O! The Bitter Irony, Part 2

Be it ever so humble...

About two-and-a-half years ago my predecessor wrote  a post about how the Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Shelter (F.I.E.S) had gotten an agreement from the owner of the property at 504 W. Amerige to sell/give his land to them so they could expand their adjacent compound.

Apart from the fact that the increasing scope of the operation appeared to be dodging California environmental impact laws, there was another problem, to wit: the site already housed numerous housing units that were providing what just about anybody would consider “affordable” housing to families with kids and even an infant.

A little dust up followed in which the Fullerton Observer, right on cue, ran cover for the embarrassed non-profit.

I haven’t got a clue if any of the displaced tenants received any sort of assistance finding new homes, but I do know what the property looks like now.


Today the property is vacant, a weedy eyesore between mowings. It’s been scraped to the dirt for a subsidized housing project if funding can ever be found; the property of a non-profit, it’s been taken off the tax rolls forever; and half a dozen truly affordable units have been permanently removed from Fullerton’s housing stock.

41 Replies to “O! The Bitter Irony, Part 2”

  1. OMG! The building was beautiful along with the Palm Trees. Who the hell bought the property and demolish it? Did the person get permission from City Hall to do this?


  2. The project is an extension to the existing adjacent shelter for families. It is currently being processed for plan approvals and will encompass two buildings, four units each. These will be buildings built to current codes including handicap accessibility. If FIES could have made the existing building work, they would have. The new structures will house more families. Oh and BTW, the majority of the funding is being provided by the State, with extremely strict requirements.
    It amazes me that with all of posts on this blog relative to empathy for the homeless, that you would chastise a project like this. Yes, a small portion of the funds came from RDA, which goes to show that not all RDA funded projects are bad. Yes, Whitaker voted against the project, because he’s true to his beliefs regarding RDAs in general and I respect him for that. But this project is not equivalent to the moving of McDonalds or some of the other fiascos. This one is a worthy project. Oh, and the palms (not shown in the vacant lot photo) will be protected in place.

    1. Are you saying they were forced to demolish because it didn’t meet current building codes and ADA laws?

      1. I’m saying that from a cost and use feasibility, it made more sense to start over. The new buildings will better meet the needs to house families that are trying to get back on their feet and transition to independence again. With all of the things that need to be “fixed” in Fullerton, I will say that I’m proud of the different facilities we have available to help the homeless. There’s always room for improvement, of course.

        1. Of course it made sense to start over. Not the point. The point is that the mission of housing people lower down the housing chain trumped the value of the existing affordable housing and caused the dislocation of numerous families of modest means so that FIES could expand its compound.

          That’s ironic. Get it?

    2. Interesting how you miss the point of the post: kick out people of slender means to house people of less slender means. All dictated by do-gooderism and subsidized by the government.

      FIES subsists on Federal grants.

      1. Perhaps, Joe. And I understand how some folks feel about govt. subsidizing housing. I’ve been in the for sale residential building industry for over 20 years. Through volunteer work under HomeAid, I’ve gained a better understanding (or empathy) for affordable housing and shelters. There is a huge disconnect between affordable builders and market rate builders; they have a fat chance of ever coming together. If they could figure out how to partner, then some of the funding issues would be addressed. But the reality is, who will fund affordable housing and shelters, if not for govt. subsidies? There seems to be no easy answer for this one. And one more point I can share, is that seeking govt. subsidies for housing is no easy task, not fun and pure punishment. No one would seek that kind of funding if other alternatives were available.

    3. While I also would have voted against this project because of it’s redevelopment component as well, I want to compliment you BeReal on this comment. You absolutely maximized the value of your intended message in how you approached writing this. In fact, after reading it a second time, I will attempt to learn from how you complimented Bruce’s anti-redevelopment votes when votes were in sync with your values. This kind of balanced objection to posts is rare on this blog.

      1. Chris, thank you for your comments. In my opinion, Bruce Whitaker is our saving grace to the leadership of our City. He’s calm, cool and collective and one of the best council representatives I’ve seen any where for a long time. We don’t always have to agree on every issue to respect and support individuals with high integrity.

      2. I agree with Chris about the approach BeReal is taking in this conversation, even though I usually lack the restraint to practice what Chris is preaching. Still, he’s right.

    4. It looks like FIES and the City have been piecemealing development for their expansions. That’s not legal under CEQA.

  3. That is sad.

    All of So Cal has been ripped apart by greed. Long Beach had, and still has, some beautiful Craftsman homes and gorgeous dowtown apartment buildings from the turn of the 20th century, which were torn down for those huge slum apartment buildings. It didn’t matter whether there was any parking, or whether the next door neighbor just might have a problem with about 50+ people looking into their yard–forever. They just rezoned and threw them up.

    Don’t let that happen to you in Fullerton. It dragged down many neighborhoods in LB to the point where some landlords can’t rent to good tenants because of the congestion, noise, and lack of privacy. Crime soared because of it! That’s no way to build a city.

  4. I saw a slender young white man about 5’,10” to 6’ tall with sandy brown hair and a short beard stealing campaign signs and putting them in his small white pickup truck where there were already a huge stack.

    My neighbor has already had several signs stolen from her front yard.

    Please be on the lookout and send the police and the Observer a note if you see someone stealing signs. Do not confront them but try to get their license plate number or a photo if you can do so without putting yourself in danger.


      1. Are Rusty and gang totally nuts?????

        “As Fullerton convulsed in
        reaction to the violent death of
        Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill
        homeless man, many were eager
        to point the finger of blame for
        this tragic death at the police,
        city, city council, mayor…anyone
        but themselves.”

        Cough, cough! Aaack!

        1. Jane , you cite the germane quote that sums up the true cause of Kelly Thomas death at the hands of the Fullerton PD.
          Rusty Kennedy as executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission(OCHRC) has used this commission to run interference for Pat McKinley’s bedroom city commando force that routinely and unjustly pummels the public and the community. It would not shock me to find out Kennedy has waved his OCHRC badge in the faces of the OC DA , local civil rights groups and church outreach programs in Fullerton and persons abused by Fullerton PD and tell them their concerns over the civil rights abuses committed by Fullerton PD upon the good people of Fullerton is being dealt with by Kennedy’s OCHRC.
          I’m not shocked Kennedy would point the finger at the good people of Fullerton instead of laying blame at the feet of those who murdered Kelly Thomas. After all, part of the funding for the OCHRC is dependent on OC cities funding this commission that uses flowery speech rooted in platitudes to obscure the truth.

          1. “I’m not shocked Kennedy would point the finger at the good people of Fullerton instead of laying blame at the feet of those who murdered Kelly Thomas. After all, part of the funding for the OCHRC is dependent on OC cities funding this commission that uses flowery speech rooted in platitudes to obscure the truth.”

            I really wonder how many OC residents believe the crock that’s printed in the FO.

            1. about as many who believe fullerton Observer’s editor sharon Kennedy is an artist who made her living selling her paintings before making the grand gesture to give up her “art” to become editor of her daddy’s paper that was legally deemed not a paper a few years ago,

          2. this is conjecture on my part gained from what i have read and seen over the years

    1. I know this it off topic but i couldn’t help notice the
      “Obama: A profile of Courage” article at the Observer. What a bunch of BS..it should have read..

      “Obama: A profile of a 4 year Campaigning Opportunist”

  5. Not to worry, my partners and I are looking at a short-sale property on Conejo to make into a non-profit detox homeless shelter. I will provide more info when we obtain the property.

    He says..VOTE NO ON THE RECALL!!
    Endorsed by a ton of people, including me…..Cant wait until June 5th.


  7. The downhill slide in Fullerton didn’t start with the election of the pitiful three up for recall. There have been many opportunities during their tenures to upgrade the standard of living in Fullerton and these opportunities were thwarted for personal gain and pleasure.
    This city has been ruled and governed by a hidden agenda for many years.
    The author,Erskine Caldwell could use Fullerton as a model for a book. He died in 1987.

    1. At least we ain’t fightin’ over a bag of turnips.Though some of out city councilmen kinda look like turnips.

  8. Heritage Walk jar anyone’s memory? The redevelopment funded housing project in fullerton that displaced how many poor residents who lived in the low-income units? and in its place, built with our tax dollars arose “affordable ” houses where persons with incomes as high as $110,000 a year qualify to live.
    What better way to make a personal big profit off of our tax dollars by investing into a housing development steered by our city council to the privileged developers who get this contract. and the cynic in me smells kickback to those who hand out these bids to the contractors. then this is just my opinion

  9. If anything, the Council should declare a tax and regulation HOLIDAY for a year and see Fullerton business/housing/shops booming again!

  10. It great people like harpoon that being these serious issues to light thank you for your leadership in bringing this note worthy issue to the table. I wish those people the best who had to move. I only hope they we’re able to stay in our great town and did not have to move to a worse location from this beautiful little spot they called home. How unfortunate

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