The Cost of Suing Us

Yes, that is the answer!

Fullerton just “separated from employment” 150+ non-union part-time staff. Why? Because despite years of Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s lies about a “Balanced Budget” and our mythical reserve fund – we had no plan for a rainy day.

During meetings, myself, David and others warned the City Council that a downturn was likely in the future and with CalPERS continually raising our pension costs we needed to be smarter financially.

Fitzy & Flory wanted none of that and spent like floozies in Vegas throwing every dollar we had at every uniform in sight with Silva, Chaffee and so on along for the ride.

Now here are we looking at a month of limited tax revenue and 150+ people lost their jobs with the city. 150+ positions aren’t being eliminated – no no no, they’ll tax us more to fill those again later and cry about not being to staff the libraries and parks to justify the new taxes/fees and whatever added costs to us they can cook up along the way. But 150+ people are now wondering how they’ll pay their bills.

But let me drive this home for you some more – the city is suing myself, David and this blog because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links in an account they sent us and told the world about in PRRs. Remember, according to Kimberly Hall Barlow this isn’t about publishing or the 1st Amendment – this is about alleged theft and “hacking” because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links.

In the process of investigating that alleged crime, the city found out that their network (which has fuckall to do with Dropbox) was incompetently setup and they hired an outside firm to fix it. This was the reason they claimed they waited to sue us for months on end – that they had to secure their network – which again has fuckall to do with Dropbox.

Glass Box Discussion

The firm they hired, Glass Box Technology, has a contract with the city for $60k/month not to exceed $500k.

Glass Box Contract

So far, according to the City Council approved Check Register, they’ve paid Glass Box $541,451.25 to date which is $41,451.25 over their “not to exceed” limit.

Glass Box Checks

That’s over half of a million dollars SO FAR because the City found out that they suck at running their own network as a BYPRODUCT of suing us which has nothing to do with what they allege we did. This was an unnecessary expense that has to come out of next year’s General Fund because it’s yet another major cockup for which nobody will be held accountable.

How many of those 150+ people wouldn’t need to be unemployed right now were it not for sheer incompetence in City Hall? Seems that $500k+ would have covered quite a few part timers.

Then we have the expense of our idiotic City Attorneys, Jones & Mayer. Since this nonsense started back in June with their Cease & Desist letters, the city has paid Jones & Mayer $891,074.49. We have no way to know how to split that up or what to attribute to the lawsuit against us because City Hall has a long history of lying about funding and hiding expenses in the wrong accounts. Just because something is coded to the Library, might not mean it has anything to do with the Library.

J&M Checks 2020

But if we assume that just 5% of their work product can be attributed to the lawsuit against us, and considering the reams of paper they keep filing with the courts we know their billable hours are stacking mile high, we can attribute approximately $44,553 to this stupid lawsuit. Seems to me that’s a few more part timers who could still be employed were it not for the malicious lawsuit being pursued by Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra.

We don’t know how much the city has paid their other experts or consultants in their pursuit of the evil “hackers” who allegedly clicked Dropbox links – some with my name on them – but so far we know it’s pushing $500k+.

Where there’s smoke…

Remember this come election time & demand answers from these idiots on council who would rather spend your money, and it is your money, attacking us over their own stupidity than spend it providing the very services they’re elected to oversee in our city.

Shame on Fullerton. Shame on Mayor Fitzgerald. Shame on the City Council for always squandering your money pursuing their egos instead of your best interests. Sure, they’ll blame the need to “separate from employment” those 150+ people on this “global pandemic” – but that’s only because they constantly spend all of your money elsewhere while lying to you about our “balanced budget”.

Hope Springs Eternal

There is a certain personality profile that is so narcissistic that it can’t conceive of the reality enjoyed by others. And that sobriquet must certainly apply to Paulette Marshall, the erstwhile candidate for County Board of Education who was so thoroughly trounced at the March 3rd election that she came in 5000 votes behind a candidate who spent 1/300th of what Marshall did.

If you need any evidence of this disconnect with reality, here’s Exhibit #1, an image harvested from Marshall’s Facebook page the day after the election:

Such delusion in a normal person might be cause for a certain amount of pity from folks. But this is not a normal person. This is thief, a liar, and a fraud. Pity would be misplaced. “Who cares now?” you may ask. You should. Because I predict that Fullerton hasn’t seen the past of Pilferin’ Paulette. Just wait and see.

 

It’s All About the Kids. And Party.

what did that funny man say?

I just took a quick tour of the required Form 460 campaign documents for the “committee” that is pushing for the $190,000,000 Fullerton Elementary School Bond measure on next Tuesday’s ballot. Sure enough, Schedule A, the contributor list for mid-January to mid-February was studded with district contractors, architects and other commercial hangers-on whose livelihood depends upon the goodwill of the administrators who no doubt illegally leaned on them to pony up. It was also turned in grossly incomplete and hopefully isn’t representative of the quality of  homework turned in required by students in the district.

The list was also remarkable for the relatively few district employees willing to drop their proverbial dime to the cause a few dozen. Remember that the district has hundreds of employees who pull down $100,000 or more, annually. In some cases, a helluva lot more.

But what really caught my attention was Schedule G, a page of which I faithfully reproduce below:

Mardi Gras came early…

Here we see an “independent agent” named Rob Coghlan dishing out $3500 for fundraising parties at a couple of downtown restaurants. How amusing. Well, hell, I like a good time as much as the next Irish-American, but really, $3500 to try to to raise money? Or maybe it was just to recognize previous camp follower donors. Who knows? But I do know that Robert Coghlan is an administrator in the school district. I sure hope he hasn’t been working during company time to lean on district contractors or employees for donations to his cause; or that maybe he really likes depositions.

Before and After….

Let’s make it easy. Here is the official CUP application blank form with the official city seal:

Poor Joe. Read. Weep.

And now, for comparison, the form submitted to the City by scofflaw Mr. Joe Florentine, and cheerfully processed by the planning department staff:

Something strange in the neighborhood…

I don’t know about you, but if I were a city bureaucrat, I’d looks askance at somebody misusing the official city seal on a forged document.

We Get Mail – Zombie School Bonds Edition

Kind Readers, every once in a while we receive an essay one of the Friends wishes to us to publish. In this instance Mr. George Jacobson has written a piece objecting to the proposed gigantic school bonds that the educrats at the FSD and FJUHS districts have smuggled onto the March ballot with virtually no public notice.

The vote on the second reading of the FSD Resolution that included language changes, was actually taken December 10th, a mere three days before the ballot opposition statement filing deadline and seven days after their Notice of Intent was filed. Well, let’s hear from Mr. Jacobson:

Always coming back for more…

ZOMBIE SCHOOL BOND MEASURES TERRORIZE FULLERTON VOTERS

by George Jacobson

They are coming after us, with their ravenous appetites. Yes, the Fullerton Union High School District (FUHSD) has placed on the March 3rd Presidential Primary ballot a very large property tax bond measure that will require every homeowner and property owner in the district to pay $30 per $100,000 assessed valuation. So, for example, if you live in a house that has a $500,000 assessed valuation, you will pay an extra $150/year in taxes to the high school district. But wait, it gets worse. Not to be outdone, the Fullerton Elementary School District (FSD) is also placing on the March 3rd ballot their own very large property tax bond measure, which also will require every homeowner and property owner living within the elementary school district’s boundary to pay an additional $30 per $100,000 assessed valuation. What this means is that if both bond measures—Measure J and Measure K—pass, and if you live in a home that’s assessed at $500,000, you will pay an extra $300 annually in property taxes.  Both Measure J and Measure K are by far the most expensive local school bonds to ever appear on the ballot in Fullerton!

Just like zombies, these two school districts keep coming back for more and more of your money, not waiting for bonds that they already got passed to be paid off. As you may recall, in 2014 the high school district fooled enough people to get their $175 million Measure I bond measure passed (it just barely passed, receiving a 56% “yes” vote; anything less than 55% “yes” and the bond measure would have lost). You may also recall the mailers urging a “Yes” vote that voters received claimed that the $175 million would be spent on educating and training FUHSD students for “jobs for the 21st Century.”

Now, a 21st Century job is usually one that is thought to encompass the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. And, for one to be successful and employable for such occupations, one needs to possess a solid background and understanding of math. So, let’s look at how FUHSD math students have performed since the $175 million Measure I bond passed in 2014. At the end of each year 11th graders (juniors) in all the district’s schools are administered the state test—California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). In 2015 at Fullerton Union High School 63% of the juniors did NOT meet the CAASPP grade level standard for Math. One would think that by 2018 the $175 million of Measure I bond money should have produced significant improvement in these students’ math scores. But, in fact, the students did worse! In 2018 67% of FUHS students did NOT meet the CAASPP grade level standard in Math. Shockingly, this worsening trend was the same at all the other FUHSD schools. Buena Park High: 76% in 2015, then 79% in 2018 not meeting the grade level standard for Math. La Habra High: 58% in 2015, then 67% in 2018. Sonora High: 55% in 2015, then 58% in 2018. Sunny Hills High: 40% in 2015, then 45.5% in 2018.

How could such a horrible worsening of the math scores occur, given that FUHSD’s top priority in 2014 was supposedly to train and educate district students for jobs for the 21st Century? A clue can be found in looking at what the district really spent the $175 million on. It turns out that FUHSD actually spent most of the $175 million on the following: a new theater at La Habra High, new stadiums at La Habra HS, Buena Park HS, and Fullerton HS, new swimming pools at Sunny Hills HS and Troy HS, and a new gymnasium at Sonora High. An actor, football player, and swimmer is not a 21st Century job! As for FSD, its students’ test scores also make for grim reading. For example, in 2018 the median English/Language Arts score on the CAASPP test was 51% of FSD students NOT meeting the grade level standard, with 6 FSD schools reporting 60% or more of its students not meeting the CAASPP grade level standard for English/Language Arts.

The Measure I 2014 property tax bond costs homeowners $19 per $100,000 assessed valuation, and is not paid off until 2039. Already a person living in a home that’s assessed at $500,000 is paying $95 annually in property taxes to the high school district. And, this same homeowner is already paying annual property taxes on the elementary school district’s Measure CC bond, which passed in 2002 and isn’t paid off until 2027. Plus, this homeowner is already paying on not just one, but two bonds that the college district (North Orange County Community College District—NOCCCD) got passed. In 2002 NOCCCD’s $239 million Measure X bond passed, and in 2014 so did NOCCCD’s $574 million Measure J bond. These two NOCCCD bonds cost $120 annually for a homeowner living in a house assessed at $500,000. When one adds up all the taxes that one is currently paying to FUHSD, FSD, and NOCCCD, if the two new bond measures that will appear on the March 3rd ballot are passed, one living in a house assessed at $500,000 will pay just to these three education districts $590!

There was a time when school districts lived within their means. If they issued a bond, they would pay it off over the bond’s 25-year period, and only after the bond was paid off would the school board then consider asking the voters to approve a new bond proposal. Clearly, those days are over in Fullerton. If the high school and elementary school districts fool enough voters to get their latest huge property tax increase bonds approved this March 3rd, what is to stop them and the college district from coming back again in 4 or 5 years with yet another bond measure? Remember, zombies keep coming back for more.

Our New Mayor

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

Our esteemed City Council appointed lobbyist-councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald to be the new mayor a couple weeks ago. Supposedly it’s her turn again. How and why Jan Flory was appointed Mayor Pro Tem is anybody’s guess, especially since Bruce Whitaker and Ahmad Zahra have been on the council longer without appointment – supposedly the criterion for getting the job.

Zahra and Jesus Silva Quirk are no doubt angling to grab the mayor titlee when they run for re-election in 2022. They aren’t too bright, but they’re smart enough to count in four-year increments.

But the nasty machinations of our talent-free council are not the point of this post, merely a rolling introduction. What I really want to share is the completely self-serving and fraudulent mayoral bio Ms. Fitzgerald has placed on the City’s website, the first two paragraphs of which I reproduce here:

Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald was elected to the Fullerton City Council in November 2012 and served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2014/2015 and Mayor in 2015/2016. In her first three years in office, Mayor Fitzgerald played a key role in several significant accomplishments, including a $3.5 million retroactive refund of water rate overcharges, public safety reform, a substantive increase in funding to repair the city’s aging roads and water infrastructure, and adoption of new transparency measures for public employee labor negotiations.

Mayor Fitzgerald represents the City of Fullerton on the Board of Directors for the Association of California Cities-Orange County Chapter and she is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Taxpayers Association. She is a former Metropolitan Water District Director, Past President of the North Orange County Chamber (formerly Fullerton Chamber of Commerce) and past Member of the Board of Directors for the Fullerton Historic Theater Foundation. Previously, she served the City of Fullerton on its Planning Commission and General Plan Advisory Committee.

It’s pretty bad that Fitzgerald is trying to take credit for the water refund she fought tooth and nail to minimize. It’s worse that she is trying to get gullible folks to think she has done anything about police reform , when in reality she has been an ardent defender of cover-ups for eight years –  including hush-up settlements and even being implicated in hiding the drunk hit-and-run perpetrated by her buddy Joe “Wild Ride” Felz. The unkindest cut of all may be her bragging about “increased funding” for street and water infrastructure that she and her comrades let sink into a deplorable mess – the worst in Orange County.

At least this go ’round she omits her oft-repeated lie that she has balanced budgets, but her re-election campaign material will no doubt rectify the omission. I’ll be checking into that.

And finally I direct your attention to paragraph two, wherein the tone deaf Fitzgerald blithely recaps all the public money laundering agencies she has consorted with, peddling her wares as a lobbyist for one of the greasiest operators in OC – Curt Pringle.

Where’s Whitaker?

Heads we lose…

It seems Fullerton has a new problem. According to Councilmember Bruce Whitaker, the City Attorney lied when he publicly proclaimed last Tuesday that the City Council voted 5-0 in September to initiate legal action against Joshua Ferguson, David Curlee, FFFF, and a bunch of Does to be named later.

Here’s how it is described by the Voice of OC’s Spencer Custudio:

Meanwhile, there are questions in Fullerton about how the City Council first authorized the lawsuit against Ferguson. 

At the Nov. 5 meeting, City Attorney Dick Jones said the councilmembers voted unanimously to file the lawsuit against Ferguson and the blog. 

“In an effort to clarify any Brown Act violations, the fact that City Council on Sept. 17, 2019, met on a motion made by Mayor (Jesus) Silva and seconded Mr. (Ahmad) Zahra, on a 5-0 vote, the City Council approved the filing of a writ to seek a temporary restraining order against the main defendants,” Jones said. 

But, that unanimous vote is wrong, according to Councilman Bruce Whitaker 

“When they say I voted to approve this lawsuit, I say that’s not true,” Whitaker said.

In fact, Whitaker was the only dissenting vote when the Council majority doubled-down on the lawsuit during the Nov. 5 closed session portion of the meeting. 

I never took Truth in law school…

Somebody is lying, and if I had to guess it is our City Attorney Richard “Dick” Jones. At this point I’m now wondering if a vote took place at all back on September 17th. It would be just like Jones to try to create a September “vote” to cover his wide expanding ass, when no real vote even happened.

Silence is golden…

Still, for somebody who claims he was maligned in public by his own lawyer, Bruce Whitaker was pretty damn passive when Jones made his comment about a unanimous vote. So who’s telling the truth? Who knows? But I bet it isn’t Dick Jones, who is neck-deep in the lawsuit his own incompetence caused, and by which he is actually profiting.

 

John Oliver on Standing Up to Bullies with Lawyers

We invite you to review HBO’s Last Week Tonight’s overview of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP Suits). We all have a responsibility to stand up to bullies who write checks to lawyers to keep critics silent. We do it for our Republic, we do it for our neighbors, and we do it for our families. Mr. Oliver outlines what happens when we don’t.

We’re currently over halfway through our $10,000 goal to support the Ferguson Family. If you have the means, please support this blog’s efforts to support a family that’s doing more than their fair share to stand up to the government boot squashing your right to know, your right to criticize, and your right to a free and independent press.

While we lack the means for a musical production, we invite anyone who’d like to volunteer to join the “Eat Shit, Dick” dance troupe to contact us immediately. We have good work to do.

Fullerton Observer Acts as an Arm of the State, Actively Helps Pursue FFFF as Criminals

Pravda
Fullerton Observer in their Native Russian

In a twist worthy of Pravda, the Fullerton Observer has gone all-in with being an arm of the state. Sharon Kennedy retained a computer expert to help the city in their lawsuit against us, a rival news organization here in the City of Fullerton. That “expert” has now written a declaration for the city in their lawsuit against us evil “hackers”.

Sharon Kennedy’s own contracted “expert” is now working in cahoots with the city. In a terrible look for local journalism Kennedy has literally retained somebody to help the government attack the First Amendment. From his declaration (emphasis added):

I was retained by the newspaper, Fullerton Observer, to analyze the expert declaration of Matthew Strebe submitted by the City of Fullerton and provide an independent opinion on whether a connection could be made between the City of Fullerton’s Dropbox account and the Defendants associated with Friends for Fullerton’s Future Blog, including named defendants Joshua Ferguson and David Curlee. I reviewed the Declaration of Matthew Strebe, summarizing his forensic analysis of the incident involving the City of Fullerton’s private records.”

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press came to our aid, as have multiple other outlets. Meanwhile the Observer is the only, I repeat THE ONLY, media outlet to openly support the City in attempting to limit the first amendment to whatever the government wants it to say.

It’s not often you get to see a journalistic outlet try and tank a rival at the behest of government – well, not often outside of Mother #Russia anyways. Yet, here we have the Fullerton Observer helping attack us with “expert” testimony while simultaneously claiming on every article their desire to “Protect local journalism”.

Thankfully while Fullerton Pravda…. I mean the Observer was carrying City Hall’s water we went ahead and found our own expert who concluded the following [Linked HERE]:

“The evidence presented by the City in no way supports any allegation of “unauthorized access” or “exceeding access” of any computer system. The evidence shows that the City itself placed this information on the internet without access control allowing anyone full permission to download the content. The access logs, even if authenticated, do not substantiate, in the absence of other corroborating evidence, that all Tor, VPN, and foreign traffic belongs to the Defendants. Nor is Mr. Ferguson’s use of PureVPN a sufficient or even suggestive data point to implicate guilt.”

This case just keeps getting crazier by the day. I knew Sharon Kennedy and her Observer had issues with this blog but I never expected her to literally contract somebody who then attacks us in court at behest of the city’s ludicrous and defamatory allegations.