The 2022 Emily Roe Voters Guide!

With ballots being mailed out in next week, it is time for my Fullerton 2022 Emily Roe Voter Guide.

With two districts and six candidates, the choices Fullerton voters will make in November can enhance government accountability and fiscal responsibility.

DISTRICT 3

Shana Charles

An associate professor in the public health department at Cal State Fullerton, Shana Charles has never served on a City of Fullerton commission or committee. As an associate professor in public health, Charles has little to no qualifications to serve on City Council as far as we can tell. Why are you not running for Fullerton School District Board Shana? You seem way more qualified for that than this generous leap to run for City Council. Charles failed to win her last race for School District in 2018. She turned around and tried, unsuccessfully to get appointed to Fullerton City Council in 2019, and then again turned around and unsuccessfully tried to get appointed to Orange County Board of Education this year. 

Those who seek power are not qualified to hold it. 

Charles is a socialist, who has no experience and is not qualified for City Council just like the old disaster Pam Keller. She skipped the only public forum so far so voters had no idea what she stood for beyond her tell us nothing candidate website. And then the Fullerton Observer questionnaire.

When asked about housing in Fullerton, Shana’s answer was: “With median home prices at $900,000 and rentals for $3000, our city cannot house its essential workers. We must work with any and all available programs to provide relief”. Sounds like code for rent control and building low income housing in mass. Fullerton would be the next Santa Ana under Shana’s leadership.

Her thoughts in the city budget being balanced for the first time in decades: “Our current budget is penny wise, pound foolish”. So you would spend money we don’t have as a city to pay for programs like low income housing and rental assistance. Fullerton was a small step away from insolvency before this current Council made the necessary cuts to maintain reserves. But for Shana turning Fullerton into the next Westminster is a good goal. 

Arnel Dino

Fred Jung’s appointee to Planning Commission, Arnel Dino is the Commission’s Vice Chair. His voting record on Planning Commission is in line with solid Planning Commissioners in Fullerton’s recent history like Bruce Whitaker, Nicholas Dunlap, and Ryan Cantor. He is visibly clunky and sometimes talks more than he should, but he could be a viable City Council selection that will mark a huge improvement from the previous Jesus Quirk-Silva. Dino served on the Infrastructure Committee. His resume is extensive so Dino has governing experience that he will need. We are not on fire over Dino, but he could be the best of poor choices. Dino’s forum performance was not off the charts great, but was not a disaster either.   

Johnny Ybarra

After failing miserably to run for City Council in District 5 in 2018, the election that gave us Ahmad Zahra, Johnny Ybarra is now running in the District where he actually lives. The former carpetbagger is a real estate agent. Not sure what to make of his candidacy since he seems to only have signs around. But his answers during the only forum so far – Fullerton Collaborative – was an unapologetically misadventure. He sounded both unqualified and uninformed. The bar is not high to beat Ybarra who is finally being honest and running in his actual District.

DISTRICT 5

Tony Castro

Wow is this kid shot out of a cannon! Not sure how much Red Bull Tony Castro drinks, but leave some for the rest of us buddy! Pro rent control and pro police reform, Castro is hellbent on turning Fullerton into the next Santa Ana, crime ridden and filled with homeless. Castro participated in two forums so far: Fullerton Collaborative and Fullerton Observer. The answers he gave were unbalanced and unbelievable. He actually said that in 2019 Fullerton had a “21 million dollar surplus”! What!?! Did you Google that son? Because Wikipedia is not good governance. 

Oscar Valadez

Oscar Valadez is the best choice of all six candidate running for City Council. A family man, father of two, graduated from Stanford University and has been a church going, volunteer in his community, a community he was born and raised in. He too lacks experience in governing, but he did participate in both Fullerton candidate forums and his answers were thoughtful and articulate. He said he wants to be a “bridge between the community and city staff to implement effective policies”. That sounds like government efficiency, hopefully government accountability and better customer service. His answers to the Observer questionnaire speaks to a man who is prepared to lead with humility, a welcome change for District 5. 

Regarding homelessness the candidate responded: “Fullerton needs to find ways to compassionately enforce our anti-camping ordinances”. Yes.

Commenting on leadership, Valadez answered: “Public representatives must be reminded that they serve for the good of the residents. Council members must prioritize problem solving and focus on building and maintaining productive relationships based on trust. As a fresh voice, I’d focus on collaboration and remain grounded in serving, not myself, but our residents”. Amen. 

Valadez could be a brighter future for Fullerton.

Ahmad Zahra

Not sure what more needs to be said about Ahmad Zahra. He’s the incumbent so Castro and Valadez have a mountain to overcome in an election cycle that will feature historically low voter turnout and engagement. When the public is uninformed or in the case of Zahra, misinformed, it is ample space for bad actors like con artists and ponzi schemers to thrive and that is exactly what Zahra has done, misled and manipulated Fullerton residents, the Fullerton unions, the Fullerton business, the Fullerton Observer, etc. During both candidate forums and the Observer questionnaire, Zahra took credit for everything short of creating the internet. The hubris is astonishing. 

Four more years of Zahra will bankrupt Fullerton, both fiscally and morally.

There is a simple question: Do you support the direction of government accountability, fiscal sustainability, and money for streets and roads that Fullerton seems to be going in under Dunlap and Whitaker? 

If the answer is yes, the choices are simple. 

COVID ZAHRA

When things get tough, real leaders make difficult choices. And then there are those like Ahmad Zahra.

When Covid 19 rolled around in the spring of 2020 Fullerton was already looking at financial disaster. Years of unbalanced budgets were backfilled by reserve funds by the partnership Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra. With the Covid lockdown things looked bleak.

What to do?

“I know” said Ahmad Zahra, “lets have a sales tax.”

And so the ill-fated Measure S was placed on the ballot by the same herd: Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra. The proponents didn’t seem to care that sales taxes are inherently regressive, and Zahra seemed uninterested in the fact that his D5 constituents would be disproportionately hurt. Ironically, at the time, Zahra was hauling in $4,000 a month for a few hours time as an appointed member of the Orange County Water District Board.

Later, in 2021, when federal relief money rolled in to Fullerton, Zahra tried to direct funds away from infrastructure and into salaries and pension obligations.

Well, those chickens have come to roost. This mail piece landed in D5 mailboxes today:

Oops!

And the back side:

You have something he wants…

LEADERS NOT LIARS

The Fullerton Collaborative hosted a candidate forum, which featured some good questions and some not so good. It featured 5 out of 6 City Council candidates running in Districts 3 and 5 this year. Shana Charles received a hall pass and did not stay for the forum.

Ahmad Zahra was his usual full of himself self. The notorious man who never wasted a selfie opportunity was untruthful, effortlessly deceived the audience, remaining true to his duplicitous self.

SERIAL LIAR

Here’s a list of the many, oh, so many lies.

LIE #1: “The district I’ve called home for the last 21 years.”

TRUTH: Zahra’s voter registration record doesn’t agree.

LIE #2: “As a medical doctor.”

TRUTH: Zahra is not a licensed medical doctor or a medical professional of any kind.

LIE #3: “The budget needs to be reflective of the needs of our community.”

TRUTH: Zahra wasted a million dollars of the people’s money frivolously suing a local blog and its authors, and were it not for the new Council, that bill would still be accumulating. A million dollars would have paid for a fire engine and more than a handful of Parks and Recs, Police, or Firefighter, or Maintenance employees.

LIE #4: “We have a shortage of staff and we need to invest in those areas.”

TRUTH: Zahra had an opportunity to pass a budget with a 1% cut and $1 million dollars to the City Manager to fill staffing concerns. He voted no, not once, but on three different City Council meetings. 

LIE #5: “I would love to see more drug programs and engaging our school district on drug prevention programs.”

TRUTH: Zahra advocated for publicly and voted for on four separate occasions to have weed sold in Fullerton with only a 100 foot buffer zones to schools or homes or churches or parks.

LIE #6: “Supportive housing is crucial, but we need to make sure we are also outreaching and creating transparency.”

TRUTH: 1600 Commonwealth is an affordable housing development and so little transparency and outreach was done that the neighbors protested en masse and killed the deal with Pathways of Hope because of lack of outreach and transparency.

LIE #7: “We need to make sure our parks are maintained and cleaned.”

TRUTH: Zahra voted to give away Union Pacific Park in the heart of his district to a for-profit event planner for weddings.

LIE #8: “I have been one of the most engaged Council members. Everybody knows I’m out there.”

TRUTH: Woodcrest neighborhood mothers and residents have come to one Council meeting after another in the past 2 years complaining about Zahra’s lack of accessibility and lack of engagement with them. But then again, they are not kissing his ass and stroking his giant ego. He works with the Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. Why? Because their director donates to his campaign and their employee Egleth Nuncci is his permanent tag-a-long. No other non-profit or community group gets any engagement from Zahra.

LIE #9: “We also need to expand our ability to do corporate partnerships.”

TRUTH: Zahra strong armed Republic Services, the City’s trash hauler to give his pet project city in a foreign country a trash truck and then promptly took a selfie and credit for saving democracy. That’s not a corporate partner. That is a quid pro quo.

LIE #10: “I have worked with this Council, despite sometimes the hard times and differences we’ve had.”

TRUTH: Zahra only works for and with Zahra. He has no contact with his Council colleagues. So how are you working with this Council, Ahmad?

LIE #11: “Be faithful with my votes.”

TRUTH: Zahra made an impassioned speech about how important voting was in his country of Syria and that the at large Council seat vacated by Jesus Quirk-Silva should be determined in a special election to betray the people and his faith in democracy the very next meeting and appoint the elderly disaster Jan Flory, who in turn voted to appoint him to the Orange County Water District and its healthy stipend, one he took without objection and then donated to his campaign.

LIE #12: “We see so many Councilmembers come and then they make backroom deals.”

TRUTH: See TRUTH #11.

The truth is Ahmad Zahra is nothing more than a serial liar. Things come apart so easily when they are held together by lies. It’s always the ones with dirty hands doing all the finger pointing isn’t it?

The Line Up

(Revised: I missed the Date Qualified column and so missed the fact that Shelby Perea and Rosalia Guillen did not qualify for the ballot. The text of the post is revised to reflect this)

Here’s the list of candidates in Fullerton’s 3rd and 5th District elections in November.

The most notable feature is the number of Spanish surnamed candidates in the 5th, a fact that makes it much easier for the arrested and charged incumbent, Ahmad Zahra, to continue his sanctimonious hypocrisy from the dais.

This is all ya got?

We already know that Tony Castro is an unemployed dead-beat who gives off the aroma of a Zahra plant meant to split the Latino vote. Oscar Valadez seems to be a good Catholic boy with a family, a house, a real a job, and standing in the community – all of which set him apart from the empty suit, Zahra. Valadez’s statement says a lot of popular sounding stuff and he’s a Stanford graduate. Geez, it would be nice to have a councilman who wasn’t a preening, self-absorbed weasel? Oscar has the support of Fred Jung, so that’s another positive indication. Zahra wants to save murals and “assets.” He says he’s lived in Fullerton for 21 years which is probably just another Zahra lie he figures nobody can disprove. Among his other supporters of dubious intelligence, he lists the octogenarian bird-brain Molly McClanahan – which is almost cause for pity.

This is a Boohoo. There’s just no getting around it…

Over in D3 there are 3 candidates. We’ve already been introduced to Shana Charles, whose statement includes “progressive” catch-phrases. Her statement about restoring Fullerton’s “gutted” services means one thing – another swing at a tax increase. Her backers are the Quirk-Silvas, of course. I wonder if she’s ever even bothered to thank the Council for creating a district that she is in and that Jesus Quirk-Silva is not! The second candidate is Arnel Dino. But Dino Arnel sounds way better, so that’s what I’m calling him from now on. Mr. Arnel seems to be a lefty also, which doesn’t bode well. Those who have seen him perform on the Planning Commission are immensely underwhelmed. The final candidate is John Ybarra who seems to have relocated to the 5th District. His campaign statement is concise and rational. It appears to be a somewhat conservative and pragmatic voice. One thing is certain: the other two will never fight for accountability at City Hall.

The final element in this election will be the Independent Expenditure committees. The cops and emergency truck driver unions will back Zahra and most likely Charles – liberals, yes, but public union supporters, uber alles.

Things could be better. Or they might get worse…

Then there’s Fullerton Taxpayers for Reform, an I.E. run by Tony Bushala that evidently has set its sights on Zahra. They have already launched a shot across Zahra’s bow, and are likely to continue the pummeling until Zahra’s attitude improves.

Fullerton 2022 Map Quest

The 2022 effort to create new districts stumbles along. Last week, the Commission set-up to make a recommendation to the City Council met to discuss the several maps that had been submitted. The complete lack of public participation was evident – only a handful of maps were submitted.

At the end of the meeting a 5-2 majority favored Map 114 – the demographers tweak of Commissioner John Seminara’s Map 106. Then they added Maps 111 and 112 as worthy of Council consideration. Take a look at Map 114. The dark lines show current district boundaries:

Map 114 making pre-eminent good sense.

Map 114 isn’t perfect, but it is informed by Fullerton’s clear major street boundaries and respects both ethnic and physical communities of interest. It cleans up the idiotic Tentacles of Interest foisted on the voters in 2016 by our former Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald. There would no longer be district contortions so that council members could each have an interest in the public money vortex knows as Downtown Fullerton.

Two of the commission members – former City employee Kitty Jaramillo, and Jody Vallejo preferred Map 110 a bizarre amalgamation for District 3 – a long, thin district that stretches from Placentia Avenue to Euclid Avenue connecting neighborhoods that are physically remote and that don’t share any obvious connection. The adherents of this map apparently banded together into a committee of some kind to concoct this hot, wet mess, proving that more heads are not necessarily better than fewer. Check out this acid burp:

The people who defended this map claimed that it is the “College map,” joining CSUF and FJC with their surrounding neighborhoods as a dubious “community of interest.” The further rationale for its support was that “many people” had participated in its creation. This map violates several basic tenets of district-making, to wit: creating a district (3) that is not compact; splitting the trans-57 community of interest into two separate tribes; and throwing together neighborhoods almost 4 miles apart in a weird, horizontal embrace.

How anybody could justify this District 3 is still beyond me. The demographer tried to make it less ridiculous by whacking it back by a mile (Map 112), but it still looks unsupportable by reason or logic. Here is Map 112.

So what gives? Commission member Tony Bushala dialed in to proclaim that Map110 (and by extension, Map 112 was motivated by purely political consideration, not the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Map Act that govern this process, and would have none of it. He didn’t elaborate.

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

And then it hit me.

Map 110 (and by extension Map 112) was submitted by a group of people committed to keeping Jesus Quirk-Silva, the current liberal, dim-witted D3 councilman in office. The other recommended maps – that removed the gerrymander that put him in the office – would leave him with no place to run in 2022 and out office!

Hence the desperation by this “committee” that wasted a lot of verbal gas doing what it not permitted by the FPA – protecting a party or a politician.

Oh, well, the maps go to the City Council on Tuesday the 8th, where outrage theater, liberally sprinkled with liberal handwriting will be featured on the playbill. Expect long lines the usual weepers, new and old, show up to promote Map 112. Will it work? That depends on Mayor Fred Jung who by now must be getting a shitload of unwanted importunity coming at him.

Of course there is nothing stopping a council majority from devising its own map, drawing on others, or cooking up a whole new one. But as it stands now, Map 114 is the one supported by the Redistricting Advisory Commission.

The Second Try

Nothing says 1962 like Fullerton City Hall

Back in 2020 our Lords and Masters at City Hall cooked up a plan to impose a sales tax increase upon people buying stuff in Fullerton. It was staff-driven natch, and lazy liberals Zahra, Quirk-Silva, Flory and Fitzgerald were on board. It was called Measure S. See, they figured the path of least resistance was deploying a new tax rather than finally exercising fiscal restraint.

Measure S Covid Lie
The Big Lie

Measure S soon found itself in the crosshairs of Fullerton anti-tax advocates and some well-placed signs describing the true nature of the beast doomed it to failure come election time.

Well guess what? They’re at it again. This time the idea is something called a Pension Obligation Bond, a mechanism for paying off part of Fullerton’s massive unfunded pension actuarial liability at CalPERS, the State’s giant pension administrator.

An introductory briefing was on the Council’s agenda last Tuesday to start the cheerleading process – a process that will entail the employment of an “expert” who will certainly benefit from a positive result; and of course “bond counsel” the legal camp-followers who push bonds on lazy elected officials after a hot meal and a few glasses of wine.

As everybody knows, the interest on the bonds are ultimately backed up by the collateral of new property taxes. This revenue would go to pay down the pension debt and free up money owed to CalPERS for staff salaries and benefits that will ultimately, and ironically, increase pension debt.

Here’s the second kicker: because a pension obligation bond is not deemed new debt, per se, but a sort of pea-under-the-walnut shell maneuver, no vote of the people is required – as it is in the case of general obligation bonds. It just gets “validated” by a judge and goes through on the nod unless challenged. Ouch. Of course the Council, if it wanted to could put the issue on a ballot anyhow, if they chose to move ahead with this scheme.

Of course the strategy for this type of thing is to reprimand opponents by citing the fact that the daily cost is little more than a Big Mac, or some other trifle and in return we get…what do we get again? Our loyal and devoted “public safety” club will almost certainly gobble up the lion’s share of this taxpayer largesse, just like they already do, and we’ll be even worse off than we already are, and no desperately needed cultural changes will have been made.

I looked over the agenda material on line and found nary a clue as to how this was even agendized. Another smoke screen protecting somebody.

The Quirk-Silvas Wish You Happy Holidays

Here’s a delightful season’s greeting from Fullerton power couple Sharon Quirk and Jesus Quirk-Silva.

We’re a team!

As far as these things go, it’s completely benign. Or banal. Especially compared with those tasteless cards mailed by the woman who financed the Quirk-Silva’s house, Loretta Sanchez.

Great minds think alike…

But there’s a bit of a problem here, and one I sure hope the “greeters” address.

The mailer was paid for by Ms. Quirk’s campaign committee, which is okay so far as that goes. But her husband, Jesus Quirk-Silva is the co-beneficiary of this epistle, since he too, is an elected official.

Now there’s nothing illegal about benefitting politically from your wife’s political ascendancy, unless, of course, there is fungible benefit therefrom.

And so, I hope that Mr. Quirk-Silva will be reporting this donation from his wife’s campaign coffers; and of course that the missus will be reporting the contribution.

Fish Farm Failure

“Tam. Smell that smell…

Some folks might think that continuing conversation about Jesus Quirk-Silva’s and Ahmad Zahra’s aquaponic farm/event center scheme would be like smacking a dead mackerel.

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

Well, here at FFFF we believe it’s never a bad idea to remind the public of hare-brained proposals made by bureaucrats and supported by bobble-headed politicians.

So to recap: last spring the Fullerton City Council deliberated on a scheme to create an aquaponic farm on the site of the abandoned Union Pacific Park site. The problem was that the exclusive negotiating deal was with a guy who had no financial wherewithal and proposed an event center on the site – just like he had done in Anaheim and Aliso Viejo. Staff even dredged up a last minute “partner” to sell the deal. The idea was rejected, but not for lack of trying.

And we have just received word from down south in Aliso Viejo about the negative impacts of an identical operation there, Renewable Farms, run by the same people.

Let’s hear from a MV resident to a concerned Fullerton resident:

My name is Dena LeCave and I am a resident of Aliso Viejo.  While looking into information and press on Renewable Farms I came across a story from the Fullerton Observer regarding the aforementioned.  I wish to congratulate you on terminating your contract with Renewable Farms.  As a long time resident of the city of Aliso Viejo, 20+ years, I am astonished and horrified by what our city council has allowed to happen to my community, neighborhood and particularly our quality of life since Renewable Farms started hosting wedding receptions on the vacant land behind our home.  We live less than 50 yards from the event center for Renewable Farms and they host weddings every single Saturday night and have been doing so since May.  The noise, lights, music and constant yelling goes on for 7+ hours.  
The city has done little to alleviate the problem and has instead hamstringed us by making these events private by the City, meaning we have almost no recourse in getting them to quiet down. 
I do not wish to take up your time, I’m sure you’re quite busy, but if you would like to further discuss our situation you may email me back or call me.
Thank you, and have a good day.

Sincerely,

Dena LeCave

Ms. Le Cave’s words have the ring of truth, all right, and they certainly would have applied to the proposal in Fullerton – problems that show the complete lack of concern, disdain even, that our staff shows for this neighborhood. And then of course there was the attitude shown by Quirk-Silva and Zahra about the residents who would have suffered the negative impacts of this proposal, without so much as a by-your-leave. Their current concern over public input on the park site is extremely recent and undisputedly hypocritical.

The purveyors of bad ideas were holding their own. For a while, anyway.

And of course the deal would have illegally converted a public park into a private, fenced and gated place to hold events, and incidentally an aquaponic facility, effectively giving away parkland – something our City Attorney Dick Jones just got caught approving in Westminster. Of course there was no parking, no business plan and nothing but a site plan to recommend it to the Council, so naturally Quirk-Silva and Zahra latched on to it like a couple of lamprey eels.

The Dope Lobbyist

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

We here at FFFF have never thought of Jesus Quirk Silva as a very bright fellow, but he seems to have learned at least one thing on the Fullerton City Council. And that lesson came courtesy of former councilwoman-for-hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald.

Gone, but not forgotten…

That lesson is simple: it’s more fun to try to peddle influence based on your elected position than it is to hold down a day job.

And so Mr. Quirk Silva has embarked on a new potential career path – away from teaching multiplication to slack-jawed pre-pubescents, and into the exiting realm of lobbying local governments.

Adan Ortega
Who knew a liquid could have so many angles…

Quirk Silva’s “employer” is Adan Ortega, of Ortega Associates, who you may remember as the desperate Fullerton MWD director who was replaced by Fred Jung, and who then tried to get appointed as a representative from the city of San Fernando.

I fully expect Quirk-Silva to attempt to follow in the footsteps of Fitzgerald, although he can barely utter a coherent sentence.

Now why does any of this matter, really? Because government ought to be about governing, not about being a bagman between special interests, other lobbyists, developers, and your colleagues on local boards and councils.

As a Fullerton Councilman, Quirk Silva doesn’t have that much juice, but he could be pulled and persuaded very easily. More importantly, his wife, Sharon Quirk Silva, is a state Assemblywoman, and as such actually does command respect for how she might be able to move something along in Sacramento.

And now back to Ortega. FFFF sources have indicated that he was attempting to break into the legalized marijuana biz here in Fullerton as a lobbyist, but got caught up in the interminable incompetence of the last city council, and the reluctance of the new council to go down the happy MJ trail. The same sources suggest that a cartel of cannabis interests from Long Beach is still very interested in reviving the issue in Fullerton.

You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus

The Jesus has been a long-time, big-time cheerleader for legalized dispensaries in Fullerton, so there are several loose strings as yet not quite tied together.

When they are, FFFF will be sure to let you know.