FFFF supports causes that promote intelligent, responsible and accountable government in Fullerton and Orange County
Category: Big Brother
Big Brother is a reference to a fictional character in George Orwell’s novel “1984”. The phrase describes any overly-inquisitive or overly-controlling authority figure or attempts by government to increase surveillance.
You know, we hear a lot about the “brain drain” a situation in which some corporate entity or other suffers from an exodus of its senior managers, generals, archbishops, or whatever titles fit the type of organization.
The same thing pertains to government corporate bodies, too: when department heads head for the hills we hear of the loss of senior talent and expertise that bodes ill for whatever the agency’s mission might be. Lamentations are cried about the loss of “institutional memory” a sad situation in which the accumulated wisdom of the agency is undermined, sapped, or otherwise depleted.
But is this a bad thing?
Let’s reflect on the very nature of corporate behavior. Sure, the mission remains: enrich the shareholders, protect the nation, pass on spiritual uplift, fix the potholes in the road. But of course there’s more. The corporate mindset leads to gigantism, arrogance, defensiveness, self-righteousness and above all avoidance of outside scrutiny.
In effect, the mission of corporations becomes encrusted with the dead weight of the various pathologies that they engender. The consequence is not accumulated wisdom, but rather a culture of ossification that is static, slow, non-responsive and self-satisfied. They lose flexibility, agility and effectiveness.
If we consider Fullerton’s history over the past 30 years it becomes fairly evident that the culture of our government demonstrates the symptoms of ossification. The same types of issues are dealt with in the same kinds of way: bureaucrats display the same kinds of attitudes and behaviors; our elected representatives are replaced and yet never seem to change in their understanding of their jobs. The emphasis in City Hall is as much directed toward self-preservation of the status quo as of taking care of municipal problems; avoiding accountability is more important than fixing the streets. Avoiding loss of control and scrutiny by the public have been, and are the key goals, it seems, of the people we elect and the people we pay to work for us. And protecting the corporate culture is always of paramount importance.
The pages of FFFF are replete with examples over the past 30 years that will amply support my thesis. In my next post I’m going to share one of these examples: a problem that was created by the City over 20 years ago, and which lingers today.
It’s a truism that cherished ideas of bureaucrats never die, despite the best efforts of people with common sense to kill them.
And so the previously proposed recreation trail from the poisoned UP Park to Independence Park is back in the news. How do I know? Because of a typical propaganda piece in The Fullerton Observer. This “article” is so lame, so badly written and so full of bias for this idiot idea that I am reproducing it in its entirety.
Revitalization of Union Pacific Park Gets Approved
In a remarkable display of community engagement, the City of Fullerton organized a public meeting on June 29th to gather input from residents about the revitalization of Union Pacific Park and the construction of the Union Pacific Trail. The conference aimed to hear the public’s desires and ideas for these projects, with the park set to be refurbished and the trail transformed into a fully realized pathway connecting Union Pacific Park and Independence Park.
During the meeting, various discussions ensued, with attendees grappling with visualizing certain areas based on maps and images. To gain a better understanding, the proactive community decided to schedule an on-site visit to the park and walk the trail together.
Egleth Nuncci took the initiative to collect participants’ contact information, and on July 8th, an enthusiastic crowd, including new faces, gathered for the expedition. With the valuable assistance of the Parks and Police departments, the walkers could explore the proposed trail route safely. Among the participants were notable figures such as Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Meza, Active Transportation committeemember Anjali Tapadia, and Fullerton School District Board Members Ruthi Hanchett and Aaruni Thakur.
As they traversed the trail, they encountered rough terrain filled with rocks, weeds, and litter. However, despite these challenges, everyone recognized the trail’s immense potential as a seamless pathway connecting the parks. After the enlightening walk, the project options were brought before the commission.
Option 1 was to create a simple trail with a bike lane, fully funded by grant money from the city.
Option 2 involved building an additional road alongside the path, but this would require city funding as the grant wasn’t sufficient to cover road construction.
Passionate voices emerged during the commission meeting, with many walkers advocating for the trail-only option, urging against sacrificing greenery for a road. Commissioner Meza thanked everyone who participated in the community walk, including city staff members, for their invaluable insights.
Ultimately, the commission voted in favor of the trail-only option, a testament to the power of community involvement and the collective vision for a connected, green, and vibrant future. The decision now heads to the council for final approval, further exemplifying the democratic process at work in shaping the future of Union Pacific Park and Trail based on the voices of the people it will serve.
The title suggests something has been approved, which isn’t even true – par for the Observer course, of course. We are told that the City of Fullerton organized some sort of field trip along the UP right-of-way and that a remarkable display of community engagement occurred. We learn that “notable” figures showed up; notable to whom? We are left to wonder. In a hilarious and ironic comment we learn that there was some police presence to escort the limousine liberal entourage along the rocks, weeds and litter. Clearly somebody thought this jaunt could be unsafe, and somebody was right. However the proposed trail will somehow alleviate all this unsafeness.
The Observer tells us about the boundless potential of “seamless” pathway between parks (if you don’t count Highland and Richman Avenues). At least these people have given up peddling the lie of connectivity between this route and anything else at either end.
What’s really strange is that in this article the “community walk” somehow morphed into a “commission” meeting with a vote taken to eliminate a multi-modal option (a direct contradiction to the position already laid out by the Fullerton City Council). And the Observer sums up fulsomely by claiming preposterously, that some sort of democratic process took place and the voices of the people, rather than the stupid idea of a couple stubborn and insubordinate bureaucrats, won the day.
What really happened is that on June 29th a select gaggle of hangers on was invited to walk the length of Alice Loya’s pipe dream. The Parks Commission met on July 10th to get the one-sided report of what happened and to make a recommendation (not an approval) to the City Council. The staff report for this meeting makes no mention of the council’s previous position on these topics: namely that the area should be treated as a whole – not a piecemeal collection of bad ideas, and that furthermore, a multi-modal approach to the right-of way be considered. This last option was never considered at all. The report also ignores the fact that the UP Park ad hoc committee has committed itself to nothing as yet.
In other words, Parks staff wiped the slate clean and regurgitated that same garbage they tried last time. Same old strategy that has worked so well for them in the past.
Many people tend to dismiss the visionary dreams of large, regional government consortiums as either too impractical, too complicated or too abstruse to either worry about or even pay much attention to. Those people are wrong.
As we have seen, these agencies have long tentacles and provide funding, or pass through funding, to promote the Big Plans they have for us. And that money goes to pay people we wouldn’t give a dime. Worse, their housing needs projections are so wildly unrealistic that if implemented would destroy the suburban fabric of towns across Southern California.
Which brings us back to Elizabeth Hansberg, whose brainchild, People For Housing, sends folks around to local planning commissions and councils to promote high-density housing projects that promise no concomitant benefits to the communities in which they are crammed. And as we have seen Hansberg’s “non-profit” has received somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 from SCAG to promote its agenda of a high density housing jamboree – based on a claim that says we need another 13,000 housing units in Fullerton.
The problem is that Hansberg is on our Planning Commission. The Chair, in fact. The bias, if not outright conflict of interest toward high density housing is cemented by her pecuniary reliance on SCAG. And thus planning in Fullerton is compromised. Think I’m exaggerating? Think again.
Hansberg was selected by our staff to be part of a collection of high-density housing enthusiasts who amusingly called themselves “Project Champions” and have participated in an idiot document called the Fullerton Housing Game Plan. And within this document is concrete evidence of what these people want to do in Fullerton. It’s called the Rail District.
Now this idea is not new. Apparently our crack staff have stolen both the boundaries and even the name from local business guy Tony Bushala who’s been trying to promote a sustainable, mixed use plan for his vision of the Fullerton Rail District. But no. The SCAG-Hansberg plan is all about high-density housing, not livability or sustainability.
And here’s the proof: a plan drawing from this hitherto secret draft Specific Plan, already developed without even being shared with property owners in the area or even members of the City Council. And guess what? The Specific Plan is being paid for by SCAG. And SCAG is also paying to develop a plan to change the Poison Park within the site to an aquaponic farm, ditching the promised park and tying up valuable land in the process. And finally, SCAG grant money is also being eyed by the City bureaucrats to plan a half mile trail along the abandoned Union Pacific right-of-way, an idea so stupid that not even Ken Domer’s predecessors tried it.
It’s very clear that the giant thumbprint of SCAG is placed squarely on these hairbrained and even dangerous ideas. And with the enthusiastic support of their local auxiliaries like Elizabeth Hansberg, they are well on the way to entangling Fullerton in “plans” that will finish off our crumbling infrastructure and add 100,000 new traffic trips to our streets everyday.
Friends, you may be excused for not knowing who Elizabeth Hansberg is. Very few people know, or care who is on their Planning Commission. But it matters.
Elizabeth Hansberg is our current Planning Commission Chairperson, appointed by the egregious Ahmad Zahra. “So what?” I can hear you saying. Well, contemplate this: she says she is an urban planner, and boy, does she have an urban plan for Fullerton: 13,000 new housing units is the plan, a concept that would increase our population by as much as 33%, upward of 200,000.
“What’s this?” you ask. Here’s the deal. Ms. Hansberg is a “housing advocate” which means jamming as many apartment blocks as is possible into Fullerton. The non-profit she started – People for Housing, now affiliated with something called YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) lobbies government agencies to build housing units. And lots of them. The website brags about lobbying the Fullerton City Council with images of yet another Planning Commissioner in tow – some political opportunist weenie called Jose Trinidad Castaneda,
Their mission is to pursue the current philosophy current in Sacramento to build hundreds of thousands of new units no matter the impact on the current property owners, the infrastructure or the environment. Slow Growth and sustainability advocates are her nemesis.
Naturally this has raised accusation that her movement is nothing but a pawn of the big development interests who are desperate to sink their shafts into the mine of cross-zoning in-fill housing monstrosities. Her cohorts deny this charge, but it still rings true. Why? Because she actually solicits opportunities from developers to engage in political advocacy on their behalf. It’s right there on the website. It gives every indication of being little more than a self-congratulatory shake-down effort.
So who does fund People for Housing, and what are the implications of having this person on our Planning Commission?
A few days ago we shared a story from one of our Friends about the futility and general dopiness of the house cat rabies protocol at the County’s animal police department. The gist was that if you get bit by your cat a medical facility will report you to the good folks at OC Animal Care, an agency that seems more dedicated to avoiding embarrassment than caring for our four-footed friends.
We noted with some amusement that the department admits that there hasn’t been a case of a cat contracting rabies in OC for 62 years.
One of our commenters, Joel, noted that there is a “Rabies Control Desk.” I didn’t believe it so a made a public records request just to see. Sure enough, there is a desk!
Once in a while we here at FFFF like to shine a spotlight on some of the more ludicrous doings down on the County farm, and today’s special comes from a Friend who wants to be known as Stephanie. Apparently, Steph had an encounter with the good folks at OC Animal Control recently and decided to share her story. Here it is:
I’d like to relate an experience I’ve recently had with the county’s animal control people. I was breaking up a cat fight between my cat and a stray when my pet in a real excited state bit my hand pretty badly. Fortunately the nurse at urgent care warned me that they were legally required to report the incident to the County and my cat would have to be quarantined under County supervision, all because of rabies. This was ridiculous because my cat had just got its rabies vaccination.
Sure enough, the Animal Control people started showing up a few days later. I made up a story about getting bit by a stray somewhere and after returning for further interrogation several times they finally sent me this letter:
Wow! Medically cleared by Animal Control! The funniest part of this letter is the reassuring reminder that no cat has contracted rabies in Orange County in 62 years. What’s not so funny is the time, resources, and bureaucratic rigmarole involved in an incident that was nobody’s business but hers.
During a quick stop at the on-line Fullerton Observer I read an article by Jane Rands about a dope forum held by the folks at NUFF – an organization of mostly geriatric liberals whose mission seems to be to promote safely pro-government candidates and causes. Aha, thought I, perhaps someone will stand up for the rights of the people of California who have voted twice for marijuana legalization and twice have been thwarted, whenever possible, by the Drug Warrior/Prison Industrial Complex.
The three members of a panel, selected by who knows who, were Ahmad Zahra, Temp Fullerton Top Cop Bob Dunn, and some dude named Richard Ham about whom I know nothing.
Whatever hopes I had about this get together were quickly dashed reading the article. Smilin’ Zahra, it seems, once got a prescription for medical weed for his fibromyalgia, but was too chicken to try it. Scary stuff. Ever the wordy equivocator, Zahra seemed to be all for lots of regulation because gosh darn it, the kids have already been exposed to cannabis by illicit shops popping up next to schools.
The large and seemingly self-satisfied Chief Dunn, who used to be a spokeshole for the notorious Anaheim Police Department, gave the usual cop-blather about the evils of drugs (kiddies were getting into mom and dad’s digestible stash!) and reminding Fullerton’s tremulous seniors that drug driving is a crime. In typical police fashion he suggested that a confused public causes his boys “a lot of effort with little return.” Same ol’ bullshit the cops have been peddling for 60 years. In a grand gesture of philanthropy, however, he did let it be known that he and his posse intended to follow the law. Gee thanks, Bob.
The third member of the Dope Troika was Mr. Ham, a Korean business guy in some sort of hotel business. Good thing he was there, because somebody was able to point out the all the flaws in the present system where cities are allowed to opt-out of legalization and the ultimate consequences of California ridiculous 2016 referendum: the maintenance of an illegal, underground system of cultivation and distribution.
Zahra proclaimed the meeting a “good start” begging the question of why in the world anyone needs to start considering these issues. Why there is any confusion about marijuana in this state after over twenty years of legalization? It’s because the cops and the cowardly politicians don’t want clarity, they don’t want freedom and they don’t want to be deprived of the seizure asset income they get from the War on Drugs.
Mr. Zahra did accomplish one thing. Because of the presence of Mayor Jesus and Jan Flory he warned of the dangers of a Brown Act violation, chasing our stalwart mayor out of the room.
On Tuesday (August 1), the City Council will be voting on the “Clean and Green” initiative, which calls for an affirmation of the City of Fullerton’s Climate Action Plan (available here).
What is the Climate Action Plan, you ask? Well, it was a report prepared in February 2012 to make sure Fullerton does its part to stop “sea level rise, changes in the amount of water supply available, wildfires and other extreme weather events.” Good thing too, because Fullerton’s 130,000 or so residents make up a whopping two thousandths of one percent of the population on Earth (0.02%), so Fullerton clearly needs to spent valuable staff time and expenses combating this threat.
The state Democrats are desperate to save State Senator Josh Newman from recall, so the tax-and-spend Newman needs to look real busy doing good things for his constituents. So the party in Sacramento has been throwing him all sorts of feel good bills to “author” so he can raise his public profile.
One of those bills is SB442, which requires homeowners to limit pool access with multiple layers of safety. Here’s Newman waxing about the importance of pool protection. As usual it’s all about the children.
But wait! We sent the FFFF spook drone over Newman’s ultra-posh Fullerton residence.
Guess what? It turns out that Josh Newman himself is deficient in pool safety.
Newman’s house on Domingo Road lacks any sort of pool fence or pool cover, which are strictly required by his own proposed law.
“Multiple layers of protection and multiple barriers of protection are critical,” said Newman at a June press conference.
He has a small child. He’s selling the bill on the safety of small children. Typical liberal. At least implement the most effective measures yourself before you legally require them of others.
Tomorrow night, the City Council will consider a move toward repealing the citywide overnight parking ban between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00am. This is a long overdue and welcomed change that would significantly improve the lives of many Fullerton residents.
I’ve lived in Fullerton my entire life. Never once have I heard someone complain that a car was illegally parked on a city street in the early morning hours. The only complaints are from people who have been cited.
The overwhelming majority of us are asleep, at least partially, during those hours and aren’t aware, and couldn’t care less, if a car was left parked on the street. Our quality of life is not impaired one iota by another person making use of a public asset during the night hours.
In the Agenda Letter, Director of Community Development Karen Haluza provides an insightful history into the overnight parking ban, which dates all the way back to 1924 when Fullerton was converting from dirt to asphalt roads. Spencer Custodio at the Voice of OC also penned a nice article on this subject. Both are well worth the read.
The City’s Nonsensical 1970 Findings
Besides having no use apart from generating citation revenue, the irony of the many justifications the City made in 1970 for preserving the ban apply more appropriately to daylight hours. The findings were as follows:
(a) In that frequent sweeping of litter, refuse and trash from streets is required to prevent disease and unsightly appearances and such sweeping can be done most economically and efficiently while vehicles are not parked thereon, and
I’m not aware of any City street sweeping taking place between 2:00am and 5:00am. As far back as I can remember, street sweeping has been as predictable as trash collection on a specific day of the week during daylight hours.
(b) In that frequent police patrolling of streets is required to deter, prevent and detect criminal activity and there is greater need for such patrolling between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than at other times and such patrolling can be done most economically and will best accomplish its purpose while the streets are free from parked vehicles, and
There is no “frequent police patrolling of streets” between 2:00am and 5:00am. Many Fullerton residents out and about during those hours have stories of FPD patrol units parked in inconspicuous locations around town with the officer sound asleep, provided nothing else is going on.