You Played Yourself

The other night the council approved the rezoning of the massive Red Oak development site on Commonwealth. The move was made while waxing vigorously about forcing the developer to reduce the project density and increase site parking. The team concluded that holding back the site plan approval until March 7th will give them time to negotiate some sort of fix.

A fiery kiss goodnight.

But in the needless granting of partial approval, the council gave away nearly all of the city’s leverage. You see, the approval of the zoning change brought forth the Specific Plan, along with its density and parking specifics. If the council tries to require additional parking, any decent attorney will point to the already approved Specific Plan and shove it back up the council’s rear end.

The council simply surrendered its ability to get what they wanted. Naturally, city staff and the city attorney sat quietly and helped them proceed. Of course. They are eager to collect those development fees.

At one point, Councilman Bruce Whitaker voiced his commitment to only voting for/against projects in their entirety, perhaps to avoid this exact consequence. But he forgot to be persuasive, and the rest of the council evaded that moment of enlightenment and proceeded to ride off the cliff at full bore.

If only there were an expert nearby…

Now someone less cynical than I might assume that the council fell into this trap out of sheer incompetence. But one must also consider that the screw up conveniently paves the way for the council to be “forced” to complete the Red Oak approvals. They will buckle under legal duress while pretending to be sympathetic to the public’s concerns.

Of course, all of this could be wrong, and the tough-talking council could actually deliver on their promise to significantly reduce the project before it gets built. But when has that ever happened?

41 Replies to “You Played Yourself”

  1. They were obviously trying to have it both ways. The parking deficiency is the core problem, obviously (apart from the gross volume of the building envelop which is offensive). This should have been fixed before any vote was taken.

    Nothing should have been approved until all the votes for were completely satisfied.

    Another FAILURE for Greg Sebourn.

  2. Not sure if your legal analysis is correct. The City could (if they want to which I’m sure they won’t) that the Site Plan is an intrinsic part of the overall approval and therefore without it there is no approved project.

    This is not to say that the other approvals should have been voted. That was just absurd.

    Fitzgerald the Lobbyist outdid herself yakking about 296 “beautiful apartments.” She sounded like an employee of the developer (maybe she is).

  3. If any City Council members who voted for the MND, SP, and GP revision/amendment approvals, I would like to remind you of your opportunity to unilaterally ask to re-agendize these approvals if you did really mean to correct the multiple flaws within the Red Oak project later in March. (See Reconsideration process in Ordinance 2012-65 #13 or 2016-20 #19, whichever is applicable as 2016-20 was repealed under agenda item 3 following the Red Oak decision on 1/17/17.)

  4. The lady city attorney is a technocrat working for Red Oak. She is very eager to get this monstrous deal approved

  5. The speaking lady was the Community Development Director Karen Haluza. The old feller pictured in the story above ( the guy with the sad sack) is City Atty Dick Jones, not to be confused with Doc Hee Haw Dick Jones, cause you sound confused.

    1. Sore Loser
      Yes. It was my first time attending a city council meeting and didn’t know who was who. I could tell the fat guy on the left corner was the city attorney. I thought the lady was another attorney. Are you disputing that behind all her technocratic talk was a vivid desire to get the Red Oak project approved?

  6. I was disappointed in how anxious Haluza was to push this project through. But I don’t know her motivation.

    I also don’t know her motivation for mowing down historic Brea when she was on staff there or when she attempted to demolish a historic neighborhood in Santa Ana to make way for live/ work lofts until stopped by local activists when she worked in SA.

    BTW Thanks for correcting my moniker.

    1. A trail of destruction, no doubt.

      I think her motivation is to do what she’s told. And that is to keep the developer and park fees rolling in – no matter what. And also to keep Fitzgerald happy. It’s very hard to see much professional integrity there, but it’s the same all over. So long as the massive salary and benefits are there, everything else comes after, if it comes at all.

  7. I think her motivation is building up property tax base so she is guaranteed that big fat pension that trough feeders get

  8. Just Off Euclid,
    I agree with you. Someone said a key term: technocrat. A public technocrat can work for the residents or for very special narrow interests. There is frequently a mischaracterization of the technocratic figure as someone who is neutral. Very incorrect conception, as more often than not, a particular set of numbers can be found, a classification reclassified, and a rule interpreted or diverted to accomodate someone’s agenda. If we lived in a democracy, a large project like Red Oak’s, would be presented first of all to the residents, even before an EIR is submitted for approval, -and once more or less shaped and OK’d by the residents-, then is when it would need to pass the “regulatory tests” and so on, with the consequent adjustments when necessary. What is actually done is the opposite: residents can only residually be part of the process near the end of it, when the most important things have already been decided.

    1. if we did live in a democracy, the hoi polloi would be the only ones whose approval needed to yes/no on Red Oak. We are a republic and we elect representives to represent the hoi polloi’s interests, except Fullerton. Traditionally, City o Fullerton has self-serving public servants serving big buck and pensions to its police and fire, and its other municipal employees. I read parking will be major issue with Red Oak development, and city of Fullerton will still enforce its ban on overnight parking. Think of all,the extra revenue from those parking fees.

      1. Van
        Republic comes from res publica, which means the public thing (the people’s matter). An authentic republican democracy (or democratic republic)is not just a 4 or 2 year election, but a true democratization process of matters unfolding in time which affect people’s lives. Van, I am 100% with you on your Fullerton assessment

        1. Ekklesia, people had direct say on laws in Ancient Greece . The American founding fathers saw this as mob rule and opted for government system found in the Roman Republic. I cite,this to show the burden on our elected officials to solely represent the interests of the people, to truly serve the public’s best interests is the bar held highest at the lowest level of government. President Jefferson said the government that rules closest to,the people rules best (I paraphrase). Our elected officials at the municipal level in Fullerton routinely betray this sacred trust evidenced by the numerous articles posted on this website.

  9. Wow more idiots crying…

    If the Site Plan is not approved, the other votes don’t really matter. They have a piece of property with a changed zone, huzzah! Now what? NOTHING they can’t build what they want still. They are attempting to satisfy you crying babies while keeping the business still interested and you want it your way or the highway. You aren’t working with anyone unless it’s not your neighborhood. Entitled brats.

    “At one point, Councilman Bruce Whitaker voiced his commitment to only voting for/against projects in their entirety, perhaps to avoid this exact consequence.”

    To the author: Bruce and his all or nothing bullshit does NOT entice businesses to do business here. His “what I want or nothing” like you cry babies attitudes is the reason we don’t get more business. If I was a developer and you had an unwillingness to work with me as we both may benefit, I’d tell you to go fuck yourselves too. We miss out on opportunities because of you people. Entitled brats.

    1. “his all or nothing bullshit does NOT entice businesses to do business here”

      We need more businesses like Germ Popoff and the Florentine Mob! Not nice people, and their “businesses” cost the taxpayer way more than they contribute to the City’s general Fund, but hey, great campaign contributors!

      1. So out of all the businesses in Fullerton you picked a couple you feel suck. Your anecdotal evidence is bad and you should feel bad. Move along.

        1. Many more on other side of Commonwealth. And harbor we needa da biness. Campaign donations for Fitzy. Yay.

  10. “… to work with me as we both may benefit,”

    Or, to be more precise: “work with me so I may benefit”

    1. Or. to be even more precise: “I don’t like people benefiting unless I do too”.

      Like I said, Entitled Brats.

      1. Or to be even more precise: we don’t like people benefiting at our expense.

        Jeez who’s paying you for this nonsense?

  11. Hey Anonymous at 5:32. You apparently have very poor reading comprehension. With the GP and zoning changed, they can force us to approve their plan as is.

    Without a referendum on the General Plan revision approved Tuesday night we’re done and this already built.

    So whose in? Send an email to to receive notice from Friends for a Livable Fullerton on how you can help with the referendum. Thanks!

    1. Hey Sore Loser,

      “With the GP and zoning changed, they can force us to approve their plan as is.”

      The building of this beautiful thing can only happen if all 4 contingencies are met. You can take it to court saying that “Drrr we are zoned for it” but it was only allowed as part of the entire document. It wont hold up in court. No Judge would side with them as they were packaged as one. Be sensible would ya. The Developer must ensure that a project substantially complies with City plans and policies.

  12. Here’s my perspective on these types of projects:
    1. We didn’t elect our city council to urbanize Fullerton(these projects are too tall/too wide for suburban areas. Why not demand that our denser projects be more of a garden style oriented perpendicular to the street so we can see through them and not create a wall of housing?)
    2. Why give the benefit of a zone change/general plan amendment to a property owner who has not tried to sell the property within the current zoning OR ask for a “non residential use” zoning change? Zoning and GP are a sort o public pact..we shouldn’t change it so easily. (We don’t owe this entitlement to anyone. And when we give it there should be a REALLY GOOD PUBLIC BENEFIT for it.)
    3. Residential projects are a net 0 gain for the general fund.(According to public works there is no financial gain in residential projects to the city treasury. So why not leave it a non residential use and thereby put/leave some $$ in our budget?
    4. Architecture-The proposed project/s is/are going to look like the ugly piece of crap on Lemon by the 91fwy. Why? Because no one is pushing for authentic architecture at city hall and thus the developers get away with building cheap crap because it’s…well, CHEAP!
    5. Aggregate – High density creep- We keep allowing these big box apartments to go in here and there. What about the transportation center project area? Acres and acres already approved for high density for which i am not opposed by the train station mixed in with CLASS A office and commercial. We need to look at the impacts of development in the aggregate and I dare say stop until the train station area is done.
    6. Unfair to neighbors- It’s TOTALLY unfair to slap 5 and 6 story buildings next to 1 and 2 story neighborhoods. It looks bad and is simply unfair and doesn’t fit. There are plans to eventually allow this all the way down commonwealth. Has anyone driven down that street? Do you see anything taller than about 1.5 stories(except the monstrosities that have already been built and look TOTALLY out of place!!? What about the efforts to build hundreds of apartments at Euclid and Rosecrans(CVS center), Raymond by Polly’s, CSUF(student housing but there is no requirement for the units to be student housing). Morelia, Amerige Court(which i originally supported for what i thought were good reasons but glad it didn’t happen) ENOUGH!
    7. Finally, the council should instruct and demand the city manager to not meet with lobbyists like Scott Starkey who was frequently in the last city manager’s office guiding him on what should happen in Fullerton. The citizens can decide for themselves what Fullerton will be, not stinkpot lobbyists like Scott Starkey. We should develop an overall policy about development in this city through public meetings and review what’s been good and what’s been bad. And let’s make sure we get more than just the regulars at city council meetings. We should focus on net gain revenue sources so we can afford to clean this city up which in turn attracts more business.

  13. Leland, what was required was simply for 3 of them to say no. Forget Greg for a minute as we all know he is utterly worthless. The more I search online about our council members the more betrayed I feel. Have any of you seen this video?

    Among many other problematic issues, Whitaker’s political chicanery guaranteed the re election of Jennifer Fitzgerald. Why did we not elect Rands, Imbriano and Ferguson? These three clearly would have been much better alternatives to the union bought democrat who is Sharon’s husband or Curt Pringle’s water girl and VP or even phony establishment front man Whitaker. We now have no ways at all to stop any of this. None of those candidates could be controlled or coerced by out of town developers. NONE of them took any developer money at all. The fact that neither Whitaker nor Silva put any of them on the planning commission speaks volumes to the fact that at the core of their political being is utter bullshit.

      1. I can see that by the responses here that we are all part of this magnificent charade. Someone, in keeping with the theme of this staged production even went so far as to spring for some new plugs and sport them on Tuesday night. Sort of emulating one such individual you all hold in such high regard perhaps?

  14. Burden on sewer pipes? Check.

    Burden on water infrastructure? Check.

    Burden on roads? Check.

    Added traffic? Check.

    Absent mitigation for all of above? Check.

    Money into Fitzgerald’s political future prospects? Check.

    Money into Sebourn’s political future? None. What a dope.He’s not even going to get paid off.

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