The City recently sent out a file from the City Attorney, via Assistant City Clerk Klein, that lists officers who’s records are disclosable under the Records Law known as SB1421. This was sent to those who had requested these files such as myself, the ACLU, LA Times and others. The following is my response;
Dear SB1421 Requesters and interested parties,
It has come to my attention that the City of Fullerton has broken California’s Public Record’s Law, specifically related to SB1421, by denying you records which are quite clearly publicly disclosable.
In the link sent to you by Mea Klein, Assistant City Clerk, as provided to her by the City Attorney, you were told that there are 27 Officers “REQUESTED BY NAME, BUT NO DISCLOSABLE FILE AVAILABLE (27)”. This is patently false.
The City of Fullerton is currently suing me, my compatriot David and the blog Friends for Fullerton’s Future directly related to the published findings on several of these officers.
In looking at this list I can quite easily name Officers on that list who have disclosable records under SB1421 including but not limited to Kathryn Hamel, Paul Irish, Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo, Christopher Wren & Nathan Roesler.
A sustained finding was found against Hamel and one cannot simply unring that bell as seen in the recent Contra Costa County tentative decision (CASE NAME: RICHMOND POLICE VS. CITY OF RICHMOND).
This FFFF article related to Hamel is specifically mentioned in the lawsuit against myself and FFFF:
Christopher Wren had a sustained finding against for dishonesty related to a workplace affair with a subordinate. In IA Case #17-0038 one of the sustained findings against Officer Wren is as follows:
“6. On December 17, 2017, when Lieutenant Cleggett asked you about your whereabouts, you dishonestly stated to Lieutenant Cleggett that you had been on the phone with your wife the entire time and did not notice Lieutenant Cleggett’s text message.”
This statement of dishonesty was directly related to misconduct as outlined in the timeline of Wren’s activities and being in violation of policy.
Likewise with Christopher Wren, an article is specifically listed in the lawsuit being waged against myself and FFFF:
The idea that the city attorney is unaware of the sustained findings against their officers which are disclosable under SB1421 is laughable when those very stories are being used by the same attorneys as evidence in a lawsuit where the city seeks a prior restraint against myself and FFFF.
The blog has likewise published stories on how Paul Irish was terminated for dishonesty;
Nathan Roesler filed a false report with the City of Placentia which resulted in an innocent man being arrested for a crime that wasn’t committed against Roesler. This was referred to the District Attorney for prosecution.
These are the cases which are readily and easily pointed out which I believe to be disclosable under SB1421 which calls all of the other officers on the list into question. The City is blatantly lying to you, your organizations and agencies as well as the public and concerned entities about disclosable records despite being in a separate lawsuit over these very violations of SB1421.
If you are honestly seeking these records and others from the City of Fullerton you will likely have no recourse but to seek remedies in order to get to the truth. I have already been forced to take this route unfortunately.
They are likewise violating the law in regards to the officer whose records are “PENDING; NOT YET PRODUCED (3)”. The incident in Corbett’s case was from 2016 and Paez’s was in 2017. The timeline has long passed for required production in both of these cases.
Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best in your efforts to get to the truth.
Host, The Hourly Struggle
Writer, Friends for Fullerton’s Future
For the record, City Manager Ken Domer is fine with these lies as he could put an end to them but works with the City Attorneys to keep them going. The same for Police Chief Dunn. He has no desire for you to know which of his officers are corrupt or he’d demand the city follow the law.
The City Council? 4 of the 5 of them have repeatedly voted to sue us without so much as questioning the liability the City Attorney themselves caused. Remember, when the City Council wants YOU to follow the law – they have no problem shielding police from it.
Despite all of their bluster over Black Lives Matter, Jesus Silva & Ahmad Zahra don’t care about police misconduct or oversight. Jan Flory & Jennifer Fitzgerald don’t care about integrity or accountability either. Remember, they all voted to sue US to keep the records of corrupt police from YOU. Hell, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Jesus Silva’s wife, voted AGAINST the very law in question here (SB1421) if you want perspective of how little these people’s rhetoric matters.
There was a protest today in Fullerton, like many cities around the country, sparked by the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. People are justifiably angry about the actions of the officers involved who killed Mr. Floyd.
This blog has long stood against police misconduct and abuses of authority from the Pre-Kelly Thomas days to my ongoing lawsuit trying to expose the ongoing Culture of Corruption within the City of Fullerton.
We’re allies on the issues of abuses of authority and unaccountable police.
That said I implore you to focus your anger.
Police abuse people not for such a simple issue as wrongthink. Manual Ramos threatening Kelly Thomas with his balled up fists wasn’t a Black vs. White issue. When 50% of the Officers fired for the murder of George Floyd are POCs it breaks the lazy narrative.
Police do terrible things because we as a society let them. We tell them it’s okay. We condone and support their actions. We give them endless benefits in their checks and qualified immunity in the courts.
We do it every election at the ballot box.
In 2016 Jennifer Fitzgerald, our current Mayor, won election with more votes than any candidate has ever received in the city of Fullerton. She won with these numbers despite being the biggest bootlicker on council since the 3 council members we recalled.
During her tenure, this woman has caused our budget to be absolutely CONSUMED by police pay and benefits. Public safety currently accounts for more than $7 out of every $10 we spend in our general fund. This is ridiculous but it has no end in sight and we’re getting less and less for it.
Our city cannot afford to fix our roads because she and those like her have never seen a police pension or pay raise she didn’t adamantly support.
Meanwhile she has fought, tooth and nail, against any meaningful reform of the Fullerton Police Department from her seat on council. She glad hands police and supports their militarization at every opportunity. She has supported asset seizures which is when the city steals your property to pad their budgets. She has gone so far as to support hiding records from the public by not demanding the City follow basic public records laws. Hell, this blog got sued for showing that FPD is RIGHT NOW doing everything they can to AVOID publicly disclosing wrongdoing by their officers.
This blog exposed a pervert cop who was caught filming up a 16 year old’s skirt while assigned to Fullerton High School and her solution was to vote, multiple times, to SUE US. Oversight? Accountability? Assurances that there is chain of custody and accountability? That FPD won’t turn more of our kids into victims of sex crimes? She’s been as quiet as a church mouse on those issues because she puts bad cops over our kids & our city as a whole.
Did you know that Fullerton purchased 160 AR-15s? That’s more than one PER officer. Why? Why does FPD need that kind of firepower? It certainly isn’t to protect you. And if it’s not to protect you, it’s to protect the very police that our elected officials refuse to hold accountable from you.
Fitzgerald eagerly supported this purchase and militarization without hesitation. As did Jesus Silva & County Supervisor Doug Chaffee.
They do the bidding of the Fullerton Police Officer’s Association and the FPOA cares about one thing and one thing only – keeping cops with fat wallets above the law at your expense. Remember that the less accountable they are, the more you pay when they screw up. Those millions that Fullerton paid Ron Thomas certainly didn’t come out of any police pensions or FPOA bake sale.
In the near decade since Kelly Thomas was murdered we have seen no meaningful reform of the Fullerton Police Department. No transparency. No real oversight. Jennifer Fitzgerald has now been Mayor twice in that time. She was put onto council in the election months after the recall resulting from the Kelly Thomas murder – she even ran on exploring changes to the police department and it was all bullshit to placate you. She allegedly refused to even watch the Kelly Thomas video unless her buddy, Chief Danny Hughes, was there to guide her opinion. Imagine somebody saying that about the George Floyd video – that they wouldn’t watch it without the Commander in charge to guide them through it? That’s our Mayor.
If you care about police accountability. If you care about justice. If you care about any of the things the protesters claim to care about in this moment of national outrage – make your voice heard at the ballot box AND the in the streets.
Don’t forget. Don’t get complacent. Vote against anybody who puts the FPOA above we the people. Kick the Jennifer Fitzgeralds with their constant bootlicking to the curb. Be a part of the change that stops the platitudes.
FULLERTON, California (May 13, 2020) – The City of Fullerton (the “City”) announced today that we’re too dumb to use Dropbox and that led to the internet having access to things we’d rather you not know about – such a pervert cop filming up skirts and having child porn on his phone while stationed at Fullerton High School, a Lieutenant in Fullerton PD having not one, but two, Internal Affairs investigations against her that we dropped in order to bypass Public Records laws (SB1421 specifically), employees stealing things and us cocking up the investigation so badly that they got away with it, a City Employee overturning a Parks Vehicle while likely under the influence and on and on and on.
This isn’t new, in fact most of it came to light against our will almost a year ago so none of this is recent but we’re calling it a “recent event” that “may have impacted the security of personal information of some City residents and employees” because that sounds better than “our lawyers, who we refuse to fire and stand behind 100% are too stupid to use Dropbox and they totally screwed the pooch”.
The City became aware of posts on a public website, we all know which one but we won’t say because reasons, which contained confidential City information – see the list above. The city immediately began throwing money around trying to figure out who to blame and how we can get away with avoiding any responsibility. During the City’s investigation, it discovered that we are in fact too stupid to use Dropbox. We’re calling Dropbox “an internal data storage account” because it sounds better but yeah it was Dropbox. We gave out the website (CityofFullerton.com/outbox) on multiple occasions, to countless people, made it a legal public record and then sued some guys and a blog because they allegedly clicked links we put their names on in that Dropbox account – again that we told them about.
We gave them access and ignored that we had total control over who could see what and then our crack team of bureaucrats, lawyers and IT professionals somehow missed that we were too dumb to figure out Dropbox from about 2016 through June 21, 2019. The investigation further revealed the data included copies of emails and attachments that contained certain protected information. Information we never should have put online in an unsecured fashion but you don’t pay us the big bucks and for our lifetime pensions so we’ll be smart – you do it because we extort it out of you by taking away your toys (the library, roads, parks, etc) if you don’t give in to our mercenary demands. As a precaution, the entire contents of the Dropbox account were reviewed to identify the information that may have been accessible online for all the world to access. The City provided written notice to those individuals whose information was found on Dropbox. However, a small number of files we uploaded to Dropbox between 2016-2019 we totally deleted and therefore were not recovered and were unable to be reviewed and now we have no idea who’s information we negligently put online for the whole world to find. Whoopsie.
What Information Was Involved? On October 25, 2019, a day after suing the FFFF blog over our cockup, the City provided written notice to a small number of individuals whose sensitive information was found on Dropbox despite knowing about it for months. However, because we’re dumb and deleted things, a small number of files we uploaded to the non-password protected, public facing Dropbox account (at CityOfFullerton.com/outbox) were not able to be recovered and now the City is providing this additional notification. The personal information that we may have totally put on Dropbox in the files we absolutely deleted may include your name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, payment card information, medical or health information, and/or passport number. However, the City is unable to confirm the contents of these files or whether sensitive information was present in these files because, again, we’re dumb and don’t pay attention to what all we put on Dropbox despite us giving that account out willy-nilly. Hey, we waste your money and you don’t say anything so we figured you wouldn’t mind if we did the same with your data.
What Are We Doing? Suing people to cover up our incompetency mostly. The City takes the security of our employee and citizen information very seriously. So seriously that The City put that information on a non-password protected, public facing Dropbox account (CityofFullerton.com/outbox) in violation of HIPPA, Dropbox Terms of Service, Legal Best Practices, Common Sense, etc. In The City’s diligence The City immediately secured the Dropbox account at issue by deleting everything because passwords and access controls are too hard for our IT department and lawyers to figure out despite The City maybe needing those things for our pending lawsuit and to find out what we put online. The City reviewed existing security measures as a byproduct of our Dropbox screwup and finding essentially none paid $541,000+ to a digital security expert to do what our IT department should have been doing all along – ensuring the security of The City’s network and keeping our idiot lawyers off of Dropbox.
The City is also providing information about our stupidity and about the steps individuals can take to help safeguard personal information – basically just don’t trust The City to be competent.
In addition, the City is offering to spend more of your tax dollars to offer identity monitoring services through Kroll because nobody in The City pays a price even when it costs you over half a million dollars and counting.
What You Can Do. The City encourages individuals to remain vigilant against incompetent city staff and council members who would compromise your information while putting you at risk of identity
theft and fraud through gross negligence.
Under CA law, individuals are entitled to vote incompetent asshats out of office every election cycle and we strongly recommend throwing circus ringleader Jennifer Fitzgerald out on her ass along with Go-Along-To-Get-Along rejects Ahmad Zahra, Jesus Silva and Jan Flory should Flory’s corrupt self decide to grace us with another council run.
For More Information The City also encourages individuals to read our other press releases where we pretend that we didn’t get slapped down by the Appellate Court and that we’re winning this ridiculous case that we filed against our own watchdog citizens to cover our asses.
Again, at this time, there is no evidence that any information has been misused but we want to drag a few guys through the mud and hope that our infinite resources (your tax dollars which we’ll be taking more of soon) are enough to scare them into submission so we don’t ever have to take responsibility for our own government incompetence. After all, would YOU keep voting for City Council members (Fitzgerald, Zahra, Silva, Flory) who stood by lawyers as dumb as mentioned above OR who let a City Manager attack citizens in the courts and press while taking home $242,931.63 in 2019? We think not.
Fullerton just “separated from employment” 150+ non-union part-time staff. Why? Because despite years of Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s lies about a “Balanced Budget” and our mythical reserve fund – we had no plan for a rainy day.
During meetings, myself, David and others warned the City Council that a downturn was likely in the future and with CalPERS continually raising our pension costs we needed to be smarter financially.
Fitzy & Flory wanted none of that and spent like floozies in Vegas throwing every dollar we had at every uniform in sight with Silva, Chaffee and so on along for the ride.
Now here are we looking at a month of limited tax revenue and 150+ people lost their jobs with the city. 150+ positions aren’t being eliminated – no no no, they’ll tax us more to fill those again later and cry about not being to staff the libraries and parks to justify the new taxes/fees and whatever added costs to us they can cook up along the way. But 150+ people are now wondering how they’ll pay their bills.
But let me drive this home for you some more – the city is suing myself, David and this blog because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links in an account they sent us and told the world about in PRRs. Remember, according to Kimberly Hall Barlow this isn’t about publishing or the 1st Amendment – this is about alleged theft and “hacking” because we allegedly clicked some Dropbox links.
In the process of investigating that alleged crime, the city found out that their network (which has fuckall to do with Dropbox) was incompetently setup and they hired an outside firm to fix it. This was the reason they claimed they waited to sue us for months on end – that they had to secure their network – which again has fuckall to do with Dropbox.
The firm they hired, Glass Box Technology, has a contract with the city for $60k/month not to exceed $500k.
So far, according to the City Council approved Check Register, they’ve paid Glass Box $541,451.25 to date which is $41,451.25 over their “not to exceed” limit.
That’s over half of a million dollars SO FAR because the City found out that they suck at running their own network as a BYPRODUCT of suing us which has nothing to do with what they allege we did. This was an unnecessary expense that has to come out of next year’s General Fund because it’s yet another major cockup for which nobody will be held accountable.
How many of those 150+ people wouldn’t need to be unemployed right now were it not for sheer incompetence in City Hall? Seems that $500k+ would have covered quite a few part timers.
Then we have the expense of our idiotic City Attorneys, Jones & Mayer. Since this nonsense started back in June with their Cease & Desist letters, the city has paid Jones & Mayer $891,074.49. We have no way to know how to split that up or what to attribute to the lawsuit against us because City Hall has a long history of lying about funding and hiding expenses in the wrong accounts. Just because something is coded to the Library, might not mean it has anything to do with the Library.
But if we assume that just 5% of their work product can be attributed to the lawsuit against us, and considering the reams of paper they keep filing with the courts we know their billable hours are stacking mile high, we can attribute approximately $44,553 to this stupid lawsuit. Seems to me that’s a few more part timers who could still be employed were it not for the malicious lawsuit being pursued by Fitzgerald, Flory, Silva and Zahra.
We don’t know how much the city has paid their other experts or consultants in their pursuit of the evil “hackers” who allegedly clicked Dropbox links – some with my name on them – but so far we know it’s pushing $500k+.
Remember this come election time & demand answers from these idiots on council who would rather spend your money, and it is your money, attacking us over their own stupidity than spend it providing the very services they’re elected to oversee in our city.
Shame on Fullerton. Shame on Mayor Fitzgerald. Shame on the City Council for always squandering your money pursuing their egos instead of your best interests. Sure, they’ll blame the need to “separate from employment” those 150+ people on this “global pandemic” – but that’s only because they constantly spend all of your money elsewhere while lying to you about our “balanced budget”.
Friends, an environmental symbiosis exists in nature when two organisms interact in a way that is mutually beneficial. In the course of human organizational activity we see such symbioses frequently. In the nasty intersection of government and politics such relationships are depressingly common. And nowhere can we see this operation in better form than in the way Fullerton’s politics intersect the management of police business, a business that affects everybody.
Let me begin my essay with a recitation of police behavior in our town that ought to give any decent person reason to give a second thought to nonsense pitched by both the government and the media.
In all of his endeavors Hughes was serially assisted by the smarmy and arrogant Andrew Goodrich, former union goon and, not coincidentally, the otiose and corpulent spokeshole for department. Friends will recall that it was Goodrich who immediately promulgated lies about cops getting broken bones in the aftermath of the Thomas bludgeoning by his cohorts. Goodrich was caught by FFFF over the years selling so much garbage that he was actually nominated for a coveted Fringie® in 2011.
Some of FPD’s bad behavior has suggested a sexual pervy streak running through the department, and a predilection for looking the other way about it. Albert “Alby Al” Rincon, instead of being fired and prosecuted by McKinley for sexual battery, continued to roam Fullerton’s streets looking for victims – gals he no doubt figured would keep their mouths shut. They didn’t, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands and the City a reprimand from a federal judge. Naturally no charges were ever filed.
Recently we’ve been favored with the story of tubby ginger boy Jose Paez, whose “crime” according to tough guy DA Todd Spitzer, was the unauthorized photographing of his victims. Unfortunately for the girls and women he associated with as a school officer in the FJUHSD, what he was taking pictures of was their undergarments – while they were being worn.
A few months ago the story leaked out about an enterprising young FPD lad named Christopher Chiu, who seems to have found a persuasive way to talk a young woman out of her clothes on the top of the Lemon/Chapman parking structure so he could examine her breasts and nether parts in search of “evidence.” Before the courtly charm of playing doctor wore off, he suggested his availability for a dinner date. Yikes.
Former Sergeant Jeff Corbettwas actaully rung up for obstructing justice although seamy stories about sexual escapades while on duty have been circulating for a long time. But to be fair to poor Jeff, it was sending Wild Ride Joe Felz home after the hit-and-run of Sappy McTree that got him busted.
Apart from uncontrolled libido, the gallant gents of the FPD have often displayed their ethical sensibility in an orgy of mayhem against people who hadn’t done anything wrong, or by simply revealing how little they care for the basic concepts of justice. Maybe the cultural shift to full-on violence and callousness was the result of Pat McKinley’s well-known militarization of the FPD.
Jay Cicinelli is known across the globe as the goon who smashed in Kelly Thomas’s face with a Taser handle and admitted it on tape. This one-eyed jack was employed by McKinley as a favor to an old LAPD crony. Now this twice disqualified creep actually wants (or wants us to believe he does) his job back!
Our obese old pal Manuel Ramos had a long history of lazy and oafish behavior as an FPD cop, culminating in the actions that instigated Kelly Thomas’s death. Bully? Check. Overweight slob? Check. Natural born prick? Double Check. FPD material all the way.
Over the years FFFF has related stories from the citizenry about abusive and violent behavior of Fullerton’s cops, particularly those patrolling downtown open air booze court. But none of these stories can equal the brutality and the callous treatment of Veth Mam by one Kenton Hampton. See, Hampton’s official version of the story got real fuzzy after it became clear that his recollection of events strained even the credulity of an OC jury past the breaking point, especially when video evidence showed up in court. During a downtown scuffle involving the cops, Hampton arrived by car upon the scene and knocked the phone camera out of the hand of an innocent bystander, Mam, who was giving away about 100 lbs. to Officer Hampton. After throwing the hapless Mam around like a rag doll, Hampton tossed him in the Fullerton clink where he was charged with assaulting a cop, a story Hampton testified to under oath. Was he ever punished? Of course not. Under “Chief Danny” Big Bad Ham seems to have been promoted to a desk job.
And then there is the laundry list of incompetence or indifference. We first met Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo as he tagged one Emanuel Martinez who spent five months at Theo Lacy courtesy of a deliberate misidentification. Spoke-sphincter Andrew Goodrich comforted us with the words “we try to arrest the right guy.” Years later Siliceo, in a different matter, was convicted of filing a false police report, something very, very hard to accomplish.
And to round out our categories of misconduct, we must pause, I suppose, at least for a moment to reflect on a few of the various petty crimes and thievery perpetrated by our boys and girls in blue.Todd Major ripped off Explorer Scouts to feed his pill habit.April Baughman ripped off the property room of $50,000. Kelly Mejia tried to boost an i-Pad right under the watchful security cameras at the Miami airport. Hugo Garcia was apparently told his services were no longer required after being busted for purloining something or other (off duty, of course; on duty the man was a veritable saint). And then there was the tale of Officer Timothy Gibert, another MADD awardee who got popped out in the high desert defrauding home improvement stores. Just how many small-time thieves and pickpockets we have employed over the years will never be known for sure.
So, finally, let’s end this painful revelation with the not-so funny story about Josh Eddleman and Jerrie Harvey two innocent people jailed and prosecuted due to the bungling of newly minted “detective” Barry Coffman, best known for his enthusiastic handing out of tickets for “excessive horning.” Once againSpokesanus Goodrich informed the public that the FPD really, does try to arrest the right people, gosh darn it, a statement so insincere that maybe not even David Whiting would believe it.
Of course this quivering pyramid of gelatin was the President of the Fullerton Peace Officer’s Association for years and years, supporting political candidates who could be counted on to serve and protect his wayward union members while bestowing lavish pay and benefits.
And here is the nexus of casual corruption: without a compliant city council and their hand-picked city manager, this sad litany of crime and no punishment would be an awful lot shorter. The cop union, along with their “firefighter” brethren and sistren diligently help elect reliable stooges to the city council through vast campaign spending via their political action committees. And what a roll call of dunderheads, incompetents, buffoons, seniles, lackeys and assorted political grifters they have greased into office.
Don’t forget the lengthy corn-pone career of possibly third degree syphilitic Doc Hee Haw – Dick Jones – who once blurted to an aggrieved citizen at a council meeting “you won’t get anywhere bad-mouthing the police in this town.”
Sharon Quirk-Silva was marginally smart enough to dodge the Kelly Thomas fallout and the subsequent recall. But like almost all of Fullerton’s liberal establishment crowd, she blamed the murder on homelessness, not on bad cops. She ignored the cover-up, and did nothing about the Albert Rincon matter, despite proclaiming her outrage on the nightly news wherein we learned she has daughters.
Of course Doug was in need of assistance himself when his carpetbaggin’ wife, Paulette was busted on video stealing campaign signs on private property.
The cop union knows when it has a live one on the line, and never has that bee more true of Jan Flory, who not only trotted around the city council track in the 1990s, she did so again in 2012 with the help of a hundred thou’ of union scrilla. Maybe her vote on the [email protected] was fondly remembered, but more likely the support was for favors to come. Of course she delivered by approving pay raises and by paying out vast legal settlements against Fullerton police that avoided the embarrassment of ugly stuff getting out at trial. Everything gets hushed up and we pay for the silence. And of course, no, reform was not on the table.
No story of the symbiosis between cops and politicians in Fullerton is complete without mention of our lobbyist councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has a career monetizing her job “representing” you and me. Jen’ has made it her specialty to cozy up to the cops, including pay raises, quiet settlements costing us millions, and even wasting $50K a year on the utterly moronic “Behind the Badge” propaganda embarrassment. Holier than holy, her best pal was “Chief Danny” with whom she may have conspired, in the early morning of November 9, 2016, to have the cops drive drunken, hit-and-run Joe Burt Felz home and then tuck him in with a warm glass of milk.
And most recently we see the completely dim and inarticulate Jesus Silva, installed in office courtesy of the police union. One wonders how this nincompoop manages to get his shoelaces tied without help, and yet we can be sure of one thing – he will slavishly follow the example of his better half, Sharon Quirk in support of the people who put him in office.
For every problem that isn’t a nail, there’s a moron ready to swing a hammer.
20 Days ago FFFF got another threatening letter from the City that said if we don’t stop reporting news and telling the public the truth about what’s actually happening in their town, apparently there will be consequences.
While it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody paying attention that the government, at all levels, only works for those who are well connected and make the correct donations. Usually proving this truism is often difficult but we came across an example here in Fullerton that seemed noteworthy.
It appears that Mayor Pro-Tem, and Curt Pringle & Associates VP, Jennifer Fitzgerald decided to weaponize our city government to go after the business “D/Vine” for “word on the street” indicating that they had a promoter in violation of the municipal code.
That seems innocuous and even reasonable from a law and order and agency perspective. After all, what’s the problem with a council member & Mayor Pro-Tem being worried about a business running afoul of local law?
Nothing if the local laws were applied equally and in a just manner. But we know that to not be the case.
While Fitzgerald is super worried about public safety over who promotes what music at D’Vine she gleefully ignores other violators of our municipal code when it benefits her. As an example of such would be when she holds events and parties at The Slidebar.
The Slidebar which for years has violated local amplified sound ordinances while operating without so much as a Condition Use Permit or even an Administrative Restaurant Use Permit (ARUP).
For those new to these issues – in this city you cannot operate a restaurant without an ARUP and you can’t sell alcohol and have live entertainment with a CUP and a Live Entertainment Permit. The following screenshot is from the City Staff’s own presentation to City Council on April 16th, 2019:
The Slidebar only has the Live Entertainment Permit despite not legally qualified to have one thanks to their just ignoring the law regarding the ARUP/CUP. Nearly every other business is required to have these permits and for 7 years Fitzgerald has said bupkss about it.
Fitzgerald, like so many others on the dais before and still, has no problem holding fundraisers and heaping praise on some businesses in clear violation of the most basic of rules required to run a bar in downtown but when the wrong promoter plans the wrong type of music – now there’s a need for a call to action. Rally the troops! Tally-Ho! The scourge of banda music must be stopped… because Banda music is… bad?
Let’s look at that. Banda music is what exactly? From Wikipedia:
“Banda is a term to designate a style of Mexican music and the musical ensemble in which wind instruments, mostly of brass and percussion, are performed.”
This is something Fullertonians have complained about before it seems but I didn’t realize it was such a problem. I sort of expect to hear this music at places like Revolucion Cantina and in fact they have a “Banda Wednesday”. This negates the idea that the music itself is a problem.
The shooting is a cause for concern if you’re worried about what CAUSED the shooting… but if it isn’t the music causing people to be shot (because the shooting happened during a “Purge” themed Halloween party playing Hip-Hop) then Fitzgerald must blame the promoter?
Can a promoter rationally be blamed for the wrong people showing up to a show? Fullerton doens’t seem to blame the local bars for bringing in undesirables who urinate, vomit, fight and graffiti all over downtown. Hell, Fitzgerald herself recently blamed “Pre-Gaming” in the parking lots for much of the mayhem and DUIs around town.
Thus using Fitzgerald’s own local logic let us dispense with the idea that the promoter caused the shooting in Riverside. After all, it might have been “pre-gaming” in a parking structure that led to the shooting. To do otherwise would be an especially comical problem when we have a fire & life safety issue in downtown related to a business owner whose family is alleged to have burned one of their own previous businesses to the ground.
Because city staff works at the behest of the City Manager and the City Manager works at the whim of the City Council, when the council says “Jump!” or “Look Away!” that’s exactly what happens. No need to apply the law evenly or justly – just do what the bought and paid for council demands.
It’s sickening that the city can look into D’Vine for their banda/promoter problem while simultaneously Community Development Director Ted White was exchanging text messages with Joe Florentine and emails with Jeremy Popoff, local bar owners, in the build up to municipal code changes of how Florentine’s & Popoff’s businesses, and all bars, would be regulated despite their own flaunting of the laws.
While Ted White was looking into the ARUP/CUP status of D’Vine he was ignoring the very real problems regarding Florentine being, for over a decade, in violation of life safety requirements. To recap – Florentine has refused to follow his own Conditional Use Permit (CUP) requiring fire sprinklers and the city has refused to enforce that CUP up to and including the Chief of Police rubber stamping Florentine’s Live Entertainment Permits year in and year out despite those permits also requiring adherence to the CUP.
“The C.U.P. (if applicable) shall be strictly enforced.”
It’s nice to have a clear cut example of the city picking and choosing winners and losers. This email from Fitzgerald about D’Vine shows us clearly that our city responds to issues immediately when the council says jump all the while turning a blind eye to worse problems from similar businesses in the same neighborhood. I guess it really does pay to own the right council members.
Fullerton’s City Council last Tuesday, as expected, voted to change the rules governing how bars operate in the city in order to facilitate having more bars and making them more profitable.
The crux of the change is that it was too hard for staff to do their jobs, and for the Police Chief to stop rubber stamping permits, so the city needed to change the rules. This time they mean to enforce them unlike the last decade+ they promise… kind of… well not really.
Not one council member got an answer of who was in violation of what rules they were changing and why it was so hard for community development, code enforcement and the police to use a checklist to sort it out and in fact Ted White’s answers on how Conditional Use Permits work negated his own arguments of the Title 15 change. But again, council was too inept and/or lazy to follow the logic of the change or to ask any real questions per the norm.
The council ALSO voted to launch a pilot program, which we all know will be permanent, for paid parking in downtown. This is a data driven program tracking who comes and goes how often and how long they stay based on license plate data. As we heard at the meeting the whole point was data, data, data and more data. You will be tracked and your data will likely be sold. It’s so data driven that the vendor, staff and council want you to punch in where you park even when you don’t have to pay for parking – just because you WANT to be tracked.
When council asked who owned the servers the vendor claimed it was a “cloud based server” and that’s where the questions stopped. We don’t know what data is kept, where it is kept, which servers are used or who our travel data is being sold to – all because council couldn’t be bothered to ask.
It was a pathetic meeting full of incompetence, malfeasance and laughable gaffs. The Other Dick Jones™ got torn into by both Fitzgerald and Zahra for how they can/can’t handle an agenda item and when the city clerk offered helpful info the council just blanker her. It was probably the worst example of governing I’ve seen in years.
Individually the council members didn’t do themselves any favors in the integrity or intelligence departments. (more…)