2020: My Perspective

2020 and the choices are not getting easier. City Council: two seats, two incumbents, two challengers. City Treasurer: no incumbent, two candidates. School Board: three districts, two incumbents (one challenged/one unopposed) and one seat abandoned to a single unopposed candidate.

With only a couple of exceptions, I am unwilling to offer a full-throated endorsement to any candidate. You’ll easily note who the exceptions are. Here’s how it breaks down.

2020 City Council.

Neither incumbent, Marty Simonoff or Christine Marick, gets a nod from me this year. Both have become to predictably disappointing that it’s time to punch their ticket.

In 2016, as Marty launched his “Marty Bar” run for a sixth term, I ask him why. He responded that no one had ever been elected to six consecutive terms and he wanted to set the record. I told him “Twenty Is Plenty” and walked away.

Of course, he won. Except for Marty’s opposition to increasing sales tax and his support for my Kropke Public Records Request, I can’t think of a thing he has personally come up with and championed to a successful end. He rides the crest of the consensus, taking credit whenever possible. The thought of him warming a seat in the Council Chambers for a seventh term is unimaginable.

I challenged Christine Marick’s first run for Council based upon the way her credentials were presented. An exercise in creative writing, they challenged credulity.

Of course, she won. Christine was immediately gobbled up by the Schweitzer, Garcia, Beauman, Murdock Cabal. You’ll remember, this is the group that wielded three votes like Thor’s hammer and was dubbed as “totally dysfunctional” by Roy Moore (RIP) as he launched Operation Clean Sweep.

Christine avoided the 2016 swamp draining, winning a second term. She’s become the resident expert at kicking the can down the road. When CFD’s were challenged as possible double taxation (Central Park Brea) she let it ride. She partnered up with Murdock, blindsiding Council with a list of personal demands to be considered in the appeal of the Madrona Development Agreement and has allowed the fraudulent Paramedic Tax to remain hidden on the Consent Calendar (along with who knows what else) instead of putting her foot down on our behalf.

Time to go guys. Your lackluster political careers have reached their conclusion.

And the challengers.

Tyler Baugh, a well spoken, reasonably savvy forty-something ready to jump into local politics and make a difference. With very restricted funding, I don’t expect to be buried in postcards, yard signs and street banners… but, for the most part, he carried himself well at the Candidate’s Forum.

What Robyn Neufeld lacks in experience she more than makes up for with youthful exuberance. She’s obviously a diehard Brean and unafraid of digging in to learn the ropes.

Neither Council (Vargas, Hupp and Parker) or senior staff would let them make an uncorrectable blunder – and their fresh eyes on Brea’s issues would make a huge difference I believe.

So, Brea voters… especially you who are under 50… it’s time you flexed the power of your ballot and voted for someone sharing your interests and concerns. Not your grandfather or old maid aunt. Not those who seem to miss the days of sparse horse and buggy traffic, narrow streets and Craftsman cottages.

Folks with young and growing families facing life issues similar to what you face, who understand your struggles and likely share your vision of Brea’s future.

It’s time we opened the door to the ”NextGen” of Brea leadership and packed the “Old Guard” off to Golden Pond.

2020 City Treasurer

Okay, this one is a ripper! On one hand we have the classic career politician, Bev Perry, constantly drawn to the limelight.

Her track record includes launching our $250 million pension debt, perpetuating the bogus Paramedic Tax and countless other items slipped by under the Consent Calendar, signed off on the countless bond refinancing, project collecting, honey pot cash generating schemes that turned the last millennium’s Redevelopment projects into another $250 million in debt. We’ll be paying this off for the next 20 years yet Bev thinks EIFD (call it RDA 2.0) is the creative solution to financing infrastructure development in the 21st century.

On the other hand we have a career financial professional, Denise Eby, who understands the full scope of duties and responsibilities of Brea’s Treasurer and has 30 years experience and the drive to get the job done… without hidden agenda or political aspirations.

Denise manages $800 million in financial business – underwriting commercial and contract surety bonds. That’s ten times the amount of money Brea has invested at any time. She specializes in evaluating publicly traded, privately held, nonprofit and municipal creditors for third party credit guarantees. With Denise you can be certain you’re not putting the fox in the hen house!

2020 School Board

Districting has left me with no local campaign so I won’t be voting on the BOUSD. But there is one race that is critical. Gail Lyons needs to be reelected as a trustee if for no other reason than to block Keri Kropke’s hand picked surrogate, Lauren Barnes. Lauren played leadership roles in the challenge to the Fanning name and is an active leader in Brea’s social protest community.

2020 NOCCCD

And yes, you can block Keri Kropke from winning the North Orange County Community College District (Area 7) Governing Board Member seat by reelecting incumbent Ryan Bent. If you watched their League of Women Voter’s Candidate’s Forum you will have seen all you needed to see. Keri Kropke has no business fouling the waters of public education, at any level. Vote for Ryan Bent.

Make 2020 The Beginning Of A Brighter Future.

Ring out the old. Ring in the new. Push back against the status quo but remember where you came from. You are a Brean. Your vote counts. Mark your ballot wisely.

election 2018

No More Waiting For The Kropke Files.

Finally, after almost 50 days and countless attempts to block or delay fulfilling my public record requests Council finally relented and sent me a link to a Dropbox with 110 files relating to the Kropke incidents with Brea PD.

Yes, tonight. 110 files. Audio files and their transcriptions, video files, officer’s reports, email communications. The whole enchilada.

Because my request for police files succeeded in getting them publicly released, they are all available to you too. Well, they will be tomorrow.

Click the “Transparency” link on the city website home page and you’ll find the link. You’re welcome.

The substantiation of every allegation leveled at Ms. Kropke is there. Enjoy.

Outsiders attack Brea PD and Staff.

Anyone watching last night’s (08/18) City Council meeting would have heard our city clerk read four nasty emails from Ms. Kropke’s out-of town buddies. Pretty much that same crew she enlisted in her attempt to attack the Fanning legacy.

Notably, the spin doctors were Luciano C. Gomez, MD, Richard W. Hughes, Monica Lucero and the less than honorable John Briscoe. Not satisfied with how our City Clerk read his lengthy email, Mr. Briscoe jumped up and spoke during Matters from the Audience as well. Hey John… you only get one bite at the apple.

Speaking from the podium were Jeff LeTourneau, Vice-Chair, DPOC North Orange County, Gina Clayton-Tarvin, President of the Ocean View School District Board of Trustees (the irrational screamer) and double dipping John Briscoe, also a member of the Ocean View Board as well.

I won’t try to paraphrase the total BS these Kropke acolytes spewed. You’re going to be visiting the city website anyway, watch Matters From The Audience again. The groundless nature of their comments will be readily apparent.

Manley to the rescue.

Thankfully Dwight Manley rose to the occasion, motivating Bev Perry to follow suit, and handily put these small minded intruders in their place.

They pretty much debunked every lie and exposed the attack for what it was, a last ditched attempt at damage control for a political campaign on the verge of going completely off the rails.

Now… go back and read the 50+ comments on the last blog and remember that feeling when you’re filling out your ballot for NOCCCD District 7.

The good news?

A new precedent has been set regarding Brea’s public and police records. No longer just a word in a political slogan, there is a new transparency in Brea.

Epilogue: 08/20/20 1:30 p.m.

The Kropke data dump is three clicks beyond “Transparency” – this link should take you to the city’s statement which includes a clickable link to the Dropbox archives.

The Obligatory Caveat.

When the City Manager confirmed the data dump link for me last night he also gave me a paraphrased version of the Public Information Brief (above). There wasn’t a hint at what the city has included in the last two paragraphs.

I believe the statement and link were delayed being posted this morning after they read my closing comment, “A new precedent has been set regarding Brea’s public and police records. No longer just a word in a political slogan, there is a new transparency in Brea.”

So, to cover their ass, they added this…

”The release of exempt records in this situation is not a precedent. In different circumstances, exempt records may be withheld to the extent permitted by law.”

Mr. Gallardo, Mr, Boga and anyone else complicit in trying to continue withholding the truth from an information hungry public… screw you.

Kropke Harasses Police, Drops The F-Bomb!

An anonymously sent email showed up in my inbox the evening of June 30, email from our interim Police Chief, Capt. Adam Hawley, to the City Manager and members of Council. Considering the topic, I’m surprised it doesn’t appear to have been sent to BOUSD Superintendant Dr. Brad Mason.

It was a courtesy report (sort of an executive summary) on department activities related to the BLM protest earlier that evening. You can get a copy here: Hawley Report.

For those not clicking the link, paragraph five was especially interesting. “It should be noted that although the group is small, they are vocal and noncompliant. Also, it was reported to me that one of the protestors is a BOUSD Board Member.”

Pressing down on the matter, it turned out to be Keri Kropke who allegedly repeatedly shouted “the F-bomb” at the officers monitoring the protesters.

Enraged, I swung into action.

I immediately fired off an email to Dr. Mason, District Superintendent, making what I believed to be a strong case to have this put on the board’s agenda for discussion. It seemed obvious to me that there was a conflict of interest… that there was a violation of board ethics as well.

Several hours later I got the obligatory brush off, suggesting the matter should be brought up during Public Comments rather than agendized as a discussion item.

I responded, pointing out how that approach seriously reduced the impact the topic deserved and, without being agendized, the result could only be zero response, zero action.

Adding insult to injury.

Two days later news of another clash between Ms. Kropke and the Brea PD surfaced. Paraphrased from my email to Dr. Mason, “BPD officers were dispatched to a theft call involving a homeless black male who allegedly stole food from a bakery. The suspect was detained at the Circle K/Union 76 gas station around 10:30 a.m., where Ms. Kropke happened to be as well.

She reportedly video recorded and harassed the officers as they detained the suspect. The bakery owner wanted to press charges, however, officers convinced the owner otherwise and released the suspect.

Ms. Kropke apparently continued to interrogate the officers about racial discrimination. (Both officers, by the way, are black.) She also said she was a “city official” and the officers would be hearing more from her.

She is not a “city” official, she is a school board member, which sounds to me like misrepresentation and misuse of authority.

The concerns I’ve raised are sufficiently grievous as to demand open discussion by the board. The sooner, the better. The pattern of behavior, which we’ve all endured for over eighteen months, must be publicly addressed and appropriate action taken.”

You can get a copy of the full email string here: Dr. Mason Communications.

Digging down for the facts.

An old hand at using the California Public Records Act (CPRA), my next step was to formally request from Capt. Hawley “copies of the audio recordings from the officers who had the encounter with Ms. Keri Kropke yesterday when she interfered with their interrogation…” and from Dr. Mason “By declaring herself as a “city” official, the video she produced became public record. I am making this formal CPRA request for an unedited/unaltered complete copy of the video captured by Ms. Kropke.”

I’m still waiting to hear back from Dr. Mason, presumably on Monday.

The response I got back from Capt. Hawley stated, “Per standard protocol, I will forward your PRA request to our City Clerk, Lillian Harris-Neal. In the future, please direct PRA requests directly to the City Clerk.”

Standard protocol? You, dear reader, deserve to read my response to that hogwash verbatim.

“Are you telling me that the City Clerk is the official custodian of BPD records, reports and evidence? Because, that is potentially what the audio recordings are, evidence. Where are incident reports filed?

I looked through the City Clerks Records Retention Schedule and find no mention of any police records outside of those connected possibly to email/electronic communications, budgeting and purchasing matters.

I do not believe that the City Clerk needs to be conscripted into this matter. Please, simply record digital audio files to DVD and mail them to me.”

(Sound of mic dropping) Guaranteed that will get a response on Monday as well. Again, you can get a copy of the full email string here: Mason/Hawley CPRA Requests.

Let’s hear you loud and clear!

Please, be bold enough to add your thoughts and opinions here. Public comments add an important dimension to One Brea.

Hopefully Brea First’s admin will pick this up for their Facebook Group (if you haven’t joined yet, now would be a perfect time to do so). You can also share on that platform as well.

Please, rattle Dr. Mason’s cage!

Add your voice to mine, whether you share my outrage or not, and send Dr. Mason an email (bmason@bousd.us). Be sure to let him know you want your communication read during Public Comments.

Epilogue – 07/07/20

BOTA announced today their endorsement of Keri Kropke’s reelection.

Excerpt from a BOTA update from President Pattie Romero distributed to members by Glenda Bartell, BOTA Secretary, “School Board Elections – As you know, a committee of BOTA volunteers took part in interviewing our school board candidates over a two day period. Each candidate was asked the same questions that were written by the interview committee. The candidates interviewed included Gail Lyons, Paul Ruiz, and Keri Kropke. After discussion, the committee unanimously recommended that BOTA endorse each candidate in their election.

There are a couple of big problems with this. Candidate documents won’t be available to take out for four more days. I don’t remember hearing about any public declaration of her intent to run but, as of today, Keri Kropke is not a candidate! No one is, officially. Is incumbency automatically indicative of running for reelection?

And exactly who is the union comparing her to if there are no other openly declared candidates? This paints a pretty clear picture of just how bright the BOTA leadership is. Their choice would never be my choice.

Vargas Dismissal

Please share your opinions with the school board, click this: PUBLIC COMMENT.

Epilogue – 07/15/20

Brea PD released a summary report of incidents between their officers and BOUSD Board Member Keri Kropke. You can read/download a copy of this public document here:  PD SUMMARY REPORT

Released last night, this report reads a little like Cliff Notes but fully vindicates all details in this blog and more. There was a third incident in the Brea Downtown that readers will find particularly interesting.

There is a 90% chance a more detailed sequel will be released and I will add it here. Kudos to Mayor Simonoff, members of Council supporting his demand for clarification and anyone else behind the scenes who pressed for full public disclosure.

Epilogue – 07/17/20 (8:00 p.m.)

Statement from Keri Kropke Regarding Letter from Brea Police Department to Mayor/Council: Emailed to the BOUSD Board and posted to her Facebook page and Instagram.

As a person who comes from both a union and law enforcement family, I am disheartened at the misinformation that has circulated regarding my interactions with the Brea Police Department.

-At no time have I ever used a racial slur or epithet toward a Brea Police Department officer, or anybody else. As explained in a separate letter being sent to the Chief of Police, I was providing an explanation of how a store owner yelled a racial slur at the subject being detained during the encounter described in the Police Department’s narrative sent to the Mayor and Council. How the repetition of what a store owner said became confused for my use of a racial slur toward an officer is bewildering. As mentioned at the School Board meeting, I am the single mother of an African American son and have never used a racial slur toward anyone.

-At no time during the Black Lives Matter march did I direct profanity toward a Brea Police Department officer. I was at the march with my son, to exercise my Constitutional right to free speech and assembly and to champion values I believe in. I have asked the Chief of Police for all recordings and to correct slanderous statements against me.

I have spent my career as an unapologetic champion for equality, diversity and inclusion and will continue to stand up for those values when threatened. I have always and continue to support the brave women and men in law enforcement, like my grandfather, who commit to community through constitutional policing, building community and racial harmony through transparency and effective partnerships.

Respectfully,
Keri Kropke – Brea Olinda School Board Member, Clerk

Epilogue – 08/07/20 (8:00 p.m.)

Contrary to the emotional assertion, at last night’s BOUSD board meeting, of working hard for Brea schools, parents and kids… Keri Kropke chose not to run for re-election to BOUSD.

This afternoon she completed qualification to run for District 7 of the NOCCCD and tonight has removed her BOUSD Official Facebook page.

Epilogue – 08/18/20

Ms.Kropke has purchased an endorsement from Women in Leadership (WIL). They define themselves as, “… a bi-partisan Political Action Committee formed in 1993 for the purpose of electing women candidates to local, regional and state-wide office who are dedicated to keeping access to full reproductive rights. We provide funds to candidates who believe that ensuring access to reproductive education and healthcare is essential to safeguarding rights for all women.”

Think of WIL as a virtual slate mailer where endorsements are bought and paid for. Whatever a candidate provides about their background appears to be published without any attempt to fact check or validate. How else would you explain this on their website?

Confirmed today, by the President of the Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame, no team has ever been inducted and Keri Kropke has not been personally inducted or honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.