Playing Dirty Pool: FFFF/KFI ‘Pool Safety’ Story Attacking Sen. Josh Newman for Hypocrisy Doesn’t Hold Water

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On July 6, the libertarian (and Republican leaning) Friends for Fullerton’s Future (“FFFF”) Blog published a story, authored by its “Mr. Peabody,” which accused State Sen. Josh Newman of hypocrisy in sponsoring SB 442, a law requiring pool owners to limit pool access by implementing multiple barriers of protection for pool safety:

The supposed payoff of the article?  That Senator Newman has both a pool and a young child — but uses no pool safety measures.  (“Typical liberal,” the story sneered.)  The story was then amplified by being featured on KFI’s “John and Ken” show.

The story doesn’t hold water.

We’ll explain why — but first, some background.

State Republicans are desperate to recall Senator Newman — not due to any wrongdoing in office, but just because based on his district he’s the most politically vulnerable of the 27 Democratic Senators giving his party a supermajority in that house. Since libertarian Fullerton City Council member Bruce Whitaker decided to enter the race to replace Newman, th FFFF blog has apparently decided to do its part.

Republicans have been grasping at straws to find a way to disparage the Senator’s efforts to preserve the safety of families: a popular cause with most voters who want to minimize drowning deaths among children, but less so with hard-core libertarians.  It being hard to attack SB 422 on the merits, a “hypocrisy” argument was the next best option.

FFFF published misleading articles that were further indiscriminately broadcast by KFI on Saturday, July 8.  They claimed that while Newman, who has a small child, was “waxing about the importance of pool protection,” he himself “is deficient in pool safety” and “lacks any sort of pool fence or pool cover, which are strictly required by his own proposed law.” FFFF showcased pictures to press the point that his own pool was recently uncovered pool. (See pictures number 4 & 6 below).

Here are the facts:

  1. Senator Josh Newman supports the bill.
  2.  Senator Newman does in fact meet the rules of the pool safety bill by implementing multiple barriers of protection. 

This story is all about timing.

On January 13, 2017, the Newmans purchased an “All-Safe” pool safety net and leaf cover system, which was installed to meet strict ASTM safety codes.  (Prior to that time, their infant child was unable to walk or otherwise get close to the pool.)  The cover was removed for the first time on July 2nd, 2017.

Prior to January 13, they didn’t have a child safety need — and so the pool would appear to be unprotected.  Prior to July 2, they were meeting the child safety need.  Then, starting on July 2, they occasionally would take off the cover and swim — as one does with one’s pool.

Let’s go to the photos.

(Pic 1) Newman’s safety net covered pool, protecting their toddler.


(Pic 2) The covers in their racks and visible on the deck


Senator Newman’s multiple barriers of protection include the safety net and leaf cover system, childproof locks on all patio doors, and self closing locking gates. 

(Pic 3) These anchors are so small that you wouldn’t see them in a picture taken from any significant distance.

In the FFFF blog the caption above an Internet transmitted satellite picture reads: “We sent the FFFF spook drone over Newman’s ultra-posh Fullerton residence.” This is that picture:


(Pic 4) FFFF blog photo (with Sen. Newman’s address blurred out). It looks similar to the Google satellite photo below.


(Pic 5) Google map satellite pic.  (Again, unlike FFFF, we blurred out the Senator’s address).

(Pic 6)  Yes, at some moments a pool cover does come off.  Otherwise, there’s little sense in having a pool.

Someone (assertedly acting on FFFF’s behalf, as they claim to own the photos) went through a lot of trouble, by accessing adjacent private property, to capture this photo of the Newman’s recently uncovered pool — presumably during a period that it was in use, if this was after January 13, and post it in the FFFF blog.  We’re not sure whether this constitutes invasion of privacy — but we do know that it completely fails to make its disparaging point about Senator Newman.  There’s no evidence here of hypocrisy — even presuming that the photos were taken this month.

I hope the information provided in this article clears things up about the Senator’s actual pool safety measures.

KFI and FFFF should set the record straight regarding their failure to establish that Sen. Newman was in any way hypocritical.  Asking for an apology might be pointless, but at a minimum they should set the record straight.

And we should take anything that FFFF or KFI says about Sen. Newman with more than a grain of salt.

About Nancy West