City Council Left in Dark Over Fate of Park; Say, Who In Hell Elected That Guy, Anyway?

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.

meyersIt 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.

8 Replies to “City Council Left in Dark Over Fate of Park; Say, Who In Hell Elected That Guy, Anyway?”

  1. Hello All,

    Thanks to Conrad Dewitt and longtime West Truslow resident David Espinoza, who both explained at Council meeting, goings-on and lack of City public safety enforcement at Union Pacific Park.

    Thank you also FFFF Administrator, Joe Sipowicz, Billy Bob, Travis, Harpoon and Thanks guys to follow and comment upon a distressing travail of well-intentioned but cockneyed, imprecise, amateurish bids at civic beautification.

    Revelation City of Fullerton may have been even partially aware, during planning and construction, a park contained poisonous substances–potentially harming children for rest of their lives–is unconscionable, and grounds for redress against those staff members. I strongly urge elected and appointed officials to closely investigate specific circumstances which led to Fullerton being saddled with this toxic nightmare on West Truslow Avenue.

    To those who advocate City of Fullerton dispose of this tainted park, let me bring forward several points.

    It’s sad fact Fullerton suffers chronic deficit of parks and recreation in its most densely populated areas. Fullerton must do its best to offer civic benefits to ALL residents. I don’t propose moving the ‘Hood to Skyline Drive. The world is what it is; to the rich belong spoils of hard work, and to those of lower incomes and accomplishments should live in communities which motivate their children to aspire to higher stations in this free-market society in which we all live.

    Provision of parks is a way City of Fullerton can cost-effectively, democratically, address gaps between rich and poor. Without safe, green, open spaces, young people grow up physically, emotionally, intellectually stunted. I ask if any of the above-mentioned bloggers, as children, lived in neighborhoods without any green space?

    As a native New Yorker, some of my most cherished childhood memories were exploring Central Park. I don’t recommend a grandiose Fullerton Great Park, but urge its residents to consider incremental benefits from creating small spots of greenery and play which parks should provide. This neighborhood, known affectionately as Toker Town, is long overdue for more open space.

    The present situation–barricaded park, filled with homeless drifters, coke-sniffing ‘bangers and the occasional lost tourista–is sad testimony to past City Councils, staff, who didn’t do their homework, who flaunt an almost callous indifference to Fullerton’s lower income residents, then shrug their shoulders when they don’t get it right. Further comment by City Manager Chris Meyer, that City staff plans to arbitrarily shut down Union Pacific Park s equally unsatisfying. Fullerton, this is all unacceptable!

    Fullerton, fix this mess now! Don’t wait years for litigants to restitute damages which happened close to a century ago, FIX IT NOW! Have Parks and Rec staff and Police work closely together to restore a childrens play area NOW! Don’t rely upon McDonald’s to open another toxic eatery in this neighborhood! Put interests of our most defenseless voiceless residents–Fullerton youth–FIRST!

    Respectfully Submitted,

    The Enabler

    P.S. NB to Fullerton Council member who desires a dedicated Fullerton Blog, please read FFFF! We are Fullerton’s residents, its businesspeople, its voters! We are growing, and we want you to hear us!

  2. Mr. Enabler, can you please write new comments? This is the second time you’ve recycled the same one. Thanks.

    This is no place for a park in the first place. It is surrounded by industrial uses and Harbor Blvd. It’s a natural magnet for transients and troublemakers.

    It’s existence is the consequence of a Redevelopment financed land grab.

  3. Hello Shadow,

    Actually third time. This is an important issue; like you, I’d like to bring this discussion to as many interested Fullerton residents as possible.

    I can understand your distaste for Pacific Park’s origins, and even empathize with your claim of its poor location. But keep in mind, Redevelopment or no Redevelopment, many of today’s industrial sites will transition to housing and service uses in the next two decades.

    It’s really not important where you or I are from, or even where we are today; it’s simply important we’re here. The same holds true in efforts to secure green and open spaces in Fullerton, particularly in areas of high population density.

    Pacific Park’s far from being an optimal location, and completely deficient in design, toxicity, substandard City management. But it’s still there.

    Harangues to rid Fullerton of this small park start to lose a thread of civic accountability, and begin to take on a rubric of racism and class warfare. It’s quite possible to be fiscally conservative, and also believe in investing in parkland to protect Fullerton’s most valauble resource, its children. I hope you and other Pacific Park protesters can show they support both these important goals.

    Best,

    The Enabler

    1. Mr. Enabler you are really missing the point of all these UP Park posts. If you want to talk about the deprived youth of the barrio then write a post and send it to admin. Maybe he’ll publish it for you.

  4. Staff doesn’t even bother to look for direction from the council. They’d rather bring it pre-digested decisions for rubber-stamping.

    Besides, the Mayor prefers it that way.

    Staff closed a public park? Quite frankly, nuthin’ we can do about it. It’s a done deal!

  5. This is usurpation of authority. THE CITY COUNCIL HAS NO AUTHORITY TO ABDICATE ITS AUTHORITY TO ANYBODY.

    It loks like a coup took place in Fullerton and the guy behind the curtain is running the show.

    Shawn Nelson, where are you? Are you going to stand by on this?

  6. Okay – a lot of “authorities” in that post Joe. But the point is that somehow authority seems to have slipped from the people through their representatives to the City Manager.

    You are right, Joe. Sovreignty lies with the people. The Council has no legal power to pass it along. If it’s too hot to handle then they have to give it back.

    This issue is a really big deal.

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