THE DEAD BUDGET SOCIETY, Pt. 2

Well, it’s two weeks later and our city council still can’t decide on a budget. I’ve been asking around and nobody can remember this ever happening before.

Staff had presented a whole slew of options but the basic premise remained the same for our brave councilors: budget reductions or not?

The fact that the budget still includes numerous unfilled positions seems not to have sunk in to the avowed defenders of Fullerton’s bureaucrats, Ahmad Zahra and Jesus Quirk-Silva who also want to remunerate employees with Federal Biden Bucks. Bruce Whitaker and Nicholas Dunlap keep insisting on cuts to address our permanent structural budget deficit.

I’m not voting yes and you can’t make me…

And then there’s the guy in the middle, Fred Jung, who has staked out a via media and hasn’t moved from his position of a smaller cut.

But what seems to have happened is That Quirk-Silva was willing to go along with Jung at a 1% budget cut, but that Zahra would have none of it. Meantime Whitaker and Dunlap were willing to come down too, but not far enough for Jung.

My bet is we will see Jung, Whitaker, and Dunlap at 2%, or so; Zahra will pout; Quirk-Silva, seeing the handwriting on the wall may want to show unity. But more likely he’ll vote no and at least appear to be supporting his real constituents in City Hall.

What fun! I don’t know how this can keep going, but I love the lack of appeasement and fake collegiality, and the Fitzgeraldine behind-the-scenes monkey business.

The Dead Budget Society

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.

I’m not voting yes and you can’t make me…

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.

OCFA’s Bait and Deceive

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.

Details of that proposal are now available:

OCFA_Fullerton

https://www.fullertonsfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/OCFA_Fullerton.pdf

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.

The Gag

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.

Is there a Hero in your life?

Housing Scam Averted

Here at FFFF we like to praise our City Council when they do something smart; when they don’t we smack them on the snout with a rolled-up copy of the yellowing Fullerton Observer.

Movin’ on up…

Well, Lo and Behold! On Tuesday, last, the Council voted 3-2 to shitcan a horrible scam cooked up by California’s houseocrats to reward developers and speculators by taking over market rate housing at The Aspect apartment project and control rents – for people who make between $102,000 and $123,000. Yes, you read that rightly, Friends. According to our experts, if you make more than that, by definition, your housing is “market rate.” The perniciousness of this scam cannot be overemphasized. A new term has been cooked up to describe these unfortunate six-figure po’ folks: the Missing Middle.

The way this scheme works is that the City cuts a deal with the California Statewide Community Development Authority – a perfectly opaque agency, to be sure. The CSCDA floats a bond, the proceeds of which will buy out the existing owner, rewards up-front the agents and speculators who put the rancid deal together; management will be left in the hands of other parasites who are in on the deal, too. Did I mention that the sale price may well exceed market appraisal? Well, why not?

A little luxury for the “workforce.”

The funniest part of this may have been the revelation that the complex has a 98% occupancy rate – an astounding number – people who can ALREADY afford to live there! And these good folks will be the recipients of the small lowering of rents – or be forced to move out if they don’t have a long-term lease..

A reasonable person may well wonder why ANY of this is necessary, and the answer from the government Wohnungen uber alles crowd will be so crammed with feel-good bullshit that you know right away it’s a scam.

One of the problems is that because the apartment project is now owned by the government the property owner (CSCDA) pays no property tax; in order to sweeten the deal on The Aspect, the promoters promised a “Host City Fee,” essentially an annual tribute to the City. Meanwhile other entities are just shit-out-of-luck.

The enormity of this nonsense is pretty significant; all one has to do is look to Anaheim – a pay to play town where the City has spent gargantuan amounts buying up big apartment projects and rewarding the lobbyists like Curt Pringle, who skim right off the top of this sort of crap.

Well, finally, back to council meeting. Councilmembers Whitaker, Dunlap and Jung were adamantly opposed to this, to their credit. Not surprisingly, Zahra and Quirk-Silva who petitioned to put this item on the agenda were all-in for it, babbling phrases like “outside the box” and “innovative thinking” and brushing aside concerns about unknown details full of devils.

Thanks to Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker, and of course shame on Zahra and Quirk-Silva who were very clearly in the pocket of whichever lobbyist was promoting this idiocy.

The Trail To Nowhere…

Complete with horse trail!

Our City bureaucrats want to waste $2,000,000 in public funds to build a trail from Highland Avenue to Independence Park along the old Union Pacific right-of-way. The idea they say, is to link the Transportation Center to “parks.” Of course we all know that the existing “trail” east of Highland doesn’t even make it to the Transportation Center, and is deficient as a multimodal facility; and we know that the Poison Park that nobody outside City Hall ever wanted is a moribund, attractive nuisance with such a sketchy history that the City has fenced it off for 15 years.

And recently a murder occurred at the end of the so-called trail, raising legitimate questions about the safety of future trail users, if there are any.

One of our critics has tenaciously clung to the theory that a trail will attract users, thereby mitigating the safety issues along this swath of industrial buildings, junk yards, cut-rate auto related businesses, metal plating and asphalt concerns. Naturally our critic, like all knee-jerk liberals applied some theory to a practical situation he knew nothing about.

And so, Friends, I am sharing some current images of the right-of-way, to illustrate the idiocy of building a rec trail through this area. Enjoy

Just west of Richman
West of Richman

Maybe some trees will help…

Maybe it will look better at night…

Heroes Deserve

So what’s really going on with our Fire Heroes? FFFF published a story recently about an agenda item on tonight’s (9/21/21) agenda. David Curlee brought our attention to a mysterious item about the City revoking it’s automatic aid provision aid agreement with next door Placentia and negotiating a new one.

How come? We really don’t know, except that our Chief, a guy named Adam Loeser says it needs to be done. He hints at some deficiency in Placentia’s program.

Now the Fire Union has made it abundantly clear that Placentia’s cost savings move to privatize the paramedic service was bad. Real bad. And fearful that the contagion of cost effective and efficient service might spread to Fullerton, the union has been putting pressure on our city council to nip this potential epidemic in the bud. To me it looks like the Chief is just passing along his employees lust for our largess.

But what really is the problem with Placentia?

According to a Placentia city report, their new arrangement has been an unalloyed success. Here’s the report. Be sure to peruse the response statistics.

wp-1632236472391

As usual, there is more to the story. Quite a bit more – that City Hall isn’t Fullerton isn’t telling us. How do I know? Because a source in Placentia told us, and the information has the ring of truth.

According to this source the staff report prepared by Chief Loeser is very misleading in terms of why Fullerton wants to terminate the auto aid provision.  Shortly after Fullerton approved the agreement last year, the Fullerton Fire Union filed a complaint with the Public Employees Relations Board stating that entering into an automatic aid agreement with another City requires a meet and confer with the union.  Incredibly, PERB agreed with the union and Fullerton decided rather than fighting the ruling that the agreement would be retooled into a mutual aid agreement instead.

Unfortunately, our source continues, Loeser lied to the public on an official City Council agenda report by stating Placentia did not meet the requirements outlined in the original agreement.  The real reason behind this change is because of this PERB ruling in favor of the union to the detriment of the public’s safety.

And so, Friends, there you have it. The union, with the apparent approbation of the Fire Chief, is using a feeble labor relations technicality to try to keep applying pressure to the City Council and the bureaucracy to reconsider it’s arrangement with the diseased and contagious Placentia Fire Department. This is the kind of government we get in Fullerton: opaque, self-serving, and duplicitous. Of course our council has been briefed about this, but the public hasn’t. And our city government likes it that way.

Another Stabbing Homicide

This is getting tiresome. The other day, another one.

Somebody found with a guy with a fatal stab wound; this time the location of the corpus delicti was discovered at the Fullerton dog park next to the former Hunt Branch Library. The cops say the stabbing occurred around one o’clock in the morning, meaning that probably somebody else, presumably not the killer, was hanging around the pooch park in the middle of the night, too. Apparently, none of these good citizens understood that Fullerton parks and trails close at sundown.

Well, that’s three stabbing deaths in the past month or so. A casual observer might almost perceive a trend. But I’m not going to rush to any irresponsible conclusions.

It is somewhat ironic that this crime was committed at what our Parks staff believes will someday be a spot on their expensive recreation trail gamble through Fullerton’s no-man’s land. Let’s let Parks “Deputy Director” Alice Loya remind us in a May 2021 staff report:

“…linking the Transportation Center and several parks, including
Independence Park at its terminus. This proposed trail aligns with the Hunt Branch Library to the west, providing potential future linkages.”

If we simply discount all the lies in those two sentences, we can discern, besides a comfortably compulsive prevaricator named Alice Loya, a city government unable to attend to existing facilities in this troubled area of Fullerton; and yet possessed of the mindset that remains the same: double down on previously wasted resources and continue the march forward. After all, it’s only other people’s money.

The Case of the Florentine Case

It’s true that the gears of justice grind slowly and no where is that more true than in the case of the Florentine forgery. You remember that, right? Joe Florentine, proprietor of the family amalgamation of restaurants on the corner of Harbor and Commonwealth deliberately altered an official planning document so that he could pursue the Conditional Use Permit that he had never bothered to get. That was in January 2020.

Jail is for the little people…

The document was changed to make it look like Florentine was the owner of the property simply because he had a business there. His specious legal theory was backed up by City Attorney Dick Jones, who had his own conflict of interest in the matter and never should have been involved in the first place.

Poor Joe. A victim of circumstance…

To their credit, the Planning Commission refused to deal with the matter and the application was dropped. But the forgery was not forgotten, as desired.

Domer-Decorations
Hitching to Desert Center

The real owner of the building, Mario Marovic became involved in a lawsuit with the City over this complicity by both the City Attorney and the City staff – most notably City Manager Ken Domer and Planning Director Matt Foulkes. When that case was settled to Mr. Marovic’s satisfaction ($25,000 courtesy of you and me) he proceeded to file a criminal complaint with the Fullerton Police Department.

That was over eight months ago.

Finally, we hear from folks at City Hall that the case is finally making its way to the District Attorney. Why it has taken the sleuths at the FPD almost nine months to refer this case to the DA can only be explained by a reluctance of the cops to make their compadre public employees look bad. The evidence was right there, on video. The perp admitted what he had done. A blind man could have processed this thing expeditiously. Well, fair is fair, I guess, and Fullerton’s City Managers have never once said or done anything to correct the rampant corruption in the police department.

Matt Foulkes. The spin out left casualties…

Well, the hapless boob Domer is gone, kicked out after several years of gross incompetence and mismanagement; Foulkes fled to Buena Park – a step down – but presumably a step ahead of the axe. Both should be damn glad this issue hasn’t come up sooner because both were complicit in the forgery – and that in itself is a felony.