What Kind of Idiot….

 

A Million Dollar View
A Million Dollar View

…would put a bench facing a blank wall six feet away. Oops, forgot – those bars in the blocked up windows are a real attraction. Seriously, has any sober person ever sat on this bench?

By the way, this 90s remuddle of Fullerton’s first Masonic Temple that you see was subsidized by us – the taxpayers of Fullerton – and approved by the Redevelopment Agency “experts” and the city council. Be sure to thank Molly McClanahan and Don Bankhead next time you see them.

Harbor Blvd.: Open for Pedestrians

Think of all the great people-oriented downtowns in Southern California. Old Town Pasadena and Orange. Westwood Village and San Diego’s Gaslamp section. Visit downtown Santa Monica or cruise PCH through downtown Manhattan Beach or Laguna Beach. Have you been on the main streets Beverly Hills or Balboa Island?

Think of the great people-oriented shopping and entertainment districts. Can you name just ONE that does NOT allow parking, passenger loading, valet service or even handicap access on its main business street?

There is only one: Fullerton.

After nearly a century of easy, convenient parking on Harbor Blvd. (called Spadra until 1960), parking was removed in 1982. The traffic engineers held sway then, and were more concerned about increasing traffic speeds than the survival of downtown businesses.

Now, 25 years later, their mistake needs to be rectified. Let Harbor be Harbor. Let it be a living, breathing people street by restoring access along Harbor Blvd! Let it be like Pasadena’s Colorado Blvd. or many other pedestrian oriented streets in thriving downtowns.

Downtown entrepreneur Sean Francis (Slidebar, Continental Room) has a plan to restore access on Harbor Blvd., between Wilshire and Commonwealth. This plan is supported by hundreds of signatories to a petition requesting a hearing before the Traffic Commission. Designed by KOA Engineering (who has done extensive work for the city) this plan would free up room for parking, loading zones, valet bays and handicap access in front of Harbor Blvd. businesses—while keeping 2 lanes of traffic.

This plan has been bottled up by mid-level City staff so far, but deserves a hearing before the Traffic Commission and City Council. And it deserves support.

Harbor Blvd. Parking Plan

Think if you owned Branagan’s.Your address is 213 N. Harbor, but when new customers find it, they can’t park there, or even stop to unload their kids or elderly grandmother. They must make a right on Amerige, another right into the rear parking lot, then try to find your rear entrance. This would all change with Sean’s plan. Opening Harbor would not add new parking spots, but it would allow room for valet service and passenger unloading. That convenience would mean a lot for business owners and their customers—as well as the general ambience of Harbor Blvd.

“Harbor Blvd.: Open for Pedestrians!”

Let Sean (who’s paying for the design study out his own pocket), your elected officials, your appointed traffic commissioners and the Downtown merchants know that you support restoring parking on Harbor Blvd.

A street is more than just a traffic pipeline. It must also serve the community through which it passes. Let Harbor be the street it once was—the kind of street it is yearning to be again!

15th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT FULLERTON RECALL

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the event that has shaped Fullerton’s political landscape ever since: the Fullerton Recall of 1994. Three stubborn, entrenched councilpersons chose to side with the bureaucrats over the citizenry and imposed an unnecessary utility tax on the populace. Well, the citizenry struck back. Common folks, many of who had never taken any part in municipal politics banded together and began a yearlong recall effort that eventually ousted A.B. “Buck” Catlin, Molly McClanahan, and Don Bankhead.

The event was seminal and pitted the old, statist interests that had run Fullerton since the beginning of time and the barbarians who had very recently arrived at the gate. The statists of both political parties looked on in horror as the Outsiders assaulted their citadel. For them it was indeed a contest of good (them) versus the evil of untutored and unwashed common folk.

The resulting recall, the determined effort of those recalled not to leave office, and the ultimate repeal of the utility tax were formative events that created a permanent citizen political presence and a resolute effort by the statists to regain control of the city. The middle of the road Chamber of Commerce Republicans were thrown together with the Fullerton do-good Democrats who had newly discovered their dedication to the City Hall bureaucratic apparatus.

The fact that the old guard managed to secure its position by the re-election of Bankhead and the election of “conservative” empty suit like Godfrey, Jones, Clesceri and Wilson, and outright liberals like Quirk and Keller has shown just how stubborn political interests resist real change. Fullerton has failed to elect a representative who wasn’t beholden to vested interests, and who was willing to challenge the authority, or even the competency of the city manager and staff.

There is hardly any way to gauge the level of animus that some of the old guard, especially the leftists, have nurtured toward those they deem rabble. Will that change with the emergence of a new generation of politicians?

We hope that new leaders will be able to start seeing issues through their responsibility to their constituents more than their affiliation with the apparatchiks in City Hall and the vested interests that have been so cozy with incumbents over the years.

The Recall was memorable less for what it ultimately accomplished than that it demonstrated, for a brief, shining moment, at least, that in a democracy the people can exercise their sovereignty.

Fullerton Councilperson Quirk is Developing a Hearing Problem; or a Memory Problem; or a Truth Problem

At the Fullerton City Council meeting on December 16, 2008, Councilperson Sharon Quirk said she had never had one person complain about the loud noise from Roscoe’s, and didn’t know it was an issue, and if it was so loud she should be able to hear it from her house. Quirk only lives a mile from Roscoe’s, as if anything less were unimportant! She said that right after Mrs. Teti spoke at the public hearing. Mrs. Teti lives next to and works at Richman School with Quirk, she told this blogger that she had spoken to Quirk on several occasions regarding her family’s years-long plight of being awoken between the hours of 10PM and 2AM by loud music and amplified background crowd noise emanating from Roscoe’s.

Now let’s hear from Mrs. Teti’s husband Mr. Ron Teti addressing the City Council on February 19, 2008.

Fullerton Council denies Roscoe’s appeal

Under the wise direction of newly elected Fullerton Mayor Don Bankhead, City Attorney Richard Jones instructed the other City Council Members to deny Roscoe’s Famous Deli owner Jack Franklin’s appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of an application to maintain a bandstand for live and recorded amplified music outside. Councilperson Quirk said “I’ve never had one person come up to me” and complain about the loud music and that it can’t be that loud because she “cant hear it from [her] house” which is about a mile away. However, Mrs. Teti who lives next to Richman School some 3,000 feet away, told this reporter that she had spoken to Quirk on several occasions regarding her family’s years long plight of being  awoken between the hours of 10PM and 2AM by loud music and amplified background crowd noise emanating from Roscoe’s.

Roscoe’s “Famous” Deli is Appealing to the Council.

Will the City Council uphold the noise Ordinance or will they break the rules for a prominent downtown businessman? The Fullerton Planning Commission instructed Roscoe’s to stop playing loud live amplified music outdoors on a patio built without permits. Click here to download a copy of Roscoes City Staff report Click here to watch the Planning Commissions meeting in streaming video, however, scroll to 1:37:25 in the video to get to the beginning of Roscoe’s public hearing.  Click here to learn how noise affects the quality of life.

Fullerton Council Dumps Railroad Museum

ChooChoo

On Dec 2, 2008 the Fullerton City Council voted not to include a first-class museum attraction, the Southern California Railroad Experience, in the Transportation Center Master Plan. Supporters of the attraction, which would be built on two acres of public land, claim that it could attract thousands of visitors into Downtown Fullerton. JMI/The Morgan Development Group is now planning to build more downtown apartments on this public land. The land was taken by eminent domain from longtime Fullerton businessman Harley Hartman. The Railroad Experience would have required a $22 million public subsidy. Councilman Dick Jones and Mayor Don Bankhead wanted to give the Railroad Experience supporters six months to come up with a fundraising plan. However, Councilwomen Sharon Quirk and Pam Keller wanted to put an end to the museum idea once and for all. Councilman Shawn Nelson recused himself due to a possible conflict of interest.

Fullerton City Council to Decide the Future of Downtown Fullerton

The Fullerton City Council will make a monumental decision at this evenings City Council meeting. A decision that will impact the future of Downtown Fullerton. The question the Council must answer is: does the master plan for the Transportation Center include a First Class Railroad Attraction that could attract thousands of visitors into Downtown Fullerton or does the master plan call for more Morgan Group apartments to be built on public land. The Railroad Attraction would require a $22 million public subsidy.

However, the Morgan Group officials have raised thousands of dollars for Dick Jones who may be voting on the final plan. Railroad Attraction supporter and longtime Fullerton businessman John Phelps says “it should be all or nothing”.