Kelly Thomas No Longer Focal Point of Fullerton Recall

The deadline for turning in more than 10,500+ valid signatures looms before the FullertonRecall group seeking to oust three conservative members of the Fullerton City Council, but the Voice of OC reported today that the Kelly Thomas beating death, which prompted the action, is no longer the focus of the recall effort.  And while Kelly’s father, Ron Thomas, supports the recall effort, he believes his son’s death was merely a “platform” to recall organizers to get rid of council members they have long held a grudge with.

The VOC story about the recall buried the lede in our opinion.  We’ve long maintained that true “justice for Kelly” demands not only justice via the courts for the brutality by some members of the Fullerton Police Department, but calls for greater aid and support to the homeless and mentally ill not only in Fullerton but throughout Orange County.  This position was rejected by Recall organizer and Fullerton School Board member Chris Thompson during a November 3, 2011 program on bloggers on KOCE’s Inside OC with Rick Reiff program.

VOC added these statements from Ron Thomas:

Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas’ father, said he supports the recall for one reason: “It’s not what they [the three council members] did. It’s what they didn’t do. They wouldn’t communicate to the public. They wouldn’t communicate to me. They just sat there with those cold looks. … They treated the whole thing wrong.”

But he’s not thrilled with Bushala and Thompson either. “I think, honestly, they were using Kelly as a platform.”

He said “bad blood” existed between the Bushala and council camps before his son’s death. “Then, with all of this with Kelly,” it gave them ammunition to use in a recall that really is about issues that have nothing to do with Kelly Thomas.

“I haven’t talked to them in quite awhile,” Ron Thomas said last week. The recall is “clearly a separate agenda item for them.”

Thompson, who is being paid (“less than $5,000 a month”) by Friends for Fullerton’s Future blogger Tony Bushala for his work on the recall told VOC, “when you’re trying to recall three popularly elected councilmen, it would be foolish not to address all issues.” He said Kelly Thomas’ death was “the most egregious example of poor leadership.”

Some of these reasons for recall include pensions for public employees, support for police unions and other public employee unions, redevelopment issues (Bushala is a Fullerton developer), a long-standing water fee or tax as recall proponents call it, and even overcrowded schools (something Thompson could do something about), which Fullerton city council members have no impact on, as organizers seek the recall of former Mayor Dick Jones and council members Pat McKinley and Don Bankhead.  There are a number of reports that signatures gatherers have been so aggressive seeking signatures for the recall that store owners and customers are complaining.

Oddly enough, if Bankhead is recalled, he may become to only elected official in California to be recalled twice from the same office.  He was recalled in the early 90s only to be returned to office by Fullerton voters.

No slate of candidates from any party have emerged to run for the Fullerton city council is the trio is recalled.  We certainly hope a slate of strong progressive Democrats can join Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silver on the dais.  While it’s unlikely Bushala himself will run for office, which members of the FFFF blog posse might run for city council if the recall is on?

The real tragedy here is Kelly Thomas has become almost a footnote in Fullerton; where’s the change and compassion for him or for the next Kelly Thomas?

Photo courtesy of

  2 comments for “Kelly Thomas No Longer Focal Point of Fullerton Recall

  1. noclib1
    January 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    JFK said it during his inaugural speech, “Those who foolishly ride the tiger end up inside.” And T.S. Eliot as well, “There is no greater sin, no greater treason, than to do the right thing for the wrong reason.” If the camp that’s financing the recall is successful, does anyone really believe they’ll be satisfied and go away? What they want is power. Ron Thomas realized months ago the recall wasn’t about his son. What happened to Kelly Thomas was a terrible crime, but following the lead of the recall people will just compound the injustice.

    • January 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well written article Dan and I agree with your conclusions. Also, very good comments by noclib1 as a follow up. In the end, the voters in Fullerton will most likely wake up to the fact they are being used by those who could care less about their city or other such unfortunates as Kelly Thomas. In the end, the voters will decide what kind of government they want and that’s the way the system was designed to work.

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