Tag Archives: Greg Sebourn

Will Ahmad Zahra Hold Firm?

AhmadZahra

Back in December, in his first at-bat, Ahmad Zahra surprised me by speaking of the Constitution and transparency whilst simultaneously voting against FitzSilva in their attempt to appoint Jan Flory to Council. Zahra was on fire with gems such as:

“My decision is going to be contingent upon us making sure that the appointment process is fair and open and transparent. So until we can make that decision, I don’t see how we should take votes away from people.

“The question is, is there a fairer and open and more transparent process than voting itself? Can we come up with that? Can we come up with something better than what the Constitution come up with? That is my question for the council. I’m leaving my decision until I hear other council members.”

Tonight we get to find out if Zahra is a man of principle standing by his own talking points at the last meeting or if that was all simply a clever flex to show who has the real authority on this issue in an effort to get his preferred pick onto council.

For those new to the story here’s the gist as I understand it —

Jesus Silva wanted incumbency in 2022 and thus opted to run for the District 3 seat on council.

Council then chose to change the law ON ELECTION DAY in the case Silva beat Sebourn in order to limit the options for voters.

Silva took home the ring on election day and in winning he vacated his at-large seat which runs until 2020.

Then in December the dynamic duo of Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jesus Silva testily complained that they needed Ahmad to go along to get along in order for them to get what they wanted. Zahra didn’t go along which brings us to today.

Tonight we’ll watch as FitzSilva likely tries to lay it on thick and blame Ahmad for the cost of the election should he choose transparency and an election (as he did back in December). This is posturing bollocks but I’m wondering if he’ll stand firm. Both he and our residents need to know that the fault here lies partially with Silva for running, partially with council for changing the city ordinance, ON ELECTION DAY, to facilitate this choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, but really the fault lies with our City Attorney The Other Dick Jones for offering terrible advice and putting us in this situation in the first place. Zahra is blameless here on the issue of cost should he choose openness and transparency by way of a special election.

dick-jones

Prepare for the same shenanigans with FitzSilva promising a fictionally transparent process in this city which is allergic to the very premise of transparency. The same transparency which had Jan Flory meeting with at least 2 (if not 3) current council members and bringing a cabal of people to lobby for her to be appointed without the citizenry any the wiser. THAT type of so-called transparency should be rejected and here’s hoping that Councilman Zahra continues to impress the way he did during at his last at-bat.

A New Council Member on Tuesday?

18Dec2018 Council Meeting

The agenda is online (HERE) for next Tuesday’s council meeting and the one major item of note, item #3, is the possible appointment of a council member to fill out the remainder of Jesus Silva’s abandoned at-large seat.

Item 3 States:

3. On December 4, 2018, Council Member Silva was sworn in as the District 3 City Council Member. This created a mid-term vacancy in Council Member Silva’s prior at-large City Council seat which expires in December 2020 and requires the City Council to consider the legally available alternatives for filling the vacancy.
Recommendation by the City Clerk’s Office:
  1. Appoint a qualified individual to the fill the vacancy through the remainder of the term, either through direct appointment or following a process for applications and / or interviews and / or other steps as determined by City Council.

  2. Direct Staff to prepare resolutions to call a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term for consideration at the next City Council meeting.

  3. Continue discussion to the January 15, 2019 City Council meeting.

This agenda item, according to City Manager Domer, was written intentionally vaguely so that council can do whatever they want on Tuesday. If they want to just appoint somebody on Tuesday, solidifying the premise that they’ve already been wheeling and dealing behind closed doors, then they can appoint whomever they want. If they want to take a different path, such as an election, they can direct staff to start that process as well.

This item will be somewhat fun to watch because of how it played out up to this point. It only matters because Silva beat Sebourn. As for the ability to appoint a crony to fill out Silva’s seat, that was passed 3-1-1 with 2 (R)s swinging into the Yes column on 16 October 2018 and again 3-1-1 with Fitzgerald ($R), Whitaker (R) and Silva (D) voting for this move on 06 November (election day) 2018.

Direct Appoint Council Vote

If another liberal (D) ends up on council after Tuesday, the (R)s in Fullerton will have nobody to blame but their own council majority. A council majority that this vote could cost them.

UPDATED: Corrected the 06 November vote. A previous version claimed it was 5-0 when it was the same 3-1-1 as the 16 Oct meeting.

Backroom-Deal

A New-ish Council This Way Comes

Backroom-Deal

Tonight Doug Chaffee and Greg Sebourn leave the Fullerton City Council and Ahmad Zahra gets sworn in to be the first to represent District 5 on the dais. This wouldn’t be Fullerton if that’s all that was happening tonight – a simple transition of (some) power – but true to form our current Mayor (for a few more hours), Doug Chaffee, opted to ram a pet project down the council’s throat one last time. An unsolicited bid to turn the parking lot used for Train Days into a “boutique” hotel without the pesky bother of worrying about competition or opening a bid process. He wants this to happen now, NOW, NOW! because… reasons. It’s such a great idea that Chaffee doesn’t trust the council to pick it up without him which means he either thinks they’re too stupid to know a good thing when they see it or it’s not… wait for it… a good thing.

Ah the smell of cronyism.

While we’ll eventually get to say goodbye to a few members and add Ahmad which should be the only focus tonight, first we have to see if Jesus has been bought off and has changed his tune on competition. A tune that he sung only 2 weeks ago, mind you.

After that first crony, I mean agenda, item has been dealt with the council will move on to the actual (partial) transition of power.

For those not keeping track here’s what will happen tonight:

Jesus Silva moves from at-large to the District 3 representative. This will leave his at-large seat open until council decides to fill it or holds a special election.

Bruce Whitaker and Jennifer Fitzgerald will stay status quo.

After tonight we’ll also have a new Mayor (likely Silva) and a new Mayor Pro-Tem (likely Fitzgerald). As for the empty seat – don’t forget to comment on who you think will be the appointed council member in our Wheel of Replacement Candidates thread.

We doubt there will be any surprises tonight but we’ll keep you posted as always friends.

Chaffee’s Last Crony Grasp on Council

SONY DSC

Just when I was preparing to see a new chapter of shenanigans in Fullerton coming from our new council, instead from the realm of ARE YOU F^&$&ING KIDDING ME comes Doug Chaffee trying to slap Fullerton with one more bit of cronyism before he leaves to play at the county level.

Less than two short weeks ago the council voted, 3-2 (Sebourn, Silva & Whitaker vs Fitzgerald & Chaffee) against an unsolicited bid for a hotel on the parking lot near the train station at Santa Fe and Ponoma. Cooler heads prevailed and a more open, transparent and honest process was suggested.

Now Chaffee, who per the City Manager agendized this item, wants to crush that transparency and openness in his last meeting this coming Tuesday. To make matters more unpalatable the council/staff arranged the agenda to swear in our new council member (Zahra) and say goodbye to the ones leaving (Sebourn & Chaffee) AFTER they vote again on this hotel nonsense. For the uninitiated there is a vendor who wants to build a hotel and Fitzgerald and Chaffee want to hand it off to them without opening a bid process to interested parties. It’s cronyism and backroom dealing 101.

Agenda-NewCouncilHotel

This is truly a slap in the face to both Ahmad Zahra and District 5 as this new development would be in their neighborhood and the first District 5 candidate will have no say on it because the agenda lets Zahra join council mere moments AFTER this hotel’s fate is already decided.

This coming back this quickly means one thing and one thing only – somebody got to Silva* as he’s the likely weak link on this issue.

For reference here’s what Silva said about the ENA at the last meeting at approximately the 3:30:12 mark:

“I think an RFP, or a bidding, would help the city I think, would help us get the best possible product. Competition drives,  brings out the best in you. And I think having that can bring out the best in the current applicant and someone else.”

We’ll see if Silva still believes this on Tuesday or if all of the sudden competition is less important than craven cronyism.  Even if it’s the case that Silva changed his mind, does he really think so little of fellow Democrat Ahmad Zahra that he’ll prevent him from voting on an issue that residents of District 5 have officially elected him to decide on?

This is just dumb, unnecessary, and silly. One can’t help but wonder if this is really Doug Chaffee being that tone deaf or if it’s really retribution for Ahmad Zahra winning a seat his wife coveted in the first place.

Because, and let’s be honest, if Paulette Marshall Chaffee won this election, Doug wouldn’t be preventing her from voting on Tuesday.

cronyism-kills

*it’s possible that Whitaker or Sebourn were flipped but they had stronger arguments than Silva and are more ideologically opposed to cronyism.

To Do #1: Council Vacancy Appointment

Editor’s Note: We, like you, are a little tired of last minute complex topics tossed into an agenda dripping with staff’s obfuscation and drowned in legalese. We’ve recruited a former policy aide to provide FFFF readers with some perspective on current and emerging issues to be placed before the Fullerton City Council over the course of the next year.  Our retired insider published a list of 100 topics for discussion yesterday.

 This is the first post in a series to talk about policy impacting our budget and our lives.  Say what you’d like about FFFF’s motives, but if we don’t break this stuff down to talk about it, who will?

With that, here’s The Fullerton Bagman with Council’s first item to resolve next year.

Hello Fullertonians:

I’ve been involved in government for a long time. Sometimes it’s a great experience, sometimes it’s not. For those of you familiar with this blog’s coverage of The Seven Walls of Government, this is what we’ll be confronting directly.

I don’t expect anyone in Fullerton to actually scale all seven walls and affect change, but I will equip you with a bare minimum necessary to side-step staff reports and speak to the issue at hand.  Council may still ignore you, but at least you won’t be dependent upon drinking from their tainted well to quench the crushing thirst of ignorance.

Going forward, I and other members of the FFFF staff will provide you with a standardized one or two page summary of a critical issue facing Fullerton, free of bureaucratic interference and gobbledygook.

Issue #1: Council Vacancy Appointment

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

As a result of Jesus Silva winning election as District 3’s elected representative, he must vacate his current at-large elected seat. This results in four elected officials on a body with five seats.

All decisions require a majority vote (2 of 3, 3 of 4, or 3 of 5) of Council, with some votes requiring three votes specifically. With an empty seat on Council, some issues may not get resolved because of a 2-2 split or a 2-1 split in the case of a recusal for items requiring three votes.

In the case of a split, by law, the Council’s official action is to take no action.

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.

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