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R.E.M. - REVEAL 2001 Full page UK magazine ad REM

The Second Try

Nothing says 1962 like Fullerton City Hall

Back in 2020 our Lords and Masters at City Hall cooked up a plan to impose a sales tax increase upon people buying stuff in Fullerton. It was staff-driven natch, and lazy liberals Zahra, Quirk-Silva, Flory and Fitzgerald were on board. It was called Measure S. See, they figured the path of least resistance was deploying a new tax rather than finally exercising fiscal restraint.

The Big Lie

Measure S soon found itself in the crosshairs of Fullerton anti-tax advocates and some well-placed signs describing the true nature of the beast doomed it to failure come election time.

Well guess what? They’re at it again. This time the idea is something called a Pension Obligation Bond, a mechanism for paying off part of Fullerton’s massive unfunded pension actuarial liability at CalPERS, the State’s giant pension administrator.

An introductory briefing was on the Council’s agenda last Tuesday to start the cheerleading process – a process that will entail the employment of an “expert” who will certainly benefit from a positive result; and of course “bond counsel” the legal camp-followers who push bonds on lazy elected officials after a hot meal and a few glasses of wine.

As everybody knows, the interest on the bonds are ultimately backed up by the collateral of new property taxes. This revenue would go to pay down the pension debt and free up money owed to CalPERS for staff salaries and benefits that will ultimately, and ironically, increase pension debt.

Here’s the second kicker: because a pension obligation bond is not deemed new debt, per se, but a sort of pea-under-the-walnut shell maneuver, no vote of the people is required – as it is in the case of general obligation bonds. It just gets “validated” by a judge and goes through on the nod unless challenged. Ouch. Of course the Council, if it wanted to could put the issue on a ballot anyhow, if they chose to move ahead with this scheme.

Of course the strategy for this type of thing is to reprimand opponents by citing the fact that the daily cost is little more than a Big Mac, or some other trifle and in return we get…what do we get again? Our loyal and devoted “public safety” club will almost certainly gobble up the lion’s share of this taxpayer largesse, just like they already do, and we’ll be even worse off than we already are, and no desperately needed cultural changes will have been made.

I looked over the agenda material on line and found nary a clue as to how this was even agendized. Another smoke screen protecting somebody.

Real Competition for Bud Chaffee

Our 4th District County Supervisor, Doug “Bud” Chaffee probably figured he’d receive some token Republican competition in a re-election campaign this year. Another dud opponent in a district going blue for good.

What he probably didn’t expect was competition from members of his own party. FFFF has already chronicled the backroom ambitions of Ahmad Zahra whose only legitimate interest is getting name recognition.

Buena Park City Councilwoman Sunny Park stands accused of stealing campaign signs critical of her 2018 run. (Courtesy of Sunny Park)

Well, now he has a another opponent: Democrat Sunny Park of Buena Park’s City Council. Ms. Park has put out notices ‘n everything, so it’s a real deal. Whether she too, is in it for name recognition, is highly likely. There are less than 5 months to the June 7 Primary so good luck, Sunny.

The fact that Chaffee is being challenged by members of his own tribe suggest a deep dissatisfaction with his feeble presence at the County where he seems to be nothing but a puppet of Republican crook, Supervisor Andrew Do. Chaffee’s vulnerable.

Crime doesn’t always pay in Fullerton…

And finally, an amusing coincidence vis-a-vis Park and Chaffee. During her first campaign Sunny was busted stealing campaign signs pronouncing her a carpetbagger; and of course Bud Chaffee’s wifie, Paulette, was caught stealing signs naming her a carpetbagger, too!

And that’s where I put the sign in the back of the car…

Sunny lawyered up and took her case to a jury who hanged itself 10-2 for acquittal. Pilferin’ Paulette pleaded guilty to petty theft, paid Tony Bushala $20, and did some piddling “community service” which she may or may not have used for photo ops.

The Bald Ambition of Ahmad Zahra

It must be real hard when you have to spend all your time brandishing you brand, especially when you’ve been in office three years and accomplished nothing. What to do? Run for higher office!

The smile betrayed an ulterior motive…

And so Fullerton’s own Ahmad Zahra is said to be setting his sights on our old friend, lackluster 4th District County Supervisor Doug Chaffee, whose accomplishments down on the County Farm are as threadbare as Zahra’s on our City Council.

Word has trickled up to our Political Snooping Unit that Zahra has been actively seeking support and endorsements for such a quixotic effort. How this will work out will remain to be seen, but it is rumored that the Democratic Party of OC isn’t real happy with Chaffee, who gives every appearance of being the abject and senile OC Board of Supervisor Chair, Andrew Do.

I can see all sorts of amusement value in this sort of thing and maybe it will come to pass. It seems like an effort designed to promote his name for the Fall 2020 Fullerton council election. Chaffee has money and can always get lot’s more from County lobbyists and other assorted bagmen. And he, like the other Supervisors abuse the law about using public money for political outreach.

Zahra, on the other hand, has no money, no job in which to earn any, and except for his few hundred social media dupes, no following. Not much hope there, but hope proverbially springs eternal.

Chaffee has accomplished as little at the County as he did on the Fullerton City Council, which is to say, nothing. But at least his record with law enforcement is more or less unimpeachable – if you don’t count helping his wife stash stolen campaign signs. Zahra has a bigger problem.

Arrested and charged with battery and vandalism in September, 2020, Zahra says the case was dropped. But a leak out of the DAs office presents the story of a guilty plea, community service and a record wiped clean and/or sealed. That last part can be disputed, but the first part is undeniable even thought the Fullerton cops and City Attorney Dick Jones have suppressed evidence of the arrest and booking – just like they did with the case of former drunk driving City Manager, Joe Felz.

Well, on the positive side one or more Democrat challengers to Chaffee’s shaky throne might induce a decent conservative (if such a creature hasn’t disappeared with the unicorns and the hippogriffs) into the mix and keep Chaffee from getting 50% of the primary vote, causing a General Election runoff.

The Quirk-Silvas Wish You Happy Holidays

Here’s a delightful season’s greeting from Fullerton power couple Sharon Quirk and Jesus Quirk-Silva.

We’re a team!

As far as these things go, it’s completely benign. Or banal. Especially compared with those tasteless cards mailed by the woman who financed the Quirk-Silva’s house, Loretta Sanchez.

Great minds think alike…

But there’s a bit of a problem here, and one I sure hope the “greeters” address.

The mailer was paid for by Ms. Quirk’s campaign committee, which is okay so far as that goes. But her husband, Jesus Quirk-Silva is the co-beneficiary of this epistle, since he too, is an elected official.

Now there’s nothing illegal about benefitting politically from your wife’s political ascendancy, unless, of course, there is fungible benefit therefrom.

And so, I hope that Mr. Quirk-Silva will be reporting this donation from his wife’s campaign coffers; and of course that the missus will be reporting the contribution.

Hansburg Says Sayonara

Kids just love to walk…

Last Wednesday, Elizabeth Hansburg quit the Fullerton Planning Commission.

FFFF has already introduced Ms. Hansburg to the Friends, noting her involvement in the drive to cover Fullerton in penitentiary-like apartment blocks. Her “non-profit” is used to provide Astroturf support for developers of huge housing projects and of course donations from said developers are always welcome.

Ms. Hansburg was also part of the shadowing clan that developed a new housing plan that almost nobody knew anything about until it was conceptually presented the the City Council. The idea was (and is) to achieve the preposterous new housing unit needs count – 13,000 -proffered by SCAG, the Southern California Association of Government – an unelected agency run by and for bureaucrats and their Big Ideas.

Well, anyhow, Hansburg has had enough. Here’s her petulant good-bye speech at the end of the meeting in which she attacks the City Council, bemoans the loss of her beloved fellow 5th Columnists in City Hall, and of course praises the contemptible camera hog and credit thief, Ahmad Zahra.

Consistently awful…

Self-righteous, indignant, know-it-all. Hansburg went out of her way to promote God-awful projects that were intrusive, obnoxious, and promised a tsunami of negative impacts on our neighborhoods including more parking disasters.

Good riddance. This is exactly the sort of person that causes regular folks to be wary of self-proclaimed “experts” and the bureaucracies they love so dearly. Now she can peddle her services to developers free from legitimate charges of conflict of interest.

The Deal

When he’s not lecturing us on ethics, Fullerton City Councilman Ahmad Zahra climbs down from his high horse to participate in all sorts of activities that don’t seem very ethical at all.

It’s the though that counts…

We have seen how he became embroiled in a battery and vandalism case in which he had the record permanently sealed. He claims exoneration but word has escaped the DAs office that Zahra pleaded guilty, did community service had had his record expunged.

We have also seen how Zahra claimed authorship of Water District-related articles actually ghost-written by a district bureaucrat; and how he tried to leverage this pseudo-expertise to keep his well-compensated seat on that board.

Grab it and consume it as fast as you can…

Then there’s the about-face Zahra played on the suckers of Fullerton when he announced that the open seat on the Council should be decided by a vote, and then promptly voted to appoint Jan Flory to the vacancy at the behest of Jennifer Fitzgerald.

The closer you look, the worse it gets.

And that last bit is what this story is about. The deal that Zahra cut with Fitzgerald to appoint Flory and get himself appointed to the lucrative Orange County Water District Board, a board that pays stipends for all sorts of meetings and sub-committee meetings.

Check this out:

Just before Zahra was replaced on the Water Board in 2021 by Bruce Whitaker, the District paid $10,000 to “CL7” for something called a “OC Water Special Water Insert.” I don’t know what that means, but I do know that CL7 is the name of Jennifer Fitzgerald’s side biz – when she wasn’t using the City to make bank for lobbyist Curt Pringle. So what’s going on here? A little gravy slopping out of the boat, or a legitimate job for a real public service? Knowing Fitzgerald’s complete lack of ethical compass and her influence peddling, I would bet on the former. Easy enough to find out: a PRA on the work order and a sample of the work product, and maybe any correspondence regarding this contract ought to do it.

And did Zahra have a role in this little handout? Was this a little payback for getting appointed in the first place? These sorts of little deals happen in OC political/government circles all the time. It’s all just easy government cheese. Maybe Zahra will be forthcoming about what this was all about. Maybe, but don’t count on it.

Fish Farm Failure

“Tam. Smell that smell…
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Some folks might think that continuing conversation about Jesus Quirk-Silva’s and Ahmad Zahra’s aquaponic farm/event center scheme would be like smacking a dead mackerel.

The train of thought was weak but it sure was short…

Well, here at FFFF we believe it’s never a bad idea to remind the public of hare-brained proposals made by bureaucrats and supported by bobble-headed politicians.

So to recap: last spring the Fullerton City Council deliberated on a scheme to create an aquaponic farm on the site of the abandoned Union Pacific Park site. The problem was that the exclusive negotiating deal was with a guy who had no financial wherewithal and proposed an event center on the site – just like he had done in Anaheim and Aliso Viejo. Staff even dredged up a last minute “partner” to sell the deal. The idea was rejected, but not for lack of trying.

And we have just received word from down south in Aliso Viejo about the negative impacts of an identical operation there, Renewable Farms, run by the same people.

Let’s hear from a MV resident to a concerned Fullerton resident:

My name is Dena LeCave and I am a resident of Aliso Viejo.  While looking into information and press on Renewable Farms I came across a story from the Fullerton Observer regarding the aforementioned.  I wish to congratulate you on terminating your contract with Renewable Farms.  As a long time resident of the city of Aliso Viejo, 20+ years, I am astonished and horrified by what our city council has allowed to happen to my community, neighborhood and particularly our quality of life since Renewable Farms started hosting wedding receptions on the vacant land behind our home.  We live less than 50 yards from the event center for Renewable Farms and they host weddings every single Saturday night and have been doing so since May.  The noise, lights, music and constant yelling goes on for 7+ hours.  
The city has done little to alleviate the problem and has instead hamstringed us by making these events private by the City, meaning we have almost no recourse in getting them to quiet down. 
I do not wish to take up your time, I’m sure you’re quite busy, but if you would like to further discuss our situation you may email me back or call me.
Thank you, and have a good day.

Sincerely,

Dena LeCave

Ms. Le Cave’s words have the ring of truth, all right, and they certainly would have applied to the proposal in Fullerton – problems that show the complete lack of concern, disdain even, that our staff shows for this neighborhood. And then of course there was the attitude shown by Quirk-Silva and Zahra about the residents who would have suffered the negative impacts of this proposal, without so much as a by-your-leave. Their current concern over public input on the park site is extremely recent and undisputedly hypocritical.

The purveyors of bad ideas were holding their own. For a while, anyway.

And of course the deal would have illegally converted a public park into a private, fenced and gated place to hold events, and incidentally an aquaponic facility, effectively giving away parkland – something our City Attorney Dick Jones just got caught approving in Westminster. Of course there was no parking, no business plan and nothing but a site plan to recommend it to the Council, so naturally Quirk-Silva and Zahra latched on to it like a couple of lamprey eels.

The Dope Lobbyist

The train of thought was weak but it sure was short…

We here at FFFF have never thought of Jesus Quirk Silva as a very bright fellow, but he seems to have learned at least one thing on the Fullerton City Council. And that lesson came courtesy of former councilwoman-for-hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald.

Gone, but not forgotten…

That lesson is simple: it’s more fun to try to peddle influence based on your elected position than it is to hold down a day job.

And so Mr. Quirk Silva has embarked on a new potential career path – away from teaching multiplication to slack-jawed pre-pubescents, and into the exiting realm of lobbying local governments.

Who knew a liquid could have so many angles…

Quirk Silva’s “employer” is Adan Ortega, of Ortega Associates, who you may remember as the desperate Fullerton MWD director who was replaced by Fred Jung, and who then tried to get appointed as a representative from the city of San Fernando.

I fully expect Quirk-Silva to attempt to follow in the footsteps of Fitzgerald, although he can barely utter a coherent sentence.

Now why does any of this matter, really? Because government ought to be about governing, not about being a bagman between special interests, other lobbyists, developers, and your colleagues on local boards and councils.

As a Fullerton Councilman, Quirk Silva doesn’t have that much juice, but he could be pulled and persuaded very easily. More importantly, his wife, Sharon Quirk Silva, is a state Assemblywoman, and as such actually does command respect for how she might be able to move something along in Sacramento.

And now back to Ortega. FFFF sources have indicated that he was attempting to break into the legalized marijuana biz here in Fullerton as a lobbyist, but got caught up in the interminable incompetence of the last city council, and the reluctance of the new council to go down the happy MJ trail. The same sources suggest that a cartel of cannabis interests from Long Beach is still very interested in reviving the issue in Fullerton.

You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus

The Jesus has been a long-time, big-time cheerleader for legalized dispensaries in Fullerton, so there are several loose strings as yet not quite tied together.

When they are, FFFF will be sure to let you know.