The Trail to Nowhere Penalty

Although its advocates keep whacking it like the proverbial dead horse, the near-disaster known as the Trail to Nowhere isn’t happening. We can thank Fullerton City Council members Dunlap, Jung, and Whitaker for pulling the plug on “Phase II” of the so-called Union Pacific Trail back in August. The proposal made no sense: it had few, if any potential users, ran through an area of heavy industry, was and would never be connected to anything else, cost nobody knew how much to maintain, didn’t even line up with its alleged Phase I, and cost $2,000,000 to build (if you can trust a City budget).

Perhaps most importantly, the council majority had previously requested that various trail options be considered in the context of a wider area plan. City staff essentially ignored that request and began a behind the scenes effort to drum up support for the original plan – an act of insubordination, really.

At the time no one told the three councilmembers that there was adjacent property with trichlorethylene contamination in the 300 block of Highland Avenue and plumes had drifted south, even though this information had been in the City’s possession for decades. Fortunately, Messrs. Dunlap, Whitaker and Jung had plenty of other excellent reasons to deny the grant funding for its intended purpose.

Another thing the City Council didn’t know was that if the grant application contained “false representations” – either intentionally, or through lack of reasonable effort – the grant could be rescinded and the State could demand whatever of its money had been spent. Here’s the relevant paragraph in the grant acceptance agreement:

In other words, had contaminated soils been detected on the “trail” the State may well have been inclined to demand whatever had been spent, particularly in light of the fact that the grant application falsely stated that environmental testing had been performed in 1998 and was not an issue.

We know this isn’t true because in the early 2000s the UP Park (after construction) was found to be contaminated, requiring mitigation; there is no way that the “trail” was somehow tested, but not the park site. We also know that very recent PRA requests identifying this specific issue returned no relevant documents.

Of course the State could have revoked the grant on the basis of the fraudulent application alone, had they discovered the misinformation, a municipal embarrassment, to be sure.

Fortunately, for the City employees who manufactured the grant application and snuck it past an incurious City manager, there will be no repercussion, not even a mild “talking to.” And fortunately for the rest of us, the City won’t be saddled with a stupid white elephant of Phase II that would have ended up looking an awful lot like Phase I.

Phase I’s inauspicious beginning. It gets worse.

So everybody should be happy, right?

29 Replies to “The Trail to Nowhere Penalty”

  1. The Fullerton Observers and Hoogers won’t be happy. There’s no joy unless one is wasting money on the right sort of abstract gesture.

  2. That’s a lot of lies, dissembling and unwarranted assumptions in an attempt to manufacture a scandal in justification of the total failure of administration that the council majority pulled off by knifing a new class 1 bicycle trail. A trail that would certainly have went from somewhere to somewhere else in town and would have been an advancement of the bicycle network and part of the wider bicycle plan.

    I mean even the title you’ve given to the subject is clearly a lie.

  3. One lie? Your consistent, drum beat, framing lie… calling it a “Trail to nowhere.” Both ends and the route exist and are places people go.

    Bicycle paths ultimately comprise a network. And even if your route is paths not YET connected by class 1 paths they still provide safety along the part of your route that they comprise. You just have to complete the rest of your route on the street or sidewalk.

    1. Yes they go to those places because there are rational routes to get there, not ass-end trails through no-man’s land.

      There is not network. Both ends are dead ends.

      And that’s all you have? So you and the Dead Kennedy’s are the liars.

      1. You’re babbling and ranting. There are no “dead ends” as I explained. There is no “no man’s land” unless you’re talking about the undeveloped right of way left by NOT developing the class 1 bicycle trail.

        All that I have? No. I was asked for one. Try to follow along.

        1. Your dumb “trail” ends at Harbor Boulevard be cause it CAN’T go any farther.

          It ends at Independence Park because it CAN’T go any farther.

          It passes the BACKSIDE of junkyards, industrial buildings and used tire stores. No Man’s Land indeed. But maybe you could have gone used tire shopping on your class 1 bike.

          1. Now that’s a funny image. Hooger with a balding radial tire over his shoulder pedaling along a deserted Class 1 bike trail.

    2. So you believe the word “nowhere” constitutes a lie? It’s obviously a figure of speech. In Greek the word is Utopia. Did you even go to college? Wait. Don’t answer.

      1. It’s not just a “figure of speech.” It’s a framing lie. Propaganda.

        Did I even go to college? Yeah. I have a bachelor’s in computer science with a math minor. And an MBA.

        I’m no genius but I’m smarter and write better than most of the ass clowns that show up here. I guess I’m slumming.

        1. So you really can’t point to a single lie after all. Just bitching about a phrase you hate because it conveys a real truth.

          Thought so.

  4. This article clearly shows that “Staff” have been serial liars and cheats. That has been the case in Fullerton for decades and because of the structure of General Law cities and the power of public employee unions, the bosses, ie city managers and city councils, choose to look the other way in order to obscure incompetence and dereliction committed on their watch. There is now an opportunity for CM Levitt to break out of that mold since almost all the old “Staff” has jumped ship with golden parachutes and left a shit show for him to deal with. Will he man up and set the ship aright? He has three councilmen who appear to have something between there legs. Let’s hope he does.

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