2016 Fringies© – The Scariest Ghost of Fullerton Past


And now I present to you humans the nominations in the supremely important category of The Ghost of Fullerton Past. Why is this important? As an expert on the subject of ghosts myself, I can tell you that Fullerton never seems to be rid of hauntings by former inhabitant of the worst ilk. My former mistress was nominated in 2009 and finally took the home the prize in 2012, before she managed to re-materialize in something approximating corporal human form. Usually the nominees are culled from the large stock of horrific departed repuglicans such as Linda LeQuire who revisit you near every election time to promote this or that non-entity propped up on the campaign dais by Ed Royce.

This year was no different: the nexus was largely the misbegotten campaign of Larry T. Bennett, and how the grisly Ghosts of Fullerton Past manifested themselves to support the insupportable. The first five entries distinguished themselves by clambering up onto the rickety Bennettmobile.

Dick FitzBennett

Dick Ackerman. Scam artist and influence peddler who tried to sell the OC fairgrounds to a bunch of pals by illegally lobbying the Legislature. Yes he got a pass from our useless DA, just in time to run his laughable wife as a carpetbagger for the Assembly in 2009, and later lead the  anti-recall campaign in 2012. “Scary” doesn’t begin to describe this lowlife.

Gone, but almost forgotten…

Linda LeQuire. This hideous apparition rises every election cycle even tough almost nobody knows who it is anymore – which makes the haunting sort of tragic. Even worse, she brought along the comical side-ghost of her Earthly husband, Roy, this year. The noxious vapor, LeQuire, has the dubious distinction of winning this coveted Fringie© in 2009, but that in no way diminishes the contemporary horror.

Rebels Fire on Fort Sumpter

Buck Catlin. Buck Catlin is also a former nominee in this category. His claim to fame was getting recalled in 1994 by voting to impose a completely unnecessary utility tax upon the populous.

The Three Bald Tires. Yes, you know them also as the Three Tree Stumps, the Three Dead Batteries, etc. Mssrs. Jones, Bankhead and McKinley were recalled in 2012 for their deplorable behavior in the aftermath of the Kelly Thomas killing, and their die-hard love of the illegal water tax. They re-emerged on the political scene this fall, thinking their estimable reputation would help Bennett. More than likely it hurt, and hurt badly; but no sympathy for Ol’ Schlep Larry – he obviously solicited their endorsements. Pathetically, each of these burned out bulbs brought along his spouse to the party to join in yet another electoral humiliation.

Matthew J. Cunningham. Third tier squealer for the County’s repuglican grifters, this creature is more greasy than scary, and has left a shiny green slime-trail across our pages over the years. Since we saw him last he has been toiling away for Curt Pringles’ influence peddling machine in Anaheim; working against a homeless shelter; and in 2013 he even set up a votive candle to the Virgin Mary next to a mangled teddy bear – on the anniversary of a Latino’s death – shot by Anaheim cops. In November he emerged from his hole on cue to blame Bruce Whitaker for Bennett’s embarrassment.

And finally, a non Bennett-related entry.

A perfect record…

Lou Ponsi. This specter popped up as a writer for the utterly lame and publicly funded Behind the Badge, touting the good works of our cops, specifically in bribing kids with a Thanksgiving dinner to be good little barrio tykes. Nobody involved seemed to pick up on the rather demeaning condescension involved in this display, but FFFF did. Ponsi spent many years regurgitating the lamest and most insipid sort of pabulum for the local Register rag, swallowing everything he was dished out like a hungry little bird, and never asking a single probing question about the behavior of the Fullerton Police Department and its employees. Not one. Ever. None. Nada.

There they are, human Friends. A scarier rogues gallery shall ye never find. Them’s your potential winners. And by winners I mean we all lose.




The Empire Strikes Back!: WHO IS TONY BUSHALA?

You thought we were going to take this lying down?

The boys in the White Van are back, out of rehab, and once again patrolling the streets of OC.

Tanned, rested, and ready.

They have intercepted and decoded a file containing the following video emanating from Dick Ackerman’s topiary compound within a top-secreted gated community in Irvine. Will this hit-piece be effective in salvaging the political careers of the Three Blind Mice? Will it resonate? You decide!

“Dick” Ackerman Moral Weathervane of the Anti-recall Team. Part 3.

Heh, heh. When nobody was looking the collection plate went missing.

When you are a moral vacuum like Dick Ackerman, you really don’t stand for much of anything except your own well-being. Public service? Hell, no! It’s all about personal service. Everything else is just platitudes and bull shit.

An indication of Mr. Ackerman’s future career path was clearly established with the creation of a fake charity by his wife that was simply a mechanism to get state legislators (one of whom was Mr. Ackerman) alone on Maui with lobbyists for big corporate interests who actually paid for the whole junket. Ackerman is hilariously quoted as saying how beneficial these get togethers were, as if being lobbied in Sacramento (instead of Hawaii by the same cast of characters) was somehow just so much more darned inefficient. FFFF posted all about the utterly phony Pacific Policy Research Foundation, here.

I don't even know how I got into the room...

That was just the start of Mr. Ackerman exploiting Mrs. Ackerman for family gain. And it wasn’t enough that The Dickster got the missus on the Metropolitan Water Board where she naturally supported huge water rate increases (true, that bar was already set really, really low).

In the summer of 2009, while The Dick was illegally lobbying the State Legislature in the sordid the OC Fair Swindle, his protege, 72nd  District Assemblyman Mike Duvall was caught bragging of nasty sexual accomplishments with a lobbyist; maybe the idea of nasty accomplishments with lobbyists ignited a fire in Dick’s political loins. By the end of September his wife, Linda Ackerwoman was running to replace the disgraced Duvall!

Now people endowed with a normal dose of shame would have simply receded into the background after the man they promoted was busted for moral turpitude. But the Ackermans are not so endowed. Dick’s immediate impulse was to promote the candidacy of the wife, a woman who had, apparently, never even held a job except as a “consultant” raiding her husband’s campaign accounts.

Well, okay. Lot’s of unqualified dimwits run for the Legislature. The real problem was that the Ackermans didn’t even live in the district. The Ackermans live in a top-secret gated community in Irvine! The State Constitution says you have to live in a district a year, but what the Hell, the State Constitution is for losers!

So Dick and Linda cooked up a fake address in the rumpus room of a Fullerton stooge. Well, technically they were carpetbaggers; but since nobody really believed they spent a night living in Fullerton a better word applies: fraud.

You mean they never really lived here. I guess I slept through that. Again.

As expected, Mrs. Ackerwoman got the endorsements of the Three Deteriorating Dinosaurs, all the statewide Redevelopment money, and the big corporate interest lobbyists. They ran one of the slimiest campaign anybody could remember. It hardly mattered. The Ackermans still lost to Chris Norby by a whopping 20 points in the Republican Primary. Within a few weeks they had reregistered to vote in the leafy precincts where their Irvine mini-McMansion is located. How’s that for a big F-you, Fullerton?

The point of the story is simple:  there is no basement so low that Dick Ackerman & Co. won’t crawl into it in order to pull a string or make a buck. And if you don’t recognize Dick as the moral barometer of the anti-recall campaign, you don’t know Dick.

“Dick” Ackerman The Moral Weathervane of the Anti-recall Team. Part 2.

Swimming in taxpayer gravy is hard to give up...

Let’s just say you’re a termed-out California state senator who, through the vagaries of a law that requires a two-thirds majority to pass a budget, became a Playah in the capital. Bocce and cigars with the Celebro-Guv.

Well, if you are of a certain mindset, the thought of returning to good, honest toil as a private citizen is probably the farthest thing from your mind. Instead, you look around to see how you can capitalize off of all those political connections you made cutting deals and grinding the uncomfortable corners off of the truth. You recall fondly when the greasers, lobbyists, and bagmen were kissing your skinny ass and funding your campaigns. Lobbying is a lot more fun than real work. You want to become one!

And so it was when Dick Ackerman left Sacramento; and so it was for anybody willing to put Ackerman on their payroll. After all, who wants to hire a 70-year old, small-time lawyer to draw up wills for grandpa? No one, that’s who. And Nossaman, the big law firm that employed Dick obviously wanted him as a lobbyist, despite the website description that comically claims Ackerman is some sort of legal expert in a wide array of issues.

By nature lobbyists are supposed to remain low-profile, operate in the shadows and behind closed doors. What the partners at Nossaman think about Ackerman’s recent embarrassing high profile behavior is anybody’s guess, but it can’t be too good; and apparently Dick ain’t bringing home much bacon, either, which is the worst offense of all.

But so much for the long preamble. The purpose of Part 2 (and of Part 3) of this squalid tale is to relate some of what Ackerman has been up to lately, and to point out to anybody who cares, the low ethical trajectory of the leader of the anti-recall circus.

Termed out in 2008, Ackerman almost immediately latched on to an opportunity presented by his ethical soul mate, Dave Ellis: the Great OC Fair Swindle of 2009, an attempt to convert select members of the Board of Directors into a non-profit entity that would buy the Orange County Fairgrounds from a cash-strapped State, and run it for their own fun and profit. Ackerman’s role was buried in an obscure land-use contract with a company called LSA, presumably so nobody would know what the hell was going on.

Dave Ellis seen soon after emerging from the Fullerton sewer system. The transition to an oxygen breathing life-form was slow and painful...

Part of the deal involved slipping the necessary whereases into the state budget in the summer of 2009, and part of Ackerman’s job was to make sure legislators got the job done. But wait a minute, Dick! State legislators have to wait a full year before they can lobby their former colleagues! That’s the law.

When the details of Ackerman’s behavior became public in the fall of 2009, he twisted and turned the very meaning of the English language in order to squirm off the hook on which he had impaled himself. And it would have been in vain, too, except that our sleepy DA had clearly given instructions to his staff to whitewash Ackerman’s role. Not looking for evidence is a great way of not finding any.

It worked for a while, in 2010. Then in early 2011 Norberto Santana of the Voice of OC broke the story: he had copies of Ackerman’s billing invoices, and Ackerman’s scope of work – documents the DA thought unnecessary to collect, and they clearly revealed the truth about Ackerman – lobbying legislators was part of the contract, and The Dickster had made calls to several members of the Legislature, including locals Solorio and Correa. No bueno!

Although the DAs spokestress Susan Schroeder disingenuously invited anybody to submit new evidence for the DAs lethargic consideration, nobody did. And Ackerman slithered away, probably bragging, like John Mitchell to his cronies, that no one had laid a glove on him.

Stay tuned for Part 3, in which we explore carpetbagging for fun and profit!

“Dick” Ackerman, Moral Weathervane of the Anti-recall Team. Part 1

Heh, heh. They'll never find out...

Some of our loyal readers have asked us who Dick Ackerman is, and why is he the leader of the opposition to the recall of the Three Shop Worn Stooges on the Fullerton City Council: Jones, Bankhead, and McKinley.

Good question. After all, Ackerman is a resident of Irvine, and although he used to live in Fullerton a long, long time ago, it’s not immediately apparent why he should care about defending the Three Burned Out Bulbs on the council.

Well, these three did support Ackerman’s utterly unqualified wife when the Dickster tried to get her into the Legislature by cooking up a fake address in Fullerton.

But there’s more, and as you may have guessed, it’s the cash nexus. You see, ever since Ackerman termed out of the Legislature he’s been looking to grease his skids peddling the influence he accrued on the taxpayer’s dime. He is employed for lobbying purposes by a law firm called Nossaman; but rather than bring in business he’s actually become embroiled in embarrassing ethical and illegal incidents (more on that in Part 2). The word on Easy Street is that he’s got to bring in some do-re-mi to Nossaman and PDQ, or he’s out.

Which circuitously brings us to the latest round of “affordable” housing projects in Fullerton, the kind of housing that costs two or three times as much to build as the regular kind, and the sort that Dick Ackerman vociferously opposed on principal when he was on the Fullerton City Council. Well that was then, before Ackerman discovered he could profit handsomely from them. Now he is a lobbyist for one of the so-called developers, St. Anton’s Partners, who, not surprisingly, received the promise of millions of dollars in City Redevelopment subsidies from Jones, Bankhead and McKinley on a project just a few weeks ago. Jones, Bankhead and McKinley were so eager to pay off Ackerman that they actually tried to rush through their vote before the public hearing was even held!

And that’s why Ackerman needs to keep Fullerton’s Three Blind Bobbleheads in office, no matter what. There is no noble purpose, no moral justification, no principle at stake. There’s just a big potential payday for Ackerman and his employer, Nossaman. And if you don’t understand that, you don’t know Dick.

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we share a little Dick Ackerman retrospective.



Corruption. Bent As A Dog’s Hind Leg: The Tricky Dick Ackerman Legacy

Oh no, not again.

We’ve got it on really good authority that former city councilman, State legislator, and current Irvine resident, Dick Ackerman is going to be heading up the anti-recall effort for Fullerton’s Three Blind Mice: Jones, Bankhead, and McKinley. For those of you who don’t recall the name Ackerman, run through our FFFF archives to discover what sort of moral fiber that this individual is composed of. We busted The Dickster cooking up a fake address in 2009 for his incompetent wife to run in our Assembly district although they actually live in Irvine (note: the Mrs was endorsed by Jones, Bankhead, and McKinley). We caught the old lady operating a fake charity for lobbyists so she and Dick could get free trips to Maui. We also cheered when the Voice of OC finally uncovered the smoking gun that tied Ackerman to illegal lobbying on behalf of the crooked OC Fair Board as we had been reporting all along.

See anything you like?

Only a few days ago we shared a notice for an upcoming country club event in which Ackerman will hold forth on how to manage a lynch-type mob.

That boy's gonna be real good to me...soon!

Well, now you know the sort of character we’re dealing with here. But what you might not know is that Dick Ackerman, who works for The Nossaman law firm was recently gifted with a huge windfall by his old pals Jones, Bankhead, and McKinley. See, on August 16th The Three Blind Mice ignored their own professional staff’s recommendation, and instead presented Nossaman’s client, St. Anton Partners a multi-million dollar subsidy on a  60 units per acre low income housing project on Santa Fe Avenue! No wonder Dicky Boy was hanging out at the Council meeting all night and had to endure outraged citizens attacking the incompetence and stoogery of his three puppets on the council for three long hours.

Just for added fun here’s Ackerman’s blurb from the Nossaman website:

He assists companies, individuals, groups, and public agencies in their interactions with governments at the local, county, state, and federal levels. In addition, Mr. Ackerman assists clients in dealing with government and special districts on how to get through the political process.

In layman’s parlance, Ackerman is a political fixer, an influence peddler, and a lobbyist. Just the sort of guy who would spring to the defense of his trio of myopic rodent pals on the Fullerton City Council.

Here’s the page from the staff report listing the scores of the various “developers” seeking official City endorsement that will pave the way for millions in taxpayer subsidies. Check out Ackerman’s crew, St. Anton. Eighth freakin’ place! And yet Jones, Bankhead and McKinley decided to award millions to the guy who will be running their recall campaign. Stink? Much?

The second most ironic thing about this sad but illuminating story is that when he was on the city council in the 1980s, Ackerman was the most steadfast opponent of publicly subsidized housing in Fullerton. Well, that was then and this is now. See, when you’re a ‘puglican and money’s at stake, principles go right down the toilet. The most ironic thing is that in 1994 Ackerman also championed the cause of three incompetent buffoons who were being recalled. He lost that one, too.

As a thoughtful commenter reminds us, below, McKinley, Bankhead, and Jones were so eager to accomodate their pal Ackerman that they pushed through a vote and then had to rescind it because they never held a public hearing. Another example of Three Blind Stooge FAIL.


How To Manage A Lynch-type Mob

The Orange County Association of Cities is an organization of repuglicans who just can’t stand the thought of big, authoritarian government unless they are milking it for all it’s worth. So it is fitting indeed that this operation should employ former Fullerton City Councilman and State legislator, Dick Ackerman, to teach its members how to “manage” a lynch-type mob (us). Such management presumably means deception, flattery, cajoling, bamboozlement, and ultimately doing nothing.

The choice of Ackerman cannot have been accidental, for he is one of the biggest enemies of government transparency in the State. You may remember some of our posts on Dickie Boy. We busted him cooking up a fake address in Fullerton so his old lady could carpetbag her way into the Assembly and perpetuate Dick’s cozy relationship with big lobbyists. Speaking of lobbyists we also uncovered the Ackermans’ scam non-profit, a gig run by lobbyists to pay for Hawaiian vacations for Dick and his slimy pals in the Legislature. And then of course there was the OC Fair scandal in which Ackerman illegally lobbied his former colleagues in Sacramento. Ackerman’s own billings did him in when exposed by our friends at the Voice of OC(EA). (Parenthetically, the latter incident was the subject of a DA whitewash – hmm).

Ironically, Ackerman has been on of the biggest supporters and promoters of the immensely incompetent and arrogant Three Blind Mice, who presumably, can be relied upon to trek down to the Tustin Ranch Golf Club and hobnob with their repuglican kinfolk and learn from the Dickster all about “shocking crises and what went wrong.”

Come to think about it, maybe Bankhead, Jones, and McKinley should be teaching this course; that is, if they are capable of learning anything at all.


DA Invites New Investigation of Ackerman Lobbying

You can talk to my lawyer.

In a follow-up post today The Voice of OC(EA) Norberto Santana describes the (lack of) investigation by our do-nothing DA Tony Rackauckas into the evident illegal lobbying of fellow repuglican Dick Ackerman. Of course the DA could find no wrondoing. Not looking for evidence is an excellent way of not finding any.

Now that Ackerman’s actual invoices have surfaced, revealing what we have know for over a year, and what was based on the Dickster’s own words, the DA seems to be a little nervous. Here’s what his spokesholess Susan Kang Schroeder had to say:

“The evidence we had supports the findings we made,” she said. “If anyone has further evidence that is contrary to the evidence we have, we’ll be glad to look at it. And it may bring us to a different result.”

Further evidence. Of course she means all that embarrassing stuff that would have actually been part of any sincere investigation in the first place, and that would have freed the DA from having to rely entirely on Ackerman’s say-so for the truth. But the important thing here is that the DA is apparently welcoming new evidence. And since that evidence has already been published on a blog and is in the public domain, may we assume a new and this time an honest investigation is in the offing?

Hold your breath if you feel like it!

The Bad Penny That Keeps Popping Up: Ackerman The Lobbyist

The smile turned to painful grimmace as the appendage was pulled ever farther into the wringer.

Over at the Voice of OC(EA) Norberto Santana reports that his uncovering of Dick Ackerman’s billing logs from his days as a lobbyist for the rogue Fair Board has spurred a formal investigation by the State Fair Political Practices Commission.

See, former legislators are prohibited from lobbying their former colleagues for one year after their departure. Ackerman left the State Senate at the end of 2008 and started making those embarrassing calls in the summer of 2009 – in order to facilitate the sale of the Orange County Fair to a secret cabal made up of its own Boardmembers. We first wrote about that a-way back here in the fall of 2009 passing along the excellent work of the OC Progressive and Vern Nelson at the Orange Juice blog.

See that guy over there? He didn't do anything wrong. He told me to say that.

Of course the most embarrassing part of this slimy episode was the way one year later our do-nothing DA Tony Rackauckas tried to whitewash the whole stinking affair in order to protect his ‘puglet pals. See, T-Rack has plenty of time to harass Toyota and Muslim students at UCI, but apprently he has a lot less taste for going after political miscreants of either party.

But the truth will out, as they say. And the Ackerman deal just keeps resurfacing. Of course the FPPPC has no real authority except to levy fines  and it looks to me like a real prosecutor is really what’s called for here.

Disbarment, anyone?

The Voice of OC(EA) Shoots; Scores!

Hell, yes! Pookas 'n everything...

Okay, we’ve had some harsh criticism of the Voice of OC in the past, but today Norberto Santana came out with a great expose about OC Fair-employed lobbyist Dick Ackerman, husband of former carpetbaggress Linda, both of whom are residents of Irvine.

I told the DA everything was on the up and up. And that's what he went with!

Last year our do-nothing DA whitewashed Ackerman’s role in the ’09 OC Fair sale matter, saying he didn’t lobby the Legislature in violation of State law. How did the DA reach this conclusion? It wasn’t through investigative work, that’s for damn sure. Naturally, Amen Corner repuglicans like Matthew J. Cunningham crowed when the whitewash came out, but they’ll be eating crow soon enough. See, Santana got hold of Ackerman’s Nossaman Law Firm’s original billing records. And even though those records were laundered through some “environmental” consulting firm called LSA, the details prove what we here at FFFF have known since the fall of 2009: Ackerman was acting as a lobbyist and that in 2010 the DA was covering it up. The Nossaman billing records show phone calls to members of the State Legislature at $500 an hour. And that was illegal.

I gotta eat the feathers, too?

We didn’t have the billing, of course. We just had Dicky-boy’s own words:

“In order for the fair to be sold, it would require budget language to authorize the state to sell it,” he said. “I did some preliminary work to get the language in the budget.”

Preliminary work? Well, that’s one way of describing it; and that pesky budget language sure wasn’t going to jump into the bill all by itself, now was it?

Well, Friends, don’t expect any legal remedies anytime soon. Just remember the name: Ackerman. When you hear it, or read it, or smell it, you can bet some monkey business is afoot.