Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 1

Flory in search of the proverbial yard arm.

FFFF has published lots of posts about the way in which our highly paid “experts” in City Hall have made it their business to run interference for the numerous scofflaw bar and “club” owners downtown when it comes to ignoring annoyances like Conditions of Approval and the municipal code’s Noise Ordinance.

In City Hall, doing the right thing just wasn’t gonna happen…

Both topics have been addressed in the same way: if they can, they simply ignore the situation. The blind eye approach has worked most of time. When it hasn’t, Step 2 is invoked. Step 2 is to diligently pursue making the laws laxer, so lax in fact, that the lawbreaking is no longer lawbreaking. This bureaucratic gambit is really nice because the Planning Department Staff can always claim that something is in the works that will address the situation. Of course that’s a lie. What’s really happening is that the department is trying really hard to come up with a legal absolution so low even the lowest douchebag can slither over it.

You can take the douche out of the bag…

At every step of the way, the scofflaws – Jeremy Popoff of Slidebar fame and the Florentine Mob spring most readily to mind – lubricate the gears of Fullerton’s small town political machine who have seemed ever-ready to support the law breaking.

While we here at FFFF have extensively covered the abuse of CUPs and other land use issues, the history of the ongoing issue of nuisance noise traces a perfect trajectory of incompetence or casual corruption, or most likely, of both.

The story spans three city managers, four planning directors and a whole slew of elected ciphers who would rather defend purveyors of nuisance over the right of their constituents to quiet enjoyment of their property.

 

Fullerton Dems to Light $68k on Fire

This Tuesday, at the request of the Fire Heroes Union, the Fullerton City Council will vote (likely 3-2) to light $68,000 dollars on fire to get a bid from the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA).

What’s $68k between friends?

This is a scam and just a waste of your tax dollars.

Don’t believe the fiscal lies being told here, none of the disingenuous liars who will vote for this care about your tax dollars and they’re certainly not going to get rid of Fullerton’s Fire Department to jump to OCFA.

The entire point of this bullshit bid is leverage to justify a raise for the Fire Department. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’ll prove it by using Council’s own agenda from the exact same meeting this coming Tuesday:

When you join OCFA you typically lease all of your equipment to them at no cost and all of your fire facilities for $1/year (as Garden Grove did a few years ago).

To take this bid seriously, you would have to believe that council is SERIOUSLY considering a bid to change to OCFA and is simultaneously spending $1,546,683.30 to buy Fullerton Fire a new ladder truck that they’ll just gift to OCFA to use as they see fit.

If we went to OCFA, it is them and not us who would decide where trucks (apparatus) would be stationed in order to best serve the cities under their jurisdiction. Thus it makes zero sense for Fullerton to buy a new truck when it might not even stay in Fullerton.

These conflicting agenda items would make no logical sense if this bullshit OCFA bid was serious. But it’s not serious.

This is just the council Dems lighting your tax dollars on fire, well, because screw you, they need to help a union argue for more of your money later during negotiations. Silva, Jung and Zahra refuse to take their role as representatives of the residents seriously any time a union rears it’s ugly head and this is just another gross example.

If the Fire Heroes Union wants this bid so bad they can pay for it their damn selves considering they have no issues spending their own money to try and raise your taxes (Measure S campaigning) or to pick your City Council (campaign contributions).

Your roads suck, your services are getting more expensive and you’re constantly being asked to do more with less by City Hall and City Council. Hell, the City asked you to donate Christmas decorations this last season because they’re so broke.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Needles…

But not broke enough to avoid spending $65k of your money to help a union at the negotiating table.

If this bid was serious then the council would be getting bids from LA Fire and Placentia as well as OCFA. That’s how you find out the best services with the most benefits fort he residents at the best price – by shopping around. So of course they don’t want to do any of that.

Later this year when the City is selling everything not nailed down, and a few things that are, remember this moment when these disingenuous liars spent your money on political theater to help out the unions who will always put their interests above your safety.

Fullerton Planning Commission Out-Stupids Itself

Maybe they won’t notice the corruption…

The two default positions of government are corruption and stupidity but this coming week the Fullerton Planning Commission is about to engage in the latter to try and hide the former.

This week’s Planning Commission meeting, as chaired by Elizabeth Hansburg, will be spent pretending to not know what “is” is in order to try and obfuscate the fact that City Hall is acting like corrupt jackasses picking winners and losers.

Ok, so in this case the “is” in question is the phrase “property owner” but the sentiment of obfuscation by semantically playing games is the same.

Here’s the verbatim “background and analysis” from next week’s meeting:

“The City’s land use applications require completion by or authorization from the corresponding property owner”. The Fullerton Municipal Code (FMC) defines “fee owner”. Throughout the FMC, various forms of “owner” are identified as the party to file a land use application. While these terms are commonly understood to all identify the legal owner of a real property, these amendments will clarify what constitutes a property owner.”

This is just blustering bullshit because PC and City Hall got caught with their pants down while trying to violate the law in favor of a preferred business.

Never once in the history of Fullerton has the phrase “property owner” been in contention until City Hall tried to pass off a fabricated Conditional Use Permit in violation of the City’s municipal code. You can read about that particular scam [HERE] & [HERE]. Pretending to not know what words mean after the fact is what liars do to avoid accountability.

If the Planning Commission really didn’t know what “Property Owner” meant it would call into question years of decisions spanning PC and City Council. It would call into question tons of zoning, permitting and a lot of the work being done in the planning department.

None of that is being brought up in this agenda item because Planning Commission isn’t worried about any of that – precisely because they know they’re full of shit and this is a distraction.

But how do I know this isn’t honest stupidity as opposed to corrupt pretend stupidity to cover-up an attempted fraud? Because CA law supersedes the Municipal Code and CA law already clarifies who a “property owner” is and that’s the person who holds the title and pays the property taxes.

I’ll point your attention to the California Department of Real Estate’s website which gives you a nice little history [HERE] of why property has an owner in CA. But let’s just jump to page 55 to get to the meat (bold emphasis added):

OWNERSHIP OF REAL PROPERTY All property has an owner, the government – federal, state, or local— or some private party or entity (typically referred to as persons). Very broadly, an estate in real property may be owned in the following ways: 1. Sole or several ownership; 2. Joint, common, or community ownership; a. Tenancy in common; b. Joint tenancy; c. Community property; or, d. Partnership interests. 3. Ownership by other lawfully created entities. SOLE OR SEVERAL OWNERSHIP Sole or several ownership is defined to mean ownership by one person. Being the sole owner, one person enjoys the benefits of the property and is subject to the accompanying burdens, such as the payment of taxes. Subject to applicable federal and state law, a sole owner is free to dispose of property at will. Typically, only the sole owner’s signature is required on the instrument of transfer/deed of conveyance. See Civil Code Section 681.

When The Other Dick Jones™️ sided with Florentine’s asinine “legal opinion” that Florentine was entitled to bypass the law, all he did was perpetuate a fraud on behalf of City Hall.

It was never in question that Joe Florentine wasn’t the required owner needed for his Conditional Use Permit and the City knew it from day one. Why they chose to pick sides is anybody’s guess but that’s government here in Fullerton.

However – if that isn’t clear enough for the nitwits on Planning Commission let’s look at the requirements for noticing zoning and land use decisions in the Fullerton Municipal Code:

Ah. So we have to refer back to State law again. Here’s the highlighted CA Gov Code:

So the Fullerton Municipal Code says that before a public hearing, of which Chair Hansburg has participated in who knows how many in her years on Planning Commission, the city must notify people based on a State Law that defines a property owner by looking at the “equalized assessment roll” or in laymen’s terms – tax rolls.

It’s never been a question of who owns what property in Fullerton or what the Conditional Use Permit meant by “Property Owner”.

This is bullshitery and bluster to bury bureaucratic bungling. If you don’t believe me – just look at the City of Fullerton’s own Development Portal:

You can’t make up this level of disingenuous asshattery.

This is Fullerton efficiency for you. Staff’s time and several meetings will be wasted to get to the bottom of the meaning of a phrase in common usage – meanwhile nobody is being held to account for how we got to this level of stupid in the first place. If this is what we can expect from the current planning commission we’re in for a long, rough ride on the Idiot Express.

Fullerton Could Sue You For Looking at Public Records

Akbar It's a Trap

Fullerton has a new(ish) online Public Records portal to view records requests made by the public. If you put in a Public Records Request, and I urge you to submit them often for fun and profit, you’ll get a response sometime within 10 days telling you to wait longer. When you finally get an actual response to your request the Assistant City Clerk will likely email you and in the email will include the following line;

“The City of Fullerton has reviewed its files and has located responsive records to your request.  You can inspect these documents online in the Fullerton Public Records Center.”

Maybe you’ll get a link, maybe you won’t. But the “Public Records Center” looks like this:

PRR Portal
Admiral Ackbar is NOT amused

BE WARNED. This could be a trap.

If you, acting like a normal person on the internet, click on “Public Records Home” and navigate to the “Public Records Request Log” you will be able to see all current public record requests and their responses. This is where the trap comes into play. You see, the City of Fullerton has NOT given you “Expressed Authorized Permission” to view these publicly available public records and as such could be trying to entrap you into a legal case.

After all, that is EXACTLY what they’re claiming we did over on their former PRR portal (Dropbox) and we’ve been in court for over a year with City Hall calling us “hackers” and “thieves” for clicking links on a website (Dropbox) they told us about and sent us links to click.

Now they’re telling people about this new portal and sending people links to this GovQa powered portal as though everything is fine and on the up and up. It is not.

If, or more likely WHEN, the City screws up again and puts something on this new PRR Portal that they later claim shouldn’t be online, they’re likely to sue you under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the CA counterpart the CDAFA.

To drive the point home that this is serious and not just me trolling you, the hosting software is run by “GovQA” which is a private equity owned company that even tells you in their terms of service (TOS) that you are responsible if you are granted access to things by mistake;

“You must not retrieve information, or in any other way disclose information, for someone who does not have authority to access that information.”

This is precisely what the City of Fullerton claims happened with us on Dropbox.

But how will you know when you’ve been granted access to something you shouldn’t have access to? You won’t. That’s the point.

In our case Fullerton’s City Attorneys have been incapable of figuring out which records on Dropbox were public and which were allegedly not. In their court documents they’ve claimed AT LEAST 4 different lists of offending files.

That’s right. First the City claimed everything on Dropbox wasn’t public. Then some of it was public, then a different some of it was public and then a different some of it still. If City Hall and their small army of attorneys don’t know what’s public – how are you supposed to know what you’re allowed to look at?

This is how you risk getting blamed for City Hall’s screw-ups the way we’re getting blamed.

But wait, there's more!
But wait, there’s more!

It gets better. GovQa even EXPLICITLY references the CFAA in their TOS (emphasis added);

“You understand that any person or business entity who obtains information from a computer connected to the Internet in violation of computer-use restrictions is in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Fullerton, in court, is arguing that clicking on a link we weren’t explicitly told it was okay to click is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That is their actual legal argument.

Consider yourself warned. Do not trust this new system in Fullerton as our case is ongoing with no end in sight. Fullerton City Hall & City Council have never taken responsibility for their own screw-ups so it is incumbent upon you to protect yourself from their litigious and corrupt nature.

Use TOR or a VPN if you need to access these systems. Set up a dummy email account. Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself because even though you have every right to view every document published on that public facing website – that they’ll tell you about – it doesn’t mean that the city won’t entrap you, slander you and play the victim with your own money.

The Cost of The Florentine Sidewalk Scam

Gone, but not quite forgotten…

Of course everybody is now familiar with how, in 2003, the Florentine Mob successfully put a permanent building on an area that only had an “outside dining” encroachment agreement. The details of the case reveal an incompetence and misfeasance on the part of city staff that is truly mind-numbing, the principle party being F. Paul Dudley, Planning Director, who “approved” the illegal permanent structure as it was being built in June, 2003. He also  seems to have personally approved a loan to the Florentine crew, and rental terms on the space that weren’t approved by the City Council.

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

Of course it wouldn’t be Fullerton unless our legal-eagle Dick Jones also played a part in the fiasco, and in the inevitable cover-up. He actually put his signature on a completely different agreement in August, 2003 – two months after Dudley did his sleazy back-room deal. How’s that for staggering incompetence?

The gun was smoking badly…

Note that “for some reason” the agreement was not formally executed until August. For some reason? Jesus H., Jones, did you even bother to ask why you signed something that was obsolete, or why in Hell you were signing it?

So the embarrassing enclosure was allowed to continue in July, 2003 even though the furor continued for months, and the deal was finally buried in 2004 whereby the parties involved, Shawn Nelson, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Mike Clesceri and Leland Wilson surely hoped it was forever interred.

Well, now it’s 2020. The legal party responsible to remove and restore the encroachment area has fled the scene, and the embarrassment of the Florentine addition that squats on public property, remains.

The owner of the rest of the building, Mr. Mario Marivic is apparently embroiled in a legal fight with the FloMob, and good luck to him. But good luck to us, too. Because we, the citizens of Fullerton, have an unowned room addition on our right-of-way, and the people on the hook for its possible removal are gone. Mr. Marovic is under no obligation to remove the structure, and he is not even under any obligation to pay the measly 25 cents per foot that the egregious F. Paul Dudley “negotiated” with the Florentines. The City’s options are limited: it can terminate the encroachment and pay to remove the building addition itself, or it can negotiate a new lease agreement with Marovic, and the sidewalk stays as is. Either way, the public loses.

So this Ghost of Incompetence Past continues to haunt us almost 20 years after the con was consummated. Mr. Dudley has been six-figure pensioned, and the inept councilmen who were indifferent to the notion of government accountability are dead or moved on. But Attorney Dick Jones is still around, profiting off of the gullibility, incompetence and militant ignorance of our “leaders.”

The Florentine Mob Pulls Out

Sit down and grab some sidewalk, brother…

It’s taken well over thirty years, but apparently the Family of Tony Florentine is calling quits in downtown Fullerton. Normally, such an occasion would be cause for gratitude, reflection, fond memories, etc., etc., ect.

But not in this case.

The reason nobody is indulging in kind reminiscence is simple. Over the years the family has been in on, and accused of some very shady stuff. Forget about shitty food and consider the following fun events, documented right here on the pages of FFFF, even if ignored by City staff, the Fullerton Police Department and the Fullerton Fire Department.

  1. Joe Florentine accused by former employee of torching his own business – The Melody Inn – back in the late 1980s.
  2. Tony Florentine magically converts an outside dining permit into a permanent structure built across a public sidewalk in the early 2000s.
  3. Tony’s bright kid, Joe, illegally converts the family restaurant into an illegal night club in the mid 2000s.
  4. In 2012 Papa Tony files phoney FPPC complaint against Tony Bushala in an effort to help his Gang of Three avoid recall. Complaint denied.
  5. After gaining a CUP to operate as a club, Joe Florentine never installs the fire sprinkler system required of the CUP.
  6. Seeking approval of yet another CUP in 2019-2020 even though the terms of the previous CUP had never been met,  Joe Florentine forged and had notarized an application that by-passed the building owner, thus placing the City in legal jeopardy.
  7. Last spring the Florentines decided they were entitled to remove on-street parking in order to help themselves.

It’s hard to say what other misdeeds and actual crimes have been committed by the Florentines, over the years. Stories abound. But what we know gives us plenty of reason not to consider their departure with any sort of remorse.

And the very continuation of the bad behavior gives us plenty of reason to ruminate on the political climate that permitted the ongoing flagrance and fraud. Decision makers in City Hall have been running interference for, enabling, and diligently looking the other way through this little reign of terror. Does anybody care? The old City Councils never did. Will the new one?

Why Did Fullerton Aide & Abet Forgery?

Caution – ethical behavior narrows ahead…

It’s been 11 months and we still don’t have any answers, let alone accountability, over the forgery committed on behalf of the Florentine family with the apparent blessing of City staff.

For those new to this story, a fraudulent Conditional Use Permit “Master Application Form” was illegally modified to allow a tenet, Joe Florentine, to change the property rights of a property owned by somebody else.

When this story first came up, Dick Jones of Jones & Mayer, the City Attorney tried to run cover for the fraud by claiming that Florentine had standing to make changes to the property rights based on an old non-relevant case in San Francisco. What the City Attorney didn’t answer, and nobody on City staff has managed to explain to date, is why the City aided and abetted fraud and forgery?

Irrespective of the alleged ability of Florentine to request changes to his permitting, he didn’t have the right to falsify or forge a document.

Here’s the CA Penal Code on forgery:

Penal Code 115 PC

115 (a) Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.

We know that the Master Application Form was falsified, there is no question on that front. The area for the “Signature of Property Owner” was illegally replaced with “Signature of Applicant/Use Owner”. (more…)

Andrew Cho Won’t Talk About the Tax

Anaheim bankruptcy lawyer and District 1 council candidate, Andrew Cho has sent out a mail piece with the usual dreary pictures of his incredibly happy home life, his conservative Republicanism, and the empty promises of accountability, public safety and miraculous economic superpowers.

Too bad we then see his endorsers – a gaggle of liars, grifters, thieves, and idiots you wouldn’t trust to walk your Pomeranian. He shares his bold pledge to support Prop 13, as if that had any bearing in Fullerton. More on the subject of taxes in a bit.

The bottom portion of the flyer is dedicated to attacking his one and only opponent, Fred Jung, as a radical leftist.

But notice what’s missing? That’s right. No mention at all of his position on Measure S, the 17% sales tax that is the brain child of his sleazy string-puller, Mayor-for-Hire Jennifer Fitzgerald; a tax increase that is approved by liberal Democrat councilcreatures, Flory, Quirk-Silva and Zahra.

Well, that’s not very good, is it District 1 Republicans. Poor “Andrew” is in a big bind. The Republican registration is a dwindling minority in D1, and if Cho is trying to shore up the die-hards at this point in a non-partisan election he’s in deep republicrap.

Former Deputy DA & CHP Opinion Slaps Fullerton

Joshua by Spencer
Trying to look passed all of the bullshit the city has thrown at me

A quick catch up for those of you who might not know. The City of Fullerton is suing this blog, myself and David Curlee. We’re being sued for allegedly clicking on links on the internet and for this blog then allegedly publishing things from those links.

Things such as police misconduct, employee theft, city malfeasance and police cover-ups and so on and so forth.

The city’s argument is, essentially, that we didn’t have permission to click links.

In discussing this issue lately I was reminded about a case from here in California from back when Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor. What happened was somebody accidentally put an audio file online on the governor’s website that wasn’t supposed to be there and somebody from the Phil Angelides for Governor campaign found it and sent it to the press.

It was known at the time as “TapeGate“.

Immediately the California Highway Patrol (the CHP had authority) sprung into action to see if anybody had violated the CA Penal Code – the same section (502) that we’re accused of having violated.

A 38-page report was submitted and that was the end of the story.

Until now. To see if there were any parallels I put in a California Public Records Act request and got the 38-page report from 2007 and it’s findings are quite illuminating in context. (more…)

And So It Begins…

We all knew that we were going to be bombarded with political mail in support of the City Council’s proposed 17% sales tax hike on this November’s ballot. And we all knew that the City Council hired a PR outfit to blow our money to educate us about the beauty of the thing – to the tune of $130,000. Of course none of this is legal, but this is Fullerton where everything is legal that the deplorable City Attorney “Dick” Jones says is legal.

Some of the Friends have already received pro-tax propaganda from our masters in City Hall and here is a sample:

Like it? You paid for it.
Tap dancing around the edge of the truth…

As usual, government tries to con us into bailing it out after it has failed so spectacularly the past decade to maintain reserves, balance budgets and pushing back against never-ending salary and pension demands from the public employee unionistas. Care about the homeless? Vote for our tax; Want potholes fixed? Tax! Youth programs? Who doesn’t love ’em – vote for our tax. Seniors? Ditto. Emergency services? They’re really getting hungry. A usual, the propaganda is larded up with misleading information and scare tactics and, gosh, we should be scared.

You will not be asked to reflect upon the reality that this same operation has dismally failed to fix roads in the past; that this bureaucracy has no intention of starting now. A Culture of Corruption in the Fullerton Police Department? Oh, we fixed that years ago – no, don’t look at that body over there, we have no idea how it got there. You’ll have to sue us to find out!

This crew has burned through tens of millions in reserve funds while its spokeholes on the council Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory lied about balancing the budget.

Ken Domer
Domer. There’s a lot less there than meets the eye.

Good luck, passing this obscentiy, boys n’ girls. The public is hurting badly at the moment and your first recourse was to try to harness us oxen with the yoke of a new and regressive tax. Well, guess what? The yokes on you, City Hall, and you’d better have a Plan B stuffed into one of Domer’s desk drawers if you know what’s good for you.