Saga of the Bahu ARCO (A Microcosm of Anaheim Corruption)

The story of the Bahu family’s ARCO gas station, which SHOULD be on the southeast corner of Imperial and La Palma, though the tale may seem de minimis especially to us flatlanders, is a Microcosm of Corrupt Anaheim, and almost every important character plays a cameo. The tale illuminates our troubled burgh like a gas station exploding in the night.

It’s impossible to compute in how many ways Mayor Harry Sidhu, his allies and loyal Council majority, swindled the people of Anaheim. But one way was, for corrupt and vengeful motives, preventing competition in gasoline prices on that important intersection in the Hills. When Bahu’s ARCO finally returns to that corner, across the street from Navaz Malik’s Shell station, folks in the Hills will be spending a LOT less for fuel.

But first – City Manager James Vanderpool was called “a chameleon” by a City employee, so you should probably listen to this great Herbie Hancock jam while you read this story. HIT PLAY AND CONTINUE READING.

It was 1967. LBJ was President. Muhamad Ali was stripped of his boxing world championship for refusing to go to Vietnam, a war that would last another seven years. The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Paul Newman’s “Cool Hand Luke” was in theaters. And an enterprising young Arab named Albert Bahu immigrated from Jordan to Anaheim Hills “with only fifty dollars in his pocket,” where he started an Arco at the corner of Imperial and La Palma.

In the 60’s it was easy for anyone, even an immigrant without much cash, to start a gas station – oil companies were just looking for someone to sell their product! There was a Texaco across the street which later became a Shell that’s still there today. Competition between the two stations kept the gas prices reasonable at the time. The only other business nearby was a hamburger place called Knollwood. There was no 91 freeway. Only 200 or 300 families lived in the area at the time, and all around was the fabled orange groves!

In ’73 and ’78, if you’re old enough to remember, there were severe gas shortages nationwide, and you could only fuel up on “odd or even days,” based on the last digit of your license plate. The Texaco across the street followed that rule, but Albert Bahu made his own rule – anybody could fuel up as long as their driver’s license showed that they lived in Anaheim or Yorba Linda. That’s one way he built so much goodwill in the community. Along with donating playground equipment to nearby Nohl Canyon Elementary School which still sports a plaque thanking him.

Disco came and went, punk rock came and went, and also whatever that stuff was that people listened to in the 80’s. Ronald Reagan was President when the Texaco across the street became a Shell and was taken over by a Pakistani-American name of Navaz Malik. But healthy competition and reasonable prices still held sway.

And around that time Albert Bahu made a bold move, replacing his garage with an AM-PM mini-mart – the first station in Anaheim to do that! They sold beer and wine, and a lot of coffee! EVERYBODY would come in to have coffee with Albert – judges, cops, all the Mayors of that time (just as now, nearly all Anaheim Mayors lived in the Hills.) Carl Karcher would come by for a cup of joe, sometimes bringing presents for Albert’s young son Issa.

And an ambitious if sleazy (I can say that now, right?) businessman named Harry Sidhu used to come in too. He owned a Burger King half mile away and dreamed of creating a “Fast Food Empire!” One time he tried to talk Albert into investing in his Fast Food Empire, but Albert had a bad feeling about Harry and respectfully declined. Harry left in a huff and never came back. (THERE’S a story you didn’t read in the JL Report!)

The 90’s: Anaheim Hills GROWS.

Naturally the population in that area grew and grew, roads had to be widened, and Eminent Domain shaved away at the Bahu property more than once. Indeed, all the years since the mid-90’s have been frustrating and infuriating for the Bahus, but you and I don’t need to suffer through every detail.

As the street widened, the property shrunk, and at one point one of Bahu’s two driveways mysteriously disappeared, and to this day nobody at the City, CalTrans or OCTA can explain how that happened. “What was it, a ghost contractor who removed our driveway?” raved Albert’s son Issa. They should be able to get their extra driveway back, as we’ll get to later. Meanwhile, an OCTA bus stop was placed in front of the property which can also be moved.

For a while the family considered putting retail there but it didn’t make business sense. The Bahus were eventually paid $140K for their loss of business (NOT the millions some folks think they got – that was the original ask but it fell through because of something to do with BP taking over ARCO – see JL Report p. 118-19.)

In 2003 the Bahus were finally able to purchase the property from ARCO, but then they discovered that the site was CONTAMINATED by a large plume that had started with some other station’s leaky tanks. Around this time, sadly, Albert passed away, and Issa took over the business. He had to tear down the station to remediate the property. So it wasn’t till 2015 that he was able to, in earnest, try to bring back his family’s ARCO station – and even the following two years were frustrating with constantly changing city planners he had to deal with – he “had to re-submit like 18 or 20 times.” So we’ll be catching up with Issa Bahu again in 2017.

During those years he made the best use of that property by storing excess inventory for a local auto parts store, renting it out to Christmas Trees 4 Less in Decembers…

…and in Octobers to the Halloween Haunted House.

One hard and fast rule there though – NO GHOST CONTRACTORS!


Meanwhile Malik Thrives.

Suddenly being the only gas station around for miles, as well as so close to the freeway, really opens up the possibilities of how much you can charge, and the canny businessman across the street quickly raised his prices up to 20-50 cents a gallon over Anaheim’s average.

At the moment of this writing, Malik’s Shell is charging $5.50 a gallon for regular – not as excessive as it’s sometimes been (maybe he’s reading the same tea leaves as us?) but still higher than any other station in the Hills. At that price he is making a profit of 50 to 60 cents a gallon. At an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 gallons a month, he should be clearing 150K to 225K profit per month – very handsome!

In gas-people parlance, there are stations that are low-cents-high-volume, and stations that are high-cents-low volume. Malik manages to be high-cents-high-volume, which experts say is extraordinary. It would not be good for Malik’s heady profits if Bahu’s station re-appeared across the street.

And from 2017 till the FBI bombshells of May 2022, Malik had an ace up his sleeve – he’d had the good judgment or bad taste to have made friends with Harry Sidhu a long time ago – the same Sidhu that Albert Bahu had rejected years earlier. In fact, he had often been overheard boasting to people that he “has Harry under his thumb.” Well…

Who is this Harry Sidhu character?

I have this sneaking suspicion that Harish “Harry” Sidhu even stole his Origin Myth from Albert Bahu – he likes to say he “arrived in America [from India] with only SIXTY DOLLARS IN HIS POCKET” – something we never tended to believe. The Fast Food Mogul of the 80’s and 90’s somehow came to own one of the most ostentatious spreads in the Hills complete with a menagerie including ostriches and peacocks, bronze giraffe statues looking down onto Santa Ana Canyon Road from his backyard hillside trumpeting his opulence to the world, a bright yellow helicopter illegally registered in Arizona to avoid taxes, and an Imelda-closetful of lengthy garish footwear which led to his being known later as “Mayor Clownshoes.”

What could be next for this man but politics? And somehow Harry got himself elected to two terms on the Anaheim Council (2004-12) where he became a loyal part of the majority showing unquestioning deference and generosity to Disney, the Chamber of Commerce, and Anaheim’s other big moneyed interests.

But in contrast to other Councilmembers, staff found Councilman Harry to have one specific, disquieting trait – tirelessly and inappropriately harassing staff to steer development contracts to FRIENDS of his. [See JL p. 108.] The firm he pushed for the MOST was his “buddies” who owned ADI – an affordable housing developer that was already under FBI investigation for mammoth overbilling, bribing public officials, and “bringing in immigrants from India to work for them and then paying them almost nothing when they got here.” Sounds almost like human trafficking to me! The owners of ADI eventually fled the country, and I see that in 2016 a couple of them finally got arrested in Mumbai. HARRY’S “BUDDIES” that he went to bat for!

“Imagine if this cat ever became Mayor,” some observers may have wisecracked if they had a morbid imagination and sense of humor. In any case being a mere Anaheim Councilman clearly didn’t satisfy this grasping politician, as he ran for (and lost) so many offices during those years that we citizens started to laugh and call him a “perennial candidate.” In short:

  • The 2007-8 State Senate race where he was stomped by racist Republican Mimi Walters. I actually remember criticizing Mimi on this blog for putting out attack mailers that made his face look twice as DARK as it really is, to appeal to her base’s xenophobia. (Yes, in 2008, first time I wrote about Sidhu, I actually stuck up for him!)
  • The notorious 2010 race for OC Supervisor, in which – without any legal consequence – Harry faked a residence in a cheap flatlands apartment so he could pretend he lived in the district while EVERYBODY KNOWS exactly where Sidhu really lives! SHAWN NELSON stomped him in that race. (I just came across an embarrassing article in which the entire kleptocratic establishment – Pringle, Ackerman, Spitzer, OCBC’s Lucy Dunn, Disney’s Carrie Nocella – wrongly predicted a longed-for Sidhu victory.)
  • In 2013 when County Clerk Tom Daly was elected to Assembly, Harry tried to get the Board of Supervisors to appoint him to THAT plum position, a truly comical episode that I reported on at the time here. (Best part, Harry thought that Moorlach’s mention of “satellite offices” for the Clerk meant offices in outer space, which he reacted to with what he thought was appropriate amazed enthusiasm. The Clerk prize ended up going to Orange Juice favorite Hugh Nguyen, who holds it to this day with distinction.)
  • And the 2016 State Assembly race in which he was stomped by the mumbling Dr. Steven Choi. All of these losing races left Harry with beaucoup campaign debt, but no problemo, all of that was paid off by his deep-pocketed supporters AFTER he finally became Mayor. (Spoiler alert.)

The only reason I mention all of this in a Saga of Bahu’s ARCO is because throughout all these doomed campaigns, as well as Harry’s final tragic victory in 2018, Shell station owner Navaz Malik was right there, maxing out to Harry and holding fundraisers, building such loyalty from the power-hungry politician that Malik could boast that Harry was indeed “under his thumb.”


2018: Creepy Todd Ament Stalks May.

Issa knew Todd Ament back when they were growing up, and didn’t like him. A good friend of mine also grew up with Todd, and says he was always a “bully who used to beat up all the smaller kids,” and threw around lots of racial epithets. Well, some folks grow up to be better people, and some folks don’t.

It’s clear from nearly every page of the JL Group’s 353-page report that there was not a day since Todd took charge of the Chamber in 2004 (after being fired from the YMCA leadership for lying about his college degree) that he didn’t wake up scheming how to defraud Anaheim taxpayers and other ditzy innocents out of their hard-earned cash. The years when Tom Tait was Mayor, and ESPECIALLY when Tait had a majority (2017-18) were frustrating cock-blockage for Todd, but once he realized Sidhu was running for Mayor, the possibilities suddenly seemed endless again! This was to be, indeed, a match made in Swindler Heaven!

It’s not clear exactly when the now-felon Chamber of Commerce head started texting and calling Issa’s sister May Bahu – but it was apparently before the 2018 election, which is interesting – Ament’s golden-ticket Sidhu would have still been running neck-and-neck with Ashleigh Aitken in the existential race for Mayor. But maybe there’s nothing to be learned from the timing; we know from JL and everywhere else that Todd obsessively looked for more money 24/7 for as long as we can remember.

And sure enough he saw an opportunity to wring $50 grand from the Bahus whom he apparently knew to be in a tough predicament before they ever did. Sister May may be a little easier to get a hold of than brother Issa, and may be friendlier. So Todd texted and called her relentlessly for over a year, trying to convince the Bahus that they NEEDED his services if they wanted their gas station approved. Issa couldn’t see why, there was absolutely nothing controversial about his project, and he didn’t feel like paying that kind of money to a guy like Todd. But as May told JL, “Todd was hinting to me, not so much ‘Do you want help?’ but ‘You NEED help.'”

In 2019 Issa’s project sailed through the Planning Commission 6-1, but when that decision was appealed to Council by Sidhu’s longtime friend Malik-from-across-the-street, Issa realized he might have some problems. JL:

Bahu was asked if Ament ever mentioned that he was working directly with Mayor Sidhu regarding this project, and he said, “Not directly, but everyone knew he ran Harry.” Bahu said he spoke with Ament a week before the appeal hearing and asked him, “‘Todd, what do I have to do now?’ and he goes, ‘You’re screwed.’ And I asked, ‘How do you know I’m screwed? So there is no amount of money at this point?’ And Todd said, ‘No. A year ago when I talked to you, yes… If you woulda hired me a year ago, you’d be fine.‘”

JL Report p. 125

But we’re ahead of ourselves now – something big happened in the middle of all that, and it was…

The Great Unthinkable: MAYOR SIDHU!!!

Harry’s famed slogan “Anaheim is Open For Business!” invites much snide commentary and analysis now.

In that fateful election, Harry beat Ashleigh for Mayor by less than 500 votes, and he probably owed his winning margin to a bit of theater he played with Angels owner Arte Moreno – Arte announced he was gonna take his popular ball team and leave town, the populace panicked, immediately Sidhu announced that “ONLY I CAN KEEP THE ANGELS IN ANAHEIM,” and enough dodos fell for that that to swing the election. (So that Harry could immediately get to work giving away the Stadium to Arte.)

According to the Bible (Matthew 27:51) when Christ expired on the Cross, the Curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shook, rocks split, and the dead walked the earth. Here in this town, when Harry Sidhu spread his arms wide to proclaim that we were “Open For Business,” Anaheim’s ethical walls crumbled, like a skyscraper imploding.

And on Election Night, at the Sidhu Victory Party, lined up with all the corrupt politicians (of both Parties), businessmen, union bosses and consultants at the trough, was our friend Navaz Malik, from the Shell station across the street.

Now I’m going to ask you to do something very unpleasant for a minute, and close your eyes, and imagine that you are Mayor Harry Sidhu. And you find out that Issa Bahu wants to re-open his ARCO. And you

  • remember that Bahu’s father refused to invest in your Fast Food Empire years ago; and you
  • have been hearing your Chief of Staff Todd complaining that the Bahus won’t give him any money either; and
  • your dear dear longtime supporter and friend Malik really doesn’t want that competition across the street;

…What are you gonna do? I’m sorry, you can go take a shower now. I will wait here to tell the rest of the story when you get back.


Yankee Doodle Debacle

Every May and June, the annual Anaheim Hills Fourth of July Celebration, which includes among many other patriotic features a “Yankee Doodle Dog Show,” goes out begging for money. Cuz, you know, it takes a lot.

In April of 2019 the Planning Commission had passed Bahu’s project 6-1 with no controversy, completely signed off on by every relevant staff member. But then that decision was appealed to Council by Malik and a friend, and Issa Bahu thought, wow, maybe I DO need a consultant. So he got a guy named Grant, who’s much more honest and less expensive than Todd Ament or Curt Pringle.

And Grant the Consultant told Issa that, hey, it’d be a cool idea and helpful, if you donated $5000 to the July 4 event, and got yourself a booth, it would build goodwill in the community. Issa thought great idea, I’ll have a table where I can talk to all the locals and explain to them how much better it will be with my ARCO back on the corner.

Issa didn’t realize, and possibly Grant the Consultant didn’t realize, that over the years this event had become one more Chamber slush fund, from which Ament profited, and that what Issa was donating to was actually a fundraising plea from Sidhu himself. In fact since the previous year, the Hills 4th of July event had become inextricably linked with Sidhu, who had supposedly “saved” the 2018 event, in the middle of his Mayoral Campaign, with a staggering $7500 contribution – that amazing story is still trumpeted on the pages of Matt Cunningham’s Chamber-funded Klepto-Blog:

I mean really, who can forget Harry’s appearance in that 2018 Parade – the candidate for Mayor and Savior of the Parade, waving at the crowd from the back of a humvee while dressed up as an Air Force vet? (A lot of real vets got pissed, but voters ate it up, and hey he didn’t wear any Air Force INSIGNIA, he’ll tell you!)

This event was HARRY’S BABY, dammit. And when he and Todd saw the check from the hated Bahu, they filed it away in the circular cabinet. Around the same time Issa stopped payment on it, realizing he wasn’t gonna get his booth. I learned from experience last year what a politicized event the Anaheim Hills July 4 Celebration is – my friend the insurgent Council candidate Hari Shankar Lal spent a month trying to get into the Parade and they would never answer or return his calls until Hari (also a very aggressive lawyer) served them with threatening papers. After THAT it went well.

Stubborn Lal, and the author.


The Appeal of SHAME

I’ve mentioned that Issa’s project passed the Planning Commission (PC) in April 2019, six to one, with hardly any argument, because, duh, there was nothing wrong with it, and everybody on staff vouched for it. (In retrospect, the PC must not have “got the memo” – ordinarily when the establishment is against something it gets stopped at that level.)

And I think I’ve mentioned that the PC’s decision got appealed to the City Council, by two people – competitor Malik himself, and a close friend of Malik’s called DADA – both longtime Sidhu supporters from *cough* Yorba Linda. And just to spare you the suspense, Issa lost – Council overturned the PC’s decision in June, and later refused a rehearing, 5-2.

And man did the appellants pull out the big guns to fight this gas station. Cops and the cop union? Fred Whitaker, the head of the OC Republican Party? Turns out they were all turned out by the powerful lobbyist Peter Mitchell (right) who lobbies for the police union, and whom Malik hired as HIS consultant.

It was ridiculous. Suddenly people were finding all manner of problems with Bahu’s project that never existed before. What was formerly accepted as alleviating traffic by making less U-turns necessary somehow became a traffic problem that would increase accidents. So spake Cop Union Boss Edgar Hampton, but I’ll rake that guy over the coals later. First, a bigger problem than Hampton:

Mindless Council Puppets

These days everyone likes to blame all of Anaheim’s problems on the two villains that the FBI busted: Harry and Todd (just as I write this story, Harry has agreed to plead guilty to four federal felonies, so we’re talking about two prison-bound felons.) Fuck that shit. These two crooks couldn’t have gotten away with anything if it weren’t for pliant amoral staff (unlike fired City Manager Chris Zapata) and, especially, a Council majority that went along with ANY and EVERY little desire of Harry. [Sole exception – on cannabis.]

I mean, we saw group-think, planned-out shit, and suppression of the Council minority during the KRIS MURRAY YEARS (2010-16) but never anything like the blind unquestioning subservience of Steve Faessel, Lucille Kring, Jordan Brandman and Trevor O’Neil during the SIDHU YEARS. It was like these four people stowed away their brains and consciences (or what brains and consciences they had) in a lockbox as long as Sidhu was Mayor. It was actually creepy.

Back to our Bahu Saga – Kring and Faessel both told Issa they would support his gas station if the Planning Commission and staff did, but when Sidhu made his wishes clear … into the lockbox with those brains and consciences! Former Director of Economic Development (he quit) John Woodhead was “shocked and dismayed” at “how readily the four Councilmembers went along with Sidhu” on EVERYTHING, and expressed that to Faessel, who responded “Oh John, the votes are there, and I can’t stop this.” [JL p. 117] What does that even mean? I should make that a song, in Steve’s honor, “Oh, John.”

Jordan Brandman was grossest of all – I’ve already criticized him many times for literally saying, many times, “I’m going to follow the Mayor’s judgment on this because he was elected at large and I wasn’t” – both depriving his own District 2 of its own thinking, independent representative, and also reminding us of how he viciously opposed Mayor Tait at every turn, Tait who was elected with 60% of the vote while Harry only got 33%.

Grant the Consultant, after making the humiliating admission that he’d been Jordan’s friend for years, helping him in all his campaigns, found himself as disgusted as I, when he witnessed the Boy Wonder up close in action:

[Grant] went on to say, “We met with Jordan, and what he told me was that to get his vote we would have to get the Mayor’s vote, and he was unwilling to vote against the Mayor. I haven’t talked to Jordan since that day. I don’t want a Councilperson that doesn’t think for themselves… To NOT EVEN MAKE AN EFFORT to find a reason to vote against this project and say ‘I’m gonna do what the Mayor tells me to do’ … I didn’t want to be friends any more with somebody that had that point of view on what their responsibility to the City was.”

JL, page 123

Well, a little late, Grant, but welcome to the club.

ASIDE from Brandman’s blind fealty to Sidhu, there’s other reasons Brandman never woulda given Bahu a chance, once Malik hired Peter Mitchell – Mitchell, Brandman’s close friend and former employer, Mitchell who helped him make 400% on stock investments, Mitchell to whom Brandman gratefully “behested” four tickets to Elton John’s farewell tour, worth $1000.

But Brandman’s gone and disgraced. Steve Faessel on the other hand is still on Council. Even today, with the BRAND NEW REVELATIONS about his PARTICIPATING IN MOCK (rehearsal) COUNCIL MEETINGS staged by the Angels. But I’m going too far afield. Let’s get back to the railroading of Issa Bahu.

Officer Edgar Hampton Joins the Fray!

What was the police union (“APA”) president Edgar Hampton doing at Navaz Malik’s appeal, fighting against a little gas station in the Hills, telling Council and all assembled that “The Anaheim Police oppose this” and that it’ll cause traffic accidents, passing on some deceptive “traffic studies” that he obtained inappropriately and then misrepresented? Well, I’m sure his cop-union lobbyist Peter Mitchell told him it’d be good for his cop union.

And it’s not the only time Hampton went above and beyond the call of police duty to bring pleasure and succor to the Chamber crowd – when Ament and Sidhu wanted to pass a cannabis ordinance he wrote a startlingly illiterate piece on Matt Cunningham’s Kleptoblog about how much the police LOVE this new cannabis ordinance! (Props at least for not using a ghostwriter or editor, I guess.)

This union did max out to Harry AND THE REST OF HIS ZOMBIE MAJORITY in the elections. And Harry DID like to call them “My police” (as in, “If you don’t shut up right now I will have MY POLICE escort you out of here and arrest you!”)

But a big missing piece that JL didn’t mention was this: Eight months later, in February 2020, the Anaheim police demanded and got an unaffordable $60 million, six-year contract including a 14% raise – a contract ESPECIALLY SWEET for Hampton himself, who got a 17% raise getting him up to $400,000 a year by the sixth year – paid for by the City ourselves, which VERY few union presidents are! Eat your heart out Gerry Serrano! (Mortifyingly, pretend-conservative Councilman Trevor O’Neil admitted while voting for this contract that “We’ll probably have to dip into our reserves to cover this, but hopefully our revenues will pick up soon.” That very month, something called COVID hit us.)

Just showing you how rewarding it can be, for a police union chief to do things like attack a gas station the Mayor hates, or shill for a cannabis ordinance the Chamber wants. JL questioned Hampton on his puzzling anti-Bahu letter WHICH HE LATER RESCINDED, and oh that was classic:

Hampton was asked about drafting a letter stating the police association opposed the project and later rescinding that letter, and he replied, “No, I don’t recall. It might have been just looking at the traffic…” When asked again if he recalled drafting that letter and then taking it back, he said, “It was probably because of that, because it started to get messy, I didn’t need any headaches like that.” Asked if he felt the issue was becoming too political, he responded “Yeah I just didn’t want that and it’s a bad look, you know what I mean, I didn’t want our reputation linked with stopping something for cronyism… I wasn’t interested in getting down into the weeds on something like this… next thing I know, hey this guy is related to that guy…”

JL, page 129

I will allow Jackie Gleason to translate Hampton’s statements for us laypeople:

Edgar Hampton is retired now. We think he’s the cop who hit a Black Lives Matter protester with his cruiser back in July 2020, but we’re not sure, and then-Chief Cisneros told me it wasn’t him. But now we know from the Jordan Brandman terrorist threat incident that “When it’s an influential individual, we keep that under wraps.” (Cisneros to the Times.) Well, I hope former Officer Hampton doesn’t get mad at me for what I’ve written and hit me with whatever car he’s driving now.

The Reviews Pour in…

What a performance, this successful appeal against Issa Bahu’s ARCO station! And the critics weighed in, from all over City Hall and beyond:

Former City Manager James Ruth:

“… the arguments opposing the project lacked substance and were basically focused more on protecting the ownership of the Shell station (across the street) from competition.”

HR Director Linda Andal:

“I was aghast – it was VERY DIRTY. For the POA (police union) to be involved… I just said to myself, ‘We are going in a different direction.'”

Fire Chief Patrick Russell:

“It was a little strange that Mayor Sidhu would call me directly [about a certain project’s safety]… I investigated and Bahu was in compliance, there were no issues. I told Mayor Sidhu and he did not seem happy. Later I heard he was friends with the owner of the station across the street.” [This author ran into Chief Russell at an AM-PM recently and he added, “Imagine that, a Mayor NOT BEING HAPPY that a gas station is in compliance!”]

Former APD Deputy Chief / private investigator Craig Hunter:

“It piqued my interest that the appellant was going around town telling everyone that he had the mayor under his thumb. It all just sounded rotten to me. This is not about fairness. This is about the $2 million a year that he’ll lose when people get to pay 35 cents less a gallon.”

Former EDD John Woodhead:

“If there was a public safety concern, it should have been raised by staff, not the owner of the gas station across the street. And why is the Mayor stepping in over his experts?”

Planning Director Ted White:

“Bahu was describing unethical and undue influence, and saying he got ‘screwed.’ The Mayor’s involvement was very suspicious.”

Businessman Bill Taormina:

“That was just wrong, wrong and corrupt – and I’ve seen the exact same thing happen two other times under Sidhu (in different industries) to guys from the same part of the world.”

Perennial Mayor candidate Lorri Galloway:

“Bahu was screwed, screwed, SCREWED! *I* KNOW that guy, Peter Mitchell. Bahu was SCREWED!

Enough of that.


Turning the Page

The Bahu property during the 2022 election;
JL spent such an inordinate amount of time on this sign that I thought you might wanna see it.
This drove the other two Mayor candidates crazy –
Lorri Galloway who screamed and cursed at the poor Halloween workers,
and Trevor who used his close Code Enforcement connections to have it removed.
That is all.

At this fraught moment in Anaheim history, after the FBI, the JL Report, and (now) yesterday’s Sidhu Plea Deal, this City’s leadership is dying to “turn the page.” Or at least LOOK like they’re turning the page. Approving Issa Bahu’s long-overdue gas station is like one of the easiest things they can do in that regard. What Mayor Ashleigh would call “LOW-HANGING FRUIT.” (And we need much more.)

We’re talking now, if I hadn’t mentioned, about a station with SIX PUMPS – meaning 12 filling positions – and the adjoining AM-PM, because of the reduced lot size, would be two stories (as several such AM-PM’s are in Anaheim) with the offices upstairs.

I have a good feeling about Natalie Meeks being on Council, as far as this project goes. She had promised the Bahus DECADES ago that they would get back their station. She voted in favor of it on the Planning Commission in 2019. And, even though she is associated with the Chamber/Sidhu crowd, she made a great effort to convince the JL investigators that the Chamber didn’t trust her too much “because she is ethical.” Well, let’s take her at her word!

And of course it’ll be good for drivers in the Hills and Yorba Linda. I don’t know about you, but as soon as the Bahu’s get their ARCO back, I’m-a celebrate by driving the seven miles up there and…

Fill ‘er up!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.