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 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?

Cho Collects Corrupt Cronies

Barf Man Returneth…

When FFFF first introduced Andrew Cho to the Friends we noted that his list  of “endorsers” was a veritable rogues’ gallery of political crooks, swindlers and liars. And now the collection is complete:

What do we have here?

It is right and proper that the Cho, the hapless stooge of outgoing Mayor-for-Hire Jennifer Fitzgerald should have the backing of “Democrat” Doug “Bud” Chaffee, the senile and incompetent clown who let Fullerton go to Hell even as he bought himself a job at the County. It’s also perfectly predictable. Lobbyist Curt Pringle, who employs Fitzgerald is a big fundraiser for Chaffee, obviously expecting favors in return. This is one of them.

And let’s never forget Chaffee’s better half Paulette Marshall, whose well-documented political hijinks and actual crimes, must have been well-known to hubby.

But the recommendation that bankruptcy lawyer Cho’s record in “financial recovery” is somehow an asset should cause even the dimmest wit to ponder Fullerton’s future with Cho on the council dais.

 

Is Fitzgerald Out?

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

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.

Pringle and Fitzgerald

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:

  1. Promise to take no pay or benefits, and then doing just that.
  2. Lying about a “balanced budget” for years while depleting reserve funds to pay for ever-greater pension obligations.
  3. Covering up the drunk driving of her best buddy, City Manager Joe Felz, a spectacle that has embarrassed the City, ever since.
  4. Ignoring the roads of Fullerton until they have become the worst in Orange County , as determined by the OCTA.
  5. Presiding over the shoddy or incompetent  construction of vanity projects that put money in the pockets of her campaign contributor.
  6. Working as a lobbyist while representing the City of Fullerton.
Axis of Casual Corruption.

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.

 

Don Bankhead Dead

The thing that many people thought inconceivable has happened. Don Bankhead, former Fullerton city councilman, has gone on to his reward.

On Earth, Bankhead’s reward was being the only person in the 170 year history of California to be recalled twice from the same office.

Details are non-existent to the general public since no published obituary is readily available. However the Loma Vista website informs us:

James “Don” Bankhead
Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
Graveside Service

Note – I found this write-up on-line. No mention of 2 recalls. Still the only thing other than my own post. Sort of sad.

https://everloved.com/life-of/james-bankhead-sr/obituary/

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.

The Doug Chaffee Experience, Kindness Edition

Just in case you were still wondering about his competence and priorities, our Supervisor, Doug “Bud” Chaffee has helped out with his latest insipid e-mail. The latest installment invites nominations for something called a “4th District Kindness Award.” No, I am not making this up. Here it is:

Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind…

Now coming from a dyed-in-the-wool SOB like Chaffee this is really a bit much. His record of screwing the people of Fullerton through incompetence, spleen, rancid deal making with FitzFlory; and his aiding and abetting his criminal wife in stealing campaign signs and creating a phony residence to run for office, would lead a normal person to suspect that kindness in any form is the last thing on Chaffee’s shrinking mind.

Why Keep Threatening Us?

For every problem that isn’t a nail, there’s a moron ready to swing a hammer.

20 Days ago FFFF got another threatening letter from the City that said if we don’t stop reporting news and telling the public the truth about what’s actually happening in their town, apparently there will be consequences.

We told them to kick rocks.

What really strikes us as odd is how hard the city works to solve real problems v make work problems.

If they’re willing to go after local journalists connected to a blog that city employees routinely insist that no one reads, one can’t help but wonder what wrath the city brings down on real problems.

Can we assume that the city also takes things like life safety issues impacting the public, police brutality and sexual misconduct, wasted tax dollars, theft by employees, recklass or perhaps drunk driving by employees, or total disregard for budget discipline, public trust, and basic fairness as seriously as they take shutting down transparency?

Oh wait, we don’t need to assume anything as we know exactly what kind of resources the city spends on those problems. None.

We know because we broke and covered those stories.

Maybe that’s what this is about. Maybe the City is tired of having a group of “chronic malcontents” embarrass them by telling the truth. (more…)

Chasing Rainbows

I noticed two things in the Fullerton Observer the other day that on the surface are pretty innocuous but that upon a little reflection seem to be symbolic of the way our city government has operated over the years.

AhmadZahra
Movin’ on up

The first is the City’s proclamation of Arab American Month, a first, and no doubt conceived by new councilmember Ahmad Zahra who is himself an Arab American. Here is Zahra:

“As an Arab-American myself, I’m very proud of this moment, and I’m proud of our city for being such a wonderful, diverse place where everybody can celebrate who they are but work together for what is best for our community.”

Diversity and celebration. Hmm. Well, okay, a little color toner and some quality legal-sized paper, a few minutes of everybody’s time and you’ve got your proclamation. Go in peace.

The second item is about the rainbow flag flapping on the pole in front of City Hall. The City Council in March approved flying the banner that symbolizes LGBTQ rights, etc for LGBTQ Month. Mr. Zahra is also gay and this may account for the fact that Fullerton has finally got around to this pressing issue. This is a bit more problematic because here we have an official endorsement by the City. Personally, I’m all for equal rights for everybody – including marriage, and I couldn’t care less if Jennifer Fitzgerald orders that a Goofy flag fly over the City Hall. Still, it gives one pause to consider the priorities of our esteemed leaders – nobody’s rights are threatened by not flying the flag; meaning, of course, that the whole thing is an empty gesture.

And this brings me, finally, to the point of this post. We have a city council that has spent us to brink of fiscal disaster with no accountability, no responsibility and no concern at all for the taxpayers and citizens of Fullerton. They have squandered millions on vanity construction projects that were mismanaged, unnecessary, or downright dangerous. They have let the streets of Fullerton become the joke of Orange County. They have turned over downtown Fullerton to a gang of scofflaw saloon owners. They have nurtured a deadly Culture of Corruption in the police department, an infection that reaches from top to bottom. Meantime they are determined to ignore any of the calls for a correction to the course they have navigated.

More negativity. Just think positive!

Ask yourselves this question: Are any of the real municipal problems of Fullerton ever addressed? The answer, sadly, has been no. Meanwhile, empty symbolism and diversion are the order of the day. It’s easy pandering, and to the uninitiated might even look like something is being accomplished.

The question whether hollow gestures are better than none at all, especially when promoted by incompetent or corrupt officials, may remain academic. What is a practical reality is that in a month or so Fullerton will begin its Annual Can Kick – known as the budget approval. But the can is getting more obdurate every year and the lies coming from Fitzgerald and Flory ever more outrageous. Soon we will be able to see what sort of new flags from Mr. Zahra and his colleagues will be run up the flagpole. Will anybody salute?

Flory Wins Wheel of Candidates

Accountability? It was never on the agenda.

Well, that was predictable.

In fact, after breaking up the FFFF kitty last night, those betting $1 on Jan Flory only got $0.98 back. Everyone knew it was coming.

Why? Because Fullerton gonna Fullerton and the house always wins. There was never any real chance that anyone was going to do the right thing. Ahmad Zahra of 2018 has clearly been through the establishment sheep dip, emerging as the self-righteous lecturer Ahmad Zahra 2.0 of 2019.

You didn’t know what the NUFF forum was for you to learn about a candidate so you could come speak your piece during last night’s public comment period? Ahmad is offended!

You don’t care about Ahmad’s latest sob story justifying his total lack of conviction to do the right thing by the voter? Ahmad is offended!

You expected Ahmad to abide by his word and not vote for someone lobbying for a position that hadn’t even been announced? Ahmad is offended!

Well, we can see where this is going to go for the next four years. Maybe we’ll start keeping a list of reasons why Ahmad is exempt from being held accountable for his own actions and statements. Excuses seem to be his tool of choice.

As for Jesús Silva, Fullerton’s next liberal lion, he just sold out his wife and the rest of Fullerton’s liberal cabal by granting a third vote to continue enforcement of Chevron’s development agreement for West Coyote Hills. There’s a flip flop that would even make Doug Chaffee envious. Sorry Fullerton, the bulldozer is coming, all thanks to Jesús.

No surprises from Fullerton’s Queen-of-Mean Jennifer Fitzgerald. One has to wonder what all those whispers between her, Ahmad, Jesús, and City Manager Ken Domer were all about.

As the council begins to tackle the problems created by their predecessors, at least they’ll be able to look over to the left and ask Jan Flory directly, “Remind us again, why did you do that?”

We, the collective imbalance that is FFFF, look forward to hearing how Indivisible types attempt to exculpate themselves as they realize their progressive reformers are actually no different from the cronyistic corporatists they despise.