29 Jan Council Vacancy Agenda

The following came through from the City Clerk’s office regarding the agenda for tonight’s special meeting:

“Following applicant presentations, City Council will hear public comments regarding filling the City Council vacancy.  After public comments, City Council will deliberate and vote to appoint an applicant to fill the vacancy through December 2020.”


It looks like the cat is out of the bag and this farce can be put to bed. The council is going to appoint somebody and all discussions related to a special election and the integrity of voting rights, transparency and openness is and was just gloss. You can’t claim to be open and transparent when you’ve already decided, without public notification and input, on the council’s decision before the “special meeting” meant to decide the very issue of direction.

Don’t think the council has decided already? Then ask yourself why 2 of 4 council members couldn’t even be bothered to show up to the Neighbors United for Fullerton (NUFF) forum last night? Not one of them was present for the entire event, a whole whopping 2 hours of their precious time was too much to give up for this oh so important open process.

Silva gave an opening statement and Whitaker stayed the longest which is amusing considering he voted for a special election and was the only voice really against this sham. The “public forum” that council directed staff to ask about and that council voted to approve and that NUFF was kind enough to host – was too much of a hassle for our council to attend. Go figure.

NUFF by the way deserves a hearty thank you from the citizens of Fullerton for rearranging their agenda to accommodate this charade. It’s not NUFF’s fault that Fullerton’s council acts like Fullerton’s council. NUFF did a great job all around and I personally thank them.

On a personal note, it was nice to see Josh Newman acting like the man I voted for in 2016 and not the man we recalled from office in 2018. I know he loathes me, which is fine, but you wouldn’t have known it last night which is what mattered.

Back to the travesty of the appointment process – with all of the behind the scenes meetings, deal making and huckstering going on right now it’s anybody’s guess how long it’ll take tonight for the anointed one to finally be appointed.

Should the obvious not happen, the council has a pretty good crop of people if they’re looking to find the least suitable, most mathematically challenged applicant to rubber stamp higher taxes and less accountability for staff. I counted at least 3 people in last night’s beauty pageant who wouldn’t hold anybody accountable or demand fiscal restraint – which really is a hallmark of Fullerton’s electeds.

I’m probably the only person who put in an application who can unite the council – but that’s because they’re united in not wanting me anywhere near that dais. Heck, I’m pretty confident that I wouldn’t want me anywhere near that dais.

As far as beauty pageants go I was the best dressed but we never made it to the swimsuit competition or special talents so that was sad. Maybe tonight will be different. Maybe not.

Will Ahmad Zahra Hold Firm?

AhmadZahra

Back in December, in his first at-bat, Ahmad Zahra surprised me by speaking of the Constitution and transparency whilst simultaneously voting against FitzSilva in their attempt to appoint Jan Flory to Council. Zahra was on fire with gems such as:

“My decision is going to be contingent upon us making sure that the appointment process is fair and open and transparent. So until we can make that decision, I don’t see how we should take votes away from people.

“The question is, is there a fairer and open and more transparent process than voting itself? Can we come up with that? Can we come up with something better than what the Constitution come up with? That is my question for the council. I’m leaving my decision until I hear other council members.”

Tonight we get to find out if Zahra is a man of principle standing by his own talking points at the last meeting or if that was all simply a clever flex to show who has the real authority on this issue in an effort to get his preferred pick onto council.

For those new to the story here’s the gist as I understand it —

Jesus Silva wanted incumbency in 2022 and thus opted to run for the District 3 seat on council.

Council then chose to change the law ON ELECTION DAY in the case Silva beat Sebourn in order to limit the options for voters.

Silva took home the ring on election day and in winning he vacated his at-large seat which runs until 2020.

Then in December the dynamic duo of Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jesus Silva testily complained that they needed Ahmad to go along to get along in order for them to get what they wanted. Zahra didn’t go along which brings us to today.

Tonight we’ll watch as FitzSilva likely tries to lay it on thick and blame Ahmad for the cost of the election should he choose transparency and an election (as he did back in December). This is posturing bollocks but I’m wondering if he’ll stand firm. Both he and our residents need to know that the fault here lies partially with Silva for running, partially with council for changing the city ordinance, ON ELECTION DAY, to facilitate this choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, but really the fault lies with our City Attorney The Other Dick Jones for offering terrible advice and putting us in this situation in the first place. Zahra is blameless here on the issue of cost should he choose openness and transparency by way of a special election.

dick-jones

Prepare for the same shenanigans with FitzSilva promising a fictionally transparent process in this city which is allergic to the very premise of transparency. The same transparency which had Jan Flory meeting with at least 2 (if not 3) current council members and bringing a cabal of people to lobby for her to be appointed without the citizenry any the wiser. THAT type of so-called transparency should be rejected and here’s hoping that Councilman Zahra continues to impress the way he did during at his last at-bat.

Ahmad Zahra 1, FitzSilva 0

AhmadZahra

I was pleasantly surprised at Fullerton’s City Council meeting last night and that rarely happens. I was surprised because Ahmad Zahra stood his ground on the principle of Democracy being the preferred way to settle our current council vacancy caused by Jesus Silva. He withstood Fitzgerald’s venom laced claws and boxed Silva in so much that Silva had to contradict himself by claiming to believe voting is important except, you know, with regards to, uh, the vacancy he created in playing musical chairs.

I had heard going into the meeting that Jan Flory had lobbied 2 if not 3 of the current council members to be appointed to the vacant seat. I had also heard and believed that Fitzgerald and Silva were going to push for an appointment process to get the Flory ball in motion. I also knew, just from historical context, that Whitaker would vote no on that because he and Flory are opposites on most items and he gains nothing by supporting her. I did not know how Zahra would act or vote despite allegedly meeting with and being lobbied by Flory. Owing to Zahra’s campaign and his coziness to people I believe to be ethically challenged I didn’t hold out much hope and assumed he might go along to get along.

Then Zahra showed up to play ball and stomped on my assumptions. (more…)

Is the Flory Rumor True?

FergusonDeadWrong-Flory
Except we do, and our own budgets prove it.

Rumor has it that former councilwoman Jan Flory is lobbying to become the appointee to our City Council tonight and has already secured both Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jesus Silva’s votes. This is the same Jan Flory who voted, with Jennifer Fitzgerald and Doug Chaffee, on multiple unbalanced budgets and who helped lead us into our structural deficit. The same Jan Flory who puts City Staff above the very citizens they’re supposed to work for and represent.

Want to know why our roads suck so bad? Blame Jan Flory and her cohorts who think bureaucracy is the true heart of Fullerton. Want to know why Downtown is such a train-wreck? Yeaup. Same cabal of incompetence.

If the council votes to appoint somebody the voting members will own every vote put forward by the new council member. In effect, if they vote for somebody like Jan Flory, who helped sink our budget for years, they will be responsible for both their own votes on the budget (and similar items) as well as hers.

Appointing somebody is bad. Letting Jesus Silva vote on an appointment to the very seat he himself vacated is worse. Having council vote to give themselves the bulletproof majority needed to walk all over the people of Fullerton is downright despicable.

The people should really have a say who in represents them and voting to appoint somebody, especially somebody who will raise our taxes, is the essence of being anti-democratic. Our republic was literally founded against the premise of taxation without representation.

A New Council Member on Tuesday?

18Dec2018 Council Meeting

The agenda is online (HERE) for next Tuesday’s council meeting and the one major item of note, item #3, is the possible appointment of a council member to fill out the remainder of Jesus Silva’s abandoned at-large seat.

Item 3 States:

3. On December 4, 2018, Council Member Silva was sworn in as the District 3 City Council Member. This created a mid-term vacancy in Council Member Silva’s prior at-large City Council seat which expires in December 2020 and requires the City Council to consider the legally available alternatives for filling the vacancy.
Recommendation by the City Clerk’s Office:
  1. Appoint a qualified individual to the fill the vacancy through the remainder of the term, either through direct appointment or following a process for applications and / or interviews and / or other steps as determined by City Council.

  2. Direct Staff to prepare resolutions to call a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term for consideration at the next City Council meeting.

  3. Continue discussion to the January 15, 2019 City Council meeting.

This agenda item, according to City Manager Domer, was written intentionally vaguely so that council can do whatever they want on Tuesday. If they want to just appoint somebody on Tuesday, solidifying the premise that they’ve already been wheeling and dealing behind closed doors, then they can appoint whomever they want. If they want to take a different path, such as an election, they can direct staff to start that process as well.

This item will be somewhat fun to watch because of how it played out up to this point. It only matters because Silva beat Sebourn. As for the ability to appoint a crony to fill out Silva’s seat, that was passed 3-1-1 with 2 (R)s swinging into the Yes column on 16 October 2018 and again 3-1-1 with Fitzgerald ($R), Whitaker (R) and Silva (D) voting for this move on 06 November (election day) 2018.

Direct Appoint Council Vote

If another liberal (D) ends up on council after Tuesday, the (R)s in Fullerton will have nobody to blame but their own council majority. A council majority that this vote could cost them.

UPDATED: Corrected the 06 November vote. A previous version claimed it was 5-0 when it was the same 3-1-1 as the 16 Oct meeting.

A New-ish Council This Way Comes

Backroom-Deal

Tonight Doug Chaffee and Greg Sebourn leave the Fullerton City Council and Ahmad Zahra gets sworn in to be the first to represent District 5 on the dais. This wouldn’t be Fullerton if that’s all that was happening tonight – a simple transition of (some) power – but true to form our current Mayor (for a few more hours), Doug Chaffee, opted to ram a pet project down the council’s throat one last time. An unsolicited bid to turn the parking lot used for Train Days into a “boutique” hotel without the pesky bother of worrying about competition or opening a bid process. He wants this to happen now, NOW, NOW! because… reasons. It’s such a great idea that Chaffee doesn’t trust the council to pick it up without him which means he either thinks they’re too stupid to know a good thing when they see it or it’s not… wait for it… a good thing.

Ah the smell of cronyism.

While we’ll eventually get to say goodbye to a few members and add Ahmad which should be the only focus tonight, first we have to see if Jesus has been bought off and has changed his tune on competition. A tune that he sung only 2 weeks ago, mind you.

After that first crony, I mean agenda, item has been dealt with the council will move on to the actual (partial) transition of power.

For those not keeping track here’s what will happen tonight:

Jesus Silva moves from at-large to the District 3 representative. This will leave his at-large seat open until council decides to fill it or holds a special election.

Bruce Whitaker and Jennifer Fitzgerald will stay status quo.

After tonight we’ll also have a new Mayor (likely Silva) and a new Mayor Pro-Tem (likely Fitzgerald). As for the empty seat – don’t forget to comment on who you think will be the appointed council member in our Wheel of Replacement Candidates thread.

We doubt there will be any surprises tonight but we’ll keep you posted as always friends.