Tag Archives: Bruce Whitaker

Election Meddling – Silva’s $400,000 Arrogance

ElectionMeddling

Make taxpayers shell out $400,000 or meddle in an ongoing election.

Pick one.

That’s the quandary in front of our city council tonight in the form of agenda item 4:

4. FULLERTON MUNICIPAL CODE AMENDMENT REGARDING CITY COUNCIL VACANCIES
Consideration of an ordinance to repeal Fullerton Municipal Code Section 2.02.020 and follow procedure for filling City Council vacancies as set forth in Government Code Section 36512.

Without getting too much into the weeds the problem the city is trying to address is specific to the costs and ramifications of Jesus Silva winning the race for the District 3 council seat.

The voters in District 3 have 3 choices on their ballots; Greg Sebourn, Jesus Silva & Nickolas Wildstar. If either Sebourn or Wildstar wins this municipal code change does nothing in the foreseeable future.

https://www.fullertonsfuture.org/2018/chaffee-quits/

If Jesus Silva wins then he vacates his current At-Large seat and we, by law, must hold a special election. That special election could cost us between $391,532 – $428,150 per the OC Registrar of Voters.

Silva likely didn’t even know he was risking socking the taxpayers with that hefty bill until somebody else pointed it out to him. Or perhaps he just didn’t care. That his wife was on council when the to be repealed ordinance was passed points more towards didn’t care than didn’t know.

We went through 2017 knowing this was an issue and the City Manager couldn’t be bothered to deal with it. Then most of 2018 came and went. Nothing. Instead of worrying about a near half a million dollar liability Ken Domer had the council worrying about which volunteers to fire from the various boards and committees around town. As a former member, I’m glad the Economic Development Committee is gone but if you’re going to muck with the municipal code perhaps worry about the parts costing us, or potentially costing us, real money before worrying about a committee that rarely met because it rarely had quorum.

Now this issue is on the City Agenda for the coming City Council meeting tonight. During an election.

Yes, the election is on 06 November but absentee ballots are already in the mail and thus the city is asking council to change the rules of elections DURING AN ELECTION. People will have already voted in District 3 BEFORE the council decides what to do tonight.

Silva 2018 Meddling

Quote Silva from 3 days ago: “Absentee ballots are starting to arrive.”

This is ridiculous.

I don’t want the city to have to spend $400,000 to fill a vacated seat if Silva wins in District 3. However – and this is a big however – Jesus Silva decided to run knowing that his run could cost us that much money and he did it anyways. That he did it anyways speaks to his character.

That is a political consideration and changing the rules during the election screams of a partisan fix to a problem Silva could have avoided by not throwing his at-large seat away in the quest for 2022 incumbency. Voters make decisions on issues that cost and matter less than $400k and deserve to judge this issue without council interference after the fact.

But how did we get here? Continue reading

City Lies While Attempting Hostile Takeover of Library

Odds are that the Fullerton City Council will vote tonight to fire the Library Board and replace it with themselves in a cynical attempt to steal property to offset some Police & Fire Pensions. Fitzgerald wants to do it, Chaffee wants to do it and it likely won’t take much effort to convince Silva to do it.

Why? Because the city needs to pad the budget to fill holes left by Public Safety Pensions and totally predictable but avoided CALPers issues.

Thus the City is planning, under Ken Domer’s guidance, to take property donated to the library to plug General Fund budget holes.

Donated. As in stealing charity. Love Fullerton, indeed.

This is the brainchild of Councilwoman Fitzgerald despite her original campaign rhetoric about libraries being a “core service”. I guess we can just add this to the long list of lies Jennifer Fitzgerald said to get elected. We’ll put this one right up there with her promise not to take a salary and to desire to implement zero based budgeting.

Oops.  Fooled you!

 

Continue reading

OC Judge – Stop Being Mean to Disgraced Officer Jay Cicinelli

Remember Jay Cicinelli? The one-eyed officer who was so disabled from LAPD that he took a disability pension but was so-not-disabled that he was able to be a working Fullerton Corporal? Ring any bells?

He’s the guy who in July 2011 used his taser on Kelly Thomas to “beat him probably twenty times in the face” because Thomas had the audacity to not just sit still while former officer Manual Ramos played games and threatened him. Don’t remember that part?

Ramos-Fists

Cicinelli was fired from the Fullerton Police Department in July 2012 (and the decision was later upheld by the Council). As we told you a while back, Cicinelli is trying to get his job back and in a “we told you so” moment it looks like he may get his wish.

How? Well, a Judge here in OC thinks the Council was mean to poor old Jay when they fired him and upheld his firing because something something bias.

HERE is the report.

On 14 September 2018, Judge David Chaffee (no relation to Council member and Supervisor Candidate Doug) made a Judgement that Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn should recuse themselves from Cicinelli’s due process violation hearing. His reasoning? Whitaker and Sebourn had the audacity to think we rabble had a right to know what had happened to Kelly Thomas and a right to the evidence.

Judge Chaffee seems to think that because POBAR (the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights) and other as-terrible laws preclude the public from getting basic information about officer actions and alleged crimes that our elected officials shouldn’t be allowed to talk about the things our officers do on duty and under the color of authority.

Cicinelli-GrantedJudge Chaffee made the point, several times, that Bruce Whitaker spoke out as a council member on items that had not been agendized. Because apparently Judge Chaffee doesn’t understand the Brown Act and that it would have been illegal for Whitaker to speak on those items in the public square had they been agendized.

Agenda-Items

What all of this leads up to is that this judge wants our current council to re-hear Cicinelli’s bias complaint and he goes so far as to say that not only should Whitaker and Sebourn recuse themselves, he actually recommends that the council wait until AFTER the next council is seated after the November election. He wants a 2019 Council to hear a case from 2011, because of alleged bias.

NewCouncilThis is utter nonsense. The council now is Whitaker, Sebourn, Chaffee, Fitzgerald and Silva. Silva, mind you, who is the husband of Sharon Quick-Silva who was on council during the Kelly Thomas incident.

In November Silva is competing with Sebourn for District 3’s seat and Chaffee is running for Supervisor and will be off of council. Chaffee’s wife is the most well financed candidate in District 5. Thus the “very likely probability” is that Sebourn will beat Silva and Silva will stay on council until 2020 when his term expires. So one seat will change which could just end up swapping one Chaffee for another. This is hardly a reason to delay an action in front of our council – especially regarding something so important.

Here is the general premise of Cinicelli’s complaint and Judge Chaffee’s beef with the council and how it handled the case:

Whitaker-Letter

Whitaker-KNBC

The argument against Sebourn and his alleged bias is just laughable. From the judgement:

Golly gee. Sebourn wanted a jury trial and for people to be able to know what happens and for people to not be forced to make decisions in a vacuum. The horrors. If this was the sole thing I knew about Greg Sebourn he’d get my vote every election. That the court thinks this is a problem would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

The worst thing you can impugn Whitaker for after reading this judgement is his being too willing to talk to the public and help us know what was happening, which is something to be celebrated. He worried about a cover-up and the argument against that is that it’s legal for officers to cover-up things per POBAR. Don’t believe me? Then why are officers allowed to view evidence up to and including videos of their own actions before writing their statements? You, as a citizen, are not allowed such a privilege as that would taint your memory and allow you to change your story to coincide with the evidence. The officers who beat Thomas did in fact write their reports while watching the video and all subsequent testimony is tainted by that fact despite complaints to the contrary.

I submit as evidence a quote from the Gennaco special investigation report regarding this fact:Cicinelli-Report-VideoSo Whitaker asked questions the people of Fullerton, arguably the world, wanted answered and he’s being painted as a biased figure against this poor officer who wasn’t physically qualified for the job he had, while double dipping a pension, and who showed no remorse for his actions.

I guess Judge Chaffee missed the video evidence from that night. So HERE IT IS.

If that’s too much maybe this will suffice:

This ins’t inhumane, Judge Chaffee?

Is that inhumane and brutal?

What about in the context of having done nothing wrong beyond being an annoyance to a Slidebar Rock ‘N Roll Cafe employee (with a direct line to Police Dispatch)?

How about Judge Chaffee walk a mile in Kelly Thomas’ shoes instead of demanding that our City Council walks a mile in Cicinelli’s? After all, asking our council to walk a mile in Cicinelli’s shoes is asking them to walk a mile in the shoes of a sociopath (also from the Gennaco report):Cicinelli-SavageThis is why we need police reform. This is why we need oversight. If you didn’t think the deck was stacked against you just keep in mind that a judge just ruled that Jay “Savage Person” Cicinelli was unfairly fired because a councilperson dared to ask questions and demand answers of our corrupt police force.

Unfair? Don’t forget that one of our officers WAS JUST INDICTED for a cover-up with the Joe Felz incident. This is the legacy of former Untouchable Police Chief Danny Hughes.

My hope is that the council tells Judge Chaffee to kick rocks. They should address this bias nonsense straight out and immediately, list all of the policy violations and problems with Cicnelli’s conduct on the fateful night Kelly Thomas was killed and then vote to uphold Cicinelli’s firing.

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.

Poor Sappy.

Happy Felziversary

Poor Sappy.

Poor Sappy. So young, so vibrant…

One year ago today I wrote my first piece for this site, Friends for Fullerton’s Future. It was on the tail end of my lackluster city council bid when I was approached to join the site. I was asked to keep up the writing that I was doing during my campaign but here instead of my own site to which I was agreeable. No timelines had been discussed or content hashed out but the premise was we would revive FFFF because nobody else was effectively putting a spotlight on Fullerton’s abysmal government.

Then Joe Felz killed Sappy McTree after drinking his way through every election party in downtown.

One year ago this morning Joe Felz “took a wide turn” and ran down a tree only for Fullerton’s Finest to be called to the scene of the crime and offer cookies and a glass of milk to our beleaguered city manager instead of the breathalyzer and night in the drunk tank any regular Joe would have received. Continue reading

It Was the Fullerton Hunger Games

And the Odds Were Not in District Three’s Favor

Do not be fooled; Fullerton had it’s first Quarter Quell on Tuesday and Councilman Greg Sebourn was put up as Tribute and didn’t make it out of the games alive. Somewhere a canon is being fired in his honor.

The vote was all about self-interest and gerrymandering and anybody who says otherwise is either lying to you or is too dishonest with themselves to know the truth. I’ll explain quickly.

The city never really gamed this out or explored any options legal or otherwise. I had asked, several times, if the city could require sitting At-Large Council members to resign their At-Large seat to run in for a District Seat and the response I got was “We don’t know if that’s legal”. Gee, if only we had a lawyer in the room during Council to answer these things or research them.

I also inquired if it could be made random in order to take the horse-trading and politics out of the equation and again crickets. All of this means that the city never gamed these basic scenarios out.

To make matters worse we had no study-session or talks about how this would play out post-election. The election happened, with a gerrymandered council approved map, and voila they voted on who got to stay and who got to go.

The real meat about this crap is that it was all race based if you read the complaints and lawsuits that got us here. There hadn’t been an Asian on council since X-Date or a Hispanic since X-Date and thus we got sued and the council settled. So the Council voted to put up District 5 under the guise of giving the Hispanic vote a voice. District 3 means that the likely scenario is that the Hispanic vote will have 2 voices on Council while the Asian vote will have none until 2020 when somebody can run for Fitzgerald’s seat only to have the District Map change in 2022 after the 2020 census. It played out this way because apparently;

  1. Jesus Silva is not Hispanic?
  2. Silva living 2 blocks from District 5 is too far for him to understand that district’s “unique voice”?
  3. The Asian vote doesn’t matter as much as protecting Fitzgerald?
  4. Oh and Sebourn gets the bum’s rush owing to reasons Whitaker has yet to articulate publicly.

I’ll admit that I don’t like the way Sebourn votes on a lot of issues. Further I think Fitzgerald is the worst kind of tax-and-spend bankruptcy-inducing fiscally irresponsible politician the GOP can muster and that’s saying a lot. However — at least with the GOP you get the theory of a sliver of a chance of maybe some fiscal sanity. With the next few years of belt-tightening, thanks to the greed of public safety and the insanity of CalPERS, we’re going to require more budget allies and not fewer. Throwing 1/2 of our current 3-2 fiscally responsible minority out with the bath-water in the hopes that 2018 will maybe, possibly, hopefully and somehow see some balance seems foolhardy to me.

I still contend that the map should have been chosen randomly but I prefer governmental honesty to political expedience and crony gamesmanship.

Now going forward should a Republican decide to run in 2020 against Silva I can only offer one bit of advice:

Amerige Court Becomes Amerige Commons

Hello Fullerton Friends. I’ve been gone for a few weeks owing to the Flu, Family, Festivus and other merriment this time of year. I hope you’re all enjoying your holidays whichever ones you choose to enjoy. Feeling better I wanted to start to dive into some of the public records requests I’ve received from the city but my wife wants me to write about Amerige Court. As my Grandfather once told me that the two most important words in a marriage are “Yes, Dear” I suppose I’m going to have to write about Amerige Court.

For those who don’t keep track of Fullerton boondoggles year in and year out Amerige Court was originally planned to be a 9-Story Mixed Use monstrosity which would sit on the property that is currently some of the most heavily utilized parking for Downtown Fullerton straddling Amerige Avenue between Harbor Blvd and Malden Avenue.

The plus side, at the time of inception anyways, was that it would provide Downtown with 150% of the parking that was (and is) currently available with the downside being every other aspect of this plan. When people got wind of it the city pushed the plan into a “Study Session” where it was cut down from 9 stories to a more reasonable size and the 150% parking requirement was nixed because why not take the only good thing away from the plan. Continue reading

The Mayor Game!

Arf!

Arf!

Yes, Favored Friends! It’s time once again to play…The Mayor Game!

Every December our illustrious city council elevates one of their own to assume the august tile “Mayor.” The Mayor of Fullerton gets to preside at meetings and that’s about it. Almost a kind of booby prize if you think about it. And yet our elected representatives lust after the title, particularly if there is an election the following November.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown...

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown…

For years the selection was fraught with political tension as the repuglican old guard, orchestrated by the odious Dick Ackerman contrived to keep Dems (and Chris Norby) from ascension to this lofty estate.  In recent years though, the process has become less political. The Council even adopted a process for non-partisan rotation in which it would be the turn of the that person serving longest without wearing the bejeweled tiara. This process is not enshrined in any law or code. It’s just sort of a Gentleman’s Agreement between people who really don’t trust each other – and for good reason.

The humble office of Mayor Pro Tem serves as the approach to the green and thence the flag.

Will the bonhomie last?

It was a rough landing...

It was not a smooth landing…

The current Mayor Pro Tem is my broomstick-wielding former mistress, Jan Flory, who will mercifully be out of office in a week or so. This means that it is Councilman Bruce Whitaker’s turn to shimmy up the greasy pole. Whitaker became mayor in the Fall of 2012, but it wasn’t without nervousness since it was well known that Flory and Bud Chaffee opposed him. But Jennifer Fitzgerald was given a directive and fell into line. But that was then.

What, me worry?

What, me worry?

 

Another wrinkle this time is that both Whitaker and Fitzgerald are rumored to be seeking the job of 4th District County Supervisor in 2018, and running with title of mayor next year would be just dandy, at least according to conventional wisdom.

So will the new council stick to its own policy or will they dump it? Will the new guy, Jesus Silva go along, or will he cut a deal with Fitzgerald and Chaffee to the exclude Whitaker? In the past it was not uncommon for councilmembers to gin up any stupid sort of excuse to keep the incumbent in place for another year.

In the end what it takes is three votes, and everything else is eyewash.

And now I must to attend to my nether parts.

A Real Cast of Characters

Here’s the entire episode of today’s Inside OC show; it’s a full blown battle of wits on why the recallees deserve to be thrown out of office in the wake of their catastrophic failure to lead.

In it you will find a furious debate between Chris Thompson and the anti-recall team’s Chief Distraction Officer, Larry Bennett, along with Bruce Whitaker’s accusation of an FPD cover-up in the aftermath of the Kelly Thomas murder.

Finally, the show closes with a sad, sad interview with Pat McKinley, who claims he still doesn’t understand the accusations against him and his police department, although he does summon enough mental clarity to remind us that Officer Manny Ramos’ criminal defense attorney is very highly regarded.

Congrats to The Fullerton Reformers

Although it’s a bit late, I want to add my voice to the chorus congratulating Chris Thompson and Bruce Whitaker for their impressive elections to the Fullerton School District Board and the Fullerton City Council, respectively.

Chris Thompson out-polled every other candidate in Fullerton by a mile, despite his opponents’ support from the teachers union.

The Fullerton School District Board of Trustees has been a sinkhole for years, poulated by liberals and Ed Royce RINOs. And of course the Fullerton City Council…well the less said about that the better, but Whitaker will be running that show in no time.

I expect good things and real, effective change from both of them. I know I won’t be disappointed.