Here’s something for Latino voters to contemplate: their current representative in District 5, Ahmad Zahra. Dope near schools. What a piss-poor idea. Well in Zahra’s orbit, marijuana money talks. Loudly. Zahra is always bleating some “progressive” platitude or other to manage his little social media coterie, but the fact is he is in deep with the weed lobby despite the Latina opposition that spurred a recall attempt.
Here’s the front of a mailer we just received:
And of course there’s a backside.
No, Zahra isn’t working for D5. In fact he isn’t working for anybody. He’s unemployed. But he is looking for work – with the Long Beach Cannabis Cartel that’s just dying to make inroads into Fullerton.
The Fullerton Collaborative hosted a candidate forum, which featured some good questions and some not so good. It featured 5 out of 6 City Council candidates running in Districts 3 and 5 this year. Shana Charles received a hall pass and did not stay for the forum.
Ahmad Zahra was his usual full of himself self. The notorious man who never wasted a selfie opportunity was untruthful, effortlessly deceived the audience, remaining true to his duplicitous self.
Here’s a list of the many, oh, so many lies.
LIE #1: “The district I’ve called home for the last 21 years.”
TRUTH: Zahra’s voter registration record doesn’t agree.
LIE #2: “As a medical doctor.”
TRUTH: Zahra is not a licensed medical doctor or a medical professional of any kind.
LIE #3: “The budget needs to be reflective of the needs of our community.”
TRUTH: Zahra wasted a million dollars of the people’s money frivolously suing a local blog and its authors, and were it not for the new Council, that bill would still be accumulating. A million dollars would have paid for a fire engine and more than a handful of Parks and Recs, Police, or Firefighter, or Maintenance employees.
LIE #4: “We have a shortage of staff and we need to invest in those areas.”
TRUTH: Zahra had an opportunity to pass a budget with a 1% cut and $1 million dollars to the City Manager to fill staffing concerns. He voted no, not once, but on three different City Council meetings.
LIE #5: “I would love to see more drug programs and engaging our school district on drug prevention programs.”
TRUTH: Zahra advocated for publicly and voted for on four separate occasions to have weed sold in Fullerton with only a 100 foot buffer zones to schools or homes or churches or parks.
LIE #6: “Supportive housing is crucial, but we need to make sure we are also outreaching and creating transparency.”
TRUTH: 1600 Commonwealth is an affordable housing development and so little transparency and outreach was done that the neighbors protested en masse and killed the deal with Pathways of Hope because of lack of outreach and transparency.
LIE #7: “We need to make sure our parks are maintained and cleaned.”
TRUTH: Zahra voted to give away Union Pacific Park in the heart of his district to a for-profit event planner for weddings.
LIE #8: “I have been one of the most engaged Council members. Everybody knows I’m out there.”
TRUTH: Woodcrest neighborhood mothers and residents have come to one Council meeting after another in the past 2 years complaining about Zahra’s lack of accessibility and lack of engagement with them. But then again, they are not kissing his ass and stroking his giant ego. He works with the Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. Why? Because their director donates to his campaign and their employee Egleth Nuncci is his permanent tag-a-long. No other non-profit or community group gets any engagement from Zahra.
LIE #9: “We also need to expand our ability to do corporate partnerships.”
TRUTH: Zahra strong armed Republic Services, the City’s trash hauler to give his pet project city in a foreign country a trash truck and then promptly took a selfie and credit for saving democracy. That’s not a corporate partner. That is a quid pro quo.
LIE #10: “I have worked with this Council, despite sometimes the hard times and differences we’ve had.”
TRUTH: Zahra only works for and with Zahra. He has no contact with his Council colleagues. So how are you working with this Council, Ahmad?
LIE #11: “Be faithful with my votes.”
TRUTH: Zahra made an impassioned speech about how important voting was in his country of Syria and that the at large Council seat vacated by Jesus Quirk-Silva should be determined in a special election to betray the people and his faith in democracy the very next meeting and appoint the elderly disaster Jan Flory, who in turn voted to appoint him to the Orange County Water District and its healthy stipend, one he took without objection and then donated to his campaign.
LIE #12: “We see so many Councilmembers come and then they make backroom deals.”
TRUTH: See TRUTH #11.
The truth is Ahmad Zahra is nothing more than a serial liar. Things come apart so easily when they are held together by lies. It’s always the ones with dirty hands doing all the finger pointing isn’t it?
Apparently, Ahmad Zahra held some sort of meet and greet (I’ll talk to anyone, but I won’t tell them the truth) Sunday morn, behind a donut store.
There to greet him were some protesters who seem to be angry that he voted several times to allow marijuana dispensaries within 100 feet of homes and schools – at the behest of emissaries from the Long Beach weed store cartel.
We here at FFFF have never thought of Jesus Quirk Silva as a very bright fellow, but he seems to have learned at least one thing on the Fullerton City Council. And that lesson came courtesy of former councilwoman-for-hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald.
That lesson is simple: it’s more fun to try to peddle influence based on your elected position than it is to hold down a day job.
And so Mr. Quirk Silva has embarked on a new potential career path – away from teaching multiplication to slack-jawed pre-pubescents, and into the exiting realm of lobbying local governments.
Quirk Silva’s “employer” is Adan Ortega, of Ortega Associates, who you may remember as the desperate Fullerton MWD director who was replaced by Fred Jung, and who then tried to get appointed as a representative from the city of San Fernando.
I fully expect Quirk-Silva to attempt to follow in the footsteps of Fitzgerald, although he can barely utter a coherent sentence.
Now why does any of this matter, really? Because government ought to be about governing, not about being a bagman between special interests, other lobbyists, developers, and your colleagues on local boards and councils.
As a Fullerton Councilman, Quirk Silva doesn’t have that much juice, but he could be pulled and persuaded very easily. More importantly, his wife, Sharon Quirk Silva, is a state Assemblywoman, and as such actually does command respect for how she might be able to move something along in Sacramento.
And now back to Ortega. FFFF sources have indicated that he was attempting to break into the legalized marijuana biz here in Fullerton as a lobbyist, but got caught up in the interminable incompetence of the last city council, and the reluctance of the new council to go down the happy MJ trail. The same sources suggest that a cartel of cannabis interests from Long Beach is still very interested in reviving the issue in Fullerton.
The Jesus has been a long-time, big-time cheerleader for legalized dispensaries in Fullerton, so there are several loose strings as yet not quite tied together.
Last night’s City Council hearing on moving ahead with a marijuana ordinance produced the usual incoherent blather from our distinguished electeds, none of whom seemed to know what they were talking about, and two, in particular, who seemed to have been coached by representatives of the legal pot lobby. Of course we learned that the previous outreach didn’t reach anybody not looking to make a buck in the weed biz.
Somehow in its latest incarnation, staff’s proposed framework for allowing these uses, particularly dispensaries. reduced the “buffer zone” at schools and parks from 1000 feet to only 600, and eliminated the buffer for residential zones altogether. Why? Pretty obviously to increase the opportunities for locating dispensaries.
Councilmembers Zahra and Silva, who gave every appearance of repeating “consultant” talking points expressed concern that workers in these places be unionized and that to proceeds go to kiddie social programs, but they were more interested in increasing parcels available for development than they were about the impacts on residential neighbors. The bumbling Silva in particular made a big deal about having most permissible zoning in order that the burden of hosting these facilities would be shared by rich folks up in the hills, an idiotic pretext since a majority of the council spent a good deal of time extolling the virtues and minimal impacts of licensed shops.
Councilmembers Whitaker, Flory and Fitzgerald indicated their desire for a 1000 foot buffer, and the inclusion of residential use as a “sensitive receptor” requiring a buffer. So good for them. However, Fitzgerald and Whitaker both voted against going forward with more “outreach” and a future ordinance anyhow, meaning that either Zahra, Silva or Flory somebody is going to have to change their support for a residental buffer, ultimately, in a final ordinance. I leave it to the Friends to guess who that might be. On the other hand it’s hard to see how this can make it back to the Council before the election and both Flory and Fitzgerald will be gone, meaning that we may get lucky in Districts 1 and 2 and get a level-headed council majority who can make a decision that isn’t bogged down by fake concern, verbal gas, and union stoogery.