A Blast From The Past?

We got a hold of an invite to a Harry Sidhu for 4th District Supervisor campaign event. It’s hosted by Curt Pringle and it will cost its well-heeled attendees $500 bucks a pop. Here’s the text:

Dear Supporter:  I have had the great pleasure to work with Harry Sidhu on the Anaheim City Council over the past five years.    As you may know, Harry is planning a run for the 4thDistrict Supervisorial seat.   I am supporting Harry for that election.   Even though these are difficult times, I would very much appreciate if you could support Harry at his upcoming fundraiser at the Anaheim White House, on December 16 at 11:30 AM.    Your participation would mean a lot.  The event charge is $500 per person.   Please consider attending and let me know at your earliest convenience.



 Mayor Curt Pringle


Luncheon Host Committee

George Adams – Adrian Foley – Dr.Howard & Linda Knohl  Pat Mahoney – Jerry Zomorodian – Sandy Day – Ajit Mithwalia John Thomas –Ajesh Patel – Bill Taormina –  Larry Lake Todd Ament –Virg Narbutas – Bill O’Connell –  Hamilton Brewart Derral McGinnis –  Ken Ryan –  CB Nanda  

Cordially invite you to a special fundraising event honoring COUNCILMAN HARRY SIDHU

Republican Candidate ~ Orange County Supervisor, 4th District        

We have already addressed Pringle’s arachnid qualities, so we’ll let that go for now. Of keen interest to Fullertonians will be the name of one of Harry’s benefactors: “Ajit Mithwalia.” Could that really be Ajit Mithaiwala? The Ajit Mithaiwala?

Fort Mithawalla
Fort Mithaiwala

Last spring we detailed the long, sad, and disastrous story of the Fullerton “City Lights” SRO project (two installments of which are here, and here);  a project in which LA developer Ajit Mithaiwala figured prominently, both as the Plan B developer dredged up by Redevelopment director to save the fiasco; as the man who threatened to sue the City for make believe breach of contract; and who then took several years to finish his project.

What Mithaiwala has been doing for the past 10 years is anybody’s guess, but the fact that he might be popping up now is pretty interesting. The fact that he originally received a million bucks from the County for his project and might now be dabbling in County politics is interesting, to say the least.

Of course we could be wrong. Maybe this is just some guy named “Mithwalia.”

Get Rid of The Fair Board

the food wasn't really all that great
the food wasn't really all that great

Here is a very good column we came across today by Barbara Venezia. in light of some of the non-conversations we’ve been having here lately with a Fair Board supporter, we thought we’d share it.

Venezia: OC Fair Board should be removed



Barbara Venezia

[email protected]

 Why isn’t anyone calling for the removal of the current Orange County Fair Board? Doesn’t personal responsibility matter anymore? When you take into consideration the collateral damage they’ve caused with this ridiculous self-serving shell game of buying the fairgrounds, every single one of them should be held accountable, including the two who were not part of the nonprofit shenanigans.

When I asked board member Julie Vandermost why she wasn’t a part of it, she emailed, “It’s a matter of not having enough bandwidth in my schedule.” David Padilla didn’t return my call; rumor has it he wasn’t even asked to participate in the nonprofit. If true, you have to wonder why.

I’m not buying Julie’s clever excuse and David’s non-response speaks volumes. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they were probably the first ones who saw something hinky in this plan. Why didn’t they speak up? Was it because they didn’t want to rock the boat and lose the lucrative perks of being on the Fair Board? Or were they afraid of the blow-back speaking against powerful fellow board members could bring?

Does personal responsibility go out the window if you just keep your mouth shut?

This Fair Board’s questionable behavior should be enough ammunition to explore removal. Let’s not forget they were smack dab in the middle of the Mike Carona trial with board member Debbie Carona. Then there was the whole messy ticket/private dinner scandal that some argued amounted to “gifts of public funds,” perks estimated at approximately $40,000 plus. When this was taken away, tongues wagged that 50 percent of the board considered quitting.

Now Costa Mesa’s setting aside beaucoup bucks to create a plan B, (making a bid to buy the fairgrounds), should plan A, (getting the governor to rescind the sale), not work. This exercise in futility could’ve been avoided had the OC Fair Board done their job and not lobbied for the sale or formed their own nonprofit to buy it.

When is someone going to talk about the elephant in the middle of the room? It appears this board is not looking out for the best interest of the public. Politicians generally hate going after those who fund-raise and have political juice, but what if they’re out of control?

Maybe it’s a task for Supervisor John Moorlach; after all, accountability’s something his office has preached repeatedly. Sure his administration’s taken its lumps as they’ve gone after some sacred political cows like pension reform, but whether you agree with them or not, this group seems fearless. It would make sense for Moorlach and company to lead this charge.

But will he? He’s gearing up for a tough re-election bid. Going after political heavyweights on the Fair Board could cause a rift within his party; then again, being pro-active on this issue could give him a leg up with voters. Wonder if he’s a gambling man?

Costa Mesa, coupled with the OC Board of Supervisors, could accomplish rescinding the sale and requesting new board members. So who’ll have the chutzpah to stand up for personal responsibility? We all should.

Freelance writer Barbara Venezia’s opinion column appears online and in The Current every Friday. Email BV at [email protected]

Amen, Barbara, and thank you for saying what no one in the Republican hierarchy has the courage to say. Clean the Augean Stable at the OC Fair. Even if we have to divert the Santa Ana River to do it!


The Fullerton City Council And It’s Trail of Tears to Nowhere

It's a long wretched journey, but is sure isn't worth it when you get there...
It's a long wretched journey, but it sure isn't worth it when you get there...

We have almost exhausted ourselves relating the long and troubling story of the Poisoned Park, AKA the Union Pacific Park, a perfect case study in local government overreach, squandered millions, and zero accountability from our “very, very good” City Manager or anybody else for that matter.

with a spring in his step...
with a spring in his step...

First the Redevelopment Agency interfered in a private sector transaction; then they unwittingly acquired contaminated property. Then they built a park that nobody but cholos and borrachos used (good thing half of it was fenced off!). Several million bucks later city staff sat on an embarrassing disaster whose magnitude could only be minimized by comparing it to other historical Redevelopment fiascoes.

But now to the point of this post. On Tuesday, the council voted to apply for grant  funds to continue the “trail” westward from Highland, even though they had been informed of a toxic plume under the property. More millions spent on more contaminated property! And still no explanation about the fact that this idiotic “trail” has no provision to take pedestrians, cyclists (or horses, yee haw!) over the at-grade crossings at Highland and Richman; and no coherent vision about how this thing is supposed to function at all.

When the issue of contamination popped up, City Engineer Don Hoppe made some noise about how they had looked into the issue (yeah, sure Don); ever helpful City Attorney Jones suggested that the application be made anyway while some sort of site check up be performed.

Huh? Once again nobody seemed real curious about how the City got stuck with contaminated property (no doubt mistakes were made and hindsight is 20/20). Instead of accountability they seem more more interested in chucking more good money after bad.

Like chickens with their heads left on
Like chickens with their heads left on

And of course it didn’t really seem to bother anybody that the City’s previous efforts on the Union Pacific right-of-way have been a titanic debacle from start to…well, there will probably never be a finish.

Now that's not very good, is it?
Now that's not very good, is it?

The thought process behind the original, ill-conceived acquisition still seems to be driving things along: it’s there, we’re the City, and there is an opportunity to own property, play park designer and trail manager, not to mention playing around with millions of dollars of somebody else’s dough.

Red County Blog Still Kicking Up Dust To Obscure OC Fair Monkey Business

Gas? What gas?
Gas? What gas?

Today Red County blogger Matt Cunningham ran true to form, wasting thousands of keystrokes on another weirdly irrelevant post about the OC Fair, once again failing to even mentioning the fact that Fair Board members met in secret to organize a “Foundation” to buy the Fair; that a few days later they voted to hire a “consultant” to lobby the Governor’s office to include beneficial language to a potential RFP ( paid for by the public); that the so-called consultant (not publicly chosen by the Board), Dick Ackerman, was legally barred from lobbying at the time; that the County Counsel, Nick Chrisos has written a letter to the State Attorney General’s office (a facsimile of which was posted on this site) questioning the above mentioned activities; and that the AG has dumped the business into the lap of OC DA Tony Rackauckas. All pretty interesting stuff, you would think, especially for a blog that’s supposed to be about OC politics.

In his latest post Cunningham claims to be neutral on the sale issue, but nobody is buying that load of horseshit. It’s clear he is up to his old misdirection routine – high-stepping for the OC Repuglicans at their very worst.

Searching Cunningham’s own blog archive reveals that he was himself a proud recipient of Fair Board largess, and that he brushed off the misfeasance of Board members who directed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free food, drink, and tickets to their pals – pals like Mike Carona, and even to small fry like Cunningham himself.

Is this the only reason Mr. Integrity has failed to even make mention of the funny stuff? Probably not given the fact that some GOP high rollers and Central Committee members are part of the backroom cabal that was obviously playing fast and loose with their authority. His man-crush Dick Ackerman is the “consultant” who seems to have been already hard at work getting the enabling language into the AB22, and who was then then hired to lobby Arnold to get preferential conditions into the RFP.

This fine paragon of virtue has based his little career on looking the other way while his buddies were misbehavin,’ but he can’t seem to understand why he is such an object of derision by so many people, and why some folks are just sick and tired of the Repuglican misrule in this County.

I would do a count-up to see how long it is until the Red County actually does an honest post on the Fair saga, but why bother? I already know it’ll never happen.

Is Pam Keller Qualified to Be Mayor?

Yes. At least based on the abilities of those who have preceded her. People like Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, Mike Clesceri, Leland Wilson, etc., etc. Well, you get the point. To use a Harpoon line: a ling cod could do the job.

Yes. I could do that job.
Yes. I could do that job.

Yes, Friends it’s that time of year, when the largely brain-dead city council selects one of their own to preside over their meetings as they habitually rubber stamp what’s put in front of them by their staff. And so we pose the question in our title.

But let’s refine the question to address the idiot woman who showed up with Pam’s Pamette posse last week, and who insisted on framing the issue in gender terms: is Pam Keller qualified to be mayor because simple because she is a woman and it’s her turn? Here the whole thing breaks down into a pathetic little skirmish to see who can produce the stupidest reason for doing something.

If a food fish could do it, so could Pam, we think...
If a food fish could do it, so could Pam, we think...

The Ed Royce/Dick Ackerman team that recently crashed the Ackerwoman dirigible in a Raymond Hills fireball, will no doubt have been working hard behind the scenes to keep Keller out, using the same, brainless argument they always have: Fullerton is Republican so the mayor shoud be too; forget the fact that every RINO Royce and Ackerman have foisted on us in the past 20 years have virtually identical voting records with the handful of Democrats on the council. They probably will work the very two RINOS they have backed in the past – Bankhead and Jones to keep Keller out.

It wasn't pretty when she went down. Oh! The humanity!
It wasn't pretty when she went down. Oh! The humanity!

Counter that with the petulant fulminations of The Yellowing Fullerton Observers and the dopey gal at last meeting’s mike whose only recourse is: it’s her turn (hands clasped in fervent prayer, eyes transfixed on acoustical ceiling)! These alleged innocents proclaim their freedom from nasty political interests but never mention the fact that using the title “mayor” in her campaign propaganda will help Keller get re-elected.

We don't know our cloaca from a hole in the ground.
We don't know our cloaca from a hole in the ground.


Apart from the fact that these cretins generally deserve each other, we will repeat the same thing said elsewhere on these pages: the person who can get two other votes is the one who “deserves” to be mayor.

Bruce Whitaker Sharpens Axe, Eyes Giant Turkey

Redevelopment brand turkey...
If it walks like a turkey and gobbles like a turkey...

Here’s a great youtube clip showing Fullerton Friend and Planning Commissioner Bruce Whitaker argue against the ridiculous Richman housing project that intends to provide enormously subsidized houses to people.

This “project” has waddled and gobbled along for quite some time, the darling of the Redevelopment staff who conceived, concocted, and cajoled this thing, with their specially selected McSpanish “dee-veloper,” of course.

Anyway, watch Bruce W. in action; and be sure to stay tuned for a separate post we will be doing on the lame clownery of Bruce’s fellow planning commissioners who will do almost anything to avoid looking out for the interests of the citizens and residents of Fullerton.

County Counsel Fires Shot Across Fair Board Bow; Will Ackerman Get Hit?

Nothing beats money and influence...
Heh, heh. Nothing beats money and influence...

We’ve been tracking the Sell the Fair (To Us) Movement recently and noted that Dick Ackerman had already admitted to being hired by an insider Board cabal whose intent was to get the State to sell the Fair – to themselves.

A couple days ago word leaked out that the County had gotten into the act, possibly to forestall the sale of the Fair, and to own it themselves.

Attached is a copy of letter sent by the County’s top lawyer, Nick Chrisos, to the local Attorney General representative. You’ll notice that Chrisos spends no time fingering the Board and it’s lobbyist, Dick Ackerman. Chrisos wants the AGs office to open an investigation. Why? Because by the time the Board got around to hiring Ackerman’s law firm on July 29th 2009, to help pull and persuade the RFP, they had already hired them to create their non-profit “Foundation,” with the intent of buying the fair themselves. Apart from the evident open meeting and conflicts of interest, Chrisos wants to know about what public expenditures were made by the Fair Board to hire lawyers to work for the benefit of their own foundation.

POST UPDATE: Click here to download the Chrisos letter.

Gee, this looks awfully official...
Gee, this looks awfully official...
Page 2 - the plot thickens...
Page 2 - the plot thickens...

As they say: hilarity ensued. We’ve been told that the AG tossed the issue into the lap of the OC District Attorney. Why? Because the State AG represents the Fair Board! DA Tony Rackaukas has been signally dilatory in going after criminals who don’t have gang tatoos so we will have to wait to see what, if anything happens.

In the meantime, here are the Fair Board minutes of the meeting in question:

Who's minding the store?
Who's minding the store?
Ah, there's more!
Ah, there's more!
Climax and Denoument?
Climax and Denoument?

Check out the language of the motion: go hire “consultants” (Ackerman) to carry out the intent of the Governor and Legislation. What noble public servants! Let’s not fight it. Let’s work with the State!

But let’s not forget the troublesome little problem that Dick Ackerman himself has admitted: being involved with developing the enabling language in the budget bill in the first place. Whose idea was that? And who paid him for that? Hmm.

It’s very difficult to conceive of a scenario in which Ackerman is not involved in this little cabal right up to his eyeballs. Did he lobby the legislature first, and then the Governor’s office regarding the specifics of the RFP? If he did he broke the law since he hadn’t been out of the Legislature for a full year as State law requires. Ah, those pesky laws! Enforceable? Again that’s up to the DA to determine. We are not encouraged.

On the Agenda: November 17th, 2009

The Fullerton City Council has just released their agenda for November 17, 2009.

Fullerton City Council AgendaLet’s start off with agenda item #8. At a glance it looks like a little book keeping business. Upon closer inspection it appears that the Feds gave the County a grant for the City to purchase 35 tasers. The proposed cost is shown as “None.” I guess training is free?? According to the Chief, each and every patrol officer should have one. I have never seen 35 patrol officers in Fullerton at one time. I think the most patrol officers I have ever seen at one time in Fullerton numbered 7. How about one in each car/bike/motorcycle and a few in the station. Do they need to take the tasers home? And back on the training… According to taser.com, training runs about $395 per person. That doesn’t sound too bad until we remember that we will be paying the patrol officer to sit in a classroom for 6 hours or more rather than patrol the City. Unless there is grant funding to cover the overtime for training, I think the Chief might be mistaken about the proposed costs being “None.” And what about the liability of injury or death which may be less than striking someone with a baton or shooting them with beanbags?

Item #9 is over 100 pages long! From my brief reading it appears to allow the City to take over residential properties to avert abandonment and blight. That sounds a lot like federally subsidized redevelopment without having to declare blight. It’s like a preemptive condemnation. Are we really feeding the machine? This is on the consent calendar as “routine” and is to be lumped together with the tasers and some traffic-related items. The most interesting part is that this agreement will lock us in with Costa Mesa , La Habra , and MHC NSP LLC. Who is MHC NSP LLC? The program cost is shown as $1,369,854. Chump change?

Council is supposed to discuss the appointment process for commissioner. See item #10.

Item #11 is a pay cut for certain personnel. It also pushes the current 2% @ 55 to 2% @ 60. Sounds like a good idea.

Item #12 is the shocker! The City Council is proposing a program whereby they “…may contribute back to the City a portion of their salary.” There is a little more to it than a pay cut. It seems to be voluntary. The Attorney General wrote an opinion on this and noted that State law requires that pay increases begin when an official takes office. The same appears to be true with decreases in pay. So, in an effort to give back a portion of their pay, ±7.5%, they need to pass this resolution. Ok, it gets my vote.

I hope you will take a minute to read the supporting documents which are linked from the posted agenda. If I missed anything, please let us know so we can discuss.

Keep your eyes open for the December 1st meeting. Tentatively scheduled are a few hot-button issues. They include everyone’s favorite, West Coyote Hills, the North Orange County Transportation Partnership MOU, and a public hearing on the landscape ordinance.

Business Ackerwoman and the MWD Board

I know all about water. We fly over a bunch of it on the way to Hawaii!
I know all about water. We fly over a bunch of it on the way to Hawaii!

We have thoroughly and comprehensively debunked the campaign blather about Linda Ackerman being some sort of businesswoman. She’s not, of course. That’s just a lie, and almost as bad as her claim to be living in Fullerton. The sum and substance of her business experience seems to be calling up lobbyists to raise moolah for her husband Dick’s campaigns.

She doesn’t mention that in her resume, of course, because that wouldn’t look too good. Intead she shares the fact that she is on the board of a collection agency. And her campaign propaganda never fails to mention that she sits on the board of the Metropolitan Water District, an appointment no doubt orchestrated by her husband.

But let us reflect upon the MWD, a giant government entity that acts like a public utility but that in reality is an association of governments. We have already shared how Loophole Linda voted for a massive water rate hike last spring (oh no, not a tax, heaven forfend!).  A recent editorial by the San Diego Union Tribune raises questions about the complete lack of leadership at the MWD – leadership the Ackerwoman is pitching as hard as she can. The SDUT notes that during the run -up to the now abandoned pension spike the MWD authorized a $100,000 contract with an operation called Marathon Communications to push the contract through; and a $300,000 contract with Agreement Dynamics to craft an agreement that would fly.

Think of it: $400,000 spent on consultants to create a deal and PR-ram it through. All at the expense of everybody at the end of the shower nozzle. And all wasted. Who agreed to all this? Good question. If the Board didn’t, then why didn’t they? If they did…

Did Ackerman Break State Lobbying Law?

Heh-heh. If it's not done in a backroom it's not a real deal!
Heh-heh. If it's not done in a backroom it's not a real deal!

Acting as an agent for a group of OC Fairboard members that wants to purchase the OC Fairgrounds, Dick Ackerman lobbied to pass legislation last summer that would enable the sale. At least that’s what is being asserted at the OC Progressive blog, here. Apart from the dubious gain to the citizens of the State and Orange County, there is another problem. State law prohibits former Legislators from lobbying in Sacto for a year after they leave office. And Ackerman had only been out of office for six months. Here’s the awkard bit:

87406.  (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Milton Marks Postgovernment Employment Restrictions Act of 1990.
(b) No Member of the Legislature, for a period of one year afterleaving office, shall, for compensation, act as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, any other person by making any formal or informal appearance, or by making any oral or written communication, before the Legislature, any committee or subcommittee thereof, any present Member of the Legislature, or any officer or employee thereof, if the appearance or communication is made for the purpose of influencing legislative action

Hmm. As a law and order Repuglican Dick ought to know better. But maybe this is another one of those pesky rules that the ‘Pugs just like to call “unenforceable” or anti-free speech, or some other nonsense. It’s also worth noting that Ackerman’s clients on the Fair board are now accused of violating open meeting laws in order to orchestrate the insider scam.

Over at the OJ blog the irrepressible Vern Nelson is publicizing a protest meeting in Costa Mesa, and actually gives props to Mike Duvall for opposing the sale. Odd, if true, because you can bet Dick lobbied his political godson hard. Coincidentally, Duvall is now gone, and Ackerman’s wife, Ackerwoman, is running to replace him on a strong ethics platform.

Well, that platform just got another couple of its legs kicked out from under it. And remember, Dick “speaks for his wife.”