Posted without further comment.
When he’s not lecturing us on ethics, Fullerton City Councilman Ahmad Zahra climbs down from his high horse to participate in all sorts of activities that don’t seem very ethical at all.
We have seen how he became embroiled in a battery and vandalism case in which he had the record permanently sealed. He claims exoneration but word has escaped the DAs office that Zahra pleaded guilty, did community service had had his record expunged.
We have also seen how Zahra claimed authorship of Water District-related articles actually ghost-written by a district bureaucrat; and how he tried to leverage this pseudo-expertise to keep his well-compensated seat on that board.
Then there’s the about-face Zahra played on the suckers of Fullerton when he announced that the open seat on the Council should be decided by a vote, and then promptly voted to appoint Jan Flory to the vacancy at the behest of Jennifer Fitzgerald.
And that last bit is what this story is about. The deal that Zahra cut with Fitzgerald to appoint Flory and get himself appointed to the lucrative Orange County Water District Board, a board that pays stipends for all sorts of meetings and sub-committee meetings.
Check this out:
And did Zahra have a role in this little handout? Was this a little payback for getting appointed in the first place? These sorts of little deals happen in OC political/government circles all the time. It’s all just easy government cheese. Maybe Zahra will be forthcoming about what this was all about. Maybe, but don’t count on it.
Some folks might think that continuing conversation about Jesus Quirk-Silva’s and Ahmad Zahra’s aquaponic farm/event center scheme would be like smacking a dead mackerel.
Well, here at FFFF we believe it’s never a bad idea to remind the public of hare-brained proposals made by bureaucrats and supported by bobble-headed politicians.
So to recap: last spring the Fullerton City Council deliberated on a scheme to create an aquaponic farm on the site of the abandoned Union Pacific Park site. The problem was that the exclusive negotiating deal was with a guy who had no financial wherewithal and proposed an event center on the site – just like he had done in Anaheim and Aliso Viejo. Staff even dredged up a last minute “partner” to sell the deal. The idea was rejected, but not for lack of trying.
And we have just received word from down south in Aliso Viejo about the negative impacts of an identical operation there, Renewable Farms, run by the same people.
Let’s hear from a MV resident to a concerned Fullerton resident:
My name is Dena LeCave and I am a resident of Aliso Viejo. While looking into information and press on Renewable Farms I came across a story from the Fullerton Observer regarding the aforementioned. I wish to congratulate you on terminating your contract with Renewable Farms. As a long time resident of the city of Aliso Viejo, 20+ years, I am astonished and horrified by what our city council has allowed to happen to my community, neighborhood and particularly our quality of life since Renewable Farms started hosting wedding receptions on the vacant land behind our home. We live less than 50 yards from the event center for Renewable Farms and they host weddings every single Saturday night and have been doing so since May. The noise, lights, music and constant yelling goes on for 7+ hours.
The city has done little to alleviate the problem and has instead hamstringed us by making these events private by the City, meaning we have almost no recourse in getting them to quiet down.
I do not wish to take up your time, I’m sure you’re quite busy, but if you would like to further discuss our situation you may email me back or call me.
Thank you, and have a good day.
Ms. Le Cave’s words have the ring of truth, all right, and they certainly would have applied to the proposal in Fullerton – problems that show the complete lack of concern, disdain even, that our staff shows for this neighborhood. And then of course there was the attitude shown by Quirk-Silva and Zahra about the residents who would have suffered the negative impacts of this proposal, without so much as a by-your-leave. Their current concern over public input on the park site is extremely recent and undisputedly hypocritical.
And of course the deal would have illegally converted a public park into a private, fenced and gated place to hold events, and incidentally an aquaponic facility, effectively giving away parkland – something our City Attorney Dick Jones just got caught approving in Westminster. Of course there was no parking, no business plan and nothing but a site plan to recommend it to the Council, so naturally Quirk-Silva and Zahra latched on to it like a couple of lamprey eels.
We here at FFFF have never thought of Jesus Quirk Silva as a very bright fellow, but he seems to have learned at least one thing on the Fullerton City Council. And that lesson came courtesy of former councilwoman-for-hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald.
That lesson is simple: it’s more fun to try to peddle influence based on your elected position than it is to hold down a day job.
And so Mr. Quirk Silva has embarked on a new potential career path – away from teaching multiplication to slack-jawed pre-pubescents, and into the exiting realm of lobbying local governments.
Quirk Silva’s “employer” is Adan Ortega, of Ortega Associates, who you may remember as the desperate Fullerton MWD director who was replaced by Fred Jung, and who then tried to get appointed as a representative from the city of San Fernando.
I fully expect Quirk-Silva to attempt to follow in the footsteps of Fitzgerald, although he can barely utter a coherent sentence.
Now why does any of this matter, really? Because government ought to be about governing, not about being a bagman between special interests, other lobbyists, developers, and your colleagues on local boards and councils.
As a Fullerton Councilman, Quirk Silva doesn’t have that much juice, but he could be pulled and persuaded very easily. More importantly, his wife, Sharon Quirk Silva, is a state Assemblywoman, and as such actually does command respect for how she might be able to move something along in Sacramento.
And now back to Ortega. FFFF sources have indicated that he was attempting to break into the legalized marijuana biz here in Fullerton as a lobbyist, but got caught up in the interminable incompetence of the last city council, and the reluctance of the new council to go down the happy MJ trail. The same sources suggest that a cartel of cannabis interests from Long Beach is still very interested in reviving the issue in Fullerton.
The Jesus has been a long-time, big-time cheerleader for legalized dispensaries in Fullerton, so there are several loose strings as yet not quite tied together.
When they are, FFFF will be sure to let you know.
In case you weren’t paying attention (and care), our beloved County Board of Supervisors approved a new district map this week.
All sorts of fun and games took place to get this little self-serving project done, and all sorts of political angles were contemplated, no doubt. Central county actually got a new district number altogether, while other districts morphed to suit the tastes of our political lords and masters. Here’s the map:
Community Pride and Forward Vision identifies Stanton as a place where innovation and pride in the community are an important aspect of life. Residents enjoy major retail opportunities, active civic volunteers and business-friendly City organizations.
I wonder if there are going to be any legal challenges to this map. It has flaws. The idea of putting Mission Viejo in the same district as Yorba Linda seems absurd. Costa Mesa is now in District 5, but it’s a damn long haul from South Coast Plaza to the real south coast at San Clemente. Irvine is divided between districts and so are Garden Grove and Orange; Anaheim is split into 3 separate district pieces. Buena Park and Fountain Valley are reunited.
But any real legal challenge would have to come from injured “communities of interest,” which means aggrieved minority groups, mainly. District 2 looks suspiciously like a “packed” Latino enclave, but this would probably be to the liking of residents there who will finally get a non-Vietnamese-American Supervisor.
In our 4th District we can be sure his minions were weighing the likelihood of potential challengers to Chaffee. There are none in either Stanton or Buena Park. Losing southeast Anaheim was no political loss.
So it remains to be seen if anybody in north Orange County is willing to take on an incumbent Democrat – no matter how vulnerable (and useless) he is.
It seems so. Fullerton’s boys in blue sent out a text the other day that looked like this:
The outright lies pile up so fast you’d need wings to stay above the bullshit. Nobody is defunding the police and nobody has suggested doing so – even with the FPDs atrocious record of incompetence, misfeasance, abuse, criminality and oh yeah, sucking up half our budget. In Fullerton the Culture of Corruption gets what it wants. Always had.
The “enough is enough” line is funny, as is the “HELP SAFE FULLERTON NOW.” Maybe the cops can get their money back from whatever idiot wrote that bit of GED illiteracy. Comedy aside, the piece is just a compilation of outright lies.
- Fullerton is not overwhelmed by violent crime, especially when you subtract the crime perpetrated by union members themselves.
- Whitaker and Dunlap have never attempted to defund the police and has never suggested such a thing. That’s far left stuff that you’d expect to hear from SIlva or more likely Zahra – wanting to appease crazy supporters.
- No one is suggesting “additional cuts” to public safety, which is impossible anyhow, because there haven’t been any cuts in the first place.
So what is the purpose of this nonsense? The cop union leadership has never been very bright, relying on bullying rather than strategy, although to them bullying is a strategy. What is the point attacking Whitaker and Dunlap, who aren’t up for re-election for 3 years?
They could be floating these trial balloons to see if they could instigate a recall. But Dunlap could easily beat that and Whitaker could beat it too without some sort of provocation. Or is this some sort of shot across the bow for Fred Jung, the man in the middle of recent budget wrangles? But, Jung isn’t up for re-election next year either, so that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Maybe the cop union just wants to throw its weight around to remind people that they are still around and collecting members’ dues.
So I’m watching the council meeting on Tuesday and at one point listened in disbelief as Ahmad Zahra lectured his colleagues about their unethical activity. I don’t know what he thought he could get people to believe was unethical, but that’s not the point.
The point is that this petulant, preening, prissy popinjay would have the nerve to refer to somebody else as unethical, is quite remarkable.
We have been following the career of Mr. Zahra on this blog and the only thing he seems to be any good at is self-promotion to the gullible – in the same sort of way Pam Keller used to before being exposed by FFFF in 2010
Well, okay, being a prima donna and a camera hound isn’t exactly unethical – just annoying. But then there was the instance we caught him publishing under his own name water articles in the incurious Fullerton Observer that were actually written by some Water District staffer. He even got former Councilwoman Jan Flory to promote his bona fides as a water expert (or something) under the cover of that lie. Zahra may think this plagiarism and prevarication are just the prerogative of an elected, but boy is he wrong.
Let’s not forget his convenient claim that he was a “fan” of settling the City’s vindictive, expensive and humiliating lawsuit against FFFF & Co. No, that’s a lie, too. Along with Quirk-Silva he dug in his heels because he wanted to avoid personal humiliation by Joshua Ferguson and FFFF. What the Hell. It wasn’t his money that was wasted in the huge settlement.
And then there’s the case of the Disappearing Battery and Vandalism Case, in which Zahra was tuned up by his own cops and charged by the District Attorney. The case vanished and Zahra made a public declamation of his alleged “exoneration.” But word soon leaked out that he wasn’t exonerated at all; but, rather that he pled guilty, did some sort of community service, and had his record expunged. What’s the truth? I’m not sure, but I know one thing: if the case against Zahra were truly dropped he would have shared some evidence of that.
No, Ahmad Zahra is not one to cast stones of aspersion about unethical behavior at anybody. His glass house won’t stand it. Spouting liberal clichés and pretending to care about anything except yourself will only work for so long. 2022 is an election year for Zahra. And if he thinks pouting and pontificating and drumming up Astroturf support at council meetings by women pretending they can’t speak English will keep him on the city council, he has another think coming.
Starring former Fullerton City Manager, Joe Burt Felz who got drunk on Election Night 2016, drove over a tree, and tried to escape from his own cops. There is something sort of pathetic about Felz, errand boy and water bearer for Jennifer Fitzgerald, saying over and over that his turn blinker wasn’t working and how he became befuddled, until one of his own policemen tells him to stop yammering about it.
As one of the cops said: “it’s the Chief’s call.” Subsequently Chief Danny “Gallahad” Hughes lied to the Council about the affair even as Felz tried to quietly pay for the tree and move on.
The City of Fullerton tried for years to keep this under wraps because it implicated our MADD rewarded police themselves in incompetent and illegal activity. FFFF sued the City to get the videos, and in retribution two bloggers were personally sued by the City for legal activity, a lawsuit that cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands and that finally exonerated David Curlee and Joshua Ferguson.
After a night of election celebrating, former Fullerton City Manager, Joe Felz, drove home drunk as the proverbial skunk, ran off the road and over a tree, then tried to drive off before being apprehended by his own cops.
The ensuing cover up cost a cop his job, gave the FPD yet another black eye, and eventually entangled the City in a losing a retaliatory lawsuit against FFFF and bloggers Joshua Ferguson, David Curlee.
Partial videos have finally been released, although the dash cam videos have not. Of course this is not a surprising omission given that the cop in charge at the scene -Sergeant Corbett – did his level best to obscure images the still-inebriated Felz; the dash cams would undoubtedly show the the not-too flattering images of Felz hit-and-run and his comical attempt to escape the long arm of the law.
So I’m watching the Fullerton City Council meeting the other night and a funny thing happened. There was actually a real discussion and no Brown Act violation bullshit.
“What’s that, Joe?,” I can hear you asking.
Apparently the age of miracles is not over, for our council actually staked out their positions and made lots of motions, seconds and votes. At issue was how to make budget reconciliations and how to spend all the Biden Bucks coming our way. And no motion got three votes.
Naturally, the dumbasses Zahra and Quirk-Silva decided that no more staff cuts were in order; spouting public employee union talking points. Whitaker and Dunlap proposed various budget reduction amounts. Fred Jung held out for a lower percentage of reductions and wouldn’t budge.
So the issue went ’round and ’round, until Whitaker gave up, and as Mayor, moved the meeting on, discussion to be continued.
It was actually enjoyable to watch this sausage in the making even though in the end there was no casing to cram it into. And it will be more interesting to see how an accommodation between Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker will be made. Maybe it will even be made in public.