Take Care of Your Toys

Held up by wishful thinking…

When you were a kid your parents most likely told you what parents have been telling their children for thousands of years: if you don’t take care of your toys you won’t have any toys to take care of.

Too bad such admonitions are often lost on the custodians of public property. How often have you seen property owned by you and me left without proper maintenance or even abused by it’s supposed caretakers? It happens all the time, and with impunity. But how often have you seen a government actually refused resources because they can’t take care of what they already have? That’s right. I can’t remember a single instance, either.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

FFFF has already opined on the ridiculous waste of money, $4.6 million and counting, being poured into two new elevator towers at the Fullerton Depot – right next to the existing elevator bridge. Why? Because some other government agency was willing to blow the money.

It’s bad enough the new elevators are unnecessary; they are also in the wrong location since so many commuters will use the Harbor Boulevard underpass to get where they want to go – to the bridge that gets them to the huge parking structure west of Harbor.

But the most unkindest cut of all is the brutal fact that the existing bridge is a disgrace to the entire City. The glass elevators have been etched with so much tagging that they are becoming opaque; the paint, where it hasn’t peeled off, is discolored and oxidized; and the steel stair steps are rusted through. The deformed stair treads have been patched here and there with caulking, and that, too, is decaying.

The Windex didn’t help…
Bad caulk…
The closer you get, the worse it looks…
The underside. Rust never sleeps…

 

So next time somebody like Jan Flory or Jennifer Fitzgerald sneeringly defends of the “experts” in City Hall, please point them in the direction of the Fullerton Transportation Center; and remind them that thanks to the ever-generous taxpayers nobody in City Hall has to worry about breaking their toys. New ones will always be handed out.

 

College Town – Still Not Ready for Prime Time

 

An appropriate mascot

It’s back! Thanks to our tireless activist Joshua Ferguson, who snapped this picture up during a recent visit to City Hall this morning:


College Town originally came up before the Planning Commission on February 10, 2016.  Opposition was so strong to the plan the opposition’s “Our Town Not College Town” signs started springing up faster than mushrooms and the Planning Commission meeting was packed with angry residents opposed to the proposal (full disclosure: I played a significant part in organizing the opposition to that plan). In the end, five members of the Planning Commission agreed that adding 10,000 residents while diverting even more traffic to Chapman by closing a portion of Nutwood was a ridiculously ill conceived the idea and the proposal was tabled.

So what is the new and presumably improved plan for College Town? Your guess is as good as mine, but the early picture isn’t encouraging.

See that website on the picture? The one that says www.collegetownfullerton.com? Go ahead and click the link. Here’s a screen capture of what you found when you checked as of todays’ date:

All of your Nutwoods are belonging to us

According to Google’s English/ Japanese translator the phrase above translates to “Chat lady’s job contents and rewards.” Your guess is as good as mine what that actually means, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean “so tell us what you think about College Town.”

So how did this happen? Apparently, the City registered collegetownfullerton.com back in 2011, but they apparently allowed the domain name to lapse, allowing Chat lady here to swoop in an take over the domain around September 15, 2016.

Everybody supports College Town! Pay raises for everyone!!

A little personal anecdote: back in the 2012-2013 timeframe, the City complied with the notice requirement by sending out notice for around a dozen meetings with a smaller number of invitees (just 2 or so blocks at a time would be notified of each meeting) rather than inviting everyone in the affected area to one single meeting. The “informational” meetings would then be set up in the Chapman Park clubhouse, and they would set up for a full house, even though only a few people would actually show up, which the City used to create the impression that opposition to the concept was non-existent.

As infuriating as that strategy was, I had to at least admire its ingenuity. Personally I would have preferred that the City and Cal State Fullerton actually listened to residents before trying to shove their little sandwich down our throats a second time, but it is at least comforting to see that the Ernst Blofeld-level strategist behind the original campaign has been replaced by Dr. Evil. Off to a heck of a start.

Todd Spitzer’s Mental Melt Down

Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Todd Spitzer gets emotional while reflecting on an incident more than 5 months ago at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in Lake Forest. He handcuffed Jeobay Castellano and called police when the man would not stop trying to proselytize even when Spitzer told him he was a Christian.
///ADDITIONAL INFO: – Photo by MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Sometimes you get to see someone become unglued right before your very eyes. It’s never a pretty sight.

Today, in response to what must have appeared to the OC 3rd District Supervisor as bad publicity, Todd Spitzer unleashed a press release attacking his former employee, Christine Richters,  who is suing the County for wrongful termination by Spitzer.

FFFF posted about the subject, here.

The press release was sent with a personal message directly to FFFF, which means that Spitzer, or somebody on his 3rd District staff is spending public resources monitoring and communicating with a 4th District blog.

This is weird. Bizarre.

Issuing a press release attacking the plaintiff the very day after the official County spokesperson declined comment because of pending litigation, shows that the wheels have fallen off Spitzer’s clown car.

And now, take a moment to review the actual press release:

Are you smelling the same stink I am? If the job of executive assistant to Spitzer was so demanding, and if it required “basic computer skills” that Ms. Richters lacked, then why was she ever hired by Spitzer in the first place, and why was she kept around for over three years?  And if the job were so rigorous in its professional demands, then why did it pay 16 bucks an hour?

I love the accusation that Richters is “smearing” the County, as if the megalomaniacal Spitzer is equivalent to the County. The “County” is fighting only because Spitzer and his four fellow Supervisors get to make a decision based on their own instincts for self-protection – from their own, hand-picked employees.

I also love the part about Spitzer’s “best efforts” trying to get Richters a job in the bureaucracy somewhere. Who ever heard of an OC Supervisor being unable to get a former worker embedded in some footling job or other? That’s an obvious lie.

The crown jewel of this turd-bedecked tiara is the defensive, almost weepy assertion about Spitzer working late nights and week-ends for 25 years on behalf of the taxpayer. Spitzer has been working tirelessly, all right: working at self-promotion to gratify an insatiable lust for self-aggrandizement. Over those 25 years Spitzer has left a disastrous trail of self-interested decisions that have cost the taxpayers of Orange County and California billions of dollars.

The disasters are starting to mount for Spitzer, our would-be District Attorney, and at each turn of the screw we see somebody who is increasingly becoming psychologically unhinged.

It’s Official. Fullerton has the Worst Roads in Orange County

Not bad.

Well done, Fullerton.

A recent report from the OCTA lists OC cities’ “pavement condition indexes” and Fullerton shows up at the very bottom.

And the projected future conditions look even worse.

But that doesn’t stop councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald from shamelessly touting the “success” of her road repair efforts in her campaign material.

Here’s a video of councilmembers Fitzgerald, Flory, Chaffee and Popoff making excuses for the sad condition of our asphalt.

 

Fitzgerald’s 5 Year Deception

At last night’s Fullerton City Council meeting (21 March 2017) I spoke on Agenda Item 3 regarding budget strategies. Amongst other comments I asked for clarification on what was meant by “Structural Deficit” considering that both Fitzgerald and former Councilwoman Jan Flory constantly claimed we have/had a balanced budget. I asked what changed overnight to take us from a balanced budget on 08 November 2016 into a “Structural deficit” today.

Structural Deficit Evidence

What I got regarding an answer was Councilwoman Fitzgerald dodging the question and blaming Sacramento and the CalPERS rate change. And I quote:

“And I will go ahead and answer the question that was brought up over balanced budgets and what happened overnight and I will tell you, I mean, for former Council member Flory and I, when we talked about balanced budgets. Our 5 year projections, every year showed a balanced budget and what happened overnight is CalPERS decreased the amount of returns that they assumed that we were going to receive. So, that is what happened to those 5 year projections to change them.”

There’s a lot to unpack so strap in kiddos.

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We Paid a Head Hunter $23,000 to Discover Karen Haluza!

Haluza

Yeah, you read that right.

The City  actually hired a recruitment company to find a new Community Development Director – somebody who lives four blocks from City Hall.

Which begs the question: were Joe Felz and his crack assistant Nicole Bernard so busy they couldn’t have conducted this recruitment themselves through the HR department?

Anyway, here are the invoices:

Teri Black 14-1004-01 Teri Black 14-0905-02 Teri Black 15-0208-07

Insiders have said this job was going to Haluza all along, which means that whatever money was spent on the recruiter was wasted in the appearance of an on-the-up-and-up recruitment process. Of course we’ve all seen how Felz wasted monies large and small, even as the S.S. Fullerton was taking on water badly.

The fact that Haluza has been an unmitigated disaster since joining the city staff is a somewhat different issue, but it makes the price tag a little harder to swallow. One wonders what the losing candidates looked like.

Joe Kerr Lives Where?

Always look for the union label…

We have recently been introduced to Mr. Joe Kerr, former fireman union honcho who claims to be running for 4th District Supervisor.  That’s a problem.

Joe and China Kerr have lived at 29 Palma Valley since 1999. The address is in Coto de Caza, a very wealthy enclave in South County – being a “public safety” union boss must pay real well. Unfortunately, Coto de Caza is in the 5th Supervisorial District.  Mr. Kerr chooses not to run against the incumbent 5th District Supervisor, Lisa Bartlett. Instead he wants to run for the 4th District seat, obviously because there is no incumbent.

Here’s Joe’s house.

Over the past eight years many people living in comparatively rich places have tried to carpetbag their way into the hearts and minds of North Orange County. All failed dismally when a concerted effort was undertaken to share their shameless carpetbag hustle with the public, no matter how they tried to fluff up their resumés. Here is a list at the bottom of which Mr. Joe Kerr, of Coto deCaza, will soon find himself:

2009 Linda Ackerwoman – State Assembly (Irvine)

2010 Harry Sidhu, 4th District Supervisor (Anaheim Hills)

2010 Lorraine Galloway, 4th District Supervisor (Anaheim Hills)

2016 Sukhee Kang, State Senate (Irvine)

While it’s true that each of these losers carried quite a bit of baggage, the fatal flaw right out of the gate was their carpetbaggage.  Because who, really, wants to vote for someone whose first communication with would be constituents is a fraud, a lie, a perjury, or a deliberate omission of fact?

Kerr’s press release announcing his candidacy omits any reference to where he has lived for the better part of 20 years, instead mentioning that he grew up in La Habra and Cypress(!) the slenderest filament of a link to the 4th District and a completely irrelevant one at that. I can’t find a record of Joseph V. Kerr anywhere near the 4th district.

I have no idea how much money Kerr’s “public safety” union pals will be willing to unleash on his behalf – probably a boatload. But member what all that union money got “Hide-and-Seek” Sidhu? Two humiliating losses in just one year.

So come on in, Joe.

The FFFF Welcoming Committee is firing up the barbecue.

End the Overnight Parking Ban

Tomorrow night, the City Council will consider a move toward repealing the citywide overnight parking ban between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00am.  This is a long overdue and welcomed change that would significantly improve the lives of many Fullerton residents.

I’ve lived in Fullerton my entire life.  Never once have I heard someone complain that a car was illegally parked on a city street in the early morning hours.  The only complaints are from people who have been cited.

The overwhelming majority of us are asleep, at least partially, during those hours and aren’t aware, and couldn’t care less, if a car was left parked on the street.  Our quality of life is not impaired one iota by another person making use of a public asset during the night hours.

In the Agenda Letter, Director of Community Development Karen Haluza provides an insightful history into the overnight parking ban, which dates all the way back to 1924 when Fullerton was converting from dirt to asphalt roads.  Spencer Custodio at the Voice of OC also penned a nice article on this subject.   Both are well worth the read.

The City’s Nonsensical 1970 Findings

Besides having no use apart from generating citation revenue, the irony of the many justifications the City made in 1970 for preserving the ban apply more appropriately to daylight hoursThe findings were as follows:

(a) In that frequent sweeping of litter, refuse and trash from streets is required to
prevent disease and unsightly appearances and such sweeping can be done
most economically and efficiently while vehicles are not parked thereon, and

I’m not aware of any City street sweeping taking place between 2:00am and 5:00am.  As far back as I can remember, street sweeping has been as predictable as trash collection on a specific day of the week during daylight hours.

(b) In that frequent police patrolling of streets is required to deter, prevent and detect
criminal activity and there is greater need for such patrolling between the hours
of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than at other times and such patrolling can be done
most economically and will best accomplish its purpose while the streets are free
from parked vehicles, and

There is no “frequent police patrolling of streets” between 2:00am and 5:00am.  Many Fullerton residents out and about during those hours have stories of FPD patrol units parked in inconspicuous locations around town with the officer sound asleep, provided nothing else is going on.

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The Deal

That’s quite a tool.

We don’t deal with County stuff much but when we get wind of something noxious down County way, we share it with the friends, especially if it involves Supervisor Shawn Nelson who comes from Fullerton.

Tested and unready…

The latest story wafting on the wind claims that Nelson has made a deal with DA Tony Rackaukas to support the appointment of Rack’s mouthpiece Susan Kang Schroder to replace him so she can run for DA next year as the incumbent. What Nelson gets is Rackauckas and Schroeder leaning on their stable of Deputy DAs not to run for the next judgeship, clearing the field for Nelson. And if anybody knows how to lean on people, it’s the completely vile Kang Schoeder. This deal is critically important for Nelson, who, as a defense lawyer, made a lot of money defending sex offenders and the like, stuff that would look really bad on a campaign hit piece from an active prosecutor.

If this tale is true (and it sure has the ring of truth) it reflects rather badly on Nelson. Susan Kang Schroeder has been connected at the hip to Tony Rackaukas’s incompetent and corrupt misrule for years, and the only case she ever tried, she lost. Real legal talent there, right? But of course expecting ethical behavior from a politician looking for self-promotion is like drilling a dry well.