Fullerton Cops Label Camera Data Wrong 60% of the Time

It was bad enough when we learned that Fullerton Officers had (have?) no oversight in how they themselves are allowed to categorize videos and schedule them for deletion. Do something wrong like the litany of SB1421 criminal cops? Just change the category to delete the videos and nobody is the wiser.

It was worse that we learned that in the context of Fullerton Officer Jose Paez perving on High School kids and teachers while on the job, including for allegedly shooting video up a 16 year old’s skirt for which he’s being prosecuted.

But it turns out that Fullerton cops label their video files wrong 60% of the time according to Chief Dunn himself:

BWC 60 Percent

“We also learned the way we label data, officers tag the video via an app on their phones, is incorrect 60% of the time.  This contributes to the storage overages and can cause evidence to be missed.”

So when officers aren’t just deleting the videos of their criminal activity, such as Paez did, they’re potentially missing evidence for cases by simply not doing their jobs correctly.

The guys and gals in blue whom we pay the vast majority of our budget to can’t manage to tag a video properly for evidence – when evidence is quite literally one of the most important aspects of their job.

Guess they need more training and raises to justify that training. Bring on Fitzgerald’s taxes to solve this pernicious police problem. Just kidding. We’re paying for software (CAD integration) because a machine is the only thing that can save us from officer incompetence. But we’ll still get hosed with the taxes to pay for their ever growing pensions just you wait.

The Consortium of Corruption

Not pretty, but it works…

Friends, an environmental symbiosis exists in nature when two organisms interact in a way that is mutually beneficial. In the course of human organizational activity we see such symbioses frequently. In the nasty intersection of government and politics such relationships are depressingly common. And nowhere can we see this operation in better form than in the way Fullerton’s politics intersect the management of police business, a business that affects everybody.

Let me begin my essay with a recitation of police behavior in our town that ought to give any decent person reason to give a second thought to nonsense pitched by both the government and the media.

See this badge? It means honesty and integrity. Or not.

We all remember the words of former FPD Chief, Danny “Galahad” Hughes when he said that anybody who claimed a Culture of Corruption in his department was a liar or misinformed. Of course this is the same individual who orchestrated the Kelly Thomas killing cover-up, who ordered the ticketing of “excessive horners,” and who is implicated up to the top of his bald head in the illegal catch and release of drunken former City Manager, Joe Burt Felz.

 

Spokesphincter was the last straw. Apparently.

In all of his endeavors Hughes was serially assisted by the smarmy and arrogant Andrew Goodrich, former union goon and, not coincidentally, the otiose and corpulent spokeshole for department. Friends will recall that it was Goodrich who immediately promulgated lies about cops getting broken bones in the aftermath of the Thomas bludgeoning by his cohorts. Goodrich was caught by FFFF over the years selling so much garbage that he was actually nominated for  a coveted Fringie® in 2011.

Just gimme a minute, here.

Most Friends believe that the author of FPD’s Culture of Corruption was none other than former top-cop Pat “Patdown Pat” McKinley, who imported a bunch of cops from LAPD, including the one-eyed cop on disability, Jay Cicinelli, who bashed Kelly’s face in with the butt end of a Taser. McKinley admitted to hiring all these thugs and he brushed aside the accusations against FPD sexual batterer Albert Rincon by telling an audience that the victims were inferior types of women, anyhow. On the Fullerton City Council he acted in tandem with Hughes as architects of the disastrous cover-up. His plans were inadvertently exposed on CNN. His history of playing twisted, amateur psychologist was well documented.

 

GOD MODE ACTIVATED. Lookin’ out for the ladies, oh yeah!

Some of FPD’s bad behavior has suggested a sexual pervy streak running through the department, and a predilection for looking the other way about it. Albert “Alby Al” Rincon, instead of being fired and prosecuted by McKinley for sexual battery, continued to roam Fullerton’s streets looking for victims – gals he no doubt figured would keep their mouths shut. They didn’t, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands and the City a reprimand from a federal judge. Naturally no charges were ever filed.

Recently we’ve been favored with the story of tubby ginger boy Jose Paez, whose “crime” according to tough guy DA Todd Spitzer, was the unauthorized photographing of his victims. Unfortunately for the girls and women he associated with as a school officer in the FJUHSD, what he was taking pictures of was their undergarments – while they were being worn.

Chiu-FPD-Awards-Promotion
How ’bout a date, honey?

A few months ago the story leaked out about an enterprising young FPD lad named Christopher Chiu, who seems to have found a persuasive way to talk a young woman out of her clothes on the top of the Lemon/Chapman parking structure so he could examine her breasts and nether parts in search of “evidence.” Before the courtly charm of playing doctor wore off, he suggested his availability for a dinner date. Yikes.

Speaking of sex in our city, let us not, Dear Friends, forget the hi-jinks of stumblebum Detective Ron “My Request Stands” Bair, who ended up extracting sex from the mother in a child custody case in which he was a witness. Half a mil on us and adios, Ron. Enjoy the spectacle of the outraged Keystone Kop demanding that councilmembers turn over their cell phone records to him.

Wren, on the right, getting a MADD award. Maybe anger management paid off…

The parade continued recently with the sordid tale of Christopher Wren, a Riverside County anger management clinic grad who was holding clandestine conferences of varying duration with an Officer Riedl – in various FPD assets, including his squad car and in the ladies toilet room. Ick.

Former Sergeant Jeff Corbett was actaully rung up for obstructing justice although seamy stories about sexual escapades while on duty have been circulating for a long time. But to be fair to poor Jeff, it was sending Wild Ride Joe Felz home after the hit-and-run of Sappy McTree that got him busted.

Apart from uncontrolled libido, the gallant gents of the FPD have often displayed their ethical sensibility in an orgy of mayhem against people who hadn’t done anything wrong, or by simply revealing how little they care for the basic concepts of justice. Maybe the cultural shift to full-on violence and callousness was the result of Pat McKinley’s well-known militarization of the FPD.

Ay caramba!

Jay Cicinelli is known across the globe as the goon who smashed in Kelly Thomas’s face with a Taser handle and admitted it on tape. This one-eyed jack was employed by McKinley as a favor to an old LAPD crony. Now this twice disqualified creep actually wants (or wants us to believe he does) his job back!

The gift that keeps giving…

Our obese old pal Manuel Ramos had a long history of lazy and oafish behavior as an FPD cop, culminating in the actions that instigated Kelly Thomas’s death. Bully? Check. Overweight slob? Check. Natural born prick? Double Check. FPD material all the way.

Joe, plumbing…

Of course the proud specimen known as Joe Wolfe was Ramos’s accomplice on that fateful night Thomas was goaded into flight. Good old Joe was there with baton in hand to deliver the first blow to the schizophrenic homeless man.

Over the years FFFF has related stories from the citizenry about abusive and violent behavior of Fullerton’s cops, particularly those patrolling downtown open air booze court. But none of these stories can equal the brutality and the callous treatment of Veth Mam by one Kenton Hampton. See, Hampton’s official version of the story got real fuzzy after it became clear that his recollection of events strained even the credulity of an OC jury past the breaking point, especially when video evidence showed up in court. During a downtown scuffle involving the cops, Hampton arrived by car upon the scene and knocked the phone camera out of the hand of an innocent bystander, Mam, who was giving away about 100 lbs. to Officer Hampton. After throwing the hapless Mam around like a rag doll, Hampton tossed him in the Fullerton clink where he was charged with assaulting a cop, a story Hampton testified to under oath. Was he ever punished? Of course not. Under “Chief Danny” Big Bad Ham seems to have been promoted to a desk job.

MADD Heroes. Far right “Sonny” Siliceo contemplates the downside of an honest future. Tim Gibert, top left, contemplates a career at the Home Depot key duplicator.

And then there is the laundry list of incompetence or indifference. We first met Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo as he tagged one Emanuel Martinez who spent five months at Theo Lacy courtesy of a deliberate misidentification.  Spoke-sphincter Andrew Goodrich comforted us with the words “we try to arrest the right guy.” Years later Siliceo, in a different matter, was convicted of filing a false police report, something very, very hard to accomplish.

To swerve and deflect

And to round out our categories of misconduct, we must pause, I suppose, at least for a moment to reflect on a few of the various petty crimes and thievery perpetrated by our boys and girls in blue. Todd Major ripped off Explorer Scouts to feed his pill habit. April Baughman ripped off the property room of $50,000. Kelly Mejia tried to boost an i-Pad right under the watchful security cameras at the Miami airport. Hugo Garcia was apparently told his services were no longer required after being busted for purloining something or other (off duty, of course; on duty the man was a veritable saint). And then there was the tale of Officer Timothy Gibert, another MADD awardee who got popped out in the high desert defrauding home improvement stores. Just how many small-time thieves and pickpockets we have employed over the years will never be known for sure.

I will slide over details of how the FPD has deliberately ignored clear cases of lawbreaking by its pals, and has actually prosecuted criminal cases against politcal opponents because that sort of behavior we would naturally expect. But it is a segue, doncha know.

So, finally, let’s end this painful revelation with the not-so funny story about Josh Eddleman and Jerrie Harvey two innocent people jailed and prosecuted due to the bungling of newly minted “detective” Barry Coffman, best known for his enthusiastic handing out of tickets for “excessive horning.” Once againSpokesanus Goodrich informed the public that the FPD really, does try to arrest the right people, gosh darn it, a statement so insincere that maybe not even David Whiting would believe it.

Of course this quivering pyramid of gelatin was the President of the Fullerton Peace Officer’s Association for years and years, supporting political candidates who could be counted on to serve and protect his wayward union members while bestowing lavish pay and benefits.

And here is the nexus of casual corruption: without a compliant city council and their hand-picked city manager, this sad litany of crime and no punishment would be an awful lot shorter. The cop union, along with their “firefighter” brethren and sistren diligently help elect reliable stooges to the city council through vast campaign spending via their political action committees. And what a roll call of dunderheads, incompetents, buffoons, seniles, lackeys and assorted political grifters they have greased into office.

Really and truly Jurassic In Every Way

Back in the late 1980s winning campaigns for elected office in Fullerton really started getting expensive, a fact exploited by the “public safety” unions in the the 1990s.  And who became the poster boy for the police association? Why, none other than former Fullerton cop Don Bankhead who’s disability retirement account makes Inspector Clouseau look like a veritable Fred Astaire. It mattered not that Bankead was as thick as two short planks. That was exactly the point. He was their boy.

Hail no!

Don’t forget the lengthy corn-pone career of possibly third degree syphilitic Doc Hee Haw – Dick Jones – who once blurted to an aggrieved citizen at a council meeting “you won’t get anywhere bad-mouthing the police in this town.”

The Lollipop Guild was well represented

In 2000, the union coordinated with candidate Mike Clesceri to spy on councilwoman Julie Sa, and to get him elected to the council. A fellow cop like Clesceri was counted on to support the troops. And boy did he, approving the disastrous retroactive 3 @ 50 pension formula.

Loretta and I were getting our nails done…oh, and socks…

Sharon Quirk-Silva was marginally smart enough to dodge the Kelly Thomas fallout and the subsequent recall. But like almost all of Fullerton’s liberal establishment crowd, she blamed the murder on homelessness, not on bad cops. She ignored the cover-up, and did nothing about the Albert Rincon matter, despite proclaiming her outrage on the nightly news wherein we learned she has daughters.

If the shirt don’t fit, it must be…

When he had the chance Doug “Bud” Chaffee could have held the cops accountable in the wake of the KT killing and the subsequent recall, by which he finally got elected. Instead, the cowardly pustule immediately dove for cover, actually wearing a union-bought pro FPD T-shirt at a council meeting.

Of course Doug was in need of assistance himself when his carpetbaggin’ wife, Paulette was busted on video stealing campaign signs on private property.

The designated driver is on the way…

The cop union knows when it has a live one on the line, and never has that bee more true of Jan Flory, who not only trotted around the city council track in the 1990s, she did so again in 2012 with the help of a hundred thou’ of union scrilla. Maybe her vote on the [email protected] was fondly remembered, but more likely the support was for favors to come. Of course she delivered by approving pay raises and by paying out vast legal settlements against Fullerton police that avoided the embarrassment of ugly stuff getting out at trial. Everything gets hushed up and we pay for the silence. And of course, no, reform was not on the table.

I’m not telling the truth and you can’t make me…

No story of the symbiosis between cops and politicians in Fullerton is complete without mention of our lobbyist councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has a career monetizing her job “representing” you and me. Jen’ has made it her specialty to cozy up to the cops, including pay raises, quiet settlements costing us millions, and even wasting $50K a year on the utterly moronic “Behind the Badge” propaganda embarrassment. Holier than holy, her best pal was “Chief Danny” with whom she may have conspired, in the early morning of November 9, 2016, to have the cops drive drunken, hit-and-run Joe Burt Felz home and then tuck him in with a warm glass of milk.

Dazed and confused

And most recently we see the completely dim and inarticulate Jesus Silva, installed in office courtesy of the police union. One wonders how this nincompoop manages to get his shoelaces tied without help, and yet we can be sure of one thing – he will slavishly follow the example of his better half, Sharon Quirk in support of the people who put him in office.

The Doug Chaffee Experience, Kindness Edition

Just in case you were still wondering about his competence and priorities, our Supervisor, Doug “Bud” Chaffee has helped out with his latest insipid e-mail. The latest installment invites nominations for something called a “4th District Kindness Award.” No, I am not making this up. Here it is:

Sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind…

Now coming from a dyed-in-the-wool SOB like Chaffee this is really a bit much. His record of screwing the people of Fullerton through incompetence, spleen, rancid deal making with FitzFlory; and his aiding and abetting his criminal wife in stealing campaign signs and creating a phony residence to run for office, would lead a normal person to suspect that kindness in any form is the last thing on Chaffee’s shrinking mind.

Fullerton School Board Ignored Issue of Campus Police Pervert

Paez Barista

For those of you paying attention to the story of Perv Cop Paez, I’ll direct your attention to some correspondence with the Fullerton Joint Union High School Board of Trustees from back in December 2018 when rumors of this story first came to light.

This is an email a friend of ours sent to each member of the school board:

FUHSD re Paez

Hi,

I just heard a rumor that a school officer working with Fullerton police, officer Paez, had naked photos of at least one student on his phone. If the student is underage I understand a name not being released but how many victims are there and do I need to be worried about my children?

Should parents be concerned about their child being victimized?

Is this true and if so is the school district covering this up?

I would hope that you learned something about honesty after Lindgren molested students at Nicholas. Please let me know if these allegations have merit and that Fullerton isn’t in the habit of covering up sexual predators.

Thanks.

Concerned Parent

Only one member even bothered to respond and that was the following paltry message:

Thank you for the information, I will bring this up with our Superintendent tonight. 

Thanks,

Andy Montoya

So there you have it folks. A Fullerton Police Officer, in his capacity of School Resource Officer, was allowed to roam campus unchecked, film up the skirts of teachers and students, delete his own Body Camera videos with no oversight and allegedly store child pornography on his (department issued?) phone and you the public get to know nothing.

The Fullerton High School Board of Trustees won’t even bother to respond to you if you’re concerned about such things as predatory officers abusing their power to peep on your daughters.

To this day the school board has remained mum, the police chief put out a press release extolling his own virtues and you can bet our useless council will pat the department on the back for the bare minimum that was accomplished here.

How many students were victims of Fullerton PD while on campus? How many have a #PaezMeToo story to tell? Are your kids safe from predators while on campus? You don’t have a right to know according to the Fullerton Joint Union High School Board and Fullerton Police Department.

FUHSD School Board

Fitzgerald Wants Fullerton to Suffer More

Good News Friends!

The paid lobbyist leach that is Jennifer Fitzgerald is officially running for Fullerton City Council again in 2020.

Do you love having a council member who is bought and sold more than a penny stock in a bull market? Here’s your chance to own a stake just like all of the downtown bars.

Prepare for sad face Fitzy as she complains about Sacramento and blames everybody but herself and her own voting record for why we’re broke with crap roads.

Unaccountable police perving on your daughters in the High Schools? Don’t fret, she’ll promise them raises and higher pensions as long as we get no accountability in return.

Fullerton may run out of property to sell to pay for her cronyism and mismanagement, but she’ll never run out of integrity to sell for a few votes and to feather her own nest.

So get ready for Fitzgerald 2020 where she’ll be towing child actor and chronic crony cuck Chris Gaarder along in the VP spot the same as she tried to do with Larry Bennett in 2016.

Could Fullerton do better? Obviously. But the real question is do we deserve better?

Fullerton Officer Paez Charged with Filming up 16yo Student’s Skirt

Jose Paez (left) with his former Captain Tom Oliveras. Both have been charged with crimes in the last year.

Former Fullerton Police Department School Resource Officer Jose Anthony Paez has been charged with a misdemeanor.

From the District Attorney’s Press Release:

FORMER FULLERTON POLICE SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER CHARGED FOR VIDEOTAPING UP HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT’S SKIRT

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Fullerton Police Department school resource officer has been charged with secretly photographing and videotaping up the skirt of a 16-year-old high school student.

The Fullerton Police Department initiated an internal investigation into accusations that Officer Jose Anthony Paez was acting inappropriately while on duty. The investigation spanned the last five years of the officer’s on-duty interaction with the public.

The internal investigation revealed several photos and video clips taken on Paez’ personal cell phone in November 2017 that were shot up the skirt of a 16-year-old high school student while Paez was conducting a police investigation on school grounds.

Paez stopped working for the Fullerton Police Department in May 2019. The Fullerton Police Department referred the case to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.

“As the elected District Attorney, I am charged with judging the conduct of police officers,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Law enforcement officers are entrusted with a tremendous amount of authority and trust. The actions this officer engaged in betrayed that trust and preyed on the very people he was charged with protecting.”

Paez is scheduled to be arraigned on October 2, 2019 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton. He faces a maximum of one year in the Orange County Jail if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Laila Nikaien is prosecuting the case.

A quick phone call to the DA’s office reveals that Paez is being charged with PC 647(j)(2):

“(2) A person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another identifiable person under or through the clothing being worn by that other person, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, with the intent to arouse, appeal to, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person and invade the privacy of that other person, under circumstances in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. For the purposes of this paragraph, “identifiable” means capable of identification, or capable of being recognized, meaning that someone could identify or recognize the victim, including the victim herself or himself. It does not require the victim’s identity to actually be established.”

The DA’s office seems to essentially be charging him with peeping when there are questions of possession of child pornography in the audit conducted by Fullerton Police.

The Fullerton Police Department issued a Press Release written to show how awesome they are and how committed to openness and accountability they are – despite have little to no details in the release itself.

The closest we get to details is as follows:

“When the criminal investigation concluded, Fullerton detectives requested the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to review the case for filing criminal charges against Officer Paez, whose employment with the Department ended in May 2019.”

Notice how as don’t even get to know if Paez was allowed to resign or if he was fired. The Press Release then goes on to extoll the unearned virtues of FPD:

“We are committed to being first to hold accountable those within our organization who do not meet the high standards we set for ourselves. That is exactly what happened in this case.”

This is the same city/department that worked out a settlement agreement with an officer to expunge Internal Investigations into her conduct specifically to bypass disclosure laws.

That settlement agreement, and this story about officer Paez are two of the things we wrote about a couple of months ago are some of the stories that led to the City of Fullerton threatening us with prosecution for telling you things we think you have a right to know about but they want kept quiet.

Prepare for City Manager Ken Domer, Police Chief Bob Dunn and the entire council and school board to keep you in the dark as this “ongoing case” works through the system. The city has yet to even give us a date for when Paez left the force or who’s phone the child pornography that FPD found in their audit was on – Paez’s personal one or his department issued phone. Nor have they explained why an officer had student sexts and underage pornography on any device so easily accessed.

Is this just another case of a badge giving somebody a slap on the wrist when a civilian would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law?

Erection Dysfunction

 

If someone takes the time to review the history of Fullerton over the past forty years, one thing becomes shockingly clear: when it comes to building things, maintaining things and planning for things, the City government just can’t do much of anything right. And yet over this long history, the City and the public seem to have the shortest of memories.

For the denizens of City Hall, the fact that the jalopy has no rear view mirror makes perfect sense. After all, if you’re pulling down well over a hundred Gs, with a trampoline retirement coming your way, why spoil things with strange notions like accountability and responsibility? It’s so much easier to pretend nothing bad has happened.

A little Jack Daniels gets you through the morning.

The people who live here on the other hand, have no such incentive; quite the reverse, in fact. So how come constant repetition of the disastrous lessons from the past are tolerated? Is it easier to just ignore the millions upon millions wasted in foolish vanity projects, make-work comedies, and deteriorating infrastructure? Maybe.

But I hope that by continuing the drumbeat started on this brave blog 11 years ago, sooner or later the populace will wake up to the ineptitude and dissimulation by its highly paid, and so far untouchable masters of disaster.

And so join me Friends as I take you on trip down memory lane, Fullerton style.

Today almost nobody remembers the comical City endeavor to transform Harbor Boulevard in the early 80s by removing on-street parking, adding medians, spike-laden, pod-dropping floss silk trees, and bizarre concrete peristyles along the sidewalks. Comical, did I say? It would have been funny except that it doomed the businesses along Harbor to slow entropy. The ridiculous peristyles were soon removed but the rest of the mess lasted for decades and many of the hideous trees and broken sidewalks are still there as a reminder that the City is perfectly willing to waste millions on hare-brained, concept-of-the-day tomfoolery that gives them something to do.

The stupid that men do lives after them…

The Allen Hotel, was Fullerton’s first foray into “affordable” housing back in the late 80s. It was a slum, alright and thirty years after the City’s bungling acquisition, the site is just begging for more “redevelopment.” Will it get it?

The once and present tenement…

The CSUF Stadium & Fundraising Fiasco of 1990 ought to give plenty of pause to those contemplating Big Projects with public money. The brainchild of slimy City Councilman and later slimy State Senator, Dick Ackerman, the idea was to build a permanent home for the CSUF football team. Only trouble was that the $15,000,000 stadium was completed the same year the plug was pulled on a dismal gridiron program. In typical fashion, the City invested in a fundraising plan in which a company was hired at a cost of several hundred thou to raise money, and didn’t. Oops!

Oh, boy, the other football!

The horror story “Knowlwood Corner” is a veritable textbook case of government bureaucratic misfeasance, from start to finish. The story started in the early 90s and dragged on for years and years; when the signature building was finally built, the missing second floor became a perfect symbol for this misadventure. From stupid economic micromanagement to horrible architecture, this one touched all the bases – and it took seven years to do so.

There is no second floor. Other than that it’s a 2 story building

The Bank of Italy Building was another disaster from the early 90s, but one that actually gutted an historic building. Millions in public money were wasted to pay for something that never should have been undertaken in the first place.

Deception, Incompetence and Damn Proud of It

The North Platform remodel of 1992-93 proved that no matter how bungled things were in Fullerton, it could always get worse. A landscape architect was hired to place as many impediments between passengers and trains as was humanly possible. Some of the citizens got wise, and half the crap was ripped out. Heads rolled in City Hall. Oh, wait, no they didn’t.

Trees and planters block the platform; staff obstruction was almost as bad.

Few folks now remember the Fairway Toyota dealership expansion fiasco from the mid-90s that required threatening an old lady with eminent domain and then closing off Elm Avenue forever. The City’s investment disappeared like an early summer morning’s dew when the dealership took off for Anaheim a few years later. After years of housing a used car dealership, the City permitted the development of another massive cliff dwelling along Harbor Boulevard. The losses were never accounted for but at least the neighbors got a nice view and early shade.

So bad he had to pull over and barf…

 

For those who can remember the Fullerton SRO debacle – a history filled with so much doubling down on stupidity that it strains credulity – it remains one of Fullerton’s saddest tales. Years and millions were burned on fly-by-night developers, one of whom turned out to be impecunious, and the other a flim-flam artist.

Fort Mithawalla, AKA, the Bum Box…

Fullerton’s Corporate Yard expansion was a mid-nineties project that left the City gasping for air. Despite hiring an outside construction manager and paying him a couple hundred grand, the project dissolved into a litigation mess that only escaped public embarrassment because nobody on the City Council gave a damn. Settlement details vanished into the haze.

The so-called Poison Park on Truslow Avenue may set the standard for Fullerton incompetence, although admittedly, the competition is fierce. In the late 90s, the City had Redevelopment money to burn and just couldn’t wait to do so. So they bought a piece of industrial property and built a park that nobody outside City Hall wanted. Cost? $3,000,000. Of course the site attracted gang members and drug dealers as predicted. Worse still, the land was contaminated and the “park” fenced off. It’s been like that for almost 15 years. And Counting.

Maybe the less said, the better…

No story of Fullerton calamities would be complete without once again sharing the tale of the Florentine Sidewalk Hijacking, in which a permit for “outside dining” was transformed one day by the Florentine Mob into a permanent building blocking half a public sidewalk. The Big City Planner, Paul Dudley, said everything was peachy. He was lying, of course, but did anybody really care?

Caution – ethical behavior narrows ahead…

In a great example of the tail wagging the dog, the Fox Theater has been used to justify all kinds of nonsense, including moving a McDonald’s  a 150 feet to the east and later proposing development of perhaps the greatest architectural monstrosity anybody has ever seen. This saga is still going on, believe it or not, after two decades or more. No one knows how much has been wasted going nowhere on this rolling disaster, and no one seems the least bit interested in finding out.

Egad. What a freaking mess…

Some people might conclude that the majority of Fullerton’s disasters can be laid at the feet of the Redevelopment Agency (really just the City Council) and well-pensioned, inept managers like Terry Galvin and Gary Chaplusky. When they weren’t slapping brick veneer on anything that didn’t move, they were screwing everything else up, too. But when we regard the history of Laguna Lake we enter into the realm of Fullerton’s Parks and Engineering mamalukes. After spending a small fortune on renovating the lake, the thing leaked like a sieve. Hundreds of millions of premium MWD gallons were pumped into the thing to keep it full. The public and council were left in the dark, even as citizens were told to conserve water in their homes. Did anyone in charge give a damn? Did anyone ask how much money and water were squandered over the years? Of course not. This is Fullerton. We could ask Engineering Director Don Hoppe for details, except that he is now comfortably retired and pulling down a massive pension.

Water in, water out…

Our professional planners, have been knee deep in Fullerton’s morass. Over-development (see example, above) has been fostered and nowhere was this better seen than in the Core and Corridors Specific Plan. This idiotic plan wasted a million bucks of State money without a backward glance after the whole thing was finally dumped on the QT  – too stupid even for Fullerton. Did anybody ask for their money back? Nope. And yet  a link to a blank web page titled Core and Corridors still exists! Hope springs eternal.

The 2000s proved that nobody in City Hall or out, was learning anything, even after the expensive failures of the 90s. The “West Harbor Improvement” project in 2009, was an endeavor so unnecessary that it could only be proposed in Fullerton, where government “place making” has never succeeded. The alley is a barf zone behind a bunch of bars that only needs hosing down every Sunday morning.

What can we do with it ? Or to it?

We’ve already covered in detail the multi-million dollar death march of the new elevators at the depot, an unnecessary project that was only pursued because “other people’s money” was paying for it – that is until the project burned into its seventh year. And then City money had to pay to keep the disaster on life support. Aggravating this complete folly and waste is the fact that the existing elevators tower stairs are slowly rusting away and the glass is graffiti marred.

Let the groundbreaking begin. No point in waiting to waste other people’s money, right?

 

This litany of disasters, follies and debacles brings us to the Pinewood Stairs at Hillcrest Park which put on display the incompetence of the designer, the city staff, the construction manager, and a contractor who couldn’t build a sand box to code. Wasting $1.6 million is bad enough; permitting the code violations and construction deficiencies go unfixed is even worse. Barely two years old, the ramshackle structure moves more than the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

A light post not even fit for a drunk to lean on…

And finally, let us not forget the completely useless $725,000 “ceremonial” bridge over Brea Creek at Hillcrest Park. Of course it’s just there to make some sort of statement, not to be used. The only statement that occurs to me is one of conspicuous consumption by a city that is just rolling in dough.

And over all these years Fullerton’s “leaders have neglected our aging infrastructure and permitted zone changes allowing for massive new development that has lined the pockets of developers and political campaign coffers, and left the rest of us with even more traffic and more burden on our roads and pipes.

Water, water everywhere. Except where it’s supposed to be…

 

It could be worse. No it couldn’t.

The end.

 

Silva’s Escort

Readers of this blog might think I have a hyper-obsession with toll road violations.  Not really.  It’s just that toll road violations seem to bring out the very worst and embarrassing moments in government.  Nine times out of ten, the car shouldn’t have been using the toll roads to begin with.  Such is the case here, once again.

“Rebecca Leifkes escorted Council Member Jesus Silva to various Homeless Shelters in Orange County.”

Why does Silva need an escort to visit homeless shelters?  He owns his own car, and is presumably competent enough to drive the freeways.  Council members are not entitled to mileage reimbursement, toll road reimbursements, nor do they have assigned staff persons to cater to their every need.

If the hand-written notation is as true as written (below), this speaks volumes about Jesus Silva’s ability to conduct City business on his own, without help from staff.  The hand-holding and coddling needs to stop.