Archives for posts with tag: 2016 Elections


Chief Dan Hughes, blocking oversight of our department, with the consent of a majority of our own city council.

Fullerton’s latest Chief of Police Dan Hughes officially left his post on Thursday afternoon, sent off in a hail of glory by officers of the force and other well-wishers gathered in front of the police station. He will become Vice President of Security for the Disney Resort, a job well suited to a man paid to keep the public in the dark about the activities of his department.*

Unabashedly lauded by admirers, one of whom went to the extreme of posting professional signs around town urging his permanent hiring by the council four years ago, Chief Hughes nonetheless left many unhappy with his adamant refusal to accept reasonable public oversight of his department in the aftermath of the horrific beating of homeless man Kelly Thomas by officers of the force. His decision to retain three of the six officers involved did not seem consistent with perceived efforts to bring greater accountability to the troubled department.

Supporters of Dan Hughes like to point out that he addressed most of the recommendations made in the report commissioned by Michael Gennaco’s Office of Independent Review (OIR), who are also now under contract with the city to periodically review the FPD’s reports. However, Dan Hughes and the Fullerton City Council never really addressed the final, and arguably most important, recommendation by the OIR, to establish credible independent oversight of the department. Instead of an appointed Civilian Police Commission to oversee our own police department, we got a “Chief’s Advisory Council,” hand-picked by Chief Hughes himself. No notices, agendas, or minutes of their meetings have ever been made available to the public. Reports of the meetings only come in the form of cheerleading statements made by its members during the public comment periods of city council meetings. Hardly the sort of oversight that would have reviewed the case of a Fullerton Police Detective accused of threatening a crime victim and coercing sex from her that resulted in a $ 550,000.00 out of court settlement on the Chief’s watch.

The lack of formal Police Commission with the critical power to conduct its own investigations can be sharply felt now in the aftermath of City Manager Joe Felz’s car accident last week that allowed him to walk away after a phone call was placed to the outgoing Chief Dan Hughes. The City Council will meet in closed session on Tuesday, November 15, to discuss the situation as a personnel matter pertaining to Mr. Felz, but we have no way at all of knowing what happened in the early morning hours of November 9. The city’s contract with OIR does not cover such investigations, leaving no other independent body to provide a report where an otherwise inherent conflict of interest exists between the City Manager’s office and the appointment of an interim Police Chief to temporarily replace Dan Hughes. (FPD Captain John Siko has been named  to the position).

The lack of transparency is in keeping with the decision by Chief Hughes to sidestep the improved communication with the pubic recommended by the Gennaco Report. Instead, we were treated to occasional open houses at police headquarters and a hack public relations firm paid with our tax dollars to regurgitate positive stories about the FPD back to us in a complicit OC Register and on a website called Behind the Badge.

The election of a new member to the Fullerton City Council prior to the hiring of a permanent Chief of Police offers a fortuitous opportunity to add actual police oversight, to be discussed in a future story.


*His hiring by Curt Pringle uber-client Disney, while serving under one of Pringle & Associates’ Vice Presidents, Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, might give one pause to reflect.


The kids aren’t buying it, and neither should you.

Earlier this week the Rag examined Fullerton City Council candidate Jonathan Mansoori’s campaign finance filings to discover that his candidacy is being significantly financed by a political action committee (PAC) called Leadership and Equity in Education California (LEEC-PAC), who have so far given over $ 25,000.00. The Rag also noted that Mr, Mansoori denied receiving any “big money” in a video recorded and posted by the Fullerton Observer well after his campaign would have been aware of the large donations from LEE-PAC Instead, he stated that his biggest contributors were friends and family.

Just who are LEEC-PAC, and why are they spending so much money to get a political unknown elected to office in Fullerton? LEEC-PAC is the political arm of Leadership for Education Equity, who are Jonathan Mansoori’s current employers. More about them and their connection to the national program Teach for America below, but first let’s examine who is supporting LEEC-PAC itself.

According to the California Secretary of State’s website LEEC-PAC received major contributions from some very wealthy and prominent individuals. who have one thing in common besides being uncommonly rich–they are all big supporters of charter schools. Among them, are venture capitalist Arthur Rock. That’s the same Arthur Rock who made the cover of Time Magazine as a pioneer investor in Apple Computer (he supported firing Steve Jobs from Apple in 1985), and other Silicon Valley companies.


Donated $ 25 million to Harvard, and $ 950.00 to Jonathan Mansoori for Fullerton City Council.

In addition to it’s PAC, LEE also has its own foundation. One prominent board member of the LEE Foundation is Arthur Rock. If that isn’t a direct enough connection, consider that Jonathan Mansoori’s campaign received a contribution of $ 950.00 directly from Arthur Rock.


World famous tech financier cares about who is on the Fullerton City Council.

Also funding LEEC-PAC is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($ 180.000.00), and Wal-Mart Board/family members Steuart Walton, and Carrie Penner. Big names, and scary ones for anyone who values public education, for a previously unknown candidate’s city council campaign.

Leadership for Educational Equity itself, according to its website “is a nonpartisan, nonprofit leadership development organization working to end the injustice of educational inequity by inspiring and supporting a diverse set of leaders with classroom experience to engage civically and politically” with a mission “To inspire a diverse, enduring movement of leaders to engage civically within their communities to end the injustice of educational inequity,” and “…That’s why we have made it our mission to empower Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) members – who are Teach For America corps members and alumni – to grow as leaders in their communities and help build the broader movement for educational equity.”

Jonathan Mansoori is both a Teach for America (TFA) alum and a current employee of Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), where he has served as a “Regional Manager” since September, 2015. It may not be unusual for a candidate’s employer to kick a little money to a political campaign (I guess?), but over $ 25,000.00 from an employer’s PAC? That’s unusual. Even Jennifer Fitzgerald’s employer Curt Pringle makes sure to get his clients to foot the bill for her campaign.

Founded in 1989, Teach for America, according to Wikipedia, recruits “recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in urban and rural communities throughout the United States…Corps members do not have to be certified teachers, although certified teachers may apply…All corps members are required to attend an intensive summer training program to prepare for their commitment. Details vary by region, but typically include a five-day regional introduction, a five to seven week residential institute, including teaching summer school, and one to two weeks of regional orientation.”

You read that right, TFA sends recent college graduates without teaching credentials into difficult teaching environments after a seven week summer course. Charter schools reportedly like TFA teachers because they work more cheaply, sometimes making as much $ 15,000.00 less than their credentialed counterparts.

Teach For America teachers are placed in public schools in urban areas such as New York City and Houston, as well as in rural places such as eastern North Carolina and the Mississippi Delta. They then serve for two years and are usually placed in schools with other Teach For America corps members.”

Jonathan Mansoori introduces himself as a former middle school teacher, but his whole teaching career seems to have been just the obligatory two year stint required by TFA before he went about “finding his identity as a community organizer.” According to his Linkedin profile, he spent a summer as a TFA Fellow before working for Green Dot Public Schools for eleven months. Green Dot describes themselves as “the leading charter school operator in Los Angeles and one of the top three largest in the nation. (Strangely, his profile contains specific activities for each of his previous jobs, but virtually nothing about his current position as “Regional Manager” for LEE.)


Green Dot, organizing parents to turn public schools into charter schools.


TFA alumni work as community organizers for LEE, whose PAC LEEC then supports those same TFA alumni when they run for office, equally fresh-faced and apparently equally inexperienced, with huge donations from charter school supporters. A four year old article form The American Prospect speculates that LEE/TFA could represent “the Trojan horse of the privatization of public education,” by electing TFA alumni to office. Is the what we want on the Fullerton City Council?


CORRECTION: The event will be held at the Fullerton Public Library’s Community Room at 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., right next to city hall. Same free parking lot.

The League of Women Voters of North Orange County will host a forum for the twelve candidates running for three open seats on the Fullerton City Council this election cycle. The forum will be held in the chambers of the Fullerton City Council located on the first floor of City Hall, 303 W. Commonwealth Ave. The forum will be held in the Community Room of the Fullerton Public Library located at 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., right next to Fullerton City Hall. There is ample free parking in the lot next to City Hall or the one across Amerige.

The Rag commends the LWV of NOC for organizing this forum each election year. Unfortunately it is the only such forum scheduled this year. Candidates will be asked questions submitted by audience members through a moderator (all candidates will be given the opportunity to answer each question as it is asked).

This is your chance to ask the candidates their positions on issues like high density development, the preservation of Coyote Hills, Short Term Rentals, financial stability fort the city, how to fix the streets, and whatever else you might think important to know before deciding which three candidates will earn your vote this year.

Oddly, notice of the meeting neither appears on the City of Fullerton’s website or the website of the League of Women Voters, so please help spread the work by passing this message around.

The forum is not scheduled to be broadcast live, but it will be recorded and available later on the city’s website. If it is at all possible, I’ll post the recording to the Fullerton Rag’s YouTube channel. In the meantime, all residents are encouraged to attend the forum Thursday night, because, you know, democracy…



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