Late yesterday afternoon the City of Fullerton announced that City Manager Ken Domer is quitting. Observers have noted a growing dissatisfaction by a majority of the council with Domer’s lack of management ability.
The City press release quotes Domer, thus: “I really can’t stay any longer. It used to be so easy to do the things I do, in the way I do them. Now I have to try to answer embarrassing questions all the time. It’s not supposed to work like that.”
Most recently Domer tried to get the council to go along with privatizing the business registration function – a move that would actually cost the City money, and, by relocating an existing employee, maintain the current employee headcount. This item was rejected by the City Council in a 3-2 vote, now a familiar trend.
In the press release, Domer continues: “I will always value my four years in Fullerton. Working with Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory was so rewarding for me. And I mean that literally. And of course Jesus Quirk Silva and Ahmad Zahra always had my back, and I had theirs.”
In his brief tenure as City Manager Domer will be remembered for unbalanced budgets, a failed sales tax scam, crumbling infrastructure, lack of code enforcement, bending over backward for downtown bar scofflaws, ridiculous vanity construction projects and many other accomplishments. But he may be best remembered for the City’s reckless lawsuit against this very blog, and the incredibly corrupt decision to approve Joe Florentine’s forgery of an official city planning document.
When reached for comment, former councilperson Jennifer Fixgerald noted, “Ken Domer is a real treasure; a pleasure to work with; worth his weight in gold.”
When people talk about “government circles” you can believe they mean it: some things just keep circling around and around yet, like when you have a clogged sewer liner, the circling flotsam never goes down the drain.
And so it is with the City of Fullerton’s hapless Community Development Department that can’t seem to adopt a plan and stick to it; that can’t be honest and straight forward; that refuses to enforce its own code; and as we shall see in this final installment, steadfastly refuses to notify the public of what it’s up to.
When I left off, I noted the odd three-month hiatus of the latest noise go-round that was once again being disguised within broader land use code update In February 2019, the Planning Department was again convened to review the matter, after two opponents of amplified outdoor music had been conveniently removed from the Commission. By this time the new and soon to be former Planning Director, Ted White, was directing the charge to push for the noise free-for-all, likening the impending racket to the noise blast known as Broadway Avenue in Nashville – but in a good way.
But this time there was another problem. The hearing hadn’t been properly noticed to the public as should have been the case, particularly since the noise issue has such an impact on the citizenry. George and Tony Bushala lawyered up and informed the City that it had failed to notify the public about what it was doing. Mr. White declared that the downtown noise issue would be removed from the discussion that night. But it wasn’t – not entirely – as other code sections that pertained to noise slipped through.
A compliant and complaisant Council adopted the zone code changes in April, 2019.
But the story was not over, because, well, Fullerton. The bar owners still needed to be pacified and the bar still needed to be lowered. By November 2020 Ted White was gone only to be replaced by an in-house lackey named Matt Foulkes who had been part of the ongoing mess since 2015, and knew exactly which side of his toast had the butter on it.
So the downtown noise mess was brought back to the council again, where lame-duck members Jennifer Fitzgerald and her puppet, Jan Flory were guaranteed yes votes. But alas, once again the City failed to properly notice the public, and this time there was no way to hide the incompetence in a broader mish-mash of code changes.So the hearing was continued until…well, who knows when? Apparently Jeremy Popoff has fled the scene to Nashville to enjoy whatever douchebaggery he can find there, and Covid has silenced DTF – for now.
But one thing is certain. The City’s downtown creation, AKA Dick Jones “monster” will continue to suck millions in resources out of the General Fund even as the bureaucrats continue to admire the mess they did nothing to stop and continue to characterize a liability as an asset. And because of that complete disconnect with reality, they will continue to push for a noise-a-palooza – no matter how long it takes.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if government bureaucracies do the things they do because of incompetence, venality, or favoritism. In the never-ending story of Fullerton’s noise regulation all three seem to be uniquely intertwined.
What is inescapable is that the City of Fullerton has striven mightily to separate the issue of nuisance noise emanating from downtown outdoor areas from both enforcement and illegality.
In 2011 the ridiculous Transportation Center Specific Plan finally made it legal to propagate amplified outdoor music, thus making Jeremey Popoff’s Slidebar appear honest, although he still didn’t have a legal Conditional Use Permit. But the new regulations for noise had no more effect than Popoff’s missing CUP because the City – cops and code enforcement – refused to enforce the regulations.
What to do? Hmm. What about throwing the issue into a miasma of bureaucratic paper shuffling so that nobody would notice what you were doing, and downtown scofflaws could actually be absolved, de jure as well as de facto?
In August, 2014 the City tried this pitch with the idea that the Noise ordinance would be updated along with great swaths of the existing land use law to make thing, you know, easier to figure out. But downtown noise played a prominent part in the discussion, if not really in the staff report. The council approved noise studies as a mechanism, a cynic might say, to avoid cracking down on Popoff, Jack Franklin’s Roscoe’s, and their ilk, because that is exactly what happened.
2015 rolled around and the Community Development “professionals,” led by newly minted Director Karen Haluza, were again yakking it up about revising the Code. Well, these things take time, you know, and in the late summer of 2016 the City Council finally got around to passing Ordinance 3232, a revised Code, still, with intent of instilling commonsense and clarity. The definition of amplified music was scratched out pending future action.
But whatever the motivation, the ever-shifting sands of sound gave the bureaucrats, aided and abetted by the perpetual dishonesty of City Attorney Dick Jones, the pretext they needed to bat away complaints about the illegal noise – because the issues was under study and consideration!
The vicious circle took yet another revolution in June of 2018 when the Council was persuaded by yet another new planning director, Ted White, to pass a Resolution of Intent to once again revise the land use codes in the interests of commonsense and clarity. Of course the Noise Ordinance and downtown noise was actually a key driver in this conversation, too. Mr. White took it upon himself to introduce a new downtown noise map where any outdoor sound would be permitted; but, the standards – 70 decibels outside and 65 decibels inside – were not to be applied to the source, but to the sensitive receptor, and the burden of proof was clearly laid at the feet of the victim, not the perpetrator of the nuisance. The bureaucracy seemed oblivious to the Armageddon of Noise they were trying to create or the sensibilities of residents adjacent to the riot zone.
The Planning Commission was finally scheduled to review the latest iteration of musical chairs in November, 2018; but the discussion was mysteriously continued for three months until February, 2019 by which time two opponents of amplified music, Nick Dunlap and Ryan Cantor had been removed from the Commission. A coincidence? Who knows? Stay tuned…
20. AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT UPDATE On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act which programs over $1.9 trillion in relief funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Councilmember Jung requested, with concurrence from Mayor Whitaker, to hold an initial discussion of local funding opportunities. Recommendation: Provide direction as appropriate
On tomorrow night’s council agenda we see that Item #20 is a discussion about what to do with the Democrat’s Federal relief dough, estimated to be in the neighborhood of $35,000,000. That’s a nice neighborhood, especially if you’re a stumblebum city manager like Ken Domer who is hanging on to quarter mil per year job by the skin of his teeth.
This pile o’ cash is undoubtedly already attracted the attention of the Hero unions who will be clamoring for equity, parity, and any other ity they can think up. And of course Domer has been complaining about his poor, overworked skeleton staff crew, too, so there’s that.
I know that the bureaucrats will be applying pressure to use the money for payroll and pensions. How do we know this? Because that’s what they were pushing hard with the late and not lamented Measure S tax. We can be sure that staff will be doing the usual song and dance about what the Biden Bucks can and cannot be spent on.
Well, here’s what I say: $35,000,000 will pay for a whole lot of paving and a whole lot of sidewalk.
It’s painfully obvious that Councilpersons Zahra and Silva will do whatever they’re told by the City Manager. Fortunately, Councilmen Dunlap and Jung know who they work for. And it isn’t the public employee unions. That leaves Mayor Bruce Whitaker who actually helped Jung get this item on the agenda for public discussion.
It didn’t take racist grifter Adan Ortega long to find a new city to help him keep him aboard his little crony gravy train.
You’ll recall that Mr. Ortega was removed from the Metropolitan Water Board of Directors by Fullerton back on 02 February. Now, according to their agenda for 01 March, Ortega is going to be appointed back to that very board by San Fernando.
Not even a month went by before he managed to get back on the board that allows him to so easily peddle his municipal lobbying firm “Ortega Solutions” to unsuspecting entities. And just like that the grift keeps on grifting.
That he also peddles in racism & the San Fernando City Council is a-ok with that is further evidence that porn is still the moral and ethical bright spot in the San Fernando Valley.
This just goes to show that Fullerton was right to remove him because representing Fullerton’s interests was never his agenda – the same as representing San Fernando won’t be going forward. I guess the taxpayers of San Fernando better hope those evil “white people” in Pasadena look out for their best interests because Ortega will be too busy looking out for his own.
Fullerton has a new(ish) online Public Records portal to view records requests made by the public. If you put in a Public Records Request, and I urge you to submit them often for fun and profit, you’ll get a response sometime within 10 days telling you to wait longer. When you finally get an actual response to your request the Assistant City Clerk will likely email you and in the email will include the following line;
“The City of Fullerton has reviewed its files and has located responsive records to your request. You can inspect these documents online in the Fullerton Public Records Center.”
Maybe you’ll get a link, maybe you won’t. But the “Public Records Center” looks like this:
BE WARNED. This could be a trap.
If you, acting like a normal person on the internet, click on “Public Records Home” and navigate to the “Public Records Request Log” you will be able to see all current public record requests and their responses. This is where the trap comes into play. You see, the City of Fullerton has NOT given you “Expressed Authorized Permission” to view these publicly available public records and as such could be trying to entrap you into a legal case.
After all, that is EXACTLY what they’re claiming we did over on their former PRR portal (Dropbox) and we’ve been in court for over a year with City Hall calling us “hackers” and “thieves” for clicking links on a website (Dropbox) they told us about and sent us links to click.
Now they’re telling people about this new portal and sending people links to this GovQa powered portal as though everything is fine and on the up and up. It is not.
If, or more likely WHEN, the City screws up again and puts something on this new PRR Portal that they later claim shouldn’t be online, they’re likely to sue you under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the CA counterpart the CDAFA.
To drive the point home that this is serious and not just me trolling you, the hosting software is run by “GovQA” which is a private equity owned company that even tells you in their terms of service (TOS) that you are responsible if you are granted access to things by mistake;
“You must not retrieve information, or in any other way disclose information, for someone who does not have authority to access that information.”
This is precisely what the City of Fullerton claims happened with us on Dropbox.
But how will you know when you’ve been granted access to something you shouldn’t have access to? You won’t. That’s the point.
In our case Fullerton’s City Attorneys have been incapable of figuring out which records on Dropbox were public and which were allegedly not. In their court documents they’ve claimed AT LEAST 4 different lists of offending files.
That’s right. First the City claimed everything on Dropbox wasn’t public. Then some of it was public, then a different some of it was public and then a different some of it still. If City Hall and their small army of attorneys don’t know what’s public – how are you supposed to know what you’re allowed to look at?
This is how you risk getting blamed for City Hall’s screw-ups the way we’re getting blamed.
It gets better. GovQa even EXPLICITLY references the CFAA in their TOS (emphasis added);
“You understand that any person or business entity who obtains information from a computer connected to the Internet in violation of computer-use restrictions is in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.“
Fullerton, in court, is arguing that clicking on a link we weren’t explicitly told it was okay to click is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That is their actual legal argument.
Consider yourself warned. Do not trust this new system in Fullerton as our case is ongoing with no end in sight. Fullerton City Hall & City Council have never taken responsibility for their own screw-ups so it is incumbent upon you to protect yourself from their litigious and corrupt nature.
Use TOR or a VPN if you need to access these systems. Set up a dummy email account. Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself because even though you have every right to view every document published on that public facing website – that they’ll tell you about – it doesn’t mean that the city won’t entrap you, slander you and play the victim with your own money.
It looks like Councilman Fred Jung has appointed a FFFF ally to the Fullerton Planning Commission by way of appointing Jose Trinidad Castaneda III. While it’s true one of our authors poked fun at his failed 2018 candidacy in D5, we’re known to poke fun at anybody and aren’t a hivemind here on FFFF.
What’s important to me personally and gives me hope is that Castaneda endorsed my campaign for City Council back in 2016.
Castaneda endorsed me not once but at least twice (that I saw), which is more than I can say for a certain Orange Juice Blogger who endorsed me and then rescinded said endorsement because politics and “prior commitments” before learning I existed and was more awesome.
Here’s hoping that some of the more egregious things I’ve heard about Castaneda are not true and that he is looking to represent all of Fullerton in his new duties.
That Castaneda endorsed me in 2016 shows, if nothing else, that he made some good choices 4 years ago. Let’s hope he keeps doing the same.
So what was it? I don’t know but it must have been something very bad, even though Domer is clear that the firing wasn’t “for cause.” So maybe it was just personal in some way, requiring “a different direction” whatever the Hell that means. And maybe it was meant as a pre-emptive bloodletting meant to forestall future personnel whackings closer to the Domer domicile.
In a recently discovered set of claims [Link HERE] it is being alleged amongst other things that the Fullerton Police Department, up to and including Police Chief Dunn, retaliated against a former officer for exposing wrongdoing and corruption.
The Officer is claiming targeted harassment.
Is Fullerton now in the business of retaliating against women to hide corruption? Has our city stooped so low as to attack whistleblowers?
There’s a lot to unpack here but first…
I should probably mention that the officer in question is former Lieutenant Kathryn Hamel and that she’s claiming that Chief Dunn gave us, the Friends for Fullerton’s Future, info about Hamel in violation of several laws.
Let that sink in.
Did Chief Dunn give us the very information that the city is suing us for having posted? Inquiring minds want to know.
If nothing else, seeing Hamel claiming damages for a million+ samoleans does seem to explain why the city is trying to shift the blame onto us for their gross negligence. Not that that plan is even going to work.
Her claim states that even IF Chief Dunn didn’t expressly retaliate against Hamel, the city is still screwed for being negligent (which by their own accounts in their lawsuit against us – they were).
Officer Christopher Wren, the dude who was seemingly banging his subordinate in a PD bathroom, is likewise claiming damages from the City of Fullerton over FFFF reporting because it’s his right to use his department issued phone to send nude photos while on the job without you knowing about it.
These claims for damages, usually the precursor to lawsuits, are just more examples of completely avoidable stupidity chalked up to the incompetency of Jones & Mayer and City Staff. Not to worry though, Jones & Mayer has likely investigated Jones & Mayer and found they did nothing wrong and will rectify these problems by billing the city countless hours (at $200/hr) to cover up for their own ridiculously negligent behavior.
Here it is after 4 years of obfuscation by City Hall and Fullerton PD. Here is the 9-1-1 call from the night former City Manager Joe Felz ran over a tree and tried to flee the scene. Pay special attention to the squealing of his vehicle as it limps down Highland away from poor Sappy McTree.
You’ll recall that he was given a ride home by Fullerton PD and given a pass on his DUI thanks to the position of power he enjoyed. This treatment ultimately, thanks to this blog, led to the firing and charging of the responsible Fullerton PD Sargent.
Give it a listen.
Now we await the body camera footage and other records from the incident.