OJ Multifecta: ACKERMAN taps DAVE ELLIS to smear BUSHALA in defense of Councilmen who cover-up KELLY THOMAS murder.

Say you’re Dick Ackerman.  No, stop making that silly face.  And pull that right eyebrow back down.  Seriously, pretend you’re crooked former California Senate Minority Leader and long-ago Fullerton Councilman Dick Ackerman, and your three buddies who are currently on the Fullerton Council have asked you for help keeping their jobs.

That would be Mayor Dick Jones, and Councilmen Pat McKinley and Don Bankhead, known popularly as “the Three Blind Mice.” And they do know they need your help, as their shameful behavior in the wake of the brutal police beating murder of homeless Kelly Thomas – refusing to call for any action from the Police Chief on the matter, going along with the coverup of the surveillance video of the beating, telling their constituents that we should leave it all up to “the authorities” as though they themselves as elected officials are not the authorities, trying to pay off the victim’s father so he’d shut up, making comments such as Kelly’s wounds should have been “survivable” and he was “no rocket scientist” – has got them subjected to a recall effort which already boasts 500 volunteers and is moving full steam ahead!

And don’t forget, while you’re busy imagining that you’re Dick Ackerman, to bear in mind the huge favor these Three Blind Mice have just recently done for your company, Nossaman  Associates, as documented here the other day – a plum multi-million-dollar development deal for your client whom the city’s professional staff had rated as only the EIGHTH best option.  And also don’t forget that these three clowns went out on a limb back in 2009 to endorse your incompetent, carpetbagging wife in her Assembly bid.  I’m saying that whatever they end up paying Nossaman, bear in mind that you DO owe these guys some good results here!

So.  Given that, as we already have clearly seen, the campaign to save the bacon of these three council buddies of yours is going to consist largely of a smear campaign on one of the recall’s most prominent organizers, whose services would you contract – assuming you were Tricky Dick Ackerman – to do the actual dirty work of this smear campaign?


"Cutthroat consultant," smear-job virtuoso, and OC Fair Board Chairman DAVID "DAVE" ELLIS. (Artist's likeness.)

Well, the question answers itself if you have even a passing remembrance of this author’s epic study of Fair Board Chairman Dave Ellis – not only did Dave not long ago surreptitiously funnel large sums Dick’s way to (probably illegally) grease the skids for the ultimately unsuccessful Great Fairgrounds Swindle;  this sort of character-assassination campaign has been exactly his gleeful stock in trade for going on three decades!

We have both of these bits of news – the Ackerman connection and the Ellis connection – on the highest authority.  And we can get a sense of how the Three Blind Mice plan to defend themselves by their official response to the recall – reprinted below – which has already been mailed as well to all signers of the recall petition:

  • The proposed recall is an attempt to undo the recent election results. [Duh. -ed]
  • I am saddened by the harsh rhetoric from those willing to destroy our city in the pursuit of money and power. [oh, boo-hoo.]
  • Recall Proponents are using the tragic death of a homeless man to advance their agenda of fear and intimidation.  [BS]
  • This recall is led by Tony Bushala – a millionaire developer who has profited handsomely from projects in Fullerton’s redevelopment area.  [LIE]
  • Bushala needs a majority on the city council for future projects to he is seeking.   [LIE]
  • He has spent tens of thousands of dollars to buy elections and bullying our family-friendly community.
  • This recall is his latest attempt to fleece Fullerton’s taxpayers.
  • I am proud of our city and all the hard working employees.  [yawn…]
  • I have the support of Fullerton’s public safety employees.  [Again, duh.]
  • Vote NO on the recall.  Stop the developer’s recall power play.
  • www.ProtectFullerton-RecallNo.com [Don’t bother, there’s nothing there yet])

Bushala announcing recall to the Fullerton Council - picture OC Weekly.

Meanwhile I’m aware that there’s whispering among some Fullerton Democrats that this scary, all-powerful Bushala character is REALLY using this whole Kelly Thomas issue as a cover for his blog’s long-time hostility to public-employee unions in general, and that the recall is really just a ploy to get an anti-union majority on the Council. (Hm, I wonder who fed them those rumors? And how THAT bit of paranoia would play with the Republican half of Fullerton’s citizenry?)

Bushala, who’s done amazing work since July 5 in bringing international attention to the Kelly Thomas murder, has a long, colorful and controversial history in the city of Fullerton, and one can only imagine, given Dave Ellis’ wicked imagination and creativity, the sort of glossy mailers Fullerton voters will soon be inundated with demonizing the fellow. But rather than sift through what may be true, false, and exaggerated about Tony (who of course is a friend of mine and a guest blogger here) I think it’s better to cut to the chase and ask: Is Tony really that omnipotent? Is this recall effort, which he and his friends may have begun, really just all about him and his agenda?

No. This recall belongs to all Fullerton voters, from across the spectrum.

Just like when Darrell Issa kickstarted the Recall Gray Davis movement back in 2003 and it took on a life of its own completely independent of Darrell, the same thing’s happening with this Kelly-Thomas-inspired Three Blind Mice recall, which is being embraced enthusiastically by Fullertonians of all political stripes. When the time comes for candidates to file papers to take these miscreants’ places, I personally know at least two great people with name recognition likely to file, Fullerton community activists who are NOT Republicans nor reflexively anti-union, and who laughingly affirm that they are ALSO not the puppets of any “millionaire developers.”

(recall poster, created not by Bushala but by a left-wing Fullerton activist)

Meanwhile Councilmember Sharon Quirk-Silva (who should rightfully be Mayor right now) and Councilman Bruce Whitaker, while ideologically far apart on many issues, are both honest people who really do what they think is right for the city and can explain their actions in a straightforward way; while Jones, Bankhead and McKinley are the kind of corrupt mediocrities that simply attach themselves to whatever are the most powerful forces – which has generally been the police union and developers.

The following are the official reasons Tony and his friends listed for their initiation of the recall (slightly different for each Councilman):

  • [The Councilman] has supported policy and contracts which placed the special interests of the police union over the interests and safety of the community. This leadership failure culminated in the beating death of an unarmed, mentally ill homeless man, Kelly Thomas, and permanent damage to the reputation of Fullerton. Currently, the City of Fullerton is the object of worldwide ridicule.
  • For many years [he] has supported an illegal tax disguised as a “franchise fee” on the water bills of Fullerton residents.
  • [He] supported the illegal expansion of the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency which would have resulted in reductions of revenues to the General Fund including police, fire, schools and infrastructure maintenance. For many years [his] support of redevelopment abuses has led to the enrichment of individual donor/developers who exploit Fullerton taxpayers.
  • In 2008, [he] attempted to secretly push through a multi-million dollar pension spike to the benefit of the Fullerton public employees who comprise his core political support.

Some of these counts are more or less compelling to different voters; the first one is what has most folks’ interest. But a vote to recall is a vote to recall, whatever your personal reason is. And I think Fullerton voters should be reminded of this:

These “Three Blind Mice” also voted to let Chevron do what it likes with
West Coyote Hills.

"I agree wholeheartedly - recall the bastards."

(So did Councilman Whitaker, but he was clear about his reasoning, and that would only be one “strike” against him anyway.) This is especially compelling as, if the Recall campaign gathers signatures quickly enough, it will be on the same ballot early next year as the referendum to save Fullerton’s last remaining open space – which is a very popular issue, even in the right-wing Fullerton church where I play organ.

The Three Blind Mice’s (and Bruce’s) failure on this issue was to not even consider – not even give a “second” to considering – Councillady Quirk-Silva’s very reasonable compromise proposals on the deal – offers that even Chevron’s spokesman said they were willing to consider, and which would have preserved this precious area from development.

Bushala’s blog has been mostly silent on this question, and many of his fans and commenters are property-rights-above-all zealots. But this recall can belong to the environmentalists and open space lovers of Fullerton just as much as some “millionaire developer.”

This is a BLOWN-WIDE-OPEN DEMOCRATIC SPACE! Let’s all use it.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.