Fullerton Decision-makers Lied To. So What’s New?


Last year just before Christmas the Fullerton City Council voted 3-1 to approve the idiotic Richman housing project, a staff-driven boondoggle that makes zero planning, housing, or economic sense. We wrote about it here.

We also wrote about the review of the same fiasco-in-the-making by the Planning Commission here, in which we lauded Commissioner Bruce Whitaker for his solitary stance in opposing it. As the YouTube clip shows, Whitaker objected on economic grounds citing the project’s dubious fiscal foundation.

This position was immediately questioned by Commissioner Lansburg who inquired about it of the city attorney, Tom Duarte:

Commissioner Lansburg: is it within the Commission’s purview to look at this from a financial standpoint or are we only to look at this from a planning standpoint?

The city attorney Mr. Duarte answered: In the commissions purview its a land use issue, the city council will look at the financial impact.

Well, the project was passed by a Commission majority, with only Whitaker dissenting.

Subsequently Commission Chairman Dexter Savage addressed the following  communication to staff, seeking clarification of the issue.

And now, Lo and Behold, the issue has been agendized by the City Council; and just look at staff’s response: economic considerations are indeed within the purview of a planning commission in many respects, and are nowhere prohibited.

This response begs  several questions. Why did the city’s attorney misinform the commission? Is he incompetent, or was he motivated to press the approval of a project near and dear to the hearts of the city staff, without any reference to the law.

Why did the staff present like (John Godlewski) not correct him? He countersigned the above memorandum contradicting Duarte, yet was at the meeting and said nothing.

The facts can really only be interpreted in one way. Both the attorney and staff were more interested in the approval of the project, no matter how bad, than in the service of the public interest, or the truth, or the law.

Now the entire matter has been brought to the City Council for its enlightenment as agenda item #16 at the January 19, meeting. But it’s really to late for the Richman project – a Redevelopment/housing staff concocted project that has all the tell-tale signs of a disaster in the making.

And Friends: there you have it.

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  1. #1 by Nobody on January 15, 2010

    Another notch in the belt for the Law Offices of Jones & Mayer. Please fire these idiot lawyers.

  2. #2 by Poin-dexter on January 15, 2010

    I have the feeling that Savage was trying to end the issue – but not in the way it’s working out.

    Look how the memo is written – such that the question contains its own answer and just needs a simple “yes.”

    But he got a “no” ansewer. And a much more detailed one than anybody could have expected. And worse still, he ends up fingering this Duarte guy for the assclown he is: either incompetent or an outright liar. Either way it stinks.

    As a lawyer sitting in on a PC meeting he’d better know what he’s talking about – at the rates Jones & Mayer charges the City; if he’s just incompetent he should be fired.

    If, on the other hand, he knowingly passed along false information, then he should be fired.

    So it looks like he should be fired. Oh wait! This is Fullerton! Nobody ever gets fired no matter how incompetent or truth-challenged he or she may be. This is an accountability-free zone.

    Here’s a chance for Shawn Nelson and Sharon Quirk to distance themselves from the three boobs.

  3. #3 by Nobody on January 15, 2010

    Poin-dexter, you’re right. The letter is watered down so as to avoid the horrible possibility of anybody being WRONG.

    Sack up, Savage. The letter should have said “Were we deceived or not?”

    At least the guy bothered to follow up, even if it was too late to save his horrible vote. Got to give him credit for finally asking a question. That’s more than we get from most of these guys.

  4. #4 by Hello! on January 15, 2010

    These commissioners still don’t get it. NEWS FLASH – STAFF IS NOT AFRAID TO LIE TO GET WHAT IT WANTS.

    You don’t move up the chain of government employment without learning how to become a master manipulator. Staff quickly learns to be nice to the appointed and the elected, make them feel like they can trust you, promise you won’t let them look stoopid in public.

    and then BAM! They’re eating out of the palm of your hand and they don’t even know it.

    WAKE UP!

  5. #5 by Poin-dexter on January 15, 2010

    I think he “followed up” in order to make Whitaker look bad. Dexter is an idiot: a real chip off the ol’ HeeHaw.

    In any case I believe the ball is now in Shawn Nelson’s court. He is the only one with the balls to demand accountability in this obvious malfeasance. But will he? Does he stand for the principle that dicision makers shouldn’t be lied to. It’s a big deal. But only if you care.

  6. #6 by Poin-dexter on January 15, 2010

    BTW, I understand that Sharon Kennedy and Bawawa Giasone are going to be doing hard-hitting exclusives on this story!

  7. #7 by Rain on January 17, 2010

    This is very helpful investigation and discussion of a major commitment of resources.

    At a minimum the project should be referred back to the Planning Commission (PC), with the newly and correctly clarified instruction regarding the PC scope of responsibilities.

    Given the importance of the project and the pivotal impact of the lawyer’s incorrect opinion-instruction to the PC, there should be some recovery from, or adverse action taken against, the lawyer (e.g. with respect to future business from the City).

    I too expect that Mr. Nelson alone will criticize this action, but in truth, none of the Council members should willingly eclipse or hobble the ability of any Commission to contribute insights regarding a matter referred for their focused consideration. Nobody should “want” to make a bad judgment for lack of listening to available counsellors (citizen input).

    Thanks very much (and Congratulations!) for bringing this information to light in a timely manner.

  8. #8 by Dezhavoo on January 19, 2010

    City Attorneys lying to Councilmembers?Planning Commissioners?

    Nothing new.

    What about the high-priced whoppers Odderman has been telling the Agnecy/Council for years!

  9. #9 by Quirk is a Leader on January 19, 2010

    Sharon Quirk is the only Councilperson who is accountable to the Fullerton voters.

    Keller is accountable to city staff, Bankhead is accountable to ribbon cutting ceremonies, Nelson to himself, Jones depends on which way the wind is blowing.

    Admin, I hope you watched the meeting tonight because the city attorney is a liar and the planning director is deceitful.

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