The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Downtown Sidewalk

If You Turn Sideways You Can Just Squeeze By
Warning: Sidewalk Narrows Ahead!

The twisted narrative of how the Florentine Family’s “Tuscany Club” managed to expropriate a public sidewalk is yet another tale of woe showing how badly our elected officals and their alleged professionals have manged to screw up Downtown Fullerton.

Back in 2003 the Florentines made an agreement with the Redevelopment Agency and City for an “outdoor dining” lease on the Commonwealth Avenue sidewalk at the intersection with Harbor Boulevard (forget for a moment that any outdoor patrons there would have to spend their time looking at the architectural monstrosity across the street).

Now, outdoor dining to you or me would suggest an open air space surrounded with a moveable fence or rope, and with furniture that could be picked up and taken inside. Well, that’s not what it meant to the Florentines who started construction of a foundation and a masonry wall in the public right-of-way! Sure, there were outcries of anger and dismay among the community over this blatant grab of public property, but these seemed to fall on deaf ears and the construction kept going until in the end the whole thing was completely enclosed. A private room addition right there on the public sidewalk!

Many months passed by, but the issue refused to die quietly. Finally, a big hearing was held, ostensibly to explain the situation to an outraged group of citizens. Mr. Florentine proclaimed his innocence – a victim of circumstance! The Director of Development Services, an obviously affronted F. Paul Dudley, stood  up to say how he had been in control the whole time, had done nothing wrong; and that if he had to do it all over again he would do the same thing!

The only problem with this near-tearful oration was that Dudley had no authority to let any one put a building on public property. Only the Agency and Council could do that – after a public hearing. So the building was an encroachment into the public’s right-of-way, and the offending structure should have been immediately removed. Naturally the Fullerton City Council went along with the sham. After all, nobody really expects accountability or responsibility in Fullerton, right?

First You Stake Out Your Turf
First You Stake Out Your Turf. If You Wait Long Enough They May Give It To You!

Sometime later the terms of the lease of were officially (and very quietly) modified, effectively whitewashing the whole sorry mess; but not before some valuable lessons were learned by careful observers about how things work in Fullerton.

Dick Jones Don Bankhead Downtown Fullerton Fullerton City Council Fullerton's Design Standards Redevelopment Shawn Nelson

22 thoughts on “The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Downtown Sidewalk

  1. Thanks for reminding us of that disgrace. Somebody should have gone to jail for that f-up. But this is Fullerton where no misfeasance is too big to overlook.

    And then that Florentine illegally turns his restaurant into a dance hall. What a citizen!

  2. the first photo ends everyone’s worry about the disappearing sidewalk in fullerton’ downtown, rarely does anyone in fullerton or most of southern california unless it is an ethnic neighborhood walks. As the song says no one walks in LA (or OC)

  3. Jones and Bankehead I can see voting for something so unprincipled and stupid as giving away a public sidewalk on the corner of Main & Main to be used as a bar. But, why would Nelson make such a decision?

  4. Every time I walk past the Tuscany Club I think about the crime that was commited on that sidewalk. If anything in Fullerton is deserving of a plaque, this is it. Bonafied, certified corruption.

  5. My wife and I have had dinner and drinks at Florentines. When we heard of the unprecedented inappropriate use of the sidewalk, we quickly stopped visiting.

  6. There’s nothing that says “Tuscany” about this club. What a shame to have let them turn one of the very first spots one sees when driving into the town into a display of ashtrays. (This is in reference to the empty cement planters, that people throw their trash in) I’m sure there is enough money being made there to invest in some lavender, or topiaries to pretty the place up. I know this isn’t Beverly Hills, but you could have an actual designated ashtray and some drunk people might follow the rules, and if they don’t, have the employees clean out the cigarette butts each day. In favor of this place, it is kind of fun. A friend invited me to karaoke night. I think its on Sunday. I had never tried karaoke, but it was a fun place to meet with friends.

    1. It is not Tuscany it is “Drunkany”
      Drunks following rules? Duh!
      Designated throw up are- There, there or maybe here! Surprise! I picked the middle of the sidewalk!
      Hiccup! Belch! Ripping a fart! while walking away he /she spits out a cig butt in the street.

  7. If there’s any justice in this universe, one of the countless drunken patrons of Florentine’s will swerve their car after hours directly into the brick protrusion squatting on the sidewalk that belongs to EVERYONE ELSE in Fullerton, and knock it over once and for all!

  8. I have never patronized this place ever. I did not even go when they were having “specials” because I still feel strongly that business owners who take advantage of the citizens of Fullerton, this includes ANGELO’S and VINCI’S. (Cant’t stand the food and the smell of the mold and dust, the illegals who work there and the nasty as* conditions of the cooking area. Plus how the owner has benefited from the sham Fox redevelopment)

  9. devin :
    There’s nothing that says “Tuscany” about this club. What a shame to have let them turn one of the very first spots one sees when driving into the town into a display of ashtrays. (This is in reference to the empty cement planters, that people throw their trash in) I’m sure there is enough money being made there to invest in some lavender, or topiaries to pretty the place up. I know this isn’t Beverly Hills, but you could have an actual designated ashtray and some drunk people might follow the rules, and if they don’t, have the employees clean out the cigarette butts each day. In favor of this place, it is kind of fun. A friend invited me to karaoke night. I think its on Sunday. I had never tried karaoke, but it was a fun place to meet with friends.

    I’ve had to swerve to avoid hitting the drunks that literally jump into traffic in front of that place.

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