Posts Tagged Jones and Mayer

Fullerton v. FFFF – New Judge, New Court Dates

OC Superior Court in Santa Ana

Things just keep on moving in the legal battles between us and Fullerton.

Yesterday the Hon. Judge Lee ruled that our two cases, Joshua Ferguson v. Fullerton and Fullerton v. FFFF, Joshua Ferguson, et al are related in response to our request for such a ruling.

As such we will no longer be gracing Judge Lee’s courtroom in Department C31 on 27 February 2019.

Currently we have a Status Conference regarding the City suing us on 12 Dec & a Case Management Conference on my Writ of Mandate case on 16 Dec in front of the Hon. Judge James Crandall in Department C33.

OC Superior Court Related Cases Dec2019

For context we argued, and the city opposed, the point that these two cases are related owing to them involving the same parties and general facts:

“[T]he two actions are based on similar claims, arise from the same transactions and events, and require the determination of substantially identical questions of law and fact. The CPRA lawsuit alleges that the City has improperly withheld records it claims are confidential or exempt from disclosure. The City’s lawsuit claims that in the process of responding to Defendants’ CPRA requests, it placed confidential or exempt information on its website, www.cityoffullerton.com/outbox. In both cases, the City has the burden to show that the documents are confidential.”

We’re of the opinion that the city’s case against myself and this blog is retaliatory owing to the fact that the city waited months to file their case and only did so AFTER I filed my Public Records lawsuit.

The city claims they waited to “secure their network” which is utter nonsense considering their own experts, in their own declaration, stated that the city needed approximately 30 days for the company Glass Box to fix their network (not Dropbox) vulnerability. Yet the city sent their original Cease & Desist email on 14 June, their letter to our attorney Kelly Aviles on 17 July and then they waited an additional 99 days to file their lawsuit against us on 24 Oct.

That’s a lot more than the 30 days recommended by Glass Box and sure is convenient timing. It’s even more convenient that the City had to vote “again” on 19 November “in an effort to clarify any Brown Act violations” when they refused to report out about their alleged vote back in September that Whitaker denies even took place.

I will be very surprised it the city does not attempt to appeal this decision to link the cases.

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Fullerton v FFFF – Fullerton’s Small Loss & Big Costs

OC Superior Court in Santa Ana

Yesterday Kimberly Barlow with Jones & Mayer, on behalf of the City of Fullerton, asked the Hon. Richard Y. Lee to change the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against myself and this blog. An exhibit to said TRO was NOT INCLUDED when the Judge signed the original order and Jones & Mayer wanted to substitute the list of files we were originally told we couldn’t publish, share or delete with a shiny new list that allegedly only included private records. Read about that issue in our previous post [HERE].

The judge denied Ms. Barlow’s ex parte request. While Judge Lee agreed he had authority to change the TRO, he wasn’t going to do so as he didn’t believe it was necessarily the “clerical error” Fullerton’s attorney was claiming. Chalk up yet another loss for Jones & Mayer.

During the hearing Ms. Barlow took umbrage with our opposition paperwork, specifically the part about costs. Here’s the relevant part from our opposition (emphasis added, linked [HERE]):

Finally, filing of the anti-SLAPP motion by the Defendants within a week of the date this lawsuit was filed, halts proceedings so that Defendants and the Court are not burdened by the time and ever-increasing costs incurred in response to a frivolous lawsuit.

Yet, at present, the Defendants have been required to incur the expense of filing multiple briefs, a writ petition, numerous objections, last week’s court appearance, and are now must oppose on the City’s ex parte request to reconsider a restraining order, a request this Court has already rejected. Currently, Defendants have incurred nearly $100,000 in legal fees, which despite the pending SLAPP motion, are continuing to increase.This is exactly the point of SLAPP suits: To discourage public participation by running up litigation expenses, even though the City’s suit is completely meritless.

Ms. Barlow didn’t understand how it could possibly cost so much to fight her nonsense. She claimed it couldn’t cost so much to fight a TRO that in her words had no effect because the exhibit listing the files had been left off.

How could it cost so much? Gee. I wonder.

Perhaps if the City Attorney didn’t co-mingle everything up to and including billable hours she would understand how every time our attorney responds to the City’s paperwork, filings, declarations (alone totaling 21 and counting with 4 declarations from Strebe, 3 from Klein and so on and so forth), it costs money. There are more pages in those declarations than the first two Harry Potter novels combined. Plus every time our attorney has to read an email, field a phone call, talk to media on our behalf and show up to court, it costs us money. Every time the City does something, she informs us, which costs us money. And on and on.

We’re a month into this process, with three months to go before the anti-SLAPP motion, and we’re already staring down $100k. Imagine the bill when the dust settles. If our ONE attorney is racking up billable hours responding to the city’s filings, one can only imagine the costs being incurred over at Jones & Mayer in creating all of that paper they’re attempting to bury us under each day.

Yesterday, three weeks after getting it, Ms. Barlow went to court to argue that the TRO she demanded, received and then we had stayed, is incomplete. This mistake, which Barlow blames on the court, led to that hearing. Her appearance as well as our attorney’s appearance is costing billable hours and somebody is going to have to pay the piper.

We’re betting it’ll be the taxpayers.

As always we’ll keep you posted as to the details of this case as they happen.

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Who’s Full of it? Whitaker or the City Attorney?

Bruce Whitaker Voice of OC

We’ve made it onto the Voice of OC again. The newest story [HERE] revolves around a fundamental problem with government secrecy – you never know who’s telling the truth after something nefarious happens.

According to City Attorney The Other Dick Jones™, the City Council voted in closed session back on 17 September to sue us for allegedly clicking links.

Council Member Bruce Whitaker, mind you, claims that no such vote happened back in September.

Only one of them can be telling the truth and with history as our guide we know where to place our bets.

To bolster their claims of a vote in September the City “cured” their illegal Brown Act violation two weeks ago on 05 November by allegedly re-voting to sue us 4-1 (Whitaker dissenting). But did they ever actually vote back in September or is that just a ruse being cooked up to make their case against us look less retaliatory?

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Fullerton Stopped Us From Publishing Public Records

OCR- Top of the Fold

Fullerton is headed back to court tomorrow to try and fix what it claims is a “clerical error” in their Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against us here at FFFF. The TRO that’s already in front of the Court of Appeals and has mostly been stayed. The meat here is that the City Attorney did not incorporate into the TRO the list of files we’re alleged to have “hacked” by clicking links the city gave out to the world.

To try and fix their mistake, the City’s attorneys are running back to court to get the TRO fixed. This is all a part of their quest to search our digital lives to see if we have files they themselves admit they put on the internet.

For those just catching up, the core of the city’s illegal SLAPP case is that the public can only access information on the City’s website that the City has sent you a link and express permission to access/download.

This is preposterous and amounts to me calling you, dear reader, a “thief” and “hacker” if you click the “Contact” link on this page without me giving you express permission to click it despite me inviting you onto this page. This idiocy, if allowed to stand in court, will break the internet as we know it.

But in true Fullerton fashion it gets better.

You see, when the city was rushing to stomp on our First Amendment rights (despite Jan Flory expecting that to get struck down and Bruce Whitaker claiming there was no vote to do so at all), they couldn’t even be bothered to check their work. This is the list of files in question according to the City and the files we were restrained (gagged) from publishing or sharing:

TROed Public Records

Those red arrows are files that the City claims are public records disclosed as part of records requests according to the declaration of Mea Klein. You can likely spot other obvious public records on your own.

In other words – the city got a court to stop us from publishing and sharing records they themselves claim are public. Files the clerk’s office released to members of the public.

Let us contrast that with the City’s argument where they claim we should have known which files/folders on the city’s Dropbox account were public versus private before allegedly accessing anything. The City Attorney, as evidenced by this exhibit of their own creation, can’t discern public from allegedly private files. They not only admit to co-mingling files they have a legal duty to keep confidential with documents they have a legal duty to share with the public but they did it again in their TRO against us.

Allow me to repeat this very important point:

At the behest of our City Council, the City Attorney actually convinced a court to restrain us from publishing and sharing things they themselves admit are public records.

One might expect a little more due diligence when working to step on the First Amendment. We’ll see what the judge says tomorrow regarding this TRO update and we’ll keep you posted as this case continues.

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Jan Flory Knowingly Voted Against the 1st Amendment

JanFlory-Official

It’s not often that a sitting politician admits to violating the rights of the people but we’re seeing a lot of firsts here in Fullerton lately and the issue of ethics is no different.

Let us start by reminding the class that councilwoman Jan Flory is only currently on council because Ahmad Zahra sold out in record time and put her there. Despite Zahra’s peacocking and preening as a man of ethics and great concern for the Constitution and voting rights – he showed us early on that he’s an empty suit.

Now in an amusing twist of events it turns out that not only did Zahra and the council vote to kick our 1st Amendment rights in the teeth – his appointee Flory knew that what they were doing wasn’t going to hold up in the courts.

In a recent article [HERE] in the Voice of OC, Councilwoman Jan Flory said the following (emphasis added):

Councilwoman Jan Flory said while she respects the First Amendment, the privacy of city employees is also at stake. Like Whitaker, she said she couldn’t speak about the legal advice given to the Council during closed session.

I think that First Amendment rights trump everything else, but I believe that Kim Barlow has done a good job in that the city also wants to protect Mr. Ferguson’s First Amendment rights,” said Flory in a Nov. 8 phone interview.

She said the First Amendment isn’t the core issue.

“That’s not what’s at issue here. What’s at issue is he (Ferguson) obtained records that are private,” Flory said. “Or have some implications concerning the confidentiality of our city employees as well as members of the public.”

Flory also expected the publication gag order to get blocked, at least temporarily, she said.

“Was I shocked by it? No, not at all,” Flory said.

So Jan Flory, as a lawyer, expected the gag order to get blocked?

On what grounds could it possibly be blocked? On 1st Amendment grounds, perhaps?

Why? Because the gag order against publishing was and is an illegal prior restraint against the 1st Amendment and as a lawyer Jan Flory might be familiar with this particular point.

Now according to The Other Dick Jones™ at the last council meeting the entire council, Flory included, voted for this 1st Amendment violating gag order back in September despite Flory expecting it to be shot down.

There you have it folks.

Jan Flory “thinks that First Amendment rights trump everything else” but that didn’t stop her from voting to put the boot of government on the throat of OUR 1st Amendment rights when it suited the CYA needs of the city.

While fully expecting the courts to slap the city’s illegal SLAPP lawsuit/TRO – she voted against the 1st Amendment on 17 September 2019 and then did it again on 05 November 2019. I’m sorry Jan, but your postulating about the importance of the 1st Amendment is meaningless when you yourself voted against Freedom of the Press not once but twice.

You care about the 1st Amendment?

SureJan

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Joshua Speaks about Fullerton v FFFF Lawsuit

Joshua Voice of OC

Photo by JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

I’ve been pretty quiet since the City of Fullerton decided to sue me, David Curlee and this blog. We were under a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) so knowing what I could and could not post was up for legal debate. Yet at the same time the TRO was active, the City Attorney, Kim Barlow, was out in the open calling us hackers and thieves to our friends, neighbors and the world at large.  Yay illegal prior restraints in violation of the 1st Amendment.

The basic issue here is that City Hall screwed up and then decided to smear and scapegoat us to cover their own bureaucratic hindquarters.

To this end they hired some experts to bloviate about BS in an attempt to confuse people and obscure the truth about what is actually being alleged against us and City Council bought it hook, line and sinker.

The ink on the City’s Press Release hit-piece was barely dry before The Fullerton Observer uncritically reprinted it and in an effort to attempt cover the story they brought in their own “expert” who copy and pasted the City’s nonsense in order to paint us as hackers and villains with malicious intentions and evil schemes.

But now I’ll tell you what is actually being alleged; The City is alleging that we went to it’s website and clicked links.

That’s it.

All of their preening about VPNs/TOR, link hashes, network security – All Of It – is a smokescreen. Despite the nonsense about needing to delay the lawsuit to secure the city’s network, the city never alleges that the their network was ever breached or hacked.

The real meat and substance of their argument and allegations is that we “exceeded authorized access” and are therefore “thieves” and “hackers” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

We allegedly “exceeded access” because they say we went to a link on the city’s own website, a link they themselves claim that they told us about, and allegedly clicked on files and folders they put there for the whole world to see plain as day. The argument is that we should have known better and shouldn’t have clicked on the files they put on the internet at the website they told us about. That is literally their allegations. That’s it.

We’re apparently supposed to have known what a $1Million+/year worth of government employees & lawyers didn’t know – that some files the city put online shouldn’t have been accessible from the city’s own website.

To bypass the obvious First Amendment issues in this lawsuit and to obtain their TRO the city made the claim that we accessed files that contain privileged medical records of police and their families, etc.

This is why they claim to have needed the prior restraint against us publishing data – to mitigate financial risks to the city. But there is no evidence this blog has published any such information made in the city’s grand accusations. Information, mind you, that the City themselves claim to have put on the internet for the entire world to access. By their logic we shouldn’t be allowed to do as journalists what they themselves have already admitted to doing as incompetents.

The City is trying to unring a bell here and blaming those who allegedly heard it instead of admitting they caused the commotion when they bonked their own heads.

Even if what the city alleges is true, that we allegedly went to the city’s own website and clicked links, the liability and financial risks to the city are of their own doing by their own admissions. It is not the responsibility of journalists or even the public to safeguard the city’s corruption and secrecy after the city itself has put it on display for the entire world.

To call the allegation that we went to their website and clicked links “hacking” and “stealing” is absurd. To demand myself, David Curlee, my former co-worker, this blog at large and unnamed Does 1-50 turn over our entire digital lives (phones, computers, hard drives, flash drives, CDs/DVDs, etc) to the city to cure this alleged link clicking is ludicrous on top of the absurd. And frankly it’s insulting and malicious.

Fullerton is rotten to the core when it actively buries misconduct by employees and officers but attacks bloggers & journalists for revealing truths. That our council would vote 5-0 to pursue this lawsuit and then vote 4-1 to continue it says a lot about our supposed leadership.

Thankfully the TRO was stayed by the Appellate Court and we are free to resume publishing. This is going to continue at least until 21 November and we’ll keep you posted as to the status of this ridiculous lawsuit.

Meanwhile I’m now out of a job thanks to this lawsuit while bills and attorney fees stack up. A good friend and all around great guy, Erik Wehn, set up a GoFundMe account and I’ll incur his wrath if I don’t mention it [HERE] so there it is and thank you to all of the people who have supported myself and this blog financially, emotionally and spiritually in these trying times. Sincerely thank you.

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Reporters Committee on Press Freedom Files Amicus Supporting FFFF

On Sunday, 03 November 2019, the Reporters Committee on Press Freedom released an article [HERE] outlining their read on the case against us. They see the overreach and concern to journalists being posed by Fullerton’s read on the law.

“The prior restraint sought here is, of course, concerning. But this is the first case we’re aware of where the computer crime laws have been misused so brazenly against members of the news media. First, the conduct alleged — accessing publicly available documents over the public internet — is clearly not hacking. A court finding that accessing publicly available documents over the public internet constitutes hacking would pose serious concerns for data journalists.”

Two days later, 05 Nov, the same day the City Council voted 4-1 to continue the lawsuit against this blog and two of your humble friends, the RCPF filed an amicus brief supporting us in our appeals court effort to overturn the Temporary Restraining Order issued against us.

You can read the entire RCFP Amicus Brief [HERE]. Some highlights are as follows.

The allegations:

“The essence of the City’s allegations in this case is that bloggers reporting on newsworthy matters of clear public interest (namely, potential government misconduct) violated federal and state hacking laws by accessing information that was made available online by the City to all the world. The City claims it is entitled not only to an extraordinary prior restraint on publication but also damages, in part for claims against the City for breach of confidentiality caused by the City’s own cybersecurity lapses.”

This was not hacking:

“If Amicus’s reading of the declaration of the City’s information technology expert is correct, one did not even need a username or password to access files in the Dropbox account maintained by the City, in which it commingled allegedly sensitive and privileged information with material that it affirmatively invited public records requesters to download.”

The theft from a “house” analogy doesn’t work:

“A public website, including the Dropbox account here, is not like a “house.” When an entity chooses to make information available to the public on the internet, without a technical access restriction like a password, that information can legally be accessed by anyone.”

VPNs/TOR are industry practice:

“It is true that the use of a VPN and Tor serves to protect user anonymity, and that “even some journalists routinely use” them. Id. Indeed, the use of such services is not only commonplace among journalists—it is a recommended industry practice.”

“Everyone should be using encrypted services and applications to protect their communications. In fact, in 2017, the American Bar Association’s Committee on Ethics and Legal Responsibility recommended that lawyers use “high level encryption” or other “strong protective measures” to protect sensitive client information.”

Read the whole thing, it’s worth it. We’ll bring more updates as they happen.

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Fullerton Retaliates, Threatens Family to Cover for Bad Cops

For some lawyers, every problem is a nail. Don’t like what you see? Take it personally and swing a hammer as hard as you possibly can. Damn the consequences and damn the people involved, what matters is your pride and smiting that heretical nail.

Unfortunately for Fullerton taxpayers, that’s exactly the mentality of the legal wunderkind at Jones and Mayer. Annoy the city and get the legal equivalent of “See these fists? They’re getting ready to fuck you up.” We all know how well that strategy of bullying and brunt stupidity worked out for all of us the last time around. Yet here we are, repeating history, and somehow expecting a different result.

Many of you wonder why the many writers associated with this humble blog post under fake names. Some of us own property, some of us have kids, some of us have parents in Fullerton, and some of us own businesses in town. All of us have been threatened by city employees as a result of our participation in local politics. Most of us don’t want to have our lives turned upside down because we want the city to fix potholes instead of covering for employees who lie, cheat, steal, and occasionally beat members of the public. A few of us are made of tougher stuff and attach the real and personal consequences of speaking up for the public to their livelihood. Sometimes it’s a black sedan parked across the street from your house, sometimes it’s a little something special left in your trash can, others it’s anonymous letters sent to clients and employers, and for some (now former) contributors to this blog it’s literally two men dressed in black wearing a silver badge showing up on your doorstep at 11pm telling you and your wife it’s time to leave town. Most of you won’t believe any of that, but to one degree or another, every single one of us had something occur within six months of criticising a member of city council or a senior employee at the city or union. Fullerton plays for keeps, so keep your mouth shut or bad things will happen.

Why? Because if voters really understood that brass at FPD really do intimidate submitters of official complaints from women sexually assaulted by officers, really do lie under oath to protect those on their side of the thin blue line, and really do withhold backup from officers who report evil cops to internal affairs, they’d revolt and throw enablers like Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory, Doug Chaffee, and the recalled bald tires out of town on a rail. While the abuse at the fire department and non-public safety positions is comparatively much less severe, we still have evidence of employees drinking on the job, destroying city assets, stealing property, and using their official capacity to profit both on and off the taxpayer clock. This stuff literally happens every single month and FFFF is the only local information provider willing to publish accounts exposing just how bad things are.

Want to know why our roads look like shit? Well, read the archive. You’re not dealing with decision makers who are pure as the driven snow. They have a vested personal monetary and political interest to keep the public in the dark.

So, I put it to you reader. If you were a city official wanting to keep the voters in the dark, what’s the best way to make sure facts, accounts, or even just rumors make their way out into the public for consumption?

Clean up the city? Stop the lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people?

Come clean and ask for forgiveness? Simply tell the truth about lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people?

What about just locking it down and staying quiet. Just don’t acknowledge the lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, or beating of people?

Nope.

Fullerton goes with it’s version “WE ARE SPARTA!” method of attacking the messenger. Don’t like that your lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing and beating of people is getting out in public? Break the knees of anyone telling that story and your problem gets solved real quick. After all, if it fails, it’s not like you’re going to jail for wrecking someone’s life.

Last week, one of our writers Joshua Ferguson, announced he had filed suit to get access to documents Fullerton is legally required to produce concerning city employees lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people. Guess what FFFF received a week later as a direct consequence of standing up to the entrenched and belligerent interests at city hall?

That’s right, two of our named authors are being sued. Along with an employer.

Why? Because the city knows exactly what will happen. Screw mortgage payments, screw tuition bills, and screw putting food on the table: You didn’t shut up when we told you to, so now we’re doing to take your whole fucking life away because we can. Enjoy these fists fucking you up. Good-bye paycheck and hello desperation.

In the end, perhaps the court will see this isn’t even a thinly veiled attempt to attack the public’s right to know, free speech, and the fundamental precept that the government shouldn’t use its resources to go about wrecking lives. If that happens, it will be years or months from now, you will pay the bill, and the damage caused by Jones and Mayer swinging their hammer will be done. This blog has 3236 articles and counting. Hundreds of news stories emanating from bad things at city hall were broken here. All of that threatens to come to an end because our writers won’t risk being attacked by the local powers at be for telling the truth.

Be that as it may reader, remember this: Your roads look like shit because people like Jennifer Fitzgerald and those who support her would rather spend her time attacking messengers and threatening families than make hard choices about how big the raises should be for those who endorse her campaigns for office.

This is your Fullerton. If the endless supply of stories concerning lying, cheating, stealing, pussy grabbing, and beating of people hasn’t gotten your attention yet, maybe this latest round of intimidation will. In the meantime, your roads are as shitty today as they were yesterday, and they’ll still be shitty tomorrow when this lawsuit moves forward.

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Breaking News: Fullerton Threatens Local Blog – Again

The city is threatening to sue us… again.

Let’s have a look at the newest letter from the city (PDF HERE) before getting into why this is happening:

Dear Ms. Aviles:

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

As legal counsel for the City of Fullerton, I write, pursuant to California Government Code section 6204 et seq., to notify you, as legal counsel to the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future (FFFF) blog, that the City of Fullerton has reasonable grounds to believe that owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the FFFF blog are in unlawful possession of records belonging to the City of Fullerton. The records were taken and used by FFFF blog owner(s) and/or operator(s) without the City’s authorization and fall within the definition of “record” under California Government Code Section 6204(a)(2), as well as the definition of “public records” under California Government Code § 6252(e), and are described as follows:

Any and all records obtained from the City of Fullerton’s Dropbox account (https://cityoffullerton.com/outbox) that were not directly provided by the City to Joshua Ferguson or any of FFFF’s agents or associates through an emailed link, including, but not limited to, records contained in a folder named “prl 919 – Josh Ferguson.”

Therefore, pursuant to Govemmentt Code section 6204, within twenty (20) calendar days of receiving this notice, the owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog are hereby directed to either:

  1. (1)  Return the above-referenced records to the City of Fullerton, as previously requested; or
  2. (2)  Respond in writing and declare why the above-referenced records do not belong to the City of Fullerton. Ifthe owner(s) and/or operator(s) of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog do not deliver the above-described records, or do not respond adequately to this notice and its demand within the required time, we will immediately thereafter petition the Superior Court of Orange County for an order requiring the return of these records.

We further note that the FFFF blog has posted many of the confidential City documents after receipt of our office’s June 13, 2019 cease-and-desist email. (A copy of that email is enclosed herein). Many, if not all, of the confidential City records posted to the FFFF blog are explicitly exempted from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, would not have been provided to Mr. Ferguson or FFFF agents or associates in response to a Public Records Act request, and could only have been obtained without the City’s express authorization. Such records posted to the FFFF blog are confidential and exempt from disclosure pursuant to the following authorities:

  • “Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(a);
  • “Records pertaining to pending litigation to which the public agency is a party, or to claims made pursuant to Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810), until the pending litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(b);
  • “Personnel, medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(c);
  • Law enforcement investigative records. Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(f); and
  • “Records, the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law, including, but not limited to, provisions of the Evidence Code relating to privilege.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(k), which includes the following privileges:

o Attorney-client privileged records. Cal. Evid. Code 950 et seq.; Roberts v. City of Palmdale, 5 Cal. 4th 363 (1993);

o Attorney work product. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2018.010 et seq.;
o Peace officer personnel records. Cal. Penal Code § 832.7 et seq.; and o Confidential closed session information. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54963.

FFFF’s unauthorized access and misuse of the City’s clearly privileged and exempted documents constitute a violation of California Penal Code section 502, which grants civil remedies (including compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and potential punitive damages) to any persons or entities injured by any violations thereof. See Cal. Pen. Code § 502(c), (e).

As such, unless FFFF complies with the demands set forth in the City’s June 13, 2019 cease and desist letter within 24 hours, the City will have no choice but to pursue all criminal and civil remedies available to it under the law.

Bruce A. Lindsay

Fullerton Cease and Desist 2 Page 01 Fullerton Cease and Desist 2 Page 02

What is this all about?

For those in the cheap seats we at Friends For Fullerton’s Future broke news story after new story by publishing documents that the city didn’t want disclosed and tying those documents to local events and items of public interest. Those stories include, but are not limited to:

The city settling with a police officer to sidestep disclosure laws regarding police misconduct.

The results of a Body Worn Camera audit for a School Resource Police Officer who had, what appears to be, child pornography on his (or perhaps department issued) cell phone.

An insurance payout for an accident that destroyed a city vehicle.

Likely fraud by city employees costing over $50,000 worth of waste/theft.

Possible Accounting fraud within the city budget used to hide salary costs.

A city council member specifically targeting one businesses.

Massive Police Overtime abuse that went on for 6 years.

Evidence that the city is lying and violating the California Public Records Act.

And more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more, and more and more.

In short, they’re mad that we’re doing what journalists are supposed to do daily. We’re using information to piece together stories in order to inform the public.

These latest threats are meant to serve as a chilling effect to silence people who would dare impugn the character of Fullerton with facts the city wants obscured. I’m hesitant to head to city hall or go to council meetings lately knowing that the city is targeting me personally for the use of free speech on this news site / blog. And that’s really the point of these types of threats – to silence dissenters.

How will we respond to this latest salvo by the city? I reckon we’ll confer with our legal counsel and act accordingly.

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Fullerton’s City Prosecutor Threatened Me

Idiot Palmer is on the right

Thanks to our friend and contributor Lonnie Machin’s recent posts on this blog, the City of Fullerton has decided to send a Cease and Desist letter threatening me and “Friends for Fullerton [sic]” with legal action.

Cease and Desist - June 2019

The letter in it’s entirety is as follows:

Joshua Ferguson
Friends for Fullerton
Re: Cease and Desist – City of Fullerton Police Department

Dear Mr. Ferguson,

It has come to the attention of the City of Fullerton that you have recently published on your website documents which have clearly and undoubtedly been sourced from the confidential personnel files of several current and/or former Fullerton Police Officers. The State of California has statutorily recognized this right of confidentiality. (See Penal Code §§ 832.5, 832.7 and 832.8.) Any disclosure of such confidential records is strictly limited and must be authorized by a court order from a Superior Court judge. (See Evidence Code §§ 1043-1047; Pitchess v. Superior Court(1974) 11 Cal.3d 531 and its progeny.) Indeed, the Fullerton Police Department has an affirmative duty to resist attempts at unauthorized disclosure and the officers who are the subject of such records expect their right of privacy will be respected. (See Craig v. Municipal Court for the Inglewood Judicial District et al. (1979) 100 Cal.App.3d 69.) Finally, the improper disclosure of such records is prosecutable as a misdemeanor violation of law under Government Code section 1222 (See Attorney General Opinion, 82 Op. Att’y Gen. 246 (1999).) Any person facilitating the illegal disclosure of such documents in violation of the law may be prosecuted as either a principal in that crime or as an aider and abettor.

For all these reasons the City of Fullerton demands you immediately:

1. Remove these Confidential Documents from Your Blog within one hour of your receipt of this e-mailed cease and desist letter;

2. Refrain from posting any other Confidential Documents illegally obtained to Your Blog in the future:

3. That you immediately send to our office within 24 hours all Confidential Documents you and your employees have in your possession. You are also instructed not to make any copies of the Confidential Documents in any form (including but not limited to electronic, imaged, hard copies, etc.)

3. That you immediately delete all electronic copies of the Confidential Documents in your and your employees’ possession.

Your failure to follow these instructions can result in legal action being taken against Friends for Fullerton’s Future wherein the City will seek all necessary legal remedies.

We require your immediate compliance with this cease and desist letter. Notify the undersigned of your compliance with the above within 24 hours of your receipt of this correspondence.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Gregory P. Palmer
City Prosecutor
City of Fullerton

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