See, the low-rider? I’m saving your culture for you. I’ll need you at the next City Council meeting.
Now let me take you to the Trail to Nowhere.
See, the low-rider? I’m saving your culture for you. I’ll need you at the next City Council meeting.
Now let me take you to the Trail to Nowhere.
Ahmad is a film producer, we’ve been led to believe – by Zahra himself – although the body of work is a bit thin. So thin, in fact, as to be transparent. But last Tuesday he gave every indication that a Zahra production need not be a moving picture.
The casting call went out to gullible kids and even those of advanced age who should know better: a protest is needed. The underserved, bikes, trees, arbols, clean air, chubby kids finding health and happiness, all in jeopardy; in other words the ludicrous Trail to Nowhere, a $2,000,000 boondoggle vanity project whose only function was to make an appearance on a future Ahmad Zahra campaign mailer. Streetside they presented a pretty thin line whose handmade signs revealed the lack of imagine one associates with Fullerton Observers.
The protesters spoke, too, wasting lots of the council’s time, repeating the same nonsense previously scripted by Zahra
Zahra’s acolyte named Egleth Nunccio actually tried to get 18 minutes of talking time by taking the time allotted to five women standing behind her. Some of those responding to the casting call gave indication that they were nothing other than paid crisis actors employed to bulk up the chorus. Some make a sad presentation and sure didn’t look like rec trail advocates.
So the production came and the production went off. The protesters had been told by their handlers that there was a chance the rejected State grant could somehow be clawed back from the brink of termination by a council suddenly enlightened or frightened by the Zahra music-less comedy. It can’t. Surely, Zahra knew this even as his little band wasted everybody’s time. His real goal was once again to look like he was accomplishing something. And more importantly, the petulant Zahra wanted to embarrass his colleagues.
And there are people in Fullerton who still wonder why Zahra can’t get himself chosen Mayor by his fellow councilmembers.
Please provide your caption.
It’s a sad fact that local politicians usually have no qualms about spending money from off-budget sources – like State and Federal grants to do this or that uber-important thing. And these things don’t really undergo much scrutiny at all because the money the locality gets, if it finds itself awarded such a grant, isn’t competing with other municipal needs. And, better still, the awarding agency very often has no interest in seeing how successful the grant actually was. See, this requires a rear-view mirror, which the government go-carts just don’t have.
This topic came to light during discussion of the ill-fated “Trail to Nowhere” that was going to built with almost $2,000,000 bucks raised from some State of California bond rip-off or other. We heard from the drummed up “community” that the money had been awarded, so better take it; these people being not at all concerned that just maybe the money could be better spent on a project elsewhere. And let’s not worry about the fact that nobody will be responsible for the failure of the scheme.
Which brings me to Fullerton’s history of grant money, utterly wasted, and with absolutely no accountability. Specifically I am referring to the long-lost Core and Corridors Specific Plan. I wrote about it seven years ago, here.
Back in 2013 or so, the City of Fullerton received a million dollars from Jerry Brown’s half-baked Strategic Growth Council to develop a specific plan that would sprawl over a lot of Fullerton, offering by-right development for high-density housing along Fullerton’s main streets – a social engineering plan that would have drastically changed the character of the city. The reasons for the entire project’s eventual disappearance off the face of the Earth are not really important anymore. What is important is that the grant money – coming from Proposition 84 (a water-related referendum!) was completely and utterly wasted.
A page on the City’s website dedicated to the Core and Corridors Specific Plan had quietly vanished by 2017, never to be heard of again.
The lesson, of course is that Other People’s Money causes public officials – the elected and the bureaucratic – to take a whole other attitude toward spending on stuff than it does if the proposed projects were competing with General Fund-related costs – like the all-important salaries and benefits; or competing for Capital Improvement Fund projects that people actually expect a city to pursue. And it’s very rare indeed for a city council, like ours, to realize that grant money can be misused and actually wasted.
And so I salute Messrs. Dunlap, Whitaker and Jung for voting to return the Trail to Nowhere grant money – an act of true fiscal and moral responsibility.
A Friend sent in a copy of a letter from Daniel S. Franco of the City of Fullerton, requesting/demanding weed abatement per the Municipal Code. Supposedly the letter was instigated by a complaint. That may be a true story; or not. Here’s the letter:
Now, this isn’t all that unusual except that the irony of the City making a private citizen do what it will not is pretty rich. What am I referring to? Why, the Trail to Nowhere, of course, the City-owned former UP right-of-way where lately a handful of people, offensively masquerading as “the community” demanded a recreation trial. A quick look at the current situation along the abandoned strip reveals the City in severe breach of the rules it feels compelled to apply to the populace.
It’s pretty apparent that the City of Fullerton can’t take care of its own property. Or maybe by neglecting this property the City is offering up a big FU to the “community” it pretends to care so much about.
In any case the question of our town’s ability to maintain its property brings into focus the question of maintenance costs for new facilities – like the sad proposal of the Trail to Nowhere.
It used to be you could show up in another town and make up all sorts of stuff about yourself. That’s was the basis of the con man’s profession. Now, it’s not so easy.
Back in August D5 Councilman Ahmad Zahra, know locally for his, ahem, creative narratives about himself, seems to have put in an appearance at some sort press conference held by EOPAMERICA. That stands for Elected Officials to Protect America. Ever hear of it? Me neither. Maybe that’s because this imposing name belongs to some group located in tiny Rockland, Maine. Sounds a bit made up – like the guys got together in some one’s basement.
Rockland is not the sort of place you’d expect for an organization with such a bombastic title. But the lobster might be pretty good.
Anyway, Fullerton’s own bright light Zahra got his picture in the paper, so to speak, along with an almost incomprehensible quotation.
Tools of investment? This bozo can’t even build a rec trail with somebody else’s money! Now check out that statement a little more closely. Mayor of Fullerton? Since when, Ahmad? Another fiction passed along to any dopes credulous enough to believe this con artist?
Who was he speaking for and why did they give him a title he can’t get? Why does he think printing money is going to reduce inflation? You could try asking Zahra. Good luck getting an answer.
During the recent Trail to Nowhere kerfuffle one of the big problems the limo liberals had was bending their brains around the possibility of a multi-modal facility that might improve circulation and offer development flexibility, particularly in light of the massive development the City staff is going to try to cram into the 30 acres adjacent to the UP right-of-way.
Bikes and traffic don’t mix, came the anguished cry of people like Egleth Nucci and Shana Charles who would have never ridden a bike, or even ambled a long the Trail to Nowhere, and ignoring a world full of urban examples where bicycles and cars get along just fine.
These same self-appointed “experts” seemed unconcerned that their beloved trail would have to negotiate intersections at both Highland and Richman Avenues.
To find and example of a space shared by trail and car lane, all these Option 1/trail-only people had to do was look across Highland to their much bragged about “Phase I.” Here’s a satellite image:
Please note that the Phase I portion accommodates both a roadway and a recreation trail! Land o’ Goshen! Is it really possible? Well, of course it is. The trails cult has already built, and often described this existing configuration between the closed UP Park and Highland Avenue as the inevitable prelude to Phase II; but now for some reason, a paved portion west of Highland is verboten.
Oh, well, one thing we can expect in Fullerton, and that is a complete lack of reason and intelligence when it comes to this sort of thing. It’s more important that the so-called professionals do what they want, and there will always be enough dopes in the City to go along and to even be a called a “community.” And then there are those politicians like Ahmad Zahra who decide to score cheap points patronizing their constituents by giving them “nice things” that aren’t nice at all.
After years of being fenced off by the Parks and Rec. Department, the Fullerton City Council voted to reopen the Union Pacific Park in the 100 W. Block of Truslow Avenue. The park, brainchild of former Parks Director Susan B. A. Hunt, cost several million dollars to be acquired and built in the early 2000s but was almost immediately shut down due to soils contamination. The City failed to perform its due diligence in purchasing polluted property and building a park on it. Adding insult to injury, the park became a magnet for anti-social behavior. So the fence stayed up.
And up. For almost 20 years.
And yet somehow this long-running civic embarrassment became the all-important anchor for the foolish trail project that City staff kept promoting. While the trail screamers were lamenting south Fullerton’s park poorness (more on that later) they never bothered to reflect on the City’s shameful history of incompetence delivering open space at the UP Park.
Mayor Fred Jung decided enough was enough and at the last City Council meeting suggested that the the fence around the park be removed and the park opened for a neighborhood whose patronizing patrons say is “desperately needed.” Well, good. More open space for the community to desperately enjoy while the UP Park ad hoc Committee, the same committee that was ignored during the trail propaganda saga, can figure out what its future is. Councilmen Nick Dunlap and Bruce Whitaker agreed and the motion was approved 3-2.
It will be interesting to see if Ahmad Zahra will give up on keeping this park fenced off. Remember, he was the one who desperately wanted to illegally rent it out as a private, fenced and gated events center. And remember too, that to him, even to question park maintenance costs in his district is “offensive.”
On Tuesday night the Fullerton City Council again shit-canned the moronic recreation trail proposed on the old Union Pacific right-of-way.
Councilmen Bruce Whitaker and Nick Dunlap both presented compelling reasons; that the proposal failed to address requests from the Council in 2021 that the area be addressed wholly, not by piecemeal projects. Mayor Fred Jung joined them in voting to turn back the grant money.
Naturally, Ahmad Zahra championed the wasteful project, pretending to be offended by Dunlap’s observation that maintenance was issue since Fullerton can’t take care of the parks we already have. It didn’t seem to occur to him that his position was grossly patronizing to his own constituency who must be separated from the hard truths of fiscal realty. He was joined in his profligacy by Shana Charles who giggly gushed over the opportunidad to bestow a top-down gift to the community – and after all, it was free money and wasn’t going to cost anything.
A gaggle of speakers showed up to defend Option 1 – a bike trail that would pass through some of the worst, least safe parts of Fullerton. A couple opined that a useless trail was desperately needed. A few Spanish-speaking women appeared to regurgitate the talking points of Zahra, but as usual displayed a complete factual deficit. Their job was to bad-mouth Option 2 that could have include an auto passage along the trail, and again to babble about “the children.”
One speaker named Jane Rands actually provided intelligent and pertinent points, to wit: the City staff had not developed a general concept for the redevelopment of the area, and that the trail has no connectivity to anything else in the trail system, a point lost on the thoughtless Zaharites.
So in the end the council majority voted on Option 3 – give the money back to the opaque agency that took it from the taxpayers and doled it out in the first place. In a fun twist, Jung added a caveat to his Option 3 support: that the Up Park be re-opened ASAP.
After the vote was taken, one of Zahra’s lunatic followers began screaming at the Council about being racists and insensitive beasts, etc., and had to be removed from the chamber by the pit-sitting cop. And Zahra could be heard muttering under his breath into the open mike: “Bushala.”
The other day I learned that Fullerton’s nonsensical trail to nowhere has been magically resurrected, again, it seems, the beneficiary of some wasteful State grant meant to make people feel good about themselves. How do I know it’s wasteful and all about virtue signaling? Easy. Just consider the “Trail To Nowhere.”
City staff is no longer even pretending that the the proposed “trail” goes to the Transportation Center, or that it could ever make its way to the Hunt Branch and points northwest. At least those lies have been dispensed with. Now it’s all about connecting a refurbished UP Park and Independence Park, a connection that means nothing to anybody outside the hallowed halls of City Hall. The proponents of this absurdity still can’t identify a single likely user, nor can they spit out the cost of maintaining this trail. They don’t know and don’t care. Build something and someone’s bound to use it, despite the fact that it runs through a dangerous, dilapidated, and dismal industrial zone of junkyards, used tire shops, asphalt plants and metal plating operations. The gesture is what counts, not the aftermath!
But I have already digressed.
The real point of this post is to ask how this miserable idea sprang back to life after the City Council expressed their displeasure with the bureaucratic piecemeal planning of this area, questioned the wisdom of the proposal and said they wanted to see alternatives that might actually help innovative development in the area. They got none of that.
It’s true that Fullerton has had four City Managers in the past three years or so; it’s pretty easy to spot the vacuum here. Plus the new guy, Eric Levitt, seems to have the backbone of a jelly donut when it comes to saying no to his staff. He appears to be cruising for a pension spike and an imminent decampment.
Who was it that organized the happy field trip to explore the potential wonders of the trail? How come nobody knew about it except select invitees? How did the Parks Commission come to be presented with a choice that was no choice and how on Earth did this get on the City Council agenda? Obviously there has been a conspiracy to revive this idea and Mr. Levitt is all on board. Why? And why has the City Council permitted the same proposal it rejected last time, to reappear in the same form? These are rhetorical questions only.
The fact that D5 Councilmember Ahmad Zahra and his minions wanted this so badly last time – a gesture, (no matter how expensive and hollow) to the communidad – leads me to suspect this thing has been orchestrated by him and Parks staff to embarrass his colleagues into going along with the scheme this time.