More Good Times; Stompin’ at the Slidebar

Who’s on first?

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy Popoff’s Slidebar employees and clientele provided more examples of the sort of high class behavior favored by our city council and particularly our lobbyist/councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald who has been running cover for Popoff for years and years. You may recall that Slidebar has never gotten the required CUP even as city officials like Fitzgerald, Bruce Whitaker and Party Planner Ted White have schmoozed and petted its miscreant owner.

Hiding the tats won’t help…

Everybody seems to be ignoring Slidebar’s violation of planning and nuisance laws until the laws can be watered down so much even a professional douchebag can slime by without comment.

Here’s the video

At the outset you can see a bouncer on theft serially pound some hapless dude already on the ground and then go for a head stomp for good measure.

In the open-air saloon known as Downtown Fullerton it’s often virtually impossible to distinguish between the bad behavior of the bar-hopping patrons and the low-lifes hired to control them.


Fitzgerald Targeted Restaurant D’Vine

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.

Fitzgerald DVine

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:

Title 15 Change - ARUP CUP

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.

Ted White - Jeremy Slidebar

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.

There’s a SlideBar for Sale

A bar just came on the market in Orange County, and it looks and smells a lot like Fullerton’s infamous SlideBar. Check it out.

The listing says it’s in Orange, CA, but the description matches Fullerton loudest chugghub to a T. I’m told the photo matches the Slidebar interior, too.

I wonder if the new owner will still be able to blast amplified outdoor music into the surrounding residences without a permit.

Fullerton Flashback: A Beer with the Boys

A Lit roadie recently shared this image on social media and an observant friend passed it along. Can FFFF readers identify any of these distinguished gentlemen?

Here’s a hint. The photo contains at least one budding lobbyist, a Fullerton police union president, a planning commissioner and a soon-to-be bar owner/nuisance generator.

The Culture of Vodka, Vomit & Vehicular Mayhem (Part One); or Who is Gregg Hanour?

It is often said that nature abhors a vacuum. I think government ineptitude and corruption does, too. For a void created in the latter case attracts all sorts of opportunists looking to get ahead. Just consider the Gennaco affair for a moment: an out-of-control police department and a city government that wanted it to stay that way, called on the “professional” services of Michael Gennaco to make sure nothing was done at all.

Class in the morning…

The other day our crack team of investigators discovered that a fellow named Gregg Hanour had made public records requests for police calls to two of downtown Fullerton’s fine dining establishments night clubs – Bourbon Street and our old friends at Slidebar Rock ‘N Roll Something-or-other. Mr. Hanour is a former bar owner who now makes it his business to explore ways in which bars can quit annoying the municipalities in which they are located, abide by the permits that let them operate, and control their rowdy and inebriated customers, etc. Apparently, one of the main strategies offered by Mr. Hanour is to get bartenders to quit serving alcohol to drunks.

Downtown Fullerton must occupy a bunch of Hanour’s business development resources, given the completely out-of-control booze and barf culture that appertains. Good God! Just look at these two rap sheets:

Slidebar Police Visits

Bourbon Street Police Visits

Of course we are all familiar with the Slidebar and its checkered history. What most people in Fullerton don’t realize is that Slidebar is currently operating illegally as a night club. That’s right. This establishment has no conditional use permit, and every time something untoward goes on there a tremor of fear should pass through the City’s Risk Management Department. That’s because the City has intentionally looked the other way while Slidebar and it’s politically connected owner Jeremy Popoff keep the doors open and the drink flowing.

The real possibility of injury or assault or worse is evident in the long list of police calls to this bar. Can the City be held responsible for the consequences of letting this place run without the necessary permits? I don’t know. Shall we ask the City Attorney?


In SlideBro’s Own Words

Play it again, Sam...

Yesterday the world was treated to the moving words of love and respect that Slidebar Rock ‘N Roll Kitchen proprietor Jeremy Popoff had for Kelly Thomas, the homeless man who was beat to death by members of the Fullerton Police Department last July.

Poor Jeremy! It must indeed have been heartbreaking for him to lose somebody he had known for years. Especially since he now acknowledges that the call that summoned police to the scene was instigated by a call from his establishment.

(Horrible screeching sound as needle is dragged across the LP)

Here are a few choice quotations from a Fullerton Stories article dated July 23rd 2011 about the Kelly Thomas affair featuring some trenchant observations by Mr. Popoff himself:

“I feel guilty having ever had any contempt for this guy, but if you had asked me about him a month ago, I’d have nothing good to say about him,” Popoff said. “I don’t want to say that it was justified, what happened. But man, Kelly scared people.  We …. were always having to kick him out of our bathrooms or tell him to leave customers alone. Then he would yell at us.”

“He had long matted hair and a matted beard that stuck to his body,” Popoff said. “I wish there was something I could do or could have done a long time ago.  My manager was in tears when she called me that night. She was really shaken up by it. “

Popoff said that the police have been good to the homeless in the area near his bar. “The cops have been really lenient with him and other homeless. He was allowed to get away with a lot more because he was homeless. The cops gave him a lot of breaks.” 

“We’ve given him lots of stuff,” Popoff added. “[He was] not allowed to be here anymore because Kelly did not respect our customers.”

Back to Popoff:  “The last thing I want is to be anti-PD or anti-Kelly. We live here, I’m a father. We support the PD and the residents and the community.  Literally, most of my staff was very scared and intimidated by him. They were reluctant to ask him to move along,” says Popoff.  “Two or three days before [the arrest] he was bumming cigarettes and the manager said to him ‘Kelly you can’t’ do that here, you gotta move on.’  And Kelly screamed back at him ‘don’t call me by my first name!’”


SlideBro Denies Complicity in Fake Phone Call. Again.

According to CBS local news, Jeremy Popoff, proprietor the the Slidebar Rock ‘N Roll Kitchen, categorically denies being involved in a phony call that described Kelly Thomas as breaking into or trying to open car doors.

However if you read the article, you will notice that there is no assertion from Popoff’s lawyer that no call was made from the Slidebar. And that’s interesting because in a report earlier toady the Slidebar lawyer, Eric Durbin, is quoted saying this:

Dubin said Reeves was not within earshot of the Slidebar employee who called police that night…

Meaning that there was some sort of phone call made by a Slidebar employee to the cops that night. Hmm.
In any case we are meant to be reassured that by his lawyer that Popoff is “heartbroken.”

According to Popoff he cares deeply for the local homeless population.

The Slidebar attorney is right about one thing: everything will come out at trial. But not the trial he is thinking of.


Slidebar Slides Into Litigation


For almost a year now rumors have been swirling around the role of Fullerton’s Slidebar in the death of the mentally ill homeless man, Kelly Thomas, last July. Specifically, did a Slidebar employee at the behest of his or her boss, owner Jeremy Popoff, make a phony call to the cops to give them a pretext to roust Thomas.

Staring into an uncertain future...

Despite all of his protestations of innocence and donations of canned food to the homeless, Popoff’s story never quite rang true.

A couple days ago the other shoe finally dropped: a lawsuit for wrongful termination by a former employee named Michael Reeves that goes into elaborate detail about what happened on the night of July 5, 2011, and the cover up that followed.

The guy claims the fateful and false call to the FPD that triggered the events leading to the murder of Thomas  was made by Slidebar manager Jeanette DiMarco at the behest of owner Jeremy Popoff.

Later, when he wouldn’t play ball, Reeves claims he was demoted, then fired. The guy is suing for $4,000,000, a tidy sum, to be sure.


Read the complaint

Well, there you have it. Is any part of this tale true? I don’t know. But I do know that the other, even more sinister part of the story is still looming on the horizon like a nasty weather front; and that’s the disturbing possibility that the bar was in cahoots with one or more of the police before hand, complicit in a criminal conspiracy to deprive Kelly Thomas of his Constitutional rights and even his physical well-being.

We now know that the DA has decided to look the other way in his haste to kiss and make up with the Fullerton cops, but the possibility that the attack on Thomas was per-arranged does indeed explain the antagonistic behavior of Wolfe and Ramos, and perhaps even the seemingly inexplicable violence of Cicinelli.

All this is now bound to come out in the civil proceedings against the City by Ron Thomas and Garo Mardirossian. The latter may be pressured to cut a deal to avoid embarrassing the City too much in a public trial, but the new council needs a vehicle to get all the facts on the table once and for all. A trial is just the thing.

Jeremy Popoff Cuts Record; To Hit Road

According to the OC Weekly’s Brandon Ferguson, here, a rock band called “Lit” has made some sort of comeback album and will be joining other groups in a summer tour. Why is this relevant to Fullerton? Because one of the members of this illustrious ensemble is none other than Fullerton’s Slidebar empressario, Jeremy Popoff.

Playing the standards...

Ferguson dispatches Lit with quick aplomb. Apparently the album is called The View From The Bottom which seems pretty darn appropriate.

Now, I admit that being something of an old-timer at 37, I had never even heard of Lit until Jeremy Popoff popped off  in connection with the Kelly Thomas murder; and so I defer to Ferguson’s musical opinion. However, if the noise emanating from Popoff’s establishment in violation of the Municipal Code, here,  is any indicator, I have to say that I appreciate my former ignorance.

Slidebar’s Noise Assault: Is It Even Legal?

Ah, late night music in downtown Fullerton. The louder it gets, the more people show up.  And at the Slidebar, the party rocks on every night of the week.

Sure, it’s fun if you’re visiting from the 909 on a Thursday night. But to the rest of the public, nonstop amplified outdoor music is known as something else: a Public Nuisance.

Here’s what the Fullerton Municipal Code’s Limitations on Permitted Uses section has to say about music on outdoor patios:

Accessory Outdoor Dining or Patio.

15.30.040.I.7.c.ii.     No amplified music or amplified entertainment is permitted outdoors, except recorded background music for dining establishments wherein normal conversation is not impeded; no music or entertainment shall be permitted on a patio past 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

So whose job it is to police the downtown bars and night clubs that have patios with outdoor amplified music?