Category Archives: Watch Your Wallet

Looking Out for the Little Guy (who makes more than $200,000 a year)

A few weeks ago the Fullerton Rag posted City Council-member Ahmad Zahra’s comments to the Black Lives Matter protest in Fullerton on June 6. It is interesting snapshot on an elected Democrat’s efforts to appease the party activists while keeping that sweet PE union cash flowing. It went about as well as you would expect (fast forward to 2:35 to hear the crowd turn):

The latest attempt to thread that needle comes courtesy of Faisal Qazi, a first time candidate who appears to be the Democrats de facto candidate for the Second District City Council race.  His facebook page currently advertises a pro-BLM tilt, which one would presume would mean he opposes the longstanding practice of covering up for problem officers. However, this (since deleted) post shows a pretty strong blind spot where public employees in general are concerned, which should call that assumption into question: 

Translated: “Lets go after all the waste in the system, except for all the waste in the system.”

Apologies to longtime readers (for whom this will sound like a broken record) but, according to Transparent California, there are almost 200 City employees making at least $100,000 per year. And that is not counting benefits (the $100,000 club has over 600 members in our fair City when benefits are included). On what universe would this be considered “already low wages?”

Oh, and for extra irony, try guess which department most of the public employees in the $100,000+ club belong to?



The problem in our local government, as friend of the blog Dave Zenger put it recently, is that too many people believe “the myth that (civil servants) are underpaid and hence deserve civil service pensions and protections. That may have been more or less true until the employees unionized, but it hasn’t been true for 50 years.” 

And the result? Generations of “fiscal conservatives” on the City Council who voted for every pay increase that crossed their desk, followed, apparently, by generations of BLM supporters with a see-no-evil approach in their own backyard to the core issue that gave rise to the movement in the first place. And who will probably also vote for every pay increase that crosses their desk. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Fullerton Taxpayers For Reform Launch 2020 Campaign

The good government boys and girls over at FTR and their padrone, Tony Bushala, have jumped into the 2020 District 1 council campaign with their standard attack sign with the inevitable Barfman.

First, here’s the sign:

Barf Man Returneth…

They have conflated candidate Andrew Cho with the pet project of his boss, Jennifer Fitzgerald – Measure S. Nobody seems to know where the guy stands on the proposed tax increase, but some reliable sources have heard him support it. And since it is the brain child of Fitzgerald (who hand-picked Cho out of a line up of anonymous Korean-Americans residents) we may assume, that he is for it.

Anyhow the sign seems to go after two birds with the same stone and that’s pretty smart.

Air Combat Planes

Fullerton Loses Another $1.2Million+ of Your Money to Incompetence

No, not against us… yet. Or against the Rock Wagner family for that Kathryn Hamel created wrongful death nonsense. You know the one, that’s the case that led to Hamel “resigning” and the city illegally dropping their sustained findings against her. Yeah, that’s gonna be a pricey lawsuit as well.

But no, this particular million dollar lawsuit stems from the Fullerton Airport Manager, Brendan O’Reilly, lying about when a hangar contract with former tenant Air Combat ended to illegally take said hangar from them to give it to the City Council favored/connected event company Hangar 21.

Air Combat Contract Lies

You have to wonder who was pulling O’Rielly’s strings to make his lie so often…

The ruling was aired live on Wednesday (no archived footage is available), and it hasn’t been released in writing yet, but for those who watched live were able to witness the jury side with Air Combat. The jury agreed that the City lied about the start/end date of Air Combat’s contract and awarded Air Combat $1.2Million in damages. That number will move around a bit as legal fees and other costs are calculated by the judge but it’s a huge slap in the face for Fullerton taxpayers and another black eye for CIty Hall / City Council.

Chalk one more loss up to Jones & Mayer and our incompetent City Staff. I hope you enjoy continually paying out for this nonsense because more is coming (see above).

It was an obvious case of corruption/incompetence at all levels of City Hall & Council that allowed this to happen and nobody, I repeat nobody, at City Hall is being held accountable for this million dollar loss that was entirely avoidable. And THAT dear Friends is the real reason the City wants to raise your taxes with Measure S – because being responsible with your tax dollars is just too darn hard.

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.

The Sacrifice

Whenever government gets itself into a bind, the first impulse of our bureaucratic overlords and their elected representatives is to resort to the taxpayers for relief. In Fullerton the case is not much different except that here, allegedly, managers and department heads have agreed to 5% and 10% cuts, respectively during our time of troubles. Likewise, according the the union boss, rank-and-file paper pushers have been told to accept the same 5% deal. Whether this gesture of sacrifice is meant to be reimbursed if the proposed 17% sales tax increase is approved by voters remains to be seen.

But that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is to ask whether anybody has requested the same sacrifice from our Heroes – the guys and gals who provide “public safety” services to us peons. Word out of City Hall is that no offers have been made voluntarily and none have been demanded. Could it be that’s because the Hero unions are much richer and much more political than the organization representing other city workers?

We are always being bombarded by Hero propaganda that promotes the selfless service and sacrifices by people who ride around in cop cars and fire trucks. Well, I’ll believe that when these worthy public servants step up to the proverbial plate and take the same haircut as everybody else.

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.

And So It Begins…

We all knew that we were going to be bombarded with political mail in support of the City Council’s proposed 17% sales tax hike on this November’s ballot. And we all knew that the City Council hired a PR outfit to blow our money to educate us about the beauty of the thing – to the tune of $130,000. Of course none of this is legal, but this is Fullerton where everything is legal that the deplorable City Attorney “Dick” Jones says is legal.

Some of the Friends have already received pro-tax propaganda from our masters in City Hall and here is a sample:

Like it? You paid for it.

Tap dancing around the edge of the truth…

As usual, government tries to con us into bailing it out after it has failed so spectacularly the past decade to maintain reserves, balance budgets and pushing back against never-ending salary and pension demands from the public employee unionistas. Care about the homeless? Vote for our tax; Want potholes fixed? Tax! Youth programs? Who doesn’t love ’em – vote for our tax. Seniors? Ditto. Emergency services? They’re really getting hungry. A usual, the propaganda is larded up with misleading information and scare tactics and, gosh, we should be scared.

You will not be asked to reflect upon the reality that this same operation has dismally failed to fix roads in the past; that this bureaucracy has no intention of starting now. A Culture of Corruption in the Fullerton Police Department? Oh, we fixed that years ago – no, don’t look at that body over there, we have no idea how it got there. You’ll have to sue us to find out!

This crew has burned through tens of millions in reserve funds while its spokeholes on the council Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory lied about balancing the budget.

Ken Domer

Domer. There’s a lot less there than meets the eye.

Good luck, passing this obscentiy, boys n’ girls. The public is hurting badly at the moment and your first recourse was to try to harness us oxen with the yoke of a new and regressive tax. Well, guess what? The yokes on you, City Hall, and you’d better have a Plan B stuffed into one of Domer’s desk drawers if you know what’s good for you.

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.

 

Fitzgerald Is Quitting, She Says

Sucked dry…

But the problem is that everything she says is a lie. Don’t believe me? Then read this self-satisfied “I’m Done” statement sent out this AM.

The bullshit was piling up so fast we needed wings to stay above it…

First let’s celebrate this announcement, if actually true. It means everybody’s life is going to get better in Fullerton as the sticky webs of self-interest entangling Fitzgerald and the taxpayers are cut.

And now let’s examine the stockpile of dishonesty this statement contains.

No, Ms. Fitzgerald, you did not “comprehensively” reform a corrupt police department. In fact, you permitted the fester to continue with zero accountability and more massive legal settlements. When anybody tried to uncover your malfeasance, you used public resources to sue them into submission. Even that failed.

No, Ms. Fitzgerald, you did not discover stable sources of revenue to address water and sewer. You continued the rip-off of the water fund by diverting a massive amount of money to pay for general fund expenses. And as you passed out more pay and pension increases to your union friends, you told everybody the budgets were balanced, a reckless lie that led Fullerton toward insolvency.

No, Ms. Fitzgerald, you did not increase road repair in your 8 long years. The roads in Fullerton are now the worst in the county according to your own pals at OCTA.

No, Ms. Fitzgerald, Hilcrest (sic) Park is not rehabilitated. It’s landscaping is still a disgrace and dying faster than ever, retaining walls and paving are deteriorating. Instead you wasted millions on poorly built, ramshackle woods stairs and a ceremonial bridge that nobody uses.

Yes, Ms. Fitzgerald at the behest of your developer buddies you are personally responsible for adding thousands of “housing units” – mostly in the form of massive, overbuilt tenements-of-the-future that made a mockery of Fullerton’s zoning and have placed an even greater burden on our frail infrastructure.

Yes, Ms. Fitzgerald you sure did prioritize “downtown revitalization,” if by that you mean running interference for scofflaw bar owners like Florentines and the douchebag Jeremy Popoff; defending a scene of nightly mayhem that cost the citizens $1.5 million more per year than it generates in revenue. Your “improved working relationship” with business owners meant directing staff and the City Attorney to ignore serial code violators and even to tolerate forged official city documents; and to harass people who didn’t fling themselves at your feet.

Sorry, dear, but nobody is going to be unhappy to see you go, if in fact and at long last you are finally telling the truth. You may feel “immensely proud” of all your alleged good works, but that’s just obvious self-delusion. Your constituents almost without exception – at least the ones paying attention – are feeling immensely relieved at the happy prospect of your departure; and immensely disgusted at your legacy of putting the interest of you and your friends above the interest of the city.