Okay we bought this gift in 2008, and we’ve already given it to you a couple of times, but like my former landlord used to say all the time: “still good!”
Here is one of our first pieces of anti-Dick Jones propaganda from the 2008 clowncil campaign. It really is still good. We took some grief from the staus quo lackeys and defenders like Sharon Kennedy, who actually went on to endorse this jackass; and from the 2009 Fringie award-winner Frank Mickadeit who was too busy ass-kissing Repuglican ass to acknowledge the problem of Doc Heehaw’s gaping, deep-fried brayings.
Anyway, enjoy this brilliant piece of political invective that uses the target’s own febrile rants as the basis of its humor.
As you Friends may well imagine, this category is chock-full of worthy nominees. In fact, choosing them was a real challenge. 2009 was an excellent year for journalistic incompetence, and our nominees each qualified for slightly different reasons. The nominees for Least Distinguished “Journalist” are:
1. Sharon Kennedy. She is nominated for her reprehensible tactic of forwarding Chris Norby’s anti-Redevelopment essays on to City Hall, where a staffer wrote responses and Don Bankhead, between pudding breaks, signed them. Hardly the actions of a responsible journalist. Which is why we put the word in quotation marks in our title.
2. Barbara Giasone. Barbara distinguished herself last year by snagging the coveted Wurlitzer Prize. This year she earns a Fringie nomination by an entire year’s worth of vapid vacuity. Just think of it. The Earth has accomplished a full orbit of the Sun and Babs has not made a single journalist contribution to the folks of Fullerton. An accomplishment crying out for recognition.
3. Frank Mickadeit. This homunculus receives his nomination for outstanding and relentless ass-kissing of the Repuglican elite – formerly people like Mike Carona, but this year Ackerman, Inc., as he slavishly passed along all of Dick Ackerman’s bullshit to the dwindling number of OC Register readers.
4. Lastly, lets not forget Mickadeit’s Register colleague Martin Wisckol, who seems to suffer from the same sick infatuation with the Repuglican clique’s collective posterior that infects Mickadeit. This year Wisckol distinguished himself by acting as Ackerman, Inc. press agent, doing so from the very beginning of the Ackerwoman scampaign. Our intrepid reporter even contacted the Ackerwoman in France as soon as the Duvall deal went down. Later he passed along her lame “businesswoman” resume as a matter of fact, not invention. Suspicious minds smelled collusion. Suspicious minds were right.
For dyed-in-the-wool government apologists like Dick Jones, Jan Flory, Dick Ackerman, Sharon Kennedy, Don Bankhead, et al., Redevelopment blunders are conveniently overlooked, when possible; when not possible, some lame defense is mounted, such as: mistakes were made (passive voice obligatory) but we learned and moved on; hindsight is 20/20 (Molly McClanahan’s motto vivendi); the problem was not too much Redevelopment, but too little!
But when any reasonable person contemplates the collection of Redevelopment disasters along Harbor Blvd. between Valencia Drive and the old Union Pacific overpass, the only conclusion he or she could draw is that the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency should have been shuttered years ago, and the perpetrators of the manifest failures crowded onto a small raft and set adrift with the Japanese Current.
We have already described in nauseating detail the “Paseo Park” debacle; and the Allen Hotel fiasco; we haven’t yet had time to talk about the “El Sombrero” pocket park give away (we will).
But instead of wasting too many perfectly good words, we will share with you Friends a Redevelopment pictorial essay with just a little piquant commentary.
First there’s the strip center known as Gregg’s Plaza. Brick veneer, of course. Even the veneer is so disgusted it’s trying to jump off the building.
Across the street is the Allen Furniture Store. When they got their rehab loan somebody forgot to tell them that a storefront is a storefront – not a jailhouse. So why are there bars on the dinky little windows? And pink stucco?
Jumping back across the street we re-introduce ourselves to the egregious Allen Hotel, perhaps the biggest Redevelopment boondoggle of all, a mess that we have already admirably documented, here. As we noted then, the add-on was unspeakably awful (and expensive). The front is, well, pretty awful, too.
What was sold, in part, as an “historic preservation” project ended up violating just about every standard in the book. The original windows were ripped out and replaced with vinyl sashes; the transoms were destroyed and replaced with sheets of plastic and surface applied strips supposed to simulate leaded glass.
Across Harbor we discover the “El Sombrero Plaza,” another sock in the face to any Fullerton windshield tourist. Forget the stupidity of the sideways orientation and the Mission Revival On Acid stylings (which attain a kind of crazy Mariachi deliciousness); this development included the give away of part the adjacent public green space so they have parking for a restaurant. The owner never did develop a restaurant, of course (more on that story later).
And finally we come to exhausted collapse at another one of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency’s low points. And by low point we mean the complete, unmitigated disaster of the Union Pacific Park, ably chronicled here; and in a whole series here, here, and here.
The poisoned park: dead as a doornail. An aesthetic, pratical, and policy disaster. And no one has ever stood up to take responsibility for the total waste of millions of dollars.
Well, there you have it, Friends. Redevelopment in action; Redevelopment creating blight, not eradicating it. No accountability. None. Zero. Zilch. And some people wonder why FFFF has sued to keep Redevelopment from expanding.
Like any good American, I am a staunch advocate for “TURNS”. And as Fullerton’s #1 Freedom Fighter, Sharon Kennedy points out; Pam Keller may not get hers as Mayor. Being moved nearly to tears by this development, I went straight to work statistically verifying this horrible state of affairs. Specifically, that women are not as likely to be given their TURN as Mayor as the men! What salacious form of woman-hating is this? So in support of Sharon and Pam, I ran the numbers…
Dating back to Mayor Charles Chapman in 1902, 44% of Fullerton’s Male City Council Members have had their turn as Mayor. And, only 75% of our Female Council Members have had their turn. So, clearly, discrimination is rampa….what? Let me double check these figures:
35 male mayors/80 male council members = 44%.
6 female mayors/ 8 female council members = 75%
Ummm….well, let me check the numbers just since the first female council member Frances Wood (pause to bow head) was elected in 1970:
13 male mayors/17male council members = 77%
6 female mayors/ 8 female council members = 75%
I KNEW IT!!! Discrimination IS rampant in Fullerton!
But wait… dialing the Observer…
“Sharon, CT here. We have a problem. If the Fullerton School District’s Collaborative Director gets elected Mayor that will mean that 88% of Fullerton’s female council members will have been elected as Mayor and only 77% of men…
…what’s that?….NO, that’s only since 1970 when there HAVE been women on the council.
What? Bury it??? Yeah…yeah….that’s what we should do. People will just forget that we ever brought it up. God you’re brilliant Sharon!”
A new month, the same old weeping by the Fullerton Observer about how the good ol’ boys are keeping poor Pam Keller from her entitlement to be mayor when the next term starts. It’s not fair! Not fair!
(Ed. – Never a word about Keller’s dismal votes on massive projects or her unique working relationship with FSD/Fullerton Collaborative, but that’s another story.)
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the person who is entitled to be mayor is the council person who can get two other people on the council to vote for him. Pretty simple. Nothing else really matters.
The author of this indignant drivel lays out a conspiracy tale of events behind the scenes to keep a Democrat out of the presiding chair; and as usual the plot centers around Shawn Nelson, without whom the Observer would have a lot less to natter on about. Ironically the tangled web includes Observer favorite Don Bankhead and by necessity another Observer endorsement recipient – Dick Jones! Observer chickens coming home to roost? God, let’s hope so!
Politics might be going on. The horror! Of course despite the Observer trying to emphasize the ceremonial (i.e. non-political) aspects of the mayorship, the fact is it is a very coveted title when re-election time rolls around – as it does for Pam Keller, next year. Aha! Politics!
So is a scheme being worked out to elect somebody else mayor for 2010? Possibly. Quite likely, although since none of the supposed principles would be likely to talk to Sharon Kennedy about it, it seems much more likely to be a pure guess on her part. Our congressman Ed Royce loves to meddle in these affairs; to him it seems easier than simply turning on the light and opening the closet door to discover that there really is no monster in there. Just some mops and brooms.
And speaking of politics, maybe The Observer should quit endorsing Ed Royce puppets like the chowderhead Jones and focus on somebody who could actually be counted on to support Keller for mayor. Oh no! More politics.
In the latest dreary edition of her yellowing Fullerton Observer, editor and almost entirely irrelevant City Hall shill, Sharon Kennedy, tries to smear FFFF and our law suit against the City’s fraudulent redevelopment expansion.
Once again we are “discredited;” why? Oh that’s right: we are sick of idiots like Dick Jones getting re-elected with the complicity of Sharon Kennedy, and we attempted to do something about it by using the donkey’s own braying.
Of course Kennedy drags in the hated Chris Norby, who is not even a party to the law suit. She tries to dismiss our attorney Robert Ferguson (“serial anti-redevelopment lawyer”- you know like serial murderer, serial rapist, etc.) and even drags in Howard Ahmanson, whom none of us have ever even talked to, and even Ahmanson’s dead father! She left out Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Father Coughlin, Howard Jarvis, and the Ku Klux Klan, but just give her time. There was only one factual statement in the whole embarrassing plop: FFFF is suing the City.
At the end of her screed Kennedy extrudes this priceless string of turds:
Unfortunately, though the city is expected to win the suit, the action will set back plans for needed improvements and cost the city money to litigate.
Really Sharon? How about a little reporting instead of your usual brainless editorializing? Who says the city is expected to win? Are you aware of Ferguson’s record? Who says “plans” will be set back? What plans? Where are they? Of what do they consist? Who says it will cost the city money to litigate? They’re “expected to win,” right?
Sharon, is it too much to hope that you will ever extract your cranium from its lodging place?
Our old pal Sharon Kennedy just couldn’t help taking a shot at the Friends in her latest edition of the Observer. In a story [it’s on page 8] about the City’s settlement with the County over the bogus Redevelopment expansion she takes her swing: “Chris Norby and his supporters in the FACT and FFF (sic) groups (both groups widely discredited by shameful campaign ads and tactics in past elections)…”
Shameful? Well, hell, we don’t feel the least bit of shame – let alone any sort of discredit, except perhaps from people whose opinion means almost nothing to us. Excuse us, Ms. Kennedy, for pointing out what a loud-mouthed, ignorant blowhard Dick Jones really is – and using his own words to do it!
Much more shameful was the Observer’s slavish endorsement of Jones, an undeniable corn pone numbskull, simply because he is a reliable City staff stooge. That endorsement may have cost Karen Haluza the election. Nice work for a “progressive” operation.
And speaking of shameful, will the Observer continue to support council members who have voted to approve massive corporate subsidized housing projects with deficient CEQA findings? Just asking.
Being called shameful by Sharon Kennedy and her yellowing Observer is like being called ugly by a toad.
UPDATE: According to an e-mail we received yesterday, our acquaintance “Tenant” reminded us that he did indeed have a follow up conversation with Ms. Kennedy about his situation. We apologize for that error. However the basic thrust of this post remains. You can’t be a reporter and an advocate for this or that specific cause or organization at the same time.
And just to remind our Friends: we are a blog – not a journalistic endeavor and we have never tried to get anybody to believe otherwise.
To those Fullerton Observer observers who still believe that Sharon Kennedy has an atom of journalist integrity, or any objective standards either, we present the most recent Observer edition as our evidence to the contrary.
Last week we posted a story about how Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services intended to expand their compound in the 500 block of West Amerige Avenue, and in the process how the current landlord had told his tenants to vacate the premises so he could close the deal.
What we didn’t share was the fact that one of the tenants had actually contacted Sharon Kennedy. According to this individual she evinced considerable interested in his plight; but the tenant never heard back from her.
In the Observer’s mid-September issue she gave an answer. Buried in the middle of an article about unrelated FIES issues the author tucked in a few lines about the FIES acquisition of property on Amerige. The article notes matter-of-factly that relocation help would be available for those tenants who need it. Check out left column halfway down page nine.
Of course there was no mention of the fact that previously none of the tenants had been notified that “assistance was available,” no mention of what the criteria for qualification are, and no mention of who at FIES told her that they were going to help anybody.
It sure looks to us like Sharon Kennedy was trying to help her pals at FIES cover up an embarrassing episode long after the fact. Wow! What a crusading reporter!
Well, at any rate, we are glad that someone may be getting something, sometime, somehow. We’ll check in to see what FIES is doing to make things right for the folks they are dislocating.
In the meantime a whole lotta irony is still goin’ on: several genuine, non-subsidized affordable housing units are taken out of the available housing stock and the property, soon to be owned by a non-profit, will be taken off the property tax rolls. Hooray!
Teri Sforza has produced another fine Watchdog post over at the Register about the gravy train that already awaits MWD employees in retirement, including a list of over 40 of these watercrats who pull down over $100K a year in pension payements click here . The former top dog who retired in 1993 gets almost $225K per year and has received over $3.5 million since he stopped clocking in. Sweet. For him.
If that weren’t bad enough, now MWD wants to raise their pension formula even more. A few days ago we threw down the gauntlet to our City Council to be accountable for the upcoming vote by their chosen MWD representative, Jim Blake. Well, now we do it again. The vote is next week and we will be reporting back to the friends.
And remember. MWD cost increases are passed directly on to us. On top of that, in Fullerton 10% of gross water revenue (from your water bill) goes directly into the General Fund. And that’s a hidden tax increase, folks.
Here’s the MWD $100,000 club. If you know anyone on the list make sure he/she thanks the water rate payer for their largess:
Pam Keller likes to talk a lot about her role as Executive Director of something called The Fullerton Collaborative. We didn’t use the word “job” because we’re not sure yet how much actual “work” goes into the function.
We do know that the Collaborative seems to be run by, and for the principle benefit of Pam Keller herself.
Here is the first page from the Collaborative’s 2007 tax filing:
Note that the Collaborative’s expenses exceeded its revenue by 13k, covered by a surplus from the year before. Notice also that the corporation’s address is the same as the Fullerton School District’s headquarters on West Valencia Drive. This latter fact is explained on page 4:
The Collaborative has an agreement with the FSD to provide an “executive director” for 44K. That’s Keller. The only explanation for this is that this way Pam gets to remain an FSD employee with salary and benefits thereof, while doing her good works and self-promotion as a professional do-gooder on the taxpayer’s dime. Instead of a telling folks she’s a public employee, she gets to pretend that she’s the employee for a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Notice that the cost of Pam is the Collaborative’s main expense in 2007. The only other significant expense is a $26,000 contract with something called OCCO for “community organizing.” Rusty Kennedy’s do-nothing Human Relation Commission is in on the gravy to the tune of $4400 for “leadership training,” whatever that may consist of.
Since Keller is listed on the Collaborative’s website as a board member, we wonder whether she’s actually negotiating and voting on her own contract with the FSD. The dialog in the room during those discussions might be fairly amusing. And we also wonder if anybody else on the board is auditing that relationship for vendor performance management. Hmm.
We are a bit curious as to why public funds are being sluiced through this rather elaborate piping in the first place. And we wonder, given the fact that FSD Board member Minard Duncan is listed as a “member-at-large,” how closely the FSD negotiates and manages that contract itself. There is something called The Government Accounting Standards Board; are their rules being adhered to regarding accounting and public disclosure of their financial relationship with The Collaborative?
Of course we are also very interested in where The Fullerton Collaborative gets its funds, especially which private donors, if any, are contributing the wherewithal to cover the FSD contract that pays for Fullerton City Council woman Keller’s services. The Collaborative’s website is strangely silent on the identity of its donors; most charities boast about their benefactors, who generally like to be boasted about.
When we find out we’ll be sure to share the information. And if we can’t find out, we’ll let let our Friends know that, too.