Burn Down Hillcrest Park?

Another City Council agenda, another questionable proposal by Parks & Recreation.

Next Tuesday, the City Council will consider a new location for the Fourth of July fireworks and celebration.  The Fullerton Union High School stadium is no longer available for such purposes.  News of the impending change has been known for some time, yet Parks & Rec waited until 2½ months before July 4th to bring this to the council for a vote.  Great planning!

Have a look at the agenda letter:

“Although considered, some of the these venues don’t have the sufficient capacity to hold the expected crowds and comply with Fire Department’s ingress / egress requirements; adequate firework firing zones / fall-out zones; or are too costly.”

Say what?  Three sentences later, they propose to use Hillcrest Park as a fireworks launch area.  Yes, the same Hillcrest Park identified by the State of California as being within a “Moderate” Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ).  The same Hillcrest Park that lost many trees during the multi-year drought.  The same Hillcrest Park that had 50 to 75 trees planted on Arbor Day to replace what was lost during the drought.  I think you get the idea.

No mention is made whether the Fire Department approves of this idea, only that the City’s “pyrotechnic consultant” gave the green light.   One would think if the Fire Department expressed concerns about hazards at CSUF, Amerige Field, or the softball fields at FUHS, they would be just as concerned about mature trees at Hillcrest Park going up in flames.

Lions Field

For the sake of discussion, assume fireworks launched from Hillcrest Park will be deemed “safe”.   How prudent is it to have festivities at Lions Field?  The City spent an extra $1.7 million to install synthetic turf there in 2010.  With extra foot traffic and “vendors, attractions, main stage, VIP and staff area…” using the field, preventing turf damage will be nearly impossible.  Have they taken this into consideration?  Probably not.

The agenda letter suggests “ample capacity” for necessities like parking.  Lions Field and the lower Hillcrest parking lot have about 170 parking spaces.   Everybody else will have to park their cars at North Court (like in previous years), the Elks Lodge, along Brea Blvd, at private businesses, or in adjacent neighborhoods.  Parking problems will be an issue no matter where the festivities are held, unless, of course, CSUF could be used, which leads me to ask…

  • Why is CSUF not a viable location?  The agenda letter makes reference to another site being “too costly” but is devoid of specifics.  I can only assume the location being referred to is CSUF.  How much would it cost?  Has the City approached CSUF for leniency on fees?  What did they say?
  • What about Fullerton College?  Did the City approach NOCCCD about hosting the event there?  What did they say?
  • What about the Parks and Recreation Commission?  How did they vote on moving the venue to Hillcrest/Lions Field?  Oh, wait, the matter was never brought before the commission for a discussion and vote.   Had the meeting not been cancelled, this would have made for a timely discussion at the March 13, 2017 Parks & Rec meeting.

This type of nonsense has, embarrassingly, become business as usual for the Parks & Recreation Department.  The commission is regularly bypassed on important issues. When those issues are presented to the City Council for a final vote, the department does so on an absolute last-minute basis — often with erroneous or incomplete information — leaving no time for a continuance, or for other options to be explored.

The residents of Fullerton deserve a lot better.  I wish the City Council and City Manager would put their foot down and say enough is enough.

26 Replies to “Burn Down Hillcrest Park?”

  1. If Hillcrest Park burns down we can hire Griffin Structures to rebuild it with a restaurant and an ice cream plaza.

  2. Food and drinks are not permitted on turf fields for good reasons. So people, families, kids in strollers, etc. are gonna sit there on the turf field and do what while waiting for the fireworks, eat crow? I doubt it.

    This is a stupid idea.

  3. CSUF doesn’t have capacity? And there’s a thousand parking places.

    And where in the hell are people going to park? Lion’s Field has what, maybe a hundred spaces?

    This staff report is bull shit from start to finish. Typical incompetent Joe Felz half-truths and outright falsehoods. Why?

    1. It’s not hard to imagine that the union overtime staffing requirements would make CSUF a cost-prohibitive venue.

      1. That’s possible, but I wonder if the City of Fullerton rates are any less that of CSUF. But unless Hugo gives us numbers, we’ll never know.

        Don’t hold your breath.

  4. There is a type of manager who only hires or promotes idiots stupider and more incompetent than he or she is.

    Joe Felz was one of these.

  5. I know that the Parks and Rec managers like big, flashy, visible projects like the new stairs and the Harbor “bridge to nowhere”, but sadly seem to forget just what their name implies: parks and recreation. Remember Hugo, this is a park. The 4th of July is a holiday. People go to parks on holidays. So please tell us, just how much of the park will be closed to the public on the 4th? Remember the 4th of July? The beginning of the summer season? A holiday where large numbers of people flock to parks for picnics?

    Will the whole park be closed or just part? Can you show us a map of the closed areas? Will Lemon be closed?

    I think you owe the unwashed people that pay your salary a few answers.

  6. Don’t ask the hose pullers. They won’t approve anything that might risk an ever so slight chance that they will have to work.

  7. They close the streets for festivities during the year, maybe they can have a Independence Day Street Fair then close off an area for the fireworks Berkeley comes to mind

  8. Even thought the tax payers of Fullerton paid for the “football field” at CSUF, CSUF has their own police department, and staff who by contract MUST works all events at CSUF’s “football” field. So Hugo’s team of park & recer’s wont get overtime pay. Now we know why Hugo wont mention this in his staff report.

  9. How is it possible that Hugo is even still employed? The guy who chews out his customers like Paul Berkmann at Rutabegorz and literally YELLS at him in front of a councilmember( and let Danielle Maulk do the same)? OR who every year yells and is snotty to the folks who put on a melanoma run(which ceased due in part to the headache of the city)?
    How about someone remind CSUF how the Fullerton Taxpayer through Redevelopment funded their football stadium years ago and never got a thing in return? That alone should force CSUF out of decency to the table on this. But no, we just turn a blind eye to the citizen and favor the big and powerful regardless of what they do to ruin the flavor of Fullerton vis a vis College Town. It’s amazing how these reports just say whatever they want regardless of common sense…like when ACOF applied to put their mental health housing down on Orangethorpe and staff publicly stated the project use was compatible with the surrounding uses. THAT made sense.

  10. Good post, Curlee. Keep it going.

    While life at City Hall has improved A LOT since Felz left to pimp Cadillac’s, I speak for many when I say there is NOTHING more painful than dealing with P&R staff. John Clements is a good guy but the people above him are enough to cause migraines and I don’t get migraines. Regular readers of this blog know who I’m talking about. One is mentioned above. Curlee has covered the failures of another in past posts.

    They come off as supreme rulers of all thinks parks. How dare we lackeys in Engineering or Admin. Services question their judgment!

    The problem is two or threefold. Number one, they don’t have the capacity to understand complex concepts. Number two, they don’t listen when you try to explain anything. I’ve tried spoon feeding info to them–IT DOESN’T WORK AT ALL. Third, they do whatever the hell they want anyway. When bad decisions come back to bite them, as in EVERYDAY, standard operating procedure is to BLAME other departments and forces outside their control. “oh, it was the weather” “oh, it was vandalism” “oh, that was broken already, we didn’t do it” NO, we warned you that might happen AND YOU DID IT ANYWAY.

    Most employees have a story that shaped their poor opinion of P&R. I’ll tell you mine from eons ago. Details are obscured to preserve my cover. One of the aforementioned employees came to me with a park infrastructure “problem” that was estimated to cost $100K to remedy. I was asked point blank if I could FABRICATE a reason to make other departments foot the bill because P&R didn’t have the cash to spend! You know what GET THE HELL OUT OF MY OFFICE! I’m not going to lie for you idiots. I get pissed off just thinking about that conversation and how it went down, but there you have it! All downhill from there. Who else wants to share their story?

    PLease Mr. Roeder, it is long overdue to clean house.

  11. “PLease Mr. Roeder, it is long overdue to clean house.”

    Haha! Mr. Roeder is going to be cleaning out his desk in a few weeks. The worst $100,000 ever spent.

  12. I live on the section of Shadow Lane that abuts Lemon across the street from Hillcrest Park. My street ends in a cul-de-sac.

    With the launch location a couple hundred feet away, I assume Lemon will be closed off to cars, possibly for the whole evening? Sometimes we have Fourth of July parties, so I strongly object to the possibility of Lemon being closed off. My cousin is in a wheelchair and won’t be able to access my home if the street is closed.

    This once great City is rapidly going down the crapper. Everyday I catch a glimpse of those stupid wooden stairs being built thanks to our corrupt city manager and his corrupt developer buddy and it makes me want to scream.

    1. Yes, but according to the cities PR illustrations, the stairs will be filled with happy people. You need to get with the program. It’s not about you, or almost anyone else in this city, but the parks and rec management.

      And their friends.

    2. Yep, even when the fireworks were in the high school stadium overflow parking has always spilled into the neighborhoods on the east border of Hillcrest Park. And I haven’t been paying enough attention, why can’t the fireworks be where they’ve always been?

  13. Does the City Council or City Hall read this site?

    Would I need to write them a letter separately to express my displeasure with this idea, or will they see my comments here? I suppose it’s pointless anyway, nobody down there cares what residents think anyway.

    1. I think the divine miss Keller has (or at least had) a place on Luanne. If the powerful and connected keep screwing up every part of the city, eventually they’re going to run out of places to hide, up and above the fray.

  14. There is nothing to worry about. Griffin Structures hired 10 Tanker Air Carrier to fly in one of their DC-10’s from Albuquerque to dump Phoschek all over Hillcrest Park and Lions Field. No chance of a fire ruining our Fourth of July celebration now!

    The cost is estimated to be $1 million but I told my friends at Griffin the city’s Park Dwelling Fund was good for it.

  15. No fireworks in Fullerton.
    Harmful to the environment
    Dangerous, unhealthy, fire hazard, waste of money .
    Just STOP with the fireworks.

  16. I agree, Fireworks are the opiate of the stupid.

    I recently said of Joe Feltz, while speaking during public comments at city council, that I can’t think of anyone who works for the city of Fullerton for whom I had more disdain (Hughes had just moved on), but I’m sorry I said that. I had completely forgotten about that big storm cloud at the Museum Center named Danielle Maulk. Rumor has it, that when she casts her shadow on a work of art, it often jumps off the fucking wall. She may be the most obnoxious administrator in the country. Top 10 at least. Can we give her an award for that?

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