typical fashion, the City invested in a fundraising plan in which a company was hired at a cost of several hundred thou to raise money, and didn’t. Oops!

Oh, boy, the other football!

The horror story “Knowlwood Corner” is a veritable textbook case of government bureaucratic misfeasance, from start to finish. The story started in the early 90s and dragged on for years and years; when the signature building was finally built, the missing second floor became a perfect symbol for this misadventure. From stupid economic micromanagement to horrible architecture, this one touched all the bases – and it took seven years to do so.

There is no second floor. Other than that it’s a 2 story building

The Bank of Italy Building was another disaster from the early 90s, but one that actually gutted an historic building. Millions in public money were wasted to pay for something that never should have been undertaken in the first place.

Deception, Incompetence and Damn Proud of It

The North Platform remodel of 1992-93 proved that no matter how bungled things were in Fullerton, it could always get worse. A landscape architect was hired to place as many impediments between passengers and trains as was humanly possible. Some of the citizens got wise, and half the crap was ripped out. Heads rolled in City Hall. Oh, wait, no they didn’t.

Trees and planters block the platform; staff obstruction was almost as bad.

Few folks now remember the Fairway Toyota dealership expansion fiasco from the mid-90s that required threatening an old lady with eminent domain and then closing off Elm Avenue forever. The City’s investment disappeared like an early summer morning’s dew when the dealership took off for Anaheim a few years later. After years of housing a used car dealership, the City permitted the development of another massive cliff dwelling along Harbor Boulevard. The losses were never accounted for but at least the neighbors got a nice view and early shade.

So bad he had to pull over and barf…

 

For those who can remember the Fullerton SRO debacle – a history filled with so much doubling down on stupidity that it strains credulity – it remains one of Fullerton’s saddest tales. Years and millions were burned on fly-by-night developers, one of whom turned out to be impecunious, and the other a flim-flam artist.

Fort Mithawalla, AKA, the Bum Box…

Fullerton’s Corporate Yard expansion was a mid-nineties project that left the City gasping for air. Despite hiring an outside construction manager and paying him a couple hundred grand, the project dissolved into a litigation mess that only escaped public embarrassment because nobody on the City Council gave a damn. Settlement details vanished into the haze.

The so-called Poison Park on Truslow Avenue may set the standard for Fullerton incompetence, although admittedly, the competition is fierce. In the late 90s, the City had Redevelopment money to burn and just couldn’t wait to do so. So they bought a piece of industrial property and built a park that nobody outside City Hall wanted. Cost? $3,000,000. Of course the site attracted gang members and drug dealers as predicted. Worse still, the land was contaminated and the “park” fenced off. It’s been like that for almost 15 years. And Counting.

Maybe the less said, the better…

No story of Fullerton calamities would be complete without once again sharing the tale of the Florentine Sidewalk Hijacking, in which a permit for “outside dining” was transformed one day by the Florentine Mob into a permanent building blocking half a public sidewalk. The Big City Planner, Paul Dudley, said everything was peachy. He was lying, of course, but did anybody really care?

Caution – ethical behavior narrows ahead…

In a great example of the tail wagging the dog, the Fox Theater has been used to justify all kinds of nonsense, including moving a McDonald’s  a 150 feet to the east and later proposing development of perhaps the greatest architectural monstrosity anybody has ever seen. This saga is still going on, believe it or not, after two decades or more. No one knows how much has been wasted going nowhere on this rolling disaster, and no one seems the least bit interested in finding out.

Egad. What a freaking mess…

Some people might conclude that the majority of Fullerton’s disasters can be laid at the feet of the Redevelopment Agency (really just the City Council) and well-pensioned, inept managers like Terry Galvin and Gary Chaplusky. When they weren’t slapping brick veneer on anything that didn’t move, they were screwing everything else up, too. But when we regard the history of Laguna Lake we enter into the realm of Fullerton’s Parks and Engineering mamalukes. After spending a small fortune on renovating the lake, the thing leaked like a sieve. Hundreds of millions of premium MWD gallons were pumped into the thing to keep it full. The public and council were left in the dark, even as citizens were told to conserve water in their homes. Did anyone in charge give a damn? Did anyone ask how much money and water were squandered over the years? Of course not. This is Fullerton. We could ask Engineering Director Don Hoppe for details, except that he is now comfortably retired and pulling down a massive pension.

Water in, water out…

Our professional planners, have been knee deep in Fullerton’s morass. Over-development (see example, above) has been fostered and nowhere was this better seen than in the Core and Corridors Specific Plan. This idiotic plan wasted a million bucks of State money without a backward glance after the whole thing was finally dumped on the QT  – too stupid even for Fullerton. Did anybody ask for their money back? Nope. And yet  a link to a blank web page titled Core and Corridors still exists! Hope springs eternal.

The 2000s proved that nobody in City Hall or out, was learning anything, even after the expensive failures of the 90s. The “West Harbor Improvement” project in 2009, was an endeavor so unnecessary that it could only be proposed in Fullerton, where government “place making” has never succeeded. The alley is a barf zone behind a bunch of bars that only needs hosing down every Sunday morning.

What can we do with it ? Or to it?

We’ve already covered in detail the multi-million dollar death march of the new elevators at the depot, an unnecessary project that was only pursued because “other people’s money” was paying for it – that is until the project burned into its seventh year. And then City money had to pay to keep the disaster on life support. Aggravating this complete folly and waste is the fact that the existing elevators tower stairs are slowly rusting away and the glass is graffiti marred.

Let the groundbreaking begin. No point in waiting to waste other people’s money, right?

 

This litany of disasters, follies and debacles brings us to the Pinewood Stairs at Hillcrest Park which put on display the incompetence of the designer, the city staff, the construction manager, and a contractor who couldn’t build a sand box to code. Wasting $1.6 million is bad enough; permitting the code violations and construction deficiencies go unfixed is even worse. Barely two years old, the ramshackle structure moves more than the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

A light post not even fit for a drunk to lean on…

And finally, let us not forget the completely useless $725,000 “ceremonial” bridge over Brea Creek at Hillcrest Park. Of course it’s just there to make some sort of statement, not to be used. The only statement that occurs to me is one of conspicuous consumption by a city that is just rolling in dough.

And over all these years Fullerton’s “leaders have neglected our aging infrastructure and permitted zone changes allowing for massive new development that has lined the pockets of developers and political campaign coffers, and left the rest of us with even more traffic and more burden on our roads and pipes.

Water, water everywhere. Except where it’s supposed to be…

 

It could be worse. No it couldn’t.

The end.

 

Why Keep Threatening Us?

For every problem that isn’t a nail, there’s a moron ready to swing a hammer.

20 Days ago FFFF got another threatening letter from the City that said if we don’t stop reporting news and telling the public the truth about what’s actually happening in their town, apparently there will be consequences.

We told them to kick rocks.

What really strikes us as odd is how hard the city works to solve real problems v make work problems.

If they’re willing to go after local journalists connected to a blog that city employees routinely insist that no one reads, one can’t help but wonder what wrath the city brings down on real problems.

Can we assume that the city also takes things like life safety issues impacting the public, police brutality and sexual misconduct, wasted tax dollars, theft by employees, recklass or perhaps drunk driving by employees, or total disregard for budget discipline, public trust, and basic fairness as seriously as they take shutting down transparency?

Oh wait, we don’t need to assume anything as we know exactly what kind of resources the city spends on those problems. None.

We know because we broke and covered those stories.

Maybe that’s what this is about. Maybe the City is tired of having a group of “chronic malcontents” embarrass them by telling the truth. (more…)