Tag Archives: Blair Farley

Pierside Developer Claims ‘Bully Tactics’ Used by Huntington Beach Activist

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Kim Kramer, the leader of a group that advocates for downtown and city-wide improvements, has been accused by a prominent local developer of using “bully tactics” in an attempt to pressure him into donating $25,000 per year for-life to the city for a proposed downtown area residential parking permit program that he was promoting.

Joe Daichendt, owner of the Pierside Pavillion on the corner of PCH and Main Street in downtown Huntington Beach, told the Voice that Kramer, chief spokesperson for the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association (HBDRA), strongly implied that if he didn’t donate the money to the city he would not receive the support he needed from HBDRA to get permits approved for a live entertainment center that was to be located inside the Pavillion.

The alleged donation request came days after an informational meeting in early September that took place between Kramer, Planning Commissioner Blair Farley and Mary Adams Urashima, a public affairs consultant, to discuss Daichendt’s plans to open the venue using the name of the famous Golden Bear night club that used to stand at the same location but was demolished in 1986 during redevelopment.

Kramer, representing the HBDRA, and Daichendt had formed an informal partnership a year ago to push for approval of the project, which Daichendt said would have been 5-6,000 sq. feet in size, offering comics and local bands on a real stage “like a House of Blues cut in half.” The night club was also to display exhibitions in tribute to the city’s surfing and oil history.

Kramer and Daichendt were both excited about their partnership. “By working together in this fashion, we could establish a new standard of cooperation between the developers and residents that could be ground-breaking,” Kramer wrote in an e-mail to Daichendt in Feb. 2010, expressing their mutually held sentiments.

But the proposal subsequently fell through due to negative feedback from HBPD Chief Kenneth Small about the venue’s size and it is currently being revised, Daichendt says, and will be submitted to the Planning Commission in about two months.

“We’re in the process of taking his guidance and recommendations and incorporating them into something that would be more compatible” with city planners and the Chief, he said.

Contrary to media reports, there was never a plan to reopen or create a new Golden Bear, Daichendt said, and the name has also been dropped from the new version.

Current Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby (who was not on the commission at the time) was also invited to attend the meeting but didn’t due to a schedule conflict. In an e-mail communication to strictly to Daichendt obtained by the Voice, Kramer represented Bixby, Farley and Urashima to Daichendt as his “leadership team.”

The e-mails also indicate that the now dissolved partnership and first meeting between Daichendt and his consultants and the HBDRA team came after Daichendt and Kramer were introduced by former Huntington Beach mayor and long-time Kramer friend Dave Garofalo in Feb. 2010.

Before and after that meeting there were several other separate meetings about the Golden Bear between Daichendt, Kramer and Garofalo, without the knowledge of Urashima, Farley or Bixby who were not included in the exchange of e-mails between Kramer and Daichendt.

Garofalo was convicted of felony conflict of interest in 2002 and was banned from public office for life as punishment. Kramer’s relationship to Garofalo has long disturbed some of his followers and other activists who share his concerns about issues affecting the downtown but disagree with his tactics.

 In a response to written questions submitted to him by the Voice (Kramer refused to talk in person), Kramer denied any professional links to Garofalo and sidestepped the issue of involvement by his long-time friend in the Golden Bear project.

“We have spoken on many occasions about Downtown issues and he has offered his insight as a long-time City Council member, as have many other community members and former city officials,” Kramer wrote.

Daichendt says that Kramer requested a one to one meeting about five days after they met with Farley and Urashima and that he was surprised by Kramer’s request. “I had no idea it was coming,” he said, adding that Kramer explained that he would need the HBDRA to overcome opposition from residents and members of the city council, but told him that ‘You’ll never get there on your own, but HBDRA can deliver this in basket.’”

In return for HBDRA support, Daichendt claims, Kramer wanted him to pay $25,000 per year forever for a proposed downtown residential parking permit plan. “He said that the only thing stopping the downtown residents parking program from being approved is that nobody would fund it,” Daichendt claims.

Daichendt refused, he says. “Basically, I told him that was crazy.”

Then, according to Daichendt, Kramer suggested he pay for only three years. When that was refused, says Daichendt, Kramer proposed that he pay for only one year, saying he would get somebody else to pay for subsequent years.

Daichendt took the latter idea to his team of consultants who, he says, rejected it. In an e-mail to Kramer he wrote:

“Kim, let’s talk about the $25,000 contribution to the DRA /Lobby support that will go towards Residents Parking Program.

“Overall I received a very negative/slight angry reaction from the rest of the group. I asked them to curb their enthusiasm at the moment and I’m thinking through some other ideas. Let’s chat next week in more detail.”

But Kramer says he never told Daichendt that he would need HBDRA to get approval for the Golden Bear project. “

The HBDRA supports “public safety and residential quality of life on behalf of the Downtown residential community,” he told the Voice. “City Council and City Staff make these decisions, not the HBDRA.”
And in an article written on the HBDRA website Kramer claims that Daichendt was actually the one who suggested a $25,000 donation. The article explained that “Kramer” supported Daichendt’s project  based upon several mutually agreed upon points stated that:

“The Golden Bear developer presented an idea based on his experience dealing with a local resident who complained about the late night noise coming from one of their nightclub tenants – they purchased the resident an air conditioner so the resident could sleep at night with the windows closed. Problem solved!”

Kramer continued. “Using this idea as a springboard, the property owner suggested that the Golden Bear project, already estimated at $2 million in costs, pay for the Residential Only Parking Zones at a cost of $25,000.”

The article says that since all HBDRA’s points were agreed to by the developer, “Kramer was in tentative support of the Golden Bear.” It concludes by noting that Daichendt’s team of consultants rejected the contribution idea, then notes his (Daichendt’s) suggestion to talk about other ideas “next week” but that the meeting never took place.

The article is dated Feb. 27. Strangely, however, Kramer didn’t mention the article to the Voice when it asked about the alleged contribution request in a phone conversation that took place either on the 26th or 27th of the month. In fact, Kramer refused to answer any questions about Daichendt’s allegation for the record until March 12.

Asked again by the Voice for a response at the March 7 meeting of the City Council, Kramer again refused talk about it but agreed to answer questions in writing by e-mail. In that response, which came on March 9, he wrote “You can read about the Golden Bear on our website at www.HBDRA.com, referring to the article.

But a forensic examination of Kramer’s web postings may explain why he waited so long to answer questions about the $25,000 contribution when he supposedly could have pointed the Voice to it much earlier. A Google search on March 10 showed that although another article posted on the HBDRA website and dated Feb. 28 (one day after the Golden Bear article was supposedly posted) is cached, the Golden Bear article still was not.

Also, every other article on the HBDRA website appears to also be posted on the group’s Facebook page (where dates of uploaded links are automatically posted and can’t be manipulated by users) in proper order, but there is no Facebook posting for the Golden Bear article.

In addition, a (right click) properties check of the photo used in the HBDRA Golden Bear story reveals that the photo was uploaded in March, not on the Feb. 27 date that the article was given.

That evidence suggests that a false publication date for the Golden Bear article was entered that would create the appearance that the article had been there prior to Daichendt’s public accusation that Kramer had pressured him for $25,000 (and prior for Kramer’s need to defend himself), thus giving Kramer’s different version of the story more credibility.

When contacted by the Voice just before publication of this story, Kramer acknowledged that the article had actually been posted on March 9 and apologized for “the confusion this may have caused.”

Kramer said that the Feb. 27 date stamp “is the only way WordPress allows one to manage the sequence of articles. I placed it in second behind the Public Safety article (dated Feb. 28) which should remain #1 for a while. It is now in third place as the Bomburger alcohol license is now #2. To eliminate any confusion, I have now added ‘Datelines’ to each article, as of yesterday.”

Kramer further explained that “Our Facebook person has asked that someone else take over the Facebook responsibilities,” that he doesn’t know how to use Facebook and no one has volunteered to take it over yet.

When Daichendt (who has not seen Kramer’s explanation at publication time) read Kramer’s blog posting recounting his version of the Golden Bear partnership and the background to the $25,000 contribution, he sent Kramer an e-mail expressing his outrage. “Kim, I just read your article…alleging that I offered the $25,000. You know it’s not true…You exemplify the worst traits in the political process. I pity you.”

Despite the scathing criticism, Daichendt also says that Kramer has obvious and admirable qualities, including being smart, engaging and a pleasure to talk to, but that he is using his organization, HBDRA, to push his own agenda. “He has proved himself and now his organization not to be credible and my hope is that City Staff and members of the public recognize and remember this in future dealings with him.”

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Fred Speaker: Crotchety Council Candidate Zips Lips Over Budget Slips

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Huntington Beach Planning Commissioner Fred Speaker is no doubt one of the leading candidates from the pack of 20 locals running for one of four open City Council seats on the November 2 ballot.

Speaker—in his own words—is a “fiscally responsible” and “pay as you go” candidate who as an experienced small businessman knows “how to balance a budget” and who promises that he “won’t treat taxpayer dollars any less carefully.”

He recently received the endorsements of the City’s two most powerful unions, the HB Police Officers Association and the HB Firefighters Association.

Speaker is also expected to get the full endorsement of the Orange County GOP in a vote to take place Monday, according to publisher Chip Hanlon writing on his blog, Red County.

Red County is the voice of Orange County’s Republican partisans who hope to get “real” Republicans in office and do their part to take back control of America—by following the tenets of “revolution” proclaimed by Party leader Scott Baugh.

The union and OCGOP endorsements combined with the PAC money and campaign donations that they will generate will make Speaker a “virtual shoe-in” on election day, says Hanlon.

But Hanlon and other Red County revolutionaries are wondering what Speaker has done to deserve an endorsement and why more credible Republicans like council candidates Billy O’Connell and Barbara Delgleize have been rejected by the OCGOP.

Hanlon explains that those two leading candidates were denied their endorsements because Delgleize supports gay marriage and abortion rights for women and O’Connell gave campaign money to a few Democrats in the past.

One of the underlying problems with the Speaker endorsement, however, is that it would violate one of Baugh’s most important revolutionary decrees: the Party shall oppose union backed candidates. Continue reading Fred Speaker: Crotchety Council Candidate Zips Lips Over Budget Slips

Just In: Former Mayor Connie Boardman runs for HB City Council

In a major event that is likely to change the dynamics of the upcoming election for city council, former councilmember and mayor Connie Boardman has announced at the 11th hour that she is running for city council, becoming the third member of a slate that also includes Joe Shaw and Blair Farley.

The following announcement is from the slates official website:http://teamhuntingtonbeach.com/index.php/page/C7/29/

Former Mayor Connie Boardman announced today that she was running for Huntington Beach City Council and was joining candidates Joe Shaw and Blair Farley to form Team Huntington Beach.

“I am running because I believe the current council is just not listening to the residents of Huntington Beach,” Boardman said. “Together with Blair Farley and Joe Shaw, we’ve created Team Huntington Beach to provide voters with a choice for real change.”

Boardman was spurred to run after the council’s recent decision to change the land use designation of a portion of Bolsa Chica from open space/parkland to residential. Boardman, like Farley and Shaw, believes the city needs to pay more attention to its neighborhoods and residents.

“The city has a deficit of parkland, yet the council just voted to turn five acres of it into housing in the most sensitive ecological area in the city,” Boardman said. “It’s no surprise there are four neighborhood groups currently suing the city. They aren’t listening.”

Boardman, a professor of biology at Cerritos College, served on the City Council from 2000-2004, and was mayor in 2003. She is currently the President of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust. Farley is IT Director at Mariners Church, and is the Chairman of the HB Planning Commission. Shaw is a small business owner who has served on three city commissions.

Connie Boardman
Connie Boardman enters the race for Huntington Beach City Council.

Huntington Beach Election: City Council Candidates Question (2) Infrastructure

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

This is the second of a series of questions posed by the Surf City Voice to all of the announced candidates. The question this time is about infrastructure and more specifically a proposed revision to Section 617 of the Huntington Beach City Charter that the city council recently voted to place on the November ballot.

The Surf City Voice tries to put challenging questions before the candidates in the hope that both the questions and the candidates’ answers will shed more light on important city issues and increase the voters’ chance to know who and what they will be voting for.

Political candidates often avoid challenging questions in their attempt to control the flow of information and limit their risks from public exposure. But we thank those candidates who took the time to consider the question and disclose their views to the voters.

The background to the question, the exact question asked of each of the candidates and their exact answers follow.

Readers are encouraged to leave their own comments or questions at the end of the questionnaire. Continue reading Huntington Beach Election: City Council Candidates Question (2) Infrastructure

Question #1: City Council Candidates Speak Out on the Ridge

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

On July 6, 2010, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-1 to approve rezoning from open space/park to residential for a hotly disputed 5 acre patch of land on the Bolsa Chica upper mesa and to accept a Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 22 unit housing development proposed by California Coastal Communities (Hearthside Homes) for the site–instead of a more rigorous Environmental Impact Report.

To many Native Americans, the entire area is a holy site that should be left alone out of respect for their ancestors. To preservationists it is also a place of natural wonder linked to the Bolsa Chica wetlands ecosystem that should be kept natural to help maintain the city’s already limited open spaces.

The current owner of the site says that Native American burial remains and artifacts are unlikely to be found there and that the project will not have significant impacts on cultural or environmental resources that can’t be properly mitigated for.

The following question was submitted to every Huntington Beach City Council candidate as the first in an ongoing series to be published between now and the day before election in November, 2010.

On July 6, 2010 the Huntington Beach City Council will consider an appeal of the city planning commission’s approval of rezoning 5 acres of land on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa (known as the Ridge) from open space/park to residential and its approval of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 22 unit housing development on the site.

If you were an elected member of the city council, how would you vote (or how would you have voted if you answer after the city council meeting) on the appeal of the Huntington Beach Planning Commission’s decisions (noted above) on the Ridge site? Would you vote (yes) to uphold the appeal in whole or in part? Explain which part of parts of the appeal you would uphold or not uphold and the reasons for your decision in each case.

The following candidates submitted answers in the requested format within the deadline requested. Readers are encouraged to post their responses to any of the answers posted by the candidates, to ask them questions, challenge or praise them. Candidates may answer readers and post questions for other candidates as well. Please keep all comments within the spirit of constructive debate and keep your comments to the issues.

Respondents are listed in alphabetical order. Continue reading Question #1: City Council Candidates Speak Out on the Ridge