Fullerton’s Nuisance Noise and The Ongoing Saga of Incompetence and Corruption. Part 1

Flory in search of the proverbial yard arm.

FFFF has published lots of posts about the way in which our highly paid “experts” in City Hall have made it their business to run interference for the numerous scofflaw bar and “club” owners downtown when it comes to ignoring annoyances like Conditions of Approval and the municipal code’s Noise Ordinance.

In City Hall, doing the right thing just wasn’t gonna happen…

Both topics have been addressed in the same way: if they can, they simply ignore the situation. The blind eye approach has worked most of time. When it hasn’t, Step 2 is invoked. Step 2 is to diligently pursue making the laws laxer, so lax in fact, that the lawbreaking is no longer lawbreaking. This bureaucratic gambit is really nice because the Planning Department Staff can always claim that something is in the works that will address the situation. Of course that’s a lie. What’s really happening is that the department is trying really hard to come up with a legal absolution so low even the lowest douchebag can slither over it.

You can take the douche out of the bag…

At every step of the way, the scofflaws – Jeremy Popoff of Slidebar fame and the Florentine Mob spring most readily to mind – lubricate the gears of Fullerton’s small town political machine who have seemed ever-ready to support the law breaking.

While we here at FFFF have extensively covered the abuse of CUPs and other land use issues, the history of the ongoing issue of nuisance noise traces a perfect trajectory of incompetence or casual corruption, or most likely, of both.

The story spans three city managers, four planning directors and a whole slew of elected ciphers who would rather defend purveyors of nuisance over the right of their constituents to quiet enjoyment of their property.

 

Florentine Forgery/Fraud Case To Go to DA?

The family goes way back…

By now the Friends are well-aware of the attempt by Joe Florentine, the scofflaw proprietor of a restaurant and bar in downtown Fullerton, to fraudulently alter and submit official documents in pursuit of a Conditional Use Permit.

He even admitted it.

Reliable sources have indicated that a criminal investigation has been opened by the Fullerton Police Department based on a complaint filed by the property owner, Mario Marovic, and passed along to the District Attorney’s office.

Now the felonious miscreance of a Fullerton Florentine family member is about as newsworthy as a mailman bitten by a dog – no surprise there. Rather, the key facts of interest in this case are that Mr. Florentine had lots of help inside City Hall, including the Planning Director, the City Manager, and of course our top-notch City Attorney, Dick Jones, who finally had to recuse himself from dispensing laughable advice due to a conflict of interest.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Blythe…

Apparently, City Manager Ken Domer knew exactly what was happening and was determined to proceed with the fraud anyway.

It’s hard not to believe that some fall out from this conspiracy will land in the proximity of new Councilmembers Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap, who will certainly be averse to the radioactivity. The City Manager is already on the thinnest of ice after blowing $130,000 on a marginally legal PR campaign to promote Measure S, and then unsuccessfully trying to spend another 90 grand just before Christmas to hire an expert to try to fix the budget shortfall.  City Managers are protected by contract but there is no contractual protection for a person who has violated the law. Will we soon be hiring a management search firm?

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to break the law…

As always, Jones and Meyer are likewise compromised by their corrupt and incompetent and self-serving practices. But Dick Jones, like Talleyrand, always seems to be able to keep his head on his shoulders despite all the revolutions.

Leaving Fullerton even worse off than she found it…

 

And what was the role of Mayor-for-hire Jennifer Fitzgerald, who was the evident and malignant influence around so much of the Fullerton’s recent mismanagement and the cover-ups that inevitably followed? It’s difficult to believe that she wasn’t pushing this through for the benefit of her pals, the Florentines.

Finally, if in fact, City leaders are found culpable in this conspiracy to commit fraud, what is the legal exposure to the taxpayers of Fullerton for both the legal costs incurred by the property owner in the case, and for other damages he may have suffered?

As FFFF learns more about the status of the case we will certainly share it. City Hall probably won’t.

 

The Florentine Mob Pulls Out

Sit down and grab some sidewalk, brother…

It’s taken well over thirty years, but apparently the Family of Tony Florentine is calling quits in downtown Fullerton. Normally, such an occasion would be cause for gratitude, reflection, fond memories, etc., etc., ect.

But not in this case.

The reason nobody is indulging in kind reminiscence is simple. Over the years the family has been in on, and accused of some very shady stuff. Forget about shitty food and consider the following fun events, documented right here on the pages of FFFF, even if ignored by City staff, the Fullerton Police Department and the Fullerton Fire Department.

  1. Joe Florentine accused by former employee of torching his own business – The Melody Inn – back in the late 1980s.
  2. Tony Florentine magically converts an outside dining permit into a permanent structure built across a public sidewalk in the early 2000s.
  3. Tony’s bright kid, Joe, illegally converts the family restaurant into an illegal night club in the mid 2000s.
  4. In 2012 Papa Tony files phoney FPPC complaint against Tony Bushala in an effort to help his Gang of Three avoid recall. Complaint denied.
  5. After gaining a CUP to operate as a club, Joe Florentine never installs the fire sprinkler system required of the CUP.
  6. Seeking approval of yet another CUP in 2019-2020 even though the terms of the previous CUP had never been met,  Joe Florentine forged and had notarized an application that by-passed the building owner, thus placing the City in legal jeopardy.
  7. Last spring the Florentines decided they were entitled to remove on-street parking in order to help themselves.

It’s hard to say what other misdeeds and actual crimes have been committed by the Florentines, over the years. Stories abound. But what we know gives us plenty of reason not to consider their departure with any sort of remorse.

And the very continuation of the bad behavior gives us plenty of reason to ruminate on the political climate that permitted the ongoing flagrance and fraud. Decision makers in City Hall have been running interference for, enabling, and diligently looking the other way through this little reign of terror. Does anybody care? The old City Councils never did. Will the new one?

Andrew Cho Steals Images, Gets Busted

Bankruptcy Lawyer Bad Cho

Remember the political campaign that got started by a bankruptcy lawyer pretending his vocation was “Fullerton Parent” and who was endorsed by a gaggle of political crooks, liars and bagmen?

Well, it appears the crooked campaign of Andrew Cho got itself in trouble by heisting images from the Friends of Coyote Hills website in order to strike an environmentally friendly posture.

The hills are alive with the sound of Muzak…

Matthew Leslie writes about the heist at The Fullerton Rag.

The funny thing about this is the obvious attempt to cover ground lost to Cho’s opponent, Fred Jung, on the open space issue. Cho has been repeatedly hit by Fullerton Taxpayers For Reform as a puppet of overdevelopment lobbyist Jennifer Fitzgerald, our departing Mayor-for-Hire who has her fingerprints all over every apartment prison block built in Fullerton over the past 8 years.

Tax Raiders Won’t Play Fair

Well, really what did you expect. The political action committee that calls itself Fair Elections in Fullerton (or some other nonsensical bullshit) and that is promoting the 17% sales tax increase has been misbehaving. Not unusual, given that it is a creation of city employees and funded by union and there is a lot at stake for them.

Opposition No on S political signs have been destroyed and stolen, and replaced with Yes signs, signs that suggest our roads might be the beneficiary of our largess, and not true, of course.

Here’s a new ploy: actually covering No on S signs with their own, a shitty little tactic that fits so well with the entitlement attitude of our over-entitled “public safety” Heroes.

The Latest City Scam – Campaigning for Measure S

It’s supposed to be illegal to use public resources in support of ballot initiatives, but of course the concept of illegality only applies to losers like you and me, and not to government agencies.

Here’s an example of the City of Fullerton blatantly using your money to propagandize you about the proposed sales tax increase, Measure S.

 

Tell me how this is not obvious political campaign propaganda from start to finish.

Right Out of the Gate – A Scam

Look familiar? Not to me, either…

The other day FFFF introduced the Friends to Andrew Cho, some dude Mayor-for-Hire Jennifer Fitzgerald trawled into her net to run for the Fullerton City Council for District 1. I noted that his list of endorsers included the usual assortment of grifters, con artists and liars.

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

And now that he’s running as the stooge of this pack it should come as no surprise that his first campaign act is a scam – a violation of election rules regarding what you can call yourself on the ballot. Please observe, from the City Clerk’s webpage:

Whether Cho is more a lawyer with a dingbat law degree than a “businessowner” (by the way, that’s two words shoved together) is debatable. What is indefensible is the designation “Fullerton Parent” which is a blatant violation of the Election Code requirement for a candidate to describe his job or source of livelihood. Being a parent is not this clown’s vocation.

Section 13107. Ballot Designation Requirements
(3) No more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents.
One really is forced to wonder why the Fullerton City Clerk was party to this clumsy attempt to get some sort of advantage, but one gets a strong odor of Ms. Fitzgerald in the room making sure the bureaucrats do what she tells them to do.

Ballot Argument Against The New Sales Tax

Leaving Fullerton City hall a lot worse off than she found it…

Pulled from the City of Fullerton’s website, here is the official ballot statement of opposition to the new sales tax proposed by our Mayor-for-hire. Jennifer Fitzgerald. If you think about it the tax proposal is a monumental indictment of the tenure of Fitzgerald and her yes vote, Jan Flory, on the city council. Employee pay raise after pay raise, unbalanced budget after unbalanced budget.

VOTE NO!
Ask yourself: Does the City of Fullerton need even more money from me? If this tax
passes, every time you make a purchase, you will pay 9% sales tax in Fullerton, the
second highest sales tax in Orange County.
The ballot measure title is deceitful. This massive tax increase is not dedicated to fix
Fullerton streets, which are rated the worst in Orange County by OCTA. Rather, the
money would go into the General Fund and could be used for anything.
This 1.25% sales tax increase would be permanent. It is general, not specific, meaning
the City Council could spend this money on salaries and pension benefits for City
Administrators and other City employees.
Over the past decade, Fullerton’s failed leadership spent nearly all revenue increases on
salaries and pension benefits:
Since 2011, sales tax revenue grew by 51%, property tax revenues increased 52%.
Between 2015-16, Council majority approved $19.5 million in pay increases.
Since 2011, the Council raised its two largest department budgets 41% and 55%.
In 2019 alone, according to Transparent California: 146 City of Fullerton employees
received over $200,000 in total compensation, while 51 employees received over
249,000 in total compensation. Fullerton pension recipients collected over $43 million.
The City has already increased water rates by a whopping 29% since June 2019, and is
scheduled to increase rates again by another 11% next July 1st.
The facts are: the City had plenty of money to repair our roads many years ago had it
adopted sensible reforms and reasonable, balanced budgets. Fullerton should already
have smooth streets and water pipes that do not routinely burst.
Vote NO on higher sales taxes!

If You Weren’t So Dumb You’d Know The Right Thing To Do

Accountability? It was never on the agenda.

And so education is the key. To that end our esteemed City Council voted 4-1 last week to pay some sort of “consultant” $129,000 between now and the November election to educate us all about why we need to vote for a new 16% increase in city sales taxes.

That’s right. A few minutes earlier, in the wee small hours, the council voted 4-1 to put a sales tax increase on the ballot. Then they added their little Maraschino cherry right on the top.

The government is not allowed to promote a ballot issue. Of course this prohibition never stopped agencies and school districts in the past. In fact they do it all the time. Wasting $129,000 gives them cover, they believe to promote their shake down. Well, we already know the “educational” pitch:

Lookit all the goodies we will get! Of course we should be getting all this stuff anyhow, if our city government were capable and honest instead of feeble, self-defensive, and in too many instance just corrupt. For years as our reserves were eroded every year Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory and their feel-good choir insisted that the budgets were balanced, projects were well-run, and infrastructure was prioritized. We all knew those were lies and now that we are scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel it’s obvious to even the most oblivious observer.

For years Fitzgerald and company kept pouring money into the “public safety” sack, a move that endeared them to their union supporters but that jacked up payroll and pension costs while delivering zero increase in public safety. Our famous police department continued to nurture illegal behavior in its ranks and the City did its utmost to cover it all up.

Well these worthies have a tough row to hoe given the mood of the public and the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. They’d better have a back-up plan because there’s little chance the electorate is going to want to protect the business-as-usual gang in City Hall. The completely hollow and cynical promise of oversight and audits isn’t going to persuade anybody.

 

Lawyer Dick Jones Stands in Bread Line

dick-jones
Staying awake long enough to cash the check…

Well, now that the names of those receiving Trump Bucks as part of the Great Federal Covid Giveaway 2020 have been published, we here at FFFF thought we’d see if we could dig up some local recipients of government welfare, you know, just to see if we knew any names on the list.

Well, Lo and Behold!

Business Name: RICHARD D. JONES, A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION
Business Type: Subchapter S Corporation
Lender: Pacific Mercantile Bank

Loan Amount: $350,000-1 million
So our City Attorney has fallen on hard times and lined up for a bailout. I really wonder if this is the sort of “business” anybody envisioned when the light bulb went on. Jones has made a fortune dispensing bad advice to cities across Southern California and here in Fullerton he has made a name for himself by suing honest citizens to hide his own errors. On one issue alone, Jones managed to cock up the law, participate in a conflict of interest, and support the forgery of public documents