NOCCCD

Good Golly. Goodbye Molly. Good Riddance

Put on a happy face.

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.

Knowledge just leads to complicity.

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.

Lights out…

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.

 

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Meanwhile Back @ The Ranch – Part 4

Grossly overfed…

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.

It Wasn’t Here a Minute Ago

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.

Nothing intelligent was forthcoming…

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.

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The Maxwell Smart Strategy for Approving School Bonds

One of the regular go to jokes on the old Get Smart show was when Don Adams, after being caught redhanded in a baldfaced lie, would follow up with “Would you believe…” while trying to walk back the lie to something the listener might accept.

Well, it turns out that this is exactly how school bond measures get drafted and, ultimately, passed.

The Fullerton School District has recently commissioned a Baseline Bond feasibility survey from True North Research (available here) and they have been calling residents to feel out their receptiveness to a $198 milion bond measure that, by their own admission, will increase property taxes by at least another $93 per year. What is interesting about the survey is not that the School District wants more money and isn’t shy about raising taxes to do it (they wouldn’t be a government agency otherwise) but that it is designed to determine what promises need to be made to get it. Hence the reason why the question about removing “dangerous asbestos” was included, even though A) asbestos is generally more dangerous when it is removed and B) the City of Fullerton supposedly removed the asbestos from their classrooms thirty five years ago according to this article in the LA Times archive.

The results of the Baseline Survey will be presented to the Fullerton School Board at their next meeting on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. The bond measure, if when it is ultimately approved by the School Board to go on the ballot will likely be drafted based on which spending priorities polled best, and for an amount that does not exceed the comfort level the polled residents expressed.

Of course the problem arises when the promises needed to pass a bond measure conflict with the what the school district wants to actually use the money in question for. And if the Fullerton School District is anything like the North Orange County Community College District or most other school districts, the solution is simple – spend it on what you wanted to anyway, and to hell with your promises.

Would you believe $500 million for a brand new state of the art Veteran’s Center? How about a couple busted laptops and a new football stadium?

I take no joy in calling out the Fullerton School District here. Unlike the City’s roads (which are a pothole strewn laughingstock), our schools are among the best in Orange County and a key reason many of us chose to live here (myself included). But well run or not, our schools suffer the same problems endemic to government – excess allocation to pay and benefits at the expense of infrastructure, administrative bloat and employee protections that make it too costly to fire bad employees – and until these problems are addressed bond measures designed to paper over the financial shortfalls will be a steady fixture at the ballot box. Along with a steady stream of promises nobody intends to fulfill.

 

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Yes, two stadiums are too many

Regular readers know we have already covered the the proposed Fullerton College stadium in detail (see here, here and here). In a nutshell, the NOCCD Board of Trustees want to turn Sherbeck Field into a 4500 seat football stadium so the Hornets can play football in their own stadium instead of their current location, or the Fullerton High School stadium located less than three tenths of a mile away.

The horror.

The residents around Princeton Circle have been fighting this boondoggle for awhile and appear to be getting organized. They have website, http://www.sharethestadium.org,  and are passing out campaign signs, to spread the word that the Sherbeck Field proposal is a costly and unnecessary boondoggle and should be scrapped.

Admittedly, they don’t hammer on my biggest objection to the stadium – the fact that the funds to build it only exist because the voters passed Measure J in 2014, based on the (since reneged) promise to improve the Veterans Centers on campus, but perhaps their approach will be more effective long term. Either way, this is a good sign that the Trustees have a  well deserved fight on their hands.

Regardless of where you live, the conduct by the NOCCCD Trustees is a slap on the face for every taxpayer who believes in fiscal accountability and responsibility, or who believes politicians should keep their campaign promises. If you want to help the effort to force some accountability by the NOCCCD, be sure to pay the sharethestadium.org folks a visit.

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Where’s Dino? Part 2

https://youtu.be/a9KyMyo-fcA

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 Schulz Factor: happy-looking but not credible…

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.

There was confusion on campus…

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.

Put on a happy face.

No, that’s not quite right, is it?

 

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Where’s Dino?

 

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?

There was confusion on campus…

FFFF has serially reported that the North Orange County Community College District orchestrated some sort of “investigation,” conducted by their own special government defense lawyer. But FJC President, Greg Schulz ain’t saying anything after all this time except for spouting some embarrassingly contradictory double talk.

So what’s the status of Dino Skokos? And has there been any legal action by the kid who he choke slammed up against a wall and then threw to the ground? Who knows? Not the public, that’s for sure.

Remember when Schulz promised the college’s full dedication in reaching a conclusion regarding the incident? I guess that never included letting the public know what was going on.

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FJC’s Dino Skokos “Not Going to Be An Employee of District.” Or Will He? Schulz Zigs, Zags and Ends up Where He Started

The Schulz Factor: happy-looking but not believable

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.

There was a bit of confusion on campus…

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.

 

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So Whatever Happened to Dino Skokos?

No, there is no happy cartoon dinosaur in this story…

You remember Dino, right? He was the guy who retired from the LA Sheriff Department with a disability and then took a job as a campus security guard at Fullerton Junior College.

In October 2016 Dino assaulted a student for failing to acknowledge his august authority:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9KyMyo-fcA

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:

  1. What happened to the “independent” investigator, Currier and Hudson?
  2. How much has Currier and Hudson charged us for their “services?”
  3. Has the student who was assaulted and falsely arrested sued the taxpayers, and if so, what are the details?
  4. Was there a settlement when no one was looking?
  5. What happened to the Fullerton Police Department in all of this; did they ever bother investigate this themselves? If not, why not?

The Schulz Factor: simple and happy-looking but not believable

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!

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Burn Down Hillcrest Park?


Another City Council agenda, another questionable proposal by Parks & Recreation.

Next Tuesday, the City Council will consider a new location for the Fourth of July fireworks and celebration.  The Fullerton Union High School stadium is no longer available for such purposes.  News of the impending change has been known for some time, yet Parks & Rec waited until 2½ months before July 4th to bring this to the council for a vote.  Great planning!

Have a look at the agenda letter:

“Although considered, some of the these venues don’t have the sufficient capacity to hold the expected crowds and comply with Fire Department’s ingress / egress requirements; adequate firework firing zones / fall-out zones; or are too costly.”

Say what?  Three sentences later, they propose to use Hillcrest Park as a fireworks launch area.  Yes, the same Hillcrest Park identified by the State of California as being within a “Moderate” Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ).  The same Hillcrest Park that lost many trees during the multi-year drought.  The same Hillcrest Park that had 50 to 75 trees planted on Arbor Day to replace what was lost during the drought.  I think you get the idea.

No mention is made whether the Fire Department approves of this idea, only that the City’s “pyrotechnic consultant” gave the green light.   One would think if the Fire Department expressed concerns about hazards at CSUF, Amerige Field, or the softball fields at FUHS, they would be just as concerned about mature trees at Hillcrest Park going up in flames.

Lions Field

For the sake of discussion, assume fireworks launched from Hillcrest Park will be deemed “safe”.   How prudent is it to have festivities at Lions Field?  The City spent an extra $1.7 million to install synthetic turf there in 2010.  With extra foot traffic and “vendors, attractions, main stage, VIP and staff area…” using the field, preventing turf damage will be nearly impossible.  Have they taken this into consideration?  Probably not.

The agenda letter suggests “ample capacity” for necessities like parking.  Lions Field and the lower Hillcrest parking lot have about 170 parking spaces.   Everybody else will have to park their cars at North Court (like in previous years), the Elks Lodge, along Brea Blvd, at private businesses, or in adjacent neighborhoods.  Parking problems will be an issue no matter where the festivities are held, unless, of course, CSUF could be used, which leads me to ask…

  • Why is CSUF not a viable location?  The agenda letter makes reference to another site being “too costly” but is devoid of specifics.  I can only assume the location being referred to is CSUF.  How much would it cost?  Has the City approached CSUF for leniency on fees?  What did they say?
  • What about Fullerton College?  Did the City approach NOCCCD about hosting the event there?  What did they say?
  • What about the Parks and Recreation Commission?  How did they vote on moving the venue to Hillcrest/Lions Field?  Oh, wait, the matter was never brought before the commission for a discussion and vote.   Had the meeting not been cancelled, this would have made for a timely discussion at the March 13, 2017 Parks & Rec meeting.

This type of nonsense has, embarrassingly, become business as usual for the Parks & Recreation Department.  The commission is regularly bypassed on important issues. When those issues are presented to the City Council for a final vote, the department does so on an absolute last-minute basis — often with erroneous or incomplete information — leaving no time for a continuance, or for other options to be explored.

The residents of Fullerton deserve a lot better.  I wish the City Council and City Manager would put their foot down and say enough is enough.

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And the Award for Most Ridiculous Awards Show Goes to…

While there is much in government to bemoan and criticize there is apparently much to celebrate as well, at least according to the Association of California Cities – Orange County, who are soliciting nominations for the Sixth Annual Golden Hub of Innovation Awards.


Yes, that’s right. The Government has an award show.

The ACC-OC is giving out awards in multiple categories, including Elected Leader of the Year, City Manager Leader of the Year, Innovator of the year and Public Private Partnerships of the year.
Last year’s winner for Innovator of the Year was the Anaheim Fire Chief who approved an ambulance system to respond to non-urgent medical requests, an “innovation” about fifty years behind almost every emergency response system outside out Orange County. Not to be outdone, 2014’s winner of the Innovator of the Year award was this guy:

A toast to all my good ideas…

The ACC-OC is a lobbying organization, ostensibly created to lobby on behalf of its member Cities in Sacramento, and prevent the passage of legislation harmful to municipalities, but their actual priority seems to be lobbying Cities to implement the kind of statist, crony, public-private partnerships the organization itself prefers. For example, in one seminar sponsored in July 2015, ACC-OC advocated both streetcars and the Poseidon desalination plant in a seminar hosted by no less than Curt Pringle himself. ACC-OC also was one of the driving forces behind the HERO program, which facilitated construction of solar panels by converting the construction costs into high interest tax liens on residences (specifically, eight percent a year high, for a senior lien). So, not only does ACC-OC lobby Fullerton for bad legislation but we PAY them to do so with our own tax dollars.

That aside, in the spirit of this press release, can FFFF come up with its own nominees or, better yet, its own categories for the “Golden Hub of Innovation?” Maybe award Hugo Curiel Procrastinator of the Year for his failure to report the water loss at Laguna Lake until the statute of limitations against the civil engineer that performed the work had run? Perhaps a doublespeak award is in order for the fine folks at the NOCCCD for their efforts to claim that the football stadium they are trying to build with Measure J money isn’t going to be built with Measure J money. ACC-OC also needs a White Elephant of the Year award to honor tireless efforts of some staffers to push expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects like streetcars, ARTIC or the “Great Park” in Irvine. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

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