Larry Bennett in 2012, trying, and failing miserably, to keep Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, and Pat McKinley from vein recalled from office.

Larry Bennett in 2012, trying, and failing miserably, to keep Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, and Pat McKinley from being recalled from office.

If you liked the Fullerton City Council before the Great Recall of 2012, then you’ll love City Council candidate Larry Bennett.  Larry Bennett’s list of campaign donors is filled with people who also supported the doomed Anti-Recall campaign, for which he served as treasurer in 2012. That effort crashed and burned under the crushing weight of inertia embodied by Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, and Pat McKinley, the three unresponsive City Councilmen swept from office by two-thirds of Fullerton’s voters. Their befuddled and crassly inadequate response to the killing of Kelly Thomas by Fullerton police officers a year earlier was matched only by the deafening silence of the trio’s indignant supporters, who considered outraged protesters in front of police headquarters and impolite speakers at Council meetings a bigger threat than uniformed police officers molesting or killing unarmed civilians at will.

Evidently eager to help restore a regime of rubber stamping puppets, many of those same supporters are now donating heavily to put Larry Bennett on the City Council in place of his fellow Republican Greg Sebourn.

Familiar names, recalled by Fuller

Familiar names, recalled by Fullerton voters.

In this veritable forest of Fullerton’s monied elite and out-of-town lobbyists, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Larry Bennett’s recent FPPC filings show:

  • $ 1,000.00 donated from none other than twice-recalled former Fullerton City Councilmember Don Bankhead himself.
  • $ 1,250.00 given by Norma Jones, wife of recalled Councilmember and Mayor Dr. Dick Jones.
  • And to round out the troika, $ 400.00 directly from retired Fullerton Police Chief and subsequently-recalled Fullerton Councilmember Pat McKinley.
  • The list goes on:
  • $ 500.00 from meddling former Republican State Senator Dick Ackerman, an Irvine resident who made robocalls on behalf of Fullerton’s police union two years ago.
  • $ 250.00 from Paul Dudley, former Fullerton Community Development Director.
  • $ 1,000.00  from Jim Blake, former Metropolitan Water District Director under Bankhead/Jones/McKinley, etc.
  • $ 1,000.00 from Heroes restaurant and another $ 1,000.00 from Roscoes, both operated by Chamber of Commerce favorite Jack Franklyn, whose downtown swilleries Mr. Bennett cited as two of his favorite places in Fullerton during a Chamber of Commerce sponsored candidate forum last month
  • $ 500.00 from Dexter Savage, who memorably made a mortifying out-of-order speech on behalf of soon-to-be-recalled Dick Jones, Don Bankhead and Pat McKinley while receiving a certificate of appreciation from then Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva for his service on the Planning Commission.
  • $ 250.00 from Todd Priest, lobbyist for Curt Pringle & Associates, and co-worker of Jennifer Fitzgerald.

The list goes on, but one name you won’t find on the list is the Fullerton Police Officers Association, because the tens of thousands of dollars they are spending on behalf of Larry Bennett (and Doug Chaffee) are officially independent expeditures from their PAC, making a union the single biggest entity supporting the election of Larry Bennett.


FPAO Sign

Such a soothing green. It’s almost as if they had seen that color somewhere before…

Confused supporters of Mayor and City Council candidate Doug Chaffee have noticed the giant green and blue signs bearing his name and the name of fellow candidate Larry Bennett, and wondered who could possibly be supporting both of them. Doug Chaffee is a supporter of saving Coyote Hills, Larry Bennett supported Measure W, Chevron’s plan to build there. Doug Chaffee is the darling of Fullerton’s Democrats, while Larry Bennett is the great white hope of the city’s establishment Republicans. Larry Bennett has been endorsed by Congressman-for-life Ed Royce, Supervisor Shawn Nelson, former State Senator Dick Ackerman and current State Senator Bob Huff. Doug Chaffee’s endorsements include Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, the Sierra Club, the Fullerton Observer…and former State Senator Dick Ackerman, evidently…

What (else) could possibly bring these two together on one oversized sign? The Fullerton Police Officers Association, of course. The FPOA, the union representing Fullreton’s police officers, will back whichever candidates they think will increase their number and/or safeguard their salaries. Note, for example, Larry Bennett’s answer to the OC Register’s question “Should city government contract or expand in Fullerton?” Mr. Bennett dutifully answers that “…our police force is currently 145 members. We used to be a force of 155. The city is growing and therefore more services will be required,” offering a not so subtle promise to authorize the hiring of more police officers, at the cost of millions to Fullerton’s taxpayers. For his part, Doug Chaffee has earned the support of Fullerton’s police by steadfastly resisting any meaningful civilian oversight of the Fullerton Police Department in the wake of the killing of Kelly Thomas, and lawsuits against the FPD for the actions of former officer Rincon, etc.

FPOA Bennett Chaffee sign

No mystery here, just look down…

There is nothing unusual about the FPOA picking the friendliest City Council candidates from nominally left and right of the political spectrum every two years. During the last election they spent tens of thousands of dollars promoting Jan Flory and Rick Alvarez, although they seem to have kicked Mr. Alvarez to the curb in favor of Mr. Bennett this year. What is unusual this cycle is that their signs don’t bear the words “Fullerton Police Support” proudly above the names of their chosen candidates. In past years the word “Police” carried some weight with the voting public, but now, it seems, it’s more of a millstone around the candidates’ necks. However, close inspection reveals the source of the bounty at the bottom of the signs. It must feel bad to have to hide their identity when it was once treated as a badge of honor.

Pink Hook and Ladder

The Fullerton Firefighters Association (FFA) is using it’s Pinktober “Let’s Extinguish Cancer” campaign to promote one of their chosen candidates for Fullerton City Council. Last Thursday night Fullerton’s firefighters parked their “Pink Tribute Fire Engine,” a custom pink wrapped firetruck to honor victims of cancer, across Wilshire Ave., near the market’s west entrance. The vehicle’s normally red surfaces were entirely covered with a bright pink ribbon graphic to honor victims of cancer. Cancer survivors are invited to sign their names on the truck.

Pink Alvarez

Coming to your neighborhood soon.

Leaning against the pink truck Thursday night were pink signs promoting Rick Alvarez for Fullerton City Council. The signs read “Fullerton Firefighters Support Rick Alvarez” and featured a graphic of a firefighter helmet in white against a pink background. Mr. Alvarez has received $ 5,000.00 in direct contributions by the FFA, the union representing Fullerton’s firefighters. He is one of two candidates, along with incumbent Doug Chaffee, to be endorsed by the union (no pink Doug Chaffee signs have yet to appear). The truck is scheduled to be at the Fullerton Market on Thursday nights throughout the month of October.

According to their website ‘“The Fullerton Firefighter’s Association would like to announce the 3rd annual Pinktober Event for the month of October. Since its inception, the Fullerton Firefighter’s have raised over $34,000 to aid in Cancer research. Our motto this year is “Let’s Extinguish Cancer with Fullerton Fire”.’

The firefighters are sponsoring a local teacher who has Stage 4 Breast Cancer. If you are reading this column chances are that you know at least one person, probably more, who have been diagnosed with cancer. The Rag understands why local firefighters might want to help raise funds to fight this terrible disease, but conflating the suffering of the cancer stricken with support for a City Council candidate is beyond distasteful.

Alvarez Pink Signs

The Rag isn’t anti-union, but voters should remember that the union representing Fullerton’s firefighters is going to back the candidates they think will give them the best deal when their contract with the city is up for renewal. Council members who will eventually approve a contract with a union can be elected (ok, probably not Rick Alvarez) with tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and independent expenditures from that same union. That’s what it means when a sign says “Firefighters support..” or ”Your police support…” a candidate (or two).

The FFA can and will choose candidates to endorse in the upcoming election, and voters can choose how much they value that endorsement when casting their ballots in the City Council race, but it is beyond the pale to mix a political investment in a candidate with a campaign to honor and support cancer victims. “Pinktober” lasts through the entire month of October–the home stretch of election season. It is hard to believe that signs supporting Rick Alvarez are just coincidentally pink. The next time Fullerton’s firefighters roll out their Pink Tribute Fire Engine they should leave their signs at home, and stop posting them around town, or risk being perceived as cynically exploiting the suffering of cancer victims for their own political purposes.

 

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