The Missing Monica F.

Zahra-Busted
The smile was wearing thin…

Back on September 20, 2020 Fullerton 5th District Councilman Ahmad Zahra was arrested by his own cops. Subsequently, the DA, Todd Spitzer, charged Zahra with battery and vandalism.

This spring it seems that all traces of the case vanished into the ether. At a council meeting, Zahra said the charges were dropped by Spitzer and that he was exonerated, and that he and his mother were themselves somehow victimized. Then a story from a DA employee leaked; and the tale was not one of exoneration, but of a guilty plea, some community service and a petition by Zahra and accepted by the court, to expunge the record of his malfeasance completely.

Enter “Monica F.” Or to be precise, re-enter.

This woman was named in the original charges of both the battery and vandalism ascribed to Zahra. Zahra claimed at the council meeting he had never met this person who showed up at his mother’s abode scaring the poor woman. And that’s it, a half story that may contain some elements accuracy, but that may also be irrelevant to the charges, per se.

The other day FFFF noticed that somebody had anonymously requested records relating to Zahra and a specific address on Foxborough Place on 9/2/20. The City responded with the precise language they used to blow off a FFFF PRA request on the same case. So the City acknowledges that the address in question is related to the charges filed by the DA. Oops.

Sure enough, a quick internet search revealed the house on Foxborough Place as the home of the Farias family, one of whom is named Monica. A coincidence? Well, maybe, but that would be pretty hard to invest any credulity in at all.

What is Monica F’s relationship to Zahra and/or his former husband? Who knows? But when the cops on are called and somebody is charged with crimes by the District Attorney, everybody has embarked on a serious path. And the public has the right to know what the hell is going on, especially when that somebody charged with crimes is an elected representative of the people.

So What Happened At Foxborough Place?

Zahra-Busted
Why is this man smiling?

While scanning the City of Fullerton public records requests the other day, I came across this interesting tidbit, requester, not yet known:

We already know that was the day our Councilman Ahmad Zahra was arrested, somewhere, somehow, for something. All the records for that case are locked up tighter than… well, real tight.

And the fact that this particular request is related to our bad boy’s bad day is reflected in the City’s perfunctory response:

2671 Foxborough Place. Why is this address of significance to the events of that day? Is this house the home of any of the principals in the Zahra battery and vandalism case? I don’t know for sure, but somebody thinks it’s relevant, and of course it’s all a big secret as far as our city government is concerned.

City Dumps Poison Park on Latino Community

Yes, Friends you heard that right. In the long history of official misfeasance regarding the ill-fated “Union Pacific Park” we’ve seen stupidity, indifference, lack of accountability waste, more stupidity. A project that nobody in the community wanted, but that a fun thing for Parks Director Susan Hunt to play with, and for Redevelopment Monopoly bucks to buy, has been a humiliation for everybody involved; or should be, except that bureuacrats in Fullerton have no shame and no rear-view mirror.

But now we discover, courtesy of a 19 year-old document, something a lot more nefarious than just the usual City Hall incompetence. Consider the following letter written to local property owner Tony Bushala, from then Redevelopment flunky, Ken O’Leary.

Oops.

Here’s a smoking gun. The City had already purchased contaminated property, not bothering to employ a Phase 2 environmental assessment. And they knew that the perp was already cleaning up contamination “in the vicinity.” And yet the City proceeded building a park knowing that soils contamination was an issue surrounding the park, and evidently not giving damn whether their own soil was contaminated. So the park was built for well over a million bucks, then Lo and Behold – the park, by now renamed “Union Pacific Park,” was contaminated too. It was fenced off from the junkies and homeless and borachos that haunted it.

Naturally O’Leary is long gone, as is his boss, the ever-hapless Gary Chalupsky. Gone too are bungling bureaucrats Hunt, F. Paul Dudley, Bob Hodson, and former City Manager, Jim Armstrong, all enjoying six-figure pensions courtesy of you, me, and the people of the communidad who never wanted a park at all.

And now it seems the death march is to continue. Only recently City staff cooked up a lame scheme to put a private event center on the site, masquerading as an “educational” aquaponics farm. This hare-brained idea was ardently supported by Jesus Quirk Silva and Ahmad Zahra, two councilmen immune to common sense; and these two now, all of a sudden, want to start a whole new process to find out what the “community” wants, just like Susan Hunt did over 20 years ago. 

Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 4

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if government bureaucracies do the things they do because of incompetence, venality, or favoritism. In the never-ending story of Fullerton’s noise regulation all three seem to be uniquely intertwined.

What is inescapable is that the City of Fullerton has striven mightily to separate the issue of nuisance noise emanating from downtown outdoor areas from both enforcement and illegality.

SlidebarMotto
A few thou here and there worked wonders…

In 2011 the ridiculous Transportation Center Specific Plan finally made it legal to propagate amplified outdoor music, thus making Jeremey Popoff’s Slidebar appear honest, although he still didn’t have a legal Conditional Use Permit. But the new regulations for noise had no more effect than Popoff’s missing CUP because the City – cops and code enforcement – refused to enforce the regulations.

A standup guy walking tall.
.

What to do? Hmm. What about throwing the issue into a miasma of bureaucratic paper shuffling so that nobody would notice what you were doing, and downtown scofflaws could actually be absolved, de jure as well as de facto?

In August, 2014 the City tried this pitch with the idea that the Noise ordinance would be updated along with great swaths of the existing land use law to make thing, you know, easier to figure out. But downtown noise played a prominent part in the discussion, if not really in the staff report. The council approved noise studies as a mechanism, a cynic might say, to avoid cracking down on Popoff, Jack Franklin’s Roscoe’s, and their ilk, because that is exactly what happened.

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

2015 rolled around and the Community Development “professionals,” led by newly minted Director Karen Haluza, were again yakking it up about revising the Code. Well, these things take time, you know, and in the late summer of 2016 the City Council finally got around to passing Ordinance 3232, a revised Code, still, with intent of instilling commonsense and clarity. The definition of amplified music was scratched out pending future action.

But whatever the motivation, the ever-shifting sands of sound gave the bureaucrats, aided and abetted by the perpetual dishonesty of City Attorney Dick Jones, the pretext they needed to bat away complaints about the illegal noise – because the issues was under study and consideration!

New in town, but he caught on quickly…

The vicious circle took yet another revolution in June of 2018 when the Council was persuaded by yet another new planning director, Ted White, to pass a Resolution of Intent to once again revise the land use codes in the interests of commonsense and clarity. Of course the Noise Ordinance and downtown noise was actually a key driver in this conversation, too. Mr. White took it upon himself to introduce a new downtown noise map where any outdoor sound would be permitted; but, the standards – 70 decibels outside and 65 decibels inside – were not to be applied to the source, but to the sensitive receptor, and the burden of proof was clearly laid at the feet of the victim, not the perpetrator of the nuisance. The bureaucracy seemed oblivious to the Armageddon of Noise they were trying to create or the sensibilities of residents adjacent to the riot zone.

The Planning Commission was finally scheduled to review the latest iteration of musical chairs in November, 2018; but the discussion was mysteriously continued for three months until February, 2019 by which time two opponents of amplified music, Nick Dunlap and Ryan Cantor had been removed from the Commission. A coincidence? Who knows? Stay tuned…

 

 

Fullerton v FFFF in the News

OCR- Top of the Fold

Today we were Front Page, Above the Fold in the Sunday edition of the Orange County Register [HERE]. The article was good overall and addressed many of the issues surrounding the ludicrous case the City has lodged against us.

This comes on the heals of several articles which have been written by The Voice of OC [HERE], [HERE], [HERE], [HERE] & [HERE] as they have been on the ball and running hard with this story. The Voice is local, fact-based journalism at it’s finest.

We got some good coverage of the story over at ShadowProof [HERE] which itself was picked up by the paper the Florida Oracle [HERE].

The Orange Juice Blog brilliantly took the city to task for being not just incompetent but downright evil [HERE].

The FullertonRag showed their support for dropping this case [HERE] in a perfect example of understanding that we don’t all need to get along in this fine town on all things to align on principles of utmost importance.

Then of course we have the great write-up by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press [HERE]. It should be noted that this influential group also filed an amicus brief on our behalf in the appellate court supporting the striking down of the unconstitutional prior restraint issued against us by the trial court.

A lot has happened since the city took us to court a little over two weeks ago and it’s not over yet. Other reporting groups, First Amendment organizations and journalists have reached out for comment and we are fully expecting more news in the days to follow leading up the trial on 21 November.

Nearly all of those articles have been objective fact based or on our side for obvious reasons. However – If you’re concerned about having a Fair and Balanced view on this lawsuit you can check out the city’s side of things by heading over to the Fullerton Observer Pravda where they’re doing a bang up job reporting all the news that City Hall sees free to print.

We’ll keep you updated and post more stories both here and to Facebook as they appear so if we miss one please leave it in the comments or tag us on FB.

Transparency 101

As many Friends now know, the City of Fullerton has decided to move on from bullying language to actually sue FFFF. Here’s a summation from The Voice of OC.

Ken Domer
Domer. So much less there than meets the eye.

The City has also posted a ponderous press release on its website, written in the high dudgeon of a bureaucrat whom you suspect already realizes that diverting attention from his own bungling by blaming somebody else, may be harder to pull off than he had hoped. Here’s our $230,000 per year City Manager Ken Domer trying desperately to seize some sort of high moral ground:

“The City was forced into taking legal action to protect the privacy of current and former employees and the public, and to ensure compliance with applicable law to include the California Public Records Act,” stated Fullerton City Manager, Ken Domer. “We are working aggressively on behalf of those affected and took immediate actions to put in place a more secure information technology environment. These actions support our philosophy of transparent access to information while protecting confidential information from the unethical and illegal actions of a few.”

Now I don’t know about you, Friends, but I find the words “unethical” and “illegal” to be pretty funny tumbling out of the mouth of Domer, whose only aim in his short tenure in Fullerton seems to have been to fight a rear-guard action against transparency. Domer’s self-righteous indignation is comical coming from the lackey of serial liars on the City Council – people like Jan Flory who is, and always has been, dangerously allergic to the truth; like Jennifer Fitzgerald who has not yet seen an ethical barrier she couldn’t sidestep; and like Doug “Bud” Chaffee who was complicit in his wife’s phony carpetbagging address and stealing campaign signs she didn’t like.

The budget is balanced and the cops are tip-top. Or else.

We need only reflect on the way the City has bent over backwards to cover-up the scandal of Wild Ride Joe Felz to know that what Domer is peddling about is utter bullshit.

And as further proof (if we needed any), let us pause for a moment to consider the following snippet from Domer’s press release:

Based on evidence uncovered in our internal investigation and direction from the City Council, the City Attorney’s Office has now filed a complaint in Superior Court seeking a temporary restraining order against the involved Blog and its contributors.

Say what? Direction from the City Council? When O’ when did that ever occur? The issue of whether or not to take FFFF to court has never been publicly agendized and never voted on by the City Council. The subject has never been discussed by our marble-mouthed City Attorney, Dick Jones reporting out of Closed Session.

Domer says he has a “philosophy” of transparent access to information. His actions give us a crystal-clear view of what that philosophy really is: stall, hide, deceive, misrepresent, and ass-cover.

 

The Bullshit of “Anticipated Litigation”

nothing to see here more along

California’s Brown Act specifically enumerates when public agencies can meet in secret (Closed Session, they call it) away from the prying eyes of the nuisancy public that pays for the whole show. One of these exempt categories is “litigation,” in which secrecy is deemed to be okie-dokie. The problem is that government agencies, when given an inch will invariably take a mile.

But when you fail to specifically constrain the arm of government, they will invariably flex those muscles. And so it is that “litigation” has come to include anticipated litigation which, of course, could cover just about anything, anywhere, at any time. And that label seems to give the City of Fullerton reason to believe it can omit the names of anticipated litigants. The anticipated litigants must, necessarily remain in the dark about what the government is about to do to them, while the government, for its part, gets a jump on its adversary. Of course this isn’t right, but what do rights have to do with the City of Fullerton government?

Let’s first take a look at the City’s Closed Session agenda for September 17:

Opacity from a “transparent” government…

Notice the final two items have been draped in the magical shroud of “anticipated litigation.” We may wonder what the Big Mystery is. Rumors are circulating that at least one of the the items in question is the City’s desire to sue humble little us, Friends for Fullerton’s Future, and that the council has voted to do so. Could that really be true? FFFF, of course, would be the last to know. But the City Attorney made no mention of such doings while “reporting out,” from the Closed Session. If they’re true, what are we to make of the rumors?

Roosevelt Palmer Esq., Seeking Five Sisters…

The City has already sent a couple of laughable nastigrams in our direction, both of which were duly ignored, so litigation is plausible, but only if the City initiates it. This means that it is the City instigating, not reacting to likely litigation, and begs the question of why this issue would not be a matter for public discourse. And it also suggests that it is the city manager and his bumbling lawyers who will have advocated this harassment to cover up their own corruption they didn’t want exposed.

Well, I’m sure that covering up its clownish behavior is the last thing the esteemed council, upright city manager and brilliant city lawyers would ever do, so it seems pretty certain everything will be made clear. One way or another.

 

OC District Attorney Spitzer Goes Limp for Perv Cop

In case you haven’t heard by now, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office which is led by Todd Spitzer, filed a peeping charge against Fullerton Police Officer Jose Paez for filming up the skirt of a 16 year old student.

Let that sink in for a moment. A 16 year old, who Paez was on campus to protect, was his victim under color of authority.

According to the case information the violation date was 11/03/2017 and according to the FPD press release it was found by accident while investigating something else.

Paez Case Detail

Based on the Body Worn Camera audit conducted by FPD we know that Paez also attempted to film up a teacher’s skirt on 08/29/2017 which shows a pattern of behavior.

He also had underage sex videos and photos on a phone in his possession. Apparently chain of custody at FPD, regarding Child Pornography, is so lax that they don’t know who has it on what devices or where it’s stored.

To further complicate the issue, Paez was allowed to schedule deletion of his own Body Worn Camera videos.

Taking into account the potential charges such as peeping on teachers and underage students and possession of child pornography on his phone it seems unprofessional that Fullerton PD wouldn’t contract this case out to another department or agency. This ins’t a case of policy violations to be investigated by Internal Affairs but rather it is one of potential criminal conduct against children under color of authority. The community and students at FJUHSD deserved an objective outside source to look into these issues.

This is something they did not get because Fullerton put their perv officer first and the wall of silence stood still. Not a single officer came forward about Paez. Not a single council member. Not a single school board member. An officer was allowed to prey on our children in his capacity of School Resource Officer and the protected status of the police was more important than public notification.

Thanks to the DA only levying a single charge dating to almost two years ago this smells more like another case of FPD being caught with their pants down than actual due diligence. The priority doesn’t seem to be in protecting our city and our city’s children despite all of the attaboys Chief Dunn gave himself in his Press Release on the issue.

What stopped Paez from sharing nude photos of your daughters with his friends and co-workers? What’s to stop his replacement from doing the same?

Nothing and that’s how FPD likes it so shut up and go back to sleep. They’ll make this go away like so many other cases of criminality by their own in blue and then have the audacity to ask for a raise which council will give them.

This is the upside-down world we live in where justice consists of a press release followed by a likely plea deal where a pervert with a pattern of behavior of preying on women and children while under the color of authority will be allowed to walk with barely a slap on the wrist.

Spitzer is continuing the efforts of his predecessor who refused to file charges against Fullerton Officer Rincon despite groping women in his patrol car during traffic stops. A pattern that consisted of letting off Fullerton Officer Christopher Chiu who forced a naked women to stand for him so he could shine his light up her crotch and then ask for her number.

Sexual predation seems to be A-OK behind the Blue Wall of Silence supported by the brass at FPD, City Hall and the DA’s Office.

We all knew, based on the Jailhouse Snitch program, that there was seemingly nothing the Orange County District Attorney’s Office wouldn’t do to protect bad cops but now that includes downplaying sexual crimes against a School Resource Officer. All to protect a pervert in blue.

When did FPD send the case to the DA? How long did they sit on the Paez problem? Was he fired or was he allowed to quit? Chief Dunn won’t tell you. Did FPD or the DA even ask for potential victims to come forward or were they too worried about the bad press they’d get by possibly uncovering a #PaezMeToo problem they ignored for at least a year?

Meet DA Todd Spitzer, same as DA Tony Rackauckas – a hero for self-proclaimed heroes and nobody else.

Fullerton School Board Ignored Issue of Campus Police Pervert

Paez Barista

For those of you paying attention to the story of Perv Cop Paez, I’ll direct your attention to some correspondence with the Fullerton Joint Union High School Board of Trustees from back in December 2018 when rumors of this story first came to light.

This is an email a friend of ours sent to each member of the school board:

FUHSD re Paez

Hi,

I just heard a rumor that a school officer working with Fullerton police, officer Paez, had naked photos of at least one student on his phone. If the student is underage I understand a name not being released but how many victims are there and do I need to be worried about my children?

Should parents be concerned about their child being victimized?

Is this true and if so is the school district covering this up?

I would hope that you learned something about honesty after Lindgren molested students at Nicholas. Please let me know if these allegations have merit and that Fullerton isn’t in the habit of covering up sexual predators.

Thanks.

Concerned Parent

Only one member even bothered to respond and that was the following paltry message:

Thank you for the information, I will bring this up with our Superintendent tonight. 

Thanks,

Andy Montoya

So there you have it folks. A Fullerton Police Officer, in his capacity of School Resource Officer, was allowed to roam campus unchecked, film up the skirts of teachers and students, delete his own Body Camera videos with no oversight and allegedly store child pornography on his (department issued?) phone and you the public get to know nothing.

The Fullerton High School Board of Trustees won’t even bother to respond to you if you’re concerned about such things as predatory officers abusing their power to peep on your daughters.

To this day the school board has remained mum, the police chief put out a press release extolling his own virtues and you can bet our useless council will pat the department on the back for the bare minimum that was accomplished here.

How many students were victims of Fullerton PD while on campus? How many have a #PaezMeToo story to tell? Are your kids safe from predators while on campus? You don’t have a right to know according to the Fullerton Joint Union High School Board and Fullerton Police Department.

FUHSD School Board

Breaking News: Fullerton Threatens Local Blog – Again

The city is threatening to sue us… again.

Let’s have a look at the newest letter from the city (PDF HERE) before getting into why this is happening:

Dear Ms. Aviles:

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

As legal counsel for the City of Fullerton, I write, pursuant to California Government Code section 6204 et seq., to notify you, as legal counsel to the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future (FFFF) blog, that the City of Fullerton has reasonable grounds to believe that owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the FFFF blog are in unlawful possession of records belonging to the City of Fullerton. The records were taken and used by FFFF blog owner(s) and/or operator(s) without the City’s authorization and fall within the definition of “record” under California Government Code Section 6204(a)(2), as well as the definition of “public records” under California Government Code § 6252(e), and are described as follows:

Any and all records obtained from the City of Fullerton’s Dropbox account (https://cityoffullerton.com/outbox) that were not directly provided by the City to Joshua Ferguson or any of FFFF’s agents or associates through an emailed link, including, but not limited to, records contained in a folder named “prl 919 – Josh Ferguson.”

Therefore, pursuant to Govemmentt Code section 6204, within twenty (20) calendar days of receiving this notice, the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog are hereby directed to either:

  1. (1)  Return the above-referenced records to the City of Fullerton, as previously requested; or
  2. (2)  Respond in writing and declare why the above-referenced records do not belong to the City of Fullerton. Ifthe owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog do not deliver the above-described records, or do not respond adequately to this notice and its demand within the required time, we will immediately thereafter petition the Superior Court of Orange County for an order requiring the return of these records.

We further note that the FFFF blog has posted many of the confidential City documents after receipt of our office’s June 13, 2019 cease-and-desist email. (A copy of that email is enclosed herein). Many, if not all, of the confidential City records posted to the FFFF blog are explicitly exempted from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, would not have been provided to Mr. Ferguson or FFFF agents or associates in response to a Public Records Act request, and could only have been obtained without the City’s express authorization. Such records posted to the FFFF blog are confidential and exempt from disclosure pursuant to the following authorities:

  • “Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(a);
  • “Records pertaining to pending litigation to which the public agency is a party, or to claims made pursuant to Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810), until the pending litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(b);
  • “Personnel, medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(c);
  • Law enforcement investigative records. Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(f); and
  • “Records, the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not limited to, provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(k), which includes the following privileges:

o Attorney-client privileged records. Cal. Evid. Code 950 et seq.; Roberts v. City of Palmdale, 5 Cal. 4th 363 (1993);

o Attorney work product. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2018.010 et seq.;
o Peace officer personnel records. Cal. Penal Code § 832.7 et seq.; and o Confidential closed session information. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54963.

FFFF’s unauthorized access and misuse of the City’s clearly privileged and exempted documents constitute a violation of California Penal Code section 502, which grants civil remedies (including compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and potential punitive damages) to any persons or entities injured by any violations thereof. See Cal. Pen. Code § 502(c), (e).

As such, unless FFFF complies with the demands set forth in the City’s June 13, 2019 cease and desist letter within 24 hours, the City will have no choice but to pursue all criminal and civil remedies available to it under the law.

Bruce A. Lindsay

Fullerton Cease and Desist 2 Page 01 Fullerton Cease and Desist 2 Page 02

What is this all about?

For those in the cheap seats we at Friends For Fullerton’s Future broke news story after new story by publishing documents that the city didn’t want disclosed and tying those documents to local events and items of public interest. Those stories include, but are not limited to:

The city settling with a police officer to sidestep disclosure laws regarding police misconduct.

The results of a Body Worn Camera audit for a School Resource Police Officer who had, what appears to be, child pornography on his (or perhaps department issued) cell phone.

An insurance payout for an accident that destroyed a city vehicle.

Likely fraud by city employees costing over $50,000 worth of waste/theft.

Possible Accounting fraud within the city budget used to hide salary costs.

A city council member specifically targeting one businesses.

Massive Police Overtime abuse that went on for 6 years.

Evidence that the city is lying and violating the California Public Records Act.

And more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more and more.

In short, they’re mad that we’re doing what journalists are supposed to do daily. We’re using information to piece together stories in order to inform the public.

These latest threats are meant to serve as a chilling effect to silence people who would dare impugn the character of Fullerton with facts the city wants obscured. I’m hesitant to head to city hall or go to council meetings lately knowing that the city is targeting me personally for the use of free speech on this news site / blog. And that’s really the point of these types of threats – to silence dissenters.

How will we respond to this latest salvo by the city? I reckon we’ll confer with our legal counsel and act accordingly.