A quick catch up for those of you who might not know. The City of Fullerton is suing this blog, myself and David Curlee. We’re being sued for allegedly clicking on links on the internet and for this blog then allegedly publishing things from those links.
The city’s argument is, essentially, that we didn’t have permission to click links.
In discussing this issue lately I was reminded about a case from here in California from back when Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor. What happened was somebody accidentally put an audio file online on the governor’s website that wasn’t supposed to be there and somebody from the Phil Angelides for Governor campaign found it and sent it to the press.
We all knew that we were going to be bombarded with political mail in support of the City Council’s proposed 17% sales tax hike on this November’s ballot. And we all knew that the City Council hired a PR outfit to blow our money to educate usabout the beauty of the thing – to the tune of $130,000. Of course none of this is legal, but this is Fullerton where everything is legal that the deplorable City Attorney “Dick” Jones says is legal.
Some of the Friends have already received pro-tax propaganda from our masters in City Hall and here is a sample:
As usual, government tries to con us into bailing it out after it has failed so spectacularly the past decade to maintain reserves, balance budgets and pushing back against never-ending salary and pension demands from the public employee unionistas. Care about the homeless? Vote for our tax; Want potholes fixed? Tax! Youth programs? Who doesn’t love ’em – vote for our tax. Seniors? Ditto. Emergency services? They’re really getting hungry. A usual, the propaganda is larded up with misleading information and scare tactics and, gosh, we should be scared.
You will not be asked to reflect upon the reality that this same operation has dismally failed to fix roads in the past; that this bureaucracy has no intention of starting now. A Culture of Corruption in the Fullerton Police Department? Oh, we fixed that years ago – no, don’t look at that body over there, we have no idea how it got there. You’ll have to sue us to find out!
This crew has burned through tens of millions in reserve funds while its spokeholes on the council Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory lied about balancing the budget.
Good luck, passing this obscentiy, boys n’ girls. The public is hurting badly at the moment and your first recourse was to try to harness us oxen with the yoke of a new and regressive tax. Well, guess what? The yokes on you, City Hall, and you’d better have a Plan B stuffed into one of Domer’s desk drawers if you know what’s good for you.
Well, now that the names of those receiving Trump Bucks as part of the Great Federal Covid Giveaway 2020 have been published, we here at FFFF thought we’d see if we could dig up some local recipients of government welfare, you know, just to see if we knew any names on the list.
So our City Attorney has fallen on hard times and lined up for a bailout. I really wonder if this is the sort of “business” anybody envisioned when the light bulb went on. Jones has made a fortune dispensing bad advice to cities across Southern California and here in Fullerton he has made a name for himself by suing honest citizens to hide his own errors. On one issue alone, Jones managed to cock up the law, participate in a conflict of interest, and support the forgery of public documents
Fullerton just “separated from employment” 150+ non-union part-time staff. Why? Because despite years of Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s lies about a “Balanced Budget” and our mythical reserve fund – we had no plan for a rainy day.
During meetings, myself, David and others warned the City Council that a downturn was likely in the future and with CalPERS continually raising our pension costs we needed to be smarter financially.
Fitzy & Flory wanted none of that and spent like floozies in Vegas throwing every dollar we had at every uniform in sight with Silva, Chaffee and so on along for the ride.
Now here are we looking at a month of limited tax revenue and 150+ people lost their jobs with the city. 150+ positions aren’t being eliminated – no no no, they’ll tax us more to fill those again later and cry about not being to staff the libraries and parks to justify the new taxes/fees and whatever added costs to us they can cook up along the way. But 150+ people are now wondering how they’ll pay their bills.
But let me drive this home for you some more – the city is suing myself, David and this blog because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links in an account they sent us and told the world about in PRRs. Remember, according to Kimberly Hall Barlow this isn’t about publishing or the 1st Amendment – this is about alleged theft and “hacking” because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links.
In the process of investigating that alleged crime, the city found out that their network (which has fuckall to do with Dropbox) was incompetently setup and they hired an outside firm to fix it. This was the reason they claimed they waited to sue us for months on end – that they had to secure their network – which again has fuckall to do with Dropbox.
The firm they hired, Glass Box Technology, has a contract with the city for $60k/month not to exceed $500k.
So far, according to the City Council approved Check Register, they’ve paid Glass Box $541,451.25 to date which is $41,451.25 over their “not to exceed” limit.
That’s over half of a million dollars SO FAR because the City found out that they suck at running their own network as a BYPRODUCT of suing us which has nothing to do with what they allege we did. This was an unnecessary expense that has to come out of next year’s General Fund because it’s yet another major cockup for which nobody will be held accountable.
How many of those 150+ people wouldn’t need to be unemployed right now were it not for sheer incompetence in City Hall? Seems that $500k+ would have covered quite a few part timers.
Then we have the expense of our idiotic City Attorneys, Jones & Mayer. Since this nonsense started back in June with their Cease & Desist letters, the city has paid Jones & Mayer $891,074.49. We have no way to know how to split that up or what to attribute to the lawsuit against us because City Hall has a long history of lying about funding and hiding expenses in the wrong accounts. Just because something is coded to the Library, might not mean it has anything to do with the Library.
But if we assume that just 5% of their work product can be attributed to the lawsuit against us, and considering the reams of paper they keep filing with the courts we know their billable hours are stacking mile high, we can attribute approximately $44,553 to this stupid lawsuit. Seems to me that’s a few more part timers who could still be employed were it not for the malicious lawsuit being pursued by Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra.
We don’t know how much the city has paid their other experts or consultants in their pursuit of the evil “hackers” who allegedly clicked Dropbox links – some with my name on them – but so far we know it’s pushing $500k+.
Remember this come election time & demand answers from these idiots on council who would rather spend your money, and it is your money, attacking us over their own stupidity than spend it providing the very services they’re elected to oversee in our city.
Shame on Fullerton. Shame on Mayor Fitzgerald. Shame on the City Council for always squandering your money pursuing their egos instead of your best interests. Sure, they’ll blame the need to “separate from employment” those 150+ people on this “global pandemic” – but that’s only because they constantly spend all of your money elsewhere while lying to you about our “balanced budget”.
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.
Most of you, dear Friends, probably only know Fullerton City Attorney Dick Jones as the marblemouthed, incompetent, prevaricating boob whose own failure to protect City secrets has led to a city-attempted crack down on the First Amendment. You may recall he was also the stooge who sanctioned the illegal water tax in Fullerton for years.
But Mr. Jones’s manifest talents for acrobatics along the tightrope of ethics are well-known across the county.
The cities of Brea and La Habra buy much of their water from a “private,” non-profit middleman called California Domestic Water Company, an operation that wholsesales water to its municipal customers. The cities get to appoint their own board members to this corporation which has been fighting efforts to make these same members report their financial interests. And guess who is the Chairman of this Board? You guessed it – the ubiquitous Richard Jones, Esq. who also happens to be the City Attorney for La Habra.
So far so semi-benign, right? Except that California Domestic Water has a wholly-owned subsidiary called Cadway. And not surprisingly, the Cadway board is comprised of the exact same members as Cal Domestic. Oh, and, yeah, it just so happens that Cadway is a for-profit venture that also deals in water sales and trades in conjunction with Cal Domestic, and that paid out over $100,000 in five years to former Brea City Manager, and Cadway boardmember, Tim O’Donnell. It seems that Cadway rewards its operatives with bonuses for increased volume of water sold to its customers – the people of La Habra and Brea – an obvious conflict of interest that landed O’Donnell in hot water with the Fair Political Practices Commission for non-disclosure, and a paltry $500 fine.
Hopefully, The Voice will keep digging into this matter, including digging into what sort of benefits have accrued to our own City Attorney, Dick Jones.
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.
Things just keep on moving in the legal battles between us and Fullerton.
Yesterday the Hon. Judge Lee ruled that our two cases, Joshua Ferguson v. Fullerton and Fullerton v. FFFF, Joshua Ferguson, et al are related in response to our request for such a ruling.
As such we will no longer be gracing Judge Lee’s courtroom in Department C31 on 27 February 2019.
Currently we have a Status Conference regarding the City suing us on 12 Dec & a Case Management Conference on my Writ of Mandate case on 16 Dec in front of the Hon. Judge James Crandall in Department C33.
For context we argued, and the city opposed, the point that these two cases are related owing to them involving the same parties and general facts:
“[T]he two actions are based on similar claims, arise from the same transactions and events, and require the determination of substantially identical questions of law and fact. The CPRA lawsuit alleges that the City has improperly withheld records it claims are confidential or exempt from disclosure. The City’s lawsuit claims that in the process of responding to Defendants’ CPRA requests, it placed confidential or exempt information on its website, www.cityoffullerton.com/outbox. In both cases, the City has the burden to show that the documents are confidential.”
We’re of the opinion that the city’s case against myself and this blog is retaliatory owing to the fact that the city waited months to file their case and only did so AFTER I filed my Public Records lawsuit.
The city claims they waited to “secure their network” which is utter nonsense considering their own experts, in their own declaration, stated that the city needed approximately 30 days for the company Glass Box to fix their network (not Dropbox) vulnerability. Yet the city sent their original Cease & Desist email on 14 June, their letter to our attorney Kelly Aviles on 17 July and then they waited an additional 99 days to file their lawsuit against us on 24 Oct.
That’s a lot more than the 30 days recommended by Glass Box and sure is convenient timing. It’s even more convenient that the City had to vote “again” on 19 November “in an effort to clarify any Brown Act violations” when they refused to report out about their alleged vote back in September that Whitaker denies even took place.
I will be very surprised it the city does not attempt to appeal this decision to link the cases.
It seems Fullerton has a new problem. According to Councilmember Bruce Whitaker, the City Attorney lied when he publicly proclaimed last Tuesday that the City Council voted 5-0 in September to initiate legal action against Joshua Ferguson, David Curlee, FFFF, and a bunch of Does to be named later.
Here’s how it is described by the Voice of OC’s Spencer Custudio:
Meanwhile, there are questions in Fullerton about how the City Council first authorized the lawsuit against Ferguson.
At the Nov. 5 meeting, City Attorney Dick Jones said the councilmembers voted unanimously to file the lawsuit against Ferguson and the blog.
“In an effort to clarify any Brown Act violations, the fact that City Council on Sept. 17, 2019, met on a motion made by Mayor (Jesus) Silva and seconded Mr. (Ahmad) Zahra, on a 5-0 vote, the City Council approved the filing of a writ to seek a temporary restraining order against the main defendants,” Jones said.
But, that unanimous vote is wrong, according to Councilman Bruce Whitaker
“When they say I voted to approve this lawsuit, I say that’s not true,” Whitaker said.
In fact, Whitaker was the only dissenting vote when the Council majority doubled-down on the lawsuit during the Nov. 5 closed session portion of the meeting.
Somebody is lying, and if I had to guess it is our City Attorney Richard “Dick” Jones. At this point I’m now wondering if a vote took place at all back on September 17th. It would be just like Jones to try to create a September “vote” to cover his wide expanding ass, when no real vote even happened.
Still, for somebody who claims he was maligned in public by his own lawyer, Bruce Whitaker was pretty damn passive when Jones made his comment about a unanimous vote. So who’s telling the truth? Who knows? But I bet it isn’t Dick Jones, who is neck-deep in the lawsuit his own incompetence caused, and by which he is actually profiting.