It’s sort of fun to watch this mob enjoy a brief bout of fisticuffs between two of their own, especially when one of the pugilists gets cold-cocked and further beaten while lying helpless on the ground. What simian fun!!
Look familiar? This crap has been going on for almost 20 years thanks to our craven politicians who were bought and paid for by bar owners.
Speaking of bar owners the fight scene above (not apes) takes place in the fight ring/parking lot behind the Matador bar, whose owner, Mario Marovic is opening two new saloons on the corner of Harbor and Commonwealth, and who still hasn’t give back the sidewalk fraudulently acquired by the Florentines way back in 2002.
In Fullerton City Hall, nothing is forgotten quite so quickly as the past, particularly if that past includes malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence or prevarication.
That’s why FFFF has made it our mission to remind folks about such egregious rip-offs as the Saga of the Florentine Sidewalk, in which a sleazy restaurant put a room addition on a public sidewalk and got away with it.
Here’s the now relevant part: The disgraced Florentine & Co. quit Fullerton last year, and the building’s owner, Mario Marovic is in the process of remodeling the exterior and interior of the building even though he doesn’t yet have the proposed CUP – so he must be pretty confident he’s going to get it. The matter comes to the Planning Commission tonight.
The staff report, as usual, is full of irrelevant crap, and completely ignores the the theft of the sidewalk, a land grab that was eventually made legal by a revised lease – with Florentine. The report also shares Marovic’s plan for the corner space at Harbor and Commonwealth, keeping the permanent structure built by Florentine!
Now that’s not very good, is it.
I doubt if anybody on the Planning Commission remembers the sordid history of this building, and you can be sure that no one on staff remembers or cares to remind them. But now is the time to get this sidewalk back!
An item on last week’s Closed Session council meeting just caught my eye. The item identified the southeast corner of Pomona Avenue and Santa Fe, location of the previously discussed “boutique” hotel proposal. I last reported it here, when the Council voted 4-1 to let the unsolicited, single proposal issue get a time extension. As usual the lone no vote came from Bruce Whitaker. The July 6th item just says “terms and price” so that it can be hidden behind the Brown Act exemption.
When the City Attorney emerged he declared that this harebrained idea was moving ahead on a 3-2 vote to authorize a Letter of Intent to approve a development agreement. Hmm. We know that Jesus Quirk Silva would go for it. After all, he already changed his vote once to move this along – way back in December of 2018 as a parting gift to Doug “Bud” Chaffee. And Ahmad Zahra is always a reliable vote to support some stupid government giveaway or overreach.
So that leaves councilmen Nick Dunlap, Fred Jung and the aforementioned Whitaker. It is really hard to believe that Whitaker would suddenly change course 180 degrees from a previous commonsense, conservative position. Dunlap and Jung have so far shown unusual sales resistance when it comes to ridiculous bullshit so it’s hard to see either one going for this. But obviously, one of the three did. Who was it, and why? We were not told by the City Attorney and the minutes do not include such potentially embarrassing things.
And this will be a giveaway. You and I own that parcel of land that is currently providing popular parking for Transportation Center commuters. What is the land truly worth? If the Council continues on this reckless course to support a massive public subsidy to for an idea that has no basis in market demand, we may never know.
The days of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency writing checks to fly-by-night developers, scammers, and other corporate welfare queens is over; but the so-called Successor Agency is perfectly capable of handing over real estate and getting nothing in return. And that looks likely to happen as the story of Fullerton’s unsolicited boutique hotel lurches forward.
The Florentine Mob may be gone; the douchebag Jeremy Popoff has popped off somewhere; but the battlefield known as Downtown Fullerton – created and nurtured by our own government is still in fine form. And by fine form, I mean gunfire.
The FPD has announced that it has apprehended one of our stand up DTF patrons who allegedly fired shots a the JP23 “restaurant” following an altercation therein.
Somebody got shot. Here’s part of the cop’s statement (self-congratulatory bullshit omitted):
On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at approximately 1:03 AM, Fullerton Police Officers responded to 101 S. Harbor Boulevard, JP23 Urban Kitchen and Bar, regarding a subject who had been shot.
Upon arrival, Officers located a 24-year-old male with a single gunshot wound. Officers immediately rendered aid to the victim, and he was transported to a local trauma center. It was determined the gunshot wound was not life-threatening and the victim was expected to survive.
So once again the establishment known as JP23 finds itself in the middle of crime, although most of the crime at this place comes from the refusal of the owner to obey the Fullerton Municipal Code and his own Conditional Use Permit.
Oh, well. I guess there’s a certain amount of psychological reassurance that some things just don’t change. And mayhem in Downtown Fullerton appears to be one of them.
Okay. What have we learned so far about Fullerton’s long and corrupt attempt to avoid addressing the problem of amplified outdoor music?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally by 2019, it became apparent that the goal was to permit an acoustic free-for-all in downtown Fullerton.
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?
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.
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.”
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.
What is it about the Florentine Family and public right-of-way. We are all familiar with the theft of a public sidewalk back in 2003. Now the clan seems to think they are entitled to remove public parking in order to accommodate the people unlucky enough to order take-out.
Sure, it’s more convenient to expropriate the on-street parking, but there’s plenty of room in the back parking lot for the comings and goings of their customers. Oh well. We can chalk it up to more self-entitled behavior from the folks who refuse to adhere to the City Code, and who forged a City document to try to push through an illegal CUP.
An even better question is who at City hall is responsible for this nonsense?
According to The Fullerton Observer, North Orange County Community College District trustee, Molly McClanahan has pulled the plug on her career as an alleged overseer of the bureaucracy at the local junior colleges. Her seat will remain vacant until the November election, a rather telling sign of how critical the job is.
Of course Molly didn’t get on the board via an election like her successor will. No she got this job 25 years ago as a boohoo consolation prize for being recalled from the city council by the people of Fullerton in June, 1994. The cause? A completely unnecessary utility tax that was foisted on us to save the city from imminent destruction. Like her two compatriots, Don Bankhead and Buck Catlin she refused to leave the council until a judge forced the City to hold a replacement election. Same arrogance as ever, yesterday, today, tomorrow.
On the council Good Old Molly never veered from a completely predictable path. Always handy with a bubble-headed cliché, she was a constant supporter of Redevelopment boondoggles and expansions, and any other nonsense put in front of her by “staff.” Her supporters always bragged that she “did her homework.” Yet when it came time to take the test there was never anything that remotely smacked of intelligence or the willingness to vote alone, if necessary.
Likewise, McClanahan’s career trajectory over the past two and a half decades on the JC board has not deviated a bit in its pathetic parabola: cover for bureaucrats, never demand accountability from anyone, just do what you’re told. She was caught being wined and dined by bond salesmen who placed the massive bond on the ballot in 2016 under the phony guise of helping veterans, and that pretty much sums up her legacy.
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.
Fighting your own incompetent and belligerent government can be distracting. And so rather than be distracted, I’ve been playing catch-up with some more of the doings of our idiocracy since the City’s legal lizards tried to stomp on our 1st Amendment rights.
Back on October 1, our esteemed council took on the business of people camping out in their cars. Naturally, the problem needed to be institutionalized, and institutionalized it was – by giving the Illumination Foundation a contract up to $100,000 to run a site-specific car and RV park. FFFF correspondent T-REX covered the story, here.
With their usual political courage, the council directed that their City Manager, Ken Domer, could decide the location and thereby let a bureaucrat insulate them from the repercussions of their own decision.
Now that location is known – the alley and public parking between the historic Western marketing Building and the Elephant Packing House, a building on the National Register of Historic Places.
Well, fine, say I. This site is directly adjacent to the crown jewel of Fullerton’s Failures, the so-called Union Pacific Park, or, as it is charmingly referred to by neighbors, The Poison Park. it seems right and proper that the City deposit one failure next to another, which is already situated across Harbor Boulevard from one of Fullerton’s first Redevelopment boondoggles, the Allen Hotel eyesore.
And stay tuned for episode 4, in which the Poison Park returns to the agenda, and the Fullerton City Council steps on its own weenie again.