Fullerton Gov’t Hates Property Rights – and Kids on Bikes

What’s going on in Fullerton? Many city officials seem intent on “redeveloping” a city that has no blight — even as they have wasted $20,000 in bureaucratic expenses to make sure kids don’t ride their bikes in a vacant lot. As the economy worsens for everyone, the city just can’t get its priorities straight.

First, the redevelopment absurdity. The city claims West Fullerton’s commercial areas and East Fullerton industrial areas are “blighted” and wants to redevelop them. This could mean using “eminent domain” to forcibly take property from its rightful owners, then give it to other private owners for a supposedly “better” use. And it could mean using our hard-earned tax dollars to “help” the new owners redevelop the property.

At a recent City Council meeting, City Councilman Shawn Nelson ripped the redevelopment “argument” to shreds. “Clearly, the data has been manipulated, and it’s been manipulated for a purpose,” he said, referring to a report that supposedly proved the areas were “blighted.” He added, “This is not an objective report…. I don’t think that any… objective report would have reached the conclusion that there’s blight.” He pointed out that the supposed “blight” in Fullerton “doesn’t come anywhere near” the threshold set by the California Court of Appeal for imposing eminent domain. Click here for the YouTube of Shawn’s comments:

Second, the Fullerton Code Enforcement Department spent $20,000 and countless hours of staff and attorney time prosecuting local businessman Tony Bushala (admin) for allowing his sons and their friends to ride bicycles on three acres of vacant land he owns behind the Brea Dam. The bureaucrats grandiosely called the vacant lot “outdoor recreational facilities.” Will they next also call every home driveway in the city “outdoor recreational facilities” — and ban kids from using driveways to ride up to park their bikes in the home garage?

How silly. Isn’t it better to have kids riding their bikes on private property owned by one kid’s dad, than to have them hanging out somewhere else, possibly getting into mischief? And that $20,000 in wasted tax money could have meant half a year of work for someone in the private sector — instead of staying in an unemployment line in this severe recession.

After various bureaucratic wranglings, the Appeals Board found that “no nuisance exists.” But the bike incident produced an incredible 47 pages of documents. What a waste.

These are serious economic times. The go-go days are over. We need to save our money, both private and public. The city needs to stop attacking the private-property rights of citizens, whether by threatening to take their property through eminent domain, or by stopping kids from having innocent fun on family property.

Leave us alone!

16 Replies to “Fullerton Gov’t Hates Property Rights – and Kids on Bikes”

  1. So let me get this right.
    You owned the property, you assumed the risk of any injury. It looks like you even have a fence around it, right?
    And then the city says, “no, you can’t do that.”

    What was their reasoning?
    And I want to know ….who complained?

  2. When I was a kid, there were two empty lots. One, we’d ride bikes on all the time. The other, a kid would build forts on. The neighbors all looked on with some interest, but wisely knew not to call the cops –after all, eventually we’d find something else to do.
    Your kids look like they’re having a real nice time. Looks like you even banked it for them, and more than likely they probably weren’t there for more than an hour a day.
    You’re right. That was a waste! Too bad the city didn’t tell whomever started the kerfluffle to go bug off.
    Instead, the spent 20k on legal fees and time. That’s 20k that a lot of other city services could have used (like the library and the summer parks programs)

  3. That lawyer should be fired – immediately! Oh, that’s right. This is Fullerton.

  4. how dare snivel servants use their municipal authority to bully private citizens. As a Fullerton lifer , this town has always had a fascist flavor. Casting aside ethics and laws that inconveniences the city council is a tradition. Fullerton is in for a dynamic change as the current economy will foist an unforeseen element into this mix that will genuinely polarize this provincial town with a big head.

  5. Anonymous, The main instigator was Jan Flory, she never liked me much when she was on the City Council, and she doesn’t even live near my property. Oh well, it’s a good thing there are several intelligent people on the Planning Commission (board of appeals) that saw through the crap. Speaking of the city attorney, about 5 years ago, this same city attorney fabricated another false claim against me regarding an historic building my dad owns which ended up costing the city taxpayers thousands of dollars to only find out it was another unfounded witch hunt to mess with me, again.

  6. Tony, why did the city attorney focus on motorized vehicles, when the boys are riding bicycles.

  7. 2:07 in to the video Ms. Gerli stops reading the ordinance and says “you know , you’re right!” inferring she had been misrepresenting the ordinance the whole time.

    This is a farce. You should sue.

  8. Hollis, I’m still dead and enjoying doggie heaven quite a lot. Nobody hits me with a broomstick when I pee on the carpet, and there’s no foul smelling stench coming out of a big boiling pot.

    Lassie and Toto say “hi,” too.

  9. I live in West Fullerton, and I can definitely agree that there are some blighted commercial areas. The shopping centers on Brookhurst and Orangethorpe are prime examples. The Ralphs closed a few years back and there really isn’t a whole lot going on there. The parking lot looks gross. i really think the whole corner should be redeveloped. Perhaps some innovative street level retail and a REAL grocery store and some condos/apartments above would go well?

  10. Eric – thanks for your comment. Not bad ideas (although they would require zone and GP amendments).

    But if the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency gets involved, you can bet:

    1) projects will take years longer to build

    2) big land owners (like Redevelopment cheerleader John Phelps) will start getting big taxpayer subsidies

    3) the design will end up being McSpanish, or just as bad, HAVE FUN DAMMIT Post-modern

    4) there will be zero accountability for the inevitable failures; and in fact, the politiicans will take credit for some sort of accomplishment on their re-election campaign literature!

  11. Eric :

    I live in West Fullerton, and I can definitely agree that there are some blighted commercial areas. The shopping centers on Brookhurst and Orangethorpe are prime examples. The Ralphs closed a few years back and there really isn’t a whole lot going on there. The parking lot looks gross. i really think the whole corner should be redeveloped. Perhaps some innovative street level retail and a REAL grocery store and some condos/apartments above would go well?

    Eric, history reminds us of one very important thing, relying on the government to “play developer” is not very wise.

  12. I’ve seen really good ethnic markets take over closed supermarket buildings. They are sometimes quite successful, introducing new foods, or sometimes a greater variety of familiar fare, often at lower prices.

    I agree that there is a choice to be made: lure yet another chain supermarket to the area with subsidies or let some innovative developer pay the market rate for a space that no one else wants, and give the place a chance to develop its own identity.

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