Why Keep Threatening Us?

For every problem that isn’t a nail, there’s a moron ready to swing a hammer.

20 Days ago FFFF got another threatening letter from the City that said if we don’t stop reporting news and telling the public the truth about what’s actually happening in their town, apparently there will be consequences.

We told them to kick rocks.

What really strikes us as odd is how hard the city works to solve real problems v make work problems.

If they’re willing to go after local journalists connected to a blog that city employees routinely insist that no one reads, one can’t help but wonder what wrath the city brings down on real problems.

Can we assume that the city also takes things like life safety issues impacting the public, police brutality and sexual misconduct, wasted tax dollars, theft by employees, recklass or perhaps drunk driving by employees, or total disregard for budget discipline, public trust, and basic fairness as seriously as they take shutting down transparency?

Oh wait, we don’t need to assume anything as we know exactly what kind of resources the city spends on those problems. None.

We know because we broke and covered those stories.

Maybe that’s what this is about. Maybe the City is tired of having a group of “chronic malcontents” embarrass them by telling the truth. (more…)

Our Response to the City of Fullerton

Kick Rocks

For those of you watching, waiting and counting the days – today is 20 days since we published the second cease and desist letter we received from the City of Fullerton concerning our reporting on local matters of public interest.

20 days is significant as that was the deadline the city gave us for their laundry list of demands.

While we wait to see if the city is going to follow through with their threats we will continue to keep on keeping on.

For now though, feel free to read our response to the City of Fullerton [PDF HERE]: (more…)

Return to the Pinewood Stairs

“Pine Wood Stairs” looked a lot better in concept than in reality…

Follow us back, gentle Friends, as we revisit the construction horror show known as The Pinewood Stairs. It’s been a year-and-a-half since we frightened you with the design and construction fiasco of the Pinewood Stairs at Hillcrest Park.

FFFF photo documented the sorry project even before the embarrassing party the city threw for itself since the contractor had failed to secure the contruction site – even though there were obvious safety issues.

In that sad saga we showed images of the many deficiencies and manifest failures by a small army of designers, city staff, contract construction managers, contractors, city inspectors, and of course, a city council woefully derelict in its duty to the public. We also shared the attempts by City Hall and its amen choir in the community to pretend that everything was just peachy.

And so we ventured out on a proactive foot patrol to see what effect the intervening eighteen months may have had on this dismal boondoggle. What we found was not shocking, for our sense of shock at the ineptitude of our City’s park and engineering departments dissipated years ago.

The structure is noticeably creaking, treads are wobbly and handrails are coming loose. This barely two-year old ramshackle pile of lumber is showing unmistakable signs of decrepitude and neglect. Its creators have moved on to new ventures.

What did we find?

Uncorrected code violations like tread width? Check.

The top of the stairs is a bad place for a code violation…

Failed irrigation? Check.

The hills are alive with…no, they aren’t…

Uncontrolled erosion? Check.

Erosion is an all natural process…

Risk management potential? Check.

A trip and a lawsuit are coming…

No correction of substandard design and construction? Check.

Close enough for Fullerton government work…

New maintenance problems? Check.

Two years old. Happy birthday Pinewood Stairs!

And this:

Handrail, meet bracket. Aw, close enough…

And of course:

It wants to reach out and grab ya…
Of course it isn’t straight. Griffin Structures specialty…

All askew:

A light post not even fit for a drunk…

More Good Times; Stompin’ at the Slidebar

Who’s on first?

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy Popoff’s Slidebar employees and clientele provided more examples of the sort of high class behavior favored by our city council and particularly our lobbyist/councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald who has been running cover for Popoff for years and years. You may recall that Slidebar has never gotten the required CUP even as city officials like Fitzgerald, Bruce Whitaker and Party Planner Ted White have schmoozed and petted its miscreant owner.

Hiding the tats won’t help…

Everybody seems to be ignoring Slidebar’s violation of planning and nuisance laws until the laws can be watered down so much even a professional douchebag can slime by without comment.

Here’s the video

At the outset you can see a bouncer on theft serially pound some hapless dude already on the ground and then go for a head stomp for good measure.

In the open-air saloon known as Downtown Fullerton it’s often virtually impossible to distinguish between the bad behavior of the bar-hopping patrons and the low-lifes hired to control them.

 

Gas Tax Trough Slurpers Support Newman

It’s just a few cents a gallon. Suck it up!

A Friend just forwarded me a press release from Josh Newman’s campaign to get back his old job – the one he got recalled from after gas taxing his constituents, rich and poor alike, in order to support the State’s featherbedded transportation bureaucracy and infrastructure lobbyists.

The gas tax was nothing other than a free-up of state resources to help support the ridiculous High Speed Rail boondoggle that has made Californias a laughing stock.

And right on cue, these same special interests have rewarded Newman with their endorsements.

ORANGE COUNTY, CA — In another indication of his wide-ranging support from working men and women in the rematch race to represent California’s 29th State Senate District, today U.S. Army veteran, businessman and former State Senator Josh Newman secured endorsements from Ironworkers Local 433 and the Professional Engineers in California Government.

Both unions released statements following the announced endorsements:

“Courage, integrity and doing the right thing matters. That’s why we’re pleased to give Josh Newman our enthusiastic support in his 2020 rematch campaign. Josh is a political rarity – in the face of adversity – he bravely stood up for the people and did the right thing time and again. We know Josh will be a fierce and outspoken leader for working families and a pro-middle class agenda in the State Senate. We look forward to helping him win this race.”
-Ironworkers Local 433 Business Agent Paul Moreno

“The Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) is pleased to announce our endorsement of Josh Newman for State Senate District 29. Josh has worked to create and protect good-paying jobs; invest in infrastructure, and education; safeguard collective bargaining, organizing in the workplace and retirement benefits; expand access to healthcare; and all the while, grow and strengthen our middle-class economy. We support Josh Newman for Senate because we support fierce defenders of our working families.”
-Professional Engineers in California Government President Cathrina Barros

The signal is loud and clear: Newman supports bureaucrats and boondoggles above the public – so much so that he was and will be willing to load the burden of regressive taxes on the very constituents the liberal Democrats are always bleating so loudly about – poor minority folks.

 

All’s Swell At OC Animal Care

A few days ago we shared a story from one of our Friends about the futility and general dopiness of the house cat rabies protocol at the County’s animal police department. The gist was that if you get bit by your cat a medical facility will report you to the good folks at OC Animal Care, an agency that seems more dedicated to avoiding embarrassment than caring for our four-footed friends.

We noted with some amusement that the department admits that there hasn’t been a case of a cat contracting rabies in OC for 62 years.

One of our commenters, Joel, noted that there is a “Rabies Control Desk.” I didn’t believe it so a made a public records request just to see. Sure enough, there is a desk!

The job stress was starting to show…

Who knew?

Lost Police Car

Last year, the City of Fullerton received a toll road violation for a police cruiser driving on the I-10 toll lane in East Los Angeles.  They have no idea who was driving it, or why it was in Los Angeles that day.

I wonder what else is poorly accounted for at the Fullerton Police Department?

 

 

What is it About OCTA and Bikes?

What is it about the Orange County Transportation Agency and its love of bicycle boondoggles? We know they are obligated to pretend they care about multi-modal transportation, but why the silliness? FFFF readers will recall we talked about the ludicrous $800 per bike ride fiasco overseen by former County Supervisor and OCTA Boardmember, Shawn Nelson.

Sturdy looking, but up to the challenge? 

Now it appears that Nelson’s sclerotic successor, Fullerton’s own Prince of Potholes, Doug “Bud” Chaffee is following in the noble tradition.

 

I just received a self-promoting e-mail from Supervisor Chaffee touting OCTA bike day. For ten bucks you get bike training, a nifty bike helmet, bike lights and a delicious lunch. What the subsidy for these days of fun is the public is not informed. However the impoverished need not worry; for “scholarships” are available on a limited basis although we are not enlightened as to who might qualify, and how. The provided link says nothing about “scholarships.”

Now while there’s nothing wrong with bicycle safety, per se, one wonders why we are paying for classes on how to ride a bike, and on “fun” bike tours and “advanced” bicycling skills. And why does the public have to pay for the political promotion of “public servants?”

 

Lack of Control at OC Animal Control

 

The tabby had other plans…

Once in a while we here at FFFF like to shine a spotlight on some of the more ludicrous doings down on the County farm, and today’s special comes from a Friend who wants to be known as Stephanie. Apparently, Steph had an encounter with the good folks at OC Animal Control recently and decided to share her story. Here it is:

Dear FFFF,

I’d like to relate an experience I’ve recently had with the county’s animal control people. I was breaking up a cat fight between my cat and a stray when my pet in a real excited state bit my hand pretty badly. Fortunately the nurse at urgent care warned me that they were legally required to report the incident to the County and my cat would have to be quarantined under County supervision, all because of rabies. This was ridiculous because my cat had just got its rabies vaccination.

Sure enough, the Animal Control people started showing up a few days later. I made up a story about getting bit by a stray somewhere and after returning for further interrogation several times they finally sent me this letter:

All clear. Since 1956.

Wow! Medically cleared by Animal Control! The funniest part of this letter is the reassuring reminder that no cat has contracted rabies in Orange County in 62 years. What’s not so funny is the time, resources, and bureaucratic rigmarole involved in an incident that was nobody’s business but hers.

Breaking News: Fullerton Threatens Local Blog – Again

The city is threatening to sue us… again.

Let’s have a look at the newest letter from the city (PDF HERE) before getting into why this is happening:

Dear Ms. Aviles:

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

As legal counsel for the City of Fullerton, I write, pursuant to California Government Code section 6204 et seq., to notify you, as legal counsel to the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future (FFFF) blog, that the City of Fullerton has reasonable grounds to believe that owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the FFFF blog are in unlawful possession of records belonging to the City of Fullerton. The records were taken and used by FFFF blog owner(s) and/or operator(s) without the City’s authorization and fall within the definition of “record” under California Government Code Section 6204(a)(2), as well as the definition of “public records” under California Government Code § 6252(e), and are described as follows:

Any and all records obtained from the City of Fullerton’s Dropbox account (https://cityoffullerton.com/outbox) that were not directly provided by the City to Joshua Ferguson or any of FFFF’s agents or associates through an emailed link, including, but not limited to, records contained in a folder named “prl 919 – Josh Ferguson.”

Therefore, pursuant to Govemmentt Code section 6204, within twenty (20) calendar days of receiving this notice, the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog are hereby directed to either:

  1. (1)  Return the above-referenced records to the City of Fullerton, as previously requested; or
  2. (2)  Respond in writing and declare why the above-referenced records do not belong to the City of Fullerton. Ifthe owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog do not deliver the above-described records, or do not respond adequately to this notice and its demand within the required time, we will immediately thereafter petition the Superior Court of Orange County for an order requiring the return of these records.

We further note that the FFFF blog has posted many of the confidential City documents after receipt of our office’s June 13, 2019 cease-and-desist email. (A copy of that email is enclosed herein). Many, if not all, of the confidential City records posted to the FFFF blog are explicitly exempted from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, would not have been provided to Mr. Ferguson or FFFF agents or associates in response to a Public Records Act request, and could only have been obtained without the City’s express authorization. Such records posted to the FFFF blog are confidential and exempt from disclosure pursuant to the following authorities:

  • “Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(a);
  • “Records pertaining to pending litigation to which the public agency is a party, or to claims made pursuant to Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810), until the pending litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(b);
  • “Personnel, medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(c);
  • Law enforcement investigative records. Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(f); and
  • “Records, the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not limited to, provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(k), which includes the following privileges:

o Attorney-client privileged records. Cal. Evid. Code 950 et seq.; Roberts v. City of Palmdale, 5 Cal. 4th 363 (1993);

o Attorney work product. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2018.010 et seq.;
o Peace officer personnel records. Cal. Penal Code § 832.7 et seq.; and o Confidential closed session information. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54963.

FFFF’s unauthorized access and misuse of the City’s clearly privileged and exempted documents constitute a violation of California Penal Code section 502, which grants civil remedies (including compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and potential punitive damages) to any persons or entities injured by any violations thereof. See Cal. Pen. Code § 502(c), (e).

As such, unless FFFF complies with the demands set forth in the City’s June 13, 2019 cease and desist letter within 24 hours, the City will have no choice but to pursue all criminal and civil remedies available to it under the law.

Bruce A. Lindsay

Fullerton Cease and Desist 2 Page 01 Fullerton Cease and Desist 2 Page 02

What is this all about?

For those in the cheap seats we at Friends For Fullerton’s Future broke news story after new story by publishing documents that the city didn’t want disclosed and tying those documents to local events and items of public interest. Those stories include, but are not limited to:

The city settling with a police officer to sidestep disclosure laws regarding police misconduct.

The results of a Body Worn Camera audit for a School Resource Police Officer who had, what appears to be, child pornography on his (or perhaps department issued) cell phone.

An insurance payout for an accident that destroyed a city vehicle.

Likely fraud by city employees costing over $50,000 worth of waste/theft.

Possible Accounting fraud within the city budget used to hide salary costs.

A city council member specifically targeting one businesses.

Massive Police Overtime abuse that went on for 6 years.

Evidence that the city is lying and violating the California Public Records Act.

And more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more and more.

In short, they’re mad that we’re doing what journalists are supposed to do daily. We’re using information to piece together stories in order to inform the public.

These latest threats are meant to serve as a chilling effect to silence people who would dare impugn the character of Fullerton with facts the city wants obscured. I’m hesitant to head to city hall or go to council meetings lately knowing that the city is targeting me personally for the use of free speech on this news site / blog. And that’s really the point of these types of threats – to silence dissenters.

How will we respond to this latest salvo by the city? I reckon we’ll confer with our legal counsel and act accordingly.