Another Ackerman For Fullerton?

You people remember my husband, right?

Martin Wisckol over at the Register wrote about the possibility of Mrs. Linda Ackerman, wife of  former State Senator, Assemblyman, Fullerton Councilman, and gerrymanderer par excellence , running in a special election to replace disgraced Mike “the Big Dripper” Duvall in Sacto. You can read about it right here .

Several thoughts spring immediately to mind. First, Wisckol reached Mrs. Ackerman while she and Dick were vacationing in France at the home of the Marquis de Sade. We’ll just let that one go except to add that that’s a pretty apt place to announce you’re might just replace Mike “Spanky” Duvall.

Second, Mrs. Ackerman doesn’t live in the district. She and Dick decamped a while back when his field of operations permitted him to move south. We don’t care for carpetbaggers even if they used to live here and we care even less for the spouses of politicos who trade on their mates political connections. Mrs. Ackerman’s political star has ascended in a not-so-curious trajectory, as her husband’s career wound down. She’s on the MWD board and that gives one cause to pause lately.

Third is the great irony of immediately placing yourself in the discussion about replacing a degenerate that was handpicked for office in the first place by your hubby and his “in crowd” GOP hacklings. Look how that one turned out!

Come on over to my ranch, and I'll tell you about the time I got famous.
Come on over to my ranch, and I'll tell you about the time I got famous.

Fourth, we read in Wisckol that Mrs. Ackerman claims she is conservative, but does not share Chris Norby’s anti-Redevelopment stance. In other words, she likes government intruding into local development and business, she likes affordable housing set-asides, she digs corporate subsidies, and she admires all the other big-government baggage that Redevelopment brings with it; hardly conservative at all, really. Well, hooray! Now we know what the Ackermans mean when they use the term conservative.

Finally, we note the possibility of a Norby-Ackerman rematch of the 1995 assembly election between Chris and Mrs. Ackerman’s husband, a spectacle in which Dick proved just how low he could go. Ackerman loathes Norby with a undisguised passion that has long since crossed over the threshold of obsession. Although the match would be highly entertaining, fulfilling a brain-dead family vendetta is a poor reason to do much of anything, let alone run for public office. Mrs. Ackerman should stay in Irvine.

The City is Violating Its Own Law in Hillcrest Park


If you’ve driven along Brea Boulevard lately you will have noticed that the north hill side of Hillcrest Park has been completely scraped as part of the so-called Lions Field improvements. Well, the hillside was suffering from total (and I mean complete) negligence on the part of the City for decades. What is being built, are large retaining structures to “stabilize” the slope. The only problem is that what the slope needed to stabilize it was appropriate landscaping – a solution that the parks Department ignored for years.

The addition of retaining structures in the park is inappropriate. More than that, it’s illegal. Hillcrest Park is a designated Fullerton Landmark (#6) and as such the types of alteration being proposed  should have been reviewed in a public hearing by the Landmarks Commission. This never happened. It’s true that Hillcrest Park doesn’t fit into any of the categories included in the watered-down version of the Landmarks Ordinance passed by the City about 12 years ago. But adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards is one key. Another issue is that of demolition and replacement of historic elements. Even the watered down code has a spirit that has not been observed.

Once again the City has ignored its own laws, laws that you or I would be expected to follow. It has specifically ignored the Landmark Ordinance once again, a part of the Zoning Code that the City has habitually and serially abused over the years (if you want I’ll make a list).

For years the City has turned over the park to pervs and low-lifes while ignoring the historic built environment. And now it seems they are embarked on another form of abuse of an historic resource.

The North Platform Fiasco – Allegro Molto e Vivace

Loyal and Patient Friends, our sad narrative of The Great North Platform Disaster now draws to a merciful conclusion. We have shared all the dismal failures of the landscape architect, Steve Rose, the Redevelopment manager in charge, Terry Galvin, and Design Review Committee members that were evidently incompetent or unqualified.

Trees and planters block the platform; staff obstruction was almost as bad.
Trees and planters block the platform; staff obstruction was almost as bad.

The design failure was complete and palpable. Yet as diverse groups of citizens displayed their unhappiness with the ludicrous and costly elements of the project, the City Staff dug in their heels in a rear guard action to deflect blame by ignoring the obvious and fighting to keep the mess they had created. Newly minted City Manager Jim Armstrong led the effort to defend the indefensible. He went so far as to accuse one of the leading critics of the design mess of  “making the City look like shit.”

Former Fullerton City Manager Jim Armstrong shovelling hard.
Former Fullerton City Manager Jim Armstrong doing what he did best: shovelling hard.

The City Council, to its credit, would have none of it. They ordered construction halted. Even the Fullerton Observer demanded to know who was in charge. In what may have been the last show of independence by a Fullerton City Council, the majority demanded that the incongruous and useless elements be removed. The lone dissenting vote was that of Molly McClanahan, the eternal staff suck-up, who as Mayor tried backdoor sabotage with the State – which was also providing funding for the project. City staff was going into attack mode behind the scenes.

well fed and ready to attack...
Honest citizen tastes like chicken?

In the end the Council (with the sole exception of Chris Norby) lost its collective nerve and settled on a partial removal of the worst offending aspects of the project. The huge planter was split into pieces, allowing platform access through the middle.

Well, that's better than it was...
Well, that's better than it was...

The miserable trees were completely removed.

Look ma, no trees...
The urban forest retreats. Civilization on the march...

The canopies were salvaged though the construction of alcoves cut out of the still useless block bulkhead wall.

Fullerton platform "alcove" designed by our City Council...
Fullerton platform "alcove" designed by our City Council...

The wretched benches and comical little trash cylinders remain to this day. Go to the depot. You can check it out for yourselves.

It was never disclosed whether Steve Rose was back-charged for the cost of all the changes that had to be made, or whether he actually billed the City for remedial design work. Thousands upon thousands of dollars were wasted on building useless construction and then having to remove it. And what happened to the parties responsible for this complete fiasco? You mean you can’t guess by now?

We'll be hanging on to this card...
Oh, we'll be hanging on to this...

Nothing, of course. The proponents of sensible and functional design were blamed by staff for making the City look bad; the whistle blowers were turned into the villains of the melodrama. Chalk up another big win for the escape artists at the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency.

Is Jan Flory’s Dog Really Still Dead?

Gone, but not forgotten, apparently.
A broomstick across the eye socket does wonders to curb errant leg-lifting

Despite our repeated efforts to assure our loyal Friends that former Fullerton City Councilwoman Jan Flory’s dog is still dead-as-a-doornail, and still out of its misery, persistent rumors to the contrary, and alleged sightings keep occurring. The most recent of the latter happened last week as our own dedicated Friend Ed Peabody claims to have witnessed the hapless mutt peeing in the bushes along Brea Boulevard, directly beneath the new Elks Lodge compound.

While this reaction to the monstrosities on Elk Hill (that we have previously documented herehereand here)  seems appropriate, we cannot, however, lend credence to these wild stories, even from a normally reliable source like Peabody. Although we were willing to cut him some slack when he claimed to have seen Elvis passed out in the West Harbor Alley, now he has just gone too far.

Until we are provided with concrete evidence, we will continue to maintain that Jan Flory’s dog is still dead.

City Council Left in Dark Over Fate of Park; Say, Who In Hell Elected That Guy, Anyway?

While watching the youtube clip of David Espinosa tee off on the Union Pacific Park and the comment by City Manager Chris Meyer that the park was being shut down, we got to thinking. The Mayor was clearly not told by anybody that the park was being closed down – observe the standard “we’ll fix it, thanks, move along” comment by Bankhead followed by Meyer’s explanation.

Meyer went on to say that the problem of what to do with this “park” was being passed to the Community Services Commission for ponderment.

And we say: who in Hell gave Chris Meyer the authority to shut down a public park? Why wasn’t the Council asked to make this decision and how come they were never even told about it before the apparent revelation at the council meeting? Who gave Meyer the authority to assign this problem to anybody, let alone a lower committee without even informing the Council of his plans? Why wasn’t this issue agendized and discussed, in public, by the City Council?

These are mostly rhetorical questions, of course. The City’s staff wants to sweep this acute embarrassment under the municipal rug and the only way to do that is not to tell anybody. Even their bosses.

meyersIt also makes us wonder how much else in Fullerton has being undertaken by the City Manager on his own hook. It’s one thing to execute policy laid down by elected officials; it’s quite another thing to start taking on major policy decisions, and worse still, not tell anybody. Unfortunately this situation is symptomatic of two long-standing problems in Fullerton, two problems that fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.

First is the perfect willingness of our elected city council persons to abdicate their own policy-making responsibility and simply show up for the meetings, the Rotary lunches, the Chamber mixers, and the ribbon cuttings; second is the perfect willingness of the city managers to step into the authority void and run the show any damn way they please. It’s a perverse symbiosis.

This has got to stop. The results have been amply catalogued on the pages of this blog. And they aren’t very pretty.

Former City Councilman DeWitte Launches Broadside into S.S. Fullerton Redevelopment

Former Fullerton Councilman and tax fighter Conrad DeWitte points out why redevelopment expansion is nothing more than a can of spray paint. We can always count on clarity and comedy from Conrad.

Please note the running dialog between DeWitte and our beloved target Dick Jones at the end of the clip. See if you can determine who came out on top.

What Is It About Molly McClanahan And Football Stadiums?

Dick Ackerman, Fullerton Redevelopment boondoggle history, college football, and Molly McClanahan.

It’s not often that so many local topics intersect, so when they do this intersection should be scrutinized and at the very least enjoyed for it’s entertainment value.

clowns in parade 251006_wk43_clowns_L

And so Loyal Friends, climb into the FFFF way back machine and travel with us to the not so distant year of 1990.


Supposed conservative city councilman Dick Ackerman had just help orchestrate a fiscal finagle in which the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency would finance a football stadium for Cal State University at Fullerton.  Councilwoman Molly McClanahan voted for this blatent abuse of redevelopment although titan football folded and the bogus fundraising program was exposed she was heard to take credit for “asking all the tough questions!”. 

but no intelligent answers
but no intelligent answers

Fast forward now to 2009: a football stadium sits at CSUF with no football team in it. A stadium financed by the tax payers of Fullerton, all of whom are residents of the North Orange County Community College District of which Molly McClanahan is now a Trustee. The NOCCCD is caught red handed trying to illegally slip a new football stadium into it’s bond expansion plan at FJC! 

Now, that’s ironic ! How many football stadiums will Molly McClannahan oversee before she wraps up her political carreer? And why can’t FJC’s football team use the CSUF football stadium for its 5 or 6 annual home games? Maybe Molly can answer that since she approved it in the first place. Let’s ask her. Molly?

Dick Ackerman’s Fatal Endorsement Record


If county bureaucrat Hieu Nguyen thinks Dick Ackerman can help his Clerk-Recorder campaign, he’d better think again. There is one word for Ackerman-backed city and county candidates: LOSERS.

Is it just bad luck? Or does Dick choose weak candidates he can control after they’re elected? The problem for him is that they don’t get elected!

Look at the record of Dick’s choices, dating back over a quarter-century:

  • 1982: Ackerman backs insurance agent Jim Williams for Fullerton City Council. Williams loses to Molly McClanahan.
  • 1984: Dick endorses realtor Merrill Braucht for the open council seat. Braucht loses to Chris Norby.
  • 1988: Dick supports Dan Baker for an open council seat. Baker loses to Don Bankhead.
  • 1992: Ackerman goes 0-for-2 in ’92. His hand-picked candidates Jim Blake and Jack Beddell place 5th and 6th.
  • 1994: Ackerman vocally opposes the recall of Buck Catlin, Bankhead and McClanahan. That trio had rubber-stamped an unpopular new utility tax foisted by City Manager Jim Armstrong. The recall easily passes, all three leave office and the tax is repealed.
  • 1996: Dick endorses fellow legislator Mickey Conroy for Third District Supervisor. Conroy loses his cool—and the election–when he flips his opponent the bird during a debate. Brea School Board Member Todd Spitzer wins handily.
  • 2002: Like 1992, Dick goes 0-2 in 2002. He actively supports Supervisor Cynthia Coad’s re-election and is featured prominently in her mailers. Coad loses to Norby. Later that year he backs accountant Chuck Munson for Fullerton City Council. Munson is buried by Shawn Nelson.

To be fair, there is one current Council Member who was elected and thrice re-elected with Dick Ackerman’s support: Dick Jones.