Views on The City Manager

The deep end of the pool was awful scary...

Since he was promoted on an interim basis last year I have believed that former museum director Joe Felz was in way over his head. His role in handling the Kelly Thomas homicide has been fuzzy, at best. He seems to have been prepared to let his underling, Chief Sellers make the decisions (or choose not to make any decisions at all) and let police union boss Andrew Goodrich be the official voice of Fullerton – passing half-truths, irrelevancies, or outright lies.

My guess is that Felz abdicated the authority given him by the City Council and handed it over to Pat McKinley.

The only thing I’ve heard from Felz was a lame-ass attempt to play word games by saying no settlement offer was made to Ron Thomas, father of the victim. Of course that was such a sniveling  lie that it alone should have earned Felz a half-hour stay in Jay Cicinelli’s basement Taser room.

Here’s an observation made by one of our commenters “Do you know”:

One person the citizen’s of Fullerton are letting fall under the radar is City Manager Joe Felz. The mayor and city council of Fullerton are largely part-time figure heads. The real power in the day to day operations of any small city is in the hands of its city manager. The city manager is also the boss of the chief of police. The chief of police does not even have the power to terminate an employee. The chief can suspend, or place officer’s on administrative leave, but they can only recommend termination. The city manager is the only one with the power to permanently remove an officer from their employment.

Chief Sellers initial inaction in this case is every bit the fault of Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz, as there is no way he did not know what is going on. Chief’s of police throughout California are on the phone with their city manager’s several times a day over one issue or another. City manager’s get their daily marching orders from regional heads of the California League of Cities. Since Chief Sellers did not take action in the early stages of this case, City Manager Joe Felz is every bit as culpable as Chief Sellers. Possibly more.

I’m inclined to agree. We are always told what a nice guy Joe Felz is. Maybe so. But it looks like he’s turned over the keys of the City of Fullerton to a rogue police department.

There Is An Emergency in Fullerton!

Things never looked better for Fullerton.

Yep, there sure is.

The City Manager has called an emergency meeting of the City Council this morning at 9:00, a mighty odd time to hold a public hearing. The ostensible purpose of this emergency is to hire an outsider to evaluate the condition our FPD condition is in.

It’s pretty obvious that this decision could have waited until the next scheduled meeting. So what’s the emergency? Maybe City Manager Joe Felz and the Gang of Three are trying to look like they are finally, really and truly taking things seriously. And maybe they prefer dealing with Kelly Thomas related humiliations at nine o’clock in the morning to avoid hundreds of angry commenters.

Fail to the Chief...

The really pathetic aspect of the abject failure of leadership in Fullerton and this desperate and transparent effort to defuse a recall is that the real emergency existed on July 5, 2011 and was completely unknown to our oblivious City Council, including the supposed law enforce experts Pat McKinley and Don Bankhead. Or maybe they knew and just didn’t care. After all, McKinley was police chief from 1993-2009 and has admitted he hired all the cops who have made Fullerton famous lately; and Bankhead has been on the city council since 1888. Oops. I mean 1988.

Has it really been that long?

F. Dick Jones has been on the council for 15 years; will he not take responsibility for the state of affairs he created?

Hail no!

What about the ever-compassionate Sharon Quirk? She has been on the council for seven long years. How many police-related monetary settlements has she approved?

Knitting socks as fast as she can...

Well, there you have it. An emergency. But its an emergency created by world-wide attention to the Fullerton Police Department’s culture of corruption, not by the corruption itself.

Well, go ahead and have your emergency meeting, folks. You can run but you can’t hide.

Wait For The Investigation To Be Done!

Thus speaketh the knee-jerk supporters of cops, and of course the cops themselves, as they comment here, promoting the temporizing and stalling tactics that have worked so well in the past, and that give the Fullerton Six and the Three Blind Mice confidence that soon the whole Kelly Thomas bludgeoning murder by the police will just blow over.

Yet it occurred to me yesterday after contemplating the words of our erstwhile Do Nothing DA, Tony Rackauckas, that these same proponents of an idiotic two-six month time frame for toxicology and microscopic tests (microscopic tests!), etc., haven’t addressed the rather salient fact that their bad boys in blue refuse to talk to DA investigators, and that with respect to interviewing the closest witnesses to the murder, the investigation will probably never be complete. Now that seems pretty damn hypocritical to me.


FAIL To The Chief

We have nothing to hide. Now it's off to the Caribbean...

We received the following correspondence from a long-time Friend.

The controversy surrounding the recent beating death of Kelly Thomas, a local mentally ill homeless man at the hands of the Fullerton Police has been marked by the absence of Chief Michael Sellers. The FPD has instead relied on its regular spokesman Sgt. Andrew Goodrich for information about the case. This might be thought an appropriate channel of communication if this were anything like standard police work. It is not.  Six sworn peace officers beat a man to near death (he died days later) in the parking lot of the Fullerton Transportation Center, and no explanation has been offered other than that the man offered physical resistance and that a thorough investigation will follow.

The brutality of the beating has left many in this city asking how it was that six trained police officers could not subdue a single unarmed man without killing him. Chief Sellers, who is reportedly vacationing, neither returned to Fullerton to appear before the press and public or even offered a written statement about the tragedy. His complete absence does nothing to assure the people of Fullerton that there is responsible leadership being exercised over the officers in his department.

“Joel Swintowski”: Who is He? What Is He Promoting?

The other day FFFF received this rather odd comment on the blog:

“Thanks for risking your lives so that my family and I can enjoy OURS!”
Joel Swintowski

There were links to a website here that sported an official-looking letter from Fullerton’s police officer’s union president, Barry Coffman asking for money. There was the quote from Mr. Swintowski, clearly implying that he supports the Fullerton police union.

I got to wondering who this Joel Swintowski person might be. I never heard of him. So last night I contacted our FFFF  investigative team of people-finders and guess what they came up with? There’s no such registered voter in Fullerton or in all of Orange County with any such name.

But, as they say on TV infomercials: Wait! There’s more! I also found a host of identical websites for police unions across California with the same quote from this “Joel Swintowski” guy. Clearly this operation is a money gathering scheme organized by some entity and then sold to police unions throughout the state like this one in Menlo Park, probably with a hefty cut taken from proceeds collected from unsuspecting suckers.

Now back to Fullerton. Coffman says it’s a “donation” that he’s begging. The request for money states: “Your contribution to us today will help provide outreach and strengthen relations by and between the FPOA and several local worthy groups and charities.”

Now we know the FPOA spends tens of thousands of dollars trying to get right-thinking people elected to the Fullerton City Council. And by right-thinking, I mean “public safety” union stooges who will raise their pensions and lower their retirement age.  Do any of these “contributions” find their way into political activity? Could be. They are not tax deductible – the kind of deduction you get making a contribution directly to a real charity, eliminating the pistol-packin’ middleman.

So who might some of these “worthy” recipients be? Any guesses?

Could they include the campaigns of the same two guys, Bankhead and McKinley, who are getting prepared to raise your water rates 91% so they can use a portion of that money to support their own plush $McMillion retirement plans?

Maybe it’s time for an IRS audit of this solicitation for alms. Maybe the State AG needs to be called in, again. You know, just to make sure it’s legit.

And in the meantime maybe it’s time for FPOA to find a real Fullerton resident for its self-promotional testimonials.

Oh Yeah, It’s Mandated!

It's MAN-dated!

Aren’t ya just sick and tired of watching our city council continue vote on things because they say it’s “mandated.”  I can think of dozens of times hearing O’l Doc Hee Haw holler “we don’t have a choice cause it’s man-dated” or “it’s the law.” Now, when was the last time you ever heard of any city councilman going to jail because he voted his conscience against something really stupid?

The reality is that our allegedly conservative Republican political representatives are indulging their own high price, big-government sentiments, and hiding behind policies established by one of the most liberal legislatures in the nation – and of course continually giving away the store to public employee unions.

Friends, the next time you hear someone say “it’s mandated” or, “it’s the law” tell ’em to prove it. And proving it doesn’t mean saying it’s true because you heard it from the City Attorney who is shilling for some staff make-work project or other.


A Public Comment to the General Plan Advisory Committee By Judith Kaluzny

I ask that you remove the reference to a Business Improvement District from your draft of a general plan.  I understand the mention is to “encourage” a business improvement district.  A business improvement district is a tax on businesses, collected as a property tax by the county tax assessor, in a defined area.  It can be based on property ownership–and the owners pass the costs along to their tenants; or on individual businesses in the district.

This is found in the codes of the State of California in the Streets and Highways code.  Thing is, a city can assist a BID ONLY AFTER the business people on their own form a group, plan the boundaries, get a petition signed to ask for having a BID.  A BID is NOT for paying for regular maintenance of an area, but for improvements.  An executive director will be hired, and a board of directors elected–another level of government and taxation for your small downtown businesses in this case.

The redevelopment department, inappropriately, has already tried that for $3,000 paid to a consultant and a balance in the accounts for another $27,000 for that consultant.  Four meetings were held; I attended all, as did Cameron Irons and Mr. Terranova.  Only at the last meeting did about five other business owners attend.  And I had handed out many fliers to alert downtown businesses.

A year or two before that, Cameron Irons sent out a survey to downtown property owners regarding a BID.  He gave me copies of the 12 or 14 replies.  All were against it, but two said, if you are going to have it, we will participate.

The Nicole Coats had a meeting or two to gin up support for a BID.  The two people (me and Henry Jones) who indicated willingness to participate were not invited.  Those meeting with Nicole Coats–Cameron Irons, Terranova, Theresa Harvey, and two or three more chose the consultant.  Paul Dunlap said he was invited, but declined to participate.

The idea of a BID for downtown arose when Councilmember Quirk asked if there wasn’t some way to get money for paying for the costs of maintaining downtown.  Redevelopment Director Zur Schmeide told her that a business improvement district might be a way.

When the consultant was hired, I talked to both the city manager and Councilmember Quirk.  Mr Meyer said, “we have an eight block area that is costing us over million and a half dollars a year.  We have to do something.” Councilmember Quirk also spoke of a BID paying for the excess costs of maintaining the restaurant overlay district.

This is not the appropriate use or purpose of a BID! And it is by law supposed to arise from the grass roots business people, not top down from the city to get tax money for maintenance.

What I see happening is that if a BID were established for downtown, the only people who would have time or interest to serve on the board of directors will be restaurant/bar owners.  Then they will vote to spend the taxes raised for maintenance so the city will not be so burdened by the bar district.  (Which burden the city council created by abolishing CUPs for restaurants downtown.)

The Downtown Fullerton Restaurant Association is a non profit listed as c/o Cameron Irons, 118 North State College Boulevard, same address as Vanguard Investment Properties.

No Comment

During the Marilyn Davenport protest a CBS news crew walked up the block to Dick Jones’s house to see if they could get a comment from the comical mayor of Fullerton regarding this controversial event.

Too bad Dick was hiding from the nice news lady and her cameraman.

If our mayor had the guts to address these protesters, what would he have said? Who knows? Normally nobody can get this guy to shut up. On this day he was MIA.

What A Haul!

Milligrams, pounds, what's the difference?

Far be it from me to doubt the efficacy of an FPD program, and so the “GOT DRUGS?” turn-in-your-pills-program we reported about as a helpful PSA must have been a winner.

Here’s the success story as reported, presumably, by FPD spokes-sergeant Andrew Goodrich:

The Department collected approximately 150 pounds of prescription drugs from more than 50 persons.

Gee Willikers! Let’s hope it was a whole lot more than 50 persons. Because that figure would mean an average of three freaking pounds of prescription drugs per person.

Now it could be that the humans of Fullerton are a lot more doped up on Vike and ‘ludes than I might have imagined. Or it could be that the Good Sarge just made up some numbers without even thinking anyone would do the math.

Or maybe nobody bothers to proofread the blurbs on the department’s web page.