Last Thursday marked the second in a five part series of presentations at the Fullerton Museum Center entitled “Conversations with your City”. Organized by Fullerton City Council member Sharon Quirk-Silva, each evening features managers and directors of some of our city’s most prominent departments, including Police Chief Michael Sellers and City Manager Chris Meyer. June 24 brings Parks and Recreation Director Joe Felz, followed by August 26 with Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe, and ends with an October 28 double header with Engineering Director Don Hoppe and Maintenance Services Director Bob Savage. Just about everyone you’d want to talk to as an active member of your community, right?
Conspicuously missing are the Community Development and Redevelopment Department directors. As it happens, Community Development (aka Planning Dept.) Director John Godlewski will finish his contract with Fullerton very soon. Who knows when his successor will be hired, so perhaps it was just awkward to try to schedule someone to speak with the public about that department.
But Redevelopment is something of a puzzling omission. Why was Redevelopment Director Robert Zur Schmiede not included in this series of conversations with our city? After all, his department’s current fiscal year budget is over $ 13 million, about twice that of the Parks and Rec. Dept., and nearly twice the budget of Community Development (see them all here.) Redevelopment does big things. You’d think they would be proud to talk to us about their past accomplishments and how they can be more responsive to all of us (because you know that’s what everyone else will say is the goal of their departments).
Did no one invite Mr. Zur Schmiede to the party? Or does it go without saying that the Redevelopment Department simply isn’t thought of as being accountable to the people of Fullerton? Mr. Zur Schmiede answers directly to the Redevelopment Agency, better known as your city council. Wouldn’t you like to have an hour or to ask Robert Zur Schmiede a few questions about how his agency operates?