I get quite a lot of pushback from people around town for picking on District 5 Council member Ahmad Zahra. Leaving out the partisan hacks, the biggest pushback I get is from people who, naively, genuinely believe that he puts in the work and cares about their interests. The single biggest issue of contention from these fine well meaning folk is Fullerton’s water. Constantly we hear about how much Zahra cares about the quality of our water. After all, his caring was the key reason people bemoaned his not being re-appointed to the Orange County Water District (OCWD).
The evidence of his caring most commonly referenced are usually the articles he wrote for the Fullerton Observer on water. Such as HERE and HERE and HERE.
But what if I told you that he only cares so long as somebody else is doing the heavy lifting and/or thinking for him?
The truth is that Ahmad Zahra, like many politicians, wants you to believe that he does the homework because he cares about you, while in reality he’s nothing more than a puppet.
Here are those three Fullerton Observer articles “by” Ahmad Zahra side-by-side with the original counterparts as written by a spokeshole for the OCWD:
Recently said spokeshole retired from OCWD which means you can expect the quality of Zahra’s “writing” to change as well.
Why do I care about this ghostwriting?
First of all it’s because he’s pretending that this is his work as evidenced by the “By Ahmad Zahra” byline over at Press Release Central, the Fullerton Observer.
Second, it’s because it shows who Zahra was really working for while over at OCWD. His job as Fullerton’s Representative at OCWD was to represent Fullerton’s interests – the interests of we residents – but somehow he decided that instead he would represent the interests of OCWD going so far as to pass off their PR as his own ideas and work.
Like most dishonest puppets in government he forgot the very role he promised the people he would do while chasing the gravy that was his $40k+/year stipend from OCWD.
I didn’t expect anything else from this peacocking faux-pontificator but many people around town took him seriously that he was serious and that’s why this matters.
The best defense for Zahra here is that he had somebody rewrite OCWD’s work just enough to not be straight up ghost-writing. Even he knew that he had to make the PR look a little less PR-ey to get passed the “eagle eyes” over at the Observer who only publish City Hall’s propaganda without question.
Perhaps one of the saddest things is people actually believe that Zahra isn’t your typical politician because he checked all the right boxes and said all the right things. He claims he is so different and he really cares, but at the end of the day, he’s just as much the same bought and paid for crony who needs a PR rep to write his own words for him.