Would You Like to Phone a Friend?

We kicked off our relaunch by letting you all know that City Manager Joe Felz was in an alleged DUI accident at the wee hours on 09 November 2016 following some possible revelry in Downtown Fullerton where he was allegedly spotted at three bars before allegedly running down a tree. We showed you some photos of the poor innocent tree that was taken from our fair city far too soon. We showed you gouges in the road that will likely get pushed up the queue for our Mayor’s 8-Mile-Per-Year charade of a repair estimate.

We here at FFFF are trying to piece together what happened and are looking to see if Joe Felz was released with a criminal citation as per the FPD Policy Manual section 420.3.3 but this is where the transparency problems come into play. We aren’t allowed to know much and certainly not in a timely fashion. Even council members are forbidden from talking about pending or current investigations regarding current city employees. They won’t, or can’t, even confirm if such cases are in fact pending or current. The City can take 1-2 weeks to get back to records requests because they under-staff the transparency while going heavy on the revenue generators.

With Chief Dan Hughes on his way out the door to go work as the Mouse’s Top Cop we have an interesting problem on our hands.

You see in our fair city the City Manager makes the appointments to Interim Chief should a vacancy appear. This means that Joe Felz will likely be appointing the very person in charge of the Fullerton Police Department which is tied into a possible pending or ongoing investigation of our own City Manager Joe Felz. How nice it must be to know that you get to choose the guy or gal who could be tasked with sweeping your alleged dirty deed under the rug. While it is true that Chief Hughes cites possibly bringing in the CHP to investigate, owing to a conflict of interest, it is still his own officers who would be called to testify about the scene should this alleged crime go to trial.

I’ve read the Fullerton Police Department Policy Manual on DUIs and I can’t figure out why in this alleged case the Chief of Police needed to be involved in a simple DUI. Notified sure. Directly involved though? According to the Manual, section 514.2.6 specifically, Exigent Circumstances exist with chemical tests because of the non-permanent nature of the chemicals (allegedly alcohol in this case). Taking the time to call the Watch Commander who then takes the time to call the Chief who then has to call back in theory could allow the alleged blood alcohol level of our allegedly drunk City Manager to drop to a point of allegedly legal sobriety.

Of course that brings us to section 514.2.2 of the aforementioned FPD Police Manual. That states;

If the arrested person chooses a breath test and it can be accomplished without undue delay, the arrested person shall first be transported to the jail for breath testing preparatory to booking.


I don’t see any mention of transporting anybody to the Jail, a whopping 0.6 miles away, but I suppose that’s because the “field sobriety test” had nothing to do with actually testing for chemicals in the blood. If a chemical test had been completed that long drive to the Jail would have happened and been mentioned in the Chief’s memo to City Council which it was not.



Expect to hear a lot about the “ongoing investigation” and remember kids that you too can allegedly drive drunk and have the on scene officer call the watch commander who then calls the Chief of Police who then calls back to give the go ahead to the on scene officer to do his/her job. You might even get a free ride home. Oh wait. No. Most of us would simply be arrested and have our cars towed to the impound.

City Manager Felz Involved in Potential DUI Accident After Election Night Celebration

We at Friends for Fullerton’s Future can report and confirm that Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz was involved in an alleged DUI accident last night.

Coming home from the Downtown Bar scene where several election parties were taking place, Mr. Felz allegedly lost control of his vehicle.

According to the internal memo below, outgoing Police Chief Dan Hughes was informed of the situation and having allegedly passed a field sobriety test Mr. Felz was driven home by officers and his car was towed.

We are awaiting details as to the length of time between accident, phone call to the chief, field sobriety test and ride home.

Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald was informed at the time per procedure but no comments have been forthcoming.


View the memo from police chief Danny Hughes

Thankfully it looks like nobody was hurt when Mr. Felz lost control of his vehicle as the only injury seems to be the death of an unsuspecting city tree.

Sad Tree
Sad Tree

Mr. Felz may have left a piece of his vehicle behind after doing what looks like considerable street damage. There was no word in the memo about potential charges for destruction of property, littering or the like.

A piece of the vehicle
A piece of the vehicle

A different car was in his parking spot today at City Hall suggesting the seriousness of the damage to his Subaru.


We will keep you posted as this story evolves.

Oh and in case you missed it the Friends For Fullerton’s Future are back.

Will Felz Get A Big Raise in the Midst Of It All?

The city of Fullerton’s website seems to be offline at the moment, but just before it went down I noticed that Tuesday’s agenda included a new employment contract for Joe Felz, the guy who’s been managing the city during the Kelly Thomas catastrophe.

If approved, the new contract would boost Felz’s annual salary to $201,400 plus pension and benefits. His current salary is listed at $166,250. That’s a raise of $35,000 per year, as recommended by the HR department (which ultimately reports to Joe.)

Keep smiling.

That’s not a bad haul for the man who was steering the ship while Kelly Thomas was beaten to death, not to mention his oversight of the globally embarrassing aftermath.

Views on The City Manager

The deep end of the pool was awful scary...

Since he was promoted on an interim basis last year I have believed that former museum director Joe Felz was in way over his head. His role in handling the Kelly Thomas homicide has been fuzzy, at best. He seems to have been prepared to let his underling, Chief Sellers make the decisions (or choose not to make any decisions at all) and let police union boss Andrew Goodrich be the official voice of Fullerton – passing half-truths, irrelevancies, or outright lies.

My guess is that Felz abdicated the authority given him by the City Council and handed it over to Pat McKinley.

The only thing I’ve heard from Felz was a lame-ass attempt to play word games by saying no settlement offer was made to Ron Thomas, father of the victim. Of course that was such a sniveling  lie that it alone should have earned Felz a half-hour stay in Jay Cicinelli’s basement Taser room.

Here’s an observation made by one of our commenters “Do you know”:

One person the citizen’s of Fullerton are letting fall under the radar is City Manager Joe Felz. The mayor and city council of Fullerton are largely part-time figure heads. The real power in the day to day operations of any small city is in the hands of its city manager. The city manager is also the boss of the chief of police. The chief of police does not even have the power to terminate an employee. The chief can suspend, or place officer’s on administrative leave, but they can only recommend termination. The city manager is the only one with the power to permanently remove an officer from their employment.

Chief Sellers initial inaction in this case is every bit the fault of Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz, as there is no way he did not know what is going on. Chief’s of police throughout California are on the phone with their city manager’s several times a day over one issue or another. City manager’s get their daily marching orders from regional heads of the California League of Cities. Since Chief Sellers did not take action in the early stages of this case, City Manager Joe Felz is every bit as culpable as Chief Sellers. Possibly more.

I’m inclined to agree. We are always told what a nice guy Joe Felz is. Maybe so. But it looks like he’s turned over the keys of the City of Fullerton to a rogue police department.

Job Search for City Manager, Or Just Hire That Guy We Already Know?

At the end of the last City Council meeting on April 5 Councilman Don Bankhead, supported by fellow Councilman Pat McKinely, requested that the agenda of the next council meeting on April 19 include an item to remove the term “acting”  from the title of the job currently held by Joe Felz.  Joe Felz was appointed Acting City Manager last December following the retirement of Chris Meyer.

Joe Felz certainly has a great deal of experience working for Fullerton.  According to the city’s December 2010 press release he began working for Fullerton while still in college.  He served as Director of the Parks and Recreation Department in 2007 following a two year stint as assistant to Meyer when he was City Manager.

Is Joe Felz the right person to hire as City Manager, a position that currently pays $166,250.00 per year, plus benefits?  Don Bankhead and Pat McKinley seem to think so.  McKinley worked for the city for over 15 years himself as Chief of Police, and Don Bankhead has been on the city council for over 22 years and also worked for Fullerton’s Police Dept. for many, many years before that.

Is Felz a good candidate for the job?  Maybe, but is he the best person we can get for the money?  We may never know, because two city insiders on the council want to hire another one for one of the highest paid and certainly the most powerful position in the city government.  Shouldn’t the city conduct a search to find the best candidates for such an important job?  They did for the Chief of Police position after McKinley retired from FPD.

Bankhead seems to be in a big hurry to hire Felz permanently because he is “a little tired of using the term acting city manager.”  Is it possible that Bankhead is just tired in general and doesn’t want to bother with a job search?  Don’t we deserve to know that our City Manager is the best person for the job, and not just the one that has been around for the longest amount of time and knows the most people?

On the Agenda: December 15th, 2009

City-Council-AgendaThe Fullerton City Council has just released their agenda for December 15, 2009 and it’s a fat package!

Something near and dear to me is baseball so I take a little more interest when the subject shows up on the agenda.  Item 2 of the closed session is a conference with the real property negotiator concerning 304 W. Commonwealth Avenue.  It would appear that the Orange County Flyers of Fullerton want to move to downtown Fullerton to be closer to City Hall.  In fact they want to have the baseball field across the street where many a young man played pony league baseball.   The Duane Winters Field just might be the sight of the next Golden Baseball League Championship.  In March 2007 the team gave up being the Fullerton Flyers because the new partners wanted to be more marketable.  Hmm, sounds like an Arty Moreno stunt!  So the changed to the Orange County Flyers.  I have a t-shirt that says “Top 10 Reason’s To Be a Fan: …Reason #4: They aren’t the L.A. Flyers of Fullerton.”  That’s true; they’re the O.C. Flyers.  So, will Parks and Rec Director, Joe Felz, give them the field?  We’ll see…

Also in the closed session is another real property whiz-bang.  Rob Zur Schmiede is working on 655 W. Valencia.  In 2007 this was a 63 unit condo by John Laing and the project was in plan check.  3+ years later, what could they be discussing?  Price and terms with C&C Development’s Barry Cottle, according to the agenda.

In the open session you can look forward to a presentation by MWD  and a few awards to people like Quirk-Silva, Dick Waltz, and – drum roll please – The Golden Bell Award, Fullerton Union High School District and (another drum roll please) Fullerton School District!  How ya like dem apples?

Make sure you fill out your blue card before you yell at the council – which you will want to do…

There are a few appointments being made to the Library Board of Trustees.  Your favorite Mayor, Don “Don’t Mess With Me” Bankhead and Shawn “See Ya Later Alligator” Nelson.  Their terms are to expire December 31, 2012 – if they last that long.

We have a busy consent calendar to cover so hang on tight.  In the mix is the amended landscaping ordinance, group insurance for city employees, the employee’s deferred compensation, more sewer replacement, a bunch of Redevelopment stuff, air pollution, SALE OF THE ORANGE COUNTY FAIR GROUNDS (seriously – item 11),  Raymond Avenue grade separation, Fire Management Association agreement, Bastanchury/Valencia Mesa bike path.  There is too much for me to cover here so I’ll expand a little on just a few.

First, there for Redevelopment.  Item 6’s title should tell you everything you need to know… “Redevelopment Agency’s Annual Determination That Planning And Administrative Expenses Are Necessary For The Production, Improvement, or Preservation of Low and Moderate Income Housing”.  Yep that’s all you need to know so don’t look into it or question it.  I suggest that if you ever had a beef with Redevelopment, this is a chance for you to SCREAM at your elected officials.  This “determination” is the justification for wasting your money.  Because if that isn’t enough reason, read item 7, the Redevelopment Agency’s annual report.  This the RA’s justification for existence to the State and Feds.  If it doesn’t dazzle you with brilliance, rest assured, it will baffle you with bullshit!

Ok, enough with the Redevelopment Agency, let’s get down to real business.  According to item 8, it’s time to modify the signals at Orangethorpe and Highland, as well as re-stripe the area and add some signs.

Air pollution shows up 9th on the list.  It’s actually a MSRC grant for $450,000 for a compressed natural gas station.  I wonder how much money we will throw at it to get the gas station operational.  How much will we sell the gas for?  Are there enough customers to make it profitable or are we, the tax payers, suppose to subsidize CNG vehicle owners?  I’m sure the details are all there waiting to be found.

Don Hoppe gets an appointment as the Public Works Dispute Hearing Officer.  Will he get paid extra for the job?

And then we have the Fairgrounds.  It appears that the council would like to request the Governator to not sell the O.C. Fairgrounds.  I’m sure Arnold will read the letter and quickly cancel the whole sale.

The Raymond Avenue Grade Separation is getting a change order for AECOM.  Their fee is $2,450,000.  It is unclear from the agenda or staff recommendation just how much the change order will cost us, if anything.   According to the recommendation, there is $63,739,000 for the project.  That’s a lot of money!

Skipping ahead to the Public Hearings we have some more Redevelopment doozies.  The first one, item 15, is for 524 and 530 S. Richman Avenue where the Olson Company wants to erect 34 moderate income housing units.  I believe the Honorable DR. Jones said we “…absolutely have to build these. It’s the law!”  Well, sort of…not really.

Also, item 16 is the Five-Year Implementation Plan for Redevelopment Agency.  The item is on the agenda so that a request can be made to have a public hearing on it and consider adopting the plan.  What a racket!

Here is an interesting one.  Item 17 is an appeal to install a nature/wildlife habitat along a portion of the Juanita Cooke Greenbelt (known to many who are not as up to date on official trail names as “The Equestrian Trail Behind the Court House that goes to Laguna Lake”).  After looking at what they wanted to do and where, I’m not sure why the City didn’t take advantage of the situation.  Here are a couple who want to improve the trail where it runs along their backyard.  They wanted to make it wilder (I guess) on the slope NEXT TO the path.  The fix could have been to enter into an agreement whereby they can install certain pre-approved plants in a pre-approved manner, the total costs of which would be paid by the applicant.  The City could have the homeowners maintain it until such time as the agreement is cancelled in which case the homeowners could be on the hook for removal/restoration costs.  The cop out from Parks that the trail has two paths and this would confuse people is silly.  Are people really that stupid?  Also, from what I have seen, the encroachment would be onto the slope.  I don’t think the mountain bikers are on the slopes nor are the walkers or horses.  So what’s the problem?

The city will also be looking at parking permit fees in certain areas. (See item 18)

Moving on to Regular Business (I said this was a big package), we have a few reports on the City’s financials as well as the Airport.  Also in the Regular Business is the Commission/Committee At-Large Appointment Process.

I urge you to read through all of the supporting documents for the agenda.  That is where you might find some nuggets of truth that should be brought forth.  I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to do it.  Thanks for reading and feel free to point out other topics that I missed or are important to you!


UPDATE: We are republishing this wonderful post by Fred Olmstead originally posted on February 21, 2009. We do so in order to highlight the fact that the park – suffering from real blight – is in the Redevelopment project area, and stands as yet another testament to the failure of Redevelopment. Sharon Quirk, are you reading this?

– The Fullerton Shadow


Loyal Friends of Fullerton’s Future, gather ‘round the cool glow of your computer terminals and follow a sad saga of miserable municipal negligence.

Located in the center of Fullerton is a resource of inestimable value, overlooked by almost everybody in and outside of City Hall: Hillcrest Park. Included in an early vision of the city it followed upon the City Beautiful, and natural urban park elements of the Progressive movement; and coincided nicely with the new auto culture of the 1920s, positioned as it was, along the original Highway 1.

Developed fully during the Depression in a rustic mode, the park soon after began a long decline into municipal irrelevance, and if anything, seemed to be perceived by many as a liability rather than a great asset.   This tragic trajectory is a shameful blot on Fullerton’s history and is akin to placing your eighty-five year old mother in a criminally negligent nursing home.

After Don Bankhead and Fullerton’s Finest chased out the acid-dropping hippies in the 1960s, the park became a haven for perverts; trees began to die and were not replaced; erosion claimed many of the north and west facing slopes and was not arrested; as the infrastructure crumbled it was replaced by City Engineer Hugh Berry with incongruous cinder block walls and concrete light poles.

In the mid-1990s Redevelopment Director Gary Chalupsky, in a philanthropic mood, decided that Redevelopment funds could be used to address Hillcrest Park issues – the first official over-the-shoulder glance toward the park in years.

And here, dear Friends, the story turns from a chronicle of benign neglect to one of outright incompetence and, one might plausibly argue, a form of bureaucratic malevolence.

In 1996 the usual scoping/charette pantomime was performed with an historic park landscape architect, specially imported from Riverside. An odd thing happened: every time the consultant prepared a list of priorities for the park, the Community Services Department’s wishes kept getting pushed to the top. The Director of Community Services was Susan Hunt, a woman long known for her mindless turf battles with her constituents – (including the Isaak Walton Cabin in Hillcrest). Hunt was determined to hijack the process and divert resources from where they were needed to facilities that she and her department could control and perhaps even profit from.

Hunt was successful. The consultant, knowing whom it was important to please, seemed only too happy to abet the fraud that was perpetrated. The city council (including current Jurassic members Bankhead and Jones) went along. Chris Norby was there, too. Now he’s in charge of the County’s parks.

A new playground replaced the old one in the Lemon parking area even though no one had complained about the existing one that parents seemed to like. More egregious still, a new facility (known as Hillcrest Terrace) was built behind the Veteran’s building that could be rented out for social functions. But the real needs of the park – slope stabilization, plant cataloguing and replacement, the removal of inappropriate elements – went unaddressed – and the problems have continued unabated to this day, ten years later, as interest in the park waned again.

Last fall the City once again roused itself from its somnolence and created an ad hoc committee to consider issues related to Hillcrest Park. The time is, perhaps, propitious. Susan Hunt has disappeared into an overdue and well-compensated retirement, current Director Joe Felz is much more amenable to citizen input. It’s time to reclaim this park.

Hillcrest is still in the Redevelopment Area and remains affected by indisputable blight. This should become a priority for Redevelopment Director Rob Zur Schmied.

While we wonder if the Hillcrest Park committee will actually display the necessary independence from staff manipulation, and that they possess the necessary technical abilities, we wish them well. And we encourage citizens to make sure that this time any assessment of Hillcrest will objectively address the needs of the park and report directly to the City Council. Recommendations should be included in the City’s Capital Budget.

Hillcrest Park can and must return to being the crown jewel of Fullerton’s parks.