This week FFFF and local hero Joshua Ferguson do battle in a courtroom with the defenders of incompetence and opacity – the City of Fullerton, represented by in incomparably stupid and corrupt law firm Jones and Mayer. The Voice of OC outlines the details here, so I’ll let it go at that, other than to remark on the sad state of affairs when a citizen is sued by his own government in retribution for what they did.
Word has seeped out from the once hermetically sealed walls of City Hall that we may not have Richard “Dick” Jones, Esq. to kick around much longer. It would seem, if the rumors are true, that Good Ol’ Dick has had enough of screwing the taxpayers of Fullerton with his pettifogging, self-serving legal advice and is “retiring” with all of his ill-gotten spoils.
Well, possibly not all his spoils, because he must believe his “I Can’t Believe Its A Law Firm” will have some residual value after Mudslide oozes off.
Now I don’t know about you, Friends, but a collection of lawyers that includes Kimberly Barlow and Gregory Roosevelt Palmer doesn’t seem like it could be worth very much to me; but Jones is supposedly pitching the continued services of his collection of miscreants, so he must plan on keeping his name on the letterhead and probably receiving revenue thereby.
Will our city councilcreatures keep this gang on retainer? After the abysmal performance of Jones in the pas it’s hard to imagine anybody wanting them around, at all. Of course this is the same gaggle that has kept Jones, et al., on the clock for over twenty years – and that’s a lot of bungling and cover-ups.
Fighting your own incompetent and belligerent government can be distracting. And so rather than be distracted, I’ve been playing catch-up with some more of the doings of our idiocracy since the City’s legal lizards tried to stomp on our 1st Amendment rights.
Back on October 1, our esteemed council took on the business of people camping out in their cars. Naturally, the problem needed to be institutionalized, and institutionalized it was – by giving the Illumination Foundation a contract up to $100,000 to run a site-specific car and RV park. FFFF correspondent T-REX covered the story, here.
With their usual political courage, the council directed that their City Manager, Ken Domer, could decide the location and thereby let a bureaucrat insulate them from the repercussions of their own decision.
Now that location is known – the alley and public parking between the historic Western marketing Building and the Elephant Packing House, a building on the National Register of Historic Places.
Well, fine, say I. This site is directly adjacent to the crown jewel of Fullerton’s Failures, the so-called Union Pacific Park, or, as it is charmingly referred to by neighbors, The Poison Park. it seems right and proper that the City deposit one failure next to another, which is already situated across Harbor Boulevard from one of Fullerton’s first Redevelopment boondoggles, the Allen Hotel eyesore.
And stay tuned for episode 4, in which the Poison Park returns to the agenda, and the Fullerton City Council steps on its own weenie again.
As you Friends can imagine the FFFF industrial complex has been engaged, mano a mano, with the yapping legal beagles employed by the City.
But now I take a break from the marblemouthed drone of Dick Jones’s lies to catch up our Dear Readers with other events of the past few months. If you supposed that the spotlight of media attention on its legal mischief has caused Fullerton politicians and bureaucrats to call a pause to its idiotic endeavors, boy, would you be wrong.
In October, the proposed dee-veloper of a “boutique” hotel on a parking lot next to the Santa Fe Depot gave a show for us rubes.
You may recall this dubious project – Doug “Bud” Chaffee’s parting gift to us: approval of an exclusive negotiating agreement based on the developer’s unsolicited proposal for a hotel on what is now a parking lot. Nobody had ever heard of this bold impresario before, but no matter. Jennifer Fitzgerald has always wanted one of these “boutique” hotels, even though it was never in the Transportation Center Specific Plan she kept foisting on us all those years.
In case you don’t remember, I bring your attention to the record of our dimwitted and unintelligible mayor, Jesus Quirk Silva, who changed his vote from the previous meeting to make this absurdity move along. He even made up fake “experts” who supposedly changed his mind.
Anyhow, it seems this newly minted “hotelier” thinks downtown Fullerton is “dilapidated” and needs his special kind of remedy – a boutique hotel for all those fancy swells who haunt DTF’s exclusive nightclubs and other highfalutin venues. The pictures, however, suggest a six story stucco box with some brick veneer stuck on the front to satisfy the locals sensibilities.
And at this meeting a strange apparition appeared: a bunch of carpenter union goons in jobsite safety vests. Presumably their presence was meant to impress upon the assembled citizenry how necessary such city-supported boondoggles are to their well-being. It’s become common for this in Anaheim, but this is ridiculous. It wasn’t even a public hearing where such theatrics might persuade the more feeble-minded decision maker.
Apparently, word has not yet got out from City hall about whether this harebrained scheme is going to be subsidized with free or discounted land, but I’d be willing to bet on that. After all, this City is not for sale. If you’re connected with the city council you just step up and take what you want.
As many Friends now know, the City of Fullerton has decided to move on from bullying language to actually sue FFFF. Here’s a summation from The Voice of OC.
The City has also posted a ponderous press release on its website, written in the high dudgeon of a bureaucrat whom you suspect already realizes that diverting attention from his own bungling by blaming somebody else, may be harder to pull off than he had hoped. Here’s our $230,000 per year City Manager Ken Domer trying desperately to seize some sort of high moral ground:
“The City was forced into taking legal action to protect the privacy of current and former employees and the public, and to ensure compliance with applicable law to include the California Public Records Act,” stated Fullerton City Manager, Ken Domer. “We are working aggressively on behalf of those affected and took immediate actions to put in place a more secure information technology environment. These actions support our philosophy of transparent access to information while protecting confidential information from the unethical and illegal actions of a few.”
Now I don’t know about you, Friends, but I find the words “unethical” and “illegal” to be pretty funny tumbling out of the mouth of Domer, whose only aim in his short tenure in Fullerton seems to have been to fight a rear-guard action against transparency. Domer’s self-righteous indignation is comical coming from the lackey of serial liars on the City Council – people like Jan Flory who is, and always has been, dangerously allergic to the truth; like Jennifer Fitzgerald who has not yet seen an ethical barrier she couldn’t sidestep; and like Doug “Bud” Chaffee who was complicit in his wife’s phony carpetbagging address and stealing campaign signs she didn’t like.
We need only reflect on the way the City has bent over backwards to cover-up the scandal of Wild Ride Joe Felz to know that what Domer is peddling about is utter bullshit.
And as further proof (if we needed any), let us pause for a moment to consider the following snippet from Domer’s press release:
Based on evidence uncovered in our internal investigation and direction from the City Council, the City Attorney’s Office has now filed a complaint in Superior Court seeking a temporary restraining order against the involved Blog and its contributors.
Say what? Direction from the City Council? When O’ when did that ever occur? The issue of whether or not to take FFFF to court has never been publicly agendized and never voted on by the City Council. The subject has never been discussed by our marble-mouthed City Attorney, Dick Jones reporting out of Closed Session.
Domer says he has a “philosophy” of transparent access to information. His actions give us a crystal-clear view of what that philosophy really is: stall, hide, deceive, misrepresent, and ass-cover.
I watched this little gem of a clip from Bill Maher’s cable show last night. Bill rails against the added cost laden on to stuff simply because people can get away with it it.
In particular Maher notes the exorbitant cost of government projects, namely housing for the homeless and infrastructure where the “soft costs” including the inevitable army of “consultants” and lobbyists drives up the cost to absurdly comical levels. For the cost of building an “affordable” housing unit you could easily buy some homeless dude a condominium.
For those of us paying attention in Fullerton we have seen this in spades:
Five million bucks for a couple of traction elevators at the depot. Two million bucks for some crappy, rickety wood stairs at Hillcrest Park. The better part of a million bucks for a decorative bridge over the muddy ditch known as Brea Creek. Etc, etc., etc. The fact that these vanity efforts were totally unnecessary just adds insult to the injurious price tag.
The fact is that government building projects are grossly over-managed. There are architects and engineers galore; there are construction managers; there are general contractor’s project managers and superintendents coming out of the woodwork. And then there are the government’s “project managers” who manage virtually nothing but have blanketed themselves with warm layers of external “expertise” to insulate themselves against the inevitable sideways momentum of their next disaster.
Meanwhile the politicians who are elected to watch out for our interests are too lazy, ignorant, indifferent, or self-interested to give a damn.
The Voice of OC has a detailed story about how our city council approved giving half a million bucks to something called the Illumination Foundation to acquire and operate a homeless shelter somewhere in Fullerton.
As usual Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory pretended to care about the fact that the public has not been informed of the location of this place even though they know very well where it is. In the end they went along with their brethren Jesus Silva and Ahmad Zahra and voted 4-0 to commit $500,000 to this philanthropic endeavor (their philanthropy, our money). Bruce Whitaker was missing in action.
Of course Fitzgerald is running for re-election next year in District 1, so we can be certain the proposed property won’t be anywhere near her house, or that of Flory.
The cops always ask us, when we dare to criticize their unlawful, corrupt,or incompetent behavior: who are you going to call when you need help? Sometimes the question evolves into a statement: I hope we’re gonna be there when you need us. Then it always comes across as a thinly veiled bit of extortion on the part of those sworn to uphold “public safety,” and are taking public money (lots of it) to do so. I’m reminded of the mob shakedown racketeer: jeez, it will be a real shame if something is happening to youse guy’s nice bisness.
But enough small talk. FFFF received correspondence today from a Fullerton resident who believes he recently made a big mistake calling the FPD instead of just relying on the kindness of strangers.
Here is the story in his very own words – as addressed to the Police Chief, the City Council and the District Attorney.
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
To: Fullerton Police Chief, City Council Members, Orange County District Attorneys Office
From: Toby R Oliver, Fullerton resident
A call by me to the Fullerton Police Department last night for help in finding a mother and two-year old son has exploded into at hellish nightmare after FPD Sergeants decided to arrest said mother for doing nothing more than getting lost.
My wife and mother of our three sons, Pranee Sribunruang, now sits in the Santa Ana Jail on $100,000 bail, charged with felony child endangerment because two Fullerton Police Sergeants decided it was their duty to put her there after she went for a walk, got lost and took several hours to make it back home.
FPD Sergeants Brandon Clyde and Emmanuel Pulido pitched a mission of help and concern when I met them out front of our home last night, pulling out all the stops to help find Pranee and our two-year-old son Leo. Then just as the Sheriff’s Department blood hound was about to be given her scent, Pranee stepped out of a vehicle that had pulled up, driven by a good semaritan who found her and Leo at a gas station and brought them home.
This is when it all changed.
Immediately, Pranee was someone who had done something wrong. Forcing her to sit on the curb, out came a thosand questions from the officers. Where did you go? What were you doing? Who were you with? “What do you mean you wanted to walk to Norwalk, you can’t walk to Norwalk,” Sergeant Pulido spewed. I tried to step in, and the officers pulled me away, saying this and that about needing to talk to her separately. One of the junior officers brought me aside and tried to calm me down, “We just want to help her, find out what’s going on,” he said. “Go inside and I’ll call you out in a minute.”
I waited a few minutes, went back outside and Pranee was gone. I asked where she was. “She is being arrested,” they said. “For what,” I replied, “which car is she in?” They wouldn’t tell me, and they wouldn’t tell me what she was being charged with. “You’ll find out Tuesday,” one of them said. Then I saw her head up against the back side window of one of the patrol cars. I went toward her, grabbed at the window and said “babe.” I didn’t know what to say. It had all gone horribly wrong, so quick. And I was responsible because I had called the FPD for their help.
Before I could do anything else, one of the officers jumped in the car and tore off down the street, leaving me there looking after her. I still didn’t really understand what was happening. This was supposed to be about finding Pranee and Leo. Now they were taking her away before I could even hug her.
Pranee is the kindest person I know. Her life is about showing kindess to others. Everyone she meets falls in love with her and her kind spirit. She had never been arrested before. She never even had a speeding ticket. No misdemeanors, no arguments with anyone (except me, her husband), and certainly never any child neglect or endangerment. The only way you knew she was mad at you was when she didn’t speak to you. Now she sits in the Santa Ana County Jail thanks to Sergeants Pulido and Clyde, and our family is torn apart.
The officers asked me earlier in the night, “has she ever threatened to harm herself or her son.” No I said emphatically. Her and I have had our issues, as most couples do. And she has experienced some depression recently, and we are working on this and trying to seek some mental health treatment. All this I told the officers, but sergeants Clyde and Pulido took this to mean something very different.
There was no harm to my son Leo. There was no endangerment, unless walking on the sidewalk at night is felony endangerment in today’s Southern California. Clyde and Pulido just didn’t like her explanation that she wanted to walk to Norwalk to see a friend and trade jewelry. I had explained to them that I had her only debit card because I had misplaced mine the day before, or, she told the officers, she would have taken Uber. Her phone had no service, so she couldn’t call us. It just didn’t add up for Clyde and Pulido so they decided “she met the criteria” and ripped apart our family, just at the moment we were reunited.
Now, I realize the worse thing I did that night was to call FPD, because in the end she made it home on her own – even though we were all very worried – and we would all be home together tonight enjoying each other. Instead FPD has torn our family apart, and we are lost. Never will I seek the aide of FPD again.
And one last thing, I don’t blame Clyde and Pulido as much as I blame the FPD. Where would they get this attitude, this aggressive nature? Where would they get the idea that somebody needed to go to jail in this situation. This is training that comes from the top, and that is your real problem Police Chief and City Councilmembers. Something very rotten is at the heart of your police department, and you need to do something about it.
Toby R Oliver
Now of course this is only Mr. Oliver’s story, but as stories go, it seems to have a degree of verisimilitude. The City will have its own version of the tale, no doubt, even if we are never allowed to see it.
Please note Mr. Oliver’s two conclusions: namely, that it would have been far better for him to have never called the Fullerton Police Department at all; and that there must be an ingrained culture of aggression and inhumanity in the department. As to the first conclusion, I leave that for others to determine. As to the second issue, those of us watching the FPD and the way it operates, have long ago detected a wide vein of callousness that accompanied the criminal and abusive behavior by its employees.
So what will come of all this except embarrassment for his family and big legal bills for Mr. Oliver? He won’t get any satisfaction from his communicants, that’s for sure, or even an apology. No, for the FPD admits of no error as its careening incompetence smashes across the lives of the people who have had the misfortune to be in their way.
California’s Brown Act specifically enumerates when public agencies can meet in secret (Closed Session, they call it) away from the prying eyes of the nuisancy public that pays for the whole show. One of these exempt categories is “litigation,” in which secrecy is deemed to be okie-dokie. The problem is that government agencies, when given an inch will invariably take a mile.
But when you fail to specifically constrain the arm of government, they will invariably flex those muscles. And so it is that “litigation” has come to include anticipated litigation which, of course, could cover just about anything, anywhere, at any time. And that label seems to give the City of Fullerton reason to believe it can omit the names of anticipated litigants. The anticipated litigants must, necessarily remain in the dark about what the government is about to do to them, while the government, for its part, gets a jump on its adversary. Of course this isn’t right, but what do rights have to do with the City of Fullerton government?
Let’s first take a look at the City’s Closed Session agenda for September 17:
Notice the final two items have been draped in the magical shroud of “anticipated litigation.” We may wonder what the Big Mystery is. Rumors are circulating that at least one of the the items in question is the City’s desire to sue humble little us, Friends for Fullerton’s Future, and that the council has voted to do so. Could that really be true? FFFF, of course, would be the last to know. But the City Attorney made no mention of such doings while “reporting out,” from the Closed Session. If they’re true, what are we to make of the rumors?
The City has already sent a couple of laughable nastigrams in our direction, both of which were duly ignored, so litigation is plausible, but only if the City initiates it. This means that it is the City instigating, not reacting to likely litigation, and begs the question of why this issue would not be a matter for public discourse. And it also suggests that it is the city manager and his bumbling lawyers who will have advocated this harassment to cover up their own corruption they didn’t want exposed.
Well, I’m sure that covering up its clownish behavior is the last thing the esteemed council, upright city manager and brilliant city lawyers would ever do, so it seems pretty certain everything will be made clear. One way or another.
Today the Voice of OC has outlined Tuesday’s Fullerton City Council vote to give the Culture of Corruption a vote of confidence. That’s right, Friends the police department with the worst corruption record in Orange County is getting a general pay raise. A big one in fact.
First we get to hear the obligatory boohoo tale from our imbecile mayor, Jesus Silva about how a cop with a growing family just can’t afford to live with the paltry crumbs doled out by the taxpayers of Fullerton.
Then we get to hear from our $230,000 a year City Manager, Ken Domer, as he focuses his keen, analytical mind on the issue:
“We’re about 18th in pay, but we’re also the sixth largest city in Orange County. So our pay is clearly not where it should be,” Domer said.
Notice how this dull blade conflates city population with deserved cop pay? This is just insulting. Is he that stupid or just have that low opinion of our intelligence? And notice the language: “clearly not where it should be” as if perhaps his moronic formula is actually validated somewhere by a scale he just made up. No, Domer, what’s not where it should be is the monster salary we pay you not to be stupid – or at least not to say stupid things that end up in the media.
If anybody cares, the vote was 4-1 with Bruce Whitaker voting no. The rest, of course, went along for the ride, even though the City’s finances are so precarious Silva is promising a new tax on the ballot next year. And no doubt the cop union that is more interested in keeping dues paying members than in the well-being of our city will be backing it big time.
And as our decrepit roads and infrastructure deteriorate ever farther, they will be used by the cops and the bureaucrats to leverage more revenue from us. Revenue that will go right back into employee compensation for the people who brought us the bad roads in the first place, and who have cultivated and protected the FPD Culture of Corruption.