by Michael D. Robbins
April 18, 2012
The newly elected El Segundo City Council members, City Clerk, and City Treasurer were sworn in at the April 17, 2012 City Council meeting, one week after the April 10 El Segundo General Municipal Election.
Councilman Carl Jacobson, Councilman Elect David Atkinson, and Councilwoman Elect Marie Fellhauer were all sworn in for four-year terms on the City Council.
City Clerk Elect Tracy Sherrill Weaver, who was elected with the campaign help of her mother, a former school board member, and City Treasurer Elect Christopher Powell who ran unopposed, were also sworn in.
Councilman Carl Jacobson was selected to be mayor for the next two years by a majority vote of the new City Council, and Suzanne Fuentes as mayor pro tem, despite strong opposition from newly elected LAPD police union member and Busch-Fisher ally Marie Fellhauer.
And Council members Marie Fellhauer and Bill Fisher lost their first two key votes of the new City Council in the process.
Jacobson Vindicated, KCET Propaganda Video and Karen Foshay Repudiated
Jacobson’s successful re-election campaign, with by far the highest vote count of all eight City Council candidates, and his selection as mayor by a majority of the new City Council, serves well to vindicate him and repudiate the KCET SoCal Connected hatchet-job propaganda video, “Small Town, Big Oil”, produced by KCET propaganda journalist Karen Foshay.
Foshay’s KCET propaganda video attacked Chevron and Jacobson with false accusations made by fired El Segundo city manager Doug Willmore. Willmore has been described as a habitual and pathological liar, and was fired for many good cause reasons including persistent dishonesty, although no reason was needed nor specified because Willmore was an at-will employee.
Karen Foshay interviewed Mike Robbins because he was on the El Segundo City Council during the legal settlement to the MRC-Chevron-El Segundo tax dispute. However, she ignored all of the facts and information he provided verbally and by email, because they contradicted her anti-business bias and political agenda.
The police union and campaign supporters of Robbins’ worst four bottom-ranked candidates – Marie Fellhauer, Cindee Topar, Cindy Mortesen, and Scott Houston – urged voters to watch the propaganda video to dishonestly attack Jacobson’s character and undermine his re-election campaign.
City Council candidate Cindee Topar and/or her campaign supporter Peggy Boulgarides, wife of Jim Boulgarides – a firefighter union member in another city – placed an anonymous ad in the local El Segundo Herald newspaper for four weeks urging voters to watch the propaganda video. Jim Boulgarides may also have been behind that ad.
The police union put a message on their web site urging voters to watch the propaganda video, and sent two mailings to El Segundo voters attacking Chevron directly and Carl Jacobson indirectly, and urging voters to visit their web site so they would see the link to the propaganda video.
And anonymous mass-distribution emails were sent by supporters of the four bottom-ranked candidates to El Segundo residents attacking Chevron and Carl Jacobson, and urging them to watch the propaganda video.
The KCET propaganda video was clearly designed and intended to undermine Carl Jacobson’s re-election campaign, and that is how it was used.
Nominations for Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem
As soon as the newly elected city clerk opened nominations for mayor, Marie Fellhauer quickly spoke up, nominating Bill Fisher, her political ally and supporter, and a political ally of the local police and firefighter unions, for mayor.
After a pause during which there was no second for that nomination, Fisher seconded the nomination to nominate himself, although it was obvious there was not a needed third vote for the nomination to succeed.
The nomination failed by a 2 to 3 split vote, with Fisher and Fellhauer voting “yes”, and Jacobson, Fuentes, and Atkinson voting “no”.
Fuentes nominated Councilman and former mayor Carl Jacobson for mayor, Atkinson seconded the nomination, and the nomination passed on a 4 to 1 vote with Fellhauer alone voting “no”.
Some local residents observed that Fellhauer did not even have the class to vote for Jacobson for mayor even when it was obvious he would be the next mayor, and even though he clearly had the most experience, dedication, and integrity based on his previous years of service as mayor.
The new city clerk then tried to open nominations for mayor pro tem, but Mayor Jacobson politely informed her that as mayor, he now chairs the City Council meeting. Had the new city clerk read the very short City Council meeting agenda before the meeting, she would have known this fact.
Mayor Jacobson then opened nominations for mayor pro tem.
Again, Marie Fellhauer quickly spoke up, nominating her liberal political ally, Bill Fisher, as mayor pro tem. Again seeing there was no second for that nomination, Fisher seconded the nomination to nominate himself even though there would not be a needed third vote for the nomination to prevail.
As with Fellhauer’s nomination for mayor, the nomination failed by a 2 to 3 split vote with Fellhauer and Fisher voting “yes”, and Jacobson, Fuentes, and Atkinson voting “no”.
David Atkinson then nominated Suzanne Fuentes for mayor pro tem, and Jacobson seconded the nomination. The nomination passed by a 3 to 2 split vote with Jacobson, Fuentes, and Atkinson voting “yes”, and Fellhauer and Fisher voting “no”.
Local residents observed that both Fellhauer and Fisher lacked class on this vote. Fisher has already held the mayor pro tem position for two years.
Fellhauer Allied with Eric Busch and Bill Fisher who had Costly Sweetheart Deal with Police and Fire Unions
Bill Fisher has been a close personal friend and a proxy vote on the City Council for outgoing Mayor Eric Busch. Fisher almost always voted in lock-step with Busch as though he had no idea how to vote without direction from Busch.
Busch and Fisher were supported with thousands of dollars worth of campaign cash, campaign mailers, and other campaign support from the biggest campaign contributors in El Segundo city elections – the local police officer and firefighter labor unions (“associations”), and a Los Angeles-based extremist environmental political action committee (PAC) – the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters PAC (LALCV.org).
Fellhauer was selected by Mayor Busch to be his replacement on the City Council. Bush endorsed Fellhauer, appeared prominently in her campaign literature, and did much behind the scenes to help get her elected.
Eric Busch was given $10,900 in campaign cash and other campaign support by the El Segundo police officer and firefighter labor unions in a sweetheart deal in 2008, and Busch and Fisher gave them millions of extra tax dollars per year in return in excessive salaries, benefits, and pensions.
Fellhauer’s Dubious Values and Politics
Felhauer and the police union endorsed Scott Houston when he ran for El Segundo City Council in 2010, even though he had previously run as a self-described Progressive (ultra-liberal, big tax-and-spender) for Democratic Party County Central Committee in the June 3, 2008 election, and even though for many years, Houston has been director of the South Bay Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Center which operates a “youth group” advertised as youth “18 and UNDER Welcome!!!” to Drag Shows and more.
Fellhauer scheduled her campaign fundraisers at a major drinking establishment in town frequented and used by Eric Busch.
Fellhauer had an absenteeism problem on Planning Commission, yet cited her appointment to the Planning Commission as her primary example of “Marie’s Proven Commitment to Community” in her campaign literature, despite her 32 percent absentee rate for the meetings she was obligated to attend.
Fellhauer failed to resign from her Planning Commission appointment even after it was clear that she could not or would not meet her obligations. It appears that she planned on using the appointment as a “credential” and stepping stone to City Council for at least the last four years.
Some local residents have commented that if Fellhauer has a similar absenteeism rate for City Council, she will have less opportunity to vote for special interests instead of what is best for the voters and taxpayers.
Other residents are hoping she will mature while serving on the City Council, break her allegiance to Eric Busch, Bill Fisher, and campaign supporter and large contributor Ron Swanson, and instead uphold her obligation to represent the voters and taxpayers.
Bush Cited His Budget Disaster Legacy as an “Accomplishment”
Outgoing Mayor Eric Busch had a professional photographer present to photograph the presentations, speeches, and festivities at his last City Council meeting after serving for two years as mayor.
Busch read a list of his “accomplishments”, and again falsely claimed that the City budget was “structurally balanced”.
Either the City budget is not “structurally balanced”, or it is meaningless to say that it is.
If the budget was truly “structurally balanced”, then Busch, Fisher, and fired city manager Doug Willmore would not have planned to borrow more than $10 million for twenty years to pay for routine city infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements that traditionally have been paid for using ordinary General Fund revenues.
And they would not have planned to effectively sell and lease back City Hall to use it as collateral for the loan.
However, for many years, Busch and Fisher used the General Fund revenues that used to pay for infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements in a sweetheart deal to pay an extra $8 million per year for greatly excessive and unsustainable police and firefighter union salaries, benefits, and pensions.
Resounding Defeat of the Firefighter Union’s Measure P
Former El Segundo Councilman Mike Robbins spoke briefly during public communications, congratulating Mayor Carl Jacobson, Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Fuentes, and new City Council members David Atkinson and Marie Fellhauer.
Robbins also thanked those who campaigned early on and later against Measure P, and the 90.1 percent of voters who voted against it.
Measure P, the firefighter union initiative, would have disbanded the local City fire department and forced the City to contract with the Los Angeles County Fire Department for a significantly reduced level of fire and paramedic emergency services for at least ten years under state law.
Measure P would have permanently eliminated the three city-operated paramedic ambulances, forcing residents to use out-of-town private ambulance companies with significantly increased hospital transport times and ambulance fees.
The El Segundo Firefighters’ Association, which is the firefighters’ labor union, put Measure P on the ballot to maximize their salaries and job security at the residents’ expense in lives and money.
The firefighters would have become L.A. County Fire Department employees, with their higher El Segundo salaries intact without reduction. Their salaries would no longer be controlled and subject to reduction by the El Segundo City Council, even though city taxpayers would be forced to pay for them.
Robbins stated that El Segundo residents want to maintain local control of their fire department, police department, and schools, and that local control makes the city special.