While We Were Away: The Embarrassing Fullerton Bike Share Story

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.

The Roll Out. Nelson assures a skeptical Flory that the bike is up to the task…

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.

Pringle’s Krew: It’s dirty work, but someone’s gotta do it…

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.

The forced, painful smile betrayed the awful truth: the bikes were made for political posing, not for riding.

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.

4th District County Supervisor 2018 Edition

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.

Peel off a layer and you’ll find the same thing…

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?

Soon to be a memory…

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.

What, me worry?

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 gallons of prime MWD water leaked out of Laguna Lake.

You are becoming very sleepy…

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.

Pringle’s Cash Cow Stops Giving Milk

When the money ran out did Der Pringle?

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.

 

LA to Anaheim HSR on Verge of Derailment

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.

"A" is for...

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:

In Anaheim did a ‘puglican
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Santa Ana, the part-time river, ran
Through suburbs measureless to man
Down to a closed-beach sea,
etc.

 

Der Pringle Creeps Out of Shadow, Into OCTax Light

I will be conducting your future

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 .

Glub, glub, glub....

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.

Oh, Brother! Another Wet Tongue Bath

No, it doesn't get weirder.

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.

Hey, those cigars don't pay for themselves...

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.

The Great ARTIC Melt Down

Pringle's Pipe-n-glass Dream

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.

Der Pringle Gets Swift Kick In Ass On Way Out Door

You just can’t beat candor at the public podium.

Here is Anaheim community leader Amin David at Kurt Pringle’s public going away party letting Der Pringle know that not all of the Anaheim Volk are happy Volk.  Specifically he slams Pringle for his latest Platinum Triangle do-over and deficient EIR.

Did you enjoy the shot at Sidhu as Pringle’s puppet-monkey and Hernandez as a dim-wit? I did.

Pringle Ethics Probe. Break Out The Scanning Electron Microscope!

Uh, oh. More bad news for Anaheim’s outgoing Mayor-for-Hire, Curt Pringle. An FPPC investigation into foreign junkets by the California High Speed Rail crew.

Pringle declared all the gifties large and small from Europe’s socialist governments that are hoping to sell the CHSR good jobs that Americans are too stupid to do.

But the rest of Pringle’s gang at CHSR may not have been so diligent, especially the Golden horde of consultants, yes men, and PR tools Pringle & Co. have brought on board their choo-choo.”Record keeping lapses” unintentional? More hilarity to follow.

From the Register, yesterday.

How Low Can You Go?

A is for Honest.

If you’re Anaheim’s outgoing Mayor-for-Hire, Curt Pringle, the answer is: very. We got hold of this flier that advertises a big tribute to Pringle that will undoubtedly tout his Integrity, Leadership, and Vision.

Wow, a Tribute

We already know more than we need to about those alleged Pringle attributes as we have vividly and abundantly documented in our pages how Der Pringle has managed to insert his grubby little fingers into just about every pie in OC, most prominently the Platinum Triangle Tragedy, The Great ARTIC Ripoff, the HSR Boondoggle, and even how he’s swung peculiar gigs shilling for Rob Reiner’s Children and Families Commission and even the OC Cemetery District.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Bryan Lang <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 4:24 PM
Subject: Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle Tribute Event
To:****@*****.***

What’s really funny about the upcoming tribute to Pringle is that it is being organized by…Pringle himself! And if you respond to one of Pringle’s flunkies you can join in the party celebrating the Integrity, Leadership, and Vision that Pringle has embodied in his eight year Reign of Profit.

Most of us would feel a little bit awkward celebrating our own Leadership, Integrity, and Vision; apparently the flier left off Pringle’s Humility. Well, we’ll take care of that. And the experience will be humbling.