Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 3

Okay. What have we learned so far about Fullerton’s long and corrupt attempt to avoid addressing the problem of amplified outdoor music?

I’m not going to do my job and you can’t make me…

First we have learned that Fullerton’s “experts” in the Planning and Code Enforcement divisions have been serially uninterested in enforcing their own laws in an effort to appease and placate scofflaw bars in the financial sinkhole known as downtown Fullerton.

Second we have learned that you can’t make government bureaucrats do their jobs if they don’t want to do them.

Stop the noise, consarn it!

Way back in 2009 City Hall knew it had a problem on its hands as the metastasizing and illegal clubs began sharing their good times with everybody else. A “consultant” called Bon Terra was engaged to to a noise study and the City Council, at the time, voted to maintain the existing code that prohibited outdoor music.

But saying something and doing something about it reflects a mammoth void in Fullerton, and the bureaucrats in City Hall don’t give up on an issue until one way or another, they get what they want.

Yes, that is the answer!

And in 2012 they got a friend, Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was more than happy to run interference for people who had no qualms about violating the noise and land-use law.

You can take the douche out of the bag…

And so, over the next seven years, the Noise Nuisance continued, most notably at The Slidebar, a club that was illegally operating without a CUP. And even as the nuisance continued, the City embarked on a campaign to eliminate any restrictions at all. Complaints were invariably batted away by Planning Directors Karen Haluza, Ted White, and Matt Foulkes who, along with our egregious City Attorney, Dick Jones kept citing studies and new plans, and whatever else they could use as a pretext for doing nothing.

Matt Foulkes. The downward spiral is complete.

Finally by 2019, it became apparent that the goal was to permit an acoustic free-for-all in downtown Fullerton.

 

Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 2

Al Zelinka. Failing to the top.

In the past 10 years or so, Fullerton has had four different planning directors: Al Zelinka, Karen Haluza, Ted White, and most recently an individual named Matt Foulkes. Pop quiz: what else do these folks have in common?

Haluza. The closer you looked, the worse it got.

Time’s up. Answer: none of them enforced the city’s noise ordinances, and each seemed to be dedicated to ignoring zoning and land use regulations in downtown Fullerton. We’ll get to the “why” of it in a later post. For now I want to point out the trajectory of this mess. As scofflaws like Jeremy Popoff’s odious Slidebar and the Florentine Mob’s various enterprises refused to comply with our laws, the Planning Directors noted above began an ongoing project to lower and lower the legal bar until even the lowest nematode could wriggle over it.

Ted White didn’t leave his fingerprints…he thinks…

Now if we contemplate this downward spiral of our “experts” in the Planning Department and Code Enforcement we notice that it hit a virtual rock bottom in January 2019 when Matt Foulkes pretended that he didn’t know what a property owner was and approved the submission of an official document forged by Joe Florentine pretending that he, Florentine, was an “owner.”

Matt Foulkes. The downward spiral is complete.

Of course all of this malfeasance was amply documented here on the FFFF blog. And guess what? Nobody in City Hall cared; or to be more precise, nobody cares, still. See, in Fullerton incompetency and blatant corruption are so common on the part of our City Attorney, Dick Jones and the cadre of drunk, venal and just plain dumb City Managers and staff that our threshold for outrage is as low is almost worn away.

But not quite. Stay tuned for noise. And by noise I mean the noise generated by city staff to ignore, dilute, obfuscate and dodge the Noise Ordinances.

Florentine Forgery/Fraud Case To Go to DA?

The family goes way back…

By now the Friends are well-aware of the attempt by Joe Florentine, the scofflaw proprietor of a restaurant and bar in downtown Fullerton, to fraudulently alter and submit official documents in pursuit of a Conditional Use Permit.

He even admitted it.

Reliable sources have indicated that a criminal investigation has been opened by the Fullerton Police Department based on a complaint filed by the property owner, Mario Marovic, and passed along to the District Attorney’s office.

Now the felonious miscreance of a Fullerton Florentine family member is about as newsworthy as a mailman bitten by a dog – no surprise there. Rather, the key facts of interest in this case are that Mr. Florentine had lots of help inside City Hall, including the Planning Director, the City Manager, and of course our top-notch City Attorney, Dick Jones, who finally had to recuse himself from dispensing laughable advice due to a conflict of interest.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Blythe…

Apparently, City Manager Ken Domer knew exactly what was happening and was determined to proceed with the fraud anyway.

It’s hard not to believe that some fall out from this conspiracy will land in the proximity of new Councilmembers Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap, who will certainly be averse to the radioactivity. The City Manager is already on the thinnest of ice after blowing $130,000 on a marginally legal PR campaign to promote Measure S, and then unsuccessfully trying to spend another 90 grand just before Christmas to hire an expert to try to fix the budget shortfall.  City Managers are protected by contract but there is no contractual protection for a person who has violated the law. Will we soon be hiring a management search firm?

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

As always, Jones and Meyer are likewise compromised by their corrupt and incompetent and self-serving practices. But Dick Jones, like Talleyrand, always seems to be able to keep his head on his shoulders despite all the revolutions.

Leaving Fullerton even worse off than she found it…

 

And what was the role of Mayor-for-hire Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was the evident and malignant influence around so much of the Fullerton’s recent mismanagement and the cover-ups that inevitably followed? It’s difficult to believe that she wasn’t pushing this through for the benefit of her pals, the Florentines.

Finally, if in fact, City leaders are found culpable in this conspiracy to commit fraud, what is the legal exposure to the taxpayers of Fullerton for both the legal costs incurred by the property owner in the case, and for other damages he may have suffered?

As FFFF learns more about the status of the case we will certainly share it. City Hall probably won’t.

 

The Sacrifice

Whenever government gets itself into a bind, the first impulse of our bureaucratic overlords and their elected representatives is to resort to the taxpayers for relief. In Fullerton the case is not much different except that here, allegedly, managers and department heads have agreed to 5% and 10% cuts, respectively during our time of troubles. Likewise, according the the union boss, rank-and-file paper pushers have been told to accept the same 5% deal. Whether this gesture of sacrifice is meant to be reimbursed if the proposed 17% sales tax increase is approved by voters remains to be seen.

But that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is to ask whether anybody has requested the same sacrifice from our Heroes – the guys and gals who provide “public safety” services to us peons. Word out of City Hall is that no offers have been made voluntarily and none have been demanded. Could it be that’s because the Hero unions are much richer and much more political than the organization representing other city workers?

We are always being bombarded by Hero propaganda that promotes the selfless service and sacrifices by people who ride around in cop cars and fire trucks. Well, I’ll believe that when these worthy public servants step up to the proverbial plate and take the same haircut as everybody else.

Is Fitzgerald Out?

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

Rumor is circulating that our Mayor-for-Hire, lobbyist Jennifer Fitzgerald isn’t going to be running for election to represent District 1 in Fullerton this fall. Good news, indeed, if true, for those who care about honest, competent government.

But is it true? No pronouncements have been forthcoming from the woman herself which suggests that the rumor isn’t true, or that the influence peddler is going to try to slide in a candidate of her own choosing – one who may just be amenable to continuing the Culture of Corruption in the FPD and the Culture of Incompetence in City Hall.

Pringle and Fitzgerald

What her departure might mean for her future value for the swamp known as Pringle and Associates remains to be seen.

Well, I guess we’ll know in about six weeks. And if Her Highness is just playing games and is going to run after all, we’ll be reminding voters of her:

  1. Promise to take no pay or benefits, and then doing just that.
  2. Lying about a “balanced budget” for years while depleting reserve funds to pay for ever-greater pension obligations.
  3. Covering up the drunk driving of her best buddy, City Manager Joe Felz, a spectacle that has embarrassed the City, ever since.
  4. Ignoring the roads of Fullerton until they have become the worst in Orange County , as determined by the OCTA.
  5. Presiding over the shoddy or incompetent  construction of vanity projects that put money in the pockets of her campaign contributor.
  6. Working as a lobbyist while representing the City of Fullerton.

Axis of Casual Corruption.

So bring it on Jen.’ We’ve been paying attention and we’re gonna make sure your neighbors know all about your record. Stooge endorsement from recalled former council buffoons, corrupt liberals and government camp followers and a new tsunami of prevarication ain’t gonna cut it in 2020.

 

Courtroom Showdown!

Hero. Deserves.

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.

Our New Mayor

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

Our esteemed City Council appointed lobbyist-councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald to be the new mayor a couple weeks ago. Supposedly it’s her turn again. How and why Jan Flory was appointed Mayor Pro Tem is anybody’s guess, especially since Bruce Whitaker and Ahmad Zahra have been on the council longer without appointment – supposedly the criterion for getting the job.

Zahra and Jesus Silva Quirk are no doubt angling to grab the mayor titlee when they run for re-election in 2022. They aren’t too bright, but they’re smart enough to count in four-year increments.

But the nasty machinations of our talent-free council are not the point of this post, merely a rolling introduction. What I really want to share is the completely self-serving and fraudulent mayoral bio Ms. Fitzgerald has placed on the City’s website, the first two paragraphs of which I reproduce here:

Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald was elected to the Fullerton City Council in November 2012 and served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2014/2015 and Mayor in 2015/2016. In her first three years in office, Mayor Fitzgerald played a key role in several significant accomplishments, including a $3.5 million retroactive refund of water rate overcharges, public safety reform, a substantive increase in funding to repair the city’s aging roads and water infrastructure, and adoption of new transparency measures for public employee labor negotiations.

Mayor Fitzgerald represents the City of Fullerton on the Board of Directors for the Association of California Cities-Orange County Chapter and she is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Taxpayers Association. She is a former Metropolitan Water District Director, Past President of the North Orange County Chamber (formerly Fullerton Chamber of Commerce) and past Member of the Board of Directors for the Fullerton Historic Theater Foundation. Previously, she served the City of Fullerton on its Planning Commission and General Plan Advisory Committee.

It’s pretty bad that Fitzgerald is trying to take credit for the water refund she fought tooth and nail to minimize. It’s worse that she is trying to get gullible folks to think she has done anything about police reform , when in reality she has been an ardent defender of cover-ups for eight years –  including hush-up settlements and even being implicated in hiding the drunk hit-and-run perpetrated by her buddy Joe “Wild Ride” Felz. The unkindest cut of all may be her bragging about “increased funding” for street and water infrastructure that she and her comrades let sink into a deplorable mess – the worst in Orange County.

At least this go ’round she omits her oft-repeated lie that she has balanced budgets, but her re-election campaign material will no doubt rectify the omission. I’ll be checking into that.

And finally I direct your attention to paragraph two, wherein the tone deaf Fitzgerald blithely recaps all the public money laundering agencies she has consorted with, peddling her wares as a lobbyist for one of the greasiest operators in OC – Curt Pringle.

City Blows Off Brown Act – Until Caught

The shy City rodent finally emerges from its hole…

Yep, just as we surmised, the City of Fullerton illegally ignored California’s Brown Act – a law made to protect us citizens from our own government. I posted here about the secret agenda item and the lack of reporting out, as required by law.

dick-jones
Staying awake…helpful, but not required.

So a recap: on September 17, 2019, the City Council of Fullerton, hiding behind closed doors, both raised the subject of suing FFFF and Fullerton citizens, and then took action – both without a whisper to the public about what had happened in this filthy little Star Chamber.

Another good month’s billing of the suckers!

How do I know? Because in a Voice of OC story today, our grossly overpaid and incompetent City Attorney, Richard “Dick” Jones, said so. Here’s the proof:

And at this Tuesday’s Council meeting, Dick Jones, head city attorney, disclosed that the Council voted Sept. 17 to sue Ferguson over the documents.

It was the first time the city publicly disclosed the closed session vote, as required by state law, despite the vote happening nearly two months ago.  

“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. 

I’m a bird, I’m a plane, I’m a lawyer. I’m a lawyer!

So two months after the violation, and with the local and national media getting wind of the unconstitutional lawsuit travesty, our esteemed City Attorney decided he’d better get his client to, you know, follow the law. In this case, the City has felt zero compunction about labeling us as unethical thieves while they themselves are completely incapable of doing anything competently or ethically.

 

 

Pilfering Paulette On The Comeback Trail

Most people, after having been nabbed committing trespass and theft would at least lay low for a respectable period of time.

Paulette Stolen Sign
Caught Red Handed

But Paulette Marshall Chaffee, the former carpetbagging sign thief who quit the Fullerton City Council race less than a year ago is not respectable. She has decided to run for the Orange County Board of Education, a fairly obscure and almost totally opaque local agency.

One of our attentive Friends actually received a push poll promoting this miscreant. Just in case you don’t know a push poll is one of those phony calls that ask questions like: “if you knew Paulette Marshall invented a cure for cancer would you be more or less likely to vote for her?”

Paulette Sign Thief
Oops, She Did it Again

Well, I have a question of my own: what in the world are this woman’s qualifications? She can’t even steal campaign signs without getting busted.

Paulette and her doddering husband Doug “Bud” Chaffee have a long history of arrogance and indifference to the people of Fullerton, and so this move shouldn’t be too surprising.

And neither should it be surprising that we, the good folks at FFFF, will be conducting our own outreach: if you knew Paulette Marshall Chaffee plead guilty to theft would you be more or less likely to vote for her?