Category Archives: Ahmad Zahra

Zahra Ignores History to Avoid Accountability

As I’ve outlined in previous posts, our City spends an inordinate amount of money on pay/pensions and less and less each year on actual infrastructure and things that benefit us, the local taxpayers.

I’m used to the pushback from the local BooHoos who love taxes, but I caught a post by City Council hack Ahmad Zahra claiming that our financial troubles are from past councils and that he wants to look forward.

Zahra Blame Shifting

“Regardless of how we got here…”

“Regardless of how we got here and who to blame, we’re here now and we’re on the bring.”

Our veritable Government Rafiki would have you believe that the sins of the past don’t matter because he wants to look to the future (but only when government incompetence is involved).

Rafiki In the Past

I honestly couldn’t eyeroll hard enough when I saw that nonsense from Zahra for the simple reason that Ahmad Zahra SUPPORTS the very financial sins that got us where we are today – being begged for more taxes so bureaucrats and union hacks can make more while watching our roads & our city crumble.

Because Zahra won’t tell you the truth or give you the facts, it’s time for a history lesson from yours truly.

Back in the day our then idiotic governor, Gray Davis, signed SB 400 which was sold on a lie (like most all legislation) that it would benefit government employees but wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime more in actual costs. Those benefits came in the form of a 3% at 50 pension formula which, despite the lies told to sell it, bit us in the ass because the government is full of thieving bastards who have no incentive to the tell the truth or worry about taxpayers. Oh, and they also suck at math and their jobs.

These pensions are calculated on highest pay which means that after 30 years on the job, officers would qualify for 90% of the highest pay for the rest of their lives. This was also grandfathered and given to people who were never promised it during employment or contract negotiations.

This next part is very important and needs to be repeated. This pension giveaway isn’t based on averages or aggregates. If an officer worked patrol for 27 years making $75k/year and then jumped into command in the last few years of the job making $150/year, his pension would be based on that $150/year.

So Officer Friendly here will get 90% of $150k for the rest of his life and contrary to popular mythology the average officer outlives the average taxpayer.

The math on this problem is simple. 90% of $150k is $135k/year meaning the officer in this scenario will get $60,000 MORE in retirement every year than he earned over the first 27 years of his career.

But wait, there's more!

But wait, there’s more!

This is a “defined benefit”. That means that if the State screws up in their planning (what? no!) and under-funds the pension funds (in this case CalPERS) then Officer Friendly loses nothing. If the market goes to hell (like when the State kills the economy over a virus) you can kiss your 401K goodbye but not so if you work for the government. They lose nothing, nadda, zip, zilch. That’s right, zero. Here in CA we have what’s known as “The California Rule” which was made up by the courts to say that once you promise a government employee something you can never take it away regardless of how bad it may hurt you. If your city promised the moon and stars to the police and then goes bankrupt, you the taxpayer still owe them the moon and the stars.

This has been fiddled with slightly over the years and newer hires get 3% at 55 but all of the problems still persist.

Which brings us back to Ahmad Zahra. Governor Davis passed the law that allowed that 3% @ 50 formula but it had to be approved in contracts at the local level. Here in Fullerton it passed in 2002 in a 5-0 vote with City Council members Bankhead, Clesceri, Jones, Norby and…. Jan Flory all voting to screw us financially well into the future.

Fullerton Vote SB400

These are the names of our destroyers

Skip ahead to 2018 when Jesus Silva vacated his at-large council seat to run in District 3. That newly open seat was filled when Zahra, who had previously signaled a preference for representative democracy, opted to apparently sell his integrity for a seat on the water board and became the deciding vote in appointing the very same Jan Flory back onto Fullerton’s City Council.

There’s a lot of depth to this speculative story but to summarize, Flory was hopping mad that Bruce Whitaker got put on Water Board (a lucrative job) in her place when she left council in 2016 and wanted revenge. The fix was in with Fitzgerald & Silva to replace Whitaker with Zahra should Zahra sell out his pretend principles and gift the open council seat to Flory. Lo and behold he voted for Flory and immediately Whitaker got replaced by Zahra on the Water Board.

Zahra had no clue what the water board but he did what was best for Zahra. Same with Measure S. He doesn’t care that taxes hit the poorest hardest despite living in the poorest district in Fullerton – he needs the Union Hero endorsement so screw the poors if it helps his career. This is man who champions vanity projects while ignoring police oversight all while demanding more and more of your hard earned money via taxation which he calls “revenue”.

This is why Zahra wants to “regardless” his way out of the blame game and ignore who got us into this mess – because the weasel doesn’t want you to know that he endorsed and voted to put one of the very architects of our local financial misery BACK onto the council less than 2 years ago. That he supports the very things that got us into this mess and will continue to support bleeding you dry as long as it benefits him.

And this isn’t just a case of Ahmad being in the majority. Without his vote Jan Flory wouldn’t and couldn’t have been appointed because there were only 4 council members at the time and Bruce Whitaker was a solid no vote against Flory.

Jan “3% @ 50” Flory is only currently back on council thanks to Ahmad Zahra so don’t believe his Rafiki schtick. His actions matter, not his empty and pathetic rhetoric.

Andrew Cho Won’t Talk About the Tax

Anaheim bankruptcy lawyer and District 1 council candidate, Andrew Cho has sent out a mail piece with the usual dreary pictures of his incredibly happy home life, his conservative Republicanism, and the empty promises of accountability, public safety and miraculous economic superpowers.

Too bad we then see his endorsers – a gaggle of liars, grifters, thieves, and idiots you wouldn’t trust to walk your Pomeranian. He shares his bold pledge to support Prop 13, as if that had any bearing in Fullerton. More on the subject of taxes in a bit.

The bottom portion of the flyer is dedicated to attacking his one and only opponent, Fred Jung, as a radical leftist.

But notice what’s missing? That’s right. No mention at all of his position on Measure S, the 17% sales tax that is the brain child of his sleazy string-puller, Mayor-for-Hire Jennifer Fitzgerald; a tax increase that is approved by liberal Democrat councilcreatures, Flory, Quirk-Silva and Zahra.

Well, that’s not very good, is it District 1 Republicans. Poor “Andrew” is in a big bind. The Republican registration is a dwindling minority in D1, and if Cho is trying to shore up the die-hards at this point in a non-partisan election he’s in deep republicrap.

Rumblings In Sunny Hills

Back on August 18th, out esteemed City Council began the process of declaring a strip of property along Bastanchury Road to be “surplus.”

The vote was 4-1 with Bruce Whitaker in opposition.

Down on the farm…

The obvious purpose of this strategy is to to sell the property to an affordable housing developer so that the politicians can feel good about themselves and maybe raise some fundraising dough. For Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald this most likely means a lobbying opportunity after December when her presence on the council will mercifully come to an end. Why? Because developer selection and rezoning can be budged along by Pringle and Associates on whose street corner Fitzgerald plies her trade.

But not everybody is happy and there is an election in a month.

The natives are restless…

The locals on the hills behind the proposed development naturally object, as do environmentally-minded people who want the site preserved as opens space. The locals have even come up with a website and are advertising their displeasure with the City Council.

Fred in nature…

And naturally this has become a sudden election year issue for the District 1 council seat. Fred Jung has already made his position known that he prefers the open space option. On the other hand, his opponent, Andrew Cho, was hand-picked by Fitzgerald to have a reliable vote on the council. But not only is Fitzgerald gone this fall, but so is her pal Jan Flory which means that after the election there could be three potential votes to save this site as open space.

The Council passed this item with the usual “this is only the first step in the process” bullshit that begins the process of cloaking another hot mess in the mantle of inevitability. For the folk of District 1, however, the story may take a different turn than the City house-acrats and politicians are hoping for.

 

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.

Former Deputy DA & CHP Opinion Slaps Fullerton

Joshua by Spencer

Trying to look passed all of the bullshit the city has thrown at me

A quick catch up for those of you who might not know. The City of Fullerton is suing this blog, myself and David Curlee. We’re being sued for allegedly clicking on links on the internet and for this blog then allegedly publishing things from those links.

Things such as police misconduct, employee theft, city malfeasance and police cover-ups and so on and so forth.

The city’s argument is, essentially, that we didn’t have permission to click links.

In discussing this issue lately I was reminded about a case from here in California from back when Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor. What happened was somebody accidentally put an audio file online on the governor’s website that wasn’t supposed to be there and somebody from the Phil Angelides for Governor campaign found it and sent it to the press.

It was known at the time as “TapeGate“.

Immediately the California Highway Patrol (the CHP had authority) sprung into action to see if anybody had violated the CA Penal Code – the same section (502) that we’re accused of having violated.

A 38-page report was submitted and that was the end of the story.

Until now. To see if there were any parallels I put in a California Public Records Act request and got the 38-page report from 2007 and it’s findings are quite illuminating in context. Continue reading

And So It Begins…

We all knew that we were going to be bombarded with political mail in support of the City Council’s proposed 17% sales tax hike on this November’s ballot. And we all knew that the City Council hired a PR outfit to blow our money to educate us about the beauty of the thing – to the tune of $130,000. Of course none of this is legal, but this is Fullerton where everything is legal that the deplorable City Attorney “Dick” Jones says is legal.

Some of the Friends have already received pro-tax propaganda from our masters in City Hall and here is a sample:

Like it? You paid for it.

Tap dancing around the edge of the truth…

As usual, government tries to con us into bailing it out after it has failed so spectacularly the past decade to maintain reserves, balance budgets and pushing back against never-ending salary and pension demands from the public employee unionistas. Care about the homeless? Vote for our tax; Want potholes fixed? Tax! Youth programs? Who doesn’t love ’em – vote for our tax. Seniors? Ditto. Emergency services? They’re really getting hungry. A usual, the propaganda is larded up with misleading information and scare tactics and, gosh, we should be scared.

You will not be asked to reflect upon the reality that this same operation has dismally failed to fix roads in the past; that this bureaucracy has no intention of starting now. A Culture of Corruption in the Fullerton Police Department? Oh, we fixed that years ago – no, don’t look at that body over there, we have no idea how it got there. You’ll have to sue us to find out!

This crew has burned through tens of millions in reserve funds while its spokeholes on the council Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory lied about balancing the budget.

Ken Domer

Domer. There’s a lot less there than meets the eye.

Good luck, passing this obscentiy, boys n’ girls. The public is hurting badly at the moment and your first recourse was to try to harness us oxen with the yoke of a new and regressive tax. Well, guess what? The yokes on you, City Hall, and you’d better have a Plan B stuffed into one of Domer’s desk drawers if you know what’s good for you.

Ballot Argument Against The New Sales Tax

Leaving Fullerton City hall a lot worse off than she found it…

Pulled from the City of Fullerton’s website, here is the official ballot statement of opposition to the new sales tax proposed by our Mayor-for-hire. Jennifer Fitzgerald. If you think about it the tax proposal is a monumental indictment of the tenure of Fitzgerald and her yes vote, Jan Flory, on the city council. Employee pay raise after pay raise, unbalanced budget after unbalanced budget.

VOTE NO!
Ask yourself: Does the City of Fullerton need even more money from me? If this tax
passes, every time you make a purchase, you will pay 9% sales tax in Fullerton, the
second highest sales tax in Orange County.
The ballot measure title is deceitful. This massive tax increase is not dedicated to fix
Fullerton streets, which are rated the worst in Orange County by OCTA. Rather, the
money would go into the General Fund and could be used for anything.
This 1.25% sales tax increase would be permanent. It is general, not specific, meaning
the City Council could spend this money on salaries and pension benefits for City
Administrators and other City employees.
Over the past decade, Fullerton’s failed leadership spent nearly all revenue increases on
salaries and pension benefits:
Since 2011, sales tax revenue grew by 51%, property tax revenues increased 52%.
Between 2015-16, Council majority approved $19.5 million in pay increases.
Since 2011, the Council raised its two largest department budgets 41% and 55%.
In 2019 alone, according to Transparent California: 146 City of Fullerton employees
received over $200,000 in total compensation, while 51 employees received over
249,000 in total compensation. Fullerton pension recipients collected over $43 million.
The City has already increased water rates by a whopping 29% since June 2019, and is
scheduled to increase rates again by another 11% next July 1st.
The facts are: the City had plenty of money to repair our roads many years ago had it
adopted sensible reforms and reasonable, balanced budgets. Fullerton should already
have smooth streets and water pipes that do not routinely burst.
Vote NO on higher sales taxes!

If You Weren’t So Dumb You’d Know The Right Thing To Do

Accountability? It was never on the agenda.

And so education is the key. To that end our esteemed City Council voted 4-1 last week to pay some sort of “consultant” $129,000 between now and the November election to educate us all about why we need to vote for a new 16% increase in city sales taxes.

That’s right. A few minutes earlier, in the wee small hours, the council voted 4-1 to put a sales tax increase on the ballot. Then they added their little Maraschino cherry right on the top.

The government is not allowed to promote a ballot issue. Of course this prohibition never stopped agencies and school districts in the past. In fact they do it all the time. Wasting $129,000 gives them cover, they believe to promote their shake down. Well, we already know the “educational” pitch:

Lookit all the goodies we will get! Of course we should be getting all this stuff anyhow, if our city government were capable and honest instead of feeble, self-defensive, and in too many instance just corrupt. For years as our reserves were eroded every year Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory and their feel-good choir insisted that the budgets were balanced, projects were well-run, and infrastructure was prioritized. We all knew those were lies and now that we are scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel it’s obvious to even the most oblivious observer.

For years Fitzgerald and company kept pouring money into the “public safety” sack, a move that endeared them to their union supporters but that jacked up payroll and pension costs while delivering zero increase in public safety. Our famous police department continued to nurture illegal behavior in its ranks and the City did its utmost to cover it all up.

Well these worthies have a tough row to hoe given the mood of the public and the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. They’d better have a back-up plan because there’s little chance the electorate is going to want to protect the business-as-usual gang in City Hall. The completely hollow and cynical promise of oversight and audits isn’t going to persuade anybody.

 

Zahra and Silva Think A Pot Shop Next to Your House Is Okay

Last night’s City Council hearing on moving ahead with a marijuana ordinance produced the usual incoherent blather from our distinguished electeds, none of whom seemed to know what they were talking about, and two, in particular, who seemed to have been coached by representatives of the legal pot lobby. Of course we learned that the previous outreach didn’t reach anybody not looking to make a buck in the weed biz.

Somehow in its latest incarnation, staff’s proposed framework for allowing these uses, particularly dispensaries. reduced the “buffer zone” at schools and parks from 1000 feet to only 600, and eliminated the buffer for residential zones altogether. Why? Pretty obviously to increase the opportunities for locating dispensaries.

Councilmembers Zahra and Silva, who gave every appearance of repeating “consultant” talking points expressed concern that workers in these places be unionized and that to proceeds go to kiddie social programs, but they were more interested in increasing parcels available for development than they were about the impacts on residential neighbors. The bumbling Silva in particular made a big deal about having most permissible zoning in order that the burden of hosting these facilities would be shared by rich folks up in the hills, an idiotic pretext since a majority of the council spent a good deal of time extolling the virtues and minimal impacts of licensed shops.

Councilmembers Whitaker, Flory and Fitzgerald indicated their desire for a 1000 foot buffer, and the inclusion of residential use as a “sensitive receptor” requiring a buffer. So good for them. However, Fitzgerald and Whitaker both voted against going forward with more “outreach” and a future ordinance anyhow, meaning that either Zahra, Silva or Flory somebody is going to have to change their support for a residental buffer, ultimately, in a final ordinance. I leave it to the Friends to guess who that might be. On the other hand it’s hard to see how this can make it back to the Council before the election and both Flory and Fitzgerald will be gone, meaning that we may get lucky in Districts 1 and 2 and get a level-headed council majority who can make a decision that isn’t bogged down by fake concern, verbal gas, and union stoogery.

 

Joshua by Spencer

The Cost of Suing Us

Yes, that is the answer!

Fullerton just “separated from employment” 150+ non-union part-time staff. Why? Because despite years of Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s lies about a “Balanced Budget” and our mythical reserve fund – we had no plan for a rainy day.

During meetings, myself, David and others warned the City Council that a downturn was likely in the future and with CalPERS continually raising our pension costs we needed to be smarter financially.

Fitzy & Flory wanted none of that and spent like floozies in Vegas throwing every dollar we had at every uniform in sight with Silva, Chaffee and so on along for the ride.

Now here are we looking at a month of limited tax revenue and 150+ people lost their jobs with the city. 150+ positions aren’t being eliminated – no no no, they’ll tax us more to fill those again later and cry about not being to staff the libraries and parks to justify the new taxes/fees and whatever added costs to us they can cook up along the way. But 150+ people are now wondering how they’ll pay their bills.

But let me drive this home for you some more – the city is suing myself, David and this blog because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links in an account they sent us and told the world about in PRRs. Remember, according to Kimberly Hall Barlow this isn’t about publishing or the 1st Amendment – this is about alleged theft and “hacking” because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links.

In the process of investigating that alleged crime, the city found out that their network (which has fuckall to do with Dropbox) was incompetently setup and they hired an outside firm to fix it. This was the reason they claimed they waited to sue us for months on end – that they had to secure their network – which again has fuckall to do with Dropbox.

Glass Box Discussion

The firm they hired, Glass Box Technology, has a contract with the city for $60k/month not to exceed $500k.

Glass Box Contract

So far, according to the City Council approved Check Register, they’ve paid Glass Box $541,451.25 to date which is $41,451.25 over their “not to exceed” limit.

Glass Box Checks

That’s over half of a million dollars SO FAR because the City found out that they suck at running their own network as a BYPRODUCT of suing us which has nothing to do with what they allege we did. This was an unnecessary expense that has to come out of next year’s General Fund because it’s yet another major cockup for which nobody will be held accountable.

How many of those 150+ people wouldn’t need to be unemployed right now were it not for sheer incompetence in City Hall? Seems that $500k+ would have covered quite a few part timers.

Then we have the expense of our idiotic City Attorneys, Jones & Mayer. Since this nonsense started back in June with their Cease & Desist letters, the city has paid Jones & Mayer $891,074.49. We have no way to know how to split that up or what to attribute to the lawsuit against us because City Hall has a long history of lying about funding and hiding expenses in the wrong accounts. Just because something is coded to the Library, might not mean it has anything to do with the Library.

J&M Checks 2020

But if we assume that just 5% of their work product can be attributed to the lawsuit against us, and considering the reams of paper they keep filing with the courts we know their billable hours are stacking mile high, we can attribute approximately $44,553 to this stupid lawsuit. Seems to me that’s a few more part timers who could still be employed were it not for the malicious lawsuit being pursued by Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra.

We don’t know how much the city has paid their other experts or consultants in their pursuit of the evil “hackers” who allegedly clicked Dropbox links – some with my name on them – but so far we know it’s pushing $500k+.

Where there’s smoke…

Remember this come election time & demand answers from these idiots on council who would rather spend your money, and it is your money, attacking us over their own stupidity than spend it providing the very services they’re elected to oversee in our city.

Shame on Fullerton. Shame on Mayor Fitzgerald. Shame on the City Council for always squandering your money pursuing their egos instead of your best interests. Sure, they’ll blame the need to “separate from employment” those 150+ people on this “global pandemic” – but that’s only because they constantly spend all of your money elsewhere while lying to you about our “balanced budget”.