Zahra’s Past Catching up Quick

Go west young man. Try Arkansas.

The other day FFFF related a story told on the Orange Juice Blog about Fullerton City Councilman Ahmad Zahra having been married to a woman in Arkansas in the late 1990s. It’s always been a blank time in Zahra’s otherwise detailed autobiographies.

The problem is that Zahra has been very clear about being a gay man and “always” knowing it. The unambiguous statements asserting his self-awareness are published in interviews. So how and why did he come to marry a woman?

From beautiful Pulaski County

According to the OJB story, Zahra tells of his arriving in the United States (no mention of what sort of visa he held); and, not knowing a blessed soul, heading to Little Rock, Arkansas where he claims a friend of his father lived. There, says Zahra, he met a woman whom he says he “liked” and who liked him in return. This tepid romance led to a marriage, dissolved a few years later after Zahra had made his way to Los Angeles to learn the movie trade.

The story is so outlandish that it stretches credulity far past the snapping point. The OJB forewent an opportunity to delve farther into the strange tale, but the obvious difficulties emerge with startling clarity.

An immigrant to the United States of America shows up for some reason, not knowing anybody. Is he a tourist? Maybe. But if so he decides to go to Arkansas, of all places – not exactly a well-know tourist destination. Well, there he is in Little Rock. Where does he live? How does he get by? He can’t get a job, at least not legally, so he must have a little something stored up for a rainy day Stateside.

Michelle Salmon

Enter Michelle Salmon, stage right. Somehow our eager young visitor crosses paths with Ms. Salmon. How and where they meet is at the heart of this mystery and is open to some interesting conjecture. Inexplicably the relationship leads to matrimony at the Pulaski County Courthouse where a marriage license is obtained.

Michelle has hooked herself quite a prize catch: a 27 year-old foreigner with no job (legal anyway), no job prospects, and, according to Zahra himself, completely aware of his homosexuality. On the surface he seems like pretty poor husband material for an Arkansas gal, so we have to wonder if poor Michelle was either mentally challenged or perhaps in need of financial assistance.

Zahra makes no mention of his visa status in his story to the OJB, but we have to assume that he received either a work visa or permanent residency status because not long after his connubial union he goes to LA, bravely living in a car on the streets of Hollywood (so he says). His visa would have been helped along by a marriage certificate to a citizen and it’s safe to say he got one that permitted him to stay in the US.

Well, says Zahra cavalierly, the marriage thing didn’t “work out,” what with the husband living in a car in Southern California, and with Michelle deciding to remain in Arkansas “with her family.” Divorce ensued and Ahmad’s new life journey had begun. He became a citizen in the course of time, a fact he shares as if this simple fact absolves him of any impropriety in the acquisition thereof.

Here’s what happened…

Naturally, Zahra tried to paint this ludicrous picture to the OJB as his “coming out” portrait, and invited homophobic and Islamophobic FFFF to “make fun” of the narrative. The old dodge. Homophobia. Islamophobia. Be a victim.

I’m not the least bit interested in making fun of anything relating to Zahra’s gay coming out story – whichever variation he is selling at any given time; except when the story is cooked up to obfuscate what looks like a serious and likely problematic question. To wit: did Ahmad Zahra commit Marriage Fraud to expedite the legal requirements for him to stay in this country?

Zahra Was Married in Arkansas. To a Woman.

Our friends at the Orange Juice Blog published a story yesterday about Fullerton City Councilman Ahmad Zahra having been married in Arkansas, of all places, in the late 90s. And to an American woman named Michelle Salmon.

FFFF was sent of a copy of the marriage license.

Now this would normally not be of interest to anybody, except that Mr. Zahra has branded himself as the first gay Muslim, etc., etc. – brave hero, in fact. However, his self-propagated biography, such as it is, has never discussed a sojourn in the state of Arkansas, let alone having a wife there.

Michelle Salmon

How a Syrian immigrant ended up in Arkansas, married, sounds like an interesting tale in itself.

According to an interview with Zahra, the OJB reports his version of how he ended up in hillbilly country:

Adrift on a foreign shore. What to do?

I got to this country and I didn’t know anybody, but my father had a friend in Little Rock, so that’s where I went first. I met Michelle, and we liked each other and thought we could work things out, but it didn’t work out. She was even going to go to LA with me but she decided to stay with her family.”

Wow, that’s pretty damn thin. Personally, I “like” all sorts of folks without feeling the least bit inclined to get married. Not surprising “it didn’t work out.”

Zahra’s would-be explanation falls flat given his previous statements. Like these:

Zahra, 52, did not have one specific moment when he came out as gay. He always knew he was, but it would be decades until his family would know.

In fact, when Zahra did finally come out to his friend, he was not entirely surprised, saying, “That explains a lot.” Zahra had never dated girls.

So why does a gay, Muslim immigrant marry an American woman in Arkansas? That’s a good question. Was Zahra giving the hetero deal one last swing at the plate? No need for marriage to do that, especially in Arkansas.

The Orange Juice suggests another reason:

Okay, well, the suspicion arises that this was a marriage to get citizenship, which is illegal under the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act of 1986. But Ahmad tells us he didn’t become a citizen until long after their 2001 divorce, in 2008.

Um, we always know that when somebody provides irrelevant information, he’s likely avoiding something. In this case the year of Zahra’s actual citizenship (even if true) isn’t the issue. The issue is whether he tried to accelerate permanent residence status by virtue of a phony marriage. And as OJB observes, that is illegal.

The fact is that nobody cares about Zahra’s sexual orientation, or his “heroic” coming out narrative, real or otherwise. What I (and others, no doubt) care about is his pattern of untruths including his tale that he was “exonerated” by the District Attorney in a case of battery; his phony accusation of assault against Fullerton council colleague Fred Jung; his disappearance from a council meeting for a photo-op, etc. And naturally, if an immigrant’s first official act in America is to break the law, then the public deserves to her about it.

Cops Croak Combative Chemise-less Chap

The following is a Fullerton Police Department issuance:

Fullerton Police Officers responded to a restaurant located in the 1300 block of S. Brookhurst Rd on March 6 at 3:01 am regarding two males that were standing at the front of the doors, possibly under the influence of drugs. The reporting party, who was the manager of the business, was concerned for the employees’ safety as they began to arrive for work. 

Officers arrived on the scene and contacted one shirtless male adult, who was uncooperative with Officers’ commands. The male began swinging a belt at officers as they attempted to contact him. Additional officers were requested, and once they arrived, they utilized a taser to attempt to subdue the suspect, which was ineffective.

The suspect continued to act erratically and was uncooperative as he refused to comply with officers’ commands. Officers then utilized a less lethal kinetic energy projectile and struck the suspect, allowing officers to take him into custody. At this time in the investigation, it is believed the suspect sustained a significant injury to the chest area as a result of the use of the less lethal kinetic energy projectile. 

Officers began life-saving measures while paramedics responded. The suspect was transported to a local trauma center, where he was later pronounced deceased. 

As is standard practice in Orange County, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will conduct an independent in-custody death investigation. 

The Orange County Coroner will release the deceased suspect’s identity. 

It would be nice to take FPDs statement at face value, but given both the history of the department, it’s unreformed record, and the nature of police reports in general, it would be unwise to do so. I won’t comment on the propriety of this episode other than to point a out a few of the typical bias issues with the report that are clearly intended to sway public opinion in the police direction, regardless of the central facts of the actual encounter. We’ve seen it lots of times before in Fullerton.

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning at a restaurant, most likely the McDonald’s store, which is in the 1300 block of South Brookhurst. Two dudes are hanging out in front of the doors, as reported by the store manager, who is apparently concerned for the safety of his incoming employees, and who has called for the police. So far so good.

Except that the two are reported as being possibly under the influence of drugs. It’s also possible that they are not under the influence of drugs. And here’s where the narrative gets loosey goosey because we don’t know, and won’t know until the Coroner is done with the corpus delecti, oops, the body.

We learn from the report that the cops on the scene encounter “one male,” shirtless; male #2 presumably has decamped. The fact that the man is inexplicably not wearing a shirt at 3am is further non-evidence in the effort to direct us to the inevitable exculpation of the police.

We are informed that the man was uncooperative with commands. Not knowing what the commands were, we are left to assume they were legal commands. Mr. Shirtless, removes his belt and swings it at the cops as they try to “contact” him. Contact? Verbally? Physically? What for? Has he even broken any laws at this point? Your guess is as good as mine. Fearing for their safety (no doubt) the cops on the scene request back-up, which arrives. Is Shirtless still swinging the belt? Don’t know. But rather than physically restrain Shirtless, somebody decides he needs a Tasing as a form of attitude adjustment. Which, of course fails.

Now there are multiple officers on hand and Shirtless still remains uncooperative to commands and erratic, another subjective and loaded term. Is he still swinging the belt after the failed Tasing? Don’t know. Still no mention of an attempt at physical restraint by any of the multiple, presumably fit officers. At this juncture somebody decides to hit the man with a “less lethal kinetic energy projectile” which hits him in the chest. I don’t know what a less lethal kinetic energy projectile is, but I guess if you hit somebody in the wrong place (and I don’t mean the 1300 Block of South Brookhurst), you can kill him. In this case, the technique wasn’t less lethal.

The police offer “life-saving measures” that don’t work, either, and the man is hauled of to a trauma center where he is “later” pronounced deceased, although the wording implies that the death, not the announcement came later. We don’t actually know when the man died.

There are lots of specific questions about this encounter, such as several failed tactics and the possibility of escalation, none of which is offered in the press release. Will we find out? The DA won’t help with transparency and neither will the FPD. But, surely Mr. Shirtless has relatives, and the relatives will have lawyers.

Bang Bang, You’re Dead

Mostly predictable banality and stupidity mark events in Fullerton political opinion, but every now and then something unexpected happens. In this case an opinion piece in the Fullerton Observer that takes the police department to task for its hyperventilation rap-riddled recruiting video that begins with loud, dramatic music accompanying a fake chase scene through downtown Fullerton that ends with a canine grabbing hold of the bad guy. The author complains (rightly) that the video obviously sends the wrong message to potential recruits who may be more interested in violent video games than in community policing.

Now juxtapose this video (especially the dog part) with the recent news out of the City Council closed session that announced a $8,600,000 settlement with the family of Hector Hernandez, who was shot a few years ago by Jonathan Ferrell of the FPD for defending himself against one of their attack dogs.

To all appearances it looked a lot like a gang.

For years FFFF has been letting folks know that the Fullerton Police Department never reformed itself in the wake of the Chief “Patdown” Pat McKinley’s reign of error that culminated in the murder of Kelly Thomas. New Chief Mike Sellers took a vacation during the Kelly Thomas protests and bugged out on a stress leave and (tax free) disability retirement. The next Chief, Danny “Gallahad” Hughes – who was neck-deep in the Thomas killing cover-up – said we were misinformed, even as his boys gave drunk-driving City Manager Joe Felz a ride home, warm milk and a cookie. His successor, David Hendricks was arrested in Irvine for assaulting a paramedic and had to hit the road.

Cop coverup artist, drug warrior, IT wizard, this talented cat can do it all…

The current occupant of the Chief job, Bob Dunn, was the former spokesman for the Anaheim PD during the spate of cop shootings that incited riots. He’s the guy responsible for the recruiting video and its awful message to prospective, young Fullerton coplets. Dunn, too will be leaving soon after a short tenure – just like his immediate predecessors. Hopefully the new Chief will be more inclined to de-emphasize confrontation and escalation, armored vehicles and SWAT deployment as policing strategies.

Fake Bomb, Fake Candidate

145lbs of trouble

It transpires that phony 5th District candidate, Tony Castro – the boob set up by the OC Democratic Party to siphon votes away from Oscar Valadez to help Ahmad Zahra – got into a wee bit of trouble last year.

What sort of trouble? Well, here’s the court Case Summary:

Well, that’s not very good, is it?

Warrant. Fugitive. Complaint. Falsely reporting planting of a bomb. Falsely reporting an emergency. And my favorite – Telephone calls w/intent to annoy. Of course there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, I’m sure.

Tony stopped by our blog a few weeks back and left a hundred fake comments that really suggested the pathos of his campaign – and his life.

The Bad Joke

Our geriatric and corrupt County Supervisor is in big trouble. How do I know? Because Doug Chaffee sent out a hit piece mailer against his opponent, Sunny Park of Buena Park. It’s pretty unusual for an incumbent Supervisor to even acknowledge the existence of their opponent so Chaffee’ is scrambling with only 6 weeks until the election.

But that’s not the point of the post. Dig this:

Bud Chaffee goes for ironic humor…

Notice that first bit, the part about Sunny swiping campaign signs? Since when does Chaffee even think that’s a problem? After all, he helped his wife, Pilferin’ Paulette, hide the campaign signs she stole in their garage back in 2018. I don’t recall Chaffe ever reflecting on the “unfairness” to Paulette’s opponents, or the “jeopardy to election integrity.” What a swine.

Paulette Stolen Sign
Crime doesn’t always pay in Fullerton…

Anyway, the big difference between the two cases is that Sunny took her chances in court, and won her case. Doug Chaffee’s old lady pleaded guilty to get her record expunged and then claimed she was never convicted of anything. In fact, during the 2020 OC School Board election she sued Tim Shaw of La Habra for claiming that she had been convicted. She and her husband decided to play the political martyr routine.

The head and the hat were a perfect fit.

Well nobody ever accused the Chaffee Crime Clan of honesty, so there’s that. And nobody ever accused them of ironic humor, so they’re breaking new ground.

The Shakedown

The Fullerton City Council has addressed outdoor dining. Walk on Wilshire has support from Bruce Whitaker, Jesus Quirk-Silva, and Ahmad Zahra.

What about the other locations on public property? What about the parking lot next to Heroes Bar & Grill? It wasn’t that long ago, its owner Jack Franklyn made the impassionate plea to continue outdoor dining. That isn’t news. Jack will do what makes Jack money.

Heroes, Heroes everywhere…

Doubling the capacity of Heroes with a tented outdoor space when Heroes already has a well seated patio is a slap in the face to the other business owners who need the parking spaces for their respective businesses. One of them is Play Coffee.

A real small business…

Enter self-described Hero Ahmad Zahra to the rescue. Play Coffee and its ownership needs assistance from the City Council grifter and Zahra answers the call.

All would seem fair and square until it is alleged that Zahra solicited a campaign donation from the small business owners of Play Coffee.

Zahra mother’s milk

Apparently, a $3000 campaign donation is what is required for Zahra to bother to help small businesses in Fullerton. 

It is one thing for Zahra to manipulate a disabled Asian resident to say his written words the first and third Tuesday nights of each month. It is another thing to exploit the poor senior citizens of Rancho La Paz to applaud his fake efforts at Council meetings. The choreographed Latino mothers he parades in front of those easily fooled is a low most would be incapable of. But extorting small business owners for an audience with the “amazing” Zahra is a con job that is on par with the Tinder Swindler.

What has happened to the Heroes outdoor dining program? Nothing. Zahra has no juice on that Council. He caucuses with himself most meetings.

Zahra now has an additional $3000 for his reelection campaign. The downtown small business owner has nothing to show for the monetary commitment, not even a crummy shirt or cheap tote bag.

And Fullerton voters have yet another addition to a long, very long list of liars, hatchet men, grifters, and frauds who called themselves members of the City Council.

Beware Fullerton small business owners! 

Zahra Doesn’t Believe in Free Speech

The creep who disingenuously says he’ll talk to anybody doesn’t really care what you have to say.

He doesn’t really want to listen he really wants to talk. And talk. And talk.

Here’s some proof that Ahmad Zahra isn’t interested in free speech and truth-telling if it means criticism of his precious “brand.”

The truth hurt much, Zahra?

Here’s another:

Arrested and charged. He can’t change that immutable fact.

And, finally here are a couple of proud Zahra campaign “volunteers” making sure opposing voices can’t be heard.

Following in the proud tradition of Pilferin’ Paulette.

Taking a breather from all the hard work stifling free political speech…

A top notch crew.

And there you have it.

Liar

Here is a fun video in which District 5 Councilman Ahmad Zahra stumbles and stutters his way into denying that he was arrested for battery and vandalism. It happened right outside his fundraising party when protesters showed up.

With some coaching from a masked friend he concludes that there was no “case,” and no arrest because he was not handcuffed and was not taken to a jail cell.

It was not an arrest says Zahra because some “citizen” (in air quotation marks) did something.

Uh huh. Get a kick out of how Zahra tries to incriminate Tony Bushala of something dishonest; the woman rightly points out that it is Zahra who was elected to represent Fullerton and who needs to come clean.

The confrontation then disolves into Zahra’s Spanish speaking camp followers adding a little ethic flavor like they constantly do at council meetings.

Well the thing is simple. The District Attorney, Todd Spitzer charged this miscreant with crimes, so the fact that he may or may not have spent some time in the FPD lock up is hilariously irrelevant.

Come clean Ahmad. If there was no case you can prove it by sharing the correspondence from the DA saying so. But one thing will always be undeniable: you were arrested and charged. No getting away from that albatross around your neck.