When things get tough, real leaders make difficult choices. And then there are those like Ahmad Zahra.
When Covid 19 rolled around in the spring of 2020 Fullerton was already looking at financial disaster. Years of unbalanced budgets were backfilled by reserve funds by the partnership Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra. With the Covid lockdown things looked bleak.
What to do?
“I know” said Ahmad Zahra, “lets have a sales tax.”
And so the ill-fated Measure S was placed on the ballot by the same herd: Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra. The proponents didn’t seem to care that sales taxes are inherently regressive, and Zahra seemed uninterested in the fact that his D5 constituents would be disproportionately hurt. Ironically, at the time, Zahra was hauling in $4,000 a month for a few hours time as an appointed member of the Orange County Water District Board.
Later, in 2021, when federal relief money rolled in to Fullerton, Zahra tried to direct funds away from infrastructure and into salaries and pension obligations.
Well, those chickens have come to roost. This mail piece landed in D5 mailboxes today:
For over a year Fullerton “Fire” Heroes have been pressing for Fullerton’s admission into the ranks of the OC Fire Authority, an agency that will give them more of what they crave: our money. We, as always pick-up the check.
Tuesday night, the Orange County Fire Authority proposal and the rebuttal were presented to Fullerton’s City Council, and the fire Heroes brought out the entire circus: wives, children, retired firefighters, Anaheim firefighters, Ahmad Zahra’s strange sycophant Bernard, and Ahmad permanent Plus One, Egleth Nuncci.
Of the OCFA, the Voice of OC recently wrote: “(They are) wrestling with some big issues right now, including a drop in staffing, stalled contract negotiations, along with an ever expanding wildfire season and a revolving door of fire chiefs over the past decade.”
Judging by the public comments from the fire Heroes and their supporters, this article aptly describes Fullerton.
Fullerton’s budget currently allocates an astounding $21.5 million dollars for fire Hero salaries. That is $21.5 million dollars more than as ever been allocated in general fund money for streets, roads, sidewalks or streetlights. It’s no wonder the city if falling apart. If the OCFA comes in it’s going to cost even more.
Of course, this enormous expense is humped by Fullerton taxpayers, who get the best EMT service $21.5 million dollars can buy because over 80% of all Fullerton “fire” calls are not fire calls. They are medical calls!
In the meeting, OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy says Fullerton fire is a department in crisis because they are losing so many fire Heroes to other departments.
According to Voice of OC reporting, in their last fire academy, OCFA wanted to recruit 50 fire heroes to help boost their staffing levels.
Why? Because staffing levels have “dropped to the point that firefighters are being regularly forced to pick up extra shifts.”
Sounds familiar Fullerton? Same complaints our Fullerton fire Heroes cry about their very own department.
“They (OCFA) got 19 firefighters, two of which quit within the first month to return to their old fire departments in the Inland Empire that were offering better pay and benefits.
“With that lack of new personnel, it’s putting stress on the existing staff, with many reporting they’re being forced to work dozens of hours of extra shifts against their will.”
A Fullerton fire Hero’s wife said the exact same thing at the Council meeting about the department that issues overtime to her “overworked” husband with such regularity, it is widely known in fire circles that overtime for fire heroes is a part of the salary.
There are a few certainties in life. Death. Taxes. And the pressure terrorism campaign from the Fullerton fire heroes will most certainly begin in earnest.
Zahra is bought and paid for by the Fullerton fire union, so he can’t say yes fast enough to the OCFA move. His fundraiser was dutifully attended by Fullerton Fire Union President Dan Lancaster, who snagged over $60,000 in overtime pay alone in 2020.
The fire union will definitely contribute on behalf of Ahmad’s campaign in the form of independent expenditures, of which for some reason they are always absolved.
The hypocrisy in criticizing a candidate taking donations from Tony Bushala or a John Saunders as being in the pocket of developers, but taking money from the fire heroes is beyond reproach.
Also, Fullerton’s fire union and its fearless leader Lancaster need to learn to count. Supporting Zahra gets you to 1 vote. Unless you can count to 3 Dan, you have nothing.
So support Zahra at your own peril or get better union representation that will get you better results.
Silva, Jung, Dunlap, and Whitaker can use the facts presented to see that the problems Fullerton’s department faces are the problems all departments countywide are facing. Even the glorious OCFA, when considering their sexual discrimination lawsuits, and recruiting issues, isn’t the shining city on the hill it claims to be.
The four will be the target of text, phone, and mail campaigns urging citizens to support their fire Heroes because the near 90% of their department that makes in excess of $100,000 (not counting overtime) they are not adequately compensated.
When council districts were finally created in Fullerton – in response to a lawsuit, one district was designed to support Fullerton’s large Latino community – District 5. In 2018 D5 elected a non-Latino which of course was surprising but perfectly legal. But what would Latinos think about a concerted effort by the OC Democratic party to make sure the Latino vote was divided to protect Ahmad Zahra, the non-Latino incumbent?
Enter Tony Castro, the dead-beat nobody who popped up out of nowhere and pulled election papers the day after Oscar Valadez, who has lived in D5 for over 20 years.
Recently FFFF has been bombarded with spam comments all of which came from Tony Castro himself. I took out the trash, but not before salvaging this little gobbet of that is quite revealing: a statement that Castro was approached by one Ajay Mohan:
This snippet has the ring of truth. There is an Ajay Mohan and he is the director of the OC Democrat Party. Here he is:
Now why would Mr. Mohan recruit an unknown, broke, Tony Castro to run against the incumbent who has the endorsement of Party Central? The answer is, unfortunately, crystal clear: to take votes away from Oscar Valadez. This dirty little trick is as old as elections themselves, of course, but to see the Dems do it to working class Latinos betrays a special sort of cynical mindset.
Which brings us to the OC Dem Party Chairperson, Ada Briceno, a Latina unionista who apparently has decided to bamboozle La Raza in support of the egregious Zahra – who has supported dope stores near schools, who battered a Latina woman, and who voted to give away a public park in the barrio to a private events center/caterer.
It seems so. Fullerton’s boys in blue sent out a text the other day that looked like this:
The outright lies pile up so fast you’d need wings to stay above the bullshit. Nobody is defunding the police and nobody has suggested doing so – even with the FPDs atrocious record of incompetence, misfeasance, abuse, criminality and oh yeah, sucking up half our budget. In Fullerton the Culture of Corruption gets what it wants. Always had.
The “enough is enough” line is funny, as is the “HELP SAFE FULLERTON NOW.” Maybe the cops can get their money back from whatever idiot wrote that bit of GED illiteracy. Comedy aside, the piece is just a compilation of outright lies.
Fullerton is not overwhelmed by violent crime, especially when you subtract the crime perpetrated by union members themselves.
Whitaker and Dunlap have never attempted to defund the police and has never suggested such a thing. That’s far left stuff that you’d expect to hear from SIlva or more likely Zahra – wanting to appease crazy supporters.
No one is suggesting “additional cuts” to public safety, which is impossible anyhow, because there haven’t been any cuts in the first place.
So what is the purpose of this nonsense? The cop union leadership has never been very bright, relying on bullying rather than strategy, although to them bullying is a strategy. What is the point attacking Whitaker and Dunlap, who aren’t up for re-election for 3 years?
They could be floating these trial balloons to see if they could instigate a recall. But Dunlap could easily beat that and Whitaker could beat it too without some sort of provocation. Or is this some sort of shot across the bow for Fred Jung, the man in the middle of recent budget wrangles? But, Jung isn’t up for re-election next year either, so that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Maybe the cop union just wants to throw its weight around to remind people that they are still around and collecting members’ dues.
Starring former Fullerton City Manager, Joe Burt Felz who got drunk on Election Night 2016, drove over a tree, and tried to escape from his own cops. There is something sort of pathetic about Felz, errand boy and water bearer for Jennifer Fitzgerald, saying over and over that his turn blinker wasn’t working and how he became befuddled, until one of his own policemen tells him to stop yammering about it.
As one of the cops said: “it’s the Chief’s call.” Subsequently Chief Danny “Gallahad” Hughes lied to the Council about the affair even as Felz tried to quietly pay for the tree and move on.
The City of Fullerton tried for years to keep this under wraps because it implicated our MADD rewarded police themselves in incompetent and illegal activity. FFFF sued the City to get the videos, and in retribution two bloggers were personally sued by the City for legal activity, a lawsuit that cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands and that finally exonerated David Curlee and Joshua Ferguson.
Before we publish the unedited video of our former City Manager, Joe Burt Felz, arrested for drunk driving, only to be taken home and tucked into bed by his own MADD recognized cops, let us share some highlights of the video as shared and analyzed by FFFFs own Joshua Ferguson. Ferguson was the target of a vindictive and highly expensive lawsuit courtesy of the City’s “I Can’t Believe It’s A Law Firm” of Jones and Mayer. And so it is appropriate for Joshua to remind us what happened – and to remind those not paying attention that the Felz catch and release was a far from isolated case of malfeasance by our police department and our esteemed leaders in City Hall.
There is no no doubt that Danny “Gallahad” Hughes lied to the City Council about Felz, and that the cops knew doing the right thing was professionally dangerous.
As Ferguson says, if there is a lesson to be learned in this long train of corruption, you can be sure that Councilmen Ahmad Zahra and Jesus Quirk Silva haven’t learned it. They voted until the bitter end to keep the moribund lawsuit against FFFF staggering along.
So I’m watching the Fullerton City Council meeting the other night and a funny thing happened. There was actually a real discussion and no Brown Act violation bullshit.
“What’s that, Joe?,” I can hear you asking.
Apparently the age of miracles is not over, for our council actually staked out their positions and made lots of motions, seconds and votes. At issue was how to make budget reconciliations and how to spend all the Biden Bucks coming our way. And no motion got three votes.
Naturally, the dumbasses Zahra and Quirk-Silva decided that no more staff cuts were in order; spouting public employee union talking points. Whitaker and Dunlap proposed various budget reduction amounts. Fred Jung held out for a lower percentage of reductions and wouldn’t budge.
So the issue went ’round and ’round, until Whitaker gave up, and as Mayor, moved the meeting on, discussion to be continued.
It was actually enjoyable to watch this sausage in the making even though in the end there was no casing to cram it into. And it will be more interesting to see how an accommodation between Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker will be made. Maybe it will even be made in public.
Several months back, the Fullerton Firefighters’ Association stormed City Hall and demanded the City Council solicit proposals from the Orange County Fire Authority. Perpetually greedy and feeling entitled to more and more, the union knows OCFA has deeper pockets than Fullerton will ever have.
True to form, OCFA wasted no time in being the slimy car salesman promising more for less. In the smallest typeface they could possibly use, they say it “Excludes one-time startup costs and City’s Annual UAAL Payment to PERS.”
This means the nearly $5.8 million in “savings” to Fullerton is not real. Fullerton will remain on the hook for millions of dollars in unfunded UAAL pension liability each and every year AFTER the firefighters have left and joined OCFA.
So what did they promise Fullerton?
The conversion of Truck 6 to a paramedic truck, and the conversion of Engine 3 to a Paramedic Truck 3. The latter is somewhat comical because Fullerton doesn’t have a Truck that will fit inside Station 3. Fullerton already tried putting their lone Truck at Station 3 and had to store it outdoors. Whether OCFA would bring in a smaller Truck or force Fullerton to remodel Station 3 is unknown.
These things don’t really matter because OCFA has likely underestimated the true cost to the tune of seven figures. The sad and scary part is the likes of Silva and Zahra on the City Council will probably fall for this proposal hook, line and sinker.
It’s always sort of pathetic when government entities feel the need to burnish their images – as if doing a good job weren’t satisfaction enough. But it becomes almost annoying when we have to pay for such propaganda. Such was the case a few years back when the taxpayers had to shell out $50,000 a year so that our ruinously expensive police department could keep telling us untermenchen how wonderful they are. No mention was made of Fullerton’s tsunami of cop-related lawsuits, of course. The diversion of attention was pretty appalling.
Of course the image is everything and we, poor schmuck check-writers must be constantly reminded of how wonderful and valuable our public employees are and how we must remember this at budget time
Well, our Heroes are at it again. Peruse this Twitter post from City Hall and try not to barf:
National Hero Day. Oh, brother. Hero. Deserve. Selflessly serve? No, if that were really true they’d be working for a reasonable compensation, not gouging out three quarters of our budget for a third of the workforce.
Comically, the people who produced this tripe added maintenance workers to the Hero tribe, presumably for PR effect. These poor step-brothers of our exalted Heroes make a fraction of the wages and benefits bestowed upon their better unionized brethren, even though their education level is practically the same. Why they didn’t add meter maids, garbage truck drivers, mailmen and anybody else who wears a government service uniform escapes me.