Fitzgerald Caught in Another Lie

Everyone is familiar with the politician’s reputation for telling untruths, which are generally more or less creative. Rare is the outright, black and white lie. Once in a while you find it in the politician who is supremely confident of their unaccountability – or clouded in a miasma of narcissistic delusion. Or both. It hardly matters which.

And so we have Jennifer Fitzgerald, who as mayor blatantly lied about the City having a balanced budget, and blatantly lied about the City fiscal prudence that created a balanced budget.

Ever since City Manager Joe Felz’s infamous Wild Ride on November 9th, 2016 folks have been wondering about the role of Fitzgerald in the unfolding scandal in which the FPD collected no evidence and gave a liquor-smelling Felz a ride home.

A few days ago our Friend, Travis Kiger made a Public Records Act request covering:

1. Call logs/detailed billing records for all mobile/landline phones used by Councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald on November 9, 2016.
2. Call logs/detailed billing records for all mobile/landline phones used by Police Chief Danny Hughes on November 9, 2016.

This request covers all devices used by these public officials, regardless of ownership.

Here’s what Kiger got back:

Not very good

But hey, wait a minute! What about that memo put out by Police Chief Dan Hughes relating his communication about the incident to Fitzgerald. Remember that? Here he clearly states his communication with Madame Mayor over the Felz affair. The memo is dated November 9th!

And then there was the sad declaration from SparkyFitz herself that she got a call at 3:00 am on the morning of the 9th. Remember that? And are we seriously to believe that Fitzgerald had no city-related phone calls the day her dear friend drove over a tree on Glenwood Avenue? That’s nonsense.

Here we have the spectacle of a public official pretending that there are no records documenting these communications – a position belied by the written and oral statements of the communicants themselves.

“Integrity” is our watchword. Well, that and “hypocrisy”

And then there is the rather odd response regarding Hughes. The fact that he is no longer employed by the City is irrelevant information. The answer about “his” phone is equally evasive. Did Hughes use his own phone or a city-issued phone? We aren’t told. And more to the point, does a public record cease to exist because the recorder is no longer a government employee?

Dry and Reckless

The new, special FPD medal for number of “dry reckless” arrests.

There is a term for a plea agreement for those drivers who may or may not have been legally impaired when they were pulled over by the cops.  It’s charmingly called “dry reckless” and means that the police and the DA aren’t sure they can pin a DUI rap on the driver, and the driver would rather take a big insurance premium hit than take his chances in court.

Cheers. I knew they’d figure it out for me…

And that is exactly what is going to happen with Joe Felz, he of the November 9th, 2016 Wild Ride. The DA can’t win a DUI case against Felz because our sterling police department refused to collect any evidence. And Felz will be more than satisfied with making the stigma of “drunk diver” go away, and no mandatory license suspension. Once the DUI part vanishes, the cops will only be on the hook to explain why they didn’t at least give Wild Ride Joe a traffic ticket for his careening out of control (while driving uphill) on Glenwood Avenue. And that’s nothing for a force that has a history of making up stuff on the witness stand.

Video evidence may or may not ultimately be produced, depending on the daily whim of the DA, but it won’t matter since all the relevant charges will have been dismissed, with all the legal niceties observed.

$1.6 Million Stairs to Nowhere

Comically happy rendering by overpriced design “consultant”

The City’s budget is a total disaster and so are our streets. But Fullerton’s Parks and Rec visionaries would like us to know that construction is underway on a brand new set of 3 stairs. From Lion’s Field to Hillcrest Park. The cost is $1.6 million worth of small change that fell into the cushions of Joe Felz’s municipal couch, and that interim City manager  Allan Roeder will no doubt tell us isn’t worth worrying about.

Not Roeder’s first rodeo…

Here’s a PR article in the Register.

A typical bureaucracy driven idea that nobody wanted – a very familiar tale indeed for poor, neglected Hillcrest Park. The most idiotic part of the story is a quotation from Hugo Curiel, the drone in charge of the City’s parks:

“They can use (the stairs) leisurely, also for exercise, in a positive way. The stairs will open the floodgates from Lions Field into Hillcrest Park.” 

Apart from the hilarious malaprop (floodgates don’t open to release anything uphill!) the idea that there is a line of people waiting to somehow access Hillcrest Park from the fake turf playing fields of Lions Field is ridiculous.

But if you read the article you will find something a bit more sinister: city staff blaming the state of Hillcrest Park’s botany on the drought. That is an outright lie. The park’s dying plant life and the resultant erosion on the north and west flanks of the hillsides have been going on since the 1980s –  even as the City under the “guidance” of Susan Hunt and Joe Felz wasted all sorts of money on “studies” and an event center and other useless projects.

A pile of dirt symbolized the effort.

A moronic stair way from Lion’s Field that nobody is going to use is the last thing Hillcrest park needs. Are you reassured by the fact that our visionary  “leaders” believe we have $1.6 million lying around to pay for this nonsense?

The Speech From the Empty Chair

So much to skim, so little time…

Lobbyist-councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald took a powder from the budget meeting on Tuesday. Perhaps the potential embarrassment was too much to contemplate.

But she did send in this letter in lieu of her presence. Since she wants it to become “part of the record” we know that it is really meant to be a political PR document. For a little help FFFF has highlighted some fun parts.

Okay.We now know that Fitzgerald is blaming “Sacramento” for Fullerton’s gloomy, no, desperate fiscal projections. We can’t expect her to make reference to her own irresponsible deals with the unions or remind us of her campaign lie that Fullerton’s budget was balanced. We can’t expect her to admit that everyone has known CalPERS projections have been BS for years. No disappointment there.

Scrolling down her wish-list we see the properties she wants to sell off to her developer pals, a one-time fix that won’t fix anything. More insidious is the “public/private partnership” expansion, or P3 in the parlance of the lobbyist’s guild, in which the public generally pays for the same thing twice. Electronic billboards? Like the fuzzy, illegible ones along the 57 put up by Placentia when things got dire next door? Wow, that really is desperate! The ad revenue from signs would be peanuts (but oh no, let’s not discuss Behind the Badge. That loose change is lost in the couch forever).

You have to give Fitzgerald credit, being what she is. After putting Fullerton in a dire financial hole she is still looking for ways to direct profit to people who have or who might contribute to her political future; or to other politicians in cities where Pringle and Associates have clients.

Do you feel better knowing that “this community always rises to the occasion?”

How Fitzcal Irresponsibility Drove Us Over the Cliff

“Hey, it was balanced for a few seconds!” Jennifer Fitzgerald, probably

Now that the City of Fullerton is finally admitting that our budget is not balanced!, contrary to Jennifer Fitzgerald’s campaign claims, this would be a good time to revisit how we got here in the first place.

The City of Fullerton website includes links for the minutes and agenda for the last four years of city council meetings and beyond and can be found here.  You’ll find that on October 20, 2015, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Municipal Employees Federation 1200 (resolution 2015-52), which provided increased costs of $5,595,576 over the next four years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on November 3, 2015. The resolution passed 3-2.

But that’s not all, not by a long shot.

On November 3, 2015, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Police Officers’ Association – Safety and Dispatcher Units (resolution 2015-59), which provided increased costs of $9,502,904 over the next four years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on November 17, 2015. The resolution passed 3-2.

Fitzcal responsibility.

On February 16, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Firefighters’ Association (resolution 2016-16), which provided increased costs to the city of $1,959,821 over the next two years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on March 1, 2016. The resolution passed 3-2.

On April 5, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Management Association (resolution 2016-23), which increased costs to the city of $1,175,030 over the next four years, and then voted for the contract at the second reading on April 19, 2016. The resolution passed 3-2.

Also on April 5, and again on April 19, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for a revised resolution providing for raises to confidential non-represented employees (resolution 2016-24), which increased costs to the city of $391,857 over the next four years. The resolution passed 3-2.

And on December 6, 2016, Fitzgerald voted for the Memorandum of Agreement with the Fullerton Police Management Association, which increased costs to the city of $882,492 over the next four years. The resolution passed 3-2. Oh, and if you’re interested, this was the meeting where outgoing councilmember Jan Flory berated Josh Ferguson for having the temerity to claim our budget wasn’t balanced and we were exhausting our reserves (starting at around 1:21:00).

Over the course of her first term in office (the December 6 hearing was a lame duck session), Jennifer Fitzgerald voted for pay increases totaling nineteen million five hundred and seven thousand nine hundred and fifty three dollars ($19,507,953) over a four year span – or almost five million dollars per year. And Fitzgerald’s vote was crucial for the passage of each and every one of these pay increases.

And let’s not forget the numerous “side letters” Fitzgerald approved over the years as well – including one for $500,000 on November 5, 2013, for $450,000 on March 4, 2014, for $60,000 per year on April 15, 2014 (to “adjust” Fullerton Fire Management’s pay to bring it into parity with Brea’s), and for $202,00 on November 14, 2014, plus several other agreements for less than $100,000. Oh, and let’s not also forget the $4.9 million settlement of Ron Thomas’s lawsuit which Fitzgerald also voted to authorize, which will be indirectly paid for by the city through increased insurance premiums for decades to come.

So Jennifer Fitzerald didn’t just mislead voters about our supposedly balanced! budget. – she was one of the architect of our current fiscal mess in the first place.

Re-elected And Alone

Yesterday, one of our Friends shared a rather entertaining video clip of our lobbyist-councilwoman Jennifer “SparkFitz” Fitzgerald unburdening herself of thoughts at Grace Winter Fest. Her interlocutor is Sam Han, her former Planning Commission appointee, and the guy who stood up and said his church, Grace Ministry International, supported the bar owner’s council districting map.

Yea, verily, the Lord sure moves in mysterious ways, doesn’t he, Sam.

Here’s a snippet:

Poor Jen, has lost her pals in City Hall – her bureaucratic enabler, Wild Ride Joe Felz, and her political enabler, the obnoxious Jan Flory – both of whom “had her back;” or to be more accurate, both let her get away with her cultivation of out-of-town developers and her protection of the moral and economic sinkhole that Downtown Fullerton has become. Well, God is good, says the lobbyist, and her recent depression over the rather cavalier way The Almighty has diverted her control of City Hall must be for some greater purpose. Her depression has turned to excitement. Hallelujah! Almost a miracle!

Did you enjoy the end where the unctuous Han asks the audience (most of whom probably didn’t have a clue what SparkFitz was talking about) to “get excited with her?”

Boozing, Schmoozing and Being Lobbied. Check, Please…

 

Man, there’s a lot of bottles back there!

Let’s say you’re the mayor of a City that is chugging red ink like a drunk city manager slurping booze in a cheap downtown Fullerton bar. Would you be sensitive to the appearance of wasting taxpayer’s money on a footling trip to Sacramento, ostensibly to “advocate” for something? Well, not if you’re crooked, and very confident. And nobody has accused our 2016 mayor, Jennifer “sparkyfitz” Fitzgerald of honesty, or lack of confidence about not having it.

Last year the Orange County Business Council, the twisted brain child of grifters Curt Pringle and Lucy Dunn (whose purpose is to rob public agency coffers) teamed up (once again!) with the Association of California Cities – OC another twisted brain child of Curt pringle and Lucy Dunn (whose purpose is to rob public agency coffers). Why? The teamwork was meant to throw a big, out-of-town lobbyist party. In Sacramento. Naturally, our then mayor-for-hire Jennifer “sparkyfitz” Fitzgerald had to attend. And so did our then-City Manager Joe Felz. Wild Ride Joe knew which side of his bread was buttered and who was buttering it. And then there was all that liquor – paid for by somebody or other.

Of course “advocacy” means lobbying, but surprise! It turns out that the would-be lobbyists were not going to Sacto to lobby, but to be lobbied! And we paid for it.The politicos who went were there to lobbied by other ACC-OC/OCBC members! That’s the cozy, incestuous little world inhabited by the Fitzgerald family. That’s the ACC-OC/OCBC formula for success.

Wow. Even Doug “Bud” Chaffee went to this expensive non-event. And while certain stuff that couldn’t be easily laid on the public – like Chaffee’s wife’s plane ticket – was reimbursed by the party-goers – the rest of it was on our dime. And at the very same time Fitzgerald was lying about Fullerton having a balanced budget. Here are the numbers:

 

What sort of idiot pays almost $500 for airfare to Sacramento? The sort of person who is playing with house’s money. I wonder if a single mutual legislative goal was achieved. I bet not. Any takers?

And the Award for Most Ridiculous Awards Show Goes to…

While there is much in government to bemoan and criticize there is apparently much to celebrate as well, at least according to the Association of California Cities – Orange County, who are soliciting nominations for the Sixth Annual Golden Hub of Innovation Awards.


Yes, that’s right. The Government has an award show.

The ACC-OC is giving out awards in multiple categories, including Elected Leader of the Year, City Manager Leader of the Year, Innovator of the year and Public Private Partnerships of the year.
Last year’s winner for Innovator of the Year was the Anaheim Fire Chief who approved an ambulance system to respond to non-urgent medical requests, an “innovation” about fifty years behind almost every emergency response system outside out Orange County. Not to be outdone, 2014’s winner of the Innovator of the Year award was this guy:

A toast to all my good ideas…

The ACC-OC is a lobbying organization, ostensibly created to lobby on behalf of its member Cities in Sacramento, and prevent the passage of legislation harmful to municipalities, but their actual priority seems to be lobbying Cities to implement the kind of statist, crony, public-private partnerships the organization itself prefers. For example, in one seminar sponsored in July 2015, ACC-OC advocated both streetcars and the Poseidon desalination plant in a seminar hosted by no less than Curt Pringle himself. ACC-OC also was one of the driving forces behind the HERO program, which facilitated construction of solar panels by converting the construction costs into high interest tax liens on residences (specifically, eight percent a year high, for a senior lien). So, not only does ACC-OC lobby Fullerton for bad legislation but we PAY them to do so with our own tax dollars.

That aside, in the spirit of this press release, can FFFF come up with its own nominees or, better yet, its own categories for the “Golden Hub of Innovation?” Maybe award Hugo Curiel Procrastinator of the Year for his failure to report the water loss at Laguna Lake until the statute of limitations against the civil engineer that performed the work had run? Perhaps a doublespeak award is in order for the fine folks at the NOCCCD for their efforts to claim that the football stadium they are trying to build with Measure J money isn’t going to be built with Measure J money. ACC-OC also needs a White Elephant of the Year award to honor tireless efforts of some staffers to push expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects like streetcars, ARTIC or the “Great Park” in Irvine. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

Business as Usual – In Every Sense of the Term

Back on December 1, 2016 KTLA reporter Chip Yost made a Public Records Act request about information surrounding then-City Manager Joe Felz’s alcohol odorific Wild Ride.

 

His main business is dirty businesses.

Poor Chip. Of course he was given the big FU from Gregory Palmer, employee of the City Attorney and best known by us for his enthusiastic adult sex business work. Palmer cites disclosure laws that have now been thrown out by the State Supreme Court, and somehow believes that communications from then-Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes are exempt, too.

One thing that was turned over is the following memo from Gretchen Beatty, HR Director, who somehow has taken it upon herself to write an apology for Felz even though she admits the latter is still “on duty.” Under the comical subject line “Keeping You Informed” she proceeds to tell her “colleagues” nothing they surely didn’t already know.

Gretch says the FPD is “completing its independent investigation” which is a wonderful oxymoron and also not true. But let’s not let truth impede upon the business of City Hall. Rather, let us observe business as usual.

 

Behind the Bullshit: Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

It was only a matter of time before the laughable pro-cop PR outlet called Behind the Badge (that we pay for) went from trying to impress us with Fullerton cops’ good works to putting the poor lads on the psychiatrist’s couch.

Service pistol concealed in robes…

A typical BtB “article” reads like a veritable life of Saint Francis of Assisi, in which the sick are healed, the hungry are fed, and the homeless housed. But not the piece I’m writing about today. It was crayoned by a well-pensioned Anaheim former cop called Joe Vargas, and it refers to a Pew Research Center report about a survey that allegedly proves how tough and dangerous cops say their work is, what with all those suspicious black folks and noisy critics doing all that complaining. Why, Good Heavens! They are almost afraid to go out on the streets, seemingly.

Off course Mr. Vargas fails to inform his readers that the survey is all about impressions and opinions and doesn’t provide a nickle’s worth of statistical information about the real risk involved in being a police officer. It’s all about feelings.

And now let’s enjoy the self-serving takeaway provided by Fullerton’s police union:

I have a different question…

Oooh. Scary stuff!

Here’s an alternative question: does the cops’ ability to be shielded from the consequences of their own illegal behavior by POBAR, and by a justice system and by union-elected politicians that coddle and protect them at the price of justice itself, impact public safety? Of course we all know the answer to that.

By the way, it’s too bad Vargas doesn’t cite results shared in the entire Pew article, which paints a much less dire picture of how cops view their  jobs. But Behind the Badge is  pure for-profit propaganda, so expecting an honest essay from Officer Joe is a lot like expecting a good reason for someone to end up in the Fullerton jail.