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.
Yesterday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Southern California & the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) filed a joint amicus brief in support of us here at Friend’s for Fullerton’s Future in our ongoing legal battle with the City of Fullerton. Here’s a sample:
“Rather than accept responsibility for its own failure to limit public access to information, the City instead is attempting to stretch computer crime laws to punish those journalists—first, for uncovering unflattering information and, later, for publishing it.”
Likewise, The Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a separate amicus brief supporting FFFF against the City of Fullerton. Here’s a sample:
“Amicus is not aware of any case where a federal or state anti-hacking law has been misused so brazenly to target routine newsgathering—namely, the collection of government information available to any internet user.”
On the City’s side of the ledger is an amicus filed by the League of California Cities – a group the City PAYS to belong to with your tax money and they managed to argue nothing relevant to the case. Here’s a sample:
“However, hosting this information electronically presents a variety of cybersecurity issues for local governments, many of whom have limited budgets for network and security systems, outdated technology, and limited IT staff to implement organizational safeguards to protect against cybersecurity breaches and/or human error.”
They’re arguing that the City has a limited budget and it’s gosh darn tough to “implement organizational safeguards to protect against… human error”. I can’t laugh hard enough at that premise knowing their payroll and the gross negligence the city itself is claiming.
They’re all fascinating reads in different aspects.
Ultimately you know the City messed up big and that Jones & Mayer gave terrible legal advice when the ACLU et al are siding with us on the merits. The Fullerton City Council might want to consider taking a hard look at these new briefs before just blithely listening to Kim Barlow and The Other Dick Jones™ again.
I’d like to personally thank the ACLU, ACLU of SoCal, the EFF & the RCFP for their support in this exhausting case. Without their support, and the support you friends, this would be a much harder fight on all of us here at FFFF. It’s nice to have real allies when the other “journalism” outfit here in Fullerton enlisted a hack to fight against us.
A few days ago I broke the story of Fullerton Council member Ahmad Zahra being charged by the OC District Attorney for battery & vandalism. The Fullerton Observer picked up on it and quoted/cited us as the source. Fullerton’s “Father” Dennis then shared the Observer’s Facebook post on the issue and in doing so decided to besmirch my character and call me a fascist and Klansmen.
I was going to let this go with a snarky Facebook post but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to lay waste to the idea that somebody can get away with being such a total dickbag without response simply by virtue of a fancy title.
First let us put aside the robes that shield him from much criticism because clearly he has ignored their meaning and supposed importance. Despite being a member of the Order of the Servants of Mary (OSM), he forgot that he’s supposed to, and I quote (emphasis added);
“be at the service of God and all people, drawing inspiration from Mary, Mother and Servant of the Lord”
I’m sure Mary, mother of Jesus and Servant of the Lord, would absolutely twist a local blog’s name (It’s FFFF not FFF or Tri-F) to impugn them as fascists and members of the KKK. Right? I’m positive that passage is in a missing chapter of the Bible which is still locked in the Vatican archives. Maybe not.
Hey “Father” Dennis, on what grounds do you compare me to the KKK? Because I’m white and you don’t like my politics? You offer no other substance so let’s just go with self-loathing racism. It’s all the rage these days with commies and crybullies online so it would track with your politics. Is that the same basis for likening me to a fascist?
Like I said, total dickbag.
The stupidity here is that I’m called these things by intellectual cowards because I think the law shouldn’t favor one group of people over any others and that the State shouldn’t dictate how you live your life. I want you to keep what you earn and for private charity (like, *gasp*, the tax exempt Church) to pick up the slack instead of a useless government that fails on every level. My political ideology is directly opposite of fascism but alas Father Dennis knows as much – or he would if he bothered to get to know the people he insults.
When *I* insult somebody at least I get the insults and facts on which I base them correct.
But no, not “Father” Dennis. Not the savior of the poor who’s so piously busy saving Orange County’s downtrodden by demanding the State steal from you to give to them and attempting to turn a city sidewalk into a third world shantytown.
“Father” Dennis looks to be taking his cues from Communist China and just rewriting biblical theology to suit his personal desires and petty grievances while hoping he can cloak his ugliness in the robes of faux piety.
You cast the first stone here “Father” and unlike so many others around town I’m willing to catch it and throw it back at your smug, sanctimonious, self-righteous ass.
You may have noticed your streets getting torn up by dudes in personal vehicles lately. That’s because Fullerton is set to become the country’s largest SmartCity in the typical Dumbest Ways Possible that we’ve come to expect from our dear leaders.
By way of example, let me share some of the best work which was done on my street:
I’m not being facetious. This is literally some of the best work they’ve done in town that I’ve seen.
In one neighborhood they removed concrete to install an access box, cut it unevenly and then filled the space with… asphalt. They couldn’t even be bothered to finish it properly.
But don’t worry I’m sure we’ll get some oversight on this slipshod work the same way we got oversight with the Stairs to Nowhere. Oh. Wait. No. We were given excuses and bloviating exhortations about how much people love to exercise on the stairs so that meant quality work was out of the question.
If these contractors screw up our roads who gets held accountable? Who’s fixing the problems?
Likely nobody sadly.
But for the sake of it, indulge me in a little history of how we got here.
This goes back to 2014 with the council voting 5-0 to grant an easement to SiFi networks, a privately held company that promised to make us the most awesomest awesome SmartCity that ever awesomed. Our City Staff crowed about how awesome it would be and the project was approved and began ever so slowly. In that time we’ve gotten rid of the useless and feckless Economic Development Committee that this went through, the head of said EDC and City Manager lackey Nicole Bernard has left Fullerton, City Manager Joe Felz… well, Joe Felz’d into Sappy McTree. The head of Public Works Don Hoppe has been replaced by a non-engineer and so on down the list we can head.
The only folks, as of today, who had approval on this project that are still in office or working for the city are City Councilman Bruce Whitaker and the utterly corrupt and incompetent City Attorney’s office of Jones & Mayer. That leaves us with who is overseeing the work today because as far as I can tell, granting an easement doesn’t grant the right to destroy our roads or screw up our sidewalks.
The company doing this isn’t a fly-by-night operation either. This is a network of companies with deep pockets screwing us right now. Lets to run it down.
SiFi networks is a privately owned company that is being financed through global infrastructure venture fund Whitehelm Capital. These are the people who are themselves contracting with construction crews to tear our streets apart to put in fiberoptic lines for fast internet service.
SiFi will then sell access to those fiber lines to the re-selling company Ting (& in other cities GigabitNow). Ting is who we have the option to buy service from and they are a wholly owned subsidiary of Dish Networks through Tucows.
Our city agreed to this project, without oversight of the actual work being done apparently, despite the deep pockets looking to take us for a ride.
The selling point is that they are offering “Gigabit” internet speeds which means 1000 Mbps or, well, pretty fast, and they claim they’re cheaper than anybody else. In looking at their pricing they run $79/mo + $9/mo for their modem. In contrast, AT&T in my area is offering $60/mo + $10/mo for their modem. Install fees vary and if you do or don’t want a yearly contract seems to be the biggest talking points. There is also the issue of data caps but this won’t impact most people because AT&T offers a lot of data in their basic plan that most people won’t use. I’m a part-time gamer and I watch a TON of Tv/Movies and have never breached data caps. Spectrum’s website indicated they were more expensive which is odd b/c I pay slightly less than AT&T and haven no data caps. I’m coming in at about $20/mo cheaper than Ting is offering.
Even if you factor in AT&T’s installation fee, which I’ve never paid after haggling with the rep, they still come out cheaper than Ting.
If the pricing is HIGHER, is Ting at least a better company? Well, no there is no evidence of that. Ting has a rating of 2.5 stars on Yelp but they’re mostly a wireless cellphone re-sellser of T-Mobile lines so that has a lot to do with their nonsense. Their actual reviews on their internet service are few and far-between.
If the service provided by SiFi on our streets is any indicator of the service we can expect from Ting, I’d recommend opting out and sticking with the devil you know in AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum or whomever.
While I’d like to point to corruption and graft as the culprits for the incompetence here, I think Occam’s Razor tells us it’s just good old fashioned Fullerton City Hall incompetence.
One good thing is that as she’s leaving our council today, Jennifer Fitzgerald has finally managed to keep her word of ruining over 8-miles of road in a year. Oh. She said fix. Damn. Nevermind.
I’ve been watching the votes trickle in over the previous week and a half just giddy at how much of a pounding both Measures S & U took here in Fullerton.
To the 25,215+/- of Fullerton voters who voted to ban fireworks – kick rocks. You suck. Conversely, thank you to the 37,560+/- who voted to keep fireworks, our community groups thank you and it’ll be nice to be able to launch fireworks in our front yards since it looks like we’re headed for perpetual lockdowns.
As for Measure S.
Let us not forget Fullerton City Manager Ken Domer’s words on Measure S:
“In the event the local sales tax measure is not placed on the ballot or if it ultimately fails to gain voter approval in November, the City will continue to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, but we will be forced to begin to make very difficult decisions regarding service levels and operations of programs in order to achieve balanced budgets over the succeeding years.”
City Hall got greedy, wasted our money to sell us on their graft and then they got slapped by 57% of voters.
I guess it’s time for City Hall to start making very difficult decisions. You know, the job we hired & pay them handsomely for as opposed to covering for dirty cops, virtue signaling for woke points and building stairs/bridges to nowhere.
As I’ve outlined in previous posts, our City spends an inordinate amount of money on pay/pensions and less and less each year on actual infrastructure and things that benefit us, the local taxpayers.
I’m used to the pushback from the local BooHoos who love taxes, but I caught a post by City Council hack Ahmad Zahra claiming that our financial troubles are from past councils and that he wants to look forward.
“Regardless of how we got here and who to blame, we’re here now and we’re on the bring.”
Our veritable Government Rafiki would have you believe that the sins of the past don’t matter because he wants to look to the future (but only when government incompetence is involved).
I honestly couldn’t eyeroll hard enough when I saw that nonsense from Zahra for the simple reason that Ahmad Zahra SUPPORTS the very financial sins that got us where we are today – being begged for more taxes so bureaucrats and union hacks can make more while watching our roads & our city crumble.
Because Zahra won’t tell you the truth or give you the facts, it’s time for a history lesson from yours truly.
Back in the day our then idiotic governor, Gray Davis, signed SB 400 which was sold on a lie (like most all legislation) that it would benefit government employees but wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime more in actual costs. Those benefits came in the form of a 3% at 50 pension formula which, despite the lies told to sell it, bit us in the ass because the government is full of thieving bastards who have no incentive to the tell the truth or worry about taxpayers. Oh, and they also suck at math and their jobs.
These pensions are calculated on highest pay which means that after 30 years on the job, officers would qualify for 90% of the highest pay for the rest of their lives. This was also grandfathered and given to people who were never promised it during employment or contract negotiations.
This next part is very important and needs to be repeated. This pension giveaway isn’t based on averages or aggregates. If an officer worked patrol for 27 years making $75k/year and then jumped into command in the last few years of the job making $150/year, his pension would be based on that $150/year.
So Officer Friendly here will get 90% of $150k for the rest of his life and contrary to popular mythology the average officer outlives the average taxpayer.
The math on this problem is simple. 90% of $150k is $135k/year meaning the officer in this scenario will get $60,000 MORE in retirement every year than he earned over the first 27 years of his career.
This is a “defined benefit”. That means that if the State screws up in their planning (what? no!) and under-funds the pension funds (in this case CalPERS) then Officer Friendly loses nothing. If the market goes to hell (like when the State kills the economy over a virus) you can kiss your 401K goodbye but not so if you work for the government. They lose nothing, nadda, zip, zilch. That’s right, zero. Here in CA we have what’s known as “The California Rule” which was made up by the courts to say that once you promise a government employee something you can never take it away regardless of how bad it may hurt you. If your city promised the moon and stars to the police and then goes bankrupt, you the taxpayer still owe them the moon and the stars.
This has been fiddled with slightly over the years and newer hires get 3% at 55 but all of the problems still persist.
Which brings us back to Ahmad Zahra. Governor Davis passed the law that allowed that 3% @ 50 formula but it had to be approved in contracts at the local level. Here in Fullerton it passed in 2002 in a 5-0 vote with City Council members Bankhead, Clesceri, Jones, Norby and…. Jan Flory all voting to screw us financially well into the future.
Skip ahead to 2018 when Jesus Silva vacated his at-large council seat to run in District 3. That newly open seat was filled when Zahra, who had previously signaled a preference for representative democracy, opted to apparently sell his integrity for a seat on the water board and became the deciding vote in appointing the very same Jan Flory back onto Fullerton’s City Council.
There’s a lot of depth to this speculative story but to summarize, Flory was hopping mad that Bruce Whitaker got put on Water Board (a lucrative job) in her place when she left council in 2016 and wanted revenge. The fix was in with Fitzgerald & Silva to replace Whitaker with Zahra should Zahra sell out his pretend principles and gift the open council seat to Flory. Lo and behold he voted for Flory and immediately Whitaker got replaced by Zahra on the Water Board.
Zahra had no clue what the water board but he did what was best for Zahra. Same with Measure S. He doesn’t care that taxes hit the poorest hardest despite living in the poorest district in Fullerton – he needs the Union Hero endorsement so screw the poors if it helps his career. This is man who champions vanity projects while ignoring police oversight all while demanding more and more of your hard earned money via taxation which he calls “revenue”.
This is why Zahra wants to “regardless” his way out of the blame game and ignore who got us into this mess – because the weasel doesn’t want you to know that he endorsed and voted to put one of the very architects of our local financial misery BACK onto the council less than 2 years ago. That he supports the very things that got us into this mess and will continue to support bleeding you dry as long as it benefits him.
And this isn’t just a case of Ahmad being in the majority. Without his vote Jan Flory wouldn’t and couldn’t have been appointed because there were only 4 council members at the time and Bruce Whitaker was a solid no vote against Flory.
Jan “3% @ 50” Flory is only currently back on council thanks to Ahmad Zahra so don’t believe his Rafiki schtick. His actions matter, not his empty and pathetic rhetoric.
That’s right, the local hero unions dropped $10,000 each to try to help sell you on raising your taxes. As always we have to stop and ask “why?”.
It can’t be to fix the roads because the unions don’t care about your roads or infrastructure as most of their members don’t live in Fullerton. If they DID care about such things they wouldn’t act like mercenaries demanding unsustainable pay, playing cities against each other, while watching your city crumble.
So why did each hero union drop $10k? Because, as we’ve been saying for some time now, Measure S is just a pension tax. Allow me to illustrate the problem with our budget USING the budget.
This is the oldest budget I can find online currently and it’s from 2004-05. I’ve added the percentages in total dollars. Remember, this is from 15 years ago.
And THIS is from this year’s budget. I’ve added the percentages to correspond to the previous example.
Do you see the issue?
In the 15 years between these budgets, the budget TOTAL has gone up by over $20,000,000 (20 Million) and in that same amount of time the Police/Fire budgets have gone from consuming 26% of the budget to now consuming 37% of it.
That’s NOT just the General Fund. That’s the entire budget – all special taxes, grants, all of it.
Right there in plain math, that is where your money for roads & infrastructure went.
It should surprise precisely nobody that the city is demanding more money for infrastructure considering that they’ve been systematically cutting it for decades to give it away in payroll and pensions.
Now this is important: The total budget increased by 11.71% over fifteen years.
An 11% increase in the total size of the pie and still the heroes ate an additional 11% MORE (a larger slice) of the budget for a growth of $25Million+ in Public Safety spending over those 15 years.
It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out what’s happening here and why it might be a problem. This is not an issue of revenue. Fullerton takes in more tax revenue than it ever has in the city’s entire history. Every single new dollar that came in from your sales and property taxes, every single one, went straight to public safety salaries, benefits and pensions. It went to fund their outdated and ridiculous service models / toys (such as using a ladder truck to respond to every third passed out drunk or rolling 6 police cars up on every DUI).
And there you have it. This is why our roads suck and our pipes are bursting. This is why our water rates went up and will continue to go up. And yes, this is why the heroes dropped $20,000, so far, into trying to convince you to tax yourselves and your neighbors more. It’s also why the same types of people get endorsed by Police and Fire Unions year after year. The bought and paid for candidates will always make sure the heroes have their lifted trucks and river toys before you have safe roads.
There is no such thing as enough when it comes to taking your money and the return on investment for the unions here is enormous. This isn’t about bias, union hating, or “anarchy” as Ahmad Zahra likes to pretend. This is about simple math – the kind Jesus Silva claims to have taught but refuses to understand. Just look at the city’s own numbers.
The City of Fullerton today admitted that they broke multiple laws in how they utilized Dropbox to illegally store what they claim are private and confidential files.
A few weeks back my attorney submitted a records request which the city just partially responded to today with any substance. There’s a lot of legal nonsense and lawfare going on here but one thing stood out related to Dropbox.
This is interesting because the Federal Department of Health and Human Services has very strict rules governing how you can and cannot store & transmit health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The two important issues here are known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule.
Basically you have to be smart in how you store personal medical files. To facilitate this Dropbox uses what is known as a Business associate agreement (BAA) which constitutes a contract. NOT ONLY do you have to sign this contract (electronically is fine) but it also, according to Dropbox’s terms, “must be in place before the transfer of [Personal Health Information] PHI from the covered entity to the business associate”.
The user, in this case the City of Fullerton, would also need to make sure THEY THEMSELVES comply with Federal Laws related to PHI.
“If your team handles Protected Health Information (PHI), you can configure your account so folders, links, and Paper docs can’t be shared with people outside of your team. When team members create shared folders, they can further customize the folders’ settings and choose the appropriate level of access — edit or view-only”
But wait – aren’t we being sued in part because we allegedly went to the City of Fullerton’s Dropbox account and “illegally” accessed files and information including personal heaslth records?
The City Council sure seemed to think that was the case. Back on 14 November 2019, City Council Member Ahmad Zahra asked me the following on Facebook (emphasis added):
“However, I’d like to ask you a question: Regardless of how or why it was obtained, do you hold in your possession any private and confidential city employee information that includes social security numbers, health records or other personal information?”
How would that be possible unless the City of Fullerton, who only alleges we accessed their Dropbox account, put such files into said Dropbox folder?
Because that’s exactly what they did – according to their own court filings they put these records into an unsecured Dropbox folder they opened up to the world.
And furthermore, according to the City’s most recent court filing which was filed today:
“The City was unaware Appellants were accessing materials not intended for them to which the City had not specifically directed them or given them permission to access.”
“The standards require covered entities to implement basic safeguards to protect electronic protected health information from unauthorized access, alteration, deletion, and transmission.”
They city admits to putting PHI online and not verifying who was accessing, or even who had access, to such information. But at least they took the security of the files themselves seriously in compliance with State & Federal laws, correct?
Not even close.
“Unfortunately, City staff reused passwords, so that passwords to other files and folders within the City’s Dropbox account, to which Appellants were not given direction or permission to access, could be guessed by Appellants.”
“Reused passwords”. Let that sink in for a minute. Yeah, total violation of Federal HIPPA laws.
Because Dropbox requires a Business Associate Agreement BEFORE you can place Personal Health Information on their servers, and the City claims they have no such agreement (ie contract) AND that they didn’t follow Dropbox’s access requirements, then they are in violation of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act of 1986 (CFAA) & the state variant (CDAFA) for being, and I quote with a great bit or irony, in “excess of authorization”.
Jones & Mayer opened the City of Fullerton up to an unknown number of lawsuits with their wanton disregard for the most basic of security protocols.
On top of the hacking crimes against Dropbox, this is a Department of Health & Human Services Civil Rights lawsuit waiting to happen. No wonder Jones & Mayer are spending so much time papering the courts with bullshittery to hide their illegal actions and gross incompetence from the City. It’d be a real shame if the impacted people, who the city was legally required to notify, were to file federal complaints over Privacy [HERE] or Security [HERE] against Fullerton.
As an aside, the city claims emails referencing “dropbox,” “cityoffullerton/com/outbox,” “Fullerton!,” “Full3rtOn!,” or “synoptek” from 2015 to 10/24/2019 yielded 9,700 results. Even AFTER excluding “Fullerton!” & “Full3rtOn!” owing to the wildcard nature of the “!” they claim 9,700 results and they want about $21,000 to sort and redact them. They totally weren’t sharing this information we “hacked” far and wide. Right.
This is yet another example of how the City of Fullerton wastes your money. The cost to sue us is a colossal waste to taxpayers for the sole purpose of covering up the City Attorney’s mistakes and the impending lawsuits over HIPPA will likewise come out of your taxes without a single bureaucrat or attorney being held accountable for their crimes/incompetence.
Don’t believe the lies being peddled by the Chamber of Commerce, Lobbyist hacks or the City Council. Covid-19 is just the perfect and newest excuse to put lipstick on the the pig that is City Council’s inability to spend your money with any responsibility.
The City, which has been working on this sales tax for well over a year, simply wants to tax you more – the people with a median household income of $73,360 and a 13.4% poverty rate – so 300+ government workers can have total compensation packages worth over $100,000 and that $30,000,000 (30 Million+!) price tag is just the most obvious top layer of why Fullerton is broke.
So the government mandated lockdowns over Covid, the “two weeks to flatten the curve”, is just a convenient excuse for what the city has been planning for quite some time. Here’s the meeting minutes from the Infrastructure committee from back in January where City Manager Domer indicated, and I quote, “a need to raise revenue potentially through a sales tax measure”. That was 15 January 2020, 4 days BEFORE America’s first known Covid positive patient walked into a Washington clinic complaining of a cough and fever.
In fact, the city hired a PR firm, FM3, to poll people back in November of 2019 in order to gauge interest on a sales tax. This survey started BEFORE even China had a known positive case.
That pre-Covid survey directly asked people, related to a sales tax increase: “Q. If the election were held today, do you think you would vote “yes” in favor of this measure or “no” to oppose it?” and gave a sample ballot measure that is remarkably similar to what is on this November’s ballot.
So don’t believe their lies and excuses as to why they so desperately need to tax you more now. The city wanted this tax long before the world knew Covid was a thing & will say and do anything to take more of your money.