Food and Drink

Enjoy Downtown While it Lasts

Downtown Fullerton

Fullerton’s City Council last Tuesday, as expected, voted to change the rules governing how bars operate in the city in order to facilitate having more bars and making them more profitable.

The crux of the change is that it was too hard for staff to do their jobs, and for the Police Chief to stop rubber stamping permits, so the city needed to change the rules. This time they mean to enforce them unlike the last decade+ they promise… kind of… well not really.

Not one council member got an answer of who was in violation of what rules they were changing and why it was so hard for community development, code enforcement and the police to use a checklist to sort it out and in fact Ted White’s answers on how Conditional Use Permits work negated his own arguments of the Title 15 change. But again, council was too inept and/or lazy to follow the logic of the change or to ask any real questions per the norm.

The council ALSO voted to launch a pilot program, which we all know will be permanent, for paid parking in downtown. This is a data driven program tracking who comes and goes how often and how long they stay based on license plate data. As we heard at the meeting the whole point was data, data, data and more data. You will be tracked and your data will likely be sold. It’s so data driven that the vendor, staff and council want you to punch in where you park even when you don’t have to pay for parking – just because you WANT to be tracked.

Data Breach

When council asked who owned the servers the vendor claimed it was a “cloud based server” and that’s where the questions stopped. We don’t know what data is kept, where it is kept, which servers are used or who our travel data is being sold to – all because council couldn’t be bothered to ask.

It was a pathetic meeting full of incompetence, malfeasance and laughable gaffs. The Other Dick Jones™ got torn into by both Fitzgerald and Zahra for how they can/can’t handle an agenda item and when the city clerk offered helpful info the council just blanker her. It was probably the worst example of governing I’ve seen in years.

Individually the council members didn’t do themselves any favors in the integrity or intelligence departments. Read the rest of this entry »

More about , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments

Fullerton Puts Favoritism over Fire Safety

We’ve received, via a Public Records Request, some of Community Development Director Ted White’s text messages with downtown bar owner Joe Florentine. It looks like Mr. White is working for Florentine which explains a lot:

Ted White Florentine Texts a Ted White Florentine Texts b

To clear this up, those “issues” that Mr. Florentine is talking about include all of his violations of the municipal code and his Conditional Use Permit – specifically his illegal refusal to install fire sprinklers.

Florentines CUP Fire Sprinklers

Florentine is in gross violation and Ted White is pushing a big change to the municipal code through council in order to facilitate Florentine’s bad behavior.

While Mr. White likes to talk about how hard his job is, how impossible enforcement is and how outdated it is to look at “lumens” regarding lighting – he doesn’t admit that fire safety isn’t on his list of priorities – nor is actually doing his job.

Florentine’s properties on the corner of Harbor and Commonwealth, the largest bar / nightclub in all of Downtown Fullerton, as far as we can tell, is the ONLY business given a pass on fire and life safety issues.

We also have it on good authority that Mr. White tried to illegally INCREASE the occupancy at Florentine’s properties, in violation of the law, while ignoring the fire sprinkler issue that has been ignored by staff for 10+ years. Why? Why potentially put more people at risk?

And Mr. White isn’t alone in his belief that one man is above the rules and laws in Fullerton.

Every single year the Fullerton Police Chief, currently Robert Dunn, issues Florentine a Live Entertainment Permit threatening to enforce the applicable laws/permits. And every year the Chief does nothing but wield his rubber stamp for downtown law breakers. This is worse than the old joke of the UN saying “Stop! Or we’ll yell ‘Stop!’ again!” because our Chief can’t even be bothered to use the “S” word. Read the rest of this entry »

More about , , , , , ,

16 Comments

Embrace DUIs or Move to Podunk

cronyism

Last night the Planning Commission voted to loosen the rules on bars while promising, yet again, that the city will hold bad actors in our downtown accountable.

They made the same empty promises staff, Planning Commission and Council have been giving the people of Fullerton for well over a decade despite any substantial actions. They can’t even be bothered to close businesses without permits but hey, trust them this time because this time they mean it. Really.

During public comments Joe Florentine suggested if you don’t like the DUI culture that you move to Podunk.

This actually happened.

The guy who stole a sidewalk thinks the entire city belongs to him and his beer shilling compatriots. He and other bar owners in attendance also tried to blame “pre-gaming” and 7-11 for all of the drunks sent out onto our decrepit roads at 2am.

Not one member of the Planning Commission asked about negative impacts, what was already being done, why nobody is ever shut down or brought before them and not one of them bothered to challenge staff or the owners on why they all supported alleged “penalties”. These people are all shameless and useless.

But Mr. Florentine put the idea out there that you either accept his vision of Fullerton or leave so I present for your consideration the vision that these guys have as this is what they support, want and endorse year in and year out.

Here is a map of the DUIs in Fullerton in 2018. Google Maps wouldn’t let us show duplicates so if 5 DUIs happened at the same spot there is only one pin.

Fullerton 2018 DUIs

Duplicate locations were omitted.

Here’s just Downtown for 2018:

2018 DUIs Downtown

Duplicate locations were omitted.

There were 636 DUIs in Fullerton in 2017, 633 in 2018 and with 80 DUIs so far this year the city is on track to keep up with this yearly average.

Nobody last night seemed to care about the carnage, mayhem or dangers on our roads so long as it makes the right businesses a profit (while driving other businesses out). What’s sad is that this idea of a Bar-Only Downtown is ruining a part of town many of us love.

But hey, if you don’t like having 1.7 DUIs a day in Fullerton (and that’s who is caught mind you) then just move to Podunk. After all, according to Joe Florentine this is a college town and we need to focus on serving students (who for the first three years of college are too young to drink mind you).

Maybe when a DUI hits the stolen sidewalk on Harbor, instead of innocent businesses like the Ophthalmologist on Orangethorpe, Mr. Florentine will change his tune on the unaccountable behavior he continues to support.

Fullerton DUI Feb 2019

Until then except more the same and be happy about it or do something to change the focus of our city council. Or hey – maybe just move to Podunk.

More about , , ,

33 Comments

FPD Officer on Wrong Side of DUI

We’d like to introduce you to Officer Marc Bastreri — and his DUI in Huntington Beach — a whopping 113 days after becoming a Fullerton officer.

More info to come as we get it.

Officer-Bastreri-DUI

Officer-Bastreri-Hired

This is Fullerton’s best and brightest.

Seriously, according to Fullerton’s own Comprehensive Financial Audit Report, as received and filed at council last night, we’re in the black because we’re understaffed and we only hire the best.

Or, rather:

“Expenditures decreased $1.5 million over the prior year due to increased vacant positions as a result of increased hiring scrutiny and the region’s competitive work force with low unemployment.”

We might need to work on that increased scrutiny thing what with alcohol related shenanigans being such a problem at FPD lately.

More about , , ,

48 Comments

City is Still Shilling for Bar Owners

cronyism

For the last, well forever really, the city has been trying to figure out how to change downtown to make it more… something. I can’t quite figure it out. By the looks of it the only goals City Staff have are to pack as many residents into as many high-density apartment complexes as possible and to hand over as much of Downtown to the local “restauranteurs” which is Ted White (Director of Community Development) for “Bar Owners”.

This past Wednesday night one such plan hit our Planning Commission. The plan was 70+ pages of muddled definitions and empty promises. I’ll summarize:

City Staff has been ignoring their jobs and our municipal code for 15+ years because reasons. It’s hard to do the job we pay them to do so they want to do less of it and they want to relax the rules so the rule-breakers have fewer rules they have to break while making piles of money.

Instead of cleaning up bad definitions and attempting to hold businesses responsible for the melees enveloping downtown each weekend, the city would rather permanently legalize downtown getting louder and more rowdy with the promises that this time, with no indication of staffing changes or practical enforcement, they’ll hold bar owners to a standard of behavior, or perhaps a guideline, or at least an amorphous shape resembling a line if you squint really hard.

It reminds me an old UN Peacekeeper joke where whenever they see somebody doing something wrong they yell “Stop! Or I’ll Yell “Stop!” Again!”. This time they mean it for realsies.

Ultimately Wednesday’s item was held until a possible study session in January and a new meeting in February, which is when we’re totally screwed. The bar owners will get everything they want and then some come February because the Planning Commission is changing. A lot. Read the rest of this entry »

More about , , , , ,

15 Comments

Bruce Whitaker’s Cash Cow

The other evening the Fullerton City Council discussed the issue of letting bar owners cram more of their top-shelf patrons into downtown Fullerton night clubs, a move that the bar owners ludicrously claim will actually help with all that mayhem that occurs on a typical week-end evening. As a tangent, the idea of taxing the generators of all the trouble came up.

Here is our esteemed Mayor, Bruce Whitaker, calmly explaining why some sort of public revenue generating scheme would a bad idea.

This is so disingenuous in several aspects that it’s hard to know where to start. The idea that the private business interests are the best at providing some sort of “management” at the lowest cost is absurd given the fact that the taxpayers are already  providing vastly subsidized security and maintenance in the downtown war zone.  It is the o-so trustworthy bar owners (that Whitaker claims have the biggest stake in a smoothly operating downtown) who benefit from public services they aren’t paying for.

Whitaker knows very well that the open air saloon known as Downtown Fullerton costs the taxpayers more than $1,500,000 per year. It’s a classic money pit. The irony is rich. The idea that the city government might milk DTF is absolutely absurd. The fact is that Whitaker’s bar-owner campaign contributors are making money on the backs of the rest of us – and Whitaker – despite his rhetoric – knows this damn well.

The real point is that once again Whitaker and his spineless council colleagues are going to bat for their saloon owning pals, people who have stolen public sidewalks, habitually violated the City’s noise ordinances, whose patrons wreak havoc on our streets and on themselves every night. Whitaker and the City Council have not only turned looking the other way into a full-time job, they have gone out of their way to prop up and publicly subsidize the booze peddlers they enabled in the first place.

And as usual, the rest of us pick up the bar tab.

21 Comments

Fish This: Fullerton Bars Need More Drunks

Naw, I done that myself…

You can’t make this stuff up.

At the last Fullerton City Council Meeting, a posse of local bar owners demanded that the city council allow them to stuff more drunken twenty somethings into their bars.  They went so far as to claim their businesses were suffering because Fullerton’s FIRE CODE prevented them from making as much money as their peers in neighboring cities.

The response from our elected city council?

Absolutely.  More drunks.  And it was unanimous.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You’ve been to downtown Fullerton on a Friday night.  You’ve seen young ladies puking on the sidewalk outside of the Tuscany Club at 9pm.  You’ve seen young men getting into brawls behind Joe’s at 10:30.  And you’ve seen the rivers of piss and vomit trickling into the parking lot behind Matador early in the morning.  It all just glistens in the moonlight.

And of course a grand night out in historic downtown Fullerton wouldn’t be complete without a stabbing outside of the Continental Room, shootings on Santa Fe, and the drunk driving, more drunk driving, inevitably more drunk driving, and . . . did we say the drunk driving?

But hey, we need more drunks!  According to Fullerton Bar owners (and I’m not making this up):

Under the current situation, if coming to historic downtown becomes a negative experience for patrons because they can’t get into restaurants and bars and they are uncomfortable with the crowded streets, sidewalks, and parking lots; they may go to other cities that offer a more positive experience.  As a result, if business owners income’s (sic) decrease to where they are not profitable, some will have to close.

Wait, some of the 50 odd bars in downtown Fullerton will have to close if we keep the FIRE CODE as it is?

GOOD!  And don’t the the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Because let’s be honest.  More people in bars means one thing: MORE DRUNKS.

Instead of caving into the Bar owners who profit on littering our streets and alleys with vomit and excrement each weekend, perhaps our city council should finally take a small step to restore civility.

Let’s not amend the fire code to allow for more drunks drinking.  Let’s keep it exactly how it is and how about we shut down any bar that exceeds its occupancy limit down for a month.  Fullerton’s current practice allows a bar caught breaking the law to reopen on the same night.

Betcha didn’t know that.

What do you think  Fullerton?  Do you want more drunks?  Let your city council know how you feel about their vote, 5-0, to give you more of this, this, and this.

But hey, we’re just a bunch of malcontents.  Maybe more of this, this, and this is exactly what you want.

Congratulations Fullerton Bar Owners.  You went fishing for a handout and caught the means to finally bring some order to the shit show that is Saturday night.

More about , ,

9 Comments

Extending Fullerton’s Outdoor Saloon

Tonight’s meeting has a rather large agenda…

Fullerton has a vibrant night life with thousands of patrons being served by the 60+ establishments with liquor licenses within the Downtown region alone. While it is true that some businesses don’t operate within the law and the city turns a blind eye to its own municipal code when it suits them it cannot be denied that business is good in the good old outdoor saloon game.

But business could be better if only bars and nightclubs didn’t have to stop serving people.

Never fear. The California Senate has come to the rescue by passing SB-384 which will allow local municipalities to keep the bars open and beer slinging until 4am. There is a lot of support in Sacramento for this bill as it passed the Senate 27-4-4 with our own Senator Newman being one of those Aye votes. It next goes to the Assembly so only time will tell how Quirk-Silva will vote in that chamber.

The more fun question to ponder is how her husband and the rest of the (D) council majority will vote once it passes. Will they allow Fullerton to keep the doors open longer if only to keep FPD’s OT flowing as freely as the booze? Will they manage to get a handle of the municipal code before acquiescing to their bar and nightclub owning campaign donors? Will they vote against it thereby hindering the number of awards FPD can rack up from MADD?

Honored by MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) for their efforts in getting drunk drivers off the road are Fullerton PD Officers Cary Tong, left, Timothy Gibert, Jonathan Munoz, Corporal Ryan Warner and Officer Miguel Siliceo.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC
*** Officer Siliceo’s name on the plaque is misspelled as Sihiceo. ***

Personally I think this bill is stupid because it would mean that bars would have to close down at 4AM and could open again at 6AM. Booze would have to stop flowing for 2 hours. 2 HOURS?! Why not just go Vegas style and end the cut-off altogether? That seems like a smarter play then pretending that turning off the tap for 2 hours will keep people from over drinking.

How do you friends think this will play out in council chambers and on the streets of Downtown? Let us know in the comments.

If you need inspiration for your comments please let Dick Jones be your guide.

More about , , ,

5 Comments

Fullerton Flashback: A Beer with the Boys

A Lit roadie recently shared this image on social media and an observant friend passed it along. Can FFFF readers identify any of these distinguished gentlemen?

Here’s a hint. The photo contains at least one budding lobbyist, a Fullerton police union president, a planning commissioner and a soon-to-be bar owner/nuisance generator.

More about

11 Comments

Amerige Court Becomes Amerige Commons

Hello Fullerton Friends. I’ve been gone for a few weeks owing to the Flu, Family, Festivus and other merriment this time of year. I hope you’re all enjoying your holidays whichever ones you choose to enjoy. Feeling better I wanted to start to dive into some of the public records requests I’ve received from the city but my wife wants me to write about Amerige Court. As my Grandfather once told me that the two most important words in a marriage are “Yes, Dear” I suppose I’m going to have to write about Amerige Court.

For those who don’t keep track of Fullerton boondoggles year in and year out Amerige Court was originally planned to be a 9-Story Mixed Use monstrosity which would sit on the property that is currently some of the most heavily utilized parking for Downtown Fullerton straddling Amerige Avenue between Harbor Blvd and Malden Avenue.

The plus side, at the time of inception anyways, was that it would provide Downtown with 150% of the parking that was (and is) currently available with the downside being every other aspect of this plan. When people got wind of it the city pushed the plan into a “Study Session” where it was cut down from 9 stories to a more reasonable size and the 150% parking requirement was nixed because why not take the only good thing away from the plan. Read the rest of this entry »

More about , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Comments