According to The Fullerton Observer, North Orange County Community College District trustee, Molly McClanahan has pulled the plug on her career as an alleged overseer of the bureaucracy at the local junior colleges. Her seat will remain vacant until the November election, a rather telling sign of how critical the job is.
Of course Molly didn’t get on the board via an election like her successor will. No she got this job 25 years ago as a boohoo consolation prize for being recalled from the city council by the people of Fullerton in June, 1994. The cause? A completely unnecessary utility tax that was foisted on us to save the city from imminent destruction. Like her two compatriots, Don Bankhead and Buck Catlin she refused to leave the council until a judge forced the City to hold a replacement election. Same arrogance as ever, yesterday, today, tomorrow.
On the council Good Old Molly never veered from a completely predictable path. Always handy with a bubble-headed cliché, she was a constant supporter of Redevelopment boondoggles and expansions, and any other nonsense put in front of her by “staff.” Her supporters always bragged that she “did her homework.” Yet when it came time to take the test there was never anything that remotely smacked of intelligence or the willingness to vote alone, if necessary.
Likewise, McClanahan’s career trajectory over the past two and a half decades on the JC board has not deviated a bit in its pathetic parabola: cover for bureaucrats, never demand accountability from anyone, just do what you’re told. She was caught being wined and dined by bond salesmen who placed the massive bond on the ballot in 2016 under the phony guise of helping veterans, and that pretty much sums up her legacy.
Yes, Friends, FFFF still has some catching up to do, what with being sued by the legal beagles at the crack I Can’t believe It’s a Law Firm of Jones & Mayer. Enduring legal attacks from the the people whom you are paying to represent you is pretty annoying. Sort of like a boil on the butt – aggravating but not life threatening.
So now I belatedly draw your attention to the ongoing saga of the Fullerton College Stadium From Nowhere, a sad tale that has been going on, seemingly forever. FFFF first wrote about it, here, over ten years ago. We’ve been opining on this brainless proposal ever since.
Back then we noticed that the proposed football stadium emerged out of nothing – never mentioned in the environmental impact documents connected to the bond expansion projects, a blatant oversight that would have slipped through if nobody had been watching. Then, as now, the clueless Trustees of the North Orange County Community College district are looking for ways to use up the bond money they have chiseled out of us in two massive bond floatations.
In the latest news, the trustees have finally been forced to actually approve, in public, this project. It first passed in October by a slender 4-3 majority that included the support from Fullerton’s Molly McClanahan, who has never said no to a bureaucratic scheme, no matter how hare-brained. For McClanahan the answer to outraged neighbors was to halve the size of the stadium capacity, splitting Solomon’s baby right down the middle. Good idea right? No, Molly, dear, because if you took the time to really understand the situation you would know that the campus doesn’t need a football stadium at all, no matter how many stooges are lined up in front of you in a big hurry to waste tens of millions of dollars.
Fullerton already has two plausible venues for Fullerton JC football, the stadium at CSUF paid for by the City, and the stadium at Fullerton High School right across the damn street. Of course there is no need to play games in Yorba Linda, and no need to build thousands of seats for people who will never show up for an FJC sporting event of any kind. But let us not stand in the way of progress with common sense or facts. Rather, let’s get on the Hornet bandwagon and follow the lead of our eminently able educrats.
If someone takes the time to review the history of Fullerton over the past forty years, one thing becomes shockingly clear: when it comes to building things, maintaining things and planning for things, the City government just can’t do much of anything right. And yet over this long history, the City and the public seem to have the shortest of memories.
For the denizens of City Hall, the fact that the jalopy has no rear view mirror makes perfect sense. After all, if you’re pulling down well over a hundred Gs, with a trampoline retirement coming your way, why spoil things with strange notions like accountability and responsibility? It’s so much easier to pretend nothing bad has happened.
The people who live here on the other hand, have no such incentive; quite the reverse, in fact. So how come constant repetition of the disastrous lessons from the past are tolerated? Is it easier to just ignore the millions upon millions wasted in foolish vanity projects, make-work comedies, and deteriorating infrastructure? Maybe.
But I hope that by continuing the drumbeat started on this brave blog 11 years ago, sooner or later the populace will wake up to the ineptitude and dissimulation by its highly paid, and so far untouchable masters of disaster.
And so join me Friends as I take you on trip down memory lane, Fullerton style.
Today almost nobody remembers the comical City endeavor to transform Harbor Boulevard in the early 80s by removing on-street parking, adding medians, spike-laden, pod-dropping floss silk trees, and bizarre concrete peristyles along the sidewalks. Comical, did I say? It would have been funny except that it doomed the businesses along Harbor to slow entropy. The ridiculous peristyles were soon removed but the rest of the mess lasted for decades and many of the hideous trees and broken sidewalks are still there as a reminder that the City is perfectly willing to waste millions on hare-brained, concept-of-the-day tomfoolery that gives them something to do.
The Allen Hotel, was Fullerton’s first foray into “affordable” housing back in the late 80s. It was a slum, alright and thirty years after the City’s bungling acquisition, the site is just begging for more “redevelopment.” Will it get it?
The CSUF Stadium & Fundraising Fiasco of 1990 ought to give plenty of pause to those contemplating Big Projects with public money. The brainchild of slimy City Councilman and later slimy State Senator, Dick Ackerman, the idea was to build a permanent home for the CSUF football team. Only trouble was that the $15,000,000 stadium was completed the same year the plug was pulled on a dismal gridiron program. In typical fashion, the City invested in a fundraising plan in which a company was hired at a cost of several hundred thou to raise money, and didn’t. Oops!
The horror story “Knowlwood Corner” is a veritable textbook case of government bureaucratic misfeasance, from start to finish. The story started in the early 90s and dragged on for years and years; when the signature building was finally built, the missing second floor became a perfect symbol for this misadventure. From stupid economic micromanagement to horrible architecture, this one touched all the bases – and it took seven years to do so.
The Bank of Italy Building was another disaster from the early 90s, but one that actually gutted an historic building. Millions in public money were wasted to pay for something that never should have been undertaken in the first place.
The North Platform remodel of 1992-93 proved that no matter how bungled things were in Fullerton, it could always get worse. A landscape architect was hired to place as many impediments between passengers and trains as was humanly possible. Some of the citizens got wise, and half the crap was ripped out. Heads rolled in City Hall. Oh, wait, no they didn’t.
Few folks now remember the Fairway Toyota dealership expansion fiasco from the mid-90s that required threatening an old lady with eminent domain and then closing off Elm Avenue forever. The City’s investment disappeared like an early summer morning’s dew when the dealership took off for Anaheim a few years later. After years of housing a used car dealership, the City permitted the development of another massive cliff dwelling along Harbor Boulevard. The losses were never accounted for but at least the neighbors got a nice view and early shade.
Fullerton’s Corporate Yard expansion was a mid-nineties project that left the City gasping for air. Despite hiring an outside construction manager and paying him a couple hundred grand, the project dissolved into a litigation mess that only escaped public embarrassment because nobody on the City Council gave a damn. Settlement details vanished into the haze.
The so-called Poison Park on Truslow Avenue may set the standard for Fullerton incompetence, although admittedly, the competition is fierce. In the late 90s, the City had Redevelopment money to burn and just couldn’t wait to do so. So they bought a piece of industrial property and built a park that nobody outside City Hall wanted. Cost? $3,000,000. Of course the site attracted gang members and drug dealers as predicted. Worse still, the land was contaminated and the “park” fenced off. It’s been like that for almost 15 years. And Counting.
No story of Fullerton calamities would be complete without once again sharing the tale of the Florentine Sidewalk Hijacking, in which a permit for “outside dining” was transformed one day by the Florentine Mob into a permanent building blocking half a public sidewalk. The Big City Planner, Paul Dudley, said everything was peachy. He was lying, of course, but did anybody really care?
Some people might conclude that the majority of Fullerton’s disasters can be laid at the feet of the Redevelopment Agency (really just the City Council) and well-pensioned, inept managers like Terry Galvin and Gary Chaplusky. When they weren’t slapping brick veneer on anything that didn’t move, they were screwing everything else up, too. But when we regard the history of Laguna Lake we enter into the realm of Fullerton’s Parks and Engineering mamalukes. After spending a small fortune on renovating the lake, the thing leaked like a sieve. Hundreds of millions of premium MWD gallons were pumped into the thing to keep it full. The public and council were left in the dark, even as citizens were told to conserve water in their homes. Did anyone in charge give a damn? Did anyone ask how much money and water were squandered over the years? Of course not. This is Fullerton. We could ask Engineering Director Don Hoppe for details, except that he is now comfortably retired and pulling down a massive pension.
Our professional planners, have been knee deep in Fullerton’s morass. Over-development (see example, above) has been fostered and nowhere was this better seen than in the Core and Corridors Specific Plan. This idiotic plan wasted a million bucks of State money without a backward glance after the whole thing was finally dumped on the QT – too stupid even for Fullerton. Did anybody ask for their money back? Nope. And yet a link to a blank web page titled Core and Corridors still exists! Hope springs eternal.
The 2000s proved that nobody in City Hall or out, was learning anything, even after the expensive failures of the 90s. The “West Harbor Improvement” project in 2009, was an endeavor so unnecessary that it could only be proposed in Fullerton, where government “place making” has never succeeded. The alley is a barf zone behind a bunch of bars that only needs hosing down every Sunday morning.
This litany of disasters, follies and debacles brings us to the Pinewood Stairs at Hillcrest Park which put on display the incompetence of the designer, the city staff, the construction manager, and a contractor who couldn’t build a sand box to code. Wasting $1.6 million is bad enough; permitting the code violations and construction deficiencies go unfixed is even worse. Barely two years old, the ramshackle structure moves more than the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
And over all these years Fullerton’s “leaders have neglected our aging infrastructure and permitted zone changes allowing for massive new development that has lined the pockets of developers and political campaign coffers, and left the rest of us with even more traffic and more burden on our roads and pipes.
A few weeks ago FFFF ran a post on the status on Dino Skokos, the FJC security goon and “disabled” former LA Deputy Sheriff who beat up and handcuffed a kid on campus in October, 2016. Right after the video of the event went viral, the district snapped into defense mode, placing Skokos on administrative leave and putting its lawyer to work on an in-house “investigation.” FJC President, Greg Schulz declared his dedication to reaching a conclusion of the incident.
The winter had passed; spring had come and gone. Summer was well along when in July, Schulz was directly confronted on the subject. In Schulz’s long and winding stream of nonsense a shiny pearl accidentally popped out of its oyster in the river bottom sludge: Skokos “was not going to be an employee of the district.”
What that meant was anybody’s guess, and some, like me, were skeptical. Was Skokos still on leave? If so, why? Who knew?
So FFFF followed up on an earlier Public records Act request that had been ignored. When that was intentionally misunderstood we filed yet another one. And finally we finally got this:
According to this list, Skokos was on admin leave – meaning he was getting paid for doing nothing – until the end of September, two full months after Schulz said he was no longer going to be an employee of the district, and almost an entire year after he assaulted that kid. And coincidentally (or not) that date corresponds exactly with the peculiar day projected earlier in the summer that Skokos was to come off administrative leave.
And here’s the last insult to public transparency on the part of Schulz & Co.: we have no idea whether Skokos is still employed by the district – whether at FJC, Cypress, district HQ, or at some other locale.
So how about it Greg? You promised a conclusion to this incident over a year ago. Did that promise include actually telling us about it?
In the likely event that no answer will be forthcoming from Schulz, you might try broaching the subject by our able and eager Trustee, Molly McClanahan, who has a long history of demanding accountability from her bureaucratic underlings.
Three long months ago FFFF updated the story of FJCs rogue “Campus Safety Officer”, Dino Skokos. You remember Dino, right? He’s the former LA Deputy Sheriff, who, while enjoying a $48K annual disability pension courtesy of LA County taxpayers, and while costing us $75,000 per year us as a guard at FJC, was caught on video assaulting some skinny kid for refusing to identify himself. Be sure to watch the video if you need to remind yourself.
That was over a year ago. Yes, the Earth has made an entire revolution of the Sun, and then some.
Skokos was placed on administrative leave way back on October 14, 2016. And what has been going on in the twelve month interim?
A while back, Fullerton junior College president Greg Schulz held an open house to share information with the constituents of the North Orange College Community College District. If anyone expected the usual milquetoast tea party, they would have been much mistaken.
One intrepid citizen brought up the matter of Dino Skokos, the FJC security goon who attacked a student last fall. Here is the audio of the interrogation accompanied by a video of the beat down applied to the kid by Skokos.
To his credit, the interrogator will not let Schulz off the hook, and grills him pretty good. Schulz of course will say nothing specific and refuses to pass on the results of the taxpayer funded “investigation” commissioned by him via a law firm that specializes in protecting the people who run government agencies. It’s a “human resources” issue, see, and we poor saps who pay for the salaries of these individuals and the civil claims they cause, are not to know anything about them.
Schulz is happy to remind folks of the investigation; but what it accomplished and how much it cost us will be shrouded in mystery until long after Schulz has taken his massive pension. Schulz won’t even say if the Fullerton Police Department investigated this matter, an issue that has no bearing on personnel confidentiality at all.
Did you notice that at the 1:05 mark the esteemed Schulz says Skokos “is not going to be an employee of the district,” a curious statement given that Skokos is still on administrative leave nine months after the assault . Later he states that he is not permitted to say whether Skokos is coming back or not. It’s all a big secret, see. So which is it? Who knows? Not the public, that’s for certain.
FFFF followed up, here, and here to document the remarkable lack of progress in separating this miscreant from his source of employment. Recently FFFF asked the North Orange College Community College District for a list of employees on administrative leave to see what sort of fish might be caught in the broad net. Here’s what we got back:
Fullerton College Employees on Administrative Leave from January 1, 2016 to present:
Robert Smitson – Fall 2015 to January 31, 2016
Jerry Stokes – Fall 2015 to January 31, 2016
Cynthia Wafer – September 2, 2016 to October 31, 2016
Dino Skokos – October 14, 2016 to September 30, 2017
Eileen Anguiano – February 28, 2017 to May 3, 2017
Scott Goss – May 18, 2017 to August 31, 2017
Beverly Pipkin – June 27, 2017 to July 31, 2017
Alan Gonzalez – June 29, 2017 until further notice
For some reason Skokos is not only still on leave, that leave is projected to continue for another ten weeks, meaning that the guy who attacked and falsely arrested that kid will have been on administrative leave for almost one year.
There are still lots of questions that haven’t been answered, and some that have not yet been asked (until now), such as:
What happened to the “independent” investigator, Currier and Hudson?
How much has Currier and Hudson charged us for their “services?”
Has the student who was assaulted and falsely arrested sued the taxpayers, and if so, what are the details?
Was there a settlement when no one was looking?
What happened to the Fullerton Police Department in all of this; did they ever bother investigate this themselves? If not, why not?
Here’s the choice nugget from the FJC president as quoted in The Hornet, way back in October, 2016, reassuring his workers, educrats and students that FJC is dedicated in settling this matter:
President Greg Schulz promised the college’s full dedication in reaching a conclusion regarding the incident.
And next time you see her clucking and harrumphing about town be sure to ask your NOCCCD Trustee, Molly McClanahan, what the Hell is going on. Good luck getting an intelligible answer!