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.

 

Fullerton Dems to Light $68k on Fire

This Tuesday, at the request of the Fire Heroes Union, the Fullerton City Council will vote (likely 3-2) to light $68,000 dollars on fire to get a bid from the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA).

What’s $68k between friends?

This is a scam and just a waste of your tax dollars.

Don’t believe the fiscal lies being told here, none of the disingenuous liars who will vote for this care about your tax dollars and they’re certainly not going to get rid of Fullerton’s Fire Department to jump to OCFA.

The entire point of this bullshit bid is leverage to justify a raise for the Fire Department. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’ll prove it by using Council’s own agenda from the exact same meeting this coming Tuesday:

When you join OCFA you typically lease all of your equipment to them at no cost and all of your fire facilities for $1/year (as Garden Grove did a few years ago).

To take this bid seriously, you would have to believe that council is SERIOUSLY considering a bid to change to OCFA and is simultaneously spending $1,546,683.30 to buy Fullerton Fire a new ladder truck that they’ll just gift to OCFA to use as they see fit.

If we went to OCFA, it is them and not us who would decide where trucks (apparatus) would be stationed in order to best serve the cities under their jurisdiction. Thus it makes zero sense for Fullerton to buy a new truck when it might not even stay in Fullerton.

These conflicting agenda items would make no logical sense if this bullshit OCFA bid was serious. But it’s not serious.

This is just the council Dems lighting your tax dollars on fire, well, because screw you, they need to help a union argue for more of your money later during negotiations. Silva, Jung and Zahra refuse to take their role as representatives of the residents seriously any time a union rears it’s ugly head and this is just another gross example.

If the Fire Heroes Union wants this bid so bad they can pay for it their damn selves considering they have no issues spending their own money to try and raise your taxes (Measure S campaigning) or to pick your City Council (campaign contributions).

Your roads suck, your services are getting more expensive and you’re constantly being asked to do more with less by City Hall and City Council. Hell, the City asked you to donate Christmas decorations this last season because they’re so broke.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Needles…

But not broke enough to avoid spending $65k of your money to help a union at the negotiating table.

If this bid was serious then the council would be getting bids from LA Fire and Placentia as well as OCFA. That’s how you find out the best services with the most benefits fort he residents at the best price – by shopping around. So of course they don’t want to do any of that.

Later this year when the City is selling everything not nailed down, and a few things that are, remember this moment when these disingenuous liars spent your money on political theater to help out the unions who will always put their interests above your safety.

Fullerton Looking to Re-Appoint Racist to Regional Board

Adan Ortega
If you don’t look like him, he won’t represent you.

Fullerton is currently represented by Adan Ortega on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Board of Directors. Tomorrow the City Council will vote to keep him on as our representative or replace him with somebody else.

Normally I don’t care about commissions or regional seats but this guy bugs me for two reasons. First, his company “Ortega Strategies Group” looks to be a lobbying firm in the municipal water industry and that just stinks of regulatory capture / cronyism.

Second, he’s a racist peddling racism to get his way.

To quote Adan Ortega from last week’s Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District meeting (approximately 20:10 into the audio link, emphasis added)

“Finally, as a Latino and Latina majority board, you outta ask yourselves if it is right to let white people representing Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Foothill and La Canada to choose the winner when people of color on the MWD board disagreed. If you choose this path, then nothing has changed in the empowerment of Latinos, Latinas, African-Americans and women and we are inviting more injustice.”

More “injustice” because somebody disagreed with you. GTFO.

This is naked racism on the part of Adan Ortega and it has no place in Fullerton or elsewhere. If “white people” can’t represent “people of color” it would be logical that “people of color” cannot represent white people. There goes 2 council votes for Adan right out of the window. Also, it is laughable on it’s face to think that a hispanic person can represent Asian, Middle-Eastern, African-American or any other non-Hispanic group or person simply by virtue of not being white when different peoples have such different backgrounds, cultures and histories. This would mean that, per Adan’s own argument, the only person Adan would be representing on council would be Jesus Silva and he would only be representing approximately 35% of our population.

Now, it doesn’t matter that Adan is hispanic here as I don’t believe the horseshit that he’s peddling. Anybody who puts the interests of the Fullerton ratepayers first is who should be on this and every board representing our city. But the important part is that Adan believes the racist horseshit he’s peddling (otherwise he’s a disingenuous liar). Therefore taking him at his own word, Adan believes that race dictates who you can and cannot represent. Adan believes that you are defined by your skin color and sexual orientation and other characteristics of birth. Adan is channeling the Klan like talking points of naked discrimination in his rhetoric and it’s time we moved away from the ugly racial divineness of the past.

Racism is racism even when you try to hide it behind “equity” and other fashionable vulgarities. It’s time to tell this racist to kick rocks and appoint somebody who wants to represent all of Fullerton.

Whitaker Re-elected to OC Water Board

This is water…

 

Last night the City Council voted to appoint Bruce Whitaker To the OC Water District Board of Directors. The term of the previous incumbent, Ahmad Zahra had expired at the end of 2020.

The vote was 3-1-1, with Whitaker, Jung and Dunlap voting for Whitaker; Zahra nominated and voted for himself; Jesus Silva decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and abstained.

Zahra-Busted
Why is this man smiling?

It was not for lack of trying to keep this paying gig that Zahra relinquished his job. No, Indeed, for a line of scripted commenters tried valiantly to praise Zahra to the Heavens, why, Good God! The man practically invented water!

Too much scotch, not enough water…

The funniest commenter was none other than Fullerton’s Mistress of Disaster, Jan Flory, who joined in to share in the hosannas for Zahra. She read her script okay, but it included her statement that Zahra had actually authored articles about water,,,for the Fullerton Observer.

Whitaker was clearly the better choice. The water board has jurisdiction over the aquafer on which we sit. The district has massive financial reserves paid by us in ad valorem taxes. And in the past decade the OCWD has been at the center of a massive rip-off called Poseidon, a desalinization scam meant to provide more water to OC county for the purposes of south county development.

Unlike Zahra, Whitaker will not posture on the board for publicity and to be able to pretend some imagined expertise. He won’t use the agency to promote his own agenda and his own political prospects. And Whitaker is not currently charged with crimes by his own police department; nor is he under threat of recall by his district constituents.

 

 

Ahmad Zahra Recall Clears First Hurdle

The recall against Fullerton City Council member Ahmad Zahra has cleared the first hurdle and the required number of signatures on the “Notice of Intention” have been verified by the Fullerton City Clerk.

Zahra Recall Verification 3

The reasons for recalling Zahra, for those new to the story, are that he lied to his constituents and that he’s charged with vandalism and battery against a woman. From the copy of the Notice of Intention I was sent:

Zahra Recall NOI as Approved
sounds serious…

Soon the question of removing Zahra from office will head to the voters of Fullerton’s District 5. Ultimately they will decide if a man accused of battery against a women should be allowed to continue to serve on Fullerton’s City Council.

Until then our council needs to decide if he should be allowed to represent Fullerton on boards and commissions going forward. Do we want him as our public face right now in light of his pending criminal charges? Or should we look to public servants to have honesty, integrity and to stand up for what’s right?

I’ll leave that for Zahra to answer:

Zahra IBelieveHer
follow the bouncing ethics…

It’s only fair to expect Fullerton City Council man Jesus Silva, his wife and our Assembly representative Sharon Quirk-Silva as well as the rest of the OC Democrats to #BelieveHer in the case of Zahra’s battery charge against a woman of color. It’s what they told us they stand for after all…

SQS Ford Irony
But just her?

There are a few more procedural hurdles before the fine folks of District 5 can sign the official recall petition to force an election to remove Zahra from office.

We’ll keep you posted as to the ongoing progress of this recall effort to save District 5 from the machinations of their current self-serving wannabe politician.

The Cost of The Florentine Sidewalk Scam

Gone, but not quite forgotten…

Of course everybody is now familiar with how, in 2003, the Florentine Mob successfully put a permanent building on an area that only had an “outside dining” encroachment agreement. The details of the case reveal an incompetence and misfeasance on the part of city staff that is truly mind-numbing, the principle party being F. Paul Dudley, Planning Director, who “approved” the illegal permanent structure as it was being built in June, 2003. He also  seems to have personally approved a loan to the Florentine crew, and rental terms on the space that weren’t approved by the City Council.

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

Of course it wouldn’t be Fullerton unless our legal-eagle Dick Jones also played a part in the fiasco, and in the inevitable cover-up. He actually put his signature on a completely different agreement in August, 2003 – two months after Dudley did his sleazy back-room deal. How’s that for staggering incompetence?

The gun was smoking badly…

Note that “for some reason” the agreement was not formally executed until August. For some reason? Jesus H., Jones, did you even bother to ask why you signed something that was obsolete, or why in Hell you were signing it?

So the embarrassing enclosure was allowed to continue in July, 2003 even though the furor continued for months, and the deal was finally buried in 2004 whereby the parties involved, Shawn Nelson, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Mike Clesceri and Leland Wilson surely hoped it was forever interred.

Well, now it’s 2020. The legal party responsible to remove and restore the encroachment area has fled the scene, and the embarrassment of the Florentine addition that squats on public property, remains.

The owner of the rest of the building, Mr. Mario Marivic is apparently embroiled in a legal fight with the FloMob, and good luck to him. But good luck to us, too. Because we, the citizens of Fullerton, have an unowned room addition on our right-of-way, and the people on the hook for its possible removal are gone. Mr. Marovic is under no obligation to remove the structure, and he is not even under any obligation to pay the measly 25 cents per foot that the egregious F. Paul Dudley “negotiated” with the Florentines. The City’s options are limited: it can terminate the encroachment and pay to remove the building addition itself, or it can negotiate a new lease agreement with Marovic, and the sidewalk stays as is. Either way, the public loses.

So this Ghost of Incompetence Past continues to haunt us almost 20 years after the con was consummated. Mr. Dudley has been six-figure pensioned, and the inept councilmen who were indifferent to the notion of government accountability are dead or moved on. But Attorney Dick Jones is still around, profiting off of the gullibility, incompetence and militant ignorance of our “leaders.”

Florentine Forgery/Fraud Case To Go to DA?

The family goes way back…

By now the Friends are well-aware of the attempt by Joe Florentine, the scofflaw proprietor of a restaurant and bar in downtown Fullerton, to fraudulently alter and submit official documents in pursuit of a Conditional Use Permit.

He even admitted it.

Reliable sources have indicated that a criminal investigation has been opened by the Fullerton Police Department based on a complaint filed by the property owner, Mario Marovic, and passed along to the District Attorney’s office.

Now the felonious miscreance of a Fullerton Florentine family member is about as newsworthy as a mailman bitten by a dog – no surprise there. Rather, the key facts of interest in this case are that Mr. Florentine had lots of help inside City Hall, including the Planning Director, the City Manager, and of course our top-notch City Attorney, Dick Jones, who finally had to recuse himself from dispensing laughable advice due to a conflict of interest.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Blythe…

Apparently, City Manager Ken Domer knew exactly what was happening and was determined to proceed with the fraud anyway.

It’s hard not to believe that some fall out from this conspiracy will land in the proximity of new Councilmembers Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap, who will certainly be averse to the radioactivity. The City Manager is already on the thinnest of ice after blowing $130,000 on a marginally legal PR campaign to promote Measure S, and then unsuccessfully trying to spend another 90 grand just before Christmas to hire an expert to try to fix the budget shortfall.  City Managers are protected by contract but there is no contractual protection for a person who has violated the law. Will we soon be hiring a management search firm?

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

As always, Jones and Meyer are likewise compromised by their corrupt and incompetent and self-serving practices. But Dick Jones, like Talleyrand, always seems to be able to keep his head on his shoulders despite all the revolutions.

Leaving Fullerton even worse off than she found it…

 

And what was the role of Mayor-for-hire Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was the evident and malignant influence around so much of the Fullerton’s recent mismanagement and the cover-ups that inevitably followed? It’s difficult to believe that she wasn’t pushing this through for the benefit of her pals, the Florentines.

Finally, if in fact, City leaders are found culpable in this conspiracy to commit fraud, what is the legal exposure to the taxpayers of Fullerton for both the legal costs incurred by the property owner in the case, and for other damages he may have suffered?

As FFFF learns more about the status of the case we will certainly share it. City Hall probably won’t.

 

Fullerton City Attorney Lies by Omission, Weed Lawsuits Likely Inbound

dick-jones

It’s high time the Fullerton City Council fired City Manager Ken Domer and the City’s resident law firm Jones & Mayer. They have opened the city up to too much litigation (including a public records lawsuit I have against the City) and frankly are incapable of doing their jobs in an honest and professional way.

Allow me to explain by way of legal weed in Fullerton. (more…)

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?

14 Years on Council and Jan Flory Still Couldn’t Figure Out Her Job

JanFlory-Official

Jan Flory’s last full meeting on council sums up pretty much everything I hate about hack politicians. When the Marijuana map and ordinance came up for a vote she expressed dismay that the ordinance had been “turned upside down” at the second reading which she’d never seen in her 14 millennia on council for all the good it did.

The issues mostly related to zoning and where legal weed shops would and wouldn’t be allowed in Fullerton. Many people didn’t want the council to change our zoning laws to allow weed into neighborhoods, requesting a farther “buffer” between homes and pot.

Before voting, Flory lamented that she understood why voters might not like having pot shops in their neighborhoods and that the council should “amend the ordinance as soon as possible”.

SureJan

She then, of course, voted for the ordinance with Jesus Silva & Ahmad Zahra giving it the third vote needed to become the law of the land.

Let’s go to the video evidence:

What the ever loving hell Jan. That was literally your job – to make sure the ordinance was good & respected the wishes of citizens BEFORE voting for it. That’s how this whole “representative democracy” thing is supposed to work. Oh. Wait. I forgot. She only represented Fitzgerald, Silva and Zahra this time around as they’re the only ones who actually voted to put her on council.

As for her bluster about the ordinance being turned “upside down”, it clearly wasn’t turned upside down enough in the second reading or it would have addressed the VERY citizen concerns that Flory herself thought needed to be addressed. I can’t decide if this was stupidity or just arrogant preening. Both. Both is probably it.

Why not just vote no? Or vote to leave it to the next council? Clearly by her own words, Jan Flory thought that the new council was capable of fixing her mistake but she just had to vote because… why?

The best part is that her vote actually changes zoning and therefore adds a vested property right in the properties that she voted to allow to sell weed. It’s not an easy fix to now take away that vested right and in fact opens the city of Fullerton up to possible litigation should somebody be able to show a loss (or taking) from the government action of removing their new right to sell weed in the future.

Not only does the new council have to vote to fix Flory’s arrogant/ignorant mistake, per her own wishes, they have to do it quickly before somebody can build a strong enough case to sue.

Way to go Jan, despite all of your years bragging about your law practice you managed to open the city up to yet another potential set of lawsuits because you just had to get the last vote in before leaving council once again. After 14 years on council I would expect you’d have learned a thing or two but alas I suppose not.

It should be noted that at no time did the City Manager, City Staff or City Attorney’s Office correct Mrs. Flory in order to let her know the complications of overturning her vote. That, of course, would have required them to proactively do their jobs and that’s just not how we do things in Fullerton.