It transpires that phony 5th District candidate, Tony Castro – the boob set up by the OC Democratic Party to siphon votes away from Oscar Valadez to help Ahmad Zahra – got into a wee bit of trouble last year.
What sort of trouble? Well, here’s the court Case Summary:
Warrant. Fugitive. Complaint. Falsely reporting planting of a bomb. Falsely reporting an emergency. And my favorite – Telephone calls w/intent to annoy. Of course there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, I’m sure.
Tony stopped by our blog a few weeks back and left a hundred fake comments that really suggested the pathos of his campaign – and his life.
Here at FFFF HQ we always leave the door open for Fullerton citizens to share their issues. This instance is a little different. We received (anonymously) a statement that purports to be by a 5th District resident. I don’t know who wrote it, or in what context it was written. I don’t need to know. It is a well-written, eloquent, and damning indictment of Ahmad Zahra’s weepy, sleezy, self-serving 4 year tenure on the Fullerton City Council.And it’s all true.
Here’s the statement as we received it:
“1. Mr. Zahra denied the voters of Fullerton the opportunity to elect a member to a half term on the Fullerton City Council. Although he at first vocally supported an election to fill the at-large seat vacated by Jesus Silva on the Fullerton City Council, Mr. Zahra ultimately voted to appoint someone to the two year remainder of this term despite dozens of public speakers from all backgrounds pleading for a special election. Mr. Zahra argued that a special election would be too expensive, but went on to support at least one other questionable expenditure far in excess of the estimated cost of such an election.
“2. Following the appointment of Jan Flory to the aforementioned two year seat on the city council, she joined council member Jennifer Fitzgerald and Mr. Zahra himself in appointing Mr. Zahra to a paid seat on the Board of the Orange County Water District, supplanting the city’s then current representative, whose term had not yet expired. The vote gave the appearance of an obvious quid pro quo, wherein Mr. Zahra supported appointing Ms. Flory to the council in exchange for her support in appointing him as Fullerton’s representative to the OCWD.
“3. Mr. Zahra consistently voted to support spending over a million dollars on legal fees to sue two writers from the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog who downloaded private files from an unguarded and publicly available folder on the city’s website— a folder to which the city itself had directed the bloggers. The blog’s publication of of at least some of these files revealed incompetence and malfeasance on the part of the city’s administration and police department. In addition to being an enormous waste of public funds on a suit the city was unlikely to win, this lawsuit represented a serious attack on freedom of the press, on par with legal actions taken against the publication of the Pentagon Papers fifty years ago—that is, an attempt by government to suppress publication of materials embarrassing to it and to punish news outlets who would do so. Council member Zahra’s support of this lawsuit alone should be reason for any news organization to decline to endorse him for public office.
“4. Mr. Zahra participated in a council subcommittee consisting of himself and then Council member Jennifer Fitzgerald. This economic development subcommittee held meetings behind closed doors with no publicly available agendas, no publicized meetings times or places, and no subsequent public notes. The public were not invited to attend. No one knows what was discussed in these meetings.
“5. No notes were ever made available from the aforementioned subcommittee meetings, but Mr. Zahra subsequently supported, with great enthusiasm, the development of the former Kimberly Clark property into a massive warehouse distribution site for Goodman Logistics, a frequent host of Amazon delivery services. It is no exaggeration to state that Goodman subsequently stripped the site of every living tree, including a perimeter of large, mature pine trees and groves of fruit trees that included the last orange tree orchard in Fullerton.
“6. Mr. Zahra falsely claimed authorship of a story about the Orange County Water District submitted for publication and ultimately published by The Fullerton Observer. Subsequent discovery that the article was actually authored by OCWD staff caused public embarrassment to the Observer and revealed that Mr. Zahra was willing to uncritically and deceptively pass along an agency’s public relations material to The Fullerton Observer as his own writing, casting clear doubt about the independence of his representation of Fullerton on the Board of this agency as well as his trustworthiness as a public official.
“7. Mr. Zahra has refused to reveal the ultimate disposition of criminal charges brought against him while serving on the council. Although the charges were reported by the Observer to have been dismissed, court records were sealed, denying the public the right to know what actually happened in the case of a public official accused of assault and vandalism. Whether or not the charges were judged to be justified, Mr. Zahra should have revealed exactly how this case proceeded and how it was ultimately concluded to dispel any doubt in the minds of his constituents.
“8. Mr. Zahra appointed to the Planning Commission, arguably the most important and powerful committee or commission in the city, a representative for a pro-development organization Her role as director of this organization represented a clear conflict of interest between her profession and her public service. She ultimately resigned from the Commission part way through her term with no prior notice during one of its meetings, leaving before the meeting has been concluded the the evening. Such an appointment, in my opinion, calls into question Mr. Zahra’s judgement.
“Additionally, we should remember that the 5th District was created to accommodate representation by the area’s largely Latinx population—the only such district in the city. Endorsing the only non-Latino in this contest would not seem to advance this goal.”
Here’s something for Latino voters to contemplate: their current representative in District 5, Ahmad Zahra. Dope near schools. What a piss-poor idea. Well in Zahra’s orbit, marijuana money talks. Loudly. Zahra is always bleating some “progressive” platitude or other to manage his little social media coterie, but the fact is he is in deep with the weed lobby despite the Latina opposition that spurred a recall attempt.
Here’s the front of a mailer we just received:
And of course there’s a backside.
No, Zahra isn’t working for D5. In fact he isn’t working for anybody. He’s unemployed. But he is looking for work – with the Long Beach Cannabis Cartel that’s just dying to make inroads into Fullerton.
The Fullerton Collaborative hosted a candidate forum, which featured some good questions and some not so good. It featured 5 out of 6 City Council candidates running in Districts 3 and 5 this year. Shana Charles received a hall pass and did not stay for the forum.
Ahmad Zahra was his usual full of himself self. The notorious man who never wasted a selfie opportunity was untruthful, effortlessly deceived the audience, remaining true to his duplicitous self.
Here’s a list of the many, oh, so many lies.
LIE #1: “The district I’ve called home for the last 21 years.”
TRUTH: Zahra’s voter registration record doesn’t agree.
LIE #2: “As a medical doctor.”
TRUTH: Zahra is not a licensed medical doctor or a medical professional of any kind.
LIE #3: “The budget needs to be reflective of the needs of our community.”
TRUTH: Zahra wasted a million dollars of the people’s money frivolously suing a local blog and its authors, and were it not for the new Council, that bill would still be accumulating. A million dollars would have paid for a fire engine and more than a handful of Parks and Recs, Police, or Firefighter, or Maintenance employees.
LIE #4: “We have a shortage of staff and we need to invest in those areas.”
TRUTH: Zahra had an opportunity to pass a budget with a 1% cut and $1 million dollars to the City Manager to fill staffing concerns. He voted no, not once, but on three different City Council meetings.
LIE #5: “I would love to see more drug programs and engaging our school district on drug prevention programs.”
TRUTH: Zahra advocated for publicly and voted for on four separate occasions to have weed sold in Fullerton with only a 100 foot buffer zones to schools or homes or churches or parks.
LIE #6: “Supportive housing is crucial, but we need to make sure we are also outreaching and creating transparency.”
TRUTH: 1600 Commonwealth is an affordable housing development and so little transparency and outreach was done that the neighbors protested en masse and killed the deal with Pathways of Hope because of lack of outreach and transparency.
LIE #7: “We need to make sure our parks are maintained and cleaned.”
TRUTH: Zahra voted to give away Union Pacific Park in the heart of his district to a for-profit event planner for weddings.
LIE #8: “I have been one of the most engaged Council members. Everybody knows I’m out there.”
TRUTH: Woodcrest neighborhood mothers and residents have come to one Council meeting after another in the past 2 years complaining about Zahra’s lack of accessibility and lack of engagement with them. But then again, they are not kissing his ass and stroking his giant ego. He works with the Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. Why? Because their director donates to his campaign and their employee Egleth Nuncci is his permanent tag-a-long. No other non-profit or community group gets any engagement from Zahra.
LIE #9: “We also need to expand our ability to do corporate partnerships.”
TRUTH: Zahra strong armed Republic Services, the City’s trash hauler to give his pet project city in a foreign country a trash truck and then promptly took a selfie and credit for saving democracy. That’s not a corporate partner. That is a quid pro quo.
LIE #10: “I have worked with this Council, despite sometimes the hard times and differences we’ve had.”
TRUTH: Zahra only works for and with Zahra. He has no contact with his Council colleagues. So how are you working with this Council, Ahmad?
LIE #11: “Be faithful with my votes.”
TRUTH: Zahra made an impassioned speech about how important voting was in his country of Syria and that the at large Council seat vacated by Jesus Quirk-Silva should be determined in a special election to betray the people and his faith in democracy the very next meeting and appoint the elderly disaster Jan Flory, who in turn voted to appoint him to the Orange County Water District and its healthy stipend, one he took without objection and then donated to his campaign.
LIE #12: “We see so many Councilmembers come and then they make backroom deals.”
TRUTH: See TRUTH #11.
The truth is Ahmad Zahra is nothing more than a serial liar. Things come apart so easily when they are held together by lies. It’s always the ones with dirty hands doing all the finger pointing isn’t it?
Apparently, Ahmad Zahra held some sort of meet and greet (I’ll talk to anyone, but I won’t tell them the truth) Sunday morn, behind a donut store.
There to greet him were some protesters who seem to be angry that he voted several times to allow marijuana dispensaries within 100 feet of homes and schools – at the behest of emissaries from the Long Beach weed store cartel.
(Revised: I missed the Date Qualified column and so missed the fact that Shelby Perea and Rosalia Guillen did not qualify for the ballot. The text of the post is revised to reflect this)
The most notable feature is the number of Spanish surnamed candidates in the 5th, a fact that makes it much easier for the arrested and charged incumbent, Ahmad Zahra, to continue his sanctimonious hypocrisy from the dais.
We already know that Tony Castro is an unemployed dead-beat who gives off the aroma of a Zahra plant meant to split the Latino vote. Oscar Valadez seems to be a good Catholic boy with a family, a house, a real a job, and standing in the community – all of which set him apart from the empty suit, Zahra. Valadez’s statement says a lot of popular sounding stuff and he’s a Stanford graduate. Geez, it would be nice to have a councilman who wasn’t a preening, self-absorbed weasel? Oscar has the support of Fred Jung, so that’s another positive indication. Zahra wants to save murals and “assets.” He says he’s lived in Fullerton for 21 years which is probably just another Zahra lie he figures nobody can disprove. Among his other supporters of dubious intelligence, he lists the octogenarian bird-brain Molly McClanahan – which is almost cause for pity.
Over in D3 there are 3 candidates. We’ve already been introduced to Shana Charles, whose statement includes “progressive” catch-phrases. Her statement about restoring Fullerton’s “gutted” services means one thing – another swing at a tax increase. Her backers are the Quirk-Silvas, of course. I wonder if she’s ever even bothered to thank the Council for creating a district that she is in and that Jesus Quirk-Silva is not! The second candidate is Arnel Dino. But Dino Arnel sounds way better, so that’s what I’m calling him from now on. Mr. Arnel seems to be a lefty also, which doesn’t bode well. Those who have seen him perform on the Planning Commission are immensely underwhelmed. The final candidate is John Ybarra who seems to have relocated to the 5th District. His campaign statement is concise and rational. It appears to be a somewhat conservative and pragmatic voice. One thing is certain: the other two will never fight for accountability at City Hall.
The final element in this election will be the Independent Expenditure committees. The cops and emergency truck driver unions will back Zahra and most likely Charles – liberals, yes, but public union supporters, uber alles.
Then there’s Fullerton Taxpayers for Reform, an I.E. run by Tony Bushala that evidently has set its sights on Zahra. They have already launched a shot across Zahra’s bow, and are likely to continue the pummeling until Zahra’s attitude improves.
So I’m driving down Commonwealth yesterday afternoon and notice a protest in front of D’Vine, another one of downtown Fullerton’s scofflaw noise nuisances.
And then I noticed this:
Hmm. Nice sign, black and white. That’s appropriate.
Turns out that Ahmad Zahra was holding a fundraiser for himself at D’Vine, with special guest, career politician Lou Correa. Apparently, Fullerton Taxpayers For Reform financed by Tony Bushala have decided to remind Mr. Zahra that he was arrested and charged by the DA with battery and vandalism, perpetrated against one “Monica F.”
Zahra publicly claimed he was “exonerated” although a conflicting narrative emerged from a source in the DA’s office – that he pled guilty to get his slate wiped clean. He hasn’t bothered sharing any evidence of his alleged exoneration and probably hoped the whole issue would disappear. If he though that he must now know he was wrong.
It might be interesting to find out what Lou Correa thinks about his boy now, especially considering there’s still twelve weeks before election day. Zahra’s devoted followers will cry out his victimhood, yet again, but there’s only so far he can ride that donkey.
As a public service to Fullertonions, we here at FFFF like to keep folks apprised of who’s who in the political zoo.
And so, with 5 days left for November 2022 City Council election filing, we present those who have “pulled papers” in order to qualify for the ballot. Here’s the current list:
In D5 we see Shana Charles, whom we have already introduced, here. This individual is part of the academic healthy neighborhoods mafia who mobilize Latinas to babble about things about which they are completely ignorant. She is buddies with the egregious Ahmad Zahra, which tells you all you want to know about her. She will try to mobilize the hard-core lefties over CSUF way, but are there really that many of them?
Doctor Shana has an opponent, a person called Arnel Dino. Mr. Dino is on the Fullerton Planning Commission, a common stepping stone for the City Council. I’m not familiar with this individual but I will be.
Over in D3 we have Zahra himself, a guy who has tried to cash in regurgitating boohoo generalities and photobombing every picture taken in Fullerton. In 4 years he has accomplished nothing except hiding his own arrest and charge for battery and vandalism against a woman. Even his emergency vote to allow weed stores within 100 feet of a school was later rescinded.
A potential opponent for Zahra is a fellow named Oscar Valadez. I haven’t learned much about this man, but I have been told he works for his long-time Fullerton family business. That alone makes him supremely more qualified than Zahra who apparently has been unemployed since being on the City Council. A guy who pays taxes, employs people, and has a family? Hmm.
At the bottom of the list we find somebody named “Tony Castro” who pulled papers the very day after Mr. Valadez. That makes one wonder. Nobody I have spoken to knows anything about this individual which leads me to smell a rat. Or in this case, a rata. It’s an old trick to find a patsy to enter a political campaign to split off an opponents votes, in this case, possibly Latino voters. Who would benefit from this? Why, the ethically-challenged Zahra, of course. So we’ll be keeping an eye on Tony Castro and will let the Friends know what’s going on.
FFFF has squirted some cyber-ink on the missus, so I thought we ought to start spending a bit of time with Pilferin’ Paulette’s hubby, the egregious Doug “Bud” Chaffee.”
This piece was recently sent out by Chaffee’s OC Board of Supervisor challenger, Sunny Park of Buena Park.
The reference here is to an early foray of the Chaffee Crime Family into “affordable” housing, the subsidized sort that always costs so much more than the regular kind. Of course this was thirty years ago and Chaffee has a much longer list of grifts large and small, including selling out the advocates of preserving the West Coyote Hills, creating phony districts in Fullerton, supporting overbuilt prison, I mean apartment blocks with inadequate parking, and of course spending all his time failing to reform the Fullerton Police Department.
On the Board of Supervisors Chaffee has distinguished himself by hiding COVID information from the public, overseeing the public humiliation and politicization of the Health Care Agency, and being a lackey for the misfeasance of his fellow board member, Andrew Do. And the funniest thing of all is that he, as Chairman of the Commission to End Homelessness, had to confess to reporters that he didn’t know what the Commission does.
Putting politician’s faces on animals has always struck me as desperate and sort of silly, persuasion-wise. But Sunny is running against an incumbent (and recumbent) Democrat and needs to syphon enough votes to 1) at least come in second; and, 2) keep Bud from reaching the magic 50%+1 number thereby forcing a runoff in November. Will this help?
The 2022 effort to create new districts stumbles along. Last week, the Commission set-up to make a recommendation to the City Council met to discuss the several maps that had been submitted. The complete lack of public participation was evident – only a handful of maps were submitted.
At the end of the meeting a 5-2 majority favored Map 114 – the demographers tweak of Commissioner John Seminara’s Map 106. Then they added Maps 111 and 112 as worthy of Council consideration. Take a look at Map 114. The dark lines show current district boundaries:
Map 114 isn’t perfect, but it is informed by Fullerton’s clear major street boundaries and respects both ethnic and physical communities of interest. It cleans up the idiotic Tentacles of Interest foisted on the voters in 2016 by our former Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald. There would no longer be district contortions so that council members could each have an interest in the public money vortex knows as Downtown Fullerton.
Two of the commission members – former City employee Kitty Jaramillo, and Jody Vallejo preferred Map 110 a bizarre amalgamation for District 3 – a long, thin district that stretches from Placentia Avenue to Euclid Avenue connecting neighborhoods that are physically remote and that don’t share any obvious connection. The adherents of this map apparently banded together into a committee of some kind to concoct this hot, wet mess, proving that more heads are not necessarily better than fewer. Check out this acid burp:
The people who defended this map claimed that it is the “College map,” joining CSUF and FJC with their surrounding neighborhoods as a dubious “community of interest.” The further rationale for its support was that “many people” had participated in its creation. This map violates several basic tenets of district-making, to wit: creating a district (3) that is not compact; splitting the trans-57 community of interest into two separate tribes; and throwing together neighborhoods almost 4 miles apart in a weird, horizontal embrace.
How anybody could justify this District 3 is still beyond me. The demographer tried to make it less ridiculous by whacking it back by a mile (Map 112), but it still looks unsupportable by reason or logic. Here is Map 112.
So what gives? Commission member Tony Bushala dialed in to proclaim that Map110 (and by extension, Map 112 was motivated by purely political consideration, not the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Map Act that govern this process, and would have none of it. He didn’t elaborate.
And then it hit me.
Map 110 (and by extension Map 112) was submitted by a group of people committed to keeping Jesus Quirk-Silva, the current liberal, dim-witted D3 councilman in office. The other recommended maps – that removed the gerrymander that put him in the office – would leave him with no place to run in 2022 and out office!
Hence the desperation by this “committee” that wasted a lot of verbal gas doing what it not permitted by the FPA – protecting a party or a politician.
Oh, well, the maps go to the City Council on Tuesday the 8th, where outrage theater, liberally sprinkled with liberal handwriting will be featured on the playbill. Expect long lines the usual weepers, new and old, show up to promote Map 112. Will it work? That depends on Mayor Fred Jung who by now must be getting a shitload of unwanted importunity coming at him.
Of course there is nothing stopping a council majority from devising its own map, drawing on others, or cooking up a whole new one. But as it stands now, Map 114 is the one supported by the Redistricting Advisory Commission.