Well, the Fullerton Culture of Corruption is in the news again, and, naturally, not in a good way. The star of the show is Fullerton’s own Jim Blake. Here is a CBS undercover report on Metropolitan Water District board members wining and dining themselves on our dime – even as they keep jacking up the commodity cost of water to us, a cost to which our wise City Fathers then tack on an illegal 10% tax!
Jim Blake has been the choice of Fullerton’s establishment to represent our City on the MWD since the Third Day, when God gathered the waters.
Of course this is no news to us here at FFFF. We reported on Blake and Linda Ackerwoman running up huge “travel” tabs a long time ago, here and here. Blake has been reappointed by Bankhead and Jones over and over again. Why?
Well, Blake is supposedly calling it quits at MWD, but not before causing Fullerton more embarrassment.
The Voice of OC(EA) is reporting here that Fullerton mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva intends to issue an apology to the Thomas family on behalf of the people of Fullerton; and apparently she also wants name a small part of Fullerton after Kelly Thomas, the homeless, schizophrenic man beaten to death by members of the Fullerton police department last July.
What’s the apology for? According to the article, it’s not entirely clear if it’s for the deliberate smear campaign against Thomas to help make the cops look justified in their actions, or for the actual killing itself.
If it’s the former, I guess the apology would focus on the FPD/City totally mischaracterizing as a “fight” the horrible beat down that took place on Thomas; for telling the public that cops had suffered broken bones; for insinuating that Kelly was amped up on drugs and had stolen property on his person.
Of course all that nonsense was pitched by FPD spokesdonut Andrew Goodrich who never thought it necessary to correct any misinformation he had peddled in those first days after the crime, which makes it deliberate, obviously. If this will be the gist of it, then the apology will be nothing more than a repudiation of Goodriches’ sad performance trying to defend the indefensible actions of his union brethren.
Personally, I would be happier with an apology for the murder itself, along with a personal apology from Quirk-Silva to the citizens of Fullerton for helping permit a Culture of Corruption in the FPD during her seven-plus years in office. I guess this ins’t too likely.
An apology may make Q-S feel better, but sincere or not, I think it falls under the heading of too little, too late; still, better late than never, I suppose.
Oh, by the way, Ms. Quirk-Silva is letting the City Attorney edit the “apology” and that’s not good sign.
As to the issue of placing and naming a bench after KT, I think that’s not helpful. But I relish the idea of watching Pat McPension vote to recognize the homeless man who was beaten to death by thugs he personally hired and vouched for.
Here’s a fun Doc HeeHaw campaign flier from 2004 sent to us from a guy named Baxter. It’s interesting because it shows how little you had to do to get re-elected in Fullerton: send out a couple mailers with a few hollow platitudes and specious claims about how you kept Fullerton safe.
And this document provides lots of exciting bonus material.
Gag. Let’s start with the part about keeping Fullerton safe. We now know that was a crock o’ the BS. But really? Fullerton was safer because it had more six-figure paramedics? Really? And our streets were safer because of money poured into an overpriced police annex and and some stupid, unspecified Homeland Security “Program.” Pathetic. Nothing mentioned about Pat McKinley hiring one-eyed cops rejected by the LAPD. Hmm.
Speaking of McPension, the fact that this toady permitted his picture to be used in a campaign mailer for his boss is really pretty bad and should have caused him to be disciplined by his…oops.
Over on the right it gets even better. Responsible planning, Dick? You mean the proliferation of massive, high density apartment blocks built by your campaign contributors that are choking downtown Fullerton? You mean the Jefferson Commons behemoth? The idiotic Transportation Center Master Plan? And what major transportation projects were you talking about, Dick. The streets of Fullerton were falling into disrepair then, and haven’t gotten any better in the last eight years of your neglect. Also thank you Dick for improving “our” quality of life by revitalizing local parks, although I doubt if you wanted anybody to know about the Poisoned Park that has been virtually useless since the day it opened in 2003.
Oh, and fiscal responsibility? Oops, goofed again. No mention of balancing the budget by imposing a hidden and illegal 10% tax on our water. I would call that raising taxes, each and every year! Now that’s not very good, is it?
And now for Jonesy’s “public safety” gold seal of approval. Jones omits to tell folks what that endorsement cost the citizens of Fullerton: the notorious retroactive pension benefit formula of 3%@50 for cops and firemen that,with the stroke of Dick Jones’ pen, caused an immediate and massive unfunded pension liability that will be dangling over Fullerton taxpayers’ heads for decades, if it ever goes away at all.
In Fullerton the mayor succession is just about the only political intrigue we usually have, with the upper tier repuglicans like Ed Royce Jr. and Richard “Dick” Ackerman calling in markers for their previous endorsements, in order to keep some hapless lady Democrat from getting the largely ceremonial job.
In 2010 the deal went down right on schedule as the Three Tired Retreads voted in install Dozing Don Bankhead as “Mayor Pro Tem” instead of Sharon Quirk-Silva whose turn it was. Well, since the Mayor Pro Tem is traditionally next in line to be Mayor, the proverbial handwriting was on the wall.
And then in 2011 the damnedest thing happened in sleepy Fullerton. All Hell broke loose.
With the murder of Kelly Thomas by members of the FPD, with an entire Culture of Corruption finally exposed, with Redevelopment subsidies to campaign supporters uncovered, with an illegal, hidden 10% tax on water laid bare, with the subsequent Recall of the Three Stripped Gears, things took a turn for the weird.
In November, with the Recall signature campaign gathering steam, it suddenly became a matter of conjecture whether it could be business as usual for the Fullerton Old Guard. We said as much, here. And what we asked about is exactly what happened as we reported here.
But never let it be said that Tricky Dick Ackerman missed a trick. I’ve got it on excellent authority that the Three Blind Brontosauruses didn’t elect Q-S without first proposing The Deal: in exchange for making her mayor for 2012, she would have to promise to oppose the Recall of The Three Dim Dealmakers!
To her credit Sharon Quirk-Silva saw what we saw: that her outbound colleagues had no choice but to make her mayor and were in no position to try to cut deals with anyone. When you’re out of chips the poker game is over.
And now the recall is qualified, an election will be scheduled for June, and the ‘pugs get to watch Quirk-Silva run for re-election with the title Mayor of Fullerton. Best of all they got nothing out of it.
Yesterday Grover Cleveland posted on how the Fullerton City Council’s creation of a boozy mess downtown that led to the emergence of an FPD goon squad to quell the crime wave that the council, including Recall targets Jones, Bankhead and McKinley, had created.
The only problem was that the FPD goon squad didn’t solve anything; it actually added to the crime wave!
Here’s a reminder video: a late night confrontation between a thug and some thugs in uniform. An innocent bystander was beat up and arrested. His offense? Capturing the event on video. Later he was put on trial for assaulting a cop, to which Fullerton cops Kenton Hampton and Frank Nguyen swore on oath in a court of law. It never happened, but that didn’t stop the FPD and the DA from trying to put an innocent man in prison. Now we have two more Brady cops, if they weren’t Brady cops already, and a nasty, expensive law suit waiting in the wings
By now everyone is at least casually familiar with the personage of FPD cop Joe Wolfe, who along with Manny Ramos, happened to be the first to confront the homeless schizophrenic man, Kelly Thomas, in the Fullerton Transportation Center, on the sultry night of July 5th, 2011.
Allegedly responding to a call claiming somebody was breaking into cars, Wolfe and Ramos were near enough to get to the scene first. Some folks think this was not a coincidence.
According to the DA, Wolfe searched Thomas’ backpack at the rear of a patrol car as Ramos hovered over Thomas around front – a mere 10-15 feet away. The fact that this implausibly lengthy “search” took place during Ramos’ physical and verbal intimidation of Kelly gave the DA his justification for Wolfe’s subsequent behavior.
What happened next (according to the DA) is that Kelly, who finally realized he was being queued up for an ass kicking one way or another, got up, and backed away from Ramos, hands and palms up; Ramos had pulled out his baton. And who was there to meet Thomas with drawn night stick, having circled around behind the patrol car and who suddenly seemed very much aware of what was going on?
Right. Officer Joe Wolfe.
This corpulent cop, who was so thoroughly engrossed in picking through Thomas’ scant belongings that he supposedly had no knowledge of what was happening a few feet away, suddenly became as nimble as Nijinski, allegedly slamming Kelly in the leg with his night stick, and with Ramos, tackling Thomas. As Ramos held Thomas by the neck and punched him, Wolfe was on top too, kicking and punching as the beat down and the pile on began.
We are asked (by the DA) to believe that Wolfe was completely unaware of Ramos verbally threatening Thomas, and donning his latex gloves; and that he was merely coming to Ramos’ rescue. Could it have happened that way? I guess so, but it really strains credulity to believe that Wolfe was not aware of the provacative behavior of Ramos, even if there were no pre-arranged set up of Kelly involved. And the DA provided no credible explanation for the sheer violence of his physical assault: we are left with the inevitable conclusion that Wolfe meant to do Kelly great bodily harm.
How many times did Wolfe hit Thomas before the one-eyed cop Jay Cicinelli arrived on the scene to finish him off? Only those privileged cops (and city councilmen) who have seen the video know.
Many questions remain unanswered about the role of Mr. Wolfe on the night in question, and despite the DA’s effort to absolve Wolfe of complicity in the killing, many observers, including me, remain unconvinced.
One thing we do know for sure: Joe Wolfe joins an ever growing list of Fullerton cops who can’t be let loose on the street or trusted to testify in court. He has been on paid leave since August. And until the Gennaco report on the Thomas killing comes out, there he will stay.
In the case of the FPD public information officer, not much, apparently.
It happens that FPD has some sort of class on how to love your local cops, and below, I share two on-line descriptions of the class. Check out the 2009 version vs. the 2012 version. All of the Pat McKinley quotes were replaced word-for-word with alleged quotations by Dan Hughes!
How’s that for a nice copy and paste job from a $130,000 per year employee, FPD spokesphincter Andrew Goodrich?
The 10-week course “will expose participants to the many faces of police work in their community,” explained Fullerton Police Acting Chief Dan Hughes. “Participants will gain an overall knowledge of the Fullerton Police Department, how it’s organized, how it serves the community, and they will learn about the men and women behind the badge.”
Hughes emphasized the course is not meant to train people to become police officers; rather, “it is intended to improve communication and understanding between the community and the department.”
The 10-week course, which will be held from March 11 through May 13, “exposes participants to the many facets of police work in their community,” explained Fullerton Police Chief Pat McKinley. “Participants will gain an overall knowledge of the Fullerton Police Department, how it’s organized, and how it serves the community, and they will learn about the men and women behind the badge.”
McKinley emphasized the course is not meant to train people to become police officers; rather, “it is intended to open communication between the community and the department.”
Either Goodrich is the laziest $130,000 man alive, or Danny Hughes is channeling the ghost of Pat McPension!
FPD Bonus Question. “communication and understanding between the community and the department” means:
1. We will not flatulate in your face because we think you are unconscious.
2. We will not break into your house by mistake, hold you at gunpoint and refuse to apologize.
3. We will not beat you up, arrest you and then lie on the witness stand about how we came to find you in our jail the next day.
4. We will not throw you in jail for five months because we are just too damn lazy to catch the right dude.
5. We will not handcuff and sexually assault you in the back of our patrol cars.
6. We will not swipe your wallet after we kick the crap out of you.
7. We will not encourage you to commit suicide in our jail. Nor will we try to destroy the evidence thereof.
8. We will not rip you off by committing credit card fraud.
9. We will not steal your iPad at an airport security checkpoint. Or any place else for that matter.
10. We will not instigate a fake crime report, beat the living shit out of you, electrocute you, drive your facial bones into your brain, sit on your chest as you asphyxiate in your own blood, stand around as you die, and then laugh about it the next day as we go back to work.
It has been said that the only two certainties are death and taxes.
That sure seems to be the case when you consider Fullerton’s illegal 10% tax on water that you are forced to pay with each bill. The cowards haven’t even got the guts to add it as a line item on the bill. Wouldn’t want nosy citizens asking embarrassing questions, now would we?
Nine months ago the City was challenged on the legality of the notorious “in-lieu fee” that adds over $2,500,000 to the City General Fund coffers every year. What did they do? They decided to study. And study. And study some more.
Well, the study isn’t done yet. But guess what? You still pay that tax. An honest government would have gotten a definitive legal opinion from a competent attorney (ahem) and immediately reported to the public. Not in Fullerton, where the idea seems to be to keep soaking the public until some judge, or a recall election makes them fix the problem. In the meantime they’ve collected two million bucks to pay for things like councilmen Don Bankhead and Pat McKinley’s six-figure pensions.
But everything’s just fine. Go back to sleep again.
I’ve been thinking about this for months. It’s been gnawing at my spinal cortex. It’s been chewing on my psyche. It’s been snag-toothing the back of my brain. There is no polite way to put this. OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ case against the goons who killed Kelly Thomas is designed to fail.
There are just too many lose ends overlooked or ignored by the DA. Too many unasked questions. Charges that are mystifying, flimsy, dubious, ultimately useless.
If ever anybody looked like a patsy it was the obese clown Manny Ramos, who, as Rackauckas pointed out, initiated the brutal contact with the schizophrenic, undernourished homeless man. But other than possibly joining the pile on, Ramos is not said by the DA to have been part of the actual beating laid down on Thomas. That was said to have been perpetrated principally by the one-eyed cop Jay Cicinelli, who was hit with paltry charges and a paltry bail.
The Second Degree murder charge against Ramos won’t stick since his lawyer need only point to the damage done by the other cops, four of whom have already been exonerated of any crime by the DA. And Cicinelli’s lawyer will argue that a cop tasering and beating a man’s face into his brain case is not to be considered excessive force by an OC jury, let alone manslaughter, since it never has in the past.
Joe Wolfe, whom we are supposed to believe had no knowledge of what was going on between Kelly and Ramos, a mere 15-20 feet away, and who actually delivered the first blow – a swing of the baton to Thomas’ leg, and who immediately piled on, was inexplicably given a pass by Rackauckas. Is it too conspiratorial to propose the possibility that Wolfe was actually waiting for Kelly to run away from Ramos? How long does it take to search a backpack?
And then there’s Kenton Hampton, whose thuggery has been well-documented on these pages; who arrived on the scene in time to hold down Kelly’s legs as he was being tortured and beaten by Cicinelli. He got a get out of jail card from our DA, too. So did Blatney and Craig, arriving on the scene to participate in the mop up operation, and possibly in phone/film collection activities.
Will the DA even bother going after Ramos anymore? With the preliminary hearing scheduled for March 28th, I wouldn’t be surprised if charges will be dropped, maybe even the charges against Cicinelli, as well. Could Wolfe or Hampton still be charged if the DA has second thoughts about his strategy, and assuming he actually wants to convict somebody of something in this killing? Yes, it’s possible, but not very likely.
I’m starting to think the whole thing was just an elaborate whitewash of a conspiracy; a charade in which a weak DA ostensibly succumbed to public pressure, but never had any intention of vigorously prosecuting any cops. If so we are all in deeper trouble than we can possibly appreciate. I hope I am wrong.
And I hope if I am not wrong that Federal and civil trials will bring to light all of the information our Do-Nothing DA, by his action, or lack of action, seems intent on not disclosing.
Fullerton cop Kellly Mejia finally had her day in court and pled guilty to swiping an iPad in a Miami airport TSA security check point. She got a slap on the wrist from the judge: a “theft class,” a dinky fine, some community services hours and best of all will get this expunged if she she keeps her nose clean for a whole year.
Lou Ponsi of the Registercites FPD spokessphincter Andrew Goodrich who claims Mejia was fired at the end of October after being on paid leave since May. Ponsi is obliging in pointing out that Mejia is a former Fullerton cop, glossing over the fact that she was a Fullerton cop when she committed her crime.
Of course we peons are not permitted to know what she was actually fired for, since the public is not privy to police personnel matters no matter how egregious a cop’s offense may have been; whatever Mejia was canned for, presumably it wasn’t for committing larceny in Florida, since she hadn’t pled guilty of anything yet on October 28th. Was there something even worse the we shall never know about?