So I’m watching the Fullerton City Council meeting the other night and a funny thing happened. There was actually a real discussion and no Brown Act violation bullshit.
“What’s that, Joe?,” I can hear you asking.
Apparently the age of miracles is not over, for our council actually staked out their positions and made lots of motions, seconds and votes. At issue was how to make budget reconciliations and how to spend all the Biden Bucks coming our way. And no motion got three votes.
Naturally, the dumbasses Zahra and Quirk-Silva decided that no more staff cuts were in order; spouting public employee union talking points. Whitaker and Dunlap proposed various budget reduction amounts. Fred Jung held out for a lower percentage of reductions and wouldn’t budge.
So the issue went ’round and ’round, until Whitaker gave up, and as Mayor, moved the meeting on, discussion to be continued.
It was actually enjoyable to watch this sausage in the making even though in the end there was no casing to cram it into. And it will be more interesting to see how an accommodation between Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker will be made. Maybe it will even be made in public.
Here at FFFF we like to praise our City Council when they do something smart; when they don’t we smack them on the snout with a rolled-up copy of the yellowing Fullerton Observer.
Well, Lo and Behold! On Tuesday, last, the Council voted 3-2 to shitcan a horrible scam cooked up by California’s houseocrats to reward developers and speculators by taking over market rate housing at The Aspect apartment project and control rents – for people who make between $102,000 and $123,000. Yes, you read that rightly, Friends. According to our experts, if you make more than that, by definition, your housing is “market rate.” The perniciousness of this scam cannot be overemphasized. A new term has been cooked up to describe these unfortunate six-figure po’ folks: the Missing Middle.
The way this scheme works is that the City cuts a deal with the California Statewide Community Development Authority – a perfectly opaque agency, to be sure. The CSCDA floats a bond, the proceeds of which will buy out the existing owner, rewards up-front the agents and speculators who put the rancid deal together; management will be left in the hands of other parasites who are in on the deal, too. Did I mention that the sale price may well exceed market appraisal? Well, why not?
The funniest part of this may have been the revelation that the complex has a 98% occupancy rate – an astounding number – people who can ALREADY afford to live there! And these good folks will be the recipients of the small lowering of rents – or be forced to move out if they don’t have a long-term lease..
A reasonable person may well wonder why ANY of this is necessary, and the answer from the government Wohnungen uber alles crowd will be so crammed with feel-good bullshit that you know right away it’s a scam.
One of the problems is that because the apartment project is now owned by the government the property owner (CSCDA) pays no property tax; in order to sweeten the deal on The Aspect, the promoters promised a “Host City Fee,” essentially an annual tribute to the City. Meanwhile other entities are just shit-out-of-luck.
The enormity of this nonsense is pretty significant; all one has to do is look to Anaheim – a pay to play town where the City has spent gargantuan amounts buying up big apartment projects and rewarding the lobbyists like Curt Pringle, who skim right off the top of this sort of crap.
Well, finally, back to council meeting. Councilmembers Whitaker, Dunlap and Jung were adamantly opposed to this, to their credit. Not surprisingly, Zahra and Quirk-Silva who petitioned to put this item on the agenda were all-in for it, babbling phrases like “outside the box” and “innovative thinking” and brushing aside concerns about unknown details full of devils.
Thanks to Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker, and of course shame on Zahra and Quirk-Silva who were very clearly in the pocket of whichever lobbyist was promoting this idiocy.
Our City bureaucrats want to waste $2,000,000 in public funds to build a trail from Highland Avenue to Independence Park along the old Union Pacific right-of-way. The idea they say, is to link the Transportation Center to “parks.”Of course we all know that the existing “trail” east of Highland doesn’t even make it to the Transportation Center, and is deficient as a multimodal facility; and we know that the Poison Park that nobody outside City Hall ever wanted is a moribund, attractive nuisance with such a sketchy history that the City has fenced it off for 15 years.
And recently a murder occurred at the end of the so-called trail, raising legitimate questions about the safety of future trail users, if there are any.
One of our critics has tenaciously clung to the theory that a trail will attract users, thereby mitigating the safety issues along this swath of industrial buildings, junk yards, cut-rate auto related businesses, metal plating and asphalt concerns. Naturally our critic, like all knee-jerk liberals applied some theory to a practical situation he knew nothing about.
And so, Friends, I am sharing some current images of the right-of-way, to illustrate the idiocy of building a rec trail through this area. Enjoy
So what’s really going on with our Fire Heroes? FFFF published a story recently about an agenda item on tonight’s (9/21/21) agenda. David Curlee brought our attention to a mysterious item about the City revoking it’s automatic aid provision aid agreement with next door Placentia and negotiating a new one.
How come? We really don’t know, except that our Chief, a guy named Adam Loeser says it needs to be done. He hints at some deficiency in Placentia’s program.
Now the Fire Union has made it abundantly clear that Placentia’s cost savings move to privatize the paramedic service was bad. Real bad. And fearful that the contagion of cost effective and efficient service might spread to Fullerton, the union has been putting pressure on our city council to nip this potential epidemic in the bud. To me it looks like the Chief is just passing along his employees lust for our largess.
But what really is the problem with Placentia?
According to a Placentia city report, their new arrangement has been an unalloyed success. Here’s the report. Be sure to peruse the response statistics.
As usual, there is more to the story. Quite a bit more – that City Hall isn’t Fullerton isn’t telling us. How do I know? Because a source in Placentia told us, and the information has the ring of truth.
According to this source the staff report prepared by Chief Loeser is very misleading in terms of why Fullerton wants to terminate the auto aid provision. Shortly after Fullerton approved the agreement last year, the Fullerton Fire Union filed a complaint with the Public Employees Relations Board stating that entering into an automatic aid agreement with another City requires a meet and confer with the union. Incredibly, PERB agreed with the union and Fullerton decided rather than fighting the ruling that the agreement would be retooled into a mutual aid agreement instead.
Unfortunately, our source continues, Loeser lied to the public on an official City Council agenda report by stating Placentia did not meet the requirements outlined in the original agreement. The real reason behind this change is because of this PERB ruling in favor of the union to the detriment of the public’s safety.
And so, Friends, there you have it. The union, with the apparent approbation of the Fire Chief, is using a feeble labor relations technicality to try to keep applying pressure to the City Council and the bureaucracy to reconsider it’s arrangement with the diseased and contagious Placentia Fire Department. This is the kind of government we get in Fullerton: opaque, self-serving, and duplicitous. Of course our council has been briefed about this, but the public hasn’t. And our city government likes it that way.
At a special session of our esteemed council tomorrow, our elected and unelected leaders will discuss how to spend the pile of printed money the federal government is sending our way under the rubric of “relief” cash.
This topic came up in June, as I recall, and because nobody seemed to know what the rules were regarding spending the loot, discussion of the issue was continued to a later date. But not before the councilmen weighed in on priorities. Mssrs. Whitaker, Dunlap and Jung stressed the need for infrastructure attention; Ahmad Zahra and Jesus Quirk-Silva tried their darnedest to signal to City Hall employees that all their hard sacrifices would be reimbursed. The matter came up again at an August meeting, wherein Zahra in a thinly veiled signal to the city workforce.
“Knowing that 70% of our services are labor-driven, it seems to me that prioritizing workforce really covers all of these departments. I think that shouldbe where we focus.”
Well, I wonder what that really means. Our pipes and roads are of service to the citizenry and have been neglected for years. Did Zahra add the Capital Budget into his “service” percentage? Bet not.
Poor Zahra will not be at the meeting to dive into a long-winded and condescending lecture on the valuable workforce that has endured so much hardship in the past year and a half. But a lot of folks are just as concerned about the state of their car’s alignment, suspension, alignment, wheels and tires.
The Fullerton police say they have nabbed the suspect who stabbed and killed a homeless man on south Fullerton’s “recreation trail” a few nights ago. The suspect’s name is Abigail Jorge Gonzalez-Castillo, a 29-year-old male from Fullerton, which sounds weird since I have never heard of a man with the name Abigail.
Anyway, the cops believe they have their man but at this point we don’t have any other details, such as if the two – victim and alleged killer – knew each other, and why both happened to be recreating on the “trail” in the wee hours of the morning – one seemingly passed out and the other wandering by. Apparently these gentlemen were unaware that Fullerton parks and trails are closed at night.
The City seems hell bent on expanding recreational facilities in the unsafest part of Fullerton, but this incident and the subsequent arrest will have commonsensical people asking whether this concept isn’t intrinsically flawed. Too bad commonsense and Fullerton City Hall are two nouns rarely used in the same sentence.
Sometime on Sunday night or early Monday morning a man was stabbed to death on the old Union Pacific right-of-way where it crosses Harbor Boulevard.
The cops are investigating the crime to see if they can figure out who’s who and what’s what. The Friends may draw their own conclusions as to the likelihood of a successful investigation. Fortunately a building owner has equipped himself with surveillance video cameras that captured the grisly death of the victim. Maybe the FPD can make something out of it.
I think this would be an excellent time to consider the site of the murder – one end of the desolate strip where our crack parks staff wants to spend two million bucks on a “recreation trail,” because…well, just because. Naturally all the patronizing lefties want to describe the idea of a linear park as just the ticket to revitalize the industrial uses on either side; something “nice” for south Fullerton.
Once you bother to peel back all that nonsense, the reality stares back at you: this is no place for anybody to be wandering around, especially kiddies, females and the unarmed. Of course our staff and City Council deal in abstractions, having accepted the grant money there will undoubtedly be bureaucratic lust to waste it – somebody else’s money. I seriously doubt if any of them have even bothered to walk along this strip, especially at night, to see that the idiot gesture of putting a trail there wouldn’t result in anything “nice” at all.
Early on the morning of August 18th our City Council voted to appoint an advisory committee to consider drawing a new district map for Fullerton council seats. The Council decided to keep final approval for themselves.
You may recall that the City voters adopted districts in 2016 as part of the legal settlement with minority groups. That map was cooked up behind the scenes by Jennifer Fitzgerald with the assistance of downtown bar owners whose aim appeared to be splitting up downtown into 5 parts, three of which were each connected to their main body by tenuous electoral tissue. Naturally, the one and only map went along on the ballot with the question of having districts at all. Amazingly, all the councilmembers, including Bruce Whitaker went along with the sham, gerrymandered map, whose ostensible author, Jeremy Popoff, was Fullerton’s worst scofflaw bar owner.
The process of redistricting is almost always a charade with just enough public participation to look sort of legit. This time will be no different. It’s bound to consume staff time and require the services of a friendly consultant and a subscription to web-based demographic software.
It’s hardly necessary. Fullerton naturally divides into clear-cut areas of “communities of interest” both geographically and ethnically. So here’s my suggestion for a new map. I offer it humbly to the Friends, and the deciders, free of charge.
Consolidation, compaction, clarity. Northwest, North Central, East, South Central and Southwest. Gee, that was easy.
Last week the Voice of OC published an opinion piece by a gentleman named Ed Bargas. Mr. Bargas is head of the civilian employee union in Fullerton, and if he wrote this drivel, then I’m the Pope.
You can read about how Bargas believes Fullerton is at a crossroads – meaning that the City leaders must choose between the welfare of his union members and the citizenry at large. Of course he doesn’t put it like that. He complains that the City Council is embracing the conservatism of the ’80s in which government is viewed with suspicion, even hostility. To this all I can suggest to Mr. Bargas is to read the pages of this blog, and after reviewing the litany of incompetence, corruption and cover-ups, reconsider whether or not suspicion, even hostility is justified.
Bargas makes the mistake of starting of his long list of threatened city functions with public safety, forgetting to remind his readers that it is the very public safety pensions laid out by supine politicians like Ahmad Zahra and Jesus Silva & Co. that have brought financial crisis to Fullerton.
Of course the Big Problem is lack of revenue, and Mr. Bargas was no doubt a cheerleader for the ill-fated Measure S on last November’s ballot that went down in flames, falling victim to honesty and common sense. Maybe he thinks that somehow the new majority of responsible councilmembers can be persuaded to try that scam again. Well good luck with that.
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.