While watching the youtube clip of David Espinosa tee off on the Union Pacific Park and the comment by City Manager Chris Meyer that the park was being shut down, we got to thinking. The Mayor was clearly not told by anybody that the park was being closed down – observe the standard “we’ll fix it, thanks, move along” comment by Bankhead followed by Meyer’s explanation.
Meyer went on to say that the problem of what to do with this “park” was being passed to the Community Services Commission for ponderment.
And we say: who in Hell gave Chris Meyer the authority to shut down a public park? Why wasn’t the Council asked to make this decision and how come they were never even told about it before the apparent revelation at the council meeting? Who gave Meyer the authority to assign this problem to anybody, let alone a lower committee without even informing the Council of his plans? Why wasn’t this issue agendized and discussed, in public, by the City Council?
These are mostly rhetorical questions, of course. The City’s staff wants to sweep this acute embarrassment under the municipal rug and the only way to do that is not to tell anybody. Even their bosses.
It also makes us wonder how much else in Fullerton has being undertaken by the City Manager on his own hook. It’s one thing to execute policy laid down by elected officials; it’s quite another thing to start taking on major policy decisions, and worse still, not tell anybody. Unfortunately this situation is symptomatic of two long-standing problems in Fullerton, two problems that fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
First is the perfect willingness of our elected city council persons to abdicate their own policy-making responsibility and simply show up for the meetings, the Rotary lunches, the Chamber mixers, and the ribbon cuttings; second is the perfect willingness of the city managers to step into the authority void and run the show any damn way they please. It’s a perverse symbiosis.
This has got to stop. The results have been amply catalogued on the pages of this blog. And they aren’t very pretty.