Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 3

Okay. What have we learned so far about Fullerton’s long and corrupt attempt to avoid addressing the problem of amplified outdoor music?

I’m not going to do my job and you can’t make me…

First we have learned that Fullerton’s “experts” in the Planning and Code Enforcement divisions have been serially uninterested in enforcing their own laws in an effort to appease and placate scofflaw bars in the financial sinkhole known as downtown Fullerton.

Second we have learned that you can’t make government bureaucrats do their jobs if they don’t want to do them.

Stop the noise, consarn it!

Way back in 2009 City Hall knew it had a problem on its hands as the metastasizing and illegal clubs began sharing their good times with everybody else. A “consultant” called Bon Terra was engaged to to a noise study and the City Council, at the time, voted to maintain the existing code that prohibited outdoor music.

But saying something and doing something about it reflects a mammoth void in Fullerton, and the bureaucrats in City Hall don’t give up on an issue until one way or another, they get what they want.

Yes, that is the answer!

And in 2012 they got a friend, Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was more than happy to run interference for people who had no qualms about violating the noise and land-use law.

You can take the douche out of the bag…

And so, over the next seven years, the Noise Nuisance continued, most notably at The Slidebar, a club that was illegally operating without a CUP. And even as the nuisance continued, the City embarked on a campaign to eliminate any restrictions at all. Complaints were invariably batted away by Planning Directors Karen Haluza, Ted White, and Matt Foulkes who, along with our egregious City Attorney, Dick Jones kept citing studies and new plans, and whatever else they could use as a pretext for doing nothing.

Matt Foulkes. The downward spiral is complete.

Finally by 2019, it became apparent that the goal was to permit an acoustic free-for-all in downtown Fullerton.

 

Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 2

Al Zelinka. Failing to the top.

In the past 10 years or so, Fullerton has had four different planning directors: Al Zelinka, Karen Haluza, Ted White, and most recently an individual named Matt Foulkes. Pop quiz: what else do these folks have in common?

Haluza. The closer you looked, the worse it got.

Time’s up. Answer: none of them enforced the city’s noise ordinances, and each seemed to be dedicated to ignoring zoning and land use regulations in downtown Fullerton. We’ll get to the “why” of it in a later post. For now I want to point out the trajectory of this mess. As scofflaws like Jeremy Popoff’s odious Slidebar and the Florentine Mob’s various enterprises refused to comply with our laws, the Planning Directors noted above began an ongoing project to lower and lower the legal bar until even the lowest nematode could wriggle over it.

Ted White didn’t leave his fingerprints…he thinks…

Now if we contemplate this downward spiral of our “experts” in the Planning Department and Code Enforcement we notice that it hit a virtual rock bottom in January 2019 when Matt Foulkes pretended that he didn’t know what a property owner was and approved the submission of an official document forged by Joe Florentine pretending that he, Florentine, was an “owner.”

Matt Foulkes. The downward spiral is complete.

Of course all of this malfeasance was amply documented here on the FFFF blog. And guess what? Nobody in City Hall cared; or to be more precise, nobody cares, still. See, in Fullerton incompetency and blatant corruption are so common on the part of our City Attorney, Dick Jones and the cadre of drunk, venal and just plain dumb City Managers and staff that our threshold for outrage is as low is almost worn away.

But not quite. Stay tuned for noise. And by noise I mean the noise generated by city staff to ignore, dilute, obfuscate and dodge the Noise Ordinances.

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.

 

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.”

Fullerton City Attorney Lies by Omission, Weed Lawsuits Likely Inbound

dick-jones

It’s high time the Fullerton City Council fired City Manager Ken Domer and the City’s resident law firm Jones & Mayer. They have opened the city up to too much litigation (including a public records lawsuit I have against the City) and frankly are incapable of doing their jobs in an honest and professional way.

Allow me to explain by way of legal weed in Fullerton. (more…)

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?

Dr. Jones and his “Monster”

Things are quiet in downtown Fullerton of late, since the bars and nightclubs have been shut  down. Does anybody miss the mayhem? There are those boosters and lackeys that complain about the bad old days when the sidewalks were rolled up at 6 pm, but I sort of like the peace and quiet, the absence of imported trash, and a “business district” that doesn’t cost a million and a half more to keep up than it brings in. I’m tired of scofflaw booze peddlers like the Florentine Mob and Jeremy Popoff’s “Slidebar” who have been encouraged by City Hall to believe that the laws don’t apply to them.

And so for fun, I rerun this tribute post –  a blast from the past – our favorite corn pone  fizishun, Dr. HeeHaw Dick Jones waxing poetic on the mess he made of DTF –  13 years ago!

Dr. Jones has a strange way of relating everything to babies, he goes from one end of the spectrum to the other, aka “flip flop”. He claims that he was the “Promoter” of the Downtown Bars and Dance Halls, yet he’s the Councilperson calling the downtown, “The Wild West” and “River City”. He’s “afraid” to go downtown after 10:00pm! As recent as September 16, 2008, he voted to subsidize the renegade dance halls, because they “need help”. Before you vote on November 4th, please pass this website on to your friends and neighbors!

Can We Finally Say Good Riddance to Dick Jones?

Marblemouth and Mayer Pulling Out?

Word has seeped out from the once hermetically sealed walls of City Hall that we may not have Richard “Dick” Jones, Esq. to kick around much longer. It would seem, if the rumors are true, that Good Ol’ Dick has had enough of screwing the taxpayers of Fullerton with his pettifogging, self-serving legal advice and is “retiring” with all of his ill-gotten spoils.

Where there’s smoke…

Well, possibly not all his spoils, because he must believe his “I Can’t Believe Its A Law Firm” will have some residual value after Mudslide oozes off.

Now I don’t know about you, Friends, but a collection of lawyers that includes Kimberly Barlow and Gregory Roosevelt Palmer doesn’t seem like it could be worth very much to me; but Jones is supposedly pitching the continued services of his collection of miscreants, so he must plan on keeping his name on the letterhead and probably receiving revenue thereby.

Let slip the dogs of law…

Will our city councilcreatures keep this gang on retainer? After the abysmal performance of Jones in the pas it’s hard to imagine anybody wanting them around, at all. Of course this is the same gaggle that has kept Jones, et al., on the clock for over twenty years – and that’s a lot of bungling and cover-ups.

John Oliver on Standing Up to Bullies with Lawyers

We invite you to review HBO’s Last Week Tonight’s overview of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP Suits). We all have a responsibility to stand up to bullies who write checks to lawyers to keep critics silent. We do it for our Republic, we do it for our neighbors, and we do it for our families. Mr. Oliver outlines what happens when we don’t.

We’re currently over halfway through our $10,000 goal to support the Ferguson Family. If you have the means, please support this blog’s efforts to support a family that’s doing more than their fair share to stand up to the government boot squashing your right to know, your right to criticize, and your right to a free and independent press.

While we lack the means for a musical production, we invite anyone who’d like to volunteer to join the “Eat Shit, Dick” dance troupe to contact us immediately. We have good work to do.

Fullerton Retaliates, Threatens Family to Cover for Bad Cops

For some lawyers, every problem is a nail. Don’t like what you see? Take it personally and swing a hammer as hard as you possibly can. Damn the consequences and damn the people involved, what matters is your pride and smiting that heretical nail.

Unfortunately for Fullerton taxpayers, that’s exactly the mentality of the legal wunderkind at Jones and Mayer. Annoy the city and get the legal equivalent of “See these fists? They’re getting ready to fuck you up.” We all know how well that strategy of bullying and brunt stupidity worked out for all of us the last time around. Yet here we are, repeating history, and somehow expecting a different result.

Many of you wonder why the many writers associated with this humble blog post under fake names. Some of us own property, some of us have kids, some of us have parents in Fullerton, and some of us own businesses in town. All of us have been threatened by city employees as a result of our participation in local politics. Most of us don’t want to have our lives turned upside down because we want the city to fix potholes instead of covering for employees who lie, cheat, steal, and occasionally beat members of the public. A few of us are made of tougher stuff and attach the real and personal consequences of speaking up for the public to their livelihood. Sometimes it’s a black sedan parked across the street from your house, sometimes it’s a little something special left in your trash can, others it’s anonymous letters sent to clients and employers, and for some (now former) contributors to this blog it’s literally two men dressed in black wearing a silver badge showing up on your doorstep at 11pm telling you and your wife it’s time to leave town. Most of you won’t believe any of that, but to one degree or another, every single one of us had something occur within six months of criticising a member of city council or a senior employee at the city or union. Fullerton plays for keeps, so keep your mouth shut or bad things will happen.

Why? Because if voters really understood that brass at FPD really do intimidate submitters of official complaints from women sexually assaulted by officers, really do lie under oath to protect those on their side of the thin blue line, and really do withhold backup from officers who report evil cops to internal affairs, they’d revolt and throw enablers like Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory, Doug Chaffee, and the recalled bald tires out of town on a rail. While the abuse at the fire department and non-public safety positions is comparatively much less severe, we still have evidence of employees drinking on the job, destroying city assets, stealing property, and using their official capacity to profit both on and off the taxpayer clock. This stuff literally happens every single month and FFFF is the only local information provider willing to publish accounts exposing just how bad things are.

Want to know why our roads look like shit? Well, read the archive. You’re not dealing with decision makers who are pure as the driven snow. They have a vested personal monetary and political interest to keep the public in the dark.

So, I put it to you reader. If you were a city official wanting to keep the voters in the dark, what’s the best way to make sure facts, accounts, or even just rumors make their way out into the public for consumption?

Clean up the city? Stop the lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people?

Come clean and ask for forgiveness? Simply tell the truth about lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people?

What about just locking it down and staying quiet. Just don’t acknowledge the lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, or beating of people?

Nope.

Fullerton goes with it’s version “WE ARE SPARTA!” method of attacking the messenger. Don’t like that your lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing and beating of people is getting out in public? Break the knees of anyone telling that story and your problem gets solved real quick. After all, if it fails, it’s not like you’re going to jail for wrecking someone’s life.

Last week, one of our writers Joshua Ferguson, announced he had filed suit to get access to documents Fullerton is legally required to produce concerning city employees lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people. Guess what FFFF received a week later as a direct consequence of standing up to the entrenched and belligerent interests at city hall?

That’s right, two of our named authors are being sued. Along with an employer.

Why? Because the city knows exactly what will happen. Screw mortgage payments, screw tuition bills, and screw putting food on the table: You didn’t shut up when we told you to, so now we’re doing to take your whole fucking life away because we can. Enjoy these fists fucking you up. Good-bye paycheck and hello desperation.

In the end, perhaps the court will see this isn’t even a thinly veiled attempt to attack the public’s right to know, free speech, and the fundamental precept that the government shouldn’t use its resources to go about wrecking lives. If that happens, it will be years or months from now, you will pay the bill, and the damage caused by Jones and Mayer swinging their hammer will be done. This blog has 3236 articles and counting. Hundreds of news stories emanating from bad things at city hall were broken here. All of that threatens to come to an end because our writers won’t risk being attacked by the local powers at be for telling the truth.

Be that as it may reader, remember this: Your roads look like shit because people like Jennifer Fitzgerald and those who support her would rather spend her time attacking messengers and threatening families than make hard choices about how big the raises should be for those who endorse her campaigns for office.

This is your Fullerton. If the endless supply of stories concerning lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people hasn’t gotten your attention yet, maybe this latest round of intimidation will. In the meantime, your roads are as shitty today as they were yesterday, and they’ll still be shitty tomorrow when this lawsuit moves forward.