Open Letter to My Fellow Fullerton Liberals, by Steve Baxter

We all know why the right leaning Bushala blog, Friends for Fullerton’s Future and KFI radio hosts Jon & Ken are capitalizing on the murder of Kelly Thomas, and that is because, at least in part, they hate the police unions. Regardless of their motives, they are correct on this issue, and they, unlike you, are bringing attention to it. With the exception of current councilperson Sharon Quirk-Silva, who was the first to ask for resignations, and a well respected CSUF Professor, who have seen at the protest, so many of you established liberals, have an almost disinterest in the killing of a homeless man. The question is: Why? You are the royal opposition in this Republican demographic, we count on you, and yet on this one you decided to stay home.

Work demands have prevented me from hanging out with you lately, so please forgive me if I am wrong, but I’m not detecting any outrage at the actions of the police from most of you. I usually turn to you for leadership on a dozen other issues, but I don’t see that leadership here. I’m sure you are upset, but what seems to upset you the most is the fear that things will get disorderly, or that Fullerton’s image is soiled; not that one of the most vulnerable members of our community was killed by having his face beaten into hamburger by six of our police officers. I understand that you did your demo stuff in the sixties and that you still hate Nixon, but that check’s been cashed. I also understand that outrage on its own does not effect change, but sometimes an incident is so vile and so brutal, that to my mind one can’t help but get emotional about it. I’ve been to all but one of the protests in front of the police station and all of the council meetings since the killing.  I’ve looked for you and wanted to say hello. Where were you?

Long before we came creeping up your north Fullerton hills and joined you in the nicely paved part of town, my wife and I rented an apartment atop one of the downtown shops on Wilshire Boulevard. As someone who still spends a lot of time downtown, and someone who does not take a wide berth of the homeless, I was acquainted with Kelly Thomas. After the homicide, the story that was spun about Kelly by city officials was downright ridiculous to everyone that knew him. What the police did not count on in this case was that his father was a former sheriff, or that Kelly was not just another eyesore. Kelly was actually liked by many in the downtown community. I tell you this only because you do your mingling at backyard fundraisers on Skyline Drive and in this part of town people like Kelly Thomas could not walk two blocks before someone’s maid was told to call the cops.

There are some left-leaning Fullerton residents like Jesse LaTour and Jane Rand, who are present in the Justice for Kelly movement, but you consider these folks to be too fringe to support anyway don’t you? The votes from the last election show that many of you opted for Bankhead. In light of this I would now argue that most of you are not really liberals, progressives or leftists anyway; you are just pro-bedroom community.  After everything the police and city officials have done here, you are more comfortable advocating for bike paths, making sure your neighbors have period appropriate door knobs, and attempting to prevent development. I like bike paths, and I don’t want 760 homes built in Coyote Hills either, but that spying on your neighbor’s stuff in search of historical inaccuracies is a bourgeois wank. These things need to take a back seat while our city is still in the shadow of a murder and an ongoing, official stonewall. I’m an environmentalist, but if I was in Birmingham Alabama in 1963 after four little girls were blown to bits because of the color of their skin, my efforts to clean up the local swimming hole would have taken a back seat to my demands for justice. I suggest you do the same.

As a reminder this is why the actions of at least six of our police officers, and any number of city officials, is worthy of your usual scorn and attention:

  1. Our police department allowed the officers that committed this homicide to watch the video of the killing and script their report as if they were scoring a movie.
  2. It took a month and a lot of public outrage (what you call a mob) before five of the six cops were put on administrative leave.
  3. They were only put on administrative leave.
  4. After the homicide, the police proceeded to rape Kelly’s memory by pinning convenient and false charges around his crushed neck.
  5. Dick Jones is being Dick Jones.
  6. I pray this never happens, but you must know that if six homeless men were charged with beating one police officer in the same spot where Kelly Thomas cried out for his father, the tape of the “incident” would have been released to the public shortly thereafter, and the round up of all untidy pedestrians in Fullerton would have been on.

Kelly Thomas was most likely murdered for being confused. His confusion was perceived as disrespect and non compliance, and six giant dimwitted egos with clubs and badges lost control. Why does this not upset you? Why does this no longer resonate with you? Which of the following best describes the reason for your inaction?

a)       The Fox news crowd was correct about you. Too many of you liberals are, in fact, elitist. If you are asked to compost your refuse, or to donate to the library, you are on board. If, however, you are asked to stand in the sun and risk offending powerful and armed individuals that police our community, it’s best that we remain calm and wait for the authorities to get to the bottom of it.

b)       You are white and mostly affluent. The police have always called you sir and madam, and you would prefer that we sacrifice a few dingy homeless to the nightstick than have Fullerton perceived as a safe haven for the homeless.

c)       You are cowards. It’s one thing to try to regulate the actions of some jerky developers with hideous Miami Mansion dreams bouncing around in their greedy heads, but it’s another to stand in front of armed police officers and demand that they do the right thing.

d)       You falsely believe that something as horrible as this could never happen to your son or daughter

e)       And finally – no issue, apparently even police corruption and the murder of an unarmed skinny homeless man, would dare allow you, my fellow privileged Fullerton liberals, to ever be on the same side of an issue as an opportunist like Tony Bushala.

My hope is that after checking off one or more of the above, that you do a little reflecting and then come join the rest of us, of all political stripes, in front of the Police Station and in council chambers for Kelly Thomas.  You may find that demanding justice for those who normally do not have a voice is just like riding a bike.


Steve Baxter
Fullerton, CA

In the past I have had very little love for FFFF,  as I feel that this blog is equal parts, reward/vendetta, as it is political advocacy.  This time, however, we are on the same side, and I greatly appreciate the continue attention that FFFF is bringing to Kelly’s Thomas’s brutal beating and murder. I am happy to stand side by side with anyone who wants those responsible for Kelly’s murder as well as the subsequent obstruction by city officials, to be held accountable. For me at least this rises above politics. In this instance I would like to say KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Playing ‘Hide the Tape’ is Not So Fun Anymore

The folks over at PBS SoCal were kind enough to let us post this “Inside OC” special on the Kelly Thomas story in its entirety.  It contains interviews with Ron Thomas, Bruce Whitaker, Chris Thompson and a couple of milquetoast experts on homelessness and mental illness.

Most notable, however, is the Q&A with District Attorney Tony Rackauckaus. His persistent insistence that witnesses (and the rest of the public) not be able to view any videos before they testify is reduced to a mere “preference,” but only after he is confronted with the likelihood that police officers watched the recording as they coordinated their own reports on the incident.

The case for keeping that tape away from the public seems to diminish every time one of these goofs steps in front of a camera.

Kelly Thomas Memorial Rally and Protest TODAY

There will be a memorial rally and protest outside of the police station from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM today (Saturday). Please come by and make your voice heard.  We must let the FPD  know that we will not let up until those responsible are brought to justice.

More details on Facebook.

Also there will be a candle light vigil for Kelly tonight from 8-10 pm in front of Fullerton City Hall …no signs, just candles and songs

Ponsi’s Editor

I'm a pro. My boss told you so.

The other day Register “reporter” Lou Ponsi put forth a story he read about on our blog first and presented it as his own to his handful of unsuspecting readers.

Apparently the idea that you can pilfer somebody else’s story and claim it as your own finds favor with Lou Ponsi’s “supervisor,” too. His name is Jim Radcliffe and below is his response to a complaint lodged by one of our readers.

See, according to Radcliffe if you “independently” verify someone else’s work then you’re in the clear to pretend that the story is yours. He notes that The Register stories get “picked up” all the time and that it is a compliment. No, Jim, even if true it’s swinish behavior, and just because you claim you don’t mind getting ripped off doesn’t men anybody else has to like having it happen to them.

Here is Radcliffe’s comical defense:

On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:56 AM, Jim Radcliffe ( wrote:

I am Lou Ponsi’s editor. … He is a very good reporter and handled this story like a pro, under my supervision. … We did see it first on that blog. And I applaud that blog for learning about it first.

But, as is common among the better news organizations, he independently verified everything we used in our story, making numerous phone calls. We usually don’t credit the first news organization that has the story; the reader typically doesn’t care and just wants to know about the story itself.

We, at the Register, are constantly the first to break stories that other media then pick it up: TV and radio stations, the L.A. Times, The Associated Press, etc. We don’t mind at all, as it is actually a compliment. We do mind if the news organization does no original reporting to make the story “theirs” and doesn’t credit us. … If there is no original reporting, then the initial source should indeed be credited.

Lou didn’t steal anything. He confirmed the arrest was true and found out new things about the case.

I have worked for various news organizations, and this is the industry standard. If you have any additional concerns, please feel free to call me at 714-704-3761. … Again, I applaud that blog for keeping an eye on Fullerton, so long as the coverage is fair. … The more journalists keeping an eye on a community, the better for everyone. … Jim.

Jim Radcliffe
Team Leader
The Orange County Register

Ponsi found out “new things” about the case? No, he didn’t. He just found out that the officer in question had made some DUI arrests – a fact utterly irrelevant to the story and included by the “pro” no doubt to be “fair.” And of course he claims he made an unreturned phone call to somebody.

Please note too Radcliffe’s applause for FFFF (not in print, of course) – so long as the coverage is fair. Could it be that Radcliffe really believes that if a blog doesn’t meet his subjective definition of fairness he is not obligated to recognize its work product?

Finally, I have no idea what gives Mr. Radcliffe the idea that he is employed by one of “the better news organizations” but it certainly can’t be any discernible level of ethics.

Those Nutty Californians Want to Roll Back Public Pensions

Here’s something unexpected: the progressive collective of California voters appears to be sick and tired of supporting the exorbitant retirement schemes of our public servants.

A new poll by the Los Angeles Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences found that pension reform is supported in this state by a wide margin. Specifically…

  • 70% want to cap pensions for current and future public employees;
  • 68% say public workers must contribute more to their own retirement funds;
  • 52% support hiking the retirement age of government workers.

I wonder how that poll would go over in Fullerton?

Davenport Protesters: Nobody Should Be Allowed to Criticize Obama

Project Islamic H.O.P.E and the NAACP paid a visit to Fullerton today to protest at the home of Marilyn Davenport, the OC GOP Central Committee member who has drawn fire from just about everyone everywhere for sending out an email depicting Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.

An outcry against racism? Sure. Calls for Davenport’s resignation? OK. But these protesters seem to have something else in mind:

Does the office of the presidency demand unconditional love and respect? Should Americans not be “allowed” to insult the President?


I Know A Few Marines Too.

Writer and Army wife Kanani Fong provided us with her commentary on the recent controversy surrounding Deb Pauly’s remarks at a Yorba Linda protest:

One of the most disturbing inclusions in Villa Park Council Woman and OC Republican Committee Representative Deb Pauly’s careless remarks at the recent protest in Yorba Linda was that she “knew a few Marines who would….”  Of course, the remainder of this threat was that she knew Marines who would act as her personal ruffians to send to a private, peaceful event and do some harm.

Her words are a gross distortion of and do great dishonor to not only The Marine Corps, but all those who serve.  The image she invoked reinforces the stereotype of our armed forces as an unthinking, heartless and randomly violent Leviathan force. Nothing can be further from the truth, and it is regretful Pauly brandished this threat as though she were a drunk gunslinger in a lawless saloon.

The Marines do not work this way. Their missions are well planned, involve a great deal of intelligence gathering, planning, and consideration.  Perhaps she would not have been so careless with words had she been following The Marines progress in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  The fulfillment of their mission has been nothing less than exemplary, showing not only the propensity to live and work alongside them, learn their local language, make it possible for the local Islam girls to go to school, in addition to restoring a climate of entrepreneurship where the local bazaar is thriving again. I have personal knowledge of the efforts being made over there, as my own husband is an active duty soldier, who in the past provided healthcare to Afghan locals in another province, Kunar. This included taking care of many children who were burn victims, and others who had suffered serious injuries due to IEDs.

Female Engagement Team, US Marines, are specially trained teams who work with women and children in Afghanistan.

The fact of the matter is that The Marines along with the world’s armed forces are bringing the first glimmer of opportunity since the Russians killed an estimated four million Afghans, followed by the killing of 400,000 innocents during the Taliban regime.

I know a few Marines too, and none of them would do as Pauly insinuates. They are not thugs. They are professionals, and a great many have died in the line of duty to protect the locals from thugs who are hired by AlQaeda who come from all countries to work for peanuts for an ideology that results in the stripping away of human rights, torture, and death. Need anyone want a reminder, Dexter Filkins wrotes concisely about what the soccer stadium was used for in Kabul during the Taliban regime.

This is not to say that one does not question organizations such as CAIR. If one wants to look into the checkered past of CAIR, they  will find plenty of past actions that run counter to peace. It’s also fair to ask  this new offshoot of CAIR: Why didn’t they join up with local organizations that have been addressing homelessness and abuse decades?  And of course, as I asked on my own military blog The Kitchen Dispatch, it is entirely fair to ask if they wanted to have a first event: Why invite two controversial and suspect individuals to an area known to be politically to the right?

I do think it is important to address extreme Islam, just as it is to question the actions of a few Christians carrying out extreme acts such as the Westboro church’s hateful protests against victims of AIDS and soldiers, and most recently Rev. Terry Jones’ burning of the Quran in Florida. To this, I would ask CAIR why they did not instead invite Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum For Democracy. Dr. Jasser is a former Navy Officer, who has gone on to speak out against radical Islam. These are the types of questions that are fair to put to the organizers of the event.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is a former Naval Officer, physician and devout Muslim who speaks out against extreme Islam.

I am also perplexed why Ed Royce would decide to take his stand at this event.  It would seem that while there are bonafide concerns about radical Islam, neither politician used common sense, or went about it in an intelligent way.   Pauly’s remarks were self aggrandizing and akin to proving herself as “more a military supporter than others, and also more as a conservative Republican than others.”  However, she has fallen short, has embarrassed herself and has greatly maligned the honor and professionalism of those who serve.  Pauly seems to be a highly risky person for Republicans to include as it tries to remake itself into a timely and current political party.

On The Air With Friends Cameron Jackson & Steven Greenhut

If you have the time, listen to OC radio commentator Cameron Jackson interview Steven Greenhut.  In the interview Greenhut credits former Fullerton city councilman and current OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson for inspiring him to write the book “Plunder”.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Cameron Jackson and Steven Greenhut on KUCI”]

Fire Heroes Strike Back at Steven Greenhut

Tonight’s Martha Montelongo radio show will feature author and editorialist Steven Greenhut, who was attacked this week by the International Association of Firefighters and painted as an evil front man in the battle to rein in ridiculous public employee pensions.

Here is the new IAFF commercial, which was also featured on a segment of some left wing thing called “The ED Show.” The ad replays truthful statements of Steven Greenhut along with John Stossel and Glen Beck interlaced with video of fire heroes falling down and putting people on stretchers.

The underlying theme of conflict between logic and emotion is believed to be intentional.

Tune in to KRLA AM 870 or tonight at 11 pm to catch Greenhut and a few others on the Martha Montelongo Show.