Jennifer Fitzgerald

Inside Source: Felz is Out

Auld lang syne…

One of our well-placed sources in the City administration has informed us that on-leave City Manager, Joe Felz will be quitting permanently soon, even as conversations now spin around who will replace Felz. Is this true? It has the ring of truth to it.

Speaking of spinning, Felz spun off the Glenwood Avenue in the early morning hours of November 9th, ran over a tree and tried to drive away. The cops on hand smelled alcohol but for reasons that have not yet been revealed, administered no breathalyzer test and instead drove Felz home.

The voice wasn’t soothing, but the words weren’t clear.

The City Attorney has been trying to protect Felz with illegal bogus claims of “personnel matters,” so that excuse would soon be gone if Felz flees the scene. Then there’s the matter of the rather bizarre “ongoing criminal investigation,” that some folks reasonably think is nothing but another dodge to avoid releasing incriminating video and audio records that were made when the cops arrived at the crash scene. No one has even bothered to explain to the public what possible crimes were committed, or who may have committed them. And of course our City Council members have not expressed any curiosity about that, either. Sooner or later our mush-mouth City Attorney is going to have to admit a big problem with his “criminal investigation” yarn, to wit: nobody was arrested that night. No evidence of drunk driving was collected. We don’t even know if a citation was issued.

When Felz goes, he will save the the taxpayers the cost of that so-called “independent person investigation” that the City Attorney thoughtfully cooked up to stall and obfuscate the matter. If so, it will be the one and only time Felz ever saved the taxpayers anything, and that going out the door.

Of course the open question is this: what sort of windfall will be offered by our ever-helpful council to grease the skids of Felz’s departure? If he quits he won’t get his guaranteed payola, but the circumstances of his Wild Ride may make that a moot point.

Whatever happens, rest assured, we will told as little as possible, as late as possible.

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The Culture of Vodka, Vomit & Vehicular Mayhem (Part Two); or The Parasites Have Found a Host

Business is booming…

In the first installment of this two-part series we saw examples of how a mere two downtown Fullerton bars (one illegally operating as a night club) had racked up a massive inventory of misdeeds, amounting to hundreds of cop calls in a few years. Just imagine how tough it is for the Fullerton Police Department to manage all this madness, night after night. And what happens to cop service calls in the rest of the city. Poor cops, right?

Yet before we shed any tears over the FPD and the horrible burden they bear, let us contemplate a “story” from the cop union website that glowingly talks about the special relationship that exists between downtown booze peddlers and our boyz in blue. Here are some choice quotations from the article:

Business in downtown Fullerton is booming.

Thousands of people flock from all over Southern California for the food and atmosphere – and to have a good time.

Police officials want to keep it that way.

In downtown Fullerton last year, officers made 562 drunken driving arrests, including 13 DUI crashes. There were also dozens of assaults.

“We could put 100 cops downtown, but we’d be swatting flies,” said Lt. Andrew Goodrich. “We want to work together to solve this.”

Added Police Chief Dan Hughes: “We want downtown to continue to flourish.”

Slidebar owner Jeremy Popoff had already convened a group of owners, calling it the “Downtown Restaurant Association.”

Do you see the absurd disconnect? Booming, flourishing business? Sandwiched between the happy horseshit talk are the startling statistics of our downtown, open-air saloon. The police are not only tolerating Crazytown, a situation they admit they can’t control, they are aiding-and-abetting it. Why? We certainly know that some bar owners like Popoff are politically connected – his place operates without the CUP the City legally requires of a night club. Then there are the recurring and disturbing stories about cops getting free food and drink at some of these bars – like Popoff’s place. These are stories that nobody has denied.

So are the cops just trying to make the best of a bad situation, or has the culture of the department finally become as gin-pickled with downtown booze as the rest of the City political establishment? I believe the department has enjoined a pretty sick symbiotic relationship with the downtown culture. And notice how the good ladies of MADD, the FPDs 5th Column,  have never been mobilized against this massive affront to sober driving? Coincidence? I think not.

The closer you look, the worse it looks…

It’s obvious that there is zero political will from our city council to do a damn thing about the problem they created over the years. Just the reverse, in fact. Notice how our council unanimously agreed to carving up downtown among five separate council districts so as to dilute the influence of actual voters in that undeniable “community of interest?” The ballot statement supporting that mess was written by none other than our Lobbyist-Mayor, Jennifer Fitzgerald. Hmm.

The sign of fine dining. And drinks. Don’t forget the drinks. That’s where the real dough is.

As for Popoff, he can join with his fellow merchants of martinis and call themselves a”restaurant association;” they can pretend to play nice even while they are racking up ever-lengthening lists of police calls; what they can’t do, at least now that people are finally paying attention, is pretend that their operations aren’t draining financial resources from the average Fullerton family and putting it in their own bank accounts.

The annual downtown fiscal deficit to the taxpayer is well over a $1,500,000 – that’s ten bucks for every man, woman and child in Fullerton; somehow business is booming – but not the City’s General Fund.

And now, returning to the “article” cited, above: let’s have our new amigo, Mr. Gregg Honour, the control-your-bars consultant, whose attention has been drawn to downtown Fullerton and to FFFF, take us home:

Gregg Hanour, former owner of the Shark Club in Costa Mesa and author of “A Business Approach to Reducing Drunk Driving,” said police departments typically conduct undercover stings to build a case to remove a troubled bar.

“You’re lucky,” he told the bar owners. “Your police department wants to work with you.”

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The Culture of Vodka, Vomit & Vehicular Mayhem (Part One); or Who is Gregg Hanour?

It is often said that nature abhors a vacuum. I think government ineptitude and corruption does, too. For a void created in the latter case attracts all sorts of opportunists looking to get ahead. Just consider the Gennaco affair for a moment: an out-of-control police department and a city government that wanted it to stay that way, called on the “professional” services of Michael Gennaco to make sure nothing was done at all.

Class in the morning…

The other day our crack team of investigators discovered that a fellow named Gregg Hanour had made public records requests for police calls to two of downtown Fullerton’s fine dining establishments night clubs – Bourbon Street and our old friends at Slidebar Rock ‘N Roll Something-or-other. Mr. Hanour is a former bar owner who now makes it his business to explore ways in which bars can quit annoying the municipalities in which they are located, abide by the permits that let them operate, and control their rowdy and inebriated customers, etc. Apparently, one of the main strategies offered by Mr. Hanour is to get bartenders to quit serving alcohol to drunks.

Downtown Fullerton must occupy a bunch of Hanour’s business development resources, given the completely out-of-control booze and barf culture that appertains. Good God! Just look at these two rap sheets:

Slidebar Police Visits

Bourbon Street Police Visits

Of course we are all familiar with the Slidebar and its checkered history. What most people in Fullerton don’t realize is that Slidebar is currently operating illegally as a night club. That’s right. This establishment has no conditional use permit, and every time something untoward goes on there a tremor of fear should pass through the City’s Risk Management Department. That’s because the City has intentionally looked the other way while Slidebar and it’s politically connected owner Jeremy Popoff keep the doors open and the drink flowing.

The real possibility of injury or assault or worse is evident in the long list of police calls to this bar. Can the City be held responsible for the consequences of letting this place run without the necessary permits? I don’t know. Shall we ask the City Attorney?

 

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HE’S TRYING TO TAKE OFF! GET HIM!

joe-felz-up-close

Intrepid Friend, David Curlee, has got hold of mobile data computer log from the FPD patrol cars on the night City Manager, Joe Felz, was driving home after a night of campaign partying, jumped the curb on Glenwood Ave, ran over a tree, and tried to motor off. After that the Cone of Silence has descended on the incident thanks to the Fullerton Culture of Cover-up.

HCON3 is a dispatcher. U321 is a patrol unit. Note the time: 1:30-ish in the morning. Precisely the time the Felz incident occurred.

 

trying-to-get-away-get-him-2

 

 

trying-to-get-away-get-him-1

Hmm. Twenty minutes of radio silence. Then another cop who must have been there decides that whatever happened, he ain’t a-talkin’. I wonder why not. No I don’t. And notice U321 isn’t saying anything, either.

Now, remember Barb Pollinger, the neighbor who called the cops in the first place? She said very clearly that driver of the vehicle”should have stopped.”

Is it possible that the MDC is describing an incident other than the madcap motoring of our City Manager? I suppose it’s possible. But it seems pretty implausible.

The witness talks about a suspect departing the scene of an accident. The log conveys the notion of someone in need of immediate apprehension.

I think what is being described here is a crime. If that’s true, then I would also think the actions of former Chief of Police Dan Hughes in ordering his troops to let Felz go without a breathalyzer analysis, to drive him home, to tuck him into bed and to forget the whole thing would also be a crime, obstruction of justice-wise. Our lawyer, Dick Jones, said that a criminal investigation was underway/remotely possible, but since the cops arrested no one that night, and since nobody has been charged with anything that I am aware of, what gives?

The City Council once again takes up the topic of Mr. Felz’s performance tomorrow night. It might be an interesting performance.

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Who Watches the Watchers?

No news is good news...

No news is good news…

A while back Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker proposed the creation of an audit oversight committee, rather like the one they have at the County. His concern was that the City do more than just meet the bare minimum of accounting standards, but is actually doing the things that are legally required by some of our budget funds. This is called accounting for management. Are you curious to see how his colleagues felt about the idea? Enjoy this clip:

 

The head and the hat were a perfect fit.

The head and the hat were a perfect fit.

How entertaining! Bud Chaffee sees the proposal as bureaucratic metastasis and preposterously claims to want to reduce the number of city commissions! The proof of this big government liberal’s insincerity (okay, he’s a liar) can be found by counting the number of commissions proposed for elimination by Chaffee both before and after this escape of gas. What? You want a round number? How about the roundest number of all: 0.

The bars stayed open and the band played on...

The bars stayed open and the band played on…

Missus Flory chimes in with her generous offer to act as “interpreter” with her staff for Mr. David Curlee, who has actually uncovered evidence that the City government most assuredly did not want advertised: very possible misfeasance in the Brea Dam area accounting, (including out of fund transfers)  that could actually jeopardize the whole enterprise. Apart from the fact that Flory couldn’t understand the illegal water tax ripoff in 2012, she is hardly qualified to discuss accounting issues at all. She is so drenched in venom;  just look at the utter disdain she demonstrates for a “a few verbal allegations.”

 

I hear you. Well, no I don't, not at all.

I hear you. Well, no I don’t, not at all.

Finally we see our Lobbyist-Mayor buzz in. She “hears” what Whitaker is saying but her retort is that Fullerton only hires “experts.” She includes the lamentable example of hiring Michael Gennaco to oversee the FPD Culture of Corruption, one of the most egregious examples of a cover-up anybody could possibly think of (she says she’s proud of it!). She too, seems to believe that the “expert” accountants the City hires to look at the financial documents do anything other than make sure the numbers all add up at the end, don’t ruffle any feathers, and collect their fat taxpayer funded fees. Of course Ms. Lobbyist-Mayor’s statements are just as phony as Chaffee’s. See, un-expert Fitzgerald herself sits on a citizens’ audit oversight committee – for the Fullerton Joint Unified High School District. 

 

You pay the mortgage, we live in the palace...

You pay the mortgage, we live in the palace…

 

Well, Friends, there you have it.

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The Bitterness of Negative Banter

What is “negative banter?”

I got a letter from Fullerton’s Lobbyist-Mayor, Jennifer Fitzgerald congratulating “us” for rising above it by re-electing her. I love it when personal-agenda laden politicians complain about “negativity.” Generally they are just reacting to embarrassing scrutiny they’d rather not have to endure.

Here’s the missive:

Cut through the baloney to find the bullshit...

Cut through the baloney to find the bullshit…

Ms. Fitzgerald is happy to share the issues she “campaigned on.” Road repair, more, and higher paid cops, and get this… a balanced budget! Now we all know that Fullerton’s budget has not been balanced since she got on the City Council four years ago. We’ve been leaking red ink worse than Laguna Lake has been leaking Grade A MWD water. The amount during Fitzgerald’s tenure runs in the millions. So not only is she still lying about having a balanced budget, but any other pipe dreams like cops and parks are going to have to come at the cost of draining our reserve funds even more.

Of course this means nothing to Ms. Fitzgerald. After all she is all about politics, not governance. She is a Vice President of Curt Pringle & Associates, an operation that has tried its level best to rip off Anaheim taxpayers to benefit Pringle’s clients. She will be long gone by the time Fullerton goes into receivership.

I really like the part about ensuring “that every Fullerton neighborhood is served well by its city government.” I guess that excludes the people who live in and around downtown Fullerton: it was only recently carved up into five separate council districts by Ms. Fitzgerald and her downtown bar pals like a Christmas ham, precisely for the purpose of disenfranchising the residents while the drunken party rolls merrily along.

And then there’s the part about having a “community-wide discussion” about providing library services for Southwest Fullerton. Quite delicious irony coming from the head of a city government that can’t afford to keep the Hunt Branch Library open; or does she really believe nobody is paying attention?

Finally, I note that “working positively together” is code: what it really means is not criticizing the massive budget deficits; not complaining because there is no adult supervision over the cops; looking the other way as the Lobbyist-Mayor herself helps cover up the madcap motoring adventures of her City Manager returning home from her own election night party.

Well, you know, I just don’t feel like it.

And now, Friends, please share any negative banter in the comments section we thoughtfully provide, below.

 

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When It’s Better Not to Know

In management circles, claiming to be unaware and uninformed is one favored tactic to avoid responsibility for the bad behavior of subordinates. Sometimes unawareness is attributable to simple incompetence. Other times, it is intentional.

Our mayor is caught here taking the latter approach when the woman who witnessed Joe Felz’ drunken crash came forth to recount the details of the event:

The clip ends when the mayor cuts off this concerned citizen.

Now you all know that the city manager reports directly to the council. He is, in fact, the only employee for whom they are directly responsible. You might think the council would be interested in hearing a first hand report of their employee’s bad behavior. Perhaps recklessness, destruction of government property and abuse of authority are not qualities you seek when employing a municipal executive.

Nope. Not our mayor. Not in our town.

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Felz After a Fortnight

The last official word we heard on the status of our City Manager post the Sappy McTree incident was that, besides apologizing, Joe Felz was on leave for 2 weeks.

The Official Story, if you recall, started on 15 November 2016 when the City Attorney, “The Other Dick Jones“, told us that City Manager Joe Felz would be on leave for 2-weeks which prompted Jones to ask Mayor Fitzgerald to immediately put forth an emergency motion to appoint Gretchen Beatty as “Acting City Manager” and once that was done she’d stay in the Acting City Manager position until the Council voted to remove Ms. Beatty from said position. None of this was 1) an emergency or 2) needed as legally we don’t need a City Manager but I don’t expect the City Attorney to bother with such details as State Law.

The pertinent issue is that nobody on Council bothered to ask timely questions on this matter and so the fact that there wouldn’t be a Council meeting 2 weeks later (yesterday) never came up. Now 2-weeks has passed with the next Council Meeting scheduled for 06 December 2016 and it’s at THAT meeting that the Council would have the first opportunity to remove Ms. Beatty from her Acting position in order to put Joe Felz into his chair again.

joe-felz-up-close

Does that mean that Mr. Felz is back now twiddling his thumbs with nothing to do (2-weeks later as stated) or that he’ll stay gone until next week when the Council can remove Ms. Beatty from her Acting position or later due to the ongoing Felz/FPD investigation? Who knows with answers not exactly forthcoming from City Hall. We won’t even know if it’ll be on the Council Agenda until this coming Friday night.

As for the inevitable “What difference does a week make?” question I will posture that it speaks to the nature of our City Government and the way our city is run. It’s slapdash thinking & haphazard decisions over even such basic calendar items that showcases the culture in City Hall where there is almost zero attention paid to details. This sort of intellectual laziness is how we end up with unaccountable bureaucrats spending time in Las Vegas or elsewhere while the city bleeds red ink and puts our kids further into debt with only high-density boondoggles on, and blocking, the horizon in order to offset the bloated spending.

We shouldn’t have to point this sort of stuff out but our so-called leaders can’t be bothered to do the jobs they voluntarily took and that leaves us, the malcontents and rabble-rousers,  to do the job of making sure that somebody is paying attention.

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A Glimpse Into Fullerton’s Future

It wasn't safe. but it sure was uncomfortable...

It wasn’t comfortable. but it sure was dangerous…

Okay, Friends here’s a pop quiz. What do Jan Flory, Bud Chaffee, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn have in common? Think for a second…

Got it? Of course, it was an easy question.

They are collectively responsible for the overdevelopment of Fullerton. Look around: Commonwealth, Orangefair, Santa Fe, each now, or soon to be home for massive, overbearing penitentiary-like apartment blocks.

The Thing That Ate Fullerton...

Cliff Dwelling Is The Life For Me, or: Thing That Ate Fullerton…(image swiped from Orange Juice Blog)

The ridiculous and deathless “Amerige Court” monster is back, too being pimped by a guy named Cameron Irons.

Follow my easy method, and one of us will get rich!

Follow my easy method, and one of us will get rich!

You remember him, right? County Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s crony who stood to make a $100,000 commission as Nelson tried to ram through the County’s big homeless shelter next to Fullerton’s Commonwealth Elementary School.

Nelson wears his game face.

Nelson wears his game face. Too bad we’re not on the same team.

And there’s very little need to hold our breath until the “College Park” upzone Godzilla rears its ugly head, once again.

Whatever the motivation of our “representatives” to jam ever more high-density residential projects into Fullerton, the result is the same: more burden on the City’s utilities and infrastructure, and above all, more traffic cramming our streets, costs that are carried by all of us as the developer makes his bundle and skips off to his next monster.

Is it really too much of an exaggeration to say that soon the major intersections at Harbor, Orangethorpe and Lemon will become virtually gridlocked at certain times of the day? Soon we may all have to find alternative ways to get around Fullerton.

It’s pretty clear that none of these lofty people have the best interests of ordinary Fullerton residents in mind. In fact, we seem to be nothing more than an annoyance to their big plans, that is if you can call helter-skelter development a plan.

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The Mayor Game!

Arf!

Arf!

Yes, Favored Friends! It’s time once again to play…The Mayor Game!

Every December our illustrious city council elevates one of their own to assume the august tile “Mayor.” The Mayor of Fullerton gets to preside at meetings and that’s about it. Almost a kind of booby prize if you think about it. And yet our elected representatives lust after the title, particularly if there is an election the following November.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown...

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown…

For years the selection was fraught with political tension as the repuglican old guard, orchestrated by the odious Dick Ackerman contrived to keep Dems (and Chris Norby) from ascension to this lofty estate.  In recent years though, the process has become less political. The Council even adopted a process for non-partisan rotation in which it would be the turn of the that person serving longest without wearing the bejeweled tiara. This process is not enshrined in any law or code. It’s just sort of a Gentleman’s Agreement between people who really don’t trust each other – and for good reason.

The humble office of Mayor Pro Tem serves as the approach to the green and thence the flag.

Will the bonhomie last?

It was a rough landing...

It was not a smooth landing…

The current Mayor Pro Tem is my broomstick-wielding former mistress, Jan Flory, who will mercifully be out of office in a week or so. This means that it is Councilman Bruce Whitaker’s turn to shimmy up the greasy pole. Whitaker became mayor in the Fall of 2012, but it wasn’t without nervousness since it was well known that Flory and Bud Chaffee opposed him. But Jennifer Fitzgerald was given a directive and fell into line. But that was then.

What, me worry?

What, me worry?

 

Another wrinkle this time is that both Whitaker and Fitzgerald are rumored to be seeking the job of 4th District County Supervisor in 2018, and running with title of mayor next year would be just dandy, at least according to conventional wisdom.

So will the new council stick to its own policy or will they dump it? Will the new guy, Jesus Silva go along, or will he cut a deal with Fitzgerald and Chaffee to the exclude Whitaker? In the past it was not uncommon for councilmembers to gin up any stupid sort of excuse to keep the incumbent in place for another year.

In the end what it takes is three votes, and everything else is eyewash.

And now I must to attend to my nether parts.

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