Townsend Uncovers Fullerton’s Overtime Racket

Register reporter Adam Townsend dropped a bomb early this morning with an in-depth report on Fullerton’s astounding overtime costs.

The report summarizes the $3,000,000 spent on overtime last year, listing the top 102 overtime earners (view the Register’s list). Among them, a paramedic named Timothy Hartinger worked the most overtime in 2009 with 1,160 hours at time and a half pay, bringing his total earnings to a glorious $138,117.

Notably, these wage figures do not include an additional 33% in pension contributions or thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums for public safety union members.

Naturally, the overcompensated fire and police union members came up at the top of the list and made their best efforts to deflect criticism with emotional falsities. One fireman played the classic union card, repeating the claim that he would die 10 years earlier because his job is so dangerous. Nice try pal, but CalPERS actuarials have proven that public safety employees live just as long as everybody else.

FFFF favorite Jack Dean made his way into the report, saying “Considering the unemployment situation, it doesn’t appear to be right that there’s so much overtime when so many people are unemployed,” concluding “there appears to be something wrong with this structure.” Something wrong, indeed.

Even the city manager got in on the fun when asked about minimum staffing for firefighters, which significantly boosts their expensive overtime pay. “The provision is there because of the union. If I had my preference, I’d do away with it, but it’s sacred to the firefighters,” said Chris Meyer.

We’ve been hard on Register reporter Adam Townsend in the past, but it’s great to see that there’s still some life left in the Register’s local coverage. It takes a little bit of courage to rock the boat of public safety employees, and hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future.

The Register Finds Time for Sex

It’s been a couple of months since The Fullerton Savage’s debut on this blog drew over sixty responses to the story of a new sex oriented shop in downtown Fullerton.  Now the Register has gotten into the act with a story about the same subject.  Adam Townsend, the author, and many commenters on this blog seem to think I had something inherently against the business in question.  This is what Mr. Townsend wrote:

‘The author called the shop’s merchandise “trash.” ‘The blog said that seeing the underwear-clad mannequins and other sexually-oriented merchandise would harm children and said allowing the business to operate was “engendering blight.’

To be fair, I did use the word “trash”, but trashy isn’t the worst thing to associate with lingerie.  I never wrote that the sight of the busty mannequins etc. would “harm children.”  I did write that they would get “quite an education” from looking into the shop’s windows.  Remember, we are The Education City!

So maybe Adam Townsend got the wrong idea about my attitude toward a sex-themed business.  No big deal, but where he really blew it in his article was when he wrote that I ‘said allowing the business to operate was “engendering blight.”‘

No, Mr. Townsend, what I asked was “Is there any better evidence of redevelopment engendering blight?”  This is no small distinction.  Shops like The Naughty Teddy are sometimes cited as examples of blight when cities are trying to establish redevelopment zones.  Downtown Fullerton has been a redevelopment zone since 1973.  My point, Mr. Townsend, was that despite nearly forty years and millions of dollars spent to push out pawn shops, lure in restaurants, add trees, build signs, commission murals, rehab storefronts, brick street medians, redesign traffic signals, build mixed use developments, and whatever else The Redevelopment Agency unilaterally decides is good for the area, in the end a 5,000 square foot shop that sells lubricants, videos and sex toys to the 21-and-over only crowd is open for business near a major intersection downtown.

Well, just for the record, I don’t really care what consenting adults do for sex and I don’t care what a business sells, as long as both are safe.  But if a city spends millions of taxpayer dollars trying to turn a downtown into restaurant Disneyland or whatever it is they are trying to do with it, I would really like to know how The Naughty Teddy fits into their vision for the whole place.

Did the business lie on their application to the city, as has been claimed, or are they the victims of a prudish municipal mindset?  I don’t know.  Several tattoo parlors have already opened downtown, and the city is right behind that curve.  Look for an agenda item concerning the classification of tattoo parlors on the next council meeting agenda.

OC Register Chooses Shawn Nelson

In addition to Steven Greenhut‘s op-ed on Shawn Nelson a few weeks ago, several other Register editorialists have recently decided that Shawn Nelson is the superior candidate for OC Supervisor.

Brian Calle sized up the Supervisor race in Sunday’s print edition. After looking at all three candidates, Calle determined that Sidhu is weak on pensions while Nelson is committed to bold reforms. Calle concluded that the pension issue is inarguably the most important issue facing Orange County right now, “bar none.

John Seiler wrote on the Orange Punch blog about the $900,000 that the unions have spent trying to defeat Shawn Nelson. Seiler draws some interesting comparisons to John Moorlach’s election in 2006, when the unions also spent big money in a failed attempt to defeat a candidate who was known for being fiscally responsible. At the time, Nick Berardino called Moorlach “the biggest threat in the county to employees’ personal financial security.” Sound familiar?

We’ve been hearing the same message over and over: this race is about the clash of The Unions vs. The Rest of Us. Will that resonate with voters in 2010? Something tells me the answer is an overwhelming “yes”.

Observer Seeks Credibility; and City Funding

A Friend sent in an interesting newspaper clipping this week. It looks like Sharon Kennedy is trying to obligate the city of Fullerton to pay her Observer rag for posting public notices.

Back in March the city council decided to stop paying local newspapers to print public notices in order to prevent layoffs. An obscure set of state laws deem that Fullerton has no local “newspaper of record” and thus is not required to waste money on ad space in the back of newspapers for notices that could just be posted on the Internet.

But now it appears that Kennedy is anxious to latch on to the city teat and get her hands on the $40,000 per year that the city is currently saving. She will appear before a judge next month in hopes that her wretched rag will be bestowed with some judicial legitimacy.

Unfortunately Kennedy has failed to read the very simple laws that define a newspaper of general circulation.

For one, the  paper has to be printed at least weekly. The Observer is printed bi-weekly and monthly during the summer.

Second, it has to be physically printed inside the city. The Observer is printed elsewhere.

Third, it must have “substantial distribution to paid subscribers.” The Observer is free.

And finally, the paper must have “maintained a minimum coverage of local or telegraphic news and intelligence of a general character of not less than 25 percent of its total.” We’ve said it before: most of the stuff printed in the Observer is opinion disguised as news.

If Kennedy succeeds in her wacky court case, it will force the city to pay her for publishing public notices. Perhaps the city will dispatch someone to the hearing to make sure she doesn’t get away with it.

This Post Has Balls

FFFF has a lady blogger?

Dan Chmielewski of The Liberal OC aired what sounded like a very personal grudge against anonymous bloggers and commenters at the NUFF Forum featuring five well known political bloggers. He said that those who didn’t sign their name “lacked testicular fortitude.”

The Constitution guarantees free speech, and those who wish to do so anonymously aren’t exempt from this. To say they lack testicular fortitude is jumping to conclusions. Art Pedroza pointed out that Benjamin Franklin had -at various points prior to the American Revolution, written several opinions anonymously. Did this make his points less valuable? No, it didn’t.

Now, does it irritate Dan Chmielewski that he doesn’t know the identity of many of FFFF’s bloggers and commenters? Yes, it probably does. However, deciding that someone’s opinion is invalid or that they personally lack “testicular fortitude” because they haven’t attached their name signals his unwillingness to separate annoying from invalid.

When it was pointed out that many people didn’t want to suffer the possibility of retribution, this was similarly dismissed by Dan. “We don’t live in that kind of society anymore,” he proclaimed, ignoring his own brand of self righteous vitriol.

Again, Dan was incorrect.  The vitriol you see on the boards is often played out in real life. Last November,  Sean C. gave a 2-star review for Ocean Books in San Fransisco. The owner contacted him via the Yelp messaging system and attacked him, culminating in her threat: “Goodbye pussy boy and I will be contacting your employers.”

After having the debacle exposed on the Yelp bulletin boards, the owner of the bookstore figured out his last name, tracked him down using the internet, went to his house and attacked him. She was booked on charges of assault and battery.

The autumn of 2009 also brought forth another incident, now very well known involving  Army Sgt. C.J. Grisham, of the popular military blog A Soldier’s Perspective. Grisham, using his own name and on his own private blog, wrote about his experience at a PTA meeting. Despite his requests, Robert’s Rules of Order were ignored by the principal and the PTA president so that a very costly measure demanding school uniforms was railroaded through. His exposure of the events of the evening, along with a video resulted in the Principal of the school contacting the U.S. Army. Here’s where it gets really ugly. C.J. wrote poignantly of his struggle with PTSD on his blog. After culling through his hundreds of posts, she then used this knowledge to paint a very different picture of his demeanor that evening during one of her many calls to his commanding officers. The whole thing unravels as the principal decides to further her reach and begin a series of humiliating dressing downs of his children, students at her school.

The upshot is that the Army decided to kowtow to the Principal, wishing to curtail the controversy. However, C.J. was made to feel that it would be best to shut down his blog. This soldier, who has been decorated with a Bronze Star with a “V” device also had a divot place in his otherwise pristine record. The Grishams have had huge support from the military community, and are now suing the school district. A Soldier’s Perspective blog was bought by a coalition.

Those are but two examples of not only personal attacks and harassment, but one that involved someone contacting the blogger’s place of employment. Dan of The Liberal OC was dead wrong in his assessment.  As blogging, and microblogging replaces traditional journalism, the boundaries are constantly being tested. One look through the Media Bloggers Association website will show you the treacherous and now litigious waters are where bloggers swim.

The Truth About Matthew Cunningham

A Friend pointed out something that bears mentioning for those of us that have some sense of ethics but may be naïve when it comes to blogs and how some operate.

Did you know that Matthew Cunningham has another website besides the oh-so Mauve County?  It’s Pacific-Strategies where he brags about “employing innovative social media strategies to advance your message and create community” and “influencing opinion leaders through via both new and tradional media”.  Nice typo’s Matt.  Clearly he is the superior communicator!  I’m not too sure what this clown is trying to say with this: “successfully guiding your projecting throuygh the government approval process” and “providing seasoned counsel to ensure your message is taken seriously by opinion leaders ad key decision-makers”.  It is hard to take anyone seriously that brags about communication and swaying public opinion when the author can’t even complete a sentence.  A wordsmith he is not but maybe a word-butcher.  Just imagine a game of scrabble with him.

Ah, but now Matt’s “strategies” at Mauve County are clear!  He gets to be a paid consultant (I find it hard to believe that anyone would actually give him a dime) via one company, Pacific-Strategies, while he attempts in vain to sway public opinion on his Mauve site by “employing” those innovative social media strategies.  I speculate that those strategies include but are not limited to the hiring of extra bloggers to post pro threads for Cunningham’s paid cause and then the twerp has these same extras jump in and lob personal attacks to discredit any opposition or support for their paid cause. “We’re experienced with effective strategies for favorably influencing elected leaders, government officials, and community and opinion leaders—building coalitions and mobilizing opinion in support of your goals, and neutralizing critics.”(  So his job is to NEUTRALIZE CRITICS!  If you pay him some money or do him a favor, he will NEUTRALIZE critics.  Is he talking about offing someone?  Bumping someone off?  Or just a shotgun approach for attacking anyone with a different opinion, especially one supported by facts?

After reading these carefully crafted words from Matthew Cunningham own website, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind just how Red County operates under his direction and the truth behind Matthew Cunningham slanderous lies.  He is completely void of any moral or ethical foundation which a normal person might be grounded in.  In his own words, Cunningham says “More and more people get more and more of their information from new media such as blogs, Twitter and FaceBook, and your organization needs to engage them in those arenas. Properly used, new media tools powerfully enhance your organization’s ability to not only communicate with your target audience, but build trust and community.”  Building trust through outright lies and deception is usually called FRAUD. That is particularly bad when your own mission statement reads: “Red County strives to provide intelligent, well-informed insights into local political issues affecting the lives of readers in each market we serve. In striving to support the ideals of limited government and individual liberty, Red County will hold the mirror up to Republicans and Democrats alike.”  Clearly, there is no mirror in the arsenal at Fraud County.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough!  Anyone with their own website, including FFFF, can determine visitor’s internet provider address much the same way we use caller ID.  If you are a genuine visitor and you leave genuine comments, no problem…unless of course you are on Cunningham’s web site.  Bloggers on don’t normally have that level of access, so no need to worry about posting on those sites.  The real concern should come when a commentator dishes out insider information on a government agency and the head of that agency has the blogger in his back pocket.  Then the blogger gets to out the commentator.  It is not ethical to throw a genuine whistle-blower under the bus but we are not talking about an ethical person, now are we.   It is reminiscent of the reports of Cunningham outing of sex abuse victims.  I don’t know if Cunningham was actually paid to out anyone, but the content of his other website begs the question.

There are a lot of talented people reading this who are much smarter than me and I encourage you to do some digging yourself.  After I did my own digging into this, I realized just how biased I have become against Red County and several of their resident (generally newer) bloggers.  Therefore, it is imperative that you check for yourself.  I’m no great sleuth like the other FFFF’ers but if we can shed a little light up this dark hole, all the better.

I would love to know the names of anyone who has ever contributed a penny to Pacific-Strategies and follow that paper trail.

Fullerton Boy Fighting His Way Out of a Coma

A little 4-year old boy named Jeremy Friedrich is at CHOC in a coma.  After a long Thanksgiving weekend, November 29th, Jeremy and his big sister, Emily (6), were playing on a backyard playground when little Jeremy’s neck was caught up in a jump-rope the two had been playing with.  His father found his lifeless body and his mother began CPR.  Paramedics were able to jumpstart his heart but he has yet to regain consciousness.


This little boy and his family need all the help we Friends can muster up, whether it is through prayers or donations.  If you believe in miracles, please pray for one.  If you have a few dollars to spare, please donate to the Friedrich Family Fund at any Fullerton Community Bank.  The next time you roll past a church or FC Bank, please stop in and do what you can.

Read more from the O.C. Register

Missing Person: James Wernke

Update 12/15 11:30 AM:  ABC7 and KTLA are reporting that James Wernke’s body was found near a creek this morning, 100 yards from St. Jude in a wooded area. Reporting no signs of trauma. Think water swept him away.

Update 12/15 7:30 AM: KFI is reporting that joggers this morning found a dog wondering behind Brea Dam that matches the description of the missing dog.

Update 12/14 6:00 PM: The Office of Emergency Services has offered the use of their search and rescue team to do an all night grid search of undeveloped areas including and surrounding the Brea Dam area, and adjacent trails.  They will be staging at the Sports Complex, and the lights will be on all night.  In addition to the search the PD is pursuing additional leads which may have a bearing on the missing person case.

Fullerton Police are looking for James Wernke, who went missing on Saturday, December 12th in Fullerton. He was last seen with a yellow Labrador near Sunnywood Dr. and Hermosa Dr. around 1 p.m.


James Wernke is 6’4″ tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. He has blue eyes and sandy blond hair.

James had no identification, jewelry, or money on him when he left, according to his family. He may have his cell phone with him because his family hasn’t been able to find it anywhere.


If you have any information about James Wernke’s whereabouts, please contact the Fullerton Police Department.