Behind the Bullshit Goes Bye-Bye

We’re great guys. Or else…

Of all the money that former City Manager Wild Ride Joe Felz wasted during his shaky tenure, nothing was quite as egregious as the annual fifty grand Stumblejoe blew on Behind the Badge, a silly, pointless PR outlet that passed along empty feel-good tales involving Fullerton cops. No one knows if anyone even bothered reading this pabulum. The idea of us taxpayers actually forking over this dough in order to be administered unhealthy doses of saccharine PR back at us was bad enough. The fact that this policy decision was made, maintained and mismanaged by a bureaucrat made it worse.

Fortunately, last Tuesday, the City pulled the plug. City staff teed up the item as a cut – unless three councilmembers voted to save it. They didn’t. Here’s the video.

Of course cop supported candidates Bud Chaffee and Jesus Silva thought the whole idea was just peachy. Predictably, Jennifer Fitzgerald seemed to be going along. Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn opposed wasting any more on this crap. Sebourn correctly pointed out that the cop union, having plenty of money to stick its snout in Fullerton politics, can easily afford to promote the good deeds of its membership.

Whatever changed Jennifer Fitzgerald’s mind to drop support for this ridiculous concept that has cost us $200,000 in the past four years remains a mystery, but she suddenly did a 180. Hopefully FFFF had something to do with the sudden shift to fiscal responsibility.

In the end the self-serving BS rhetoric of Chaffee and the feeble gibberish of Silva amounted to nothing and the council unanimously went along with the proposed package of cuts that included Behind the Badge.

Rest assured, Friends, FFFF will be following up with a Public Records Act request to get a copy of the termination notice.

 

Coto Joe Gets Big Union Stamp of Approval

 

Love is all around…

File this one under predictable public employee union self-service. The Orange County Employee Association has endorsed the carpetbagging candidacy of Joe Kerr to represent our 4th Supervisorial District.

The OCEA is a big union that represents the vast majority of County employees. As such, it is always involving itself in County politics, placing it’s own interests in the path of accountable, affordable government.  And what better mission for a labor union than to elect one of its own – a former union boss, in fact.

It’s not surprising that the union would place its own self-interest ahead of the public. They obviously see nothing wrong with a guy who lives in a rich, South County enclave trying to represent the working class neighborhoods of north Orange County; or if they do, it takes a distant back seat to electing somebody that will pay attention to their needs. And their needs are ever greater pay and benefits, regardless of the quality of service they provide.

This “early endorsement” serves only one purpose: to clear the field of potential Democrat opponents for the carpetbagging Kerr.

In 2010 the field for this seat was cluttered with several Democrat small fry and none of them made the November run off. And that’s something the unionistas prefer to avoid this time around.

Fitzgerald’s 5 Year Deception

At last night’s Fullerton City Council meeting (21 March 2017) I spoke on Agenda Item 3 regarding budget strategies. Amongst other comments I asked for clarification on what was meant by “Structural Deficit” considering that both Fitzgerald and former Councilwoman Jan Flory constantly claimed we have/had a balanced budget. I asked what changed overnight to take us from a balanced budget on 08 November 2016 into a “Structural deficit” today.

Structural Deficit Evidence

What I got regarding an answer was Councilwoman Fitzgerald dodging the question and blaming Sacramento and the CalPERS rate change. And I quote:

“And I will go ahead and answer the question that was brought up over balanced budgets and what happened overnight and I will tell you, I mean, for former Council member Flory and I, when we talked about balanced budgets. Our 5 year projections, every year showed a balanced budget and what happened overnight is CalPERS decreased the amount of returns that they assumed that we were going to receive. So, that is what happened to those 5 year projections to change them.”

There’s a lot to unpack so strap in kiddos.

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We Paid a Head Hunter $23,000 to Discover Karen Haluza!

Haluza

Yeah, you read that right.

The City  actually hired a recruitment company to find a new Community Development Director – somebody who lives four blocks from City Hall.

Which begs the question: were Joe Felz and his crack assistant Nicole Bernard so busy they couldn’t have conducted this recruitment themselves through the HR department?

Anyway, here are the invoices:

Teri Black 14-1004-01 Teri Black 14-0905-02 Teri Black 15-0208-07

Insiders have said this job was going to Haluza all along, which means that whatever money was spent on the recruiter was wasted in the appearance of an on-the-up-and-up recruitment process. Of course we’ve all seen how Felz wasted monies large and small, even as the S.S. Fullerton was taking on water badly.

The fact that Haluza has been an unmitigated disaster since joining the city staff is a somewhat different issue, but it makes the price tag a little harder to swallow. One wonders what the losing candidates looked like.

“Public Safety” Isn’t Done With Us Yet

Always look for the union label…

Another would-be County Supervisor has declared his 2018 candidacy for the 4th District. His name is Joe Kerr. He is a Democrat. He is also the former boss of the union that represented the Orange County Fire Authority. As such it was his sole responsibility to shove his hand as hard and as deep into the pockets of the taxpayers as possible to provide his members with spectacular pay and pensions, and to perpetuate a scam in which his members enriched themselves on a gamed overtime system.

Voters will not hear about that from Mr. Kerr, of course, even as he brings in “public safety” union bucks to grease his campaign, We will hear that Joe is Fire Hero and Deserves.

Will the voters go for this? I don’t know. Right now Fullerton is facing a massive fiscal drain due to the exploding pension costs of the cops and the “fire fighters.” Having one of the chief perpetrators of this meltdown trying to run for public office seems ill-timed.

Or maybe it’s all a some sort of a twisted joke.

 

End the Overnight Parking Ban

Tomorrow night, the City Council will consider a move toward repealing the citywide overnight parking ban between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00am.  This is a long overdue and welcomed change that would significantly improve the lives of many Fullerton residents.

I’ve lived in Fullerton my entire life.  Never once have I heard someone complain that a car was illegally parked on a city street in the early morning hours.  The only complaints are from people who have been cited.

The overwhelming majority of us are asleep, at least partially, during those hours and aren’t aware, and couldn’t care less, if a car was left parked on the street.  Our quality of life is not impaired one iota by another person making use of a public asset during the night hours.

In the Agenda Letter, Director of Community Development Karen Haluza provides an insightful history into the overnight parking ban, which dates all the way back to 1924 when Fullerton was converting from dirt to asphalt roads.  Spencer Custodio at the Voice of OC also penned a nice article on this subject.   Both are well worth the read.

The City’s Nonsensical 1970 Findings

Besides having no use apart from generating citation revenue, the irony of the many justifications the City made in 1970 for preserving the ban apply more appropriately to daylight hoursThe findings were as follows:

(a) In that frequent sweeping of litter, refuse and trash from streets is required to
prevent disease and unsightly appearances and such sweeping can be done
most economically and efficiently while vehicles are not parked thereon, and

I’m not aware of any City street sweeping taking place between 2:00am and 5:00am.  As far back as I can remember, street sweeping has been as predictable as trash collection on a specific day of the week during daylight hours.

(b) In that frequent police patrolling of streets is required to deter, prevent and detect
criminal activity and there is greater need for such patrolling between the hours
of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than at other times and such patrolling can be done
most economically and will best accomplish its purpose while the streets are free
from parked vehicles, and

There is no “frequent police patrolling of streets” between 2:00am and 5:00am.  Many Fullerton residents out and about during those hours have stories of FPD patrol units parked in inconspicuous locations around town with the officer sound asleep, provided nothing else is going on.

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Behind the Badge on the Chopping Block?

We are notoriously bad at getting our story out…

Next Tuesday’s Council meeting brings us another Budget Show, one more in a line of footling meetings strung out like faux pearls on a cheap necklace.  This one is particularly entertaining since it acknowledges a big structural deficit that the suggested cost savings will do almost nothing to correct: “modest” revenue increases are broadly suggested, but apart from some fee increases and one-time sale of “surplus” property nothing meaningful is proposed. Obviously the recommendation for a utility tax or a sales tax increase will be sprung like a rabbit out of the magician’s hat at the last moment.  

One entertaining bit of the agenda memo is the inclusion of a small table identifying some of City Manager Allan Roeder’s “loose sofa change,” giving the impression that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Roeder regrets his previous offhand dismissal of a $50,000 per year contract that accomplishes nothing as not worthy of councilmanic attention. Of course I am referring to the ridiculously conceived and suspiciously ill-managed “Behind the Badge” agreement that was improperly contracted by Wild Ride Joe Felz in the first place.

Well, good for Roeder, even though desperate times call for desperate measures And it takes a lot of desperation for a City bureaucrat to even tacitly acknowledge the expendability of a contract. The irony here is thick. It is the exploding pension cost of the Fullerton police Department that is breaking our bank. Even as we pay for the cops to peddle their dopey PR right back at us. 

Uh, Oh. Sonny Siliceo Steppin’ On Own Weenie. Again.

Another black eye for Danny Hughes’ “reformed” police department. It looks like Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo is being tuned up by the DA for submitting a false police report, a report that was subsequently used by the DA to prosecute some downtown bar-hopping schmo.

The douchebaggery spanned the generations…

You may remember Sonny from 2011. He’s the guy that framed Emmanuel Martinez for a crime he didn’t commit, a dereliction that was cavalierly blown off by then FPD spokesphincter Andrew Goodrich, but that now looks very much like a possible pattern of behavior for Mr. Siliceo. Sonny also briefly popped up in 2012 as a facebook friend of Jan Flory attacking people who might have suspicions about the integrity of the department that employed and deployed him.

Now for some more recent history – from 2015.

Unlike 2011, Siliceo’s assertions were apparently belied by data from cop video recorders and the case against Mr. Schmo was dropped – a situation so remarkable for our cops-über-alles DA that the lies of Siliceo must have been stupendously blatant. The complaint is a felony.

 

“F” is for Felony

Sonny seems to be on leave now so it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. And it makes us wonder how many of the other arrests that Siliceo participated in were on the level.

Honored by MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) for their efforts in getting drunk drivers off the road are Fullerton PD Officers Cary Tong, left, Timothy Gibert, Jonathan Munoz, Corporal Ryan Warner and Officer Miguel Siliceo.
Gag-reflexively expensive photo bought by taxpayers taken by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC
*** Officer Siliceo’s name on the plaque is misspelled as Sihiceo. ***

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Assistant to the Assistant

Remember when we told you about the poor “Mayor’s assistant” who’s job mysteriously appeared and disappeared right alongside Jennifer Fitzgerald’s mayorship?

Well, the position seems to have re-appeared… this time as an Assistant to the Assistant (City Manager), Nichole Bernard.

Not pictured: Assistant

From the February 14th Economic Development Commission minutes:

Now what Ms. Bernard needs assistance with is anybody’s guess. We don’t even know what she does, especially now that her mentor Wild Ride Felz is gone. Will the assistant pick up Starbucks lattes? Pack Nicole’s unmentionables for the next useless Vegas or South Korea junket? Who knows?

More to the point, when and how was this mysterious job ever budgeted and approved by the City Council? 

Note how the position may not be filled until summer. Why is that? In a well-run operation it might have something to do with a semi-responsible fiscal mentality – don’t hire someone to a completely unnecessary job until someone has figured out how to tame the out-of-control Felz/Fitzgerald Budget.

In Fullerton it’s maybe just that hard to find a qualified candidate for a glorified flunky position.