Demonstrating an irresistable consistancy publishing the commonplace and the inane, Fullerton News Tribune ace reporter Barbara Giasone may have even topped herself this ante meridiem. Check out this compelling news story about the Pickle Lady.
It seems a local woman won a trip to Hawaii via the kindly offices of the dim-witted “Wheel of Fortune” show and the FNT presses were stopped. Barbara pulled off of the other hard-hitting news exclusives she is working on (i.e. the giant lobster in the tank at the Japanese sea food restaurant and the giant snapping turtle that used to live in Laguna Lake) and scoops the rest of the media world.
And by low we mean a really, really, rock-bottom sort of low.
A helpful Friend shared this link to a Barbara Giasone News Tribune, er, “article” from 12/21/09 about some former florist delivery boy and long-mustache contest award winner who showed up at the Fullerton Library impersonating Gene Simmons of the 1970 rock band KISS. This seems to be his current means of employment. Good thing Barbara was on the scene to relay the crucial breaking news to her readers. What if we had missed this? Ha! Just think of all that time other reporters have wasted going to journalism school!
But seriously (!) now, Friends, we’re a city of 140,000 people and this is the sort of thing the Register/News Tribune newshawks think Fullertonians want to see:
But what do we know? This is the same “journalist” who was recently recognized by some sort of “Women in Leadership” event for her achievements. And Pam Keller has publicly praised her as “our wonderful Barbara Giasone.” Perhaps this is exactly the kind of thing Fullertonians want to see! If so, it is the kind of thing we deserve.
One of our eagle-eyed Friends has noted that for the past two weeks The Fullerton News Tribune’s Barbara Giasone has written articles about a fellow named Marty Burbank doing good deeds, here and here.
Well good deed doing is fine, and we applaud good deed doers, but really, were either of these newsworthy in any real sense?
See, the problem we’re having is that Marty Burbank has shown himself to be a big City Hall cheerleader in the past year, here. And on top of that he’s running for Fullerton City Council in 2010. So is it more than just the coincidence of a local minor philanthropist getting his name in the paper? Hmm. Since we had never even heard of the guy (or any previous good deeds) until last summer may we be forgiven a little cynicism? But really, wouldn’t the same thing have occurred to Giasone? Maybe it did. And maybe she’s just passing along stuff from a campaign PR guy.
Well Friends, here they are – the 2009 Fringie Winners. You don’t really deserve this sort of punishment inflicted on you, but…well, hell, maybe you do! The competition was spirited in many of the categories. And by spirited I mean mind-numbingly depressing. And I’m just a dog! I had to take long breaks several times during the nomination and judging to water the fire hydrants along Brea Boulevard.
1. In the category of Least Distinguished Journalist it really wasn’t even close. The OC Register’s Frank Mickadeit took it going away for his complete lack of journalistic integrity. In the end the judges just didn’t feel that Sharon Kennedy or Barbara Giasone even really qualified as journalists. Martin Wisckol was given credit for showing up on the blog even tho’ it was merely to defend his embarrassing whoring for Ackerman, Inc.
2. In the category of the Worst Bureaucratic SNAFU, the judges were clearly impressed by not only the scope of thePoisoned Park disaster and its ongoing potential for more o’ same, but by city staff’s ability to avoid any and all responsibility for the multi-million dollar mess. Bravo, Mr. City Manager, you’re finally catching up with your predecessor, and that’s saying a lot!
3.Worst Vote of 2009. Bankhead, Jones, and Kellerfor the win of course, with their undying support of the Redevelopment expansion. And by win, of course, I mean disastrous loss for everyone outside the Redevelopment Department.
4. In the category of Scariest Ghost of Fullerton Past, we had an eerily close call. Yet despite the frightening surprise visitation from my former broomstick-wielding mistress Jan Flory, the judges were absolutely horrified by the noxious vapor of Linda LeQuire, conjured up by Ackerman Inc. out of some fetid and accursed burial ground, to smear Chris Norby. It didn’t work, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
5. In the category ofStupidest Statement Made in Publicwe again had a tough decision. In a year when Dick Jonessaid so many idiotic things and Pam Keller claimed (with a perfectly straight face) to be a “fiscal conservative,” a dark horse nominee grabbed the brass ring. And by dark horse nominee I mean the daffy, loud-mouthed nincompoop member of “Pam’s Posse”and her crazy-funny “why Pam should be mayor” rhetorical ramble through the brambles. Go ahead and watchit. We dares ya!
6. In the Government Small Change Adds Up category the award goes to the Roscoe’s Famous Nuisance Noise Study, a wonderful example of ill-conceived bureaucratic waste on a small scale that makes us really worried about the big stuff.
7. The Most Entertaining and/or Disturbing Image of 2009. Barney Wewak for the win. Aw, c’mon, was there ever any doubt? The picture even has a dog in it. Arf!
8. Best Vote 2009. This one was pretty easy for the judges since by the time they got around to this category they had inhaled copious amounts of medicinal weed acquired from the Dick & MaryJane Jones Dispensary. Our old friendSharon Quirk-Silvagets a double victory for seeing the proverbial light on the God-awful McDonald’s relocation; and also for opposing that fraudulent Redevelopment expansion.
9. Our final category is theMost Awful Political Candidate of 2009, and it goes to none other thanChris Norby for his abortive County Clerk campaign. Rarely had the judges seen such a blatant fixation on public sector job preservation and such a mismatch of skill set to position. The campaign slogan “Preserving Your Vital Records” was so insipid and so lame I have to lift my leg on it. Again. There. Clean up in aisle #9! Well deserved Fringie, indeed!
Finally, the Judging Committee decided to award three special Fringies in 2009 in order to recognize excessively, aesthetically unattractive behavior on the part of some of our political personalities.
10. Special Fringie #1. The call by Pam Kellerfor a City-run blog – with no bloggers – was such a wonderful monument to fatuousness and political tone-deafness that as a statement and an act it really was in a class by itself. You can enjoy our original post here and listen to Keller’s statement. Well done, Pam! You excelled yourself.
11. Special Fringie #2. Well of course we had to acknowledge Linda Ackerwomanwhose scampaign in the 72nd must be considered positively evil (yes the judges said evil!) by any normal person. This creature did not qualify in the most Awful Political Candidate category since the whole operation seemed more like a jail break than a campaign. Who knows how many hundreds of simoleons per vote this cipher and her Sacramento-organized goons wasted. Oh well. It least it wasn’t our dough!
12. Special Fringie #3. The judges believed that they would have been remiss without a tip o’ the Fringed cap to Congresscritter-for-life Ed Royce, the rat who managed to swim away from the giant suction-vortex of the sinking S.S. Ackerman and happily scampered up the waiting rope ladder onto the S.S. Norby. Well done little rodent!
And so friends, that concludes the 2009 Fringie Awards. We hope you have enjoyed them as much as we have enjoyed bringing them to you. And if you didn’t, tough.
Here’s looking forward to a new year filled with wonderful material from our favorite folks in Fullerton!
As you Friends may well imagine, this category is chock-full of worthy nominees. In fact, choosing them was a real challenge. 2009 was an excellent year for journalistic incompetence, and our nominees each qualified for slightly different reasons. The nominees for Least Distinguished “Journalist” are:
1. Sharon Kennedy. She is nominated for her reprehensible tactic of forwarding Chris Norby’s anti-Redevelopment essays on to City Hall, where a staffer wrote responses and Don Bankhead, between pudding breaks, signed them. Hardly the actions of a responsible journalist. Which is why we put the word in quotation marks in our title.
2. Barbara Giasone. Barbara distinguished herself last year by snagging the coveted Wurlitzer Prize. This year she earns a Fringie nomination by an entire year’s worth of vapid vacuity. Just think of it. The Earth has accomplished a full orbit of the Sun and Babs has not made a single journalist contribution to the folks of Fullerton. An accomplishment crying out for recognition.
3. Frank Mickadeit. This homunculus receives his nomination for outstanding and relentless ass-kissing of the Repuglican elite – formerly people like Mike Carona, but this year Ackerman, Inc., as he slavishly passed along all of Dick Ackerman’s bullshit to the dwindling number of OC Register readers.
4. Lastly, lets not forget Mickadeit’s Register colleague Martin Wisckol, who seems to suffer from the same sick infatuation with the Repuglican clique’s collective posterior that infects Mickadeit. This year Wisckol distinguished himself by acting as Ackerman, Inc. press agent, doing so from the very beginning of the Ackerwoman scampaign. Our intrepid reporter even contacted the Ackerwoman in France as soon as the Duvall deal went down. Later he passed along her lame “businesswoman” resume as a matter of fact, not invention. Suspicious minds smelled collusion. Suspicious minds were right.
Our old friend Barbara Giasone penned one of her edgy, hard-hitting news pieces the other day about the upcoming Miss Fullerton Competition.
Since we ran a piece awhile back about the geezers in the Chamber of Commerce laying hands all over complete strangers – women young enough to be their grand daughters, this news flash caught our attention.
The propriety of having these young women present themselves at Chamber events to be touched, and touched often, smiling all the while, seems to be a strange way to have to earn an educational scholarship. Just think about it: okay honey you gotta go to this cocktail party full of friendly guys. Just think of them as your dad, or grand dad. What? You’re not 21? Hmm. Well, it’s really not like it’s a bar, exactly. Anyway there’ll be police there too, so that’s okay.
Why can’t these young women write essays, or feed homeless people, or do something equally uplifting? Why do they have to attend Chamber of Commerce cocktail parties for photo ops? Seriously. Why?
Well, that’s what pageant winners do, for gosh sakes, some will argue. It’s all harmless, and maybe they like it! Well, maybe they do. And maybe they don’t – and just can’t say anything. In any case it’s pretty hard to escape the conclusion that these contests are are just weird hold-overs from the early part of the last century.
Here’s some help: visualize these women without tiara and sash in the same photos, same poses. Damn friendly girls, wouldn’t you say?
We have no idea what the Miss Fullerton competition entails, but it seems pretty clear that the winner’s attendance at mixer events held by the Chamber is inappropriate for several reasons.
And if the idea is so damn hot, and not at all sexist, then why isn’t there a Mr. Fullerton constest? We’d love to see Dick Jones with his arms around the waists of a couple strapping, scholarship-hungry young guys!
It’s always nice to know who is who. And when somebody gets up in public to opine on a subject, it’s particularly useful to know what relationship exists between the speaker and somebody – like a staff member, or a city council member- who is promoting a specific item on a public agency agenda.
While we are always promoting the importance of what is said rather than who said it, there’s no denying the fact that having people get up and speak, no matter how stupid or uniformed they are, helps sway councilmanic opinion; and when the council persons aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree to begin with, it’s just that much more effective.
Here’s a story: somebody named Lee Chalker showed up at the hearing for the Redevelopment expansion hearing and spoke in favor of the expansion. She even got her name in a Barbara Giasone article on the subject here . Now, none of us had ever heard of Lee Chalker before despite her having lived in Fullerton for 35 years. We wonder if she really knew what she was talking about since her stated concerns about bad roads and drainage suggest current deficiencies in the Engineering Department rather than Redevelopment issues.
A little research on Lee Chalker reveals a member of a church called “University Praise” that is affiliated with an organization called OCCCO. What is that? The “Orange County Congregational Community Organization” – a group with a fairly nebulous remit, but that seems to organize its efforts around helping poor folks organize to get things from the government.
What’s really interesting about OCCCO is that in 2007 it was a major beneficiary of Pam Keller’s “Fullerton Collaborative.” In fact, the Collaborative forked over $25,600 to OCCCO for something called “community organizing.” Well, that makes sense, we suppose, since a “Community Organization” should have something to do with community organizing. What they did for the $26K is less important than the connection with Pam Keller herself, who was able to vote on the Redevelopment expansion only after City staff redrew the boundaries around a piece of property that Keller has some sort of interest in. And of course she voted in the affirmative.
We also note that in the Collaborative’s facebook page here we find that Chalker was being installed as a new board member in the Collaborative at just about the same time.
So did Collaborative Executive Director Pam Keller mobilize a gaggle of her pals in the Collaborative and/or the OCCCO to attend the meeting and shill for the illegal Redevelopment expansion? Who knows? Sure looks like it.
The larger point here is to understand the interrelated nature of all sorts of groups in Fullerton who actually have a very small number of aggregate members, but who can be relied upon to show up periodically at hearings to promote some cause or other near and dear to the heart of some bureaucrat or councilmember. Their numbers give moral support to councilmembers who either lack conviction or are afraid of standing alone.
Is there anything wrong with this sort of mobilization of support? No. But when some of the members of these claques have financial interests at stake (which happens all the time, too) it gets a little dicey. People who want to understand what’s going on are well advised to figure out who these people are and why they are there. In the end it is the content of what they say that counts. But it’s fun to know who the players are. And if you happen to see a procession of people march to the podium to sing the praises of this or that project, you can bet that they were asked to be there. And you have to wonder: if applauders are dragooned into service to help promote some scheme or other, just how good or necessary is it really?
Need a program to tell the players? We’re working on it.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Because we did. In previous posts here and here, we tracked the progress (if you really want to use that word) of the strip center at Euclid and Rosecrans. Well, the scaffolding has come down and what’s revealed ain’t purty.
Our theme here was wasted space and building materials and of course, The City’s dubious commitment to the idea of sustainability. And our purpose was not to dwell upon the poor aesthetic choices made by the owner of this center. Instead we chose to focus on the City’s role in this aesthetic disaster. For some reason the Development Services Department (they serve developers) decided that this non-subsidized, private remodel needed to go to the hapless Redevelopment Design Review Committee – even though it is miles from a Redevelopment area.
Planner Jay Eastman made it clear that the RDRC intended to impress its preferences unto this site – no doubt assisted by Mr. Eastman himself. Let’s let Barbara Giasone help us with our narrative from a May1, 2008 story:
“The proposed remodel was reviewed by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee last week, but the panel felt the design was commonplace and didn’t reflect the character of the neighborhood, Acting Chief Planner Jay Eastman said. The architect was asked to look at the surrounding neighborhood with terms like “country,” “rural” and “equestrian,” Eastman added.”
Country. Rural. Equestrian. Got it?
The ensuing visual train wreck of disjointed parts, shed and gable roofs, the weird confusion of masonry veneer and stucco, and all the wasted attic space with its dinky windows provide a suitable denouement, fifteen months later, for this cautionary tale. If the property owner had been left to his own devices it is hard to conceive anything worse being done – and it could have been done a lot less expensively.
We wonder just what sort of idiots our staff and their RDRC think inhabit rural equestrian areas.
Fullerton has a whole gaggle of Redevelopment “project managers” looking for something to do. One of them, Nicole Coates, was quoted in an August 4th, 2009 Barabara Giasone Register article with regard to the sale of the old Stone Container plant on S. Raymond Avenue –part of the new redevelopment expansion area. Hmm.
Supposedly the property is being sold out of a bankruptcy court to a Newport Beach developer for a song. According to the article the new owners are going to try to use the physical plant on an interim basis, until it can be demolished – and, presumably, redeveloped.
But redeveloped as what, and with whose money? In the article, the new owner makes no promises after “demolition.” Will the land remained zoned for industrial use? Maybe. Maybe not. Barbara didn’t ask.
We’re picking up the strong vibe of a big new toy for our redevelopment staff to play with that will provide job security and lots of new property tax increment. What kind of toy? Use your imagination. “Mixed Use” springs most readily to mind, although the site is a loser for commercial retail – which means the usual formula would be applied: lots of housing and some facade commercial just for appearances.
It seems pretty obvious that the Redevelopment expansion map-makers have had their eye on this site for some time. We wonder if discussions with redevelopment staff were going on before the City Council even voted for the Redevelopment expansion.
We are finally getting around to writing about an item our dear, squishy-soft Barbara Giasone scribbled out last week about the Grace Ministries sanctuary – a god-awful looking, overbearing monstrosity click here to enjoy Barbara’s pabulum . In her journalistic valentine, Babs passed along the grandiosity of the church (larger than Crystal Cathedral, oh joy!) but omitted mention that the Administration Building and “the gardens” were designed by world-famous architect William Pereira and are part of a larger original complex that includes the Hunt Library and the hideous “bark park” (more on that in another post!).
It’s not that we expect Giasone to know or even care about such things, but we really want to heighten Fullertonians’ awareness of this amazing architectural resource in their midst. The City has done very little to protect this resource as they handed out entitlements to the massive church that, we assume, pays no property tax. The filled-in reflecting pond is pretty symbolic of the disregard to this complex; the City’s bark park adds insult to injury.