On Sunday the OC Register recognized Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson’s lone stand to protect the Fullerton taxpayer against a proposed employee pension spike plan that was being discussed behind closed doors last summer. Register Editorialist Steve Greenhut commended Nelson for saving Fullerton from an underfunded pension disaster of the sort that is bankrupting California cities like Vallejo. Click here to read article.

Poor Steve! He spoke too soon! This Tuesday the very council that chose behind closed doors to accede to union demands last summer will now conduct a hearing to approve the proposed pension increase.

The vote should be fairly predictable. Union water bearers Dcmocrats Sharon Quirk and Pam Keller plus quasi-Republican Don Bankhead are safe votes for the increase, which is all that is needed for passage. More entertaining will be the action of Mr. Dick Jones, another iffy Republican who previously supported the proposal, at least until the GOP Central Committee got wind of it. Then he changed his tune. Now that he has been re-elected it will be interesting to see if he will keep the promise made in order to keep the Republican endorsement, or if he will once again flip back to his natural inclination of giveaways to public employees at the taxpayers expense.

The issue is Item #14 & 15 on the meeting agenda. The Council will meet at 6:30 Tuesday night at City Hall. Public participation is strongly encouraged by Friends For Fullerton’s Future.

When Opportunity Knocks

Fullerton Police Capt. Geoff Spalding, 52, a 32 year veteran with the Fullerton Police Department, was hired to become the Police Chief of Beaverton, Oregon, on Monday. The Oregon town has a population of 85,000 and 132 sworn officers. Fullerton has 160 sworn officers for a population of 140,000. In a prepared statement, Beaverton Mayor-elect Denny Doyle indicated it was a difficult decision to select a chief, but (Spalding’s) experience and his history of involvement in his local community will serve Beaverton very well.

Raised in Fullerton, Spalding attended Woodcrest Elementary, Wilshire Junior High, Sunny Hills High, Fullerton Collage and Cal State Fullerton where he earned a degree in criminal justice. He also holds a master’s degree in emergency management from Cal State Long Beach. He and his wife have two sons, ages 18 and 20. He was involved with the Cub Scouts at the Fullerton Kiwanis Club for 8 years and is a volunteer for several other local civic organizations. He was a proponent of a new “gang intervention” program with Fullerton “at risk” youth. Spalding will be trading a salary of $153,000 plus benefits for Beaverton’s salary of $118,836 plus benefits. Because of CalPERS, Spalding will also receive 90% of his final “retirement” salary. The Fullerton City Council recently hired a search firm to the tune of $40,000 to conduct a search to replace retiring Chief Pat McKinley next month.Spalding spent Christmas day, what perhaps could be his last day on the force patrolling Fullerton streets so the younger officers could spend some holiday time with their families. “I would have loved to have become the Chief of my hometown” Spalding said.Oddly, the Fullerton City Council would save tax payers over $1.5 million over the next ten years if it were to happen.

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


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”.

2008 Fullerton City Council Election Recap

Despite the efforts of Friends For Fullerton’s Future, 12 year incumbent Dick Jones was re-elected. Also winning re-election were Shawn Nelson and Sharon Quirk. Our campaign to inform the voters of Fullerton about Mr. Dick Jones, although ultimately unsuccessful, proved valuable in many ways. Apart from the demographic information we have gathered, our efforts arguably cost Jones several thousand votes from his 2004 election count when he gained over 20,000 votes and received the top number of votes; in 2008 he came in a distant third.

The campaign of Karen Haluza ended a few thousand votes behind Mr. Jones. One of the most interesting questions of this election is how Haluza failed when her main opponent was subjected to a strong, independent opposition. We believe the answer lies in the efforts of The Fullerton Observer to undermine Shawn Nelson’s campaign, an effort that included its endorsement of Mr. Jones. The endorsement of The Observer, whatever its intellectual merit, has been worth around 2500 votes in General Elections over the years – just about the difference in the vote total between Haluza and Jones. One can only speculate on the outcome of a Quirk/Haluza “bullet vote” strategy by the Observer and its kindred spirits. The Observer could have gotten its own favored liberals elected and rid Fullerton of a an incurably rude buffoon.

One thing is certain: FFFF will continue to monitor important issues – most importantly, land-use issues in the coming months and years and will continue to hold Fullerton’s politicians accountable for their words and actions, and those of their staff. We have begun the promotion of the idea of term limits in Fullerton, and are now contemplating a petition drive to begin the local referendum process. 12 YEARS IS ENOUGH!

2008 has been a great experience for FFFF. And the fun has only just begun.