Is it just me, or have things been getting a little tense lately?
Governor Jerry Brown paid a visit to downtown Fullerton on Wednesday, where it looks like he took a tour of the still-unfinished Fullerton Fox Theater with a rabble of current and former local officials in tow. Surely he was impressed.
OK, maybe not.
But why would Jerry Brown fly down to Fullerton to look inside some flopped redevelopment project?
One could guess that battleground Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva invited Brown to pitch some sort of state subsidy to rescue the project; a thinly veiled attempt to buy voters in one district with the rest of the state’s resources. You can tell an opportunity is at hand by the way the local bush league politicos are salivating all over Brown’s loafers. Hopefully someone had a towel handy.
But all of that is just fine. Why shouldn’t residents of Escondido, Bakersfield and Elk Grove pay for decades of Fullerton’s redevelopment screw ups? Mr. Brown, if there’s money to burn on a movie theater, maybe you can fix our decrepit roads and crumbling bridges, too?
The Fullerton PD just publicized these photos of a patrol car that was tagged with graffiti by a downtown reveler over the weekend. The vandalism allegedly occurred while the officers were away on “proactive” foot patrol.
The social media pronouncement was accompanied by some humorous posturing, including the hashtag #WeWillFindYou.
Now anyone who’s filed a graffiti or vandalism report in the city of Fullerton knows that these types of crime reports usually get stuffed in a drawer, dismissed as non-priorities. You’d be lucky if you can get a cop to come out and take a report, let alone collect evidence and track down the perp.
In this case, some egos have been offended and so we might expect to see some sort of minimal effort expended. But I wouldn’t count on it.
Yesterday a Friend passed along a letter from CSUF president Mildred Garcia, in which she uses her administrative position (and the state’s computer systems) to distribute a politically-charged screed to 40,000 impressionable CSUF students. We’ve reproduced it for your entertainment here:
Dear Titan family:
Welcome back and Happy New Academic Year! It’s wonderful to see our faculty, staff, and students breathing life back into our campus community. Each of you bring such energy to the University and a love for teaching, learning, and listening that empowers all Titans to Reach Higher in our classrooms and throughout our diverse communities.
We are at a moment in history when the marketplace of ideas that we at Cal State Fullerton promote and protect through equity, inclusion, and civil discourse has the power to heal and lead a wounded nation.
The last time we were all together, we witnessed the transformative power of upholding these and other core tenets with what was arguably the greatest achievement of our now 60-year history: the commencement of our largest graduating class — nearly 11,000 diverse Titans, the majority of whom were low-income students and/or the first in their family to put on a college graduation cap.
For years, I’ve made it a practice to read what’s written on the backs of those caps; I find the messages not only inspiring, but also indicative of the collective mood of our nation through the words of the young people who will soon be leading it.
As a woman of color, a Godmother and Tía, a proud American, and most of all, as president of a University founded on the very principles of equity and inclusion that have recently come under attack in ways this nation hasn’t seen in half a century, I am proud that at this past commencement a rising tide of peaceful resistance was evident in the words of our graduates’ speeches, in the spirit of their families’ cheers, and of course, on the backs of their graduation caps.
“Nevertheless,” the back of one young woman’s cap said, “she persisted.”
“Love Trumps Hate,” another said in rainbow letters.
“Mis padres cruzaron la frontera,” one read in Spanish, “para que yo pudiera cruzar este escenario.” “My parents crossed the border so I could cross this stage.”
These American themes of justice and hope in the face of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia reminded me of a movement I took part in during my own youth, and given the progress we made as a nation in the decades since, I find it tragic that someone can look at a mob of neo-Nazis chanting hateful slogans on a college campus and claim that some of them are “very fine people,” or that the murderous violence their hatred sparked can be blamed on “many sides.”
This kind of language and leadership has unearthed a dark reality and emboldened the worst among us. Most recently, this culminated in Charlottesville, and when I saw a diverse group of student counter-protestors huddled together in the face of an oncoming sea of white supremacists, I couldn’t help but think of our own courageous students and a quote that was central to my Convocation Address last week: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Fellow Titans, just as that time had come for Martin Luther King, Jr. when he first said those words in 1967, it has come for us now. As the faculty, staff, and students of the largest university in the most diverse system of higher education in the country, it is time for us to wield the power of our collective voice to let the world know that we stand firmly and proudly on the right side of history with our immigrant brothers and sisters who made this country great long before it was a campaign slogan; with our undocumented students who have nothing to do with how they came to America and everything to do with what it means to be an American; with our Muslim faculty, staff and students who face travel bans that may impede their work and education; with African American students around the nation who attend classes in buildings named after Confederate generals who fought to keep them out of those buildings; with our LGBTQ community who fear losing their well-earned rights; and with our Caucasian Titans who remain deeply embedded in Cal State Fullerton’s definition of diversity and whose presence and voice is integral to who we are and what we aim to become.
As a public university that fosters a learning environment in which diverse perspectives from both sides of the political aisle are central to our mission, we are in a unique position to lead the country during this pivotal moment of history. We will do so by upholding the First Amendment rights enshrined in our constitution while also supporting those who may be hurt, scared, or offended by that speech, recognizing that our rich diversity is our most prized asset and that intolerance in any form is an affront to all of us. Paramount to this endeavor is safeguarding the physical safety of all faculty, staff, and students by providing a violence-free academic environment grounded in the mutually respectful exchange of ideas from all sides.
We may face offensive language from individuals with whom we strongly disagree. Our commitment to uphold their right to speak should be matched only by our determination to challenge them through civil discourse, peaceful protest, and the hope that education — the truest and longest-standing cure for hatred and violence — sparks a transformation in them that could be surmised with a quote from Nelson Mandela on the back of one of our graduate’s caps:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Welcome home, fellow Titans. Let’s embrace the work ahead, the challenges our nation faces, and most importantly, each other.
OK, we get it. Diversity good, political violence bad. Who can disagree with that?
As you scroll through the anti-Trump rhetoric, you may notice one glaring omission. Garcia neglected to denounce the hatred and political violence that occurred on her own campus, by her own employee, Professor Eric Canin. If you recall, Canin was recently allowed to return to teaching after being briefly suspended for assaulting a student over a political disagreement.
Looking back, it seems that Garcia has never uttered a word publicly about the attack. Her failure to acknowledge and denounce this specific threat to the her students certainly calls into question her ability to “heal and lead” any kind of transformation. In that context, her entire diatribe is both insincere and hypocritical.
But hey, why focus on addressing violence inflicted by your own employee when you can talk about Nazis instead?
A California appellate court just put a temporary hold on the state Democrats’ cynical effort to block the recall of Senator Newman. Here’s the story.
Remember that CSUF professor who was accused of assaulting a student during a heated political argument in February? He actually managed to get himself fired over the incident… no small feat for a government employee. Surely the school’s careful and expensive termination of Eric Canin would stick, particularly after multiple investigations confirmed that he did indeed strike a student, right?
Nope. Canin’s union, the California Faculty Association, arranged for an appeal to an “independent arbitrator” who reduced the termination to a brief suspension.
Here’s the article from the Daily Titan spelling out the re-instatement. You have admire the nonsensical gobbledygook with which a system created and designed to protect public employees can shroud some simple facts, i.e. in some unfortunate manner Canin’s hand made contact with someone’s face.
It looks like an unrepentant Dr. Canin will return to CSUF for the fall semester. Students wary of Canin’s penchant for pugilism may take comfort knowing that Canin’s physical presence on campus will be severely limited, as he has been consigned to teaching two online classes. Ironically one of the classes is called “Culture and Communication” wherein I suppose Canin does not espouse physical rebuke as any sort of effective communication tool.
Newman has been handed yet another bill to pass off as his own in his race against the recall – SB714. It allows the state to use eminent domain to take Coyote Hills by force, turning it over to something called the “State Coastal Conservancy” at great expense to California taxpayers. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva has put up a matching bill that provides taxpayer funding for some of the takings.
Fullerton property rights advocates are warning about the loss of local control and lamenting the potential undoing of 40 years of development compromises (sunk costs, perhaps).
On the other hand, preserve purists like the folks at Save Coyote Hills love the bill, which has the potential to take land from a developer and use it to expand the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve.
Whatever your take, this warning applies – A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have. Handing this issue over to Sacramento bureaucrats may not get you what you want.
There’s a five-mile expanding industrial waste plume under Fullerton – mostly the result of industrial run-off from mid-century industrialists. The OC Water District says that it has already begun to contaminate Fullerton’s water supply, projecting that the damage will eventually be catastrophic if not addressed immediately.
As one of the largest polluters, Northrop Gruman has been defending an OCWD case against it for years.
Last month the OCWD asked the Fullerton council to support a request to bring the EPA in to resolve the issue. That would be bad news for Northrop, but good news for Fullerton residents.
Take a look at the video of the council discussion. The topic seems to be of particular interest to Fitzgerald, who is unusually familiar with the characters involved, although she seems to take on an adversarial posture against the OCWD representative. Ultimately the council agreed to send off the letter, 4 to 1. Fitzgerald voted against the recommendation that would help protect taxpayers from paying the price. I wonder why? No I don’t.
What Fitzgerald failed to mention is that Northrop Gruman is or was a client of her employer, Curt Pringle and Associates. Here’s an exposé from the Voice of OC in 2012.
In a later article about her various conflicts of interest, Fitzgerald claims that Pringle’s firm never worked directly for Northrop, but that they were hired through an attorney who worked for Northrop. I guess we’re supposed to believe that this degree of separation clears up her conflict of interest. It doesn’t. I wonder where else this strategy is employed?
Anyway, we’re also supposed to believe that the relationship between Pringle and Northop terminated in 2012. Maybe it did. Who can be sure? But for some reason Fitzgerald is still oddly passionate about Northrup Gruman, fighting against efforts to make them pay for the clean up of their own waste that threatens the health and safety of Fullerton residents.
Why is Jennifer Fitzgerald voting in favor of a Curt Pringle client, in direct opposition to the Fullerton residents who she is supposed to be representing? This is a severe and blatant conflict of interest – one that has lasting health consequences for all of Fullerton.
The highly-desired position of Fullerton City Manager has been awarded to one “Kenneth Domer,” currently assistant city manager down in Huntington Beach. Domer has also served in management roles in Placentia and Villa Park.
Managing the peaceful and serene hamlet of Fullerton is not for the weak-minded, as previous occupants of this lofty position ended up seeking answers in the bottom of a bottle. If former Council member Pat “I hired them all” McKinley labeled Joe Felz the “Albert Pujols of City Managers,” how can this new Flounder hope to succeed? Hopefully this flat fish of a City Manager will take full advantage of the soothing presence of Nicole “can do” Bernard.
Last weekend OC Democratic Party official Jeff LeTourneau approached a Newman recall table at the Fullerton Walmart and began shouting profanities. “Which one of you assholes is the gay?” he screams, along with “You are a fucking disgrace to any gay person I know, you piece of shit.”
Video was captured by one of the recall signature gatherers and has just been posted to Fox News.
State Senator Josh Newman and the rest of the CA Democratic party are apparently not returning any calls regarding the incident.