Proving That Old Dogs Can’t Learn New Tricks

Here’s the title of Sylvia Mudrick’s press release describing Tuesday night’s council action with regard to Fullerton’s illegal 10% water tax: “Council approves eliminating franchise fee on water rates.” That’s not true. Yes, the council voted to stop transferring the illegal tax to the city’s General Fund, but they most certainly did not approve to eliminate the franchise fee on water rates – just the transfer, which means we will keep paying the illegal tax into some sort of escrow fund until a Prop 218 hearing can be held – the Prop 218 hearing that should have been held 15 years ago! Of course in the meantime there is no legal requirement to hold a Prop 218 hearing to quit collecting the 10%; and it looks like Quirky and Whitaker got sideswiped on the scam that will put another $400,000 in the escrow account as City manager Joe Felz tries to cook up a scheme to hang on to as much of that annual $2,500,000 he can.

But back to Mudrick: of course she has been happily peddling pro-city baloney for years, and as a retiree she is still doing it, now as a double-dipper.

The worst part of the press release is the bogus recitation of the history of the water tax, conveniently omitting the fact that periodic complaints have been coming from citizens since at least the early 1990s. Syl would have you believe that it was the City that brought this scam to light and that they have been proactive. Wrong. The City has been hiding this massive scam for decades; the tax has been patently illegal since 1997,  and everybody in authority in City Hall knew it, a fact curiously omitted by our highly pensioned and still remunerated Public Misinformation Officer.


PRESS RELEASE #09312               4/18/2012

Subject :Council approves eliminating franchise fee on water rates
Contact :Sylvia Palmer Mudrick, Public Information Coordinator, Fullerton City Manager’s Office
(714) 738-6317

The Fullerton City Council voted at its Tuesday (April 17) meeting to eliminate the transfer of a franchise fee charged on water rates in the city, effective May 1.

The water franchise fee was first adopted in 1968 when the council assessed a fee of 2 percent of the Water Fund as a means of reimbursing the costs to the city’s general fund for operating a water utility.  The fee was raised to 10 percent in 1970.

In fiscal 2010-11, the city’s general fund received approximately $2.5 million from the water franchise fee.

The franchise fee came under review in 2009-10 at the conclusion of a five-year water rate study.  At that time, the council formed an Ad Hoc Water Rate Advisory Committee composed of citizens who were tasked with studying all facets of operation of the city water system.

In conjunction with its action Tuesday, the council directed the Ad Hoc Water Rate Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations on a method for the city to charge for the direct cost of operating the water system.

In addition, the council asked the committee to make recommendations on a method for reimbursing citizens for the actual cost of the franchise fee paid for the past three years.

Further information about the council action may be obtained by calling the Fullerton City Clerk’s Office at (714) 738-6350.  Further information about the franchise fee and the water rate study may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Water Engineering Office at (714) 738-6845.

Larry Bennett Owes You A Month’s Worth of Water

The sad slouch became a permanent thing...

Several months ago Anti-recall lackey Larry Bennett challenged you to find the illegal tax on water on your monthly bill. It was pretty disingenuous even for a slimmer like Larry. FFFF pointed out that the illegal tax wasn’t listed on the bill, which of course is one of the reasons it is illegal!

On Tuesday night good ol’ Larry all but admitted that there was indeed a 10% tax on your water. Of course he tried to diffuse the ugly truth by saying that 1) he likes paying the tax (could be true – he’s a damned fool); and, 2) the tax helps keep his grass green and his flowers happy because he’s a water hog (the first part is a falsehood; the second, yes, I believe he likes to waste water). Naturally, he was just parroting the nonsense of his hero Doc HeeHaw who also claimed some part of the 10% went to water delivery – an outright lie.

Anyway, I think that if he had a shred of honor, Bennett would now make good on his promise to pay your monthly water bill. But if you want to ask him you’d better hurry up. Larry will only pay the first person to e-mail him!

No Country for Old Men

UPDATE: I just re-read this wonderful post from my good friend Joe Sipowicz that he published last November. Damn. Read it. Savor it.

When you are done ask yourself whether or not, in good conscience, anyone can fail to endorse, help and vote to recall the Three Dim Bulbs.

– Grover Cleveland

There is a good essay in today’s Wall Street Journal by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. about the sort of trouble individuals can get into when they act, or fail to act, to shield and protect the institution they represent. And, conversely, the institutions that invest too much credence in the all too fallible figurehead run the risk of failing to employ objective and rationale controls on the latter. As decades of affiliation pass, the problems becomes more acute. Age becomes the enemy.

Of course the writer is talking about Joe Paterno and the disastrous and disgusting pedophilic events at Penn State University. But he may as well have been talking about Fullerton, and about how, after the Kelly Thomas murder, when the public demanded clear, honest, and forthright leadership, their long-term elected officials gave them silence, obfuscation, falsehood, and comfortable retreat behind legal advice they were all too eager to embrace.

Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, and Pat McKinley signally failed their constituents by placing the protection of City Hall and the FPD ahead of their responsibility to do what they were elected to do: lead.  Did they ever even attempt to fathom any particle of the truth? Would they recognize it if they saw it? It hardly matters now.

At first it probably seemed easier to simply ignore the Kelly Thomas killing; a whacked out homeless guy versus Fullerton’s Finest? Strictly no contest. After all there was a fight; bones were broken; the bum was a thief; probably a drug addict; an internal investigation would reveal all. Sure, Chief, take your two-week cruise.

Indifference to the victim and the victim’s family, although demonstrating a fundamental callousness, was the least of their dereliction.

Later as the pressure mounted and the glare of the media spotlight became intense, McKinley and Jones began to utter incompetent and ignorant remarks for consumption by the nation and the world: facial injuries are not life threatening; far worse injuries were survivable; the Coroner cannot determine the cause of death.

As public meetings became rancorous they relied upon the monotonous drone of their attorney to explain to an outraged public why they were weak as kittens and powerless to control any part of their own police department.

And they refused to display any concern about why the FPD brass had permitted the cops to review and re-review the evidence that the public is not permitted to see; why their superiors made them re-write their reports of the killing; and why the culprits were permitted to return to duty as if nothing had happened. They ignored the fact that the police department spokesman had lied about cops’ injuries and had deliberately mischaracterized the killing to the public and to the City Council.  They never addressed the fact that the “internal investigation” hadn’t even started.

The police chief, freshly returned from his cruise soon wilted like an old lettuce leaf. His replacement was a 30 year veteran of the same department about which a string of criminal behavior had recently been exposed. Bankhead, Jones and McKinley refused to accept what had become obvious to almost every one else: something was fundamentally wrong in the FPD.

As the weeks passed, Bankhead, Jones, and McKinley seemed to hope that temporizing and protracted investigations by the DA and Coroner would cause the situation to just wither away. It didn’t. The protests for justice got louder. Their answer? Characterize the protesters as a lynch mob.

The most telling gestures of all were the damage control employment of an outside investigator, and the appointment of a hand-picked committee to address homeless problems, hilariously suggesting that the real problem was that the poor cops just weren’t properly educated about how to deal with the homeless. The concept that Kelly Thomas was deliberately killed seems not to have been seriously entertained by Bankhead, Jones, and McKinley. No. The Fullerton Police Department doesn’t do that. Fullerton doesn’t do that. We don’t do that.

When the DA finally brought charges of Murder and Manslaughter against two of the cops Jones expressed elation and McKinley befuddlement as to how two of his boys could stray so far from their training. But it was clear that the damage control script was written to write off the two and then retreat back into their insulated bunker.

And yet, by now the public now knew all about what the Three still refused to acknowledge: the embarrassing string of stories of drug addiction, theft, fraud, brutality, false arrest, perjury, and sexual assault by members of the police force. This serial criminality has been met with a stony silence from Bankhead, Jones and McKinley. Why?

Asleep. Fried chicken. Hey, where'd my halo go?

It’s because if they ever could, they can no longer distinguish right from wrong when it comes to protecting the institution that they have come to completely identify themselves with. Those Fullerton lapel pins that they so proudly wear have become a symbol of inertia, dereliction, and blind dedication to an abstraction of their own creation: their own delusional view of themselves and their City. It is a perfect representation of the bunker mentality.

As with a sick patient, denial and inaction will only cause the illness to get worse. The patient is the City of Fullerton, and in the now-ironic words of Dick Jones, it is having a grand mal seizure; we don’t want to let go of the patient, but we need to get it under control. Damn straight. The patient needs medicine, all right.

And the medicine is Recall.

Acting Chief Still Acting Like Predecessors

The more things change the more they stay the same...

When FPD Acting Chief Dan Hughes was handed the keys to the front door, wishful thinkers proclaimed the dawn of a new day for a department reeling from humiliating self-inflicted wounds.

His supporters claimed that Dan, for some mysterious reason, was going to bring decency and reform to a department whose members had, within the short space of seven months been exposed as thugs, perjurers, thieves, con men, sex perverts, destroyers of evidence, thieves (again and again), etc., etc. Despite a 30-year FPD career and various job titles that closely tied him to this band of miscreants, Dan is Different, his defenders said. Somehow. A veritable Galahad, in fact.

Even when Dan denied a Culture of Corruption in the FPD and said such an idea was disseminated by liars or ignoramuses, his supporters clung to the idea that Dan is Different.

But Dan’s latest decision may provide cause for pause. According to the folks at FullertonStories Hughes has replaced the otiose Andrew Goodrich with yet another union member, Sergeant Jeff Stuart, to be an official department spokeshole and Face of Fullerton. Really? Has Hughes learned nothing from the misinformation peddler, Goodrich. Maybe not. Or maybe he likes the idea of the FPOA getting the first, and often the last shot at misleading the public.

Smiling. So far.

Haven’t we had enough of public information officers whose loyalty to their own tribe is far greater than that to their employers? To me this just looks like more of the same ‘ol same ‘ol: another opportunity to do the right thing has been passed over by Acting Chief Hughes, who is acting more and more like Chief Sellers all the time.

The Rancid Lieutenancy of Andrew Goodrich

Prevarication became second nature. He just couldn't help himself.

For some months now trolls have been bragging about the impending promotion of FPD Sergeant Andrew Goodrich to lieutenant, presumably because such a promotion meant that all the half-truths and outright lies peddled to the public by the cops’ otiose Public Information Officer proved the inefficacy and futility of the protests by those who thought Kelly Thomas, despite being schizophrenic, homeless, and dead, deserved the basic civil right of not having a public employee lie about him.

I take a different view. To me, the promotion of a worthless, dissimulating, union hack like Goodrich just goes to reinforce what we have known all along: there is a deeply ingrained Culture of Corruption within our police department; a department that not only tolerates criminal behavior such as assault, sexual battery, false arrest, perjury, theft, fraud, and murder, it seems to encourage these affronts to the very public its members have sworn to serve.

Consider the case of Goodrich: although the comical Gennaco report says there is no evidence to suggest Goodrich deliberately lied to the public about the facts surrounding the murder of Kelly Thomas, there is absolutely no doubt that he disseminated false information, and then never retracted it. If this is not tantamount to an outright lie, then I don’t know what is.

We also know of the tortured way in which Goodrich dismissed the obvious perjury of Hampton and Nguyen in the fraudulent Veth Mam prosecution, and the cavalier callousness of his statement in the wake of the false five-month incarceration of Emanuel Martinez.

Well, friends, the character of Goodrich is evidently the barometer of success in the FPD. And to the apologists for their new Acting Chief, Dan Hughes, a proud veteran of the force for thirty years – and vociferous denier of any Culture of Corruption – all I can say is I pity you. I really do.


From mid-February 2012. Always good for a repeat.

– Joe Sipowicz

Yesterday FFFF shared some Fullerton crime statistics that were really pretty damn shocking. Contrary to what council candidate and now beleaguered councilman Pat McKinley claimed and claims, crime not only did not decrease every year in Fullerton, but in the years 2005-2009, it skyrocketed spectacularly.

He's smiling, but why?

Here’s the ugly truth, derived from FBI crime statistics, probably a more reliable source than Mr. McKinley’s fantasy world of self-serving make-believe.

The statistics don't lie, but Pat McKinley does.

Uh, oh. Now, that’s not very good is it? Ol’ Doc Jones’ Galveston was better run by the Italian Mob and it had open gambling and a red light district!

Actually, it was very well-run...

Of course everyone knows the reason for the spike in crime is the crazy shooting gallery Jones and his colleagues created with all the bars masquerading as restaurants they approved in downtown Fullerton; and don’t forget all the illegal bootleg night clubs they ignored, then actually subsidized.

Chillingly, the trajectory of crime in Fullerton coincides perfectly with the spike in the FPD Culture of Corruption that led to beatings, wrongful arrests, and perjury by our own cops. And nobody in City Hall seems capable of grasping the perverted correlation. The cops were given a free hand to fix the mess the politicians made downtown. Soon the entire department was infected.

Speaking of Doc HeeHaw, here he is taking credit for creating his monster. Pay particular attention as Jones documents the crimes committed and the need to to get hard, and tough, and mean.

Jones got one thing right. He just doesn’t recognize human behavior.

P.S. Will some public-minded citizen please take this crime chart to the Council meeting next week and read it out loud for the benefit of Jones, Bankhead and McKinley?

The Jaw Dropping Cost of the Fullerton Police Department

When you’re getting top-notch service you might not be inclined to quibble much about the price. But if you’re being provided law enforcement services from an organization that has employed perverts, perjurers, thugs, con men, pickpockets, and killers; and that has, and will ring up millions more in costly civil lawsuit judgments and settlements, you may not be inclined to feel so charitable.

Here are some interesting facts on the per capita cost of law enforcement services from some surrounding towns. The formula is pretty simple: take the total 2011-12 budgeted cost for the cops (lock stock and gun barrel), and divide by the number of people in the city based on the 2010 US Census data. The results are interesting.

The 60,000 citizens of the City of La Habra pay $15,000,000 for their police force, and that equates to $250 per capita. In Placentia the 50,500 inhabitants budgeted just over $11,000,000 for their cops for a figure of $219, per capita. The City of Yorba Linda pays the Brea PD $11.3 million to police its mean streets at about $176, per capita. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has just submitted a proposal to do the basic job for $9.6 million, or just under $150 per person.

In Fullerton the budgeted cost of the Police Department for 2011-12 is $37,259,455. For the $135,161 people of Fullerton that equates to $276, each.

Why does the Fullerton Police Department cost so much more than surrounding jurisdictions with smaller departments, and hence with less opportunity for economies to scale? Well, there’s a jail to operate, I guess. Other that I haven’t got a clue. You’ll have to ask Jones, or Bankhead, or McKinley or maybe one of their supporters. They must know. After all they are boasting about their support from the law enforcement union.


Not For Sale? Yeah, Right!

The abode of F. Paul Dudley, possibly designed by Mike Brady

The anti-recall forces keep chanting the mantra that Fullerton is not for sale, despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary, and that under the Jones, Bankhead and McKinley regime, Fullerton has been very much for sale.

Here’s a picture of an anti-recall sign in the front yard of former Development Services Director, F. Paul Dudley, the man who, for over twenty years, participated in a series of calamitous boondoggles, oversaw the over-development of downtown Fullerton, the cookie-cutter development of Coyote Hills East, and the fake New Urbanism of Amerige Heights. F. Paul Dudley is the man who gave the Florentine family a permanent building on a public sidewalk. Apart from being a dyed-in-the-wool arrogant bureaucrat, Dudley is also a happy member of Fullerton’s $100,000 Pension Club, pulling down a whopping $139,420 for doing nothing.

The original, and the best.

But get this: Dudley now peddles his relationship with the Three Hollow Logs acting as a lobbyist for developers! So you see, for Dudley Fullerton is very much for sale. He and a small handful of people like him need a compliant majority on the council so that they can get massive entitlements and stick the rest of us with the impacts.


Oh, Damn. Another FPD Brutality Lawsuit in Federal Court

You lookin' at me?

Nearly a year ago FFFF started what would turn into a long string of investigations into the FPD Culture of Corruption by telling the tale of a young man who claimed that he was beaten and abused by Fullerton cops during a downtown arrest.

There were plenty of skeptics here, and there was a barrage of personal abuse leveled against the man by anonymous FPD goons.  At least there was until we published the results of an internal investigation, here, in which at least part of the victim’s assertions were confirmed.

Well last week another of Pat McKinley’s chickens emerged on the horizon, coming home to roost. Andrew Trevor Clarke filed a federal civil suit against Fullerton PD employees Tong, Contino, Hampton, Bolden, Salazar and Sellers.

Read the complaint

Sellers? Good call, but I wonder why Clarke didn’t include former Chief, present councilman Pat McKinley. After all, he will proudly tell us he hired all of ’em.

All I can say is the lawsuits are piling up so fast we’re going to need wings to stay above the legal paperwork. And I wonder how much this one is gonna cost us.

How To Turn a Paramedic Call Into a SWAT Nightmare

Guess what, Friends? Last month the City of Fullerton got sued again – stemming from an FPD incident in 2005. We have thoughtfully attached a copy of the complaint, below.

According to the complaint, some dude named Ernest Benefiel took some sleeping pills in a locked bedroom. Naturally, Benefiel fell asleep. His elderly father, concerned, called the paramedics because he thought his son was depressed. So far so good.

Unfortunately the paramedics called the good folks at the Fullerton Police Department who arrived on the scene, and because they learned that Benefiel owned a gun, decided to turn the place into some kind of hostage stand-off situation – even though there was no hostage. Some time elapsed and the cops, perhaps, became bored. To get Benefiel’s attention they deployed a flash grenade outside the guy’s window,  followed a dozen shotgun “bean bags” blasts through the same window. Benefiel was hit by one of the rounds and finally woke up from his pill-induced slumber; and, thinking he was under attack from criminals, fired a pistol shot out the window and hit a street sign.The cops then started blasting blindly into the room.

A while later Benfiel finally got his bearings and climbed out the window and surrendered peacefully – even though he had committed no crime.

Now you would think that upon mature reflection the cops’ superiors would have recognized how their out-of-control underlings unnecessarily escalated a pretty harmless situation into a SWAT stand off, and just let the whole thing go. But no! The cops and the DA decided to prosecute Benefiel for firing on a police officer. In fact, they tried him twice, and each time the case was overturned on appeal.

Meantime, Benefiel had spent over five years in jail for the heinous act of simply defending himself. And now the taxpayers of Fullerton are staring at yet another FPD civil suit settlement.

Read the complaint

If you read the complaint you will notice an inescapable fact: according to a police training expert FPD tactics violated procedure on the use of the flash grenade, the shot gun bean bags, and blindly shooting projectiles.

And who was boss of the FPD at the time and supposedly accountable for the actions of his boys? That’s right. Former Chief and current councilman Pat McKinley.

Jeez, that was such a long ago...

Fortunately we can help make sure this incompetent clown is not around after June 5th to vote for anymore settlements that would hush up embarrassing revelations about the Culture of Corruption he created while head of the Fullerton Police Department.