More Redevelopment Befuddlement By Dick Jones

Some people are determined to talk. They just can’t help it. They believe that the more stuff they say the more informed they appear. Even if it’s just babble to the rest of us.

Well, I've got a heap 'o talkin to do...
Well, I've got a heap 'o talkin' to do...

Take our own Councilman Dick Jones. If we didn’t mine so much pure gold out of this bonehead’s blathering we really would beg him just to shut up – if only to soothe our agitated synapses. 

Oh boy, this is gonna hurt in the morning!

One of his favorite reasons for promoting Redevelopment expansion is that the money can be used to satisfy low-income housing mandates, imposed by the evil bastards in Sacramento, or Karakhastan, or Tanganyisha, or whatever mythical countries exist in his febrile imagination.

Hail, hail, Freedonia
Hail, hail, Freedonia

The fact is that housing objectives come from SCAG – the Southern California Association of Governments – a bureaucratic local government consortium made up of people like Jones and guided by public employees. The housing targets, by income classification, are contained in the RHNA (pronounced “reena”) – the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, and are divvied up among local jurisdictions. These numbers are merely “goals,” not mandates. The whole thing is a bureaucratic paper chase and hardly anybody takes it seriously except far lefties.

We didn't get much done|But the paperwork was fun!
We didn't get much done, but we built a huge stack of paper.

Which brings us to the point of this post. We wonder what Jones’ Republican backers like Ed Royce and Dick Ackerman think about Jones actively promoting the quasi-socialist RHNA objectives in Fullerton.  He is sounding more and more like Sharon Kennedy with each passing meeting. So we have to wonder who’s coaching him on housing issues (well, no we really don’t).

Finally, Jones doesn’t talk about the real mandate; it comes from Redevelopment law itself: the 20% property tax increment set-aside for “affordable” housing, a requirement created to help compensate when city planners and pols rip up lower income neighborhoods to gentrify them. The new expansion area includes little if any residential housing, so no housing stock is going to be displaced. But sooner or later that 20% set aside will start to accrue, and it will have to be used somewhere in Fullerton.

Somewhere in Fullerton. But not in Dick’s zero sub-prime neighborhood in the hills, you can bet the family farm on that. The buck will certainly stop there.

Amphibian Assault

Every now and then we get a particularly perspicacious comment from one of our Loyal Friends that we think is worth posting separately. The following was written by Hollis Dugan in response to our post about the Fullerton Observer and its hermetically sealed philosophical environment. We have cleaned up his spelling for him. Explains Mr. Dugan:

I always sing in the shower...
I always sing in the bath tub...


What to me at least becomes the most bizarre angle of the Observer finally is that Kennedy is a left wing loon that probably never envisioned herself as the apologist for the establishment. The far left commie types like her came out of the 60’s and early 70’s AGAINST the establishment. Freedom from government tyranny and limits on liberty.

Now it seems, like boiling a frog, Kennedy and her ilk have let the heat rise so slowly it never occurred to them that they are the last protectors of the government machine controlling everyone’s liberty. Wake up Kennedy! Your values have been boiled right out of you without detection by anyone at your little rag.

Have the drugs done that much damage? You should be screaming from the rooftops how outrageous the thought of the City running its own blog to control the information flow (attempt to, anyway). Instead you are a meek little cheerleader for the inept and pathetic control mongers that can’t stand when others have an independent thought.

It’s not too late to become a fighter for liberty.

History Repeats Self: Fullerton Observer Soliciting For City Hall Again

A City Job Opening?
Does this job come with benefits?

A few months ago we went after Sharon Kennedy and her Observer’s shameless pandering to City Hall when she passed along a letter from OC Supervisor Chris Norby opposing Redevelopment expansion to her pals in the government. Some Redevelopment flunky put together the “official” response, Don Bankhead affixed his X to it, and the two were printed side by side.

Well she’s at it again. Check out page 8 of the July edition. Same technique, same result.

Now, we have nothing against the City getting out its propaganda, even if it is full of baloney. But this habit on the part of Kennedy of sharing an editorial writer’s submission so that it can be immediately rebutted without counter response is so unfair that, well, we feel justified in accusing Sharon Kennedy of being just a wee bit biased in the stuff she prints.

Why not print the submission and let the City respond if it feels inclined to do so? Why not let the debate go back and forth – fairly, and see who can develop the more compelling argument? Oh, yeah. That’s right:

Anybody home?
Anybody home?

The Fullerton Fabricator & City Hall Apologist

did anyone see where I put my barbeque sauce?
Ronald, where did you put my barbecue sauce?

The Fullerton Observer continues to sink to new lows in its coverage of important Fullerton issues. Or lack of coverage.

In its most recent edition it published a redevelopment article which was simply an interview with RDA Director Rob Zur Schmiede, whose very job depends on RDA expansion. Wow, that’s cutting edge investigative journalism!

The Observer has totally ignored the RDA’s $6 million McDonald‘s move
. An evil corporation making kids fat, a giveaway to the rich, money intended for blight going to promote junk food! Fast Food Nation was written by muckraking journalists that the Observer should emulate. $6 million to help McDonald’s make high school kids fatter!

McMore please
McMore please

The Observer has completely ignored the story that has excited even usually tepid reporter Barbara Giasone. They will NOT embarrass the council majority that it helped elect with their endorsement. Jones, Bankhead, Quirk, Keller were all backed by the Observer.

Could it also be that the Fullerton RDA–is paying for quarter page ads in the Observer?

The Observer has published two pieces by Supervisor Norby expressing the County’s opposition to the RDA expansion, but only after leaking both articles to city staff in time to write rebuttals. The rebuttals themselves are not fact-checked by anyone and are filled with lies.

In the current July 2009 edition (Page 4) Kennedy bewails the 1994 recall of Bankhead after he “voted to support a ½ cent utility rate increase to keep the city from going bankrupt”. Three wrong statements in one sentence!

is that you Molly?
is that you Molly?

It was NOT a utility rate increase, but a utility TAX on gas, water, electricity and cable TV. It was NOT a half cent but 2%. It did NOT keep the City from going bankrupt.  In fact, it was repealed soon after the recall and has saved us Fullerton tax payers over $ 100 Million dollars over the past 15 years and the City is just fine!

True to form, the Observer has supported every city, county and state ballot measure that increased taxes, most of which went down in defeat. It especially likes sales tax hikes, which disproportionately affects the poor–the supposed constituents of a “progressive” paper.

The Fullerton Observer – Shilling For City Hall Again

Redevelopment Expansion Looks Good From Where We're Standing
Redevelopment Expansion Looks Good From Where We're Standing

In its mid-April edition, our old friends (lower case f) at The Fullerton Observer pulled their typical stunt of shilling for the bureaucrats and bureaucrat loving politicos over at City Hall.

County Supervisor Chris Norby had submitted to The Observer an essay on the proposed redevelopment expansion that we had previously posted on this very site. Not content to print the letter and let responders respond – on their own and without coaching, The Observer apparently gave Norby’s letter to the City where somebody in Redevelopment wrote a “response” in the form of a series of “facts” – really just disembodied statements meant to show how the City, at least, was following the minimum requirements of the law.

The City’s response was handed to Don Bankhead, Chairman of the Redevelopment Agency, who dutifully affixed his signature and sent it back to the Observer – who then published “two views” on the proposal  just like they were an unbiased news operation – a real journalistic endeavor, in fact. Check out the scam on page 11.

We are not surprised by this behavior since it has become fairly common for The Observer. Sharon Kennedy habitually adds editorial comment to letters submitted by people she doesn’t like. But to actually go out and solicit response to a commentary strikes us as pretty craven, even for her.

Friends who have visited this website recently have been treated to examples of Redevelopment incompetence in Fullerton. Don Bankhead and the people he represents in in the Redevelopment Agency may want you to think that redevelopment is here to serve the people of Fullerton. We know better. It’s here to serve the bureaucrats, subsidized developers, bond lawyers, consultants and various other camp followers who make their livelihoods of this charade.

First We Talk You into It
First We Talk You Into It...

What’s wrong with the Fullerton Observer and its Editor?

What is it about the Fullerton Observer that sparks the passions of Fullerton residents? Some hail it as a beacon of “progressive” enlightenment while others see it as nothing more than an instrument of quasi-socialist propaganda. It is certainly either of these things, depending on one’s ideological point of view – and a whole lot less.

We have come to the conclusion that people who want to see the Fullerton Observer through a political prism are missing the real nature of this “newspaper.” Why do we use quotation marks around the word newspaper? Because we don’t think it really is one. And not just because it is a completely amateur operation that fails in almost every respect to attain the ethical and objective professional standards employed by real journalists and editors; but, also because the Observer mirrors precisely the personality and temperament of its editor and publisher, Sharon Kennedy.

What characterizes the Observer’s failures? For one thing, the Observer indulges in the complete confusion of editorial comment and actual news reporting. Sometimes this is reflected in incomplete reporting, and often through inappropriate commentary introduced into stories merely for its ability to malign those people Sharon Kennedy dislikes. In this same vein we can add the gratuitous slurs, snide commentary, and innuendo aimed at those same targets for no other apparent reason than personal vindictiveness.

What are some of the other indicators of failure to meet basic journalistic standards? Kennedy routinely prints unsigned articles and anonymous letters to the editor that also engage in personal attack; and of course there is the editor’s constant need to add her own commentary at the end of letters from those she dislikes – as if her poor readers were incapable of figuring out anything without her acerbic often incoherent explanations.

Simple errors like spelling and factual mistakes can be attributed to the amateur nature of the operation. More serious is Kennedy’s seeming desire to act as cheerleader for city staff and for council members who toe the line by affiliating themselves with the bureaucracy rather than with their real constituents. So Sharon Quirk and Pam Keller get to vote for the over-development of Fullerton by supporting the Jefferson Commons and Amerige Court projects, and suddenly the issues associated with failure of environmental review slide by the Observer’s notice.

While some of its writers (Judith Kaluzny comes to mind) are really interested in reporting what’s going on without covering up for anybody, there appears to be a real effort on Kennedy’s part to avoid printing anything that might embarrass City officialdom. On the other hand there seems to be no story so unrelated to him that it can’t include a gratuitous insult aimed at Councilman Shawn Nelson.

The Fullerton Observer has got by with its sloppy, jaundiced, pique-pocked brand of reporting since its inception because it was free and nobody expected much. Very little has changed over the years except that the overheated rhetoric that resulted from spirited socialism has given way to shilling for city hall employees and using the Observer to exercise its proprietor’s bitter animus.