Several months back, the Fullerton Firefighters’ Association stormed City Hall and demanded the City Council solicit proposals from the Orange County Fire Authority. Perpetually greedy and feeling entitled to more and more, the union knows OCFA has deeper pockets than Fullerton will ever have.
True to form, OCFA wasted no time in being the slimy car salesman promising more for less. In the smallest typeface they could possibly use, they say it “Excludes one-time startup costs and City’s Annual UAAL Payment to PERS.”
This means the nearly $5.8 million in “savings” to Fullerton is not real. Fullerton will remain on the hook for millions of dollars in unfunded UAAL pension liability each and every year AFTER the firefighters have left and joined OCFA.
So what did they promise Fullerton?
The conversion of Truck 6 to a paramedic truck, and the conversion of Engine 3 to a Paramedic Truck 3. The latter is somewhat comical because Fullerton doesn’t have a Truck that will fit inside Station 3. Fullerton already tried putting their lone Truck at Station 3 and had to store it outdoors. Whether OCFA would bring in a smaller Truck or force Fullerton to remodel Station 3 is unknown.
These things don’t really matter because OCFA has likely underestimated the true cost to the tune of seven figures. The sad and scary part is the likes of Silva and Zahra on the City Council will probably fall for this proposal hook, line and sinker.
Parking in Cal State Fullerton is a mess, and it seems that even efforts to alleviate it (like the opening of two parking garages) only makes the situation worse.
Back in 2016, when the City was busy pushing College Town, the promise of addressing the parking problem was the method the city used to try to overcome local resistance (even if their plan amounted to nothing more than the creation of a “Parking Management Plan”, that is, a plan to plan to deal with the problem). Even in the fall of 2021, with reduced attendance on campus due to COVID 19, the campus is offering free parking as an incentive for people to get vaccinated. And when the pandemic finally ends, we will likely see the return of off campus student parking as far south as Orangethorpe and as far East as Raymond.
With the massive parking shortfall, the idea of approving a high density development with almost no parking would be an absolute non-starter. Or, at least, it would be in a sane world.
On September 29, 2021, the Fullerton Planning Commission approved, on a 3-2 vote, the application of Core Spaces to re-zone the property at 2601-2751 East Chapman Avenue (the portion of Chapman running East of Commonwealth to the 57 Freeway) and a allow for the development of a mixed use 420 unit, apartment complex consisting of studio and one through four bedroom units.
All told, there will be an anticipated 1,251 new residents in the City of Fullerton once approved and built. The total number of parking spaces for those new residents is just 273 (with additional spaces for guest parking and the ground floor mixed use). And, no, I did not forget to add a zero.
This isn’t even remotely close to the parking requirements set forth in Table 15.17.070.H of the Fullerton Municipal Code, which requires 1 ¾ spaces for each studio apartment, 2 for each one bedroom, 2 ½ for each two bedroom and 3 for each 3 bedroom apartment. The total required parking spaces should be in excess of one thousand, and its not even a third of that.
Given the absolutely massive shortfall in available spaces, the Planning Commission should have had an extremely solid rationale for their decision. Unfortunately, the decision amounts to little more than the claim that caring about parking spaces is “boomer” thinking, and totally, like, not with it, man:
The notion that the driving a car is a thing of the past will come as a surprise to most of the residents of Fullerton near the Cal State Fullerton campus (myself included), not to mention the students at Cal State Fullerton themselves, who are still clogging up the streets near campus even with the temporary reduction in in-person attendance due to COVID protocols
Pictured: The cars that today’s College Students totally don’t drive.
Currently, over 70% of college age Americans hold a driver’s license and, while that number is lower than in decades past, it still amounts to far more students who will want to drive than parking spaces being offered. In fact, if just half of the licensed students in the Core Communities project choose to drive on campus (a generously low assumption), the proposed parking structure is still about 250 parking spaces below what would be needed, and that’s just for the residents; the available space for the lower level commercial development is grossly underutilized and pretty much destined to failure, as the number of spaces are less than the property across the street owned by Cameron Irons. Incidentally, Mr. Irons was present at the Planning Commission meeting and he insisted the number of parking spaces was perfectly adequate for this development even while acknowledging the same amount of commercial spaces for his own venture doomed the restaurants in his building to failure.
Core Communities insists that they would not be proposing such a low number of spaces if they didn’t believe it would work, but their optimistic appraisals are contradicted by their own prior developments. For example, their facebook page for the Hub at Tuscon basically advises students to not even bother asking for a lease for a parking space as they are all booked and have been for years. Students at the Hub at East Lansing have also complained about the lack of parking (among other issues). And both of those complexes were built in neighborhoods with very high walkability scores. East Fullerton is still highly car dependent, there’s no bars, minimal shopping options, and not nearly enough restaurants to accommodate the students during meal hours.
The Planning Commissioners seem to be aware of this but insist that this is fine, the creation of this development without adequate spaces is a good thing because it will force kids to leave their cars at home.
And there you have it. This Hub project is nothing more than enforced social engineering masquerading as free enterprise. Creation of this development without adequate parking isn’t fair to the students who need the spaces, nor is it fair to the resident who will be forced to deal with the additional vehicles. And it is contrary to the law, meaning the exception being created is not fair to every other apartment complex builder in this City (hell, even Red Oak, which itself had fewer spaces than required by law, is a virtual parking lot compared to this development). This project benefits nobody except the people who intend to build it and it should be rejected by the City Council on November 2.
It’s always sort of pathetic when government entities feel the need to burnish their images – as if doing a good job weren’t satisfaction enough. But it becomes almost annoying when we have to pay for such propaganda. Such was the case a few years back when the taxpayers had to shell out $50,000 a year so that our ruinously expensive police department could keep telling us untermenchen how wonderful they are. No mention was made of Fullerton’s tsunami of cop-related lawsuits, of course. The diversion of attention was pretty appalling.
Of course the image is everything and we, poor schmuck check-writers must be constantly reminded of how wonderful and valuable our public employees are and how we must remember this at budget time
Well, our Heroes are at it again. Peruse this Twitter post from City Hall and try not to barf:
National Hero Day. Oh, brother. Hero. Deserve. Selflessly serve? No, if that were really true they’d be working for a reasonable compensation, not gouging out three quarters of our budget for a third of the workforce.
Comically, the people who produced this tripe added maintenance workers to the Hero tribe, presumably for PR effect. These poor step-brothers of our exalted Heroes make a fraction of the wages and benefits bestowed upon their better unionized brethren, even though their education level is practically the same. Why they didn’t add meter maids, garbage truck drivers, mailmen and anybody else who wears a government service uniform escapes me.
Our City bureaucrats want to waste $2,000,000 in public funds to build a trail from Highland Avenue to Independence Park along the old Union Pacific right-of-way. The idea they say, is to link the Transportation Center to “parks.”Of course we all know that the existing “trail” east of Highland doesn’t even make it to the Transportation Center, and is deficient as a multimodal facility; and we know that the Poison Park that nobody outside City Hall ever wanted is a moribund, attractive nuisance with such a sketchy history that the City has fenced it off for 15 years.
And recently a murder occurred at the end of the so-called trail, raising legitimate questions about the safety of future trail users, if there are any.
One of our critics has tenaciously clung to the theory that a trail will attract users, thereby mitigating the safety issues along this swath of industrial buildings, junk yards, cut-rate auto related businesses, metal plating and asphalt concerns. Naturally our critic, like all knee-jerk liberals applied some theory to a practical situation he knew nothing about.
And so, Friends, I am sharing some current images of the right-of-way, to illustrate the idiocy of building a rec trail through this area. Enjoy
At a special session of our esteemed council tomorrow, our elected and unelected leaders will discuss how to spend the pile of printed money the federal government is sending our way under the rubric of “relief” cash.
This topic came up in June, as I recall, and because nobody seemed to know what the rules were regarding spending the loot, discussion of the issue was continued to a later date. But not before the councilmen weighed in on priorities. Mssrs. Whitaker, Dunlap and Jung stressed the need for infrastructure attention; Ahmad Zahra and Jesus Quirk-Silva tried their darnedest to signal to City Hall employees that all their hard sacrifices would be reimbursed. The matter came up again at an August meeting, wherein Zahra in a thinly veiled signal to the city workforce.
“Knowing that 70% of our services are labor-driven, it seems to me that prioritizing workforce really covers all of these departments. I think that shouldbe where we focus.”
Well, I wonder what that really means. Our pipes and roads are of service to the citizenry and have been neglected for years. Did Zahra add the Capital Budget into his “service” percentage? Bet not.
Poor Zahra will not be at the meeting to dive into a long-winded and condescending lecture on the valuable workforce that has endured so much hardship in the past year and a half. But a lot of folks are just as concerned about the state of their car’s alignment, suspension, alignment, wheels and tires.
The Fullerton police say they have nabbed the suspect who stabbed and killed a homeless man on south Fullerton’s “recreation trail” a few nights ago. The suspect’s name is Abigail Jorge Gonzalez-Castillo, a 29-year-old male from Fullerton, which sounds weird since I have never heard of a man with the name Abigail.
Anyway, the cops believe they have their man but at this point we don’t have any other details, such as if the two – victim and alleged killer – knew each other, and why both happened to be recreating on the “trail” in the wee hours of the morning – one seemingly passed out and the other wandering by. Apparently these gentlemen were unaware that Fullerton parks and trails are closed at night.
The City seems hell bent on expanding recreational facilities in the unsafest part of Fullerton, but this incident and the subsequent arrest will have commonsensical people asking whether this concept isn’t intrinsically flawed. Too bad commonsense and Fullerton City Hall are two nouns rarely used in the same sentence.
An observant Friend just shared a link with FFFF about an item that caught his eye. Apparently Joe Florentine, the subject of many posts on FFFF is seeking a new gig. Here’s his entry on LinkedIn:
Now, FFFF is not a jobs center and neither are we job recruiters. But damn! I know talent when I see it, and this guy has it in spades.
Now, I’m not going to show this upstanding citizen’s whole resume, because, humble and self-effacing as Joe is, he omitted to share some real ability. I’ll help out.
Joe’s Unique Skillset & References
Enterprising. Built restaurant addition on a public sidewalk and got away with it.
Creative. Operated an illegal night club in contravention to City of Fullerton regulations for many years.
Recreational Opportunities Deployment. Exercised the greatest latitude in permitting patrons to enjoy interpersonal contact on dance club floor (i.e. see “Drunken Others”).
Plumbing and Wastewater Systems Expertise. Avoided adding additional sewage to the wastewater system by utilizing the same toilets for multiple businesses. Urination and defecation were performed by patrons without overloading existing wastewater systems.
Mixological Ingenuity and Marketing Acumen. Brought the Fish Bowl concept to downtown Fullerton to acclaim and adulation, specifically, in which a patron could buy a 128 fluid ounce cocktail.
Daring. Refused requirement to install fire sprinklers as mandated by City permit approval.
Creative Writing and Teamwork. Forged an official City planning application with the consent and foreknowledge of the City Manager and Planning Director and City Attorney.
Former Fullerton City Planning Director F. Paul Dudley
Former Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz (customer #1!)
Former Fullerton City Manager Ken Domer
Former Fullerton Police Chief Pat “Patdown Pat” McKinley
Former Fullerton Police Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes
Former Fullerton City Councilmembers Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory
Fullerton City Attorney Dick “The Other Dick” Jones
Sometime on Sunday night or early Monday morning a man was stabbed to death on the old Union Pacific right-of-way where it crosses Harbor Boulevard.
The cops are investigating the crime to see if they can figure out who’s who and what’s what. The Friends may draw their own conclusions as to the likelihood of a successful investigation. Fortunately a building owner has equipped himself with surveillance video cameras that captured the grisly death of the victim. Maybe the FPD can make something out of it.
I think this would be an excellent time to consider the site of the murder – one end of the desolate strip where our crack parks staff wants to spend two million bucks on a “recreation trail,” because…well, just because. Naturally all the patronizing lefties want to describe the idea of a linear park as just the ticket to revitalize the industrial uses on either side; something “nice” for south Fullerton.
Once you bother to peel back all that nonsense, the reality stares back at you: this is no place for anybody to be wandering around, especially kiddies, females and the unarmed. Of course our staff and City Council deal in abstractions, having accepted the grant money there will undoubtedly be bureaucratic lust to waste it – somebody else’s money. I seriously doubt if any of them have even bothered to walk along this strip, especially at night, to see that the idiot gesture of putting a trail there wouldn’t result in anything “nice” at all.
Yes, Friends, the Union Pacific Park (also known in Fullerton as the Poison Park) the project cynically foisted on the residents of the Truslow Avenue neighborhood by City Hall, is still in the news.
Some of our City Council wants you to overlook the 20-year history of dangerous incompetence, indifference and insulting condescension this dead patch of land symbolizes. Instead they want to pretend to give a damn about the residents and their wants and needs; and they want us to believe they are sincere.
In the latest go-round 5th District Councilman Ahmad Zahra agendized, with the concurrence of 3rd District Councilman Jesus Silva, the topic of holding community meetings to discuss with la communidad what to do about the park. This was very strange, very illogical and very disingenuous of these two twits, given the fact that the two of them only a couple of months ago tried to cram a gated private events center, masquerading as an aquaponics farm on the site. These two worthy gentlemen never bothered asking anybody about the impact of this idea from noise to parking issues on Truslow, so it’s reasonable to conclude that Zahra and Quirk-Silva don’t give a shit about the people in the neighborhood and were just playing games.
1st District Councilman Fred Jung interceded, suggesting that an ad hoc committee be set up to talk about ideas for the park; and this is a blessing. The idea of letting parks staff, the same incompetent boobs who have made an embarrassing mess out of this site, guide sham meetings is appalling. The rest of the Council with the predictable exception of the hypocritical Zahra, agreed to Jung’s motion.
Well, here’s some advice to this committee, when, and if it is actually appointed and meets: let somebody who has real ideas and who can put this site into the larger context of surrounding industrial land take a swing at this disaster zone. Fullerton Parks staff will only condemn the Poison Park to another 20 years of abandonment and decay.