There are all sorts of names for boobs and knuckleheads that keep making the same sorts of mistakes over and over again. Boob and knucklehead just sprang to mind first.
And so there are many descriptive terms for the collective known as the City of Fullerton, an entity that just can’t seem to help itself avoid the avoidable.
Exhibit A for the prosecution: the idiotic “boutique” hotel at the Transportation Center, brainchild of the corrupt and fortunately departed Councilcreature-for-hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald.
FFFF has followed the 5 years-long trajectory of this nonsense as it has metastasized into a giant tail-wagging-the-dog embarrassment that leaves a sensible person almost speechless. As the remote plausibility of a hotel brought forward, unsolicited, by an unfunded “developer,” Westpark, became obvious to even the densest observer, a new consortium including TA Partners proposed another prison block apartment attached to the hotel.
In December 2022 there was still no concrete plan, just promises of this and that. But time was running out for people in City Hall who are addicted to this deal. See, it involved the disposal of public property that had been developed as parking for Metrolink riders; this meant declaring it “surplus” despite its obvious utility, and starting in 2023 the State of California was requiring surplus land be offered up to the low-income housing cartel. What to do?
Get rid of the property ASAP was the City’s solution, before the end of 2022 – even though there was no final plan or entitlements in place. There was no approved site plan and project density details to hold to the sale – either by the City or by the “developer.” The development agreement protected the City’s interest in the property – up to a point, but created an entanglement of interests during and after escrow and incrementally pulled the City into a potential morass of unintended consequences.
So the sales agreement and the deeding of the City property was approved before the end of the year. Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap wisely opposed this fiasco, but were in the minority. FFFF just posted the story of Shana Charles’s dumbass rationale for approving, and of course Ahmad Zahra was all for this because he probably believed he could squeeze some cash out of TA Partner’s Johnny Lu along the way. The third vote? It came from none other than Bruce Whitaker, who seems mostly just confused, and even less inclined to show diligent energy that ever.
All along, Whitaker seems to have bought into the nonsense that this property was legitimately surplus, despite its obvious utility to the people of Fullerton. Not wanting subsidized housing, he was willing to go along with the stupid hotel concept; but even he should have balked when the mess ran of the highchair and spilled on the floor. But he didn’t, doubling down on his own incompetence and in the end getting what he didn’t want in the first place.
So the sale went though, followed in the next few months by land use discretionary review and approval instead of all this happening at the same time which is the way it should have happened. Any problematic results of this mismatch may become apparent soon.
The finalized proposal came before the Fullerton Planning Commission last week. I’ll be describing that in the next post.