Redistricting A’ Comin’

Early on the morning of August 18th our City Council voted to appoint an advisory committee to consider drawing a new district map for Fullerton council seats. The Council decided to keep final approval for themselves.

You may recall that the City voters adopted districts in 2016 as part of the legal settlement with minority groups. That map was cooked up behind the scenes by Jennifer Fitzgerald with the assistance of downtown bar owners whose aim appeared to be splitting up downtown into 5 parts, three of which were each connected to their main body by tenuous electoral tissue. Naturally, the one and only map went along on the ballot with the question of having districts at all. Amazingly, all the councilmembers, including Bruce Whitaker went along with the sham, gerrymandered map, whose ostensible author, Jeremy Popoff, was Fullerton’s worst scofflaw bar owner.

The process of redistricting is almost always a charade with just enough public participation to look sort of legit. This time will be no different. It’s bound to consume staff time and require the services of a friendly consultant and a subscription to web-based demographic software.

It’s hardly necessary. Fullerton naturally divides into clear-cut areas of “communities of interest” both geographically and ethnically. So here’s my suggestion for a new map. I offer it humbly to the Friends, and the deciders, free of charge.

Consolidation, compaction, clarity. Northwest, North Central, East, South Central and Southwest. Gee, that was easy.

A Tale Told By An Idiot

Ed Bargas speaks. Sort of.

Last week the Voice of OC published an opinion piece by a gentleman named Ed Bargas. Mr. Bargas is head of the civilian employee union in Fullerton, and if he wrote this drivel, then I’m the Pope.

You can read about how Bargas believes Fullerton is at a crossroads – meaning that the City leaders must choose between the welfare of his union members and the citizenry at large. Of course he doesn’t put it like that. He complains that the City Council is embracing the conservatism of the ’80s in which government is viewed with suspicion, even hostility. To this all I can suggest to Mr. Bargas is to read the pages of this blog, and after reviewing the litany of incompetence, corruption and cover-ups, reconsider whether or not suspicion, even hostility is justified.

Bargas makes the mistake of starting of his long list of threatened city functions with public safety, forgetting to remind his readers that it is the very public safety pensions laid out by supine politicians like Ahmad Zahra and Jesus Silva & Co. that have brought financial crisis to Fullerton.

Of course the Big Problem is lack of revenue, and Mr. Bargas was no doubt a cheerleader for the ill-fated Measure S on last November’s ballot that went down in flames, falling victim to honesty and common sense. Maybe he thinks that somehow the new majority of responsible councilmembers can be persuaded to try that scam again. Well good luck with that.

“Boutique” Hotel Lumbers Along

Enhanced with genuine brick veneer!

An item on last week’s Closed Session council meeting just caught my eye. The item identified the southeast corner of Pomona Avenue and Santa Fe, location of the previously discussed “boutique” hotel proposal. I last reported it here, when the Council voted 4-1 to let the unsolicited, single proposal issue get a time extension. As usual the lone no vote came from Bruce Whitaker. The July 6th item just says “terms and price” so that it can be hidden behind the Brown Act exemption.

Huh?

When the City Attorney emerged he declared that this harebrained idea was moving ahead on a 3-2 vote to authorize a Letter of Intent to approve a development agreement. Hmm. We know that Jesus Quirk Silva would go for it. After all, he already changed his vote once to move this along – way back in December of 2018 as a parting gift to Doug “Bud” Chaffee. And Ahmad Zahra is always a reliable vote to support some stupid government giveaway or overreach.

Dunlap-Jung
One of them?

So that leaves councilmen Nick Dunlap, Fred Jung and the aforementioned Whitaker. It is really hard to believe that Whitaker would suddenly change course 180 degrees from a previous commonsense, conservative position. Dunlap and Jung have so far shown unusual sales resistance when it comes to ridiculous bullshit so it’s hard to see either one going for this. But obviously, one of the three did. Who was it, and why? We were not told by the City Attorney and the minutes do not include such potentially embarrassing things.

And this will be a giveaway. You and I own that parcel of land that is currently providing popular parking for Transportation Center commuters. What is the land truly worth? If the Council continues on this reckless course to support a massive public subsidy to for an idea that has no basis in market demand, we may never know.

The days of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency writing checks to fly-by-night developers, scammers, and other corporate welfare queens is over; but the so-called Successor Agency is perfectly capable of handing over real estate and getting nothing in return. And that looks likely to happen as the story of Fullerton’s unsolicited boutique hotel lurches forward.

 

 

Mayhem Continues in Downtown Fullerton

Hook ’em horns…

The Florentine Mob may be gone; the douchebag Jeremy Popoff has popped off somewhere; but the battlefield known as Downtown Fullerton – created and nurtured by our own government is still in fine form. And by fine form, I mean gunfire.

The FPD has announced that it has apprehended one of our stand up DTF patrons who allegedly fired shots a the JP23 “restaurant” following an altercation therein.

Somebody got shot. Here’s part of the cop’s statement (self-congratulatory bullshit omitted):

On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at approximately 1:03 AM, Fullerton Police Officers responded to 101 S. Harbor Boulevard, JP23 Urban Kitchen and Bar, regarding a subject who had been shot.

Upon arrival, Officers located a 24-year-old male with a single gunshot wound. Officers immediately rendered aid to the victim, and he was transported to a local trauma center. It was determined the gunshot wound was not life-threatening and the victim was expected to survive.

So once again the establishment known as JP23 finds itself in the middle of crime, although most of the crime at this place comes from the refusal of the owner to obey the Fullerton Municipal Code and his own Conditional Use Permit.

Oh, well. I guess there’s a certain amount of psychological reassurance that some things just don’t change. And mayhem in Downtown Fullerton appears to be one of them.

More Fitzgerald Fun: Bid Rigging and Nest Feathering?

Leaving Fullerton City hell a lot worse off than she found it…

In Fullerton, reasonable people may be forgiven for their skepticism regarding the probity of the folks in City Hall causes them to consider cynical possibilities.

In this case, the object of scrutiny is once again our former Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has ditched Fullerton after years of working as a lobbyist on our dime. On her way out the door, Fitzgerald got some sort of gig with a company called Tripepi Smith, an outfit that hires itself out to governments to promote stuff like bond floatations and new taxes.

Yes, that is the answer!

Well, so what? you say. Somebody at Tripepi Smith thinks Fitzy is a useful addition to their stable of government string pullers; and they also think there is some way in hell she can peddle her wares in Texas, where she has fled.

The thing of it is, Tripepi Smith was given a contract by the City of Fullerton in 2020 to broadcast City Council and Planning Commission meetings. But that’s not all. The first RFP went out early in the year and there was only one respondent. You guessed it: Tripepi Smith. The incumbent 25-year contractor cried foul, claiming he hadn’t been notified, despite assertions to the contrary from now-fired City Manager, Ken Domer. And it turns out that Domer’s second in charge, Antonia Graham, actually had a testimonial on Tripepi Smith’s web page from when she was employed by Huntington Beach.

The embarrassed council put the gig out to bid again in April, and in August 2020 Tripepi Smith was once again selected – over the incumbent – by a hand-picked collection of cities – one of whom Tripepi Smith actually works for.

Now, what Fitzgerald’s efforts in this peculiar procurement were is, of course, a matter of speculation. But we do know that she controlled what went on in City Hall, and we also know that when it came to personal opportunities, she never missed a trick. Was she in cahoots with Domer to make sure the applicant pool for this service was small and that Tripepi Smith would inevitably get the job? I can’t say. But I can say that a suspicious bid process was followed by some sort of personal opportunity for Jennifer Fitzgerald. That is all.

More Fitzgerald Fun

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

By now all the Friends know that our former Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald, has crammed all the loot she could stuff into her bags and is hightailing it for a state that has no extradition treaty. But her name still resonates, of course – a symbol of government treasury looting.

Well, here’s something interesting- a FitzySpark story that has several layers, each one suggestive of fraud.

For the past several years Fitzgerald reveled in the title of “Vice President” of Curt Pringle and Associates, an elevated title that suggests she was a valuable employee. But was she?

Here’s a snap from a report showing that Fitzgerald received a little government stimulus cheese to help out “payroll” for her little influence peddling operation “CL& Communications.”

If the cheese stinks, nibble on it…

Hmm. So she’s working for Pringle for years and yet collecting PPO money? And of course her little one man show has been around a lot longer than 2 years or less. In fact, here is some helpful corporate info on Fitzy’s biz:

Uh oh.

Please notice that CL7 Communications has been around since 2009. Has the government been defrauded? I don’t know. You could try asking Dick Jones. Notice also that this business continued to exist through the years when Fitzgerald was supposed to be an officer of Curt Pringle Associates.

Hmm.

Now for more fun, kindly observe:

Bailed out by you and me…

It’s in my interest and that means it’s good for everybody…

Well at least Pringle’s been around longer than two years so there’s a rare bit of honesty from the greasiest lobbyist in Orange County. He got $175,000, also for “payroll” and one wonders if that included 1099 payments to Jennifer Fitzgerald, who gives every indication of not being a Pringle employee at all, but rather a contractor. And if that’s true, Pringle and Fitzgerald have violated California employment labor law and the Federal tax Code. See, the IRS wants employers to pay for stuff like Social Security and Medicare through withholding; and the State wants to make sure employees are not being exploited, and that Worker’s Comp insurance is in place by the business.

Now I don’t know that SparkyFitz wasn’t a real employee of Pringle; and I don’t know if Pringle was faking it to dodge paying taxes. But something smells here, and it isn’t overripe government cheese.

The Dead Kennedys & Others

Now that the City of Fullerton’s retaliatory lawsuit against FFFF bloggers Joshua Ferguson and David Curlee has finally done its inevitable Zeppelin Hindenburg act, some folks who promoted and nurtured the despicable assault on freedom are already trying to rewrite their participation.

Don’t get too close. They bite…

Kimberly Barlow, Esquiress of the lamentable law firm of Jones, Mayer and Gecko is saying she’s just “happy the City got its documents back” another disingenuous swipe at Ferguson and Curlee who never deprived Barlow of anything; her “happiness” is costing us $750,000, at least , but she forgot to tell the reporter this inconvenient fact.

Zahra-Busted
Why is this man smiling?

Ahmad Zahra the hapless, preening poseur, and insufferable boohoo gasbag is now claiming that he was a “fan” of settling this lawsuit, a statement completely unsupported by any fact as the City continued its legal harassment of FFFF.

The track record was poor…

Then there’s Sharon Kennedy, the (former, supposedly) proprietor of the Fullerton Observer. In a comment string at their blog, Kennedy is now denying her involvement defaming our bloggers and pretending that her involvement was strictly objective. Unfortunately for her, the facts suggesst a slimy collaboration with the City and Jones, Mayer and Gecko. Her “expert” who claimed that she hired him, produced an opinion that was a joint statement to the Observer and an official Declaration to the Court in the case. How that happened and who, if anybody remunerated this self-styled expert is unknown – so far, but it looks suspicious as all Hell. Commenters are questioning Kennedy, but she isn’t answering. And naturally, the expert conveniently backed up the long-since debunked statement of the City’s own “expert.”

Kennedy can claim innocence all she wants, but her track record of venom toward this blog and really toward anybody else whose honesty threatens the well-being of government employees is well-known, and the malice might be pretty easy to prove in court if anybody cared to hold her accountable.

Well, the rats can scurry off the SS Jones, Mayer and Gecko as quick as their little legs will hurry them along. But the facts are incontrovertible and somebody, and soon, is going to have to pay the proverbial piper – just like the taxpayers are going to have to pay for the horrible and intentional malice of City Hall and its lawyers.

 

 

City of Fullerton Calls it Quits Against Bloggers/FFFF

ACLU, EFF, RCFP, ACLU SoCal

Yesterday, in a special meeting,  the City of Fullerton officially bowed to the inevitable and settled its retaliatory lawsuit against Joshua Ferguson, David Curlee, and this blog. The vote was 3-2 with Bruce Whitaker, Nick Dunlap and Fred Jung voting to end the bloodletting. Jesus Quirk Silva and Ahmad Zahra, who started the lawsuit and have stubbornly kept it alive, voted no. Whether they were laboring under the sunk cost fallacy or if it was simply a childish aversion to admitting their own culpability in the mess, will never be known.

Zahra-Busted
Why is this man smiling?

It doesn’t happen very often that honest citizens can prevail against their government. In fact it almost never happens – a tribute to the tenacity of the courageous FFFF bloggers and their attorney, Kelly Aviles.

After a year and a half of lies, defamation, obstruction, incompetence, buffoonery, temporizing, more lying and running up huge legal bills the City has given up. Here are the main points:

$60,000 in compensatory damages to Ferguson and Curlee;

A public statement absolving Ferguson and Curlee of any culpability;

Legal fees for Kelly Aviles amounting to $230,000.

The winners here are justice (deliberately stalled, to be sure) and journalistic freedom against prior restraint; and, of course, any people who want to be able to get information that their own government is legally obligated to provide.

The losers, once again, are the taxpayers of Fullerton who are on the hook for $350,000 plus how ever much the legal team of Jones and Mayer have racked up – a sum estimated to be approaching $500,000.

Well, Friends, you can add as well as I can. At least three quarters of a million bucks to pursue this hare-brained retaliation against bloggers whose only desire was to get information from their own city government.

The train of thought was weak but it sure was short…

And so it is particularly amusing to consider the stammering, babbling statement from Jesus Quirk Silva that he was voting against the settlement because of his “fiduciary responsibility” to the people of Fullerton.

Axis of Casual Corruption.

Too bad the other two vindictive and profligate architects of this disaster have conveniently exited from our political stage: Jan Flory has resubmerged herself into whatever nasty swamp will have her; and our former influence peddling Mayor-for-hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald, is fleeing the state entirely, having feasted on the Fullerton carcass until there was no more meat on the bones.

 

The Trail of Tears

From 2000 and 2010. The idea may have been bad, but it sure was old.

You have to hand it to government bureaucracies. They never give up on stupid ideas. But why should they? With all the time in world, huge amounts of money given to them by others, and with zero accountability, what is there for them to lose?

Specifically, I am talking about an item on the May 4th Agenda, dutifully approved by the City Council, to take $1.8 million in State grant money and  $330,000 in Fullerton park money to design and build what they are pleased to call The Union Pacific Trail, Phase II.

Of course we all know that Phase I was a total waste of money – a weird “equestrian trail” (complete with pony railing) that has never seen a horse, that was attached to the poisoned and fenced off UP Park that dies a merciful death at Highland Avenue.

Hugo and Alice. One down, one to go…

Our crack Deputy Parks Director, some person named Alice Loya pitched the item to a less than bedazzled Council, making sure to point out that the area was disadvantaged, an irony certainly lost on City bureaucrats whose job it has been to un-disadvantage this neighborhood over the past 50 years.

Let me share a paragraph from the staff report, that, as usual, is so full of lies to rationalize the scheme that one wonders if the City staff would ever pursue this nonsense if they had to use City funds to pay for it:

The proposed project will transform an existing 50 to 80 foot wide, blighted corridor into a greenbelt trail providing alternate transportation, linking the Transportation Center and several parks, including Independence Park at its terminus. This proposed trail aligns with the Hunt Branch Library to the west, providing potential future linkages. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.1 million.

Hmm.

Lie Number One: Alternative transportation? What the Hell does that even mean? Walking?

Lie Number Two: the trail would not link anything to the Transportation Center since it would terminate at a narrow sidewalk behind the Ice House that includes a 90 degree turn. And of course just a week ago, or so, our very same staff tried to sneak through an idiot scheme to cut off the UP right-of-way completely with their private event center on the Poisoned Park site.

Lie Number Three: the proposed extension does not link “several” parks. It would indeed terminate at the Independence Park parking lot but the only other “park” it would touch is the fenced off Poisoned Park that nobody even wants.

Almost as good as a lie Number Four: the proposed trail would be virtually impossible to link to the “aligned” Hunt Branch Library, nearly a mile away, because gosh darn it, the rail siding is still being used by…the railroad. But what the Hell let’s throw out the chimera of “connectivity” to fool the dopes on the City Council, right? It’s always worked just fine in the past.

Almost as good as a lie Number Five: when has the City ever built anything on time and on budget? That proposed cost would sky rocket, of course, as Fullerton’s army of staff, consultants, and design professionals hump the “greenbelt” into submission. Remember the wooden steps at Hillcrest Park and the elevator-from-Hell at the Depot?

Maybe it looks better when the sun goes down…

But what wasn’t said was much more important than the propaganda ink spilled to promote this idiocy: nobody will use this “trail” since it passes through sketchy industrial zoned property, completely empty at night, and would remain, just like it is now, an attractive nuisance that the taxpayers will be on the hook to maintain out of the General Fund.

Dunlap-Jung
Can these two help bring some accountability to Fullerton?

On the bright side, members of the new Council commonsense majority pointed out that Staff was already devising a top-secret Specific Plan for the area, and gee, wouldn’t it make sense not to piecemeal things like Planning Director Matt Foulkes  tried to do on the ill-fated aquaponic farm/event center? They did treat the item as still very provisional, but FFFF knows better – we know that government money once available, will be spent, most likely on something nobody outside City Hall wants.

Zahra-Busted
Why is this man smiling?

Naturally, Councilman-in-search-of-camera-opportunity, Ahmad Zahra scrounged up some of his usual misguided acolytes to beat the drum for this utter waste of $2.1 million bucks. After all, this project would be mostly paid for with “free money” of the sort “progressives” love to accept, then waste. We need look no further than the $1,000000 Core and Corridors Specific Plan, paid for by the State Sustainability Commission, that was quietly abandoned, never to see the light of day. And ironically, the old UP Right of Way passes right through the middle of two of the C&C Specific Plan Areas, suggesting to me, at lest, that the City is not, and never has been interested in the well-being of the part of Fullerton accept as something to play with.

 

Meet Elizabeth Hansberg

Fullerton’s Future?

Friends, you may be excused for not knowing who Elizabeth Hansberg is. Very few people know, or care who is on their Planning Commission. But it matters.

Elizabeth Hansberg is our current Planning Commission Chairperson, appointed by the egregious Ahmad Zahra. “So what?” I can hear you saying. Well, contemplate this: she says she is an urban planner, and boy, does she have an urban plan for Fullerton: 13,000 new housing units is the plan, a concept that would increase our population by as much as 33%, upward of 200,000.

“What’s this?” you ask. Here’s the deal. Ms. Hansberg is a “housing advocate” which means jamming as many apartment blocks as is possible into Fullerton. The non-profit she started – People for Housing, now affiliated with something called YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) lobbies government agencies to build housing units. And lots of them. The website brags about lobbying the Fullerton City Council with images of yet another Planning Commissioner in tow – some political opportunist weenie called Jose Trinidad Castaneda,

Their mission is to pursue the current philosophy current in Sacramento to build hundreds of thousands of new units no matter the impact on the current property owners, the infrastructure or the environment. Slow Growth and sustainability advocates are her nemesis.

Naturally this has raised accusation that her movement is nothing but a pawn of the big development interests who are desperate to sink their shafts into the mine of cross-zoning in-fill housing monstrosities. Her cohorts deny this charge, but it still rings true. Why? Because she actually solicits opportunities from developers to engage in political advocacy on their behalf. It’s right there on the website. It gives every indication of being little more than a self-congratulatory shake-down effort.

So who does fund People for Housing, and what are the implications of having this person on our Planning Commission? 

Stay tuned.