Fullerton’s cozy relationship with Discovery Cube

The Discovery Cube is a pretty neat venue for kids of all ages.  Anyone who has driven the 5 freeway through Santa Ana can’t miss the place.

Discovery’s VP of Sales Lobbying Sean Fitzgerald is married to Fullerton Lobbyist-Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald. City money began flowing to Discovery Cube within a year of Sean taking the job.

Following a promotion in 2014, this press release described Sean Fitzgerald’s new position:

“As Vice President, Sales and Strategic Development, Fitzgerald works directly with the Center’s leadership on a variety of growth-related initiatives. This includes developing new strategic partnerships with municipalities, corporations and other non-profits and serving as a key member of the team working to open DSC’s new Los Angeles facility later this year. In addition, Fitzgerald oversees a sales team working to fulfill the Center’s sales goals in field trips, outreach programming and partner education programs.”

CalRecycle awards Beverage Container Recycling Grant money to municipalities every year for various recycling programs.  Public education is one of several options with which to spend the money.

Since 2012, the City has been paying for thousands of FSD sixth graders to learn about recycling at Discovery Cube to the tune of $27 per kid.

The Eco Challenge Contract

At the December 6, 2016 City Council meeting, Parks & Recreation staff [and, presumably, Jennifer Fitzgerald, though she did recuse herself] wanted the council to approve a 3-year contract with Discovery Cube to continue this partnership. Councilman-elect Jesus Silva questioned the wisdom of sending this money to groups outside of Fullerton. He proposed other options, such as Fullerton non-profit All the Arts for All the Kids Foundation to develop a recycling program of their own. All the Arts’ costs would be considerably lower since they don’t have lobbyists earning six figures on their payroll.

Speaking of lobbyists, the Fitzgerald’s, apparently unhappy with Silva’s idea back in December, made sure to sell this idea to the Parks & Recreation Commission at last night’s meeting with the help of another Discovery Cube lobbyist.

Not once in the Parks & Rec agenda materials, and not once at the meeting, did Hugo Curiel or Alice Loya voluntarily mention Jesus Silva’s idea as an alternative to the Discovery Cube’s sales pitch. They didn’t say a word until I called them out on it during Public Comments.

At that point, Parks & Rec Director Hugo Curiel reluctantly admitted that All the Arts would be a possibility for the third option (below):

Mr. Curiel then offered a bunch of excuses, essentially making a case against All the Arts. He questioned whether they could develop a recycling program fast enough. The City has 18 months to spend the remaining funds, so that reasoning seems rather weak.

While Mr. Curiel may have been correct about the All the Arts, why not invite them to the meeting? Questioning their abilities, without them being in attendance, seems rather tacky.  Do you suppose they were asked to make a proposal of their own like Discovery Cube was permitted to do? I doubt it.

This was not a level playing field with equal consideration given to every option. Not at all. Another option (barely mentioned by staff) was purchasing park equipment. City staff’s only real recommendation was the one that benefits the Fitzgerald family through Sean’s sustained employment. Isn’t that a surprise?

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump has said much about draining the swamp of lobbyists and outside influence peddlers in Washington.

Fullerton has a swamp of its own, and it needs to be drained just as badly.

15 Replies to “Fullerton’s cozy relationship with Discovery Cube”

  1. Way too much influence being peddled here behind the scenes. The Fitzgerald’s are both slimy lobbyists, no matter which hat they put on.

    Thanks for standing up for the rest of us. Curiel seems to have anchored himself to the Titanic.

  2. Very good article!! Very clear this was a way to circumvent the decision from the council meeting to consider alternatives. Ignoring, belittling and creating impossible conditions for other options to be submitted are some of the club’s weapons.

      1. Some things you can do:
        -go to next council meeting and speak up during your allowed 3 minutes.
        -send an e-mail asap to Jesus Silvia expressing your outrage on this issue. If he has just a bit of pride, this is nothing but a disrespectful blow to his new position and persona.
        -Talk to your friends about local future candidates they should not vote for and new ones they should support which will help end the club’s privilege
        -Keep reading FFFF. You won’t agree 100% with everyone and everything but will keep you well informed on our common problems as Fullerton residents

  3. The Fitzgerald family skillset leaves them predisposed to two professions: government-related work or selling used cars.

  4. I’m wondering if there is ANYTHING Jennifer Fitzgerald has said or done that isn’t completely self-serving in some way?

      1. Um no, I imagine she uses that time to network with the moms in the park, hand out buttons and candy bars, and make sure she can re-elected. She uses her kids to knock on doors why would she not use them at them at the park as well.

  5. When I was growing up in Fullerton, I learned science and art in the classroom. The art teacher came to,our class once a week. Science was brought into the classroom where benign experiments performed by the teacher and students, learned biology from the classroom garden. My point is why, again, tax dollars spent on “Discovery Cube ” and art projects sponsored by a private “recycling” art program . What is that? Fullerton’s public servants can’t stop serving themselves heaping mouthfuls of tax dollars from the public trough. Sadly, Fullerton is a microcosm of politics corrupted by greedy civic leaders. But we have to start somewhere and making Fullerton a national,example of what not to,do is a good start to end this evil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *