The Trail of Tears

From 2000 and 2010. The idea may have been bad, but it sure was old.

You have to hand it to government bureaucracies. They never give up on stupid ideas. But why should they? With all the time in world, huge amounts of money given to them by others, and with zero accountability, what is there for them to lose?

Specifically, I am talking about an item on the May 4th Agenda, dutifully approved by the City Council, to take $1.8 million in State grant money and  $330,000 in Fullerton park money to design and build what they are pleased to call The Union Pacific Trail, Phase II.

Of course we all know that Phase I was a total waste of money – a weird “equestrian trail” (complete with pony railing) that has never seen a horse, that was attached to the poisoned and fenced off UP Park that dies a merciful death at Highland Avenue.

Hugo and Alice. One down, one to go…

Our crack Deputy Parks Director, some person named Alice Loya pitched the item to a less than bedazzled Council, making sure to point out that the area was disadvantaged, an irony certainly lost on City bureaucrats whose job it has been to un-disadvantage this neighborhood over the past 50 years.

Let me share a paragraph from the staff report, that, as usual, is so full of lies to rationalize the scheme that one wonders if the City staff would ever pursue this nonsense if they had to use City funds to pay for it:

The proposed project will transform an existing 50 to 80 foot wide, blighted corridor into a greenbelt trail providing alternate transportation, linking the Transportation Center and several parks, including Independence Park at its terminus. This proposed trail aligns with the Hunt Branch Library to the west, providing potential future linkages. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.1 million.


Lie Number One: Alternative transportation? What the Hell does that even mean? Walking?

Lie Number Two: the trail would not link anything to the Transportation Center since it would terminate at a narrow sidewalk behind the Ice House that includes a 90 degree turn. And of course just a week ago, or so, our very same staff tried to sneak through an idiot scheme to cut off the UP right-of-way completely with their private event center on the Poisoned Park site.

Lie Number Three: the proposed extension does not link “several” parks. It would indeed terminate at the Independence Park parking lot but the only other “park” it would touch is the fenced off Poisoned Park that nobody even wants.

Almost as good as a lie Number Four: the proposed trail would be virtually impossible to link to the “aligned” Hunt Branch Library, nearly a mile away, because gosh darn it, the rail siding is still being used by…the railroad. But what the Hell let’s throw out the chimera of “connectivity” to fool the dopes on the City Council, right? It’s always worked just fine in the past.

Almost as good as a lie Number Five: when has the City ever built anything on time and on budget? That proposed cost would sky rocket, of course, as Fullerton’s army of staff, consultants, and design professionals hump the “greenbelt” into submission. Remember the wooden steps at Hillcrest Park and the elevator-from-Hell at the Depot?

Maybe it looks better when the sun goes down…

But what wasn’t said was much more important than the propaganda ink spilled to promote this idiocy: nobody will use this “trail” since it passes through sketchy industrial zoned property, completely empty at night, and would remain, just like it is now, an attractive nuisance that the taxpayers will be on the hook to maintain out of the General Fund.

Can these two help bring some accountability to Fullerton?

On the bright side, members of the new Council commonsense majority pointed out that Staff was already devising a top-secret Specific Plan for the area, and gee, wouldn’t it make sense not to piecemeal things like Planning Director Matt Foulkes  tried to do on the ill-fated aquaponic farm/event center? They did treat the item as still very provisional, but FFFF knows better – we know that government money once available, will be spent, most likely on something nobody outside City Hall wants.

Why is this man smiling?

Naturally, Councilman-in-search-of-camera-opportunity, Ahmad Zahra scrounged up some of his usual misguided acolytes to beat the drum for this utter waste of $2.1 million bucks. After all, this project would be mostly paid for with “free money” of the sort “progressives” love to accept, then waste. We need look no further than the $1,000000 Core and Corridors Specific Plan, paid for by the State Sustainability Commission, that was quietly abandoned, never to see the light of day. And ironically, the old UP Right of Way passes right through the middle of two of the C&C Specific Plan Areas, suggesting to me, at lest, that the City is not, and never has been interested in the well-being of the part of Fullerton accept as something to play with.


20 Replies to “The Trail of Tears”

  1. The legacy and odor of Fitzy & Co. lingers on. The plug should have been pulled on this 2 decades ago. The developer of SoCO Walk effectively cut off the trails access to the Transportation Center just as this valuable acquisition was being added to the City’s stirling real estate portfolio.

    More top notch work from Francine Paul Dudley, the Hysterical Planner.

  2. How funny. Some things NEVER die. Bad ideas are the most long-lived.

  3. Your Amigo Zahra asking his supporters to go and speak on this issue, to be honest with you anything he approves or wants to push forward sims a little sketchy and I don’t trust him at all. Get hemp out of Council!
    Silva and Zahra have been approving so much spending on stupid stuff… people don’t realize.

    1. Amen! Akmad’s followers are few but noisy. They need to get a clue about who and what they are supporting.

  4. “…..that the taxpayers will be on the hook to maintain out of the General Fund.”

    Surely you jest. The city won’t maintain it as they don’t maintain the city parks that we already have. The city doesn’t have the money. If it’s “free” money, or money that the city shakes down from builders for “parks”, its easy to spend. Otherwise, the city doesn’t have it. These nicely landscaped parks and trails look good when first finished, but without consistent maintenance, they go down hill.

    Case in point is the newly finished duck pond at Hillcrest Park. Does anyone actually think that it will look like that in a few years?

    Note to the duck pond landscape architects: when you redesigned the duck pond at Hillcrest, you somehow forgot the “pond” part, even though the artists rendering there at the park shows a fair amount of actual water. I know these little things are easy to miss, but -someone- should have caught it.

    1. Quit bitching. It’s a seasonal duck pond. And the season happens when more people at the top of the hill wash their cars.

    2. The ducks don’t even realize it is a duck pond. I have been by there several times, no ducks!

  5. Maybe Alice Loya will come back to the Council with a request to hire an artist to paint a mural on the side of that building. $100,000 sounds about right.

  6. Take the money, change the vote and use the money for something other than this trail. Think about it, who will be using this trail next to a stinky old railway? Case in point, look at the photo above. Such a beautiful sight, not!

  7. This could be renamed “Homeless Highway.”

    They already roam around and set up house there. Won’t be safe. So what’s the point? Except to throw a contract to a future friend?

  8. I especially like how long the “trail” will be. And the nice secluded corner between Indi Park and Richman will make a fine campsite. Since it was formerly Railroad land, we homeless heroes will have Federal rights to Homestead. Thank you Alice and Matt! If it wasn’t for yours and Ken Domer’s generosity, we would all be in another City.

    1. The whole thing is a no-man’s land, thoughtfully acquired and left vacant by the wonderful experts in City Hall – the ones Jan Flory says are the “heart of the City.”

  9. Im usually against alot of things council is trying to do in Fullerton. But im all for this. Why should trails be limited to the northern part of fullerton? Why cant south fullerton join? This land is already a bum trail. If we turn it into a real trail, bums will move. Do you see any bums sleeping on trails? Trails too busy for bums. Only acacia park trail has bums, but thats down in the ravine near state college/yorba linda blvd.

    1. I forgot to mention all of our trails are being bombarded by bicyclist. Atleast this trail has seperate lanes. Where i can actually take a walk with my dog and don’t have to look behind me every 5 mins to see if im in the way of oncoming bicyclist. If I don’t check, they wizz right by going 10mph+. For walkers, like me, theirs not much we can do.

      1. Thanks for the ignorant comments. Now take the time to look at the photos and tell me that “trail” will be used by anybody. Fullerton can’t take care of the parks it already has and this dummy Alice Loya has ZERO idea how much maintaining this white elephant will cost. Or if she does, she refused to tell the Council.

      2. Just dying to walk between a bunch of industrial buildings and junk yards and second-hand tire stores. Especially at nigh. What an experience! North Fullerton will be SOOOOOOOO jealous that we have this wonderful new asset WE have in la communidad!

  10. Have plenty of money for this, but 2 of the 3 parks that have water features for children are non functional due to supposed equipment issues. Too bad the children of Fullerton are not ducks.

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