City and County Collaborate on $25 Million Bribery Plan

Last night the Fullerton City Council voted to give the County of Orange $4,000,000 of your money. Right now. Right out of your pocket.

well, there she goes
Well, there she goes. Say good bye.

So what’s the reason for this unusual generosity? It was because the County was threatening to sue the City over the diversion of property tax increment from the County through the bogus establishment of an expanded Redevelopment project area where no blight exists as required under State law.

The City lawyers, Rutan & Tucker,sure must have felt they had a lousy case – because they cooked up a deal behind the scenes to buy off the County with a ton of up-front cash plus some hinky lease back deals on down the road. Ultimately the total payout will be $25,000,000. We shared news of the the payoff meetings here . The County knows the Redevelopment expansion is fraudulent, because it has already made that argument publicly; but apparently there are at least three votes on the Board of Supervisors to take the deal and help out a fellow government agency. The County will formally go for the gold next week.

The City Council vote was utterly predictable with Pam Keller, Don Bankhead, and Dick Jones cheer leading the payoff. Dick Jones in particular excelled himself in ignorant idiocy. We’ll soon be showing  the Friends clips of Fullerton’s City Council in action.

To their credit, both Shawn Nelson and Sharon Quirk-Silva voted against an action that both robs the taxpayers of Fullerton and violates a basic ethical standard. The other three broke the law, and they know it. But they’re not out of the woods, yet. A court will decide the matter.

Redevelopment Hard at Work on South Raymond? Big Toy #1?

Hey, that's not a bad looking elevation!
Hey, that's not a bad looking elevation!
Fullerton has a whole gaggle of Redevelopment “project managers” looking for something to do. One of them, Nicole Coates, was quoted in an August 4th, 2009 Barabara Giasone Register article with regard to the sale of the old Stone Container plant on S. Raymond Avenue –part of the new redevelopment expansion area. Hmm.

Supposedly the property is being sold out of a bankruptcy court to a Newport Beach developer for a song. According to the article the new owners are going to try to use the physical plant on an interim basis, until it can be demolished – and, presumably, redeveloped.

Here today, gone tomorrow...
Here today, gone tomorrow...

But redeveloped as what, and with whose money? In the article, the new owner makes no promises after “demolition.” Will the land remained zoned for industrial use? Maybe. Maybe not. Barbara didn’t ask.

We’re picking up the strong vibe of a big new toy for our redevelopment staff to play with that will provide job security and lots of new property tax increment. What kind of toy? Use your imagination. “Mixed Use” springs most readily to mind, although the site is a loser for commercial retail – which means the usual formula would be applied: lots of housing and some facade commercial just for appearances.

But they did such a nice job at the Platinum Triangle!
But they did such a nice job at the Platinum Triangle!

It seems pretty obvious that the Redevelopment expansion map-makers have had their eye on this site for some time. We wonder if discussions with redevelopment staff were going on before the City Council even voted for the Redevelopment expansion.

And we wonder what they are planning for us.

The City is Violating Its Own Law in Hillcrest Park


If you’ve driven along Brea Boulevard lately you will have noticed that the north hill side of Hillcrest Park has been completely scraped as part of the so-called Lions Field improvements. Well, the hillside was suffering from total (and I mean complete) negligence on the part of the City for decades. What is being built, are large retaining structures to “stabilize” the slope. The only problem is that what the slope needed to stabilize it was appropriate landscaping – a solution that the parks Department ignored for years.

The addition of retaining structures in the park is inappropriate. More than that, it’s illegal. Hillcrest Park is a designated Fullerton Landmark (#6) and as such the types of alteration being proposed  should have been reviewed in a public hearing by the Landmarks Commission. This never happened. It’s true that Hillcrest Park doesn’t fit into any of the categories included in the watered-down version of the Landmarks Ordinance passed by the City about 12 years ago. But adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards is one key. Another issue is that of demolition and replacement of historic elements. Even the watered down code has a spirit that has not been observed.

Once again the City has ignored its own laws, laws that you or I would be expected to follow. It has specifically ignored the Landmark Ordinance once again, a part of the Zoning Code that the City has habitually and serially abused over the years (if you want I’ll make a list).

For years the City has turned over the park to pervs and low-lifes while ignoring the historic built environment. And now it seems they are embarked on another form of abuse of an historic resource.


closed doorsclosed doorscloseddoorclosed doors

Here’s an item on tomorrow’s agenda to be addressed by the City Council behind closed doors:


Property: 626 & 700 S. Euclid Street
Agency Negotiator: Rob Zur Schmiede
Negotiating Parties: Paul Kott, Pierre J. Nicolas Trust
Under Negotiations: Price and terms

Why is the Redevelopment Agency negotiating to buy this property?
This is a big deal. Where's the public hearing?

Let’s get this straight. The Redevelopment staff (aka Rob Zur Schmiede) is asking for council permission to begin negotiations for a huge piece of property off Euclid, presumably to build low income housing. He’s trying to do it behind closed doors under the cover of the “closed session” where he can get the ball rolling on a project that has NEVER been authorized by anybody. The key phrase here is “price and terms” which justifies the secrecy but that in reality is being used as a fig leaf to hide the fact that the council is giving tacit approval to a project that has never been offically authorized by them, in public – even in concept. In fact the very nature of the request is the first in what will be a long series of incremental approvals. In fact, this process is called incrementalization for that very reason.

Well, WE object to these shennanigans even though it happens all the time.  Authorization to negotiate price and terms is premature, and at this juncture issues that are not covered by under Brown Act exclusions are already occuring. What is involved is a secret commencement of the process that will lead to land use entitlements and rezoning. This is wrong, wrong wrong. This is obviously going to be a major project with major policy and CEQA implications.

The City Council should agendize this issue for a public hearing immediately with proper notification to all the neighbors. If they choose to go ahead with this (likely monstrosity), THEN they can schedule their “price and terms” meeting in the cozy confines of the backroom!