Dude, Where’s My Carport?

Imagine there’s no parking, it isn’t hard to do.

Parking in Cal State Fullerton is a mess, and it seems that even efforts to alleviate it (like the opening of two parking garages) only makes the situation  worse.

Back in 2016, when the City was busy pushing College Town, the promise of addressing the parking problem was the method the city used to try to overcome local resistance (even if their plan amounted to nothing more than the creation of a “Parking Management Plan”, that is, a plan to plan to deal with the problem). Even in the fall of 2021, with reduced attendance on campus due to COVID 19, the campus is offering free parking as an incentive for people to get vaccinated. And when the pandemic finally ends, we will likely see the return of off campus student parking as far south as Orangethorpe and as far East as Raymond.

With the massive parking shortfall, the idea of approving a high density development with almost no parking would be an absolute non-starter. Or, at least, it would be in a sane world.

On September 29, 2021, the Fullerton Planning Commission approved, on a 3-2 vote, the application of Core Spaces to re-zone the property at 2601-2751 East Chapman Avenue (the portion of Chapman running East of Commonwealth to the 57 Freeway) and a allow for the development of a mixed use 420 unit, apartment complex consisting of studio and one through four bedroom units.

All told, there will be an anticipated 1,251 new residents in the City of Fullerton once approved and built. The total number of parking spaces for those new residents is just 273 (with additional spaces for guest parking and the ground floor mixed use). And, no, I did not forget to add a zero.

This isn’t even remotely close to the parking requirements set forth in Table 15.17.070.H of the Fullerton Municipal Code, which requires 1 ¾ spaces for each studio apartment, 2 for each one bedroom, 2 ½ for each two bedroom and 3 for each 3 bedroom apartment. The total required parking spaces should be in excess of one thousand, and its not even a third of that.

Given the absolutely massive shortfall in available spaces, the Planning Commission should have had an extremely solid rationale for their decision. Unfortunately, the decision amounts to little more than the claim that caring about parking spaces is “boomer” thinking, and totally, like, not with it, man:

The notion that the driving a car is a thing of the past will come as a surprise to most of the residents of Fullerton near the Cal State Fullerton campus (myself included), not to mention the students at Cal State Fullerton themselves, who are still clogging up the streets near campus even with the temporary reduction in in-person attendance due to COVID protocols


Pictured: The cars that today’s College Students totally don’t drive.

Currently, over 70% of college age Americans hold a driver’s license and, while that number is lower than in decades past, it still amounts to far more students who will want to drive than parking spaces being offered. In fact, if just half of the licensed students in the Core Communities project choose to drive on campus (a generously low assumption), the proposed parking structure is still about 250 parking spaces below what would be needed, and that’s just for the residents; the available space for the lower level commercial development is grossly underutilized and pretty much destined to failure, as the number of spaces are less than the property across the street owned by Cameron Irons. Incidentally, Mr. Irons was present at the Planning Commission meeting and he insisted the number of parking spaces was perfectly adequate for this development even while acknowledging the same amount of commercial spaces for his own venture doomed the restaurants in his building to failure.

Core Communities insists that they would not be proposing such a low number of spaces if they didn’t believe it would work, but their optimistic appraisals are contradicted by their own prior developments. For example, their facebook page for the Hub at Tuscon basically advises students to not even bother asking for a lease for a parking space as they are all booked and have been for years. Students at the Hub at East Lansing have also complained about the lack of parking (among other issues). And both of those complexes were built in neighborhoods with very high walkability scores. East Fullerton is still highly car dependent, there’s no bars, minimal shopping options, and not nearly enough restaurants to accommodate the students during meal hours.

The Planning Commissioners seem to be aware of this but insist that this is fine, the creation of this development without adequate spaces is a good thing because it will force kids to leave their cars at home.

And there you have it. This Hub project is nothing more than enforced social engineering masquerading as free enterprise. Creation of this development without adequate parking isn’t fair to the students who need the spaces, nor is it fair to the resident who will be forced to deal with the additional vehicles. And it is contrary to the law, meaning the exception being created is not fair to every other apartment complex builder in this City (hell, even Red Oak, which itself had fewer spaces than required by law, is a virtual parking lot compared to this development). This project benefits nobody except the people who intend to build it and it should be rejected by the City Council on November 2.

The Gag

It’s always sort of pathetic when government entities feel the need to burnish their images – as if doing a good job weren’t satisfaction enough. But it becomes almost annoying when we have to pay for such propaganda. Such was the case a few years back when the taxpayers had to shell out $50,000 a year so that our ruinously expensive police department could keep telling us untermenchen how wonderful they are. No mention was made of Fullerton’s tsunami of cop-related lawsuits, of course. The diversion of attention was pretty appalling.

Of course the image is everything and we, poor schmuck check-writers must be constantly reminded of how wonderful and valuable our public employees are and how we must remember this at budget time

Well, our Heroes are at it again. Peruse this Twitter post from City Hall and try not to barf:

National Hero Day. Oh, brother. Hero. Deserve. Selflessly serve? No, if that were really true they’d be working for a reasonable compensation, not gouging out three quarters of our budget for a third of the workforce.

Comically, the people who produced this tripe added maintenance workers to the Hero tribe, presumably for PR effect. These poor step-brothers of our exalted Heroes make a fraction of the wages and benefits bestowed upon their better unionized brethren, even though their education level is practically the same. Why they didn’t add meter maids, garbage truck drivers, mailmen and anybody else who wears a government service uniform escapes me.

Is there a Hero in your life?

Housing Scam Averted

Here at FFFF we like to praise our City Council when they do something smart; when they don’t we smack them on the snout with a rolled-up copy of the yellowing Fullerton Observer.

Movin’ on up…

Well, Lo and Behold! On Tuesday, last, the Council voted 3-2 to shitcan a horrible scam cooked up by California’s houseocrats to reward developers and speculators by taking over market rate housing at The Aspect apartment project and control rents – for people who make between $102,000 and $123,000. Yes, you read that rightly, Friends. According to our experts, if you make more than that, by definition, your housing is “market rate.” The perniciousness of this scam cannot be overemphasized. A new term has been cooked up to describe these unfortunate six-figure po’ folks: the Missing Middle.

The way this scheme works is that the City cuts a deal with the California Statewide Community Development Authority – a perfectly opaque agency, to be sure. The CSCDA floats a bond, the proceeds of which will buy out the existing owner, rewards up-front the agents and speculators who put the rancid deal together; management will be left in the hands of other parasites who are in on the deal, too. Did I mention that the sale price may well exceed market appraisal? Well, why not?

A little luxury for the “workforce.”

The funniest part of this may have been the revelation that the complex has a 98% occupancy rate – an astounding number – people who can ALREADY afford to live there! And these good folks will be the recipients of the small lowering of rents – or be forced to move out if they don’t have a long-term lease..

A reasonable person may well wonder why ANY of this is necessary, and the answer from the government Wohnungen uber alles crowd will be so crammed with feel-good bullshit that you know right away it’s a scam.

One of the problems is that because the apartment project is now owned by the government the property owner (CSCDA) pays no property tax; in order to sweeten the deal on The Aspect, the promoters promised a “Host City Fee,” essentially an annual tribute to the City. Meanwhile other entities are just shit-out-of-luck.

The enormity of this nonsense is pretty significant; all one has to do is look to Anaheim – a pay to play town where the City has spent gargantuan amounts buying up big apartment projects and rewarding the lobbyists like Curt Pringle, who skim right off the top of this sort of crap.

Well, finally, back to council meeting. Councilmembers Whitaker, Dunlap and Jung were adamantly opposed to this, to their credit. Not surprisingly, Zahra and Quirk-Silva who petitioned to put this item on the agenda were all-in for it, babbling phrases like “outside the box” and “innovative thinking” and brushing aside concerns about unknown details full of devils.

Thanks to Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker, and of course shame on Zahra and Quirk-Silva who were very clearly in the pocket of whichever lobbyist was promoting this idiocy.

Heroes Deserve

So what’s really going on with our Fire Heroes? FFFF published a story recently about an agenda item on tonight’s (9/21/21) agenda. David Curlee brought our attention to a mysterious item about the City revoking it’s automatic aid provision aid agreement with next door Placentia and negotiating a new one.

How come? We really don’t know, except that our Chief, a guy named Adam Loeser says it needs to be done. He hints at some deficiency in Placentia’s program.

Now the Fire Union has made it abundantly clear that Placentia’s cost savings move to privatize the paramedic service was bad. Real bad. And fearful that the contagion of cost effective and efficient service might spread to Fullerton, the union has been putting pressure on our city council to nip this potential epidemic in the bud. To me it looks like the Chief is just passing along his employees lust for our largess.

But what really is the problem with Placentia?

According to a Placentia city report, their new arrangement has been an unalloyed success. Here’s the report. Be sure to peruse the response statistics.

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As usual, there is more to the story. Quite a bit more – that City Hall isn’t Fullerton isn’t telling us. How do I know? Because a source in Placentia told us, and the information has the ring of truth.

According to this source the staff report prepared by Chief Loeser is very misleading in terms of why Fullerton wants to terminate the auto aid provision.  Shortly after Fullerton approved the agreement last year, the Fullerton Fire Union filed a complaint with the Public Employees Relations Board stating that entering into an automatic aid agreement with another City requires a meet and confer with the union.  Incredibly, PERB agreed with the union and Fullerton decided rather than fighting the ruling that the agreement would be retooled into a mutual aid agreement instead.

Unfortunately, our source continues, Loeser lied to the public on an official City Council agenda report by stating Placentia did not meet the requirements outlined in the original agreement.  The real reason behind this change is because of this PERB ruling in favor of the union to the detriment of the public’s safety.

And so, Friends, there you have it. The union, with the apparent approbation of the Fire Chief, is using a feeble labor relations technicality to try to keep applying pressure to the City Council and the bureaucracy to reconsider it’s arrangement with the diseased and contagious Placentia Fire Department. This is the kind of government we get in Fullerton: opaque, self-serving, and duplicitous. Of course our council has been briefed about this, but the public hasn’t. And our city government likes it that way.

Another Stabbing Homicide

This is getting tiresome. The other day, another one.

Somebody found with a guy with a fatal stab wound; this time the location of the corpus delicti was discovered at the Fullerton dog park next to the former Hunt Branch Library. The cops say the stabbing occurred around one o’clock in the morning, meaning that probably somebody else, presumably not the killer, was hanging around the pooch park in the middle of the night, too. Apparently, none of these good citizens understood that Fullerton parks and trails close at sundown.

Well, that’s three stabbing deaths in the past month or so. A casual observer might almost perceive a trend. But I’m not going to rush to any irresponsible conclusions.

It is somewhat ironic that this crime was committed at what our Parks staff believes will someday be a spot on their expensive recreation trail gamble through Fullerton’s no-man’s land. Let’s let Parks “Deputy Director” Alice Loya remind us in a May 2021 staff report:

“…linking the Transportation Center and several parks, including
Independence Park at its terminus. This proposed trail aligns with the Hunt Branch Library to the west, providing potential future linkages.”

If we simply discount all the lies in those two sentences, we can discern, besides a comfortably compulsive prevaricator named Alice Loya, a city government unable to attend to existing facilities in this troubled area of Fullerton; and yet possessed of the mindset that remains the same: double down on previously wasted resources and continue the march forward. After all, it’s only other people’s money.

Helping A Brother Out

An observant Friend just shared a link with FFFF about an item that caught his eye. Apparently Joe Florentine, the subject of many posts on FFFF is seeking a new gig. Here’s his entry on LinkedIn:

Now, FFFF is not a jobs center and neither are we job recruiters. But damn! I know talent when I see it, and this guy has it in spades.

Now, I’m not going to show this upstanding citizen’s whole resume, because, humble and self-effacing as Joe is, he omitted to share some real ability. I’ll help out.

Joe’s Unique Skillset & References

  1. Enterprising. Built restaurant addition on a public sidewalk and got away with it.
  2. Creative. Operated an illegal night club in contravention to City of Fullerton regulations for many years.
  3. Recreational Opportunities Deployment. Exercised the greatest latitude in permitting patrons to enjoy interpersonal contact on dance club floor (i.e. see “Drunken Others”).
  4. Plumbing and Wastewater Systems Expertise. Avoided adding additional sewage to the wastewater system by utilizing the same toilets for multiple businesses. Urination and defecation were performed by patrons without overloading existing wastewater systems.
  5. Mixological Ingenuity and Marketing Acumen. Brought the Fish Bowl concept to downtown Fullerton to acclaim and adulation, specifically, in which a patron could buy a 128 fluid ounce cocktail.
  6. Daring. Refused requirement to install fire sprinklers as mandated by City permit approval.
  7. Creative Writing and Teamwork. Forged an official City planning application with the consent and foreknowledge of the City Manager and Planning Director and City Attorney.

References

Former Fullerton City Planning Director F. Paul Dudley

Former Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz (customer #1!)

Former Fullerton City Manager Ken Domer

Former Fullerton Police Chief Pat “Patdown Pat” McKinley

Former Fullerton Police Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes

Former Fullerton City Councilmembers Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory

Fullerton City Attorney Dick “The Other Dick” Jones

The Case of the Florentine Case

It’s true that the gears of justice grind slowly and no where is that more true than in the case of the Florentine forgery. You remember that, right? Joe Florentine, proprietor of the family amalgamation of restaurants on the corner of Harbor and Commonwealth deliberately altered an official planning document so that he could pursue the Conditional Use Permit that he had never bothered to get. That was in January 2020.

Jail is for the little people…

The document was changed to make it look like Florentine was the owner of the property simply because he had a business there. His specious legal theory was backed up by City Attorney Dick Jones, who had his own conflict of interest in the matter and never should have been involved in the first place.

Poor Joe. A victim of circumstance…

To their credit, the Planning Commission refused to deal with the matter and the application was dropped. But the forgery was not forgotten, as desired.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Desert Center

The real owner of the building, Mario Marovic became involved in a lawsuit with the City over this complicity by both the City Attorney and the City staff – most notably City Manager Ken Domer and Planning Director Matt Foulkes. When that case was settled to Mr. Marovic’s satisfaction ($25,000 courtesy of you and me) he proceeded to file a criminal complaint with the Fullerton Police Department.

That was over eight months ago.

Finally, we hear from folks at City Hall that the case is finally making its way to the District Attorney. Why it has taken the sleuths at the FPD almost nine months to refer this case to the DA can only be explained by a reluctance of the cops to make their compadre public employees look bad. The evidence was right there, on video. The perp admitted what he had done. A blind man could have processed this thing expeditiously. Well, fair is fair, I guess, and Fullerton’s City Managers have never once said or done anything to correct the rampant corruption in the police department.

Matt Foulkes. The spin out left casualties…

Well, the hapless boob Domer is gone, kicked out after several years of gross incompetence and mismanagement; Foulkes fled to Buena Park – a step down – but presumably a step ahead of the axe. Both should be damn glad this issue hasn’t come up sooner because both were complicit in the forgery – and that in itself is a felony.

Murder on the Recreation Trail

Sometime on Sunday night or early Monday morning a man was stabbed to death on the old Union Pacific right-of-way where it crosses Harbor Boulevard.

The cops are investigating the crime to see if they can figure out who’s who and what’s what. The Friends may draw their own conclusions as to the likelihood of a successful investigation. Fortunately a building owner has equipped himself with surveillance video cameras that captured the grisly death of the victim. Maybe the FPD can make something out of it.

The Fullerton Formula: keep doing the same thing until it works…

I think this would be an excellent time to consider the site of the murder – one end of the desolate strip where our crack parks staff wants to spend two million bucks on a “recreation trail,” because…well, just because. Naturally all the patronizing lefties want to describe the idea of a linear park as just the ticket to revitalize the industrial uses on either side; something “nice” for south Fullerton.

Once you bother to peel back all that nonsense, the reality stares back at you: this is no place for anybody to be wandering around, especially kiddies, females and the unarmed. Of course our staff and City Council deal in abstractions, having accepted the grant money there will undoubtedly be bureaucratic lust to waste it – somebody else’s money. I seriously doubt if any of them have even bothered to walk along this strip, especially at night, to see that the idiot gesture of putting a trail there wouldn’t result in anything “nice” at all.

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.