Sonny’s Admission of Guilt

Those who saw my post from the other day would probably be interested in Sonny Siliceo’s misdemeanor plea and sentencing documents.

Once the Orange County DA took the Felony charge off the table, Sonny readily admitted to making a false police report, among other things:

On 7/9/15, I was a police officer employed by Fullerton Police Department and on this date I did use excessive force by assaulting John Doe while acting under the color of authority.  Additionally, I knowingly & intentionally filed a false police report with Fullerton Police Department in case number 15-44269, making a material false statement regarding the commission of a crime.

There you have it, everyone.  Sonny just admitted to being a corrupt police officer.  Now that he’s unemployed, one can only hope this is a positive step forward for the Fullerton Police Department.

The full document can be found here.

Former Fullerton Cop Sonny Siliceo to Serve Jail Time

Two of FPD’s worst now-terminated officers — Sonny Siliceo and Albert Rincon

Former Fullerton Police officer Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo — recently fired by the department — yesterday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of PC 149, Assault and Battery by Officer.  The conviction follows on the heels of a false police report filed by Siliceo accusing a man of resisting arrest.

What the Orange County DA press release conveniently left out is that Sonny was originally charged with PC 118.1, a Felony.  As is common with criminal cases, a plea bargain of a lesser charge was offered to avoid going to trial.

And what a bargain it was.  Not only did Sonny escape a Felony on his record, the plea deal ensured his CalPERS pension would be left intact.

Under California Govt. Code section 7522.72, a Felony conviction in the performance of official duties would have barred him from accruing additional CalPERS service credits after July 9, 2015 — the date of the crime.

Instead, Sonny remained on patrol until October 2016, and then on paid administrative leave for well over another year, all the while collecting a salary and accruing additional CalPERS credit.  Given Sonny’s salary of over $100K, and under the 3% @ age 50 retirement formula, the time between the July 2015 date of the crime and his February 2018 termination guarantees him an extra $7,000 to 8,000 per year (maybe more) until the day he dies.

This miscarriage of justice will net Sonny, currently age 52, an additional:

  • $283,977 to $324,545 — if he lives until age 82
  • $422,814 to $483,216 — if he lives until age 92.
    (figures include annual 2% COLA increases)

It is important to emphasize this is NOT the total size of his pension, it is the additional amount he will receive after the date of the crime he committed while on-duty.  He gets to keep this money because he was convicted of a Misdemeanor, not a Felony.

Quite the deal in return for a measly 30 days in Orange County Jail and three years of probation.  Crime really does pay when you’re a government employee and the DA has no desire to pursue a felony conviction.

City Council to Decide Homeless Shelter Rezoning Ordinance (eventually)

(Update: According to the agenda forcast, the vote on this ordinance will be held on March 6, 2018)

Writing for FFFF is a volunteer effort, aside from the stipend we receive from NASA and the Round Earth Cabal (which really hasn’t kept up with inflation, if we’re being completely honest here). Our lack of compensation gives us the advantage of calling things like we see them, without having to worry about how our opinion will play with our employer/advertisers, but it also means that issues often come up and none of us here at FFFF have the time to dig into the issue and provide any meaningful commentary on the subject.

This was the case for the recent vote on the Planning Commission, which will soon be appearing before the City Council, to rezone all commercial property to allow for homeless shelters provided they operate with a CUP. The decision was made as part of a settlement with Curtis Gamble filed through the Pacific Legal Aid Foundation. Local resident Scott Hess, who is opposed to the rezoning, has investigated the change to the ordinance, and much of the information below is from my email exchanges with him on the subject.

On January 24, 2018, the Fullerton Planning Commission adopted a code amendment to allow 24 hour Emergency Homeless Shelters  in any of the commercial districts in Fullerton.

(more…)

T-REX NO ROW

 

EVER GO IN ROW BOAT AND NOT ROW?

 

IT SAD. YOU GO WHERE CURRENT TAKE YOU.

 

T-REX THINK BUDGETS LIKE ROW BOAT. YOU NO ROW, YOU GO WHERE CURRENT TAKE YOU.

 

T-REX OLDER AND WISER THAN YOU, BUT MOSTLY T-REX TALLER, SO T-REX TAKE PICTURE OF WHAT’S COMING.

 

T-REX THINK MAYBE SOMEONE IN FULLERTON START ROWING.

New Taxes Are Coming . . . And Far Worse

The end comes soon.

We hear drums, drums in the deep.  They are coming.

They are coming.

Fullerton’s general fund hemorrhaged cash over the last half decade, losing tens of millions of reserves, and now stands at the bare legal minimum.  This blog, and others, warned Fullertonians of the looming fiscal cliff for some time, only to be dismissed by the powers that be as the hateful screed and wails from malcontents.

That cliff is here.

(more…)

Yes, two stadiums are too many

Regular readers know we have already covered the the proposed Fullerton College stadium in detail (see here, here and here). In a nutshell, the NOCCD Board of Trustees want to turn Sherbeck Field into a 4500 seat football stadium so the Hornets can play football in their own stadium instead of their current location, or the Fullerton High School stadium located less than three tenths of a mile away.

The horror.

The residents around Princeton Circle have been fighting this boondoggle for awhile and appear to be getting organized. They have website, http://www.sharethestadium.org,  and are passing out campaign signs, to spread the word that the Sherbeck Field proposal is a costly and unnecessary boondoggle and should be scrapped.

Admittedly, they don’t hammer on my biggest objection to the stadium – the fact that the funds to build it only exist because the voters passed Measure J in 2014, based on the (since reneged) promise to improve the Veterans Centers on campus, but perhaps their approach will be more effective long term. Either way, this is a good sign that the Trustees have a  well deserved fight on their hands.

Regardless of where you live, the conduct by the NOCCCD Trustees is a slap on the face for every taxpayer who believes in fiscal accountability and responsibility, or who believes politicians should keep their campaign promises. If you want to help the effort to force some accountability by the NOCCCD, be sure to pay the sharethestadium.org folks a visit.

The Petropulos Era is Over

The name Petropulos is long associated with Fullerton law enforcement circles.

John Petropulos was a Fullerton Police Officer between 1981 and 2010, rising to the position of Captain.  He also taught for many years at the Fullerton College Police Academy.  The chances are good that if someone you know attended the academy over the past decade or two, they know and have stories to tell about John Petropulos.

His son, Tim, was hired by the Fullerton Police Department in 2005 and was a Sergeant handling Internal Affairs.  Many believed Tim would follow in his dad’s footsteps, until he and Cpl. Brad Fernandes jumped ship this past week for the Irvine Police Department.

Tim’s departure is noteworthy because his transfer to Irvine PD came with a demotion from Sergeant to Police Officer.  Voluntary demotions are not unheard of, but certainly not the norm.

Adding to this strange turn of events, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel is currently married to Fullerton Police Lt. Kathryn Hamel, the sister of former Fullerton Police Captain George Crum.  Having a loved one in law enforcement is apparently necessary for upward and lateral mobility these days.

Lest anyone from the FPD come forward to bemoan that Fullerton doesn’t pay enough, you should know that Fullerton has paid less than other cities for a very long time.  This is nothing new.  So why are Fullerton Police officers quitting in droves for other departments?  Dan Hughes promised everyone for years this was now a reformed, and better-than-ever police department.  If true, why wouldn’t people want to stick around and be part of that?

Nails. Coffin. Dan Hughes’ legacy as police chief.  Meet your hammer.

Joe Felz Plea Destroys Disney Dan’s Deception

The Joe Felz Guilty Plea contains an explicit admission of driving under the influence of alcohol. This is an actual literal signed confession in his own handwriting. This can’t be good for the cops who conspired to drive Felz home instead of hold him to account for his actions. That would be (former?) Sergeant Jeff Corbett and former Chief Dan Hughes.

For those of you having a hard time reading that on your phone I’ll transcribe it:

“ON OR ABOUT 11-9-16 WHILE IN ORANGE COUNTY, I WILLFULLY AND UNLAWFULLY DROVE A VEHICLE UPON A HIGHWAY WITH WILLFUL AND WANTON DISREGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL”.

While. Under. The. Influence. Of. Alcohol.

I need some help here because I cannot for the life of me manage to square that with the following as written by then Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes:

“The sergeant conducted the assessment and made the determination that the city manager had consumed alcohol, but did not meet the criteria of 23152(a) CVC. The city manager was driven home and his vehicle was towed.”

Why would Dan Hughes tell our city council that Mr. Felz did not meet the criteria of “23152(A) CVC” only for Felz, 405 days later, to rebuff him and admit to having done just that? It’s almost as if Hughes was lying to the city council and simply hoped this would go away on his way out of the door to Disney.

Let us be clear here for a minute and lay out the details as we know them:

  • No arrest was made at the scene of the crime. The police had Felz’s car towed and gave him a ride home.
  • No Citation was issued at the scene of the crime. Felz paid the bill for Sappy McTree, proof that he ran over public property, later.
  • No Breathalyzer was administered to the not-accused.
  • It was months later when the District Attorney finally filed charges.

Now ask yourself – In what world does Joe Felz admit, in his own writing on that plea deal, that he was driving under the influence if there wasn’t proof? That must be some damning video that the city refuses to release. Make no mistake here either – the city won’t release the video of the Felz incident unless forced to do so by the courts because doing the right thing is a foreign concept to our local government.

You add to that the allegations from former District Attorney investigator Abraham Santos that the DA wasn’t going to look into the possible criminal actions of Dan Hughes and his cabal of miscreants AND the current allegation that the Sergeant on the scene who administered the “Field Sobriety Test”, Jeff Corbett, was recently put on Administrative Leave over this very case and you have the makings of a conspiracy to subvert justice and engage in a cover-up.

I’ve put in records requests for the video from Felz’s “incident” and it has been denied by the city twice. Once under the old guard and once under the current crew. The legal reason for denying the release is 6254(f) for those who might want to know the minutia.

Essentially the city refuses to release the Felz incident bodycam/dashcam videos because they don’t have to? I don’t know because our City Attorney seems to pride himself on being a pompous ass.

From my conversations on and around this issue it basically boils down to this:

Joe Felz was friends with people and those friends don’t want him embarrassed by his own actions. We simple plebs who don’t live our lives feeding off of the government teat should just shut up and trust that our government is doing the right thing and that they have things under control. No evidence of this will be given because apparently in a Representative Democracy it is too much to ask for our government to prove their worth and not simply demand obedience of the ratepayers.

We will get no civilian oversight. We will get no details on the case. We will get no answers. We will get what they give us which amounts to lies and resentment coiffed in legalese. Well, that and Jennifer Fitzgerald’s sad, sad tears of sadness.

The trouble here is that the deference that is being afforded to Joe Felz to save him from embarrassment isn’t afforded to the little people who fall under the boot of our same government. Keep an eye on the F.P.D. Facebook Page if you want evidence of the double standard in place when it comes to haves/havenots. Here’s a pretty standard example of the dignity afforded to criminals not the City Manger:

FPD FB Double Standard

Joe Felz was City Manager which means the then Chief of Police worked with him and both were only answerable to the City Council. The same City Council who has all but turned a teary eye away from this whole issue. Even the illusion of City Council accountability has now changed with our new Chief’s new contract which actually delegates authority over the Chief of Police to the City Manager.

Let that sink in for a moment.

We have proof, in Joe Felz’s own writing, that he drove under the influence. We know from his payment for damages that he hit a tree. It is believed by many based upon photos from the scene that he attempted to flee the scene of the crime. We also know that despite all of this Dan Hughes decided to give him a pass on his criminal behavior despite not giving that pass to countless regular schmucks who mess up less in life. AFTER all of that our Council has not demanded public disclosure. They have not demanded any sort of oversight. And when the Contract for the new Chief of Police came up they opted to delegate their authority away to the position, the City Manger, who benefited from this very case of official corruption. This isn’t just not learning, this is doubling down on stupid.

It’s bad enough that we didn’t get anything positive out of such a terrible situation but we never even got a fight. Seemingly convinced of his own inability to sell an idea to the public or his fellow council members, even a basic idea like good government, then Mayor Whitaker couldn’t even be bothered to agendize anything even remotely relating to oversight or accountability in any facet of our city. To be fair the entire council is complicit in this problem, especially Jennifer Fitzgerald who was Mayor when the incident occurred, but they aren’t all running on their record of transparency for higher office so it needs to be pointed out.

BruceTransparency

This whole situation would be comedic if it wasn’t so pathetic and sad and infuriating.

While We Were Away: the Train Kept On Rolling

Enjoy the one way trip to insolvency

The last substantive article to run on FFFF site before its almost four year hiatus was this little gem about the “College Connector Study”, a $300,000 study designed to convince the Fullerton City Council that a streetcar system in costing (in their estimate) $140 million was exactly what the City of Fullerton needed. Why? Well, because building the streetcar would encourage high density development all along the rail line, turning Fullerton from a two story bedroom community into a six story high density, high traffic eyesore.

And, just to be clear, that was the argument in favor of wasting $140+ million on the streetcar.

What, you thought I was kidding?

Based on that report, three members of the Fullerton City Council (Chaffee, Fitzgerald and Flory) voted to make a streetcar part of the City’s transportation plan.

For the next three years, progress on the streetcar has stalled, and a competing proposal in Anaheim (this one estimated at $325 million) was shot down by the City Council after a coalition of good government activists ousted the Chamber backed majority from power. Unfortunately (to borrow the tagline for the Friday the 13th Part VI poster), nothing this evil ever dies, and the Fullerton Trolley is back. And like all bad horror sequels, it’s even bigger and more elaborate than before, while making even less sense.

I present to you, the Orange County Centerline:

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay. Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare.

The Centerline (something which has been in various stages of development at OCTA for over a decade) incorporates the Fullerton plan, along with a proposed streetcar line through Santa Ana, and several other lines. The plan is to run the line all the way through Harbor Boulevard all the way up to the transportation center. This would probably explain why that streetcar has been popping up on the artist conception for the Fox Block (image above).

OCTA recently provided a presentation to the Fullerton City Council at Tuesday’s meeting, which can be found here . No mention of which government entity will pay for the project, but even if the OCTA picks up the entire tab, we will at a minimum be on the hook for the maintenance cost , just as Anaheim is with the ARTIC Wasteland. Anaheim taxpayers have been forced to dip into the general fund for every year of ARTIC’s operation, as the revenue generated ($1.6 million) is nowhere near enough to pay the operation ($3.9 million). But hey – the City of Anaheim was given a fancy trophy for agreeing to shoulder these expenses, so the tradeoff was totally worth it, in some people’s eyes.

The trophy is huge, gaudy, expensive, tacky, unnecessary and completely impractical. It’s the perfect metaphor.

The Streetcar/ trolley concept is an absolutely terrible idea for too many reasons to count. The cost is astronomical , the benefit miniscule, it will render the streets it is located on un-drivable (seriously, just picture trying to make it through Downtown Fullerton with that thing blocking traffic). Oh, and it will also further undermine bus service in the county, because the cost of running a streetcar line is substantially higher than rapid bus service.

So to sum up, the OCTA wants to take Orange County into the twenty first century by spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing a nineteenth century technology designed to service people who don’t need it, at the expense of the bus riders who do. Sadly, this is about par for the course for state and county government, minus the exceptionally high price tag. Lets give the Center Line project – and every other streetcar project proposed in Orange County – the quick, merciful death it deserves.