For those of you playing along at home we know that two of Fullerton’s Finest (Chief Hendricks & Captain Oliveras) have been put on a paid stay-cation (costing us approximately $1,955/day) for their conduct at a Lady Antebellum concert in Irvine. With City Manager Ken Domer putting Captain Bob Dunn in charge of FPD we are now being run by… Dunn & Domer.
It’s too bad this isn’t a comedy. Instead we’re finding ourselves in more typical Fullerton drama that a little transparency might have avoided. Alas instead of openness and honesty City Manager Ken Domer couldn’t be bothered to let anybody outside of the police department know what was happening in our town at the time, the next day or even the day after that.
In fact per a statement to the OC Register by Jennifer Fitzgerald it took Domer at least 3 days to inform his employers (City Council) of any details (if they have gotten any) and it has taken him 4 days to bother to release information to our fair city by way of a press release. It’s almost like he doesn’t know who he works for anymore.
Fullerton Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald said she knows little about the incident, but “what I know of Chief Hendricks and Captain Oliveras is that they are fantastic guys and fantastic public servants and I look forward to the investigation being complete.”
Let us peruse this fascinating bit of PR garbage:
That’s quite a few words to say almost nothing of substance. What happened? How long is the leave? Was it criminal? Who’s investigating the case?
The City will not provide further information at this time, out of respect for the integrity of the ongoing investigations.
In other words “F U. You don’t have a right to know anything at all because integrity of an ongoing case”.
We already know from an email from the City of Irvine there is plenty to see here and we deserve details. I’m tired of this mentality that it’s okay to publicly and loudly (Instgram?!) shame societal nobodies when they screw up but when our overlords do the same all of the sudden we need to worry about “integrity” and bury the details behind a wall of BS.
The first bit of BS that we need to knock down here is that this isn’t just some boilerplate investigation that “related entirely to allegations of off-duty conduct”.
This is an allegation of battery against an EMT. By possibly armed off-duty officers. The alleged battery alone falls under CA Penal Code 243(c)(1) unless the injury was serious and then it elevates.
(c) (1) When a battery is committed against a[n][…] emergency medical technician […] engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, […] and an injury is inflicted on that victim, the battery is punishable by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years.
Next we have to ask who will oversee this investigation? Why were no arrests made for this alleged battery?
How is the District Attorney involved? Which internal investigator are we planning to hire? Is Irvine being allowed to investigate this case?
These are all pertinent questions especially considering the incestuous relationships we have with other departments. Remember that Irvine’s Chief of Police, Mike Hamel, is married to Katherine Hamel who herself is a Lieutenant under Captain Oliveras and Chief Hendricks.
Is Irvine’s Chief Hamel really going to investigate his wife’s boss? Is this why no arrests were made?
Regarding the “ongoing investigation” angle – that’s the same claptrap the city is still throwing at us over the Joe Felz accident and cover-up that happened 657 days ago. #SorryNotSorry that we can’t trust you and your comrades in obfuscation in the City Attorney’s office to come clean Mr. Domer.
If Fullerton’s City Manager Ken Domer really cared about transparency and “integrity” he wouldn’t hide behind subterfuge and lies of omission. He would tell we the citizenry about what is happening, how it is happening and how we can be assured that another Danny Hughes Felzian cover-up isn’t taking place in our city.
Domer would do well to read his own interview with the OC Register when he said;
You cannot operate local government without partnerships, without collaboration, without openness, transparency.
I’ll be on with John & Ken during the 3pm hour (1500) discussing this issue. You can listen live on KFI’s website or on your radio at AM640.
Numerous officers within the Fullerton Police Department are receiving Grand Jury Subpoenas like the one pictured below.
Probably not a coincidence that the lucky recipients are, reportedly, the same officers on scene when former City Manager Joe Felz ran over the tree in November 2016.
You know what, I’d really hate to be former police chief Dan Hughes, or former Sergeant Jeff Corbett, right now!
Back in 2016, FFFF filed a personnel complaint with the Fullerton Police Department against the officers involved in the attempted cover-up Joe Felz DUI accident. The complaint offered a tiny bit of hope that a quasi-legitimate internal investigation might be carried out. It also entitled us to a legally-mandated notification as to whether the complaint was “sustained” or “not sustained.” Sadly, this process represents the absolute limit of public visibility into the California system of police self-governance that has drawn the ire of FFFF for a decade.
Well over a year later, this letter shows that some of the accusations leveled at Sergeant Jeff Corbett and Lieutenant Goodrich, under the leadership of the since-departed Chief Danny Hughes, were indeed sustained.
While state law prevents the public from knowing what disciplinary actions were taken as a result of the investigation, sources inside the Fullerton Police Department indicate that Sergeant Jeff Corbett was terminated in February. Lieutenant Goodrich, who once considered himself a promising candidate for promotion to Captain, was pushed into an earlier-than-planned retirement beginning this Tuesday.
Remember the OCDA investigator who faced the wrath of Rackauckas and his minions for suggesting former Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes be charged with criminal obstruction?
Abraham Santos and co-plaintiff Tom Conklin have recently filed a lawsuit in Federal court. Be sure to read pages 23-24 where it talks about our esteemed former City Manager Joe Felz and his wild DUI ride home. “JC” refers to FPD Sergeant Jeff Corbett.
The Joe Felz Guilty Plea contains an explicit admission of driving under the influence of alcohol. This is an actual literal signed confession in his own handwriting. This can’t be good for the cops who conspired to drive Felz home instead of hold him to account for his actions. That would be (former?) Sergeant Jeff Corbett and former Chief Dan Hughes.
For those of you having a hard time reading that on your phone I’ll transcribe it:
“ON OR ABOUT 11-9-16 WHILE IN ORANGE COUNTY, I WILLFULLY AND UNLAWFULLY DROVE A VEHICLE UPON A HIGHWAY WITH WILLFUL AND WANTON DISREGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL”.
While. Under. The. Influence. Of. Alcohol.
I need some help here because I cannot for the life of me manage to square that with the following as written by then Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes:
“The sergeant conducted the assessment and made the determination that the city manager had consumed alcohol, but did not meet the criteria of 23152(a) CVC. The city manager was driven home and his vehicle was towed.”
Why would Dan Hughes tell our city council that Mr. Felz did not meet the criteria of “23152(A) CVC” only for Felz, 405 days later, to rebuff him and admit to having done just that? It’s almost as if Hughes was lying to the city council and simply hoped this would go away on his way out of the door to Disney.
Let us be clear here for a minute and lay out the details as we know them:
- No arrest was made at the scene of the crime. The police had Felz’s car towed and gave him a ride home.
- No Citation was issued at the scene of the crime. Felz paid the bill for Sappy McTree, proof that he ran over public property, later.
- No Breathalyzer was administered to the not-accused.
- It was months later when the District Attorney finally filed charges.
Now ask yourself – In what world does Joe Felz admit, in his own writing on that plea deal, that he was driving under the influence if there wasn’t proof? That must be some damning video that the city refuses to release. Make no mistake here either – the city won’t release the video of the Felz incident unless forced to do so by the courts because doing the right thing is a foreign concept to our local government.
You add to that the allegations from former District Attorney investigator Abraham Santos that the DA wasn’t going to look into the possible criminal actions of Dan Hughes and his cabal of miscreants AND the current allegation that the Sergeant on the scene who administered the “Field Sobriety Test”, Jeff Corbett, was recently put on Administrative Leave over this very case and you have the makings of a conspiracy to subvert justice and engage in a cover-up.
I’ve put in records requests for the video from Felz’s “incident” and it has been denied by the city twice. Once under the old guard and once under the current crew. The legal reason for denying the release is 6254(f) for those who might want to know the minutia.
Essentially the city refuses to release the Felz incident bodycam/dashcam videos because they don’t have to? I don’t know because our City Attorney seems to pride himself on being a pompous ass.
From my conversations on and around this issue it basically boils down to this:
Joe Felz was friends with people and those friends don’t want him embarrassed by his own actions. We simple plebs who don’t live our lives feeding off of the government teat should just shut up and trust that our government is doing the right thing and that they have things under control. No evidence of this will be given because apparently in a Representative Democracy it is too much to ask for our government to prove their worth and not simply demand obedience of the ratepayers.
We will get no civilian oversight. We will get no details on the case. We will get no answers. We will get what they give us which amounts to lies and resentment coiffed in legalese. Well, that and Jennifer Fitzgerald’s sad, sad tears of sadness.
The trouble here is that the deference that is being afforded to Joe Felz to save him from embarrassment isn’t afforded to the little people who fall under the boot of our same government. Keep an eye on the F.P.D. Facebook Page if you want evidence of the double standard in place when it comes to haves/havenots. Here’s a pretty standard example of the dignity afforded to criminals not the City Manger:
Joe Felz was City Manager which means the then Chief of Police worked with him and both were only answerable to the City Council. The same City Council who has all but turned a teary eye away from this whole issue. Even the illusion of City Council accountability has now changed with our new Chief’s new contract which actually delegates authority over the Chief of Police to the City Manager.
Let that sink in for a moment.
We have proof, in Joe Felz’s own writing, that he drove under the influence. We know from his payment for damages that he hit a tree. It is believed by many based upon photos from the scene that he attempted to flee the scene of the crime. We also know that despite all of this Dan Hughes decided to give him a pass on his criminal behavior despite not giving that pass to countless regular schmucks who mess up less in life. AFTER all of that our Council has not demanded public disclosure. They have not demanded any sort of oversight. And when the Contract for the new Chief of Police came up they opted to delegate their authority away to the position, the City Manger, who benefited from this very case of official corruption. This isn’t just not learning, this is doubling down on stupid.
It’s bad enough that we didn’t get anything positive out of such a terrible situation but we never even got a fight. Seemingly convinced of his own inability to sell an idea to the public or his fellow council members, even a basic idea like good government, then Mayor Whitaker couldn’t even be bothered to agendize anything even remotely relating to oversight or accountability in any facet of our city. To be fair the entire council is complicit in this problem, especially Jennifer Fitzgerald who was Mayor when the incident occurred, but they aren’t all running on their record of transparency for higher office so it needs to be pointed out.
This whole situation would be comedic if it wasn’t so pathetic and sad and infuriating.
Back in May, FFFF documented the lamentable construction disaster of the Pinewood Stairs, a $1.6 million boondoggle created by City staff, whose construction defects were so bad and so plentiful that a reasonable person might even inquire about how we could get our money back. In fact, City Councilman Sebourn mumbled something about getting our money back, then said he was just kidding. Bruce Whitaker said nothing at all. On Facebook City Hall bureaucracy advocate Gretchen Cox cooked up a story about some alleged City “report” that exonerated all concerned.
Nine months have passed and I thought it might be interesting to revisit the site of the fiasco and share a visual tour to take another look.
Here’s a typical example of a project with nobody in charge and nobody who knows what they’re doing.
The caisson footings with the wood posts are almost all cracked; some of the posts aren’t even vertical. Some of the caissons are out of plumb, too.
Aspects of the construction reveal building that was cobbled together to make the contraption fit together.
Now, as then, the wooden rails are extremely rough and splintiferous.
The lack of quality workmanship, structural and cosmetic remains in evidence. And those fraying cable ends? Why, they’ve been taped! Of course the tape is falling off.
Simple things – like removing the cardboard tube form from the caissons seem to have eluded the City’s crack inspection team. Crack. Get it?
Basic design oversight problems were jerryrigged and never addressed properly at all.
Weird features that are nothing but potential for risk management headaches and taxpayer payouts are still much in evidence – like this trip hazard. Shrug, indeed.
Loose cables. Down the hill goes the toddler.
As usual, maintenance of public property remains a challenge for the City. Loose ends are not their specialty.
How hard is it to keep a tree alive? Don’t bother asking. You won’t get an answer.
The effects of the inevitable pedestrian shortcuts betray both design and maintenance failure. It looked better on paper.
We have been assured by people who don’t know what they are talking about that everything was just grand about this grand failure; but, the evidence did and still does point to the exact opposite: a project that suffered from fundamental design shortcomings, incompetent and careless construction, a construction manager whose only function seems to have been to cash our check, and inspectors who were (and probably still are) a disgrace to their profession.
As you can see driving up Harbor, the City is now building its splendid new entry to the park – including a bridge – costing millions and accomplishing nothing but wasting park construction resources. Apart from the obvious uselessness of the project I have to wonder if it will suffer from the same dereliction that informs the so-called “Pinewood Stairs.” Nothing leads me to hope for the contrary.
The wheels of justice in the Joe Felz case have finally ground to a halt with Mr. Felz finally taking the plea deal we all knew was coming.
After 405 days of waiting Joe Felz has finally admitted guilt to reckless driving. Of course he has been given a pass on his alleged drunk driving and his proven destruction of property by our oh-so-competent District Attorney’s office.
I wonder how many nobodies get the same treatment? I’d reckon not too many if the constant MADD awards presented to FPD at City Hall are any indication.
Mr. Felz will have to pay restitution, $390 in fines, serve 40 hours of community service, attend “victim impact counseling”, serve 3 months in the “first offender alcohol program” and spend 3 years on “informal” probation with no mandatory supervision if reading this correctly.
This is a curious case where the county and courts have agreed that Felz has a big enough of an alcohol problem to warrant going into a 3-month program. His problem, which resulted in him crashing his car and ensuing property damage somehow was not bad enough to justify taking his license away as happens with so many poor saps caught up in Fullerton’s outdoor saloon who hit nothing. Curious the way power protects power.
With the “ongoing investigation” over maybe now we can get to the truth of what really transpired the fateful night of 08/09 November 2016.
Recently FFFF has been chronicling the goings on at the Fullerton Airport, specifically a lawsuit by a former tenant, AirCombat USA, and the non-aviation commercial use by another tenant, Hangar 21, who is desirous of expanding its party venue. The two issues are only conjoined only because Hangar 21 was recommended by staff to move into the space that CombatUSA was kicked out of.
On Tuesday, December 5th, the City Council reviewed and approved the selection of Hangar 21 to occupy the space and signaled its intention to change the Zoning Code to legalize what is obviously not permitted under current zoning regulations.
The issue of Federal Aviation Administration approval of hospitality use was raised by Councilman Greg Sebourn. Fullerton Airport Manager Brendan O’Reilly, in a convoluted statement, finally got around to claiming that he had received a “waiver” from the FAA for using the airport for parties. He didn’t produce this document. Maybe we can help.
We know that back in 2014, O’Reilly communicated with the local branch of the FAA seeking advice on establishment of a non-aeronautical use in a hangar at our airport. Who this proposed lessee was we don’t know because we don’t have the attachments described in the written response from an LA FAA dude, David Cushing. It may have been the establishment of a party venue known as Hangar 21 Venue.
Here’s what the FAA had to say:
Well, I don’t know about you, but I can read English pretty darn well. Once you strip away the cross-bureaucracy congratulations and the double-talk, the message is crystal clear: raise money to support the airport, but continue to keep non-aeronautical uses out of aeronautical areas. I don’t know which part of an airport is non-aeronautical, but an airplane hangar ain’t it.
Is O’Reilly’s FAA waiver in reality the Cushing letter of October 2014? I can’t be sure, but that’s what the City provided when asked for documentation of FAA approval. If it is we may be heading for turbulence up ahead.
In my previous post regarding recent doings at the Fullerton Airport I described a big lawsuit by a disgruntled former tenant, Air CombatUSA, and also remarked upon the propriety of the use of airport property as a party venue called “Hangar 21.” The implication was there might be some sort of Federal Aviation Administration issue. One Friend, “Order 5190.6B, Chapter 9” provided the name and place where such issues as equality access to aviation facilities are spelled out by the FAA.
But then another of our Friends, “Little City Planner School Graduate” questioned whether such use was even legal per the Fullerton Municipal Code. I didn’t have a clue. So I looked it up.
Per Fullerton’s Zoning Map, the airport is designated “P-L,” i.e., public land. Municipal Code Section 15.25 describes permitted and CUP uses for the P-L designation. Here they are:
You will notice that there is no provision for a private party venue, no matter how tenuously tied to a legitimate “public transportation” use such as helicopter rides.