An alert Friend calling him/herself Vic Tayback noticed that our hapless DA, just a few short months later, has lent his name to the Chi Fullerton Council campaign as an endorser! Wow, that’s setting the bar pretty low, even for Rackauckas, and of course not only makes you wonder what T-Rack’s endorsement is worth, but also to contemplate the composition of the man’s moral fiber – if any exists.
Rack has been criticized in the past for his inability or unwillingness to pursue political corruption in OC – like Harry Siduh’s blatant perjury. Now it appears he is willing to endorse just about any kind of misfeasance.
When you put your name on the ballot, you’re asking voters to trust you with hundred million dollar budgets and the power of a government office. Therefore, it is a duty of the public to make sure that each candidate is qualified to handle this burden of responsibility. Anybody with a financial history that cannot stand up to basic scrutiny should not put themselves out in front of the voters.
On that note, Aaron Gregg should not be running for Fullerton City Council.
You see, attorney Aaron Charles Gregg filed for a $107,000 bankruptcy about 10 years ago, discharging over $75,000 in federal and state back taxes and $30,000 in other debts to individuals and businesses, all while claiming $8,000 a month in income from his business.
It’s all laid bare in these papers that were filed in federal bankruptcy court, which show that Aaron Gregg neglected to pay his taxes for most of the years from 1992 through 1998. When the debt piled up, he hired an attorney and let it all go.
Among the more curious items in the filings, Aaron Gregg listed assets of $25 dollars cash, $200 in clothes, $75 wrist watch and some office supplies. Times must have been tough for this professional attorney of 21 years. Fortunes were about to change, however, when he realized that he would be able to dump his debt but keep his leased $5,000 Savin copier. I bet that will come in handy some day.
The documents also show that halfway through the bankruptcy process, Aaron Gregg discovered that he might also owe money to a family in San Pablo City, Philippines. What could that be for? Well they’re never going to vote in Fullerton. Might as well get rid of that debt too.
In the end, it looks like Aaron was able to dump over $100,000 owed to nine different creditors, two of which were government agencies. When the tax man doesn’t get his revenue, guess who gets to make up for it? That’s right, you and me. And somehow I have a feeling that Aaron Charles Gregg made it out of this financial mess and has been doing just fine ever since. But that’s no reason for him to think he’s a valid candidate to run our city.
On second thought, Aaron’s keen ability to get himself out of unwieldy financial commitments may come in handy when it’s time for Fullerton to escape our massive redevelopment and pension debts. But it’s probably safer to just call him in as a consultant.
California Fair Political Practices Commission reports show that Fullerton City Council candidate Roland Chi contributed $1,000.00 to the Friends of Mike Carona during the first quarter of 2006. Carona was barely re-elected to a third term in June of that year.
Yes, it’s a big list of contributors, but you won’t find the name of Bruce Whitaker on it.
How about a big round of applause for Roland Chi, recently of Garden Grove, for helping now convicted felon Mike Carona to squeak by with 50.9% of the vote, enough for Carona to avoid a runoff in November of that year. Carona was indicted while in office the next year, exposing the OCSD to needless upheaval and Orange County to national ridicule.
What does this contribution say about Mr. Chi’s ability to judge character? Do we want someone willing to fall in to line with Mike Carona on the Fullerton City Council?
The latest Mickadiet column gave Fullerton candidate Barry Levinson a chance to tell us what he really thinks of mayor Don Bankhead, and Barry did not disappoint.
See, Barry contacted the mayor when he learned that a sex offender was about to move into his neighborhood, which should have been protected by Jessica’s Law due to it’s proximity to Laguna Lake park.
The way Barry tells it, Bankhead did nothing to solve the neighborhood’s sex offender problem. Well actually, it’s worse than that. Bankhead launched a typical delay and distract strategy to avoid facing the issue, doing nothing while telling Barry that he was working on it. In Levinson’s own words:
He said Bankhead “assured us he was ‘on our side’ and would get back to us within a few days with more information.” Ten days went by, “no call from Mayor Bankhead.” When they finally talked, he says, Bankhead “had no answers for us but assured us he was still working the problem. That was the last time the mayor ever spoke to us … He did absolutely nothing. This mayor always touts his police background … What a total disappointment.”
City staff told Bankhead that Jessica’s Law had no teeth, so there was nothing that the police could do about it. Great. Responsibility absolved, right? Rather than pursue the issue by pushing for a new ordinance (a task that Levinson ended up taking on himself), Bankhead opted for the do-nothing-and-hope-Barry-the-citizen-goes-away approach.
Major backfire. Now Barry is challenging the Burger King’s 22-year rule.
Okay, first things first. Never heard of Roland Chi, before? There’s probably a real good reason for that.The Fullerton City Council candidate running to replace Supervisor Shawn Nelson has lived in Fullerton for less than three years. At most. Here’s a snippet from the minutes of the Garden Grove City Council that was thinking about a replacement for Janet Nguyen:
April 16, 2007: It was moved by Mayor Dalton, seconded by Council Member Nguyen, that Roland Chi be appointed to fill the vacancy on the City Council. Council Member Nguyen spoke about Roland Chi’s many achievements at a relatively young age, including the Garden Grove Farmer’s Market. Council Member Broadwater moved a substitute motion to appoint Steve Jones to fill the vacancy on the City Council. Council Member Nguyen seconded the motion. Council Member Rosen commented that Mr. Chi is too young, needing real life experience that comes with age.
As Roland coyly puts it on his own website: During this time, he was appointed to a city planning commission and later chosen by his peers to serve as Chairman.
Well that’s pretty sneaky, not informing his readers that he never served on Fullerton’s Planning Commission. It was in another city, and less than three years ago.
But Roland’s a real climber alright, and has recently joined up in the right Fullerton Rotarian/Chamber crews. But will it make up for no real accomplishment?
Hmm. A candidate pops up out of nowhere looking for a political future.
And who does this remind you of? How about Julie Sa, who popped up like a weed in 1992, bought the election, embarrassed the City for eight years, and who finally pulled out in 2000 when it was discovered that she was actually living in Chino Hills?
Well, Hell, anybody can legally run for office in Fullerton so long as they actually live here; but has the political process become so cynical that some guy with almost no history of residency here is willing to put his name on the ballot alongside people who have served the community for years?
In a unanimous vote, Orange County’s GOP endorsements Committee endorsed Bruce Whitaker to replace Shawn Nelson in the two year seat, and Greg Sebourn for the four year seat. Pat McKinley squeaked by with a 3-2 vote, but insiders believe the $215,000 pension double dipper won’t pass muster when it comes to a vote of the full body.
Bruce entered political activism in 1992 when he became incensed at the largest federal tax increase in U.S. history and the largest state tax increase in California’s history under Governor Pete Wilson. He became active in the city of Fullerton the following year when he led a successful effort to recall a majority of the City Council and repeal unnecessary utility taxes. That repeal has saved more than $150 million for Fullerton taxpayers to date.
After the Orange County bankruptcy, Bruce Whitaker debated against tax proponents and authored numerous guest editorials which helped defeat a bankruptcy sales tax in 1995, resulting in more than $2.2 billion in California taxpayer savings.
Greg Sebourn is an FFFF blogger, a professional land surveyor and an educator at Santiago Canyon College. He’s relatively new to politics, but is very aware of the evils of redevelopment and the deficiencies in our current infrastructure.
Greg has some great ideas for saving money and improving public services in our city.
The other day we challenged retired police chief and $215,000 public pensioner Pat McKinley to put some real meat behind his dubious claim that he will “work to reform public employee pensions.”
Over the weekend we discovered a letter posted to McKinley’s website purporting to declare his position on pension reform. Exciting… until we read it. The letter actually commits to nothing and woefully understates the changes necessary to even begin correcting this problem.
Let’s run through Pat’s suggestions one by one. It’s important to note that McKinley’s letter says pension reform must contain ONLY ONE of the following:
Increase the amount contributed to the plan by Employee Contributions – Necessary, but wholly insufficient. While giving taxpayers some breathing room, demanding employees pay a little bit more does nothing to address the core issue, which is the unsustainable nature of pension guarantees when combined with the power of public employee union lobby. By itself, this change only slightly delays the pain.
Increase the amount contributed to the plan by Employer Contributions – Unbelievable. Increasing employer contributions is another way of saying we should raising taxes to pay for pensions. So now it would be safe to say that Pat McKinley wants to raise your taxes, but it’s really hard to believe he would write anything this dumb. For now, we’ll just assume that he has no idea what he’s talking about.
Slow the accrual of pension benefits by returning the formula to its previous level – Legally a change like this change can only be made for new employees, which would do nothing to address the massive unfunded liability that we have already accrued. Furthermore, it leaves the door wide open for future abuse when the unions become more powerful.
Slow the accrual of pension benefits by increasing the normal retirement age to reflect the longer life expectancies of our City employees – Same problem as above. The commitments we’ve made to current employees cannot be changed without a bankruptcy. The only lever we really have left salary and to a lesser extent, contributions. Cut salaries, raise employee contributions… or go broke.
Slow the payout of retirement benefits by lowering the Cost of Living Adjustment in retirement – The cost of living adjustment is about 2% a year. Reducing that, if it’s even legal in California, is hardly enough to sustain hundreds of public safety employee’s earning 90% of their final year’s pay for the next 30 years. And once again, there’s nothing to prevent another band of RINO’s from reinstating this benefit the next time CalPERS overstates its assets.
So what have we learned? McKinley has thrown out a bunch of half baked ideas to fool you into thinking that he wants pension reform, but it really boils down to almost nothing useful. And of course, even after writing this letter, McKinley has not committed to any pension reform.
We’ll say it again: Taxpayer-funded defined benefit plans must come to an end. The private sector learned long ago that they are completely unsustainable and also unnecessary. All new employees should be given defined contribution plans, while current employees should be made to pay as much as possible towards their own retirement, in order to mitigate the damage caused by their own unions and CalPERS through deception and poor planning.
On Saturday Ed Royce and the CRA hosted a forum for Fullerton city council candidates. I’ll spare you the agony of redundant and predictable answers to the not-so-relevant questions on illegal immigration, gun rights and abortion. As expected, all of the candidates stuck to the party line.
So let’s get down to the two major issues where the candidates diverged and that actually affect Fullerton: Public employee pensions and redevelopment abuse. Candidate positions were carefully filtered into the following matrix:
Committed to serious pension reform
No commitment to pension reform
Redevelopment / Eminent Domain
Rein in redevelopment abuse and eminent domain powers.
Use tax dollars to fund developer projects through redevelopment and allow eminent domain for taking private property when “necessary.”
Roland Chi Don Bankhead
The candidates split into two camps, with Don Bankhead leading his team of big-government RINOs who’ve never met a redevelopment boondoggle that they didn’t like. That’s not really surprising, given that Bankhead and McKinley benefit from the current system through enriched government pensions.
On the other end of the spectrum, a few candidates acknowledged Fullerton’s most serious problems and promised to take action and fight taxpayer abuse.
Overall Bruce Whitaker dominated the forum with his calm, well-reasoned responses. Barry Levinson took some good shots at Bankhead, for which he was reprimanded by the moderator but applauded by this blog. Greg Sebourn also targeted the current bureaucracy with facts and figures which caused Bankhead to become visibly aggravated. Roland Chi spoke well but avoided making any strong statements. Marty Burbank and Pat McKinley both wore funny hats and stumbled through their answers. Aaron Gregg was a no-show and Tony Fonte was a colorful guy but it was hard to follow his responses.