God-Awful Godfrey Making A Comeback?

Comin' out of retirement!

Word on Commonwealth Avenue is that former Council member Peter Godfrey is contemplating a return to the ring of elected politics in Fullerton. True? I don’t know, but I do know that the Establishment Repuglicans need to start lining up some plausible ‘pugs to go for the new openings, and the usual Dick Ackerman/Ed Royce RINO tribe  is almost exhausted.

For those who don’t remember Peter Godfrey’s hollow, staff-stooge tenure on the council in the mid-90s, we noted his presence, here, to cheerlead for Fullerton’s Redevelopment expansion. That alone should suffice to present an adequate political character profile of Our Man Godfrey.

Also of note is the fact that he was nominated for a 2009 Fringie Award in the category of Scariest Ghost of Fullerton Past. He might well have have won, too, if not for the horrifying appearance of his old pal, Linda LeQuire (shudder).

Well, we knew the ‘Pugs had to come up with somebody, no matter how cadaverous, but Godfrey? Yikes.

Downtown Fullerton Redevelopment Failure

In 1974 the various Redevelopment project areas were created in Fullerton, including the area that includes the downtown.

This was at the very tail end of the urban renewal era of social engineering that gutted old neighborhoods and districts across the land only to see the creation of bureaucrat-planned ghost towns and vast housing projects that nobody wanted to live in.

Although the downtown area was pretty much left to its own devices in the 70s, the 80s saw a new and noxious interest in re-inventing the area according to the whims of the Redevelopment manager and whatever cookie-cutter standardization idiocy was emanating from central planning workshops. Anybody remember the embarrassing concrete trestles?

True, the old businesses were leaving, put out of business by a new Mall culture. But what was the cure? Specialty retail, standardized street furniture, stamped concrete paving, design guidelines, and a plethora of silliness whose only aim seemed to be to create a roofless mall (an obviously pointless goal) – and provide employment for the Redevelopment manager. Hideous trees were planted that destroyed the sidewalks and on-street parking was removed, spelling final doom for what was left of the downtown businesses, but it was all part of the Master Plan, see? And new Master Plans kept being spit out every five years or so.

And while the City professed an interest in historic preservation, and even took credit for it, historic buildings kept disappearing – either completely or under a wall of brick veneer.

Things weren’t working. A ban on churches and pawn shops and junk yards couldn’t alter the fact that the low rents were pulling in businesses that weren’t “specialty retail.” They were mom and pop second hand stores masquerading as “antique” this and “vintage” that.

Ah! Much had been accomplished, but more work needed to be done. Job security for life!

The FFFF pages are strewn with the ugly history of the late eighties and the nineties when an unaccountable city staff engaged in boondoggle after boondoggle with a complaisant council going along every step of the way, and always taking credit for “revitalizing” downtown Fullerton.

Much had been accomplished, but clearly more work needed to be done.

Huge apartment blocks were approved, giving away millions in profits to favored developers through entitlements and grants. City streets were handed out like Monopoly deeds. The hope was that a captive residential audience would have to patronize downtown business. Synergy was the watchword of the day!

Much had been accomplished, but clearly more work needed to be done.

A new phenomenon was beginning to emerge in the late 90s. The subsidized restaurant. And a  new booze culture was coalescing. Was it policy or accident? Who can say now. But what is inescapable is that for more than a decade the City’s actions and lack of actions had demonstrable effects. And the effects weren’t salutory. The restaurants morphed into bars and the bars morphed into bootleg night clubs and dance halls. The latter weren’t shut down; they were permitted. And then they were subsidized by the taxpayers with free fire water lines.

Every night the downtown area was filling up with drunken out of towners; fights, rapes, a murder. The City Manager wrung his hands. The downtown area was costing over a million dollars a year more to manage than it was bringing in in revenue.

Much had been accomplished, but clearly more work needed to be done.

In the 2000s the merry chase for revitalization continued apace with lustful Redevelopment eyes alighting on a vast Fox Theater project, cynically calculated to leverage popular interest in the Fox Theater. Aha! The anchor project that would make all the other pieces fall into place: success was at hand! Sure, we could move the McDonald’s a couple hundred feet. Six million? No problem! Environmental impacts? No big deal.

Then there is the Amerige Court monster. Aha! The anchor project that would make all the other pieces fall into place: success was at hand! Environmental impacts? No big deal.

And now Redevelopment in downtown Fullerton is 36 years old. Let’s put this in perspective: Fullerton was founded in 1886. And that means for 30% of its life span downtown Fullerton has had Redevelopment. And in 2010 the very sort of business that redevelopment bureaucrats find abhorrent starts up in the very heart of Redevelopment territory. See the irony yet? I do. It’s not about sex, it’s about failure. Oh, well.

Much has been accomplished, but clearly more work needs to be done.

‘Ol Doc Jones Working Hard Behind The Scene

A hard rain's gonna fall...

Just when we thought Doc Hee Haw was on the verge of institutionalization, we get word that the good ‘ol boy is working his fellow councilmembers to appoint a replacement for Shawn Nelson. He’ll need two other votes so either Sharon Quirk or Pam keller would have to go along with the inevtable Ed Royce/Dick Ackerman hand-picked idiot.

Not too likely. Still…

Still, my suggestion is get in touch with both these two worthy ladies and insist that no backroom deals be cut, and that the replacement be made by the voters in the November General Election.

This was what was done in 2002 when Norby left. Let’s do ‘er again.

This is not the old West. This is the new West.

And now for the fun part. Who do you suppose Jonsey might be pitching to replace Nelson? Please share your guesses in the space provided below.

Anti-Democratic Idea Being Considered By City Council

When council members attack...

As reported earlier by Christian, the Fullerton City Council at its meeting tomorrow will discuss moving “Public Comments” to the end of meetings rather than at the beginning – where they are scheduled now. It’s item #6 on the agenda.

Apparently agendizing this concept was the brainchild of the brainless Dick Jones, author of a million malaprops and febrile, southern-fried bozoisms.

Up until about fifteen years ago the Public Comments were indeed held at the end of the meetings – right where the old guard wanted them – at 11:00 pm, or so, by which time all the malcontents and troublemakers had gone home. You see, they really liked the idea of all that wasted time up front handing out their parchments, gold stars and blue ribbons to happy citizens, but didn’t care to have any negativity go on the record.

Not coincidentally, these were the same folks that fought for years to keep the meetings from being televised.

The system finally was reversed ’round about the mid-nineties in an effort to appear more transparent and actually do something that would be convenient for the citizens and taxpayers. It was a good decision.

So now a decade and a half later there is evidently a move to go back to the old method of silencing public input. Why? Is Jones just tired of staying up so late? If so, maybe he ought to just start keeping his big bazoo shut. That alone will get him home 45 minutes earlier.

Let’s remind Jones and the rest of the Council that sometimes democracy is a bit messy, and that they and their staff work for us – not the other way around.

More Fun at NUFF Forum: The Flory Blurt

Looking down from Doggy Heaven at last night’s NUFF forum I noticed my former mistress Jan Flory in attendance. At one point during Shawn Nelson’s observation that County bureaucrats were hardly a necessity to get hitched, my one-time owner blurted a loud ejaculation.

It sounded like “who’s going to marry you?”

Well, that’s a Hell of a stupid question, besides being pretty rude to someone who’s speaking, but that’s my mistress for you. Of course if anybody pulled that stunt on her she would have smacked them with the business end of her broomstick.

Defender of traditional marriage - the kind performed by a County bureaucrat!

Anyway, I’ll tell you who will marry people: their priests; their rabbis; their ministers; their ashram maharishis. Who cares? Why should a civil servant in a plastic robe do it under a dopey arch of fake flowers?

Jeez, I can figure that out and I’m just a dog.

The Fullerton City Council And It’s Trail of Tears to Nowhere

It's a long wretched journey, but is sure isn't worth it when you get there...
It's a long wretched journey, but it sure isn't worth it when you get there...

We have almost exhausted ourselves relating the long and troubling story of the Poisoned Park, AKA the Union Pacific Park, a perfect case study in local government overreach, squandered millions, and zero accountability from our “very, very good” City Manager or anybody else for that matter.

with a spring in his step...
with a spring in his step...

First the Redevelopment Agency interfered in a private sector transaction; then they unwittingly acquired contaminated property. Then they built a park that nobody but cholos and borrachos used (good thing half of it was fenced off!). Several million bucks later city staff sat on an embarrassing disaster whose magnitude could only be minimized by comparing it to other historical Redevelopment fiascoes.

But now to the point of this post. On Tuesday, the council voted to apply for grant  funds to continue the “trail” westward from Highland, even though they had been informed of a toxic plume under the property. More millions spent on more contaminated property! And still no explanation about the fact that this idiotic “trail” has no provision to take pedestrians, cyclists (or horses, yee haw!) over the at-grade crossings at Highland and Richman; and no coherent vision about how this thing is supposed to function at all.

When the issue of contamination popped up, City Engineer Don Hoppe made some noise about how they had looked into the issue (yeah, sure Don); ever helpful City Attorney Jones suggested that the application be made anyway while some sort of site check up be performed.

Huh? Once again nobody seemed real curious about how the City got stuck with contaminated property (no doubt mistakes were made and hindsight is 20/20). Instead of accountability they seem more more interested in chucking more good money after bad.

Like chickens with their heads left on
Like chickens with their heads left on

And of course it didn’t really seem to bother anybody that the City’s previous efforts on the Union Pacific right-of-way have been a titanic debacle from start to…well, there will probably never be a finish.

Now that's not very good, is it?
Now that's not very good, is it?

The thought process behind the original, ill-conceived acquisition still seems to be driving things along: it’s there, we’re the City, and there is an opportunity to own property, play park designer and trail manager, not to mention playing around with millions of dollars of somebody else’s dough.

Ground Zero of Fullerton Redevelopment Failure

For dyed-in-the-wool government apologists like Dick Jones, Jan Flory, Dick Ackerman, Sharon Kennedy, Don Bankhead, et al., Redevelopment blunders are conveniently overlooked, when possible; when not possible, some lame defense is mounted, such as: mistakes were made (passive voice obligatory) but we learned and moved on; hindsight is 20/20 (Molly McClanahan’s motto vivendi); the problem was not too much Redevelopment, but too little!

But when any reasonable person contemplates the collection of Redevelopment disasters along Harbor Blvd. between Valencia Drive and the old Union Pacific overpass, the only conclusion he or she could draw is that the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency should have been shuttered years ago, and the perpetrators of the manifest failures crowded onto a small raft and set adrift with the Japanese Current.

We have already described in nauseating detail the “Paseo Park” debacle; and the Allen Hotel fiasco; we haven’t yet had time to talk about the “El Sombrero” pocket park give away (we will).

But instead of wasting too many perfectly good words, we will share with you Friends a Redevelopment pictorial essay with just a little piquant commentary.

First there’s the strip center known as Gregg’s Plaza. Brick veneer, of course. Even the veneer is so disgusted it’s trying to jump off the building.

The standards of the RDRC were established early.
The standards of the RDRC were established early.
Pop goes the brick veneer...
Pop goes the brick veneer...

Across the street is the Allen Furniture Store. When they got their rehab loan somebody forgot to tell them that a storefront is a storefront – not a jailhouse. So why are there bars on the dinky little windows? And pink stucco?

Stone walls do not a prison make; nor iron bars a cage...
Stone walls do not a prison make; nor iron bars a cage...

Jumping back across the street we re-introduce ourselves to the egregious Allen Hotel, perhaps the biggest Redevelopment boondoggle of all, a mess that we have already admirably documented, here. As we noted then, the add-on was unspeakably awful (and expensive). The front is, well, pretty awful, too.

The once and present tenement...
The once and present tenement...
It could have been worse. Well, no, it couldn't...
It could have been worse. Well, no, it couldn't...

What was sold, in part, as an “historic preservation” project ended up violating just about every standard in the book. The original windows were ripped out and replaced with vinyl sashes; the transoms were destroyed and replaced with sheets of plastic and surface applied strips supposed to simulate leaded glass.

Just say something. They'll believe anything...
Just say something. They'll believe anything...

Across Harbor we discover the “El Sombrero Plaza,” another sock in the face to any Fullerton windshield tourist. Forget the stupidity of the sideways orientation and the Mission Revival On Acid stylings (which attain a kind of crazy Mariachi deliciousness); this development included the give away of part the adjacent public green space so they have parking for a restaurant. The owner never did develop a restaurant, of course (more on that story later).

Ay, caramba!
Ay, caramba!
The extra parking that was supposed to be for a restaurant is now used for a storage container!
The extra parking that was supposed to be for a restaurant is now used for a storage container!

And finally we come to exhausted collapse at another one of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency’s low points. And by low point we mean the complete, unmitigated disaster of the Union Pacific Park, ably chronicled here; and in a whole series here, here, and here.

Maybe the less said, the better...
Maybe the less said, the better...

The poisoned park: dead as a doornail. An aesthetic, pratical, and policy disaster. And no one has ever stood up to take responsibility for the total waste of millions of dollars.

Embarrassing from the beginning. How many $100,000 pensioneers had their fingers in this pie?
Embarrassing from the beginning. How many $100,000 pensioners had their fingers in this pie?

Well, there you have it, Friends. Redevelopment in action; Redevelopment creating blight, not eradicating it. No accountability. None. Zero. Zilch. And some people wonder why FFFF has sued to keep Redevelopment from expanding.

Amid Sex Scandal Ackerman Launches Beer Ad

We have long know about Dick Ackerman’s arrogance, but really, is it a good idea to brush off a reporter on the trail of a sex scandal story by swigging a beer right in his face?

Or maybe Ackerman has decided to peddle Corona Light in his copious spare time and saw some free air time.

Check out the clip below and watch Dick and Dave square off; but Dave is not daunted and pursues his deer-in-the-headlights prey.

DZ this caption is waiting for you
Nothing says "screw you" quite like a bottle of beer in the face!

Proof That Dick Ackerman is a Liar; Or Has a Real, Real Bad Memory

I decide what actually happened...
Okay, I make shit up. So sue me.

The Fullerton Harpoon did a post yesterday about an article that the Register’s Frank Mickadeit did about the Ackerman/Norby feud. Frank didn’t bother to tell his readers that he pals around with the Ackermans socially – just like he did with Mike Carona. But we know. Mickadeit proceeded to pass along a truck load of horseshit peddled by Dick Ackerman, including 25 year-old recollections about Norby as a sexual harasser that he suddenly just remembers. Of course his corroborating witness is dead as a doornail.

Well, yesterday afternoon the Harpoon re-read the Mickadeit piece and a light bulb snapped on. As the helpful Frank tells it:

Ackerman says the two had a friendly beer at Elmer’s after Norby won. “I said, ‘Hey, things are going to be good. We’ve got five conservatives.’ But the votes kept coming out 4-1,” with Norby dissenting.

In a post update the Harpoon unloads:


So what are we left with? A man whose honesty or memory is rotten. His whole interview with Mickadeit is discredited, and  is  just typical of everything else in the Linda Ackerman 72nd Assembly campaign: her fake residency, her phony self-description as a business woman, and her contention that people in the 72nd asked her to run. It’s all a tissue of falsehoods – as bogus as her staged photos.