The Fart Boy Hard At Work

A new air freshener, Boss! Sweet.
A new air freshener, Boss? Sweet!

Yesterday, Orange County’s original Fart Boy, Matthew Cunningham, the irrepressible toady and Energizer Bunny of  boot licks, was hard at work for his de facto boss – the political impresario and lobbyist, John Lewis.

A few days before Lewis had sent out out a Chris Norby for County Clerk  politcal contribution solicitation to County workers at their work e-mail addresses. That  looked bad because it was (and is) bad, maybe illegal; and County employees are banned from using their computers for this sort of thing – both on the sending and receiving end. Well, yesterday Lewis sycophant Cunningham tried to downplay the episode on his own lame and tiresome “Red County” blog go here at the risk of extreme tedium.

The fact that Cunningham’s blog is alternatively referred to as “Red Klownty” and “Brown County” ought to be a giveaway as to the fringe crazies and paid hacks that blog there. Cunningham’s unfortunate nickname – Jerbal – is another telling clue about his personality.

Cunningham’s pathetic rhetoric once again revealed his only apparent talent: diverting attention from the real issue. But it’s only a talent if someone is dumb enough to fall for it. The issue was not, as Cunningham implied,  how many government workers actually felt threatened or coerced by the e-mail, but the impropriety of sending it out in the first place, and the incompetence that let it happen.

Cunningham claims that Norby is not vindictive – part of his sleight-of-hand shtick, since nobody ever said he was. The issue is why the campaign is so screwed up it doesn’t know what it’s doing, and how Norby, who wants to be the County’s chief paper-pusher, let it happen.

John Lewis has created a cute little machine that generates him political consulting income as well as considerable wealth as a County lobbyist – after he gets his boys elected. How much Cunningham gets paid for his transparent efforts at damage control for Lewis is hard to say. He may just be doing it for a warm smile and a wink from his mentor.

The Fullerton Collaborative Website Off Line

Where'd she go?
Where'd she go?

Well, you can give it a try. But as of 8/25/09 it doesn’t work anymore. Hopefully the proprietors will have it back on-line soon so that Fullertonians can see what the Collaborative is up to. In the meantime: 

Please try this site again later. If you still experience the problem, try contacting the Web site administrator.

Damn. This one doesn’t work, either. What’s going on around here? Transparency?

My Travels Through Tanzanyisha – Part II

My cab driver was a young man named Cornelius. He has a wife and already five kids, and lives in a patched together sheet metal shack on the wrong side of Ushanda’s perimeter beltway. Like lots of Ushandans he steals government electricity from a bootleg transformer and an extension cord. He showed me a photo of his family standing in front of their ramshackle house. He seemed eager to talk. Especially about Country Western music.

He wore a pink shirt and said he loved Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. And Kristofferson.  Cornelius sang a soulful rendition of Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down as we zig-zagged our way along Mombazi Boulevard, past the foreign embassies, some now empty, and into the downtown district. He wasn’t bad. He does karaoke two nights a week in a Ushandan club.

Cornelius The County Western singer...
Cornelius The County Western singer...

We entered the curved and cracked asphalt driveway of the Ushanda Hilton at about 3 PM. The sunlight now slanted through the decorative palms, but the heat and humidity had become even more oppressive. Cornelius said that modern Country was just overproduced pop music now. I agreed and paid him. He seemed very happy to get American cash. Tanzanyishan paper dollars are virtually worthless.

Like the once gleaming buildings of the business district, the hotel is a reminder of better days – when foreign investment was still seen as a plausibility, and also a shabby symbol of lost hope. It is air conditioned, barely, although this God-sent amenity often relies upon a diesel generator rather than Ushanda’s over-taxed, and unpredictable power grid.

The Ushanda Hilton
The Ushanda Hilton

At the lobby desk some problem was not getting solved. Africa.

A well-fed, but obviously frazzled American, wearing a crumpled white linen suit and white shoes, with a wild shock of white hair, was arguing volubly with the desk clerk. A high-pitched Southern twang held forth. Nearby stood a sad, starched, yet wilting woman of indeterminate age, all too familiar with the script.

Ah have a reservation, dammit! I am sorry sir, but we do not have it here. Well you better look again, son,  Ah’m from Texas, and Ah’m a doctor! Sorry sir, but I cannot find a reservation for you.

Reservation? The place was damn-near deserted. I figured out pretty quickly what was going on. Ugly American Doctor was getting jerked around by a Third World hotel clerk. He would get his room all right, but not right away. I was enjoying the performance, but I was becoming damn thirsty, too. Peeking meekly around Doctor Phogbound I gave the clerk a quick wink of approval and asked if  I could check in. I had a reservation. Marlowe. Yes, sir!

In need of something cold I headed across the lobby to the hotel bar, leaving the dreadful Phogbound in drawlful fulmination.

Ah’m a colonel. By Golly, Ah’m important! Ah know a congressman!

I had an uneasy feeling our paths would cross again.

Angry Doctor in Ushanda Hilton lobby.
Blustering doctor in Tanzanyishan hotel lobby.

So Who Does Fullerton’s Chamber of Commerce Really Represent?

Our good friend Joe Sipowicz asked a really good question today on another post. Asked Joe:

How many Chamber board members have received subsidies, favors, or looks-the-other-way by the police in the past? Does the Director owe her job to the influence of City Council members? Inquiring minds want to know.

 Well, Joe, we have inquiring minds too, and decided to check out the Chamber’s board of directors. And what we found ain’t pretty:

A 21 member board. Lets review some of the members, who they work for and see what other telling associations we can discern (in no particular order):

1.Albert Napoli – MWD ( a government sanctioned utility monopoly)

2. Mark McGee – MG Disposal (sole garbage contractor for the City of Fullerton)

3. Burnie Dunlap– St Jude Hospital (former member Brea Redevelopment Agency!)

4. Daniel Kang – Grace Ministries (non-profit Church; beholden to City for gobs of entitlements)

5. Ron Hurst– Fullerton Marriot (Hotel originally built by money put up by the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency

6. Chris Reese – CSUF (a government educrat!)

7. Pat Butress – So Cal Edison (government sanctioned utility monopoly)

8. Jack Franklyn– Heroes (well-known recipient of City look-the-other ways for non-permitted construction and out door amplified music, etc.)

9. Kerry Stock – Costco (Fullerton’s original big-time redevelopment project)

10. Ryan Dudley – The Cellar (son of former Develpment Services Director, Paul Dudley – hmm THAT name sounds familiar!)

11. Cameron Irons – Vanguard Investments (and former partner in downtown restaurants operating out of Redevelopment subsidized buildings)

12. Leland Wilson – Realtor (former Mayor and Chairman of Fullerton’s Redevelopment Agency!)

Okay, we’ll stop there since we are way past a board majority; a majority of folks who have connections to redevelopment, government, family ties, or lots of reasons to be grateful to the City of Fullerton. And we mention in passing their Executive Director, Theresa Harvey, former director of the Fullerton Boys and Girls Club (non-profit operated in building owned by City, etc., etc.).

Please note that we have also passed over a couple of downtown bankers (that relationship needs to be explored), some sort of political consultant, and a lawyer. It appears as if the Chamber board is almost devoid of anybody actually making and selling anything. But, boy do they have ties to the Fullerton City government, government in general, or operate in government sanctioned monopolies.

Is there really any wonder why this crew supports Redevelopment expansion – the greatest anti-business threat in Fulleron’s history? Most of them are connected to the government, and hardly any of them are really in the kind of real, honest-to-goodness retail or manufacturing businesses of the sort that Redevelopment preys upon.

A Brief Essay by “Chamber Star”

Don't forget to write...
Don't forget to write...

Loyal friends, we keep inviting Fullerton’s decision makers to come to our blog to give their side of the story when they perpetrate what we feel is a particularly egregious screw-up. None have yet taken up the gauntlet and we really can’t blame them. Who wants to be swarmed by an angry squadron of Friends after a public policy fiasco? Responding directly to the public is ever so much more difficult than reading a script.

Yet our site has been visited, and visited often, by an individual who styles him/herself Chamber Star. We’re not sure what this handle means, precisely, and whether this person is actually even affiliated with Fullerton’s Chamber of Commerce. But since we have unloaded many rounds into the Chamber’s fleshy leadership tissue, we feel pretty confident in assuming that Chamber Star holds some position of authority in that organization. But we could be wrong.

We like Chamber Star because Star’s is the voice of unquestioning support that the City of Fullerton has come to expect from their friends in the Chamber leadership cadre. So much so, in fact, that the Chamber has actually come to embrace the anti-business Redevelopment proposal.

A while back we invited Chamber Star to write a post for our blog so that his/her attitudes and beliefs could be shared with the Friends in order to present a rounder view of life and times in Fullerton. We reproduce Chamber Star’s essay verbatim, below:

First, let me thank FFFF for giving me an opportunity to tell a different side of the story, a different view point, if you will. I hope that when people have read this they will understand a little bit more about the way I feel about Fullerton.

We should all be on the same team: Team Fullerton. We should all want what’s best for our great City and all work for the same goals. We cannot do this if we are pulling in different directions. That’s why the Chamber leaders have taken up a consistent and rather courageous position of supporting the people at City Hall who are always working hard to make Fullerton a great place.

It is very easy to criticize the City staff because their jobs are both difficult and have to be carried out under the critical and often unfair light of public perception. Their skill sets are highly developed to perform complex missions that none of us could do in a hundred years. And yes, the atmosphere can be hostile as is evidenced by this very blog!

Redevelopment in particular is an area that demands great skills of a wide variety. And if mistakes happen (nobody is perfect, including the operators of this blog), we have to remember that redevelopment staff are taking risks for all of us. So I wholeheartedly support Redevelopment in Fullerton and wish to see it expand. If possible we should have it throughout the City. Again, it’s easy for Monday morning quarterbacks to take shots at our fine staff, but not very fair. These are top flight professionals who deserve our respect and support. These folks are helping to develop new business in Fullerton, and raise sales tax receipts so we can afford to hire and keep the very best public servants in the State. And that’s why the Chamber of Commerce supports City staff and Redevelopment. You can’t have all the things you want like municipal auditoriums and graffiti removal and mandated affordable housing without the all-important Redevelopment funds.

And finally I would like to say that I have a lot of confidence in our elected officials. I believe in democracy and believe that we will elect good people who have good judgement. I support them and have confidence in their judgement because if they didn’t have it they probably wouldn’t have gotten elected in the first place. Time and time again they have shown how consistent their judgement and wisdom really is. And our leaders know that they have to work closely with their staff to get what’s best for all of the City. I would also say that many times it is necessary for the City Council to do its business behind closed doors to keep important facts secret. And that’s really for the good of everybody, too.

Thanks again FFFF for letting me share my views. And remember: look forward to the future and not backwards! Fullerton’s best days are still ahead!

Thank you Chamber Star for sharing your views.


Norby Job Prospects Uncertain

Will he work for food?

Termed-out OC 4th District Supervisor Republican Chris Norby has announced his intention to run for the possibly soon-to-be vacant County Clerk job currently held by Democrat Tom Daly. But the road could be rocky as Norby now has two credible candidates challenging him: Hugh Nguyen of the Board Clerk’s office, and Buena Park’s own grandfather figure, Art Brown. Rumors on the street suggest that Daly and fellow Democrat Brown have decided to swap endorsements since Daly has previously announced that he is running for Norby’s job.

Art Brown has staked his claim to the County Clerk job...
Tom Daly is mining for Buena Park votes while Art Brown has staked his claim to the County Clerk job...

It is also rumored that Norby is becoming anxious about his future employment prospects. So much so, in fact, that he was recently seen handing out his business cards to prospective employers in his office. While we can’t verify this, we have discovered this photo on his own website:

Let me know if anything opens up!


More Fun and Games At The Fullerton Observer

The hey, and the hey, and the hey, hey, hey!
Professor Frink speaks: with the insinuating and the smearing, and the hey, hey, hey!

Our dear pals at the Fullerton Observer are at it again. In their latest (August) edition someone named Kevin Frink used the “Council Shorts” feature to take a shot at one of Fullerton’s Friends –  Jack Dean check out page 4. The topic was the hearing on the Redevelopment expansion scam, and here’s what Mr. Frink had to say:

Several residents spoke in opposition

of the proposed action before the council/

redevelopment agency including Mr.

Kiker, Mr. DeWitt and Mr. Dean, the

later representing the Fullerton

Association of Concerned Taxpayers

(FACT), (a group responsible for

extremely dirty and misleading campaign

tactics in past city council and school board campaigns).

We suspect that Frink had coaching from his editor to insinuate a completely gratuitous and unsubstantiated claim about FACT’s political activities. The fact that this parenthetical attack had absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand and is based on on the Observer’s notion that to oppose any statist, pro-government union candidate is tantamount to a crime, just backs up our previous criticisms of the Observer as a hack-run shill for City Hall. Those who have defended the Observer as some sort of journalistic paragon take heed. This is the type of stoogery you are defending.

Meanwhile the Yellowing Sub sinks deeper.

Down periscope! Dive! Dive!
Down periscope! Dive! Dive!

P.S. Could Mr. “Kiker” have been our very own Travis Kiger? If so we have a celebrity in our midst. Travis was that you?

We’ve Got Mail!

Friends, we receive thought-provoking e-mails from time to time, and like the good Friends that we are, we like to share them with you.

We recently received an e-mail from Jeff Oderman, an attorney with the firm of Rutan & Tucker. Mr. Oderman happens to be the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency’s lawyer, and we’ve been pretty diligent about ripping the bandage off this suppurating wound; and one of our more assertive Harpoons even took a poke at him here. We’re not sure if Oderman is complaining about that particular post, or about our whole effort here at FFFF. Clarity of expression doesn’t appear to be a prerequisite for employment at R & T. In either case, Jeff seems none too happy.

Not Jeff Oderman...
Your Honor, I'd like to make one of those legal thingies..

Anyway, from Mr. Oderman:

—– Forwarded Message —-
From:“Oderman, Jeff” <>
To:Fullertons Future <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 5:41:27 AM
Subject:RE: [Friends For Fullerton’s Future] Jeff Oderman: The High Price of Bad Advice

You should check your facts before you publish. You’re entitled to your own opinions, of course, but there is almost not a single truthful factual statement in the entire blog.

Jeffrey M. Oderman
Rutan & Tucker, LLP
611 Anton Boulevard, 14th Floor
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714-641-3441 Direct
714-546-9035 Fax

We’re entitled to our own opinions? Well, Hell, Jeff, that’s mighty big of you. And we thank the boys at the Constitutional Convention, too.

But: “Almost not a single truthful factual statement in the entire blog.” Really? Almost everything is either a lie or wrong? Or both? Hoo Boy! Them’s fightin’ words.

As a firmly attached barnacle on the bottom of the SS Fullerton Redevelopment Agency, Oderman has a pretty sweet gig going, with zero accountability, and we’re pretty sure he wants to keep it that way. Good revenue for the firm and not much real work. But c’mon Jeff, you’re not going to protect your little sinecure by riling up the Friends.

Anyway, in the spirit of self-improvement and public information we have invited Mr. Oderman to favor us with “truthful and factual” corrections to any of our posts to which he objects. We promise to publish anything he sends our way. See, unlike the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency and its minions, we want open and unfettered dialogue – a discussion where the truth will out, and the political flacks and self-interested bureaucrats don’t always have the last, incompetent, and irresponsible word.

We also figure that the more they say the more holes they punch into the bottom of their leaky tub.

Preparing for the Redevelopment regatta...
Preparing for the Redevelopment Regatta...

To Blog or Not To Blog

I think I can, I think I can...

Back not long ago from Savannah, and now off to grab some work in NYC. Next month it’s another airport, another city, another hope that the little TV in the seat in front of me works. I hope the flight attendants don’t get snarky, and I wish one would give me the whole damned bottle of water rather than offering a little cup. I also hope the TSA doesn’t rifle through my bags and take things. So before I make friends with the seat tray table on Jet Blue, I wanted to mention my thoughts on Councilwoman Keller’s suggestion of a city blog.

If the city wants to blog, fine. There’s always room for more blogs in the blogosphere and there’s nothing anyone can do to prevent it. Doesn’t matter to me what format they take, but a blog without comments really isn’t a blog at all. What she describes is a Q&A page tacked onto their existing website.

After all, what makes blogging relevant and exciting is the participation of commenters who can add to a given topic.

For a very long time, it seems there was one primary means of public communication in this town. Whether or not you agreed with The Fullerton Observer, it was pretty much the only deal out there. There wasn’t a regular outlet for the mass dispersal of a differing viewpoint, so then it seems the slogan of Fullerton becomes, “More, more of the same!”  But one day,  along comes the blogosphere. Suddenly there’s a free and easy way to express oneself.  So the Admin starts it. He’s just a basic blogger, not a techie, but it doesn’t matter. He has about 3 decades worth of stuff to say.  More writers join. The sucker takes off. FFFF is horse with wings. It’s linking to other blogs and soon more and more people know about it and people can’t stop clicking on it because it’s saying so many things that people have felt  for a long time.

It’s like someone said, “Okay, you can talk now,” and a torrent came pouring forth. At times it’s articulate, other times it veers into the lunacy of The Three Stooges. It’s not always a happy, jolly place where the birds sing and everyone holds hands in a permanent Stepford trance. No, there are rants, pouts, and the occasional barfing onto the screen. In other words: welcome to the blogosphere. Once you start, there’s no way of stopping.

The lessons for everyone to remember, but most especially those who detract from the blogosphere, are that it’s incorrect to think blogs have less importance and impact than publications in print. It’s also faulty to believe that blogs exist separate from the rest of the world. In fact, they are a reflection of it. All blogs, including FFFF are a vital part of the community. Their voice is as valid  as any other.