Some recent commenters on our humble blog have wondered aloud who outgoing Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald was going to pick to be her choice for successor. Now we know.
Today a Friend forwarded some sort of statement (an English version) from a fellow by the name of Andrew Cho. Who is this person? Nobody I’ve asked today has ever heard of the guy; but, one thing is certain: he was chosen to be a reliable vote for all the things the Curt Pringle lobbyist Fitzgerald holds near and dear. I’d rather not slam the guy right out of the chute, but, hell, just look at who this mysterious person reports as his endorsers.
First, of course is the utterly unspeakable Fitzgerald.
If that weren’t bad enough, number two (and I really mean number two), the completely corrupt Dick Ackerman whose record running a fake non-profit to pay his wife, creating a fake address so she could run for the legislature in our district, and illegally participating as a lobbyist to promote the 2008 OC Fair swindle, have been well-documented on these pages.
Next we discover Ling Ling Chang, our current State Senator who originally ran for office pretending to own a business and attending Harvard. Both were lies, but that mendacity didn’t seem to put a dent in her armor of shamelessness.
Then there’s the support of Young Kim, the bubbleheaded perpetual candidate and her slimy husband Charles, who foisted the incomprehhensible nitwit Julie Sa on Fullerton way back in 1992.
Of course poor Cho must not have a clue that these endorsements will do a lot more harm than good, and if he doesn’t yet, he soon will.
But the problem is that everything she says is a lie. Don’t believe me? Then read this self-satisfied “I’m Done” statement sent out this AM.
First let’s celebrate this announcement, if actually true. It means everybody’s life is going to get better in Fullerton as the sticky webs of self-interest entangling Fitzgerald and the taxpayers are cut.
And now let’s examine the stockpile of dishonesty this statement contains.
No, Ms. Fitzgerald, you did not “comprehensively” reform a corrupt police department. In fact, you permitted the fester to continue with zero accountability and more massive legal settlements. When anybody tried to uncover your malfeasance, you used public resources to sue them into submission. Even that failed.
No, Ms. Fitzgerald, you did not discover stable sources of revenue to address water and sewer. You continued the rip-off of the water fund by diverting a massive amount of money to pay for general fund expenses. And as you passed out more pay and pension increases to your union friends, you told everybody the budgets were balanced, a reckless lie that led Fullerton toward insolvency.
No, Ms. Fitzgerald, you did not increase road repair in your 8 long years. The roads in Fullerton are now the worst in the county according to your own pals at OCTA.
No, Ms. Fitzgerald, Hilcrest (sic) Park is not rehabilitated. It’s landscaping is still a disgrace and dying faster than ever, retaining walls and paving are deteriorating. Instead you wasted millions on poorly built, ramshackle woods stairs and a ceremonial bridge that nobody uses.
Yes, Ms. Fitzgerald at the behest of your developer buddies you are personally responsible for adding thousands of “housing units” – mostly in the form of massive, overbuilt tenements-of-the-future that made a mockery of Fullerton’s zoning and have placed an even greater burden on our frail infrastructure.
Yes, Ms. Fitzgerald you sure did prioritize “downtown revitalization,” if by that you mean running interference for scofflaw bar owners like Florentines and the douchebag Jeremy Popoff; defending a scene of nightly mayhem that cost the citizens $1.5 million more per year than it generates in revenue. Your “improved working relationship” with business owners meant directing staff and the City Attorney to ignore serial code violators and even to tolerate forged official city documents; and to harass people who didn’t fling themselves at your feet.
Sorry, dear, but nobody is going to be unhappy to see you go, if in fact and at long last you are finally telling the truth. You may feel “immensely proud” of all your alleged good works, but that’s just obvious self-delusion. Your constituents almost without exception – at least the ones paying attention – are feeling immensely relieved at the happy prospect of your departure; and immensely disgusted at your legacy of putting the interest of you and your friends above the interest of the city.
Rumor is circulating that our Mayor-for-Hire, lobbyist Jennifer Fitzgerald isn’t going to be running for election to represent District 1 in Fullerton this fall. Good news, indeed, if true, for those who care about honest, competent government.
But is it true? No pronouncements have been forthcoming from the woman herself which suggests that the rumor isn’t true, or that the influence peddler is going to try to slide in a candidate of her own choosing – one who may just be amenable to continuing the Culture of Corruption in the FPD and the Culture of Incompetence in City Hall.
What her departure might mean for her future value for the swamp known as Pringle and Associates remains to be seen.
Well, I guess we’ll know in about six weeks. And if Her Highness is just playing games and is going to run after all, we’ll be reminding voters of her:
Promise to take no pay or benefits, and then doing just that.
Lying about a “balanced budget” for years while depleting reserve funds to pay for ever-greater pension obligations.
Covering up the drunk driving of her best buddy, City Manager Joe Felz, a spectacle that has embarrassed the City, ever since.
Ignoring the roads of Fullerton until they have become the worst in Orange County , as determined by the OCTA.
Presiding over the shoddy or incompetent construction of vanity projects that put money in the pockets of her campaign contributor.
Working as a lobbyist while representing the City of Fullerton.
So bring it on Jen.’ We’ve been paying attention and we’re gonna make sure your neighbors know all about your record. Stooge endorsement from recalled former council buffoons, corrupt liberals and government camp followers and a new tsunami of prevarication ain’t gonna cut it in 2020.
Last Wednesday the City of Fullerton Planning Department and its Director – a guy named Matt Foulkes – set an item before the Planning Commission. It was a CUP amendment that would help The Florentine Mob bring their shaky agglomeration of scofflaws businesses into compliance with an ever-weakening system of controls for out-of-control bar owners in Downtown Fullerton.
But Lo and Behold, Florentine had no okie-dokie from the property owner, Mario Marovic, to pursue said amendment as is required by Fullerton’s own code. Not much of a quandry, right? Cut and dried, right? Crystal clear?: Come back when you gt Marovic’s signature on our form.
And yet for some reason our esteemed and well-compensated staff decided that the issue wasn’t clear at all; that the very notion of property ownership was open to interpretation, and that a completely irrelevant legal case dredged up by Floretine’s personal consigliere was applicable and definitive; and, that an application form obviously doctored by Florentine was just fine and dandy.
Now, how do you get from Point A to Point B? Well this is Fullerton, more especially Downtown Fullerton, where lawless saloon owners have been ignoring the law for years with the obvious connivance of staff and city councilpersons and city attorney.
The very history of the Florentine’s operation is a testament to the way some people in this town not only get special treatment, they get a free pass to ignore the law. Building in a public right-of-way without an encroachment permit? Check. Illegal night club? Check. Operating in in violation of conditional use permit conditions? Check.
What I have heard from pretty reliable sources is that the lowest-level planner, Christine Hernandez, the poor sap whose name appears on the staff report to the Commission, was directed to process the application by her boss, Matt Foulkes; and that Foulkes in turn, was directed by his boss, City Manager Ken Domer to make sure this was approved. At this point it doesn’t take a rocket engineer to figure out that there is only one force in Fullerton irresistible enough to try to push through an illegal land use application and to make allegedly professional staff turn a blind eye to a forged document that violated their own law. Do I have to spell it out? Okay: Jennifer Fitzgerald, our lobbyist-mayor, that’s who.
Nobody has been propping up reckless bar owners more than Fitzgerald, ranging from massive taxpayer subsidies for cops and clean-ups, ignoring nuisance violations, and even going so far as to pimp an utterly ridiculous district map concocted by the gin joints to dilute council control over their week-end war zone. Whenever a bar owner steps on his weenie or needs a favor, Fitzgerald throws herself into breech to help a pal out.
If I’m wrong Fitzgerald will get an apology. But I’m very confident I’m not wrong. And this time the truth may come out, even though this is Fullerton. Mr. Marovic’s lawyer is bound to demand all communications on this matter between staff and councilmembers, and godspeed, to that, say I.
Let’s find out whose fingerprints are on the latest Fullerton municipal humiliation.
Our esteemed City Council appointed lobbyist-councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald to be the new mayor a couple weeks ago. Supposedly it’s her turn again. How and why Jan Flory was appointed Mayor Pro Tem is anybody’s guess, especially since Bruce Whitaker and Ahmad Zahra have been on the council longer without appointment – supposedly the criterion for getting the job.
Zahra and Jesus Silva Quirk are no doubt angling to grab the mayor titlee when they run for re-election in 2022. They aren’t too bright, but they’re smart enough to count in four-year increments.
But the nasty machinations of our talent-free council are not the point of this post, merely a rolling introduction. What I really want to share is the completely self-serving and fraudulent mayoral bio Ms. Fitzgerald has placed on the City’s website, the first two paragraphs of which I reproduce here:
Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald was elected to the Fullerton City Council in November 2012 and served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2014/2015 and Mayor in 2015/2016. In her first three years in office, Mayor Fitzgerald played a key role in several significant accomplishments, including a $3.5 million retroactive refund of water rate overcharges, public safety reform, a substantive increase in funding to repair the city’s aging roads and water infrastructure, and adoption of new transparency measures for public employee labor negotiations.
Mayor Fitzgerald represents the City of Fullerton on the Board of Directors for the Association of California Cities-Orange County Chapter and she is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Taxpayers Association. She is a former Metropolitan Water District Director, Past President of the North Orange County Chamber (formerly Fullerton Chamber of Commerce) and past Member of the Board of Directors for the Fullerton Historic Theater Foundation. Previously, she served the City of Fullerton on its Planning Commission and General Plan Advisory Committee.
It’s pretty bad that Fitzgerald is trying to take credit for the water refund she fought tooth and nail to minimize. It’s worse that she is trying to get gullible folks to think she has done anything about police reform , when in reality she has been an ardent defender of cover-ups for eight years – including hush-up settlements and even being implicated in hiding the drunk hit-and-run perpetrated by her buddy Joe “Wild Ride” Felz. The unkindest cut of all may be her bragging about “increased funding” for street and water infrastructure that she and her comrades let sink into a deplorable mess – the worst in Orange County.
At least this go ’round she omits her oft-repeated lie that she has balanced budgets, but her re-election campaign material will no doubt rectify the omission. I’ll be checking into that.
And finally I direct your attention to paragraph two, wherein the tone deaf Fitzgerald blithely recaps all the public money laundering agencies she has consorted with, peddling her wares as a lobbyist for one of the greasiest operators in OC – Curt Pringle.
I watched this little gem of a clip from Bill Maher’s cable show last night. Bill rails against the added cost laden on to stuff simply because people can get away with it it.
In particular Maher notes the exorbitant cost of government projects, namely housing for the homeless and infrastructure where the “soft costs” including the inevitable army of “consultants” and lobbyists drives up the cost to absurdly comical levels. For the cost of building an “affordable” housing unit you could easily buy some homeless dude a condominium.
For those of us paying attention in Fullerton we have seen this in spades:
Five million bucks for a couple of traction elevators at the depot. Two million bucks for some crappy, rickety wood stairs at Hillcrest Park. The better part of a million bucks for a decorative bridge over the muddy ditch known as Brea Creek. Etc, etc., etc. The fact that these vanity efforts were totally unnecessary just adds insult to the injurious price tag.
The fact is that government building projects are grossly over-managed. There are architects and engineers galore; there are construction managers; there are general contractor’s project managers and superintendents coming out of the woodwork. And then there are the government’s “project managers” who manage virtually nothing but have blanketed themselves with warm layers of external “expertise” to insulate themselves against the inevitable sideways momentum of their next disaster.
Meanwhile the politicians who are elected to watch out for our interests are too lazy, ignorant, indifferent, or self-interested to give a damn.
The Voice of OC has a detailed story about how our city council approved giving half a million bucks to something called the Illumination Foundation to acquire and operate a homeless shelter somewhere in Fullerton.
As usual Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory pretended to care about the fact that the public has not been informed of the location of this place even though they know very well where it is. In the end they went along with their brethren Jesus Silva and Ahmad Zahra and voted 4-0 to commit $500,000 to this philanthropic endeavor (their philanthropy, our money). Bruce Whitaker was missing in action.
Of course Fitzgerald is running for re-election next year in District 1, so we can be certain the proposed property won’t be anywhere near her house, or that of Flory.
Folks here at FFFF have been prognosticating a new tax for several years. Even as councilcreatures Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory lied to the public by telling them the budget was balanced, we’ve been watching the strategic reserve fund dwindle away to almost nothing, leveling off last year only because so many positions were vacant.
The fact is that ever-escalating “public safety” pay and benefits, and a ruinous CalPERS pension debt have created what budget bean counters call a structural deficit; meaning, that the annual red-ink baths are a permanent condition that you can’t weasel your way out of selling marginal city-owned properties.
And so the harsh and inescapable reality has finally come home, like a wayward vulture, to roost. And harsh realities always trump the happy lies of politicians. It’s just a matter of time.
And that is why so many people have begun to hear stories that Councilcreature Jesus “Don’t Call Me Jeesis” Silva is sending up the trial balloon of a sales tax on the November 2020 general election ballot. The choice of that date is cynical since the General Election is will produce an electorate much more sympathetic to tax and spend policies of liberals like Silva, Ahmad Zahra, Flory and of course Fitzgerald. The seeds will be officially sown during the 2020-21 budget kabuki next spring. I am giving huge odds.
It’s going to happen. Zahra and Silva are not up for re-election so they must figure they’re safe; Flory is the lamest of lame ducks, a flightless bird, in fact, and thoughtful Friends have already suggested that she was put back on the council precisely for an automatic yes vote on a new tax. After all Flory’s first love has always been public emplyees.
And this leaves Fitzgerald, an erstwhile Republican free to oppose the vote putting the tax on the ballot in order to unburden herself of running for re-election with the tax monkey on her back – exactly where it belongs.
The pieces are now pretty much in place. The only question is how much the FPD Culture of Corruption and their buddies lounging in the “firehouse” are willing to invest in their shakedown.
Today Jennifer Fitzgerald announced her resignation from the Fullerton Council, effective immediately.
“I can no longer even pretend to fulfill all the oaths I swore when I became a councilperson,” said Fitzgerald. “All the developer shakedowns, all the lies, all the influence peddling – I just can’t keep track of it all anymore. Balanced budgets, commitment to roads, honest cops – people want so much and I am so tired. I’m going to spend time with my family,” she stuttered weepily. “The evil has been backing up so much I feel I may burst.”
Mayor Jesus Silva responded to the announcement by saying ” I guess I’ll miss her helping me out at meetings when I started babbling like a boracho pendejo, but it will sure will be nice to have only one woman telling me what to do.”
Recently appointed Councilwoman Jan Flory had kind words for her colleague. “I’m going to miss Jen’ on council. To my lights she was the heart of the city and represents the very best commitment to service. We accomplished all sorts of things together – good roads, a successful downtown bar scene, an accountable police department, an unmatched string of balanced budges, effective and successful public works projects – you name it. She’s the reason Fullerton is where it is today.
Recently elected councilperson Ahmad Zahra was quick to praise Fitzgerald. “I thought at first she might be, you know, difficult to work with after she called out my long-winded moral posturing on the council appointment deal. But, later, when the chips were down, and she was willing to screw Whitaker just for the fun of it, I was so happy to make the deal to be on the water board. It was a very successful transaction.”
The council will now have to decide whether to replace Fitzgerald by appointment or by special election. According to the City Attorney a special election in November could cost eighty trillion dollars, which might come close to unbalancing the City’s budget according to City Manager Ken Domer.
Recently Jennifer Fitzgerald circulated to her closest supporters- via her Curt Pringle & Associates email account – her opening salvo in the 2020 election, an email entitled “2019 – A Year of Resolution and Re-commitment”.
There’s a lot to digest here, and the amount of mendacity, outright falsehoods and terrible policy proposals would take multiple posts to unpack.
But one particular boast stands out above the others:
No, not the one about the budget (although it is absolutely galling how she can still claim she balanced the budget two years after the City admitted we have a serious structural deficit and four years after members of the public started noticing). Instead, look at her claim that “Looking back over my six years of service on the Fullerton City Council, I’m proud of newly constructed affordable housing communities with… Jamboree Housing.”
So what’s the problem? Well, as Curt Pringle & Associates admit on their facebook page, Jamboree Housing is one of their clients. Which means that Councilmember Fitzgerald just bragged about breaking the law.
Two important caveats. First, I know from attending most council meetings over the last four years that Fitzgerald has avoided voting on any agenda item involving Jamboree Housing’s low income housing development since obtaining residence at CP&A. However, Government Code Section 87100 doesn’t just prohibit an elected official from making or participating in making a decision in which he or she has a financial interest – any attempt by an elected official “to use his official position to influence a governmental decision” is also illegal.
Second, and probably more important, this is could be yet another example of Fitzgerald misleading her voters about her accomplishments (and possibly CP&A clients, given that this email was sent via firstname.lastname@example.org) and taking credit for something she had no role in, or claiming she accomplished something she did not.
So which is it? Did she break the law and influence a decision that she had a clear financial interest in or does she just have a chronic aversion to telling the truth and chose to brag about her influence and effectiveness to Fullerton voters as well as potentially CP&A’s clients?
A quick poll of FFFF staff seems to indicate that “both” is not entirely out of the question as a possible answer, but maliciousness is in the eye of the beholder.