Grand Jury Subpoeneth

Numerous officers within the Fullerton Police Department are receiving Grand Jury Subpoenas like the one pictured below.

Probably not a coincidence that the lucky recipients are, reportedly, the same officers on scene when former City Manager Joe Felz ran over the tree in November 2016.

You know what, I’d really hate to be former police chief Dan Hughes, or former Sergeant Jeff Corbett, right now!

Another bad sign

A few months ago, I pointed out bogus signs at the train station which cited non-existent instances of the Fullerton Municipal Code.  Those signs were removed a short time later.

Here we have a similar sign posted at the Wilshire Avenue parking structure.

Fullerton does not have a “No Loitering” ordinance that could be used here.

The second part, warning about confiscation of property, only comes up in Title 9, which covers parks — not parking structures, nor anywhere else in the City.

Bookmark9.12.530   Enforcement — Seizure of property.

The Director, park attendants, parking control officers and police officers are authorized to seize, confiscate and hold for the City any property, thing or device in the park used in violation of this chapter.

(Ord. 1900 (part), 1973: prior 4320.9(3) — Ord. 999 § 1, 1959).

Nowhere in 9.12.530 does it address “unattended or unsecured” items.  Even if the City wanted to play word games, and say the parking structure is part of the park and museum immediately adjacent to it, the sign doesn’t even agree with the code.  Perhaps that is why the sign makes no mention of the Fullerton Municipal Code — there’s nothing to cite because somebody made it up.

So the next time City Hall tells you such and such is the “law” you should probably take that assurance with a grain of salt.

Another Felzian Development

Word has got out that disgraced former city manager Joe Felz is working with Crittenton Services on a new “mixed-use” development on Harbor Boulevard. It’s hard to imagine Crittenden – that takes care of wayward and abused girls – being in the land development business so that doesn’t quite make sense – unless maybe it’s to build themselves a new corporate complex.

Is Felz working for a fee so he can profit from all those inside contacts he continues to cultivate after his (and our) municipal humiliation? Maybe he is donating his valuable time for the sake of the charity. Either way, it hard to see why Crittenden would think the services of Felz, who quit after getting popped driving off the road and trying to make a quick getaway, would be anything other than an embarrassment to them.

 

I’ll drink to that!

A little research shows that Crittenden has assembled quite a bit of real estate over the years. And curiously (or not) it is directly adjacent to the “Fox Block” monstrosity that never seems to go away.

If the city made a deal to get rid of the “useless” triangle parking lot, the rest of Crittendon’s property along with the covering of a flood control channel and the elimination of an alleyway would make a great apartment block.

And finally, I note that the Fullerton Redevelopment Successor Agency is holding on to $6 million for the Fox Block – vestigial redevelopment Monopoly money that will end up in some developer’s pocket.

Paying for Todd Spitzer’s Lunatic Behavior

Everyday the people who run the County of Orange blow through so much dough that the amount of waste is incomprehensible to the layman. It’s incomprehensible to the County Board of Supervisors too, because of course, it’s not their money.

Funny plastic handcuffs graphic borrowed from Voice of OC

But then there are the examples, though relatively small, that truly give us cause to doubt the reason and the integrity of our County government. Thus the Todd Spitzer Wahoo’s Fish Taco incident that brought about a lawsuit that the County lost,  putting us taxpayers on the hook for the legal fees of the other side. Fees of $121,396 to be precise. Here’s the payout as reported by Voice of OC, who just happens to be the other party in the lawsuit.

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 –

Here’s the backstory: In April, 2015, 3rd District Supervisor (and now DA candidate) Todd Spitzer, took a loaded gun into the aforementioned restaurant and slapped handcuffs on a harmless proselytizer who was annoying him. A few moths later, word leaked out about this bizarre behavior and Spitzer, trying to put a positive spin on his weird behavior engaged the services of the County’s PR person, Jean Pasco  to help craft a press release that would make Spitzer look good and (ironically) cast the offending evangelist as mentally unstable. The memos and the PR draft never saw the light of day.

Nelson wears his game face, but the game was already over…

The Voice of OC got wind of the e-mails between Spitzer and Pasco and made a public records act request to get them. Request denied. Then The Voice sued to get the documents and the Supervisors, including our own Shawn Nelson, endorsed the ludicrous idea that these documents could somehow be legitimately withheld from public scrutiny. Voice won in court, got their documents and ran their story. And then this week the taxpayers of Orange County got stuck with Voice’s legal tab – over $120,000. Again the Supervisors, including Nelson, voted to make us pay for their idiotic decision to protect one of their own club from…us.

The politicians are always telling us about their dedication to public service. But if anybody ever needed a perfect example of how they will use our money to protect themselves and their employees, he need look no farther than the Todd Spitzer Wahoo’s Fish Taco Tale.

Fullerton’s Most Useless Bridge

Yesterday, I wrote about the hideous stairs at Hillcrest Park and alluded to the City Council being asked to spend another $5.7 million on Hillcrest Park improvements.  This is Park Dwelling Fund money — an important distinction I will get to in a minute.  You can read the full Agenda Letter here.

A portion of that $5.7 million is slated for the construction of what would become Fullerton’s most useless bridge, if funding is approved next Tuesday night.  No, it won’t be painted orange, and I don’t know the exact type of bridge.

This is just a crude rendering of where the bridge would sit, scaled as best as possible using the City’s drawings.

Here’s the official drawing from the City.  The bridge across the creek is clearly visible below:

I keep scratching my head as to who would ever use this bridge.  It doesn’t align with any current or proposed trail, nor does it connect the park to crowds of people just dying to enter the “Great Lawn” as they want to call it.  The nearest City parking is FOUR spaces at Harbor and Valley View, 425 feet away.

Why would someone opt to walk another 425 feet, over the bridge, to access the “Great Lawn” when it’s right in front of their parking space?

When these parking spaces fill up, the few people desiring to use the bridge will probably just leave their cars at Ralph’s or Chase Bank — or just not bother using the bridge at all.   The next closest City parking lot at Hillcrest Park is 900 feet away on Valley View.  Either way, taking the bridge is the least convenient route to the lawn.

Second closest is the combined Hillcrest/Lions Field parking lot along Brea Blvd.  That measures out to 950 feet away on Google Earth, if, and that’s a big if, you can find parking there at all.  On the weekends, that lot is jammed full of cars with youth sports in session at Lions Field.  During the week, Parks and Recreation has the bright idea to lease parking spaces to St. Jude Hospital for employee use.  They also want to lease Lions Field to Hope International University, presumably during the week as well.  While your chances of finding parking there are questionable at this point, let’s just say you succeed.  From that parking lot, there is direct access to the “Great Lawn” without needing to use a bridge, cross the creek, or walk alongside Harbor Blvd.  A park road already exists.

As an aside, do you think it’s fair for park users to siphon parking spaces away from Ralph’s or Chase Bank and the other businesses there?  I sure don’t.

Park Dwelling Money

All of the proposed Hillcrest Park improvements are scheduled to use cash from the Park Dwelling Fund.  This is the fee charged to developers for every dwelling unit they build.

But wait a minute?  Can’t the Park Dwelling money be used for other, more reasonable purposes, besides a useless bridge?

YES.

Chapter 21.12 of the Fullerton Municipal Code covers this.

21.12.040   Use of funds.
All money collected as fees imposed by this chapter shall be deposited in the park dwelling fund and shall be used solely for the acquisition, development, improvement, and maintenance of public parks and recreational facilities in the City, as proposed by the City’s Five Year Capital Improvement Program.

 

Translation:  The $5.7 million could be used on things people actually want, such as acquiring land within Coyote Hills.

Really, people.  If you think this is a stupid use of funds, this is the LAST chance to do something about it.  The project itself has already been approved, but not the funding.  That’s what they’re seeking approval for Tuesday night.

Send the City Council an email:  [email protected] or attend the meeting on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 6:30pm and plan to speak during public comments.

Park Barrel Spending … Literally

I’d rather be filled with pork.

Further review of the budget document dump offers lots of worthy material.  Why not examine the “15” Parks and Recreation Fund, shall we?

The only justification they can provide for $15,000 of Landscape Maintenance Supplies is “Substantially increased use of trash can liners in several parks“.  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Not long ago, I wrote about their brainstorm to launch fireworks from the top of Hillcrest Park on the Fourth of July.  Included in that proposal was an idea to use Lions Field for Fourth of July festivities.

When youth sports are in session (i.e. most of the year), your chance of finding a parking spot at Lions Field in the evenings and on weekends is nearly impossible.  Parking along Brea Blvd. is also used up for the same reason.

That’s okay, when Joe Felz’ Hillcrest Park stairs to nowhere are open — and the kids aren’t playing ball — people can park their cars at Lions Field and climb the hideous stairs when nobody is around, right?  Wrong.

Under this proposal, parking at Lions Field during the day, everyday, will be scarce, if not completely unavailable.

That’s because the footer of the Parks & Rec Proposal offers this wonderful idea:

  1.  Lease the Lions Field to Hope International University, most likely during the day, since youth sports already use it on the nights/weekends.
  2.  Lease the Lions Field parking lot to St. Jude for employee parking use. 

Just as the stairs are a terrible waste of money and devoid of any logic, so too is the idea to lease parking spaces to St. Jude for profit.  This is how Parks & Recreation operates:  (1) waste a ton of money on something completely unnecessary that benefits less than 1% of Fullerton residents, (2) realize there isn’t enough money to support it, (3) come up with some scheme to siphon money away from the end user.

Leasing the Lions Field parking lot creates yet another reason for Fullerton residents not to use the stairs.

Oh, and by the way, the Park Dwelling Fee is slated to increase from $11,700 to $12,015 per unit.

I think the time has come to reduce — or even eliminate — the Park Dwelling Fee so that nonsense like the stairs isn’t affordable anymore.  The $12,015 per unit would be far greater used to fix Fullerton’s streets, water mains, and sewers.

Fullerton Makes The Nightly News!

But not in a way that brings anybody any civic pride.

Ms. Pollinger is a well-intentioned person, but she is off target to praise the justice system for collaring itself a bad boy, presumably because the ladder of justice has no top and no bottom. Since the Fullerton cops intentionally failed to collect any evidence and didn’t arrest anybody, there is no crime to prosecute. And anybody who believes this little stage show isn’t designed to tank has taken too many rips on Sergeant Bonghit Schoen’s magical nugg pipe.

 

The $4 Million Elevator That Nobody Needs

It looked so bad another one was needed…

Well, it looks like more loose change has fallen into Fullerton’s municipal sofa. A lot more. And it’s all so funny. The one thing the Fullerton train station didn’t need was another pair of elevator structures; and the last place they needed it was right next to the existing ones.

But that’s where they’re going. That’s right. A new elevators right next to the old ones that the City has failed so spectacularly at maintaining. “Wait, Joe,” I can hear you saying. “Tell us, for the love of SparkyFitz’s God, this is some sort of cruel joke.”

Let the groundbreaking begin. No point in waiting to waste other people’s money, right?

The joke’s on all of us. Even people who have never been to the Fullerton choo-choo station.The whole thing is costing taxpayers $4,000,000 which is almost three times the amount the exiting one cost 22 years ago. The arguments in favor of building this are laughable as you might imagine, and immediately prove that other taxpayers are picking up most of the tab – as it turns out, money funneled through the bottomless suck hole known as OCTA.

Yes I’m on the OCTA Board, and no, I couldn’t care less about wasting four ‘mil.

For instance we “had” to build a new set of elevators rather than repair the existing ones. Why? Taking the existing elevators out of service for a long period of time would result in ADA lawsuit. There is not a single filament of proof for these assertions but hey, that money ‘s got to be spent by somebody, right? For $4,000,000 you could set up a daily ADA access shuttle for 20 freaking years. Of course there is also an existing gate opened by a remote control that could access the other side of the tracks at ZERO cost.

But wait!!! (as they said on those old TV steak knife commercials). The new toy is not free to the people of Fullerton after all. A new agenda item asks for an extra $600,000 due to cost overruns. Just a few lost nickels in Allan Roeder’s couch, right? And listen to the string of incompetencies by our Engineering Department that caused the extra cost:

“An additional $ 600,000 is required for the BNSF flagging requirements, unforeseen utility conflicts, escalated cost in securing the elevator subcontractor and additional assistant in construction administration. Due to OCTA funding constraints, only direct construction-related costs will be reimbursable.”

13 Transportation Center Pedestrian Overpass Elevator – Budget Transfer

Of course it would be nice if some one on our illustrious city council bothered to ask why a contract was awarded two years prematurely, and why our staff needs “additional assistant” (sic) to administer this simple project, or maybe why the job wasn’t rebid. But they won’t.

And so we witness the comical spectacle of two sets of elevator structures side by side, each slowly deteriorating, until 20 years from now some over-paid idiot proposes a third, because as any artist knows, three objects in a picture are much more aesthetically pleasing than two.

Fullerton’s cozy relationship with Discovery Cube

The Discovery Cube is a pretty neat venue for kids of all ages.  Anyone who has driven the 5 freeway through Santa Ana can’t miss the place.

Discovery’s VP of Sales Lobbying Sean Fitzgerald is married to Fullerton Lobbyist-Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald. City money began flowing to Discovery Cube within a year of Sean taking the job.

Following a promotion in 2014, this press release described Sean Fitzgerald’s new position:

“As Vice President, Sales and Strategic Development, Fitzgerald works directly with the Center’s leadership on a variety of growth-related initiatives. This includes developing new strategic partnerships with municipalities, corporations and other non-profits and serving as a key member of the team working to open DSC’s new Los Angeles facility later this year. In addition, Fitzgerald oversees a sales team working to fulfill the Center’s sales goals in field trips, outreach programming and partner education programs.”

CalRecycle awards Beverage Container Recycling Grant money to municipalities every year for various recycling programs.  Public education is one of several options with which to spend the money.

Since 2012, the City has been paying for thousands of FSD sixth graders to learn about recycling at Discovery Cube to the tune of $27 per kid. (more…)