The Fullerton DUI Machine. An Essay

Fullerton Mayor Greg Sebourn, third from left, with Fullerton PD officers being honored for their contribution in getting drunk drivers off the road. FPD officers include Miguel Siliceo, left, Corporal Ryan Warner, Mayor Sebourn, Lt. Mike Chlebowski, Cary Tong, Jonathan Munoz and Timothy Gibert.
Fantastically overpriced taxpayer funded photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The constant public glorification by the city government of the Fullerton cops who hand out the most DUI citations has become parody worthy: public awards ceremonies at council meetings, plaques, gushing adulation from representatives of MADD. And of course there are the saccharine and witless write-ups in the taxpayer funded cop PR outlet Behind the Badge.

It’s really pretty amusing, all that self-congratulation. But when it comes to the issue of how come the FPD didn’t arrest Joe Felz for DUI in the early morning of November 9, 2016, all we hear are the proverbial crickets from  Bill Rams and Lou Ponsi. Instead of arresting Felz, they deliberately refused to collect evidence, drove him home, and tucked him into bed. And that’s not amusing at all. That’s obstruction of justice – a felony – and absolute proof that there are two sets of rules – rules for the cops, and the rules by which they are only too happy to arrest citizens. It’s obvious that this big Fullerton DUI-fest has nothing, or very little to do, really, with public safety

What does it all mean? I think I figured it out. Arresting DUI suspects is comparatively easy. And the results are fun to trot out at council meetings. Since downtown Fullerton has all sorts of bars with lots and lots drunks the game is even easier. But does anybody propose curtailing the culture of booze, barf, and binge? Of course not. Arresting drunk drivers is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s easy.

It’s profitable to provide the liquor to get the losers get drunk, and it’s profitable for the cops to haul ’em in. Except when it’s one of their own. Or the City Manager.

It’s also an excellent distraction from all the bad news generated by bad behaving Fullerton cops, including, ironically, many who have been publicly honored for their DUI heroics. It sure seems like the celebrations of DUI arrests have risen parallel to the numbers of Fullerton cops identified for their own lawlessness.

Being a good cop is really hard, supposedly. At least that’s what Behind the Badge and all the police apologists keep telling us. So let’s talk about other sorts of crime – apart from the barrel fish, that is.

How many crimes does the FPD halt or reduce? How many crimes does the FPD prevent? Who knows?  More easily quantified: how many legitimate crimes (not “resisting arrest,” sorry boys)  are actually solved? How come the FPD never publishes such statistics? I am much more interested in a statistical analysis of the FPD’s success in solving crimes than I am in the number of drunks they pull over. But we never ever hear about that. Why not? As we pay out ever greater salaries and benefits to cops whose jobs are getting demonstrably safer, is there any indication that these extravagant increases are getting us anything other than a bigger unfunded pension liability?

Honored by MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) for their efforts in getting drunk drivers off the road are Fullerton PD Officers Cary Tong, left, Timothy Gibert, Jonathan Munoz, Corporal Ryan Warner and Officer Miguel Siliceo.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC
*** Officer Siliceo’s name on the plaque is misspelled as Sihiceo. ***

Please review the picture of Fullerton’s DUI Heroes, above. You may recognize some familiar faces. On the left, Cary Tong. Second from left, Timothy Gibert.  Over there on the right, Miguel “Sonny Black” Siliceo. 

Famous Miguel “Sonny Black” Siliceo and his good pal, on-duty sex perv “Officer” Albert Rincon enjoying downtown hospitality. Hat courtesy of Roscoe’s Famous Deli and Bar.

The parade of DUI dog and pony shows at council meetings will no doubt continue. Of course the next one will be acutely embarrassing for the cops, and for people like Jennifer Fitzgerald and Doug “Bud” Chaffee – unswerving loyalists of the FPD Culture of Corruption; and embarrassing even for Bruce Whitaker, no friend of bad cops, but who seemingly lacks the courage to confront the issue of the taxpayer funded Behind the Badge, as it peddles its bullshit in the face of embarrassing reality.

The Torpedo

There is an old saying: “it’s the least I can do.”

And once in a while you get to see the least someone can really do without doing anything at all.

At the last “budget workshop” (cue: a sales tax is coming music), David Curlee brought up the idiocy of the worthless and mismanaged “Behind the Badge” contract – a 50 Grand per year repository of feel-good stories about our police department’s tender employees who, apparently, would rather be well-thought of for anything besides honest police work.

At this prompting, our mayor, Bruce Whitaker raised the issue – where, right on cue, it was peremptorily shot down by our $100 per hour Interim City Manager, Alan Roeder, as chump change that fell into the sofa cushions and isn’t worth digging around for. He warns Whitaker about “obsessing” over such loose change.

And there the matter seems to have died.

Of course if Whitaker had done his job in the first place and agendized the issue as a stand alone item at a regular meeting, this dismissive bullshit could not have occurred. The Behind the Badge embarrassment could not have been written off as an irrelevant, small-picture nothing instead of what it is – a blatant rip-off of the taxpayers that has run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past four years.

And consider this question: how many other loose change contracts, approved by no one other that Wild Ride Joe Felz, are still out there accomplishing nothing? And did any of our council stalwarts bother to make Roeder explain exactly what the monetary level of significance is before he will deign to consider it? We know it’s not $50,000 a year. Is it $100,000? $500,000? A million? Of course not.

Total leadership failure. The litmus test is done. Now we know why Roeder was hired in the first place:

He’s the Tax Man.

It Was the Fullerton Hunger Games

And the Odds Were Not in District Three’s Favor

Do not be fooled; Fullerton had it’s first Quarter Quell on Tuesday and Councilman Greg Sebourn was put up as Tribute and didn’t make it out of the games alive. Somewhere a canon is being fired in his honor.

The vote was all about self-interest and gerrymandering and anybody who says otherwise is either lying to you or is too dishonest with themselves to know the truth. I’ll explain quickly.

The city never really gamed this out or explored any options legal or otherwise. I had asked, several times, if the city could require sitting At-Large Council members to resign their At-Large seat to run in for a District Seat and the response I got was “We don’t know if that’s legal”. Gee, if only we had a lawyer in the room during Council to answer these things or research them.

I also inquired if it could be made random in order to take the horse-trading and politics out of the equation and again crickets. All of this means that the city never gamed these basic scenarios out.

To make matters worse we had no study-session or talks about how this would play out post-election. The election happened, with a gerrymandered council approved map, and voila they voted on who got to stay and who got to go.

The real meat about this crap is that it was all race based if you read the complaints and lawsuits that got us here. There hadn’t been an Asian on council since X-Date or a Hispanic since X-Date and thus we got sued and the council settled. So the Council voted to put up District 5 under the guise of giving the Hispanic vote a voice. District 3 means that the likely scenario is that the Hispanic vote will have 2 voices on Council while the Asian vote will have none until 2020 when somebody can run for Fitzgerald’s seat only to have the District Map change in 2022 after the 2020 census. It played out this way because apparently;

  1. Jesus Silva is not Hispanic?
  2. Silva living 2 blocks from District 5 is too far for him to understand that district’s “unique voice”?
  3. The Asian vote doesn’t matter as much as protecting Fitzgerald?
  4. Oh and Sebourn gets the bum’s rush owing to reasons Whitaker has yet to articulate publicly.

I’ll admit that I don’t like the way Sebourn votes on a lot of issues. Further I think Fitzgerald is the worst kind of tax-and-spend bankruptcy-inducing fiscally irresponsible politician the GOP can muster and that’s saying a lot. However — at least with the GOP you get the theory of a sliver of a chance of maybe some fiscal sanity. With the next few years of belt-tightening, thanks to the greed of public safety and the insanity of CalPERS, we’re going to require more budget allies and not fewer. Throwing 1/2 of our current 3-2 fiscally responsible minority out with the bath-water in the hopes that 2018 will maybe, possibly, hopefully and somehow see some balance seems foolhardy to me.

I still contend that the map should have been chosen randomly but I prefer governmental honesty to political expedience and crony gamesmanship.

Now going forward should a Republican decide to run in 2020 against Silva I can only offer one bit of advice:

Irony: Sebourn Pays Price For Booze Peddlers’ Map

And then the self-congratulation came to an end…

UPDATE: As Mr. Fullerton Rag correctly points out Jesus Silva is not up for re-election in 2018. He was elected to a 4 year term last fall. If District 3 were on the ballot in 2018 then Silva would have to resign his current seat (and term) to run in 3 as a non-incumbent or he would have to move to a different district to keep his job in 2020. I think I have that right.

Mr. P.

Councilman Greg Sebourn lives no where near Councilman Jesus Silva. And yet thanks to the gerrymandered district map cooked up by the downtown bar owners to dilute a single voting block downtown the two find themselves both in District 3. And that’s because the map was approved by the City Council – including Greg Sebourn.

So what’s the problem? Sebourn is up for reelection in 2018 and Silva just got elected. If District 3 were chosen as a district open for elections next year then Sebourn could run against Silva as an incumbent. But if District 3 were not up in 2018 then Sebourn would have to move to a district that was in order to keep his job.

Drum roll: in a 3-2 vote last night the council decided that District 2 (where Doug “Bud” Chaffee resides) and District 5 (where no council persons currently live) would be up for election in 2018. Chaffee and Silva were joined by Bruce Whitaker in this strategy. So Sebourn has no place to sit when the music stops in 2018.

Why? C’mon, spill it.

Since this vote will be seen as deliberately undermining a fellow Republican and erstwhile ally, Whitaker’s got some explaining to do. Was this a quid pro quo for Jesus Silva’s unusual support of Whitaker to retake his place on the OC Water District Board? That’s what some cynical folks around town are saying, and the suspicion fits the facts.

Personally, I’ll be glad to get rid of Sebourn, who, frankly just isn’t very smart and isn’t very principled. And that’s a bad combination. Since his election in the 2012 Recall he has been an almost complete disappointment, trying to please everybody and in the end making no one happy.

Where’s Whitaker?

 

Lost in plain sight…
FFFF has been busy detailing the ridiculous waste of public money that is poured into a PR outlet pretending journalism called Behind the Badge. This on-line enterprise provides happy, pro-cop stories that are meant to put the police in a good light by sharing feel good stories of philanthropy, charity, empathy, blah, blah blah. The editor, Bill Rams, says his business is necessary because the innocent and naive cops are just so doggone rotten at tooting their own horns. So we pay to have our own force shoved back at us as veritable paragons of virtue. Is there a single person in Fullerton taken in by this claptrap?

Anyway, a few weeks ago I posted a letter that had been sent to our mayor, Bruce Whitaker, about the Back the Badge contract, an irresponsible, staff-driven, no-bid, fixed-fee arrangement that has no intelligible scope of work, no way to measure effectiveness, and the management of which had been badly bungled by former City Manager Wild Ride Joe Felz.

Could greatness be thrust upon him?
Well, two City Council meetings have passed and nothing has been agendized by our mayor to discuss this $4000 per month mess, a waste made particularly acute by last week’s doom-and-gloom budget forecast. Does Mr. Whitaker condone this insulting $50,000 a year boondoggle while Fullerton’s ship keeps taking on oceans of red ink? How does he condone not even talking about it? I don’t know, but maybe somebody will go to the next meeting and ask him.

The Enduring Legacy of Manny Ramos, Danny Hughes, and the Culture of Corruption

 

The gift that keeps giving…

Okay, Friends, here’s a blast from the past.

Back on the first day of summer in 2011 Fullerton cop Manny Ramos allegedly roughed up a handicapped dude in an Albertsons parking lot and threw him into the Fullerton clink. Mark Edwin Walker was charged with all sorts of nastiness like resisting arrest and public intoxication.

Manny’s badge of honor awaits a band aid.

FFFF wrote about this back in 2012. We noted that the phony charges dreamed up by the supremely fat and lazy Ramos were thrown out by a judge. Ramos was lucky. He didn’t even have to commit perjury (like several of his colleagues have done) to back up his story.

And now, our perusal of recent City settlements shows that Walker got paid $20,000 in nuisance money – given the happy fact that twisted cops in OC can pretty much do any goddamn thing they want with impunity.

Ya see, it’s all about perception. That’s why I hired a PR guy…and always pose in front of a flag.

Of course 20 grand is chump change and the Fullerton taxpayers are a lot luckier than they deserve to be, if you think about it. Unfortunately, the real cost to Fullerton happened a few weeks later when Ramos harassed, intimidated and instigated the activity that led to the death of Kelly Thomas. That one was caught on video and cost $5,900,000 (if you don’t count hundreds of thousand in legal fees). And who was in charge of the walrus with the bad attitude, and who later insisted that those of us who observed a Culture of Corruption in the FPD were misinformed? Why none other than former PoChief Danny “Gallahad” Hughes.

 

Walker v Fullerton Complaint

Walker settlement agreement

Young Kim Wants to Be Your Supervisor

No there, there…

The other day our old Friend, The Desert Rat, wrote a post about a Bruce Whitaker vs. Jennifer Fitzgerald county supervisor contest in 2018. Our commenter Fullerton Rag pointed out the presence of Young Kim, recently failed State Assembly incumbent. Sure enough, looks like this Ed Royce (R- Chickenhawk Coop) acolyte is running. And she is wasting no time – the primary election is still 16 months away.

 

Grab it and greedily consume it as fast as you can…

This means that our lobbyist-councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, another of Ed Royce’s political progeny is most likely out, voluntarily or otherwise. We’ll have to wait on that.

Meantime we have the spectacle of another unqualified Republican pursuing the “Asian female” formula at the County level. Kim knows as little about county government as she did about running the State of California, although in politics ignorance about governance is no longer held as any sort of impediment.

 

Whitaker Wants to Hear More From You; Bored, Tired, Cranky Fitzgerald Wants to Hear Less

Watch as Mayor Bruce Whitaker restores the public’s full speaking time. Following in Jan Flory’s footsteps, Jennifer Fitzgerald puts her disdain for the public on full display. Councilman Silva shows a healthy attitude about hearing from the public and staying up late from time to time: “It’s what we do.”

When lobbyist Fitzgerald began her mayoral term last year, she cut public speaking time to 3 minutes. Of course she gave out-of-town developers all the time in the world.

4th District County Supervisor 2018 Edition

Out here on Screech Owl Road we stay informed, distantly, of the doings in humble Fullerton, a place of constant interest and amusement value. When the dust storms and tortoise races grow tedious we often turn our attention to your town.

And one genre that never bores, are the stories of political ambition and the small-time politicians with big dreams – for themselves, mostly.

Peel off a layer and you’ll find the same thing…

Is it really too early for you Fullertonions to start thinking about who represents you as County Supervisor in 2018? The campaign process normally starts at the end summer before the election and that is about six months away. On the other hand two Fullerton characters may play a part in that campaign so why not indulge in some early speculation?

Soon to be a memory…

The current incumbent is former Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson, who is ending a second completely lackluster term, in which County watchers could hardly distinguish a difference from his sleepy predecessor, Chris Norby, except that the casual corruption at the County and the downright wackiness have gotten even worse. He’s termed-out in 2018.

The talk is that both Bruce Whitaker and Jennifer Fitzgerald both have their eye on the job even though they’ve just been re-elected to their current positions in Fullerton. Oh well, political ambition trumps loyalty to the electorate every time, right?

A candidacy that splits the Fullerton electorate could leave the door open for a an Anaheim candidate with a decent reputation to join the fray. Who that might be remains to be seen.

Speaking of reputations, as to their records, Whitaker and Fitzgerald are quite similar, except that Whitaker has promoted accountability from the Fullerton Police Department, and stood on the right side of the Kelly Thomas murder, where of course Fitzgerald and her ilk were no-shows. The cop union supported Fitzgerald, and she has done her best to cover-up and protect the Culture of Corruption – while actually having the nerve to credit former Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes for “reforming” something or other. Whitaker has also been on the right side of the ongoing red-ink budgets that Fitzgerald brazenly lied about to the voters. And he tried to establish an audit committee to keep the bureaucrats on the up and up.

What, me worry?

Unfortunately for Whitaker, there are many points of convergence, voting and performance-wise, with Fitzgerald. There is the massive and rampant overdevelopment of Fullerton; the creation of the phony language of the Coyote Hills plebescite and then the fighting of the successful referendum; there is the the absolutely horrible dereliction of duty by supporting voting districts Map8A, cooked up by the bar owners in the riot zone known as downtown Fullerton to dilute the voters in that vomit and urine-soaked district. They both voted to waste $100,000 on a completely unnecessary “interim” City Manager. They both sat by doing nothing as hundreds of millions of gallons of prime MWD water leaked out of Laguna Lake.

You are becoming very sleepy…

The 4th District election will really gear up in the summer, but there’s no doubt that Fitzgerald, if she is running, is already lining up her bankrollers: Anaheim’s deep pockets with ties to her “employer” the slimy, pink lobbyist Curt Pringle. Whitaker can’t compete with that money machine. But as Anaheim’s recent elections proved, money isn’t everything. Still, if Whitaker is going to run, he had better start showing voters why there’s a real reason to support him.

You Played Yourself

The other night the council approved the rezoning of the massive Red Oak development site on Commonwealth. The move was made while waxing vigorously about forcing the developer to reduce the project density and increase site parking. The team concluded that holding back the site plan approval until March 7th will give them time to negotiate some sort of fix.

A fiery kiss goodnight.

But in the needless granting of partial approval, the council gave away nearly all of the city’s leverage. You see, the approval of the zoning change brought forth the Specific Plan, along with its density and parking specifics. If the council tries to require additional parking, any decent attorney will point to the already approved Specific Plan and shove it back up the council’s rear end.

The council simply surrendered its ability to get what they wanted. Naturally, city staff and the city attorney sat quietly and helped them proceed. Of course. They are eager to collect those development fees.

At one point, Councilman Bruce Whitaker voiced his commitment to only voting for/against projects in their entirety, perhaps to avoid this exact consequence. But he forgot to be persuasive, and the rest of the council evaded that moment of enlightenment and proceeded to ride off the cliff at full bore.

If only there were an expert nearby…

Now someone less cynical than I might assume that the council fell into this trap out of sheer incompetence. But one must also consider that the screw up conveniently paves the way for the council to be “forced” to complete the Red Oak approvals. They will buckle under legal duress while pretending to be sympathetic to the public’s concerns.

Of course, all of this could be wrong, and the tough-talking council could actually deliver on their promise to significantly reduce the project before it gets built. But when has that ever happened?