We’re all used to politicians who can lie on demand. Then there’s our own councilcreature/lobbyist Jennifer Fitzgerald who has turned lying into a virtual cottage industry. Here’s a repost from 2017 telling a story that I promise is going to haunt our ethically devoid Mayor come election time, this fall.
She probably hopes that Fullerton citizen have either forgotten or are unaware of this issue. If either is the case, some of us will work to rectify that.
In March of this year our lobbyist-council person Jennifer Fitzgerald began to receive the typical council pay check, plus 100 bucks a month to not enroll in the City’s health insurance plan.
“So what?” you may be saying to yourself. Well, here’s the problem. In her self-promotion for political office in 2012 Fitzgerald got way up on her high horse about refusing compensation for “public service.” She even made a promise!
And that’s not all. Enjoy this lecture on the high moral ground Fitzgerald stakes out for herself in 2013. She made a big deal about her refusing compensation when she first joined the council. Could the moralizing get any thicker?
Between 2013 and now a lot has changed for Ms. Fitzgerald, most notably a vice presidency at Curt Pringle and Associates, the notorious lobby shop where no public asset is too valuable for cheap disposal. It may very well be that Fitzgerald now has a completely different attitude toward “public service” than she did five years ago.
Recently Jennifer Fitzgerald circulated to her closest supporters- via her Curt Pringle & Associates email account – her opening salvo in the 2020 election, an email entitled “2019 – A Year of Resolution and Re-commitment”.
There’s a lot to digest here, and the amount of mendacity, outright falsehoods and terrible policy proposals would take multiple posts to unpack.
But one particular boast stands out above the others:
No, not the one about the budget (although it is absolutely galling how she can still claim she balanced the budget two years after the City admitted we have a serious structural deficit and four years after members of the public started noticing). Instead, look at her claim that “Looking back over my six years of service on the Fullerton City Council, I’m proud of newly constructed affordable housing communities with… Jamboree Housing.”
So what’s the problem? Well, as Curt Pringle & Associates admit on their facebook page, Jamboree Housing is one of their clients. Which means that Councilmember Fitzgerald just bragged about breaking the law.
Two important caveats. First, I know from attending most council meetings over the last four years that Fitzgerald has avoided voting on any agenda item involving Jamboree Housing’s low income housing development since obtaining residence at CP&A. However, Government Code Section 87100 doesn’t just prohibit an elected official from making or participating in making a decision in which he or she has a financial interest – any attempt by an elected official “to use his official position to influence a governmental decision” is also illegal.
Second, and probably more important, this is could be yet another example of Fitzgerald misleading her voters about her accomplishments (and possibly CP&A clients, given that this email was sent via firstname.lastname@example.org) and taking credit for something she had no role in, or claiming she accomplished something she did not.
So which is it? Did she break the law and influence a decision that she had a clear financial interest in or does she just have a chronic aversion to telling the truth and chose to brag about her influence and effectiveness to Fullerton voters as well as potentially CP&A’s clients?
A quick poll of FFFF staff seems to indicate that “both” is not entirely out of the question as a possible answer, but maliciousness is in the eye of the beholder.
Apparently Gretchen Cox, reactionary pal of J. Flory and J. Fitzgerald has become weary of “malcontents” wasting everybody’s time at City Council meetings. She seems to think all this attention to city employee malfeasance, misfeasance and dumbassfeasance reflects poorly on our great town, using the usual “blame the messenger” routine always deployed by people who have something to hide: like shoddy construction, unnecessary and mind-blowingly expensive boondoggles, drunken city managers, a corrupt police department and a budget that’s a few years away from going supernova.
But that’s not the interesting part. Not surprisingly, lobbyist city council creature Jennifer Fitzgerald is an enthusiastic member of this tribe; but, very tellingly, so is the ethically flexible Matthew Cunningham, whose job is proprietor of “Anaheim Blog” where he runs interference for uber-lobbyist Curt Pringle’s interests, praises Pringle’s political tools, and denigrates Pringle’s political opponents.
It’s pretty obvious that Pringle has set his slimy sights on Fullerton now that his Anaheim well is running dry. We are the pigeons he wants to pluck. Just think “College Town” and other possible gold mines where influence peddling moves things along.
And when Curt Pringle says “Fullerton First” what he really will mean is “Fullerton Next.”
An acquaintance reminded me the the other day of the ridiculous OCTA “Bike Share” program of a couple years ago – one of the most embarrassing boondoggles on record, and proof that regional government agencies are just as bad as our own city when it comes to throwing our money away.
The OCTA is always ready, able and willing to waste money – some of it comparatively small amounts, and some of it (think ARTIC) monstrously large. The common theme is that hardly anybody knows about it before the dough is blown, or after because the mainstream media is so good at keeping government unaccountable.
This is the tale of Bike Share, a supposedly “green” initiative, and thus free from the constraints of economic common sense.
Back in 2012 OCTA invested in a program where people could rent bicycles from a public rack and return them. To somebody it seemed like a plausible idea. The OCTA chose our city as the test lab because of all the college kids who like to take a commuter train to Fullerton.
Surprise! Bike Nation, a client of Curt Pringle and Associates (the current employer of Council-lobbyist Jennifer Fitzgerald) got the contract to run the program. Better qualified vendors were rejected by the OCTA Board. And the cooperative guy who made the motion to approve Bike Nation and proceed with the program? None other than our own 4th District Supervisor Shawn Nelson. According to the Voice of OC, the cost of the program was $700,000; the per bike ride subsidy was an astonishing $800.
At the end of a couple years the magnitude of the Bike Share stupidity became clear. Almost no one signed up for the membership subscription and almost nobody was using the bicycles, bikes that were heavy and unwieldy. Some of them broke down after they had been washed. The vendor blamed the OCTA, the OCTA blamed the vendor; but we paid for it.
And Nelson? He didn’t return a Voice of OC call asking for comment.
Out here on Screech Owl Road we stay informed, distantly, of the doings in humble Fullerton, a place of constant interest and amusement value. When the dust storms and tortoise races grow tedious we often turn our attention to your town.
And one genre that never bores, are the stories of political ambition and the small-time politicians with big dreams – for themselves, mostly.
Is it really too early for you Fullertonions to start thinking about who represents you as County Supervisor in 2018? The campaign process normally starts at the end summer before the election and that is about six months away. On the other hand two Fullerton characters may play a part in that campaign so why not indulge in some early speculation?
The current incumbent is former Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson, who is ending a second completely lackluster term, in which County watchers could hardly distinguish a difference from his sleepy predecessor, Chris Norby, except that the casual corruption at the County and the downright wackiness have gotten even worse. He’s termed-out in 2018.
The talk is that both Bruce Whitaker and Jennifer Fitzgerald both have their eye on the job even though they’ve just been re-elected to their current positions in Fullerton. Oh well, political ambition trumps loyalty to the electorate every time, right?
A candidacy that splits the Fullerton electorate could leave the door open for a an Anaheim candidate with a decent reputation to join the fray. Who that might be remains to be seen.
Speaking of reputations, as to their records, Whitaker and Fitzgerald are quite similar, except that Whitaker has promoted accountability from the Fullerton Police Department, and stood on the right side of the Kelly Thomas murder, where of course Fitzgerald and her ilk were no-shows. The cop union supported Fitzgerald, and she has done her best to cover-up and protect the Culture of Corruption – while actually having the nerve to credit former Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes for “reforming” something or other. Whitaker has also been on the right side of the ongoing red-ink budgets that Fitzgerald brazenly lied about to the voters. And he tried to establish an audit committee to keep the bureaucrats on the up and up.
Unfortunately for Whitaker, there are many points of convergence, voting and performance-wise, with Fitzgerald. There is the massive and rampant overdevelopment of Fullerton; the creation of the phony language of the Coyote Hills plebescite and then the fighting of the successful referendum; there is the the absolutely horrible dereliction of duty by supporting voting districts Map8A, cooked up by the bar owners in the riot zone known as downtown Fullerton to dilute the voters in that vomit and urine-soaked district. They both voted to waste $100,000 on a completely unnecessary “interim” City Manager. They both sat by doing nothing as hundreds of millions of gallonsof prime MWD water leaked out of Laguna Lake.
The 4th District election will really gear up in the summer, but there’s no doubt that Fitzgerald, if she is running, is already lining up her bankrollers: Anaheim’s deep pockets with ties to her “employer” the slimy, pink lobbyist Curt Pringle. Whitaker can’t compete with that money machine. But as Anaheim’s recent elections proved, money isn’t everything. Still, if Whitaker is going to run, he had better start showing voters why there’s a real reason to support him.
Thanks to Friend Tony Serra for providing a link to a Sac Bee story about Anaheim’s former Mayor-for-Hire Kurt Pringle quitting the California High Speed Rail Board.
Could it be true? Sure looks like it. According to the story he wants Governor Brown to be able to appoint someone who represents his point of view. I wonder what that point of view might be. Ethics? Brown, who as Attorney General took note of Pringle’s conflicts of interest over many years may have asked him to go.
So Der Rat is jumping off Das Sinkingboot; timely, too, now that all the revelations of incompetence, waste, misinformation, and decreased funding are dragging the HSR to a well-deserved grave.
The funniest thing in the piece is the glowing valediction to Pringle from fellow HSR barnacle, Tom Umberg, who in the past has proved there is no moral morass too low for a politician to sink into, and who recently penned a pro-HSR op-ed piece in the Register that was so incompetent I’m not going to link to it to save Umberg any more embarrassment.
Our friends over at the the Voice of OC(EA) are reporting on yesterday’s California High Speed Rail Authority meeting. And if you’re one of the repuglicans or make-work junkies supporting the unsupportable, the news ain’t good.
Everybody now admits that the LA-Anaheim link is the most impractical and least effective segment of HSR. In fact, if it is ever built, it may not be “high speed” at all! Hiding behind euphemisms like “phase-in” the reality is that this segment has been pushed all the way to the back of the CHSR bus.
Hilariously the HSR-ocrats are paying lip service to the Will O’ The People who voted a multi-billion dollar bond to support this extravagant boondoggle. Oh, that’s right. The People. The ones who were given false information at every step of the way and who were never presented with a business plan as required by the initiative. And the People, these miscreants are quick to remind us, voted for a system that would come all the way to Anaheim! No prize for guessing who got the Anaheim language into the initiative.
And speaking of Der Pringle, he provides the best quote of the article when he cautioned not to use the word “splippage” since it might undermine confidence in the whole gig. Hooboy!
Meanwhile Pringle’s glassy monument to himself, the egregious ARTIC 200 mil bus barn continues to loom in our collective psyche, promising to suck up $100,000,000 of Measure M revenue that is supposed to bring HSR to an expanded Metrolink station. Of course ARTIC does neither, but as we have already noted, that means nothing to the small-town drones on the OCTA board. And this reminds me of a poem:
We got wind of a press release put out the other day by an organization called “OCTax,” an organization that purports to be an advocate for taxpayers, yet in actuality is little but a vehicle for political endorsements and self-promotion of its president and officers.
So naturally Anaheim’s former Mayor-for-Hire Kurt Pringle would be a great Chairman of this operation. This greatness has been thrust upon him at an annual general membershp meeting. Now he won’t have to pull the strings from behind the curtain.
Another officer includes Pringle Pal Lucy Dunn, who seems to be intent on using any organization for her own self-promotion.
The best part of the press release is the description of the 29 boardmembers of this entity, a group that endorsed the unendorsable Pringle Puppet, Carpetbagging Haibag Sidhu – which not only reveals the moral lassitude of this endorsement-for-pay operation, but its practical incompetence, too, since Hairball went down like the RMS Titanic .
Here’s the fun description:
These Board Members represent a wide variety of private companies, public agencies and non-profit organizations throughout the county.
Holy Politburo! “Public entities and non-profit organizations” represented in a tax advocacy group? Well, folks, that tells you just about all you need to know about OCTax. Stay tuned in 2011 for big ARTIC and high speed rail sink hole boosterism, and in 2012 for an endorsement slate that best fits Der Pringle’s vision for his own healthy revenue stream.
A while back we shared a classic lackey moment when Matthew J. Cunningham gave former Anaheim Mayor-for-Hire and all-round sleaze Kurt Pringle a vigorous lingual lather up.
Not to be out done by an amateur, The Register’s in-house boot-lick-name-dropper Frank Mickadeit decided to do him one better, and offered up a sloppy tongue-job to the man the State’s Attorney general found be conflicted in his serial roles as lobbyist, mayor, and Boondoggle HSR Chairman.
Now, we all know that Pringle is and always has been in it for Pringle. But good old Frank seems perfectly willing to pass along the nonsense that Pringle is out of elective politics to focus on his business. No. Pringle is out of elective politics because there is no longer any elective office that wouldn’t be a detriment to his business.
Of course we hear from former Anaheim garbage hauler Bill Taormina, supporter of the lamest of the lame Lorri Galloway, who believes that Pringle should be California’s governor or maybe a senator. Taormina has millions of reasons to praise Pringle, but there is no more moral underpinning for his support of Pringle than there was for his giving Galloway three fake addresses in his various rental units so she could run a fraudulent campaign for County supervisor.
Which leads to the conclusion that the sooner the pathetic Register goes under for the third and final time, the better.
According to an article in today’s LA Times here, the cloudy jewel in Anaheim’s ex-mayor-for hire, Kurt Pringle’s tarnished crown, ARTIC, may not be eligible for $99 million in special Measure M funding. The money had strings attached. However those strings seem to have come loose. And by loose I mean really loose. You see, “Project T” Measure M funds can only be used to “expand” existing stations to accommodate high-speed rail, not build new ones that don’t.
So far the OCTA has pitched over $40,000,000 bucks into this glorified bus station and at this point nobody can show that the high-speed rail choo-choos can even get to it; or that high-speed rail will ever even come to Anaheim. Of course the City of Anaheim (that isn’t paying for any of this) is now saying ARTIC is a “stand alone” facility, which is great, but it ain’t what the voters approved back in 2006: a stand alone facility doesn’t qualify for the $100,000,000 (yes, you read that right) Project T funding.
The hot light of public scrutiny is bound to have interesting environmental effects. The great ARTIC melt-down begins this morning at an OCTA Transit Committee meeting, where newly re-elected Supervisor Shawn Nelson is going to ask members to start reflecting upon their complete lack of responsibility in funding this Pringledoggle.