Being a political creature means keeping your happy face on – even when your happy speech is done. On Saturday our lobbyist-councilperson Jennifer Fitzgerald happily talked up her moronic wooden stairs that don’t do anything – $1,600,000 worth of nothing. She was soooo excited (twice). Even her pal Jan Flory was there to help put a shine on this smoking road apple. But when her talk was done, Fitzy sure looked grim walking away from this monumental misadventure in government waste.
Maybe the enormity of the waste actually set in? Shame? Guilt? Anger?
Remember when we told you about the poor “Mayor’s assistant” who’s job mysteriously appeared and disappeared right alongside Jennifer Fitzgerald’s mayorship?
Well, the position seems to have re-appeared… this time as an Assistant to the Assistant (City Manager), Nichole Bernard.
From the February 14th Economic Development Commission minutes:
Now what Ms. Bernard needs assistance with is anybody’s guess. We don’t even know what she does, especially now that her mentor Wild Ride Felz is gone. Will the assistant pick up Starbucks lattes? Pack Nicole’s unmentionables for the next useless Vegas or South Korea junket? Who knows?
More to the point, when and how was this mysterious job ever budgeted and approved by the City Council?
Note how the position may not be filled until summer. Why is that? In a well-run operation it might have something to do with a semi-responsible fiscal mentality – don’t hire someone to a completely unnecessary job until someone has figured out how to tame the out-of-control Felz/Fitzgerald Budget.
In Fullerton it’s maybe just that hard to find a qualified candidate for a glorified flunky position.
While there is much in government to bemoan and criticize there is apparently much to celebrate as well, at least according to the Association of California Cities – Orange County, who are soliciting nominations for the Sixth Annual Golden Hub of Innovation Awards.
Yes, that’s right. The Government has an award show.
The ACC-OC is giving out awards in multiple categories, including Elected Leader of the Year, City Manager Leader of the Year, Innovator of the year and Public Private Partnerships of the year.
Last year’s winner for Innovator of the Year was the Anaheim Fire Chief who approved an ambulance system to respond to non-urgent medical requests, an “innovation” about fifty years behind almost every emergency response system outside out Orange County. Not to be outdone, 2014’s winner of the Innovator of the Year award was this guy:
The ACC-OC is a lobbying organization, ostensibly created to lobby on behalf of its member Cities in Sacramento, and prevent the passage of legislation harmful to municipalities, but their actual priority seems to be lobbying Cities to implement the kind of statist, crony, public-private partnerships the organization itself prefers. For example, in one seminar sponsored in July 2015, ACC-OC advocated both streetcars and the Poseidon desalination plant in a seminar hosted by no less than Curt Pringle himself. ACC-OC also was one of the driving forces behind the HERO program, which facilitated construction of solar panels by converting the construction costs into high interest tax liens on residences (specifically, eight percent a year high, for a senior lien). So, not only does ACC-OC lobby Fullerton for bad legislation but we PAY them to do so with our own tax dollars.
That aside, in the spirit of this press release, can FFFF come up with its own nominees or, better yet, its own categories for the “Golden Hub of Innovation?” Maybe award Hugo Curiel Procrastinator of the Year for his failure to report the water loss at Laguna Lake until the statute of limitations against the civil engineer that performed the work had run? Perhaps a doublespeak award is in order for the fine folks at the NOCCCD for their efforts to claim that the football stadium they are trying to build with Measure J money isn’t going to be built with Measure J money. ACC-OC also needs a White Elephant of the Year award to honor tireless efforts of some staffers to push expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects like streetcars, ARTIC or the “Great Park” in Irvine. Truly, the possibilities are endless.
For a few weeks now, we have been looking back on the fraud, waste and abuse that occurred in Fullerton during our hiatus. And we’ve had a few good laughs, unfortunately at our own expense. But Friends, today things are about to take a more sinister turn. Why? Because the story involves not only misuse of public funds, but also police surveillance of lawful activity, police assault on citizens, and the punitive misuse the criminal justice system by the cops and the district attorney.
This story from 2014 is best told in the colorful language of Mr. Stephen Baxter, and so FFFF gives you his words:
These photos, all captured on Jan 18th 2014, by OC Weekly photographer, Josue Rivas, document the temporary escape of Aj Redkey, aka Anaheim James, one of the most peaceful protesters I know, a member of in-league press, and perhaps my best friend on the planet.
We had organized a protest in reaction to the acquittal of a OC jury of the three Fullerton Police officers charged in the murder of a local homeless man, named Kelly Thomas. AJ had been filming the protest all day, because cops behave better when they know they are being filmed, so when the decision was made to break up our protest and arrest people, those filming were the first targeted by the police. These cops actually tried to run AJ down in their car, AJ leaped the hood Starsky and Hutch style, and Josue captured the rest seconds later.
After monitoring our FB page (this according to the police report) 3 months later AJ was arrested at an Autism event in Pasadena. Six Fullerton cops drove to Pasadena to arrest my peaceful friend. Why? because by him outrunning them he had embarrassed fat, slow, over paid cops with giant egos.
After spending almost $10,000 defending these charges at a jury trial, All charges against AJ were dropped.
The sad fact is that “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE” Don’t fool yourself.
Also, AJ IS A FUCKING HERO. HE COULD HAVE PLEAD FOR A $500 FINE, INSTEAD HE FOUGHT IT AND FACED 6 MONTHS IN JAIL. HOW MANY OF US WOULD HAVE THE STONES TO DO THAT?
Now ask yourself how many resources and how much of your tax dollars were wasted by Fullerton PD and the DA’s office.
Does any of this shit matter to you? If not, your are the fucking problem.
This is a story about selfishness, small-time greed and entitlement.
No, it’s not about my 3-year old nephew.
It’s about members of the Fullerton Fire Department and their Chief, Wolfgang “Wolf” Knabe and the culture of permissiveness overseen by our former City Manager Joe “Fast and Loose” Felz.
Back in September a couple of off-duty fire department employees managed to get themselves lost in Yosemite by foolishly trying to take a shortcut across some sort of moving water. The hue and cry went out – all the way to Fullerton. So members of the FFD drove City vehicles up north to show solidarity with their lost comrades who were discovered a day or two later.
What happened next may or may not surprise you depending on your familiarity with the sense of entitlement held by Fullerton’s “public safety” employees.
Chief Knabe, who makes well over $200,000 a year and is Fullerton’s highest paid employee, attempted to stick the taxpayers of Fullerton with the cost of gas, steak dinners and hotel accommodations for this purely elective field trip.
Knabe tried to justify the whole episode as some sort of job-related effort and a PR triumph for himself and his department, but fortunately our Finance Department Director, Julia James, was having none of it, and quite appropriately deemed such a reimbursement as a gift of public funds.
In the end Wolfie had to use a “donation” account (which is still public money), and which begs the question of whether or not donors are giving money to the department to pay for steak dinners for our Heroes.
This is one of those of stories that is so amazing as to not be believed. Orange County Fire Authority’s Station 61, in Buena Park by Knott’s Berry Farm, burned down this morning.
In these rains.
A fire station. Burned down. In the rain. Let that sink in for a few moments.
When I looked at PulsePoint it looked really, really bad because 49 separate units had been dispatched.
Somebody must have lost an iPad considering everybody got out okay and yet two Chaplain Units were dispatched.
While certainly a troubling thing to happen this is a great example of priorities. How many of these units, many of which were likely redundant and unnecessary, were dispatched for the sake of being dispatched.
Had this not been a Fire Station it is doubtful that this many units would have been on scene.
Just a few weeks ago there was a story in the OC Register about this station. Buena Park was planning to sink $13 Million in to fixing this 50-year-old station. Now it’s gone and they’ll have no choice but to replace it.
Prepare to see Fullerton’s Ladder Truck in and around Buena Park more often until OCFA replaces Ladder Truck 61. That $1Million+ OCFA truck, along with tons of other equipment became scrap in the fire.
You have to wonder about the integrity of an avowedly left-wing media effort that is so desperate to prop up and defend local government that it will…well, read on.
The Fullerton Observer and its obtuse editor, Sharon Kennedy, have now resorted to republishing pieces written by the pro-cop union shill “Behind the Badge.” The taxpayers pick up the tab for that lame propaganda.
In it’s latest journalistic effort, we see on page 12 a “story” scribbled by the utterly servile Lou Ponsi. There is no explanation as to where this tidbit comes from. Is Ponsi now an “Observer?” But a simple hunch led me to Ponsi’s new source of income. Sure enough. Kennedy has just passed along a reprint from “Back the Badge.”
The sole purpose of Behind the Badge is to make Fullerton’s cop apparatus look good, no matter what, by running feel-good stories. And Sharon Kennedy’s mission is making Fullerton’s government look good, no matter what. I guess it makes sense in a perverted kind of way.
At least we don’t have to pay for the Fullerton Observer.
As a professional botanist I was quite interested and amused by the name of the developers of the proposed multi-family monster on Commonwealth Avenue. Red Oaks Investment. Why? Because the red oak is native to the Midwest and eastern United States.
When life is on the line every second matters. PulsePoint is designed to allow people with C.P.R. training to respond to emergencies. It’s brilliant.
According to their own website:
Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and empower them to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Know C.P.R.? Check a box and it’ll show you calls needing C.P.R. and notify you if you’re near.
Got it? The entire point is to allow people to respond to medical emergencies in a timely manner. The App is literally about saving lives. And I mean literally in the actual sense here.
Why am I writing this?
Because here’s a screenshot of Fullerton Fire Department activity from tonight:
And here’s a screenshot from the Orange County Fire Authority:
Did you catch what’s missing from the F.F.D. data?
Medical Calls. Literally the whole point of the App.
We share data with an App designed to help with medical calls and yet we, as a city, omit medical calls.
This is bureaucratic bureaucracy at it’s best. We’ll participate so long as we don’t have to actually, you know, participate. It’s not like this is about trying to save lives or anything.
Here’s a tidbit from Tuesday’s upcoming Fullerton City Council Closed Session Agenda. The Closed Session is where the council secretes itself away from public scrutiny to discuss lawsuits and personnel and real estate deals.
#2 deals with the replacement of of our recently departed PoChief, Danny Hughes, who was last seen applying his fingerprints all over a case involving helping out a pal in serious trouble.
#4 deals with the “performance evaluation” of the very person Hughes helped out – his boss, City Manager, Joe Felz, who was seen early Wednesday morning swerving down Glenwood Ave on his rims, after ploughing over a tree in the parkway, unable to negotiate the intersection at Highland Avenue in a, um, er, ahem, competent manner.
I’ve got it on pretty good authority that item 4 was agendized by the City Attorney; but at whose behest? Will the topic of Mr. Felz’s Wild Ride come up? How about the apparent cover up that is now being investigated not only by us, but by numerous mainstream media outlets?
Could there be action taken? If there were we would never know, because this is “personnel matter” not a criminal one – as the very same City Attorney has informed the media.