The Second Try

Nothing says 1962 like Fullerton City Hall

Back in 2020 our Lords and Masters at City Hall cooked up a plan to impose a sales tax increase upon people buying stuff in Fullerton. It was staff-driven natch, and lazy liberals Zahra, Quirk-Silva, Flory and Fitzgerald were on board. It was called Measure S. See, they figured the path of least resistance was deploying a new tax rather than finally exercising fiscal restraint.

Measure S Covid Lie
The Big Lie

Measure S soon found itself in the crosshairs of Fullerton anti-tax advocates and some well-placed signs describing the true nature of the beast doomed it to failure come election time.

Well guess what? They’re at it again. This time the idea is something called a Pension Obligation Bond, a mechanism for paying off part of Fullerton’s massive unfunded pension actuarial liability at CalPERS, the State’s giant pension administrator.

An introductory briefing was on the Council’s agenda last Tuesday to start the cheerleading process – a process that will entail the employment of an “expert” who will certainly benefit from a positive result; and of course “bond counsel” the legal camp-followers who push bonds on lazy elected officials after a hot meal and a few glasses of wine.

As everybody knows, the interest on the bonds are ultimately backed up by the collateral of new property taxes. This revenue would go to pay down the pension debt and free up money owed to CalPERS for staff salaries and benefits that will ultimately, and ironically, increase pension debt.

Here’s the second kicker: because a pension obligation bond is not deemed new debt, per se, but a sort of pea-under-the-walnut shell maneuver, no vote of the people is required – as it is in the case of general obligation bonds. It just gets “validated” by a judge and goes through on the nod unless challenged. Ouch. Of course the Council, if it wanted to could put the issue on a ballot anyhow, if they chose to move ahead with this scheme.

Of course the strategy for this type of thing is to reprimand opponents by citing the fact that the daily cost is little more than a Big Mac, or some other trifle and in return we get…what do we get again? Our loyal and devoted “public safety” club will almost certainly gobble up the lion’s share of this taxpayer largesse, just like they already do, and we’ll be even worse off than we already are, and no desperately needed cultural changes will have been made.

I looked over the agenda material on line and found nary a clue as to how this was even agendized. Another smoke screen protecting somebody.

Hansburg Says Sayonara

Kids just love to walk…

Last Wednesday, Elizabeth Hansburg quit the Fullerton Planning Commission.

FFFF has already introduced Ms. Hansburg to the Friends, noting her involvement in the drive to cover Fullerton in penitentiary-like apartment blocks. Her “non-profit” is used to provide Astroturf support for developers of huge housing projects and of course donations from said developers are always welcome.

Ms. Hansburg was also part of the shadowing clan that developed a new housing plan that almost nobody knew anything about until it was conceptually presented the the City Council. The idea was (and is) to achieve the preposterous new housing unit needs count – 13,000 -proffered by SCAG, the Southern California Association of Government – an unelected agency run by and for bureaucrats and their Big Ideas.

Well, anyhow, Hansburg has had enough. Here’s her petulant good-bye speech at the end of the meeting in which she attacks the City Council, bemoans the loss of her beloved fellow 5th Columnists in City Hall, and of course praises the contemptible camera hog and credit thief, Ahmad Zahra.

Consistently awful…

Self-righteous, indignant, know-it-all. Hansburg went out of her way to promote God-awful projects that were intrusive, obnoxious, and promised a tsunami of negative impacts on our neighborhoods including more parking disasters.

Good riddance. This is exactly the sort of person that causes regular folks to be wary of self-proclaimed “experts” and the bureaucracies they love so dearly. Now she can peddle her services to developers free from legitimate charges of conflict of interest.

The Deal

When he’s not lecturing us on ethics, Fullerton City Councilman Ahmad Zahra climbs down from his high horse to participate in all sorts of activities that don’t seem very ethical at all.

Zahra-Busted
It’s the though that counts…

We have seen how he became embroiled in a battery and vandalism case in which he had the record permanently sealed. He claims exoneration but word has escaped the DAs office that Zahra pleaded guilty, did community service had had his record expunged.

We have also seen how Zahra claimed authorship of Water District-related articles actually ghost-written by a district bureaucrat; and how he tried to leverage this pseudo-expertise to keep his well-compensated seat on that board.

Grab it and consume it as fast as you can…

Then there’s the about-face Zahra played on the suckers of Fullerton when he announced that the open seat on the Council should be decided by a vote, and then promptly voted to appoint Jan Flory to the vacancy at the behest of Jennifer Fitzgerald.

The closer you look, the worse it gets.

And that last bit is what this story is about. The deal that Zahra cut with Fitzgerald to appoint Flory and get himself appointed to the lucrative Orange County Water District Board, a board that pays stipends for all sorts of meetings and sub-committee meetings.

Check this out:

Just before Zahra was replaced on the Water Board in 2021 by Bruce Whitaker, the District paid $10,000 to “CL7” for something called a “OC Water Special Water Insert.” I don’t know what that means, but I do know that CL7 is the name of Jennifer Fitzgerald’s side biz – when she wasn’t using the City to make bank for lobbyist Curt Pringle. So what’s going on here? A little gravy slopping out of the boat, or a legitimate job for a real public service? Knowing Fitzgerald’s complete lack of ethical compass and her influence peddling, I would bet on the former. Easy enough to find out: a PRA on the work order and a sample of the work product, and maybe any correspondence regarding this contract ought to do it.

And did Zahra have a role in this little handout? Was this a little payback for getting appointed in the first place? These sorts of little deals happen in OC political/government circles all the time. It’s all just easy government cheese. Maybe Zahra will be forthcoming about what this was all about. Maybe, but don’t count on it.

Police Union Getting Desperate

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.

  1. Fullerton is not overwhelmed by violent crime, especially when you subtract the crime perpetrated by union members themselves.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Trail To Nowhere Resurfaces; Commonsense Prevails

I know, lets get some running exercise. Before they catch us!

At the Fullerton City Council meeting last week the topic of the idiotic Union Pacific “trail” came up. I put quotation marks around the word trail because it has never been one, and if the council continues to exercise commonsense, never will be one.

On a 4-1 vote our Lords and Masters decided to entertain an RFP process to see if the City might be able to look at wider area on either side of the abandoned right-of-way in a unified, rather than piecemeal fashion.

Parks staff have been trying for a couple years now to waste millions on a “greening” trail that would pick-up where “Phase 1” left off and continue through the junkyards, debris fields, used tire business and junk car to Independence Park. These people who stand to gain from billing hours against this project have no idea how much maintenance will cost, how safety might be ensured, or most significantly, who would even want to use it.

They continue to describe the Phase 1 thing as a trail when it is evidently not; not to anybody who takes the time to see that it does not pass Harbor to the east and ends up at the low point of Walnut Avenue on the west. There is decomposed granite and a horse rail to serve all the equestrians in the barrio to add to the comic nature of the previous development. There are also trash, homeless, evidence of arson, graffiti, and of course recent memories of a murder.

After writing a staff report that positively glowed with the eventuality of “connectivity” to a County-wide rec trail system, even Alice Loya (the Parks employee who has been nurturing this nonsense) was forced to admit that there was no present plan to acquire more railroad right-of-way to get past Independence Park, and no immediately feasible way to cross the train tracks at the Commonwealth underpass.

The train of thought was feeble but it sure was short…

In the world of lefty identity politics it’s the thought that counts, and the more money wasted on the thought, the better. Jesus Quirk-Silva referred to this as a “pipe dream,” his fantasy, apparently. He’s all about “equity” whatever that means, as if wasting $2,000,000 in public money is justified by the kind gesture to an “underserved” population.

But it’s hard to know if these chuckleheads even take themselves seriously. Let’s not forget that Quirk-Silva and his pal Zahra voted just six short moths ago to permanently convert the ill-fated Union Pacific Park to a private events center.

Zahra-Busted
It’s the though that counts…

Zahra trotted out a bunch of middle aged Latina women to blather (in Spanish, just to extend the pain, apparently) nonsense about a veritable linear oasis that of course neither they, nor their children would ever use.

In the end, Quirk-Silva went along with Dunlap, Jung and Whitaker, who reasoned that a broader look at the whole area was needed, and that private sector ideas were just as likely to prove fruitful as the dead hand of the Parks Department under Alice Loya. Where this process will lead is still uncertain. Quirk-Silva said he must have his pipe dream included in any proposal; Whitaker amended that to a multi-modal facility that could serve as some sort of viaduct for the area using the UP right-of-way flexibility that makes a lot of sense.

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?