CITY COUNCIL FAIL? THE LEAGUE OF CITIES

The Fullerton City Council held a special meeting the other night to address the City’s projected budget deficits. It ain’t pretty.

Man, that's a big ugly hole...

But even uglier was watching the discussion unfold on what to whack and what to keep when the discussion turned to the City’s membership in the California League of Cities –  a do nothing operation run by bureaucrats for the purpose of promoting their own policies. The annual membership cost is something like $75,000 – not an inconsiderable sum.

To their credit both Shawn Nelson and Sharon Quirk-Silva recognized the elective character of this annual expense and are willing to dispense with it – a gesture both symbolic and practical. And then into the breach to save the day leaped council members Don Bankhead and Pam Keller, relating how important membership in this organization really is. Looks like Dick Jones is the swing vote on this.

Mmm. Shrinp cocktail and Jack Daniels.

Hmm. Bankhead and Keller. League of Cities. Now why does that ring a bell?

Oh yeah, now I remember.  And here. These two spendthrifts attended the October 2008 League of Cities conference in Long Beach, a mere 25 miles from their front doors and racked up $400 per night waterfront hotel bills. Keller’s total was an embarrassing $1200+. Not even her die-hard posse could defend that profligacy.

Party hats extra?

The League of Cities is wonderful metaphor for government that can’t be bothered to control its spending and is accountable to no one. The real purpose of this operation is to give bureaucrats and ambitious local politicians a chance to hobnob, network, self-promote, and eat, drink and be merry on our dime. In some circles it is being claimed that Keller is using the League to wangle a seat on the OCTA, where her mission will be to promote Curt Pringle’s HSR agenda.

As long as free spenders like Bankhead and Keller promote this expensive joke we know we are not being properly represented.

And thanks to Nelson and Quirk-Silva for being accountable to the people of Fullerton.

Tom Daly’s $10,000,000 Headache

Take two aspirins and call me in the morning...

Well, no that’s not quite right. Headache would imply that County Clerk Tom Daly cares he blew $2,100,000 of public money on a real estate venture and that it could cost another $7,600,000 to fix the problem; or that he is in any way worried about it. And why should he be? When there’s no accountability you never even have to say you’re sorry.

433 W. Civic Center Drive. The jewel in Tom Daly's crown.

Here’s the background. In 2007 Daly urged the purchase of the small office building at 433 West Civic Center Drive, in Santa Ana. The ostensible purpose of this acquisition was the expansion of the County Archives. Negotiations were approved by the Board of Supervisors in September, 2007. After several months of dickering and alleged property inspections, the County CEO and RDMD staff recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the purchase for $2.1 million. Staff recommended an “as-is purchase” with the caveat that the County Clerk would be paying for “minor repairs” and interior improvements; they noted blithely that the purchase price was below their appraised value for the building. Nothing was mentioned about inadequate space or building deficiencies. In fact the staff report claimed the building had been well-maintained.

An almost comical selling point was an alleged annual savings of $26,000 for parking paid by the County to private parking vendors. No one seemed to calculate the lost opportunity costs or even the interest value of $2,100,000.

The Board voted 3-0 to approve the purchase in January, 2008. Norby, Moorlach and Nguyen put their fingerprints on the deal.

Two years later the building still sits empty across the street from Daly’s office.  And the archives still sit where ever it is they sit, presumably more crowded than ever.

What happened? Could it be that the County Clerk is now wrestling with the embarrassment of how to deal with a massive boondoggle?

It turns out that the building in question was not fit for public occupancy. Apart from ADA issues, the structure is deficient, the basement is going to leak, and all of the building systems are all obsolete. It also turns out that the building is too small to do what it was bought to do.

In other words, the building is practically worthless; and plus demolition and paving costs, the County is now the proud owner of a $2,100,000 parking lot for a few dozen cars.

How and when did this painful realization occur? We’re not real sure about the chronology, but sometime in 2008 Daly hired a firm called Kishimoto Architects to look at the building and produce a feasibility report, after the building was purchased, with cost estimates for various alternatives.  The report, dated January 12,2009, proposed 3 approaches:

1. 2.8 million to remodel the building to make it usable; ADA, structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, roofing, replacement, etc.
2. 5.7 million to remodel as above, and expand the building to accommodate the proposed use.
3. 7.6 million to demolish the building and start over again.

Say what? $2.8 million to remodel a $2.1 million dollar building?! Option two – that included a remodel and expansion – seems highly unlikely given the price tag, the schedule delays and the embarrassing admission that nobody ever bothered to do a space/needs assessment in the first place. And of course #3 was even worse: starting over would jack the price up to nearly $10,000,000, and add years onto any occupancy schedule.

So there the building sits.

Is any of this really Daly’s fault? His few remaining adherents will argue that poor Tom was just the victim of staff incompetence. Blaming the staff that recommended that this turkey proceed is easy because they were obviously derelict in their appraisal and physical assessment of the property. And the two remaining supervisors who voted for this (Moorlach and Nguyen) have a responsibility to the taxpayers to answer for their employees and the waste of over $2,000,000; after all, they are “Supervisors.”

I was gonna put the sports hall of fame in the basement.

But ultimately Tom Daly is the chief architect of this fiasco, and to those who know how elected politicians apply pressure to the staff to get the recommendations they want, there can be little doubt that the County Clerk was likely pressing and probably pressing hard for his imperial expansion. The money had been budgeted and needed to be spent. So the staff either intentionally looked the other way or didn’t bother looking at all. In the final analysis Daly is an elected official and answerable to the voters.

It’s hard to say what will happen to this real estate jewel. It’s too expensive to knock down and too deficient to use. The site is too small to do much of anything with. In other words it’s a real headache. And it’s all ours.

Blue County Passes Along Comical Sidhu “Hit” Piece

Ouch. Did it hurt a lot?

Some dude named Chris Prevatt at a blog called “the Liberal OC” has decided to pass along that ludicrous piece of spam mail “hit-piece” we posted about yesterday – sent all the way from India!

It seems Prevatt is taken with the fact that Sidhu’s Mumbai Marauders have discovered the horrible truth about Nelson: he’s gotten three traffic tickets since (gasp) 2003! Prevatt seems to think he deserves his own wing at Corcoran State Prison.

All tentacles and no brains

A little digging uncovers what’s going on here. Prevatt is a County worker who once had his computer taken away for blogging on company time. He is also what is known as a “Jannie,” one of the pathetic creatures that Janet Nguyen discovered under some rock or other and put to work in her PR salt mine.

Here’s the connection: Nguyen has recently endorsed the completely unethical carpetbagging scampaign of Harry Sidhu, fake addresses and all; and we’ve been questioning why Nguyen is putting on additional staff in Norby’s former office where there is no supervisor. The Register’s Jennifer Muir picked up on this and started asking questions. Nguyen is no doubt pissed off at being outed.

Prevatt leaps into the breach by passing along Sidhu’s comically pathetic attempt to attack Nelson for traffic tickets! Hoo boy! Petty and silly? Stupid and ineffectual?  Of course. What do you expect?

Say, what is the Democrat equivalent of a “repuglican?”

Boohooing for Precious Princess

Over at the Liberal OC blog, best known for it’s silence when it comes to issues involving corruption and incompetence in Democrat-run organizations, a guy named Dan C-somethingorother is all het up because some guy from Placentia who is not connected with our blog is making mean phone calls to Lorri Galloway.

According to Dan C-somethingorother it is all our fault because we had the temerity to attack his Precious Little Princess for what she is – a carpetbagger. He even goes so far as to suggest we will defend some anonymous phone caller as being a “reporter.”

Funny how Dan C-somethingorother fails to mention that one of his soulmate Matthew J. Cunningham’s bloggers (Cynthia Ward) has been a lot more scathing of Precious than we have; or that one of his own bloggers – Steve Perez – was equally harsh. Oh no! Let’s pin it on FFFF!

Is it just a coincidence that this post occurred at the same time we’ve been going after Democrat Tom Daly’s incompetent misrule of the County Clerk’s department? Want odds?

Anyhow, while we’re talking about Precious, let’s  recap: Galloway is an airheaded, opportunistic carpetbagger from Anaheim Hills, whose videos are unintentional jokes, whose candidacy can only be described as an embarrassment, and who is a basically just a union lackey all dressed up for slumming.

Electing her anything at the County level would be a disaster.

And If Galloway is being harassed she should call the cops.

Hide-And-Seek Sidhu Ships Jobs Overseas

My operation is world-wide!

We keep hearing from his supporter that Harry Sidhu is all about jobs. Fast food jobs, we reckon, but hell, a job is a job.

So weren’t we shocked to learn that Sidhu is shipping work right out of the county! How so, you ask? Well we received a blast-spam e-mail attacking Shawn Nelson for having three traffic tickets in seven years (the horror!). The English in the e-mail was mangled and the time stamp indicated that it was sent from India!

Time Zone GMT +0530

Bad boy, Harry! Bad Boy! Outsourcing your opponent research and hit pieces to India?

How about keeping jobs right here in Orange County, Harry?

Register Picks Up On Daly’s $50K Hall of Shame

UPDATE: ALTHOUGH THIS STORY BY MS. MUIR APPEARED ON-LINE, APPARENTLY IT DID NOT APPEAR IN ANY PRINT EDITION – CAUSING SOME OF OUR FRIENDS TO WONDER WHAT SORT OF THRESHOLD OF PUBLIC MISFEASANCE/MALFEASANCE NEEDS TO BE SURMOUNTED IN ORDER TO ACTUALLY BE PRINTED BY THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.

THE ANSWER: WE DON’T KNOW. BUT MUST IT MUST BE PRETTY HIGH.

WELL, I’VE GOT MORE GOOD STUFF ON DALY AND WE’LL SEE IF THAT’S OF ANY INTEREST TO THEM.

– Grover Cleveland

Jennifer Muir of the OC Register picked up on the Brett Barbre hall of fame brainstormin’ fiasco that cost the taxpayers $48,000 – courtesy of County Clerk Tom Daly’s reckless largess with our money. Interestingly, Muir cites a County rule that any expenditure more than $50,000 has to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Hmm.

I am a fiscal conservative. I am a fiscal conservative. I am... aw the hell with it.

The funniest quote in Muir’s piece was Daly claiming that the whole deal was within his purview and that he paid Barbre for ideas, not “long reports.” Of course he got neither.

Worked my synapes to the bone, I tells ya...

Hilariously, Barbre claims to have worked 40 hours a month on the project. That would be an average of 2 hours a day. Every working day. For 18 months. That’s 720 hours – with nothing to show for it. Is there a single person in OC stupid enough to believe any of that?

He seemed to be soliciting sympathy with the big revelation to Muir that a trip he made to Boston was paid for out of his own pocket! What self sacrifice!

Barbre also seemed indignant that somebody (us) might imply a nexus between his windfall and the $1000 he gave to Daly’s supervisorial campaign. His self-exoneration? He didn’t even give Daly the maximum amount of $1700! What a guy.

Additionally, we have received an e-mail that really sheds light onto just how feeble Barbre’s and Daly’s “research” efforts really were. Here it is:

Subject: Orange County Sports Hall of Fame

I am a founder of the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame.  We began in 1980 with a huge banquet at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Over the years, we inducted more than 70 athletes, coaches and contributors from Walter Johnson and Mickey Flynn to Jack Youngblood and Jim Fregosi.  We eventually had a museum at Anaheim Stadium that has since been replaced by Angel offices (our artifacts are in storage).  Nobody contacted me or other founders (including Cal State Fullerton Sports Information Director Mel Franks and long-time OC business and political leader Buck Johns) regarding research into a Hall of Fame — that existed 30 years ago.  If someone was paid nearly $50,000 to do research they did an amazingly  poor job.  Sincerely, Pete Donovan

Thanks for the e-mail, Mr. Donovan. Just as we expected.

Why Is Janet Nguyen Increasing Staffing In the 4th District Office?

Janet Nguyen. Why is she trying to horn in on the 4th District office?

We have heard from reliable sources that Board of Supervisor Chair, Janet Nguyen, has very recently hired two individuals to join the remaining staff in Chris Norby’s ex-office. How?

Under board policy the chairman is supposed to take oversight of that District office.

But, I have to wonder why.

Since there is no longer a supervisor to report to, and hence no staff work preparatory to supervisor’s meetings, the staff should be reduced, not increased. There would seem to be less “constituency” type work to be done since there is no supervisor to direct it, and in any case the replacement election is just three short months away. So what gives?

Is Nguyen just planting “her” people in the office to report back to her directly? And are these “her” people that she intends to keep in place in the wildly remote chance that her boy Harry Sidhu should actually win the upcoming election?

Hmm. More “fiscal conservatism?”

He Went to Boston But Couldn’t Make a Local Phone Call; Original Hall of Fame Founder Calls BS on Daly/Barbre

The Tom Daly Experience. The closer you look, the worse it gets...

It’s looking like County Clerk Tom Daly figures he can peddle any old bullshit to a Register reporter and get away with it. And he probably figures on an easy re-election this spring. That’s the arrogance of a career politician for you.

When questioned by the Reg’s Jennifer Muir about his sports hall of fame fiasco in which he paid “consultant” and campaign contributor Brett Barbre $48,000 to “study” the notion, Daly said he paid Barbre for “ideas, not long reports.” Not quite right, Mr. Daly. See, we read your contract with Barbre even if you didn’t. He was supposed to be doing research on the feasiblity of the scheme – a scheme, by the way, that falls way outside the County Clerk’s job description. That specifically included contacting similar entities.

Hey, those guys weren't in the phone book!

And here’s the kicker: we already had a hall of fame in the County – which apparently was located in Angel’s Stadium in the 80s and subsequently mothballed. And we got an e-mail from a gent who says he was one of the founders: Pete Donovan. Mr. Donovan asserts that nobody ever contacted him or fellow founders about this idea. Here’s Donovan’s e-mail:

Subject: Orange County Sports Hall of Fame

I am a founder of the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame.  We began in 1980 with a huge banquet at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Over the years, we inducted more than 70 athletes, coaches and contributors from Walter Johnson and Mickey Flynn to Jack Youngblood and Jim Fregosi.  We eventually had a museum at Anaheim Stadium that has since been replaced by Angel offices (our artifacts are in storage).  Nobody contacted me or other founders (including Cal State Fullerton Sports Information Director Mel Franks and long-time OC business and political leader Buck Johns) regarding research into a Hall of Fame — that existed 30 years ago.  If someone was paid nearly $50,000 to do research they did an amazingly  poor job.  Sincerely, Pete Donovan

Gee. Barbre had time to go to Boston to “study” the issue at Fenway Park, but not not enough time to make a couple of local calls to people who had already given it a go. Come to think of it, maybe those were exactly the people Barbre and Daly didn’t want to talk to!

Well, that pretty well sums up the incompetence and/or corruption of the whole stinking pile.

Want your $48,000 back?

Another Day, Another Embarrassment For Sidhu

My good friend Chriss came this close to beating the rap...

Reading Harry Sidhu’s list of endorsers really makes you pause. I checked out the list of “honorary host committee members” to his upcoming fundraiser.

Harry and I are in complete agreement. Government is all about service. Self-service!

Oh, look! There’s Brett Barbre, the OC Municipal Water District creep who gouged County taxpayers for $48,000 to study an athletic hall of fame, and who kicked back a $1000 campaign contribution to Tom Daly – they guy who gave him the do-nothing job at our expense.

I think Harry has a bright future...even brighter than mine.

Look again and you see the name Chriss Street, the County Treasurer who yesterday was found guilty by a judge of breaching his fiduciary obligation by systematically plundering a business trust that was his responsibility. He was ordered to pay over $7,000,000 by the judge in the case. John Moorlach has called for his immediate resignation.

And Street had previously gotten into hot water by having hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of remodeling work done at his office without soliciting bids. How did he do that? He split up the work into dozens of small purchase orders. He also got County employees to dummy up fake bid solicitations after the fact. Chris Prevatt did a pretty good job describing the DAs subsequent whitewash, here.

What slimy rocks does Sidhu turn over to find these miscreants?