In Fullerton City Hall, nothing is forgotten quite so quickly as the past, particularly if that past includes malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence or prevarication.
That’s why FFFF has made it our mission to remind folks about such egregious rip-offs as the Saga of the Florentine Sidewalk, in which a sleazy restaurant put a room addition on a public sidewalk and got away with it.
Here’s the now relevant part: The disgraced Florentine & Co. quit Fullerton last year, and the building’s owner, Mario Marovic is in the process of remodeling the exterior and interior of the building even though he doesn’t yet have the proposed CUP – so he must be pretty confident he’s going to get it. The matter comes to the Planning Commission tonight.
The staff report, as usual, is full of irrelevant crap, and completely ignores the the theft of the sidewalk, a land grab that was eventually made legal by a revised lease – with Florentine. The report also shares Marovic’s plan for the corner space at Harbor and Commonwealth, keeping the permanent structure built by Florentine!
Now that’s not very good, is it.
I doubt if anybody on the Planning Commission remembers the sordid history of this building, and you can be sure that no one on staff remembers or cares to remind them. But now is the time to get this sidewalk back!
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a night of election celebrating, former Fullerton City Manager, Joe Felz, drove home drunk as the proverbial skunk, ran off the road and over a tree, then tried to drive off before being apprehended by his own cops.
The ensuing cover up cost a cop his job, gave the FPD yet another black eye, and eventually entangled the City in a losing a retaliatory lawsuit against FFFF and bloggers Joshua Ferguson, David Curlee.
Partial videos have finally been released, although the dash cam videos have not. Of course this is not a surprising omission given that the cop in charge at the scene -Sergeant Corbett – did his level best to obscure images the still-inebriated Felz; the dash cams would undoubtedly show the the not-too flattering images of Felz hit-and-run and his comical attempt to escape the long arm of the law.
It’s true that the gears of justice grind slowly and no where is that more true than in the case of the Florentine forgery. You remember that, right? Joe Florentine, proprietor of the family amalgamation of restaurants on the corner of Harbor and Commonwealth deliberately altered an official planning document so that he could pursue the Conditional Use Permit that he had never bothered to get. That was in January 2020.
The document was changed to make it look like Florentine was the owner of the property simply because he had a business there. His specious legal theory was backed up by City Attorney Dick Jones, who had his own conflict of interest in the matter and never should have been involved in the first place.
To their credit, the Planning Commission refused to deal with the matter and the application was dropped. But the forgery was not forgotten, as desired.
The real owner of the building, Mario Marovic became involved in a lawsuit with the City over this complicity by both the City Attorney and the City staff – most notably City Manager Ken Domer and Planning Director Matt Foulkes. When that case was settled to Mr. Marovic’s satisfaction ($25,000 courtesy of you and me) he proceeded to file a criminal complaint with the Fullerton Police Department.
That was over eight months ago.
Finally, we hear from folks at City Hall that the case is finally making its way to the District Attorney. Why it has taken the sleuths at the FPD almost nine months to refer this case to the DA can only be explained by a reluctance of the cops to make their compadre public employees look bad. The evidence was right there, on video. The perp admitted what he had done. A blind man could have processed this thing expeditiously. Well, fair is fair, I guess, and Fullerton’s City Managers have never once said or done anything to correct the rampant corruption in the police department.
Well, the hapless boob Domer is gone, kicked out after several years of gross incompetence and mismanagement; Foulkes fled to Buena Park – a step down – but presumably a step ahead of the axe. Both should be damn glad this issue hasn’t come up sooner because both were complicit in the forgery – and that in itself is a felony.
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.
While scanning the City of Fullerton public records requests the other day, I came across this interesting tidbit, requester, not yet known:
And the fact that this particular request is related to our bad boy’s bad day is reflected in the City’s perfunctory response:
2671 Foxborough Place. Why is this address of significance to the events of that day? Is this house the home of any of the principals in the Zahra battery and vandalism case? I don’t know for sure, but somebody thinks it’s relevant, and of course it’s all a big secret as far as our city government is concerned.
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.
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.
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.
Who is Eddie Manfro? I asked myself the other day. Name sounds familiar.
See, I had seen the name pop up on a Fullerton City Council agenda as somebody who was involved as a participant, along with our former City Manager, Ken Domer, in carrying on labor negotiations with the City’s labor unions.
Hmm. Where had I heard that name before? Then it hit me. He’s the former City Manager of Westminster, who quit last year to become some sort of “human resources” expert whose supposed abilities were now for sale. Apparently Ken Domer was in the market for Manfro’s “expertise.” If the thought of a couple of bungling bureaucrats negotiating on your behalf makes you a little uneasey, well…but, I digress.
Here’s why I remember Eddie Manfro: he’s the City Manager who willingly participated in the Dick Jones scam in Westminster, where our ethically plugged-up City Attorney pretended to be a city employee to qualify for the CalPERS pension system and even went so far as to submit fraudulent time cards to line up with the sham. I believe these are all crimes.
And Eddie Manfro went along with the scam; and now, surprise, he is getting work from another agency in Dick Joneses stable of fine municipalities.
How did Eddie acquire this gig, that’s what I would like to know. And when for God’s freaking sake is Fullerton’s City Council finally going get rid of the incompetent, corrupt, and utterly self-serving, the Dickensianly awful, the I Can’t Believe It’s a Law Firm® of Jones and Mayer?
If you thought having a City Attorney’s office suing bloggers to cover up their incompetence was bad and unethical, you’ll love this:
Fullerton’s joke of a law firm Jones & Mayer has left their front steps in a state of decrepit disrepair for at least 6 months. Their office is located at 3777 N. Harbor Blvd, alongside a busy sidewalk. Imagine taking your young child for a walk, losing sight for a quick second, and then watching them crack their head open on that rusty steel mess, protected only by a 2×4?
Or how about working here under the assumption that that temporary railing is well-secured? Look closely, it isn’t.
Let’s see what constitutes a “public nuisance” within the City of Fullerton:
Who would have thought the City Attorney is the poster child of how best to violate 6.01.030 (A) and (B) many times over?
I hope the irony of this is not lost on you. This is a law firm who makes their living advising cities on “public nuisance” cases all over California, presiding over administrative hearings, and in some cases prosecuting land owners who refuse to make repairs for the very same type of neglect and disrepair pictured above.
Time and time again, the arrogance of City Attorney Dick Jones is just stunning. He interprets or disregards the law in whichever way is most convenient for his interests. In case you’ve forgotten, now would be a good time to review Dick Jones’ attempt to steal a pension from CalPERS by faking himself as a City of Westminster employee. He knew better then, and he knows better now but just doesn’t care, and that’s the problem.