Walk On Wilshire Coming Back

Closed but not forgotten…

Next Tuesday our City Council will once again address the issue of Walk on Wilshire, the bureaucrat-driven “pilot program” that closed off the 100 block of West Wilshire Avenue to street traffic so that three restaurants could set up shop in the middle of the street. The issue is whether to approve an extension of the idea. Pretty soon they’re going to drop the word “pilot” altogether, and we’ll know that City Hall has permanently squatted on the street.

As usual, the staff report is so poorly written that it takes some forensic work to figure it out.

Off we go, into the Wild Blue Yonder…

So far the thing has cost ninety grand, but more “enhancements” are projected – another $80,000. Staff says lease revenue for the past 27 months is less than $36,000, but somehow will go up to $40K a year once two more users build their “parklets” – a silly phrase that has currency among urban “planners.” That remains to be seen, but any way you slice it, with ongoing maintenance costs it will be years before the City recoups its outlay – if it ever does. This concept seems to have eluded the crack minds of our “Economic Development” employees, and our City Council that steadfastly spends more to get less back. But that is the constant theme of Downtown Fullerton.

It’s funny how depriving the taxpaying citizens of their right to drive on a public street is seen as a good thing in some circles – cars bad, bad, bad; and the impact on other businesses on Wilshire Avenue isn’t taken into account at all. Some folks seem to think the experience is cosmopolitan, likening it to a veritable Parisian vacation, but failing to note the difference between a sidewalk cafĂ© and putting tables out in the middle of a road closed for that purpose – something no Parisian citizen would tolerate for a second.

Even though the staff report says it awaits City Council guidance, it is replete with pro-street theft propaganda, including another one of those ginned up polls done by Kosmont whose previous efforts include this hot mess. And it gets even worse.

Staff is requesting an “Asssement” opportunity to locate other places in DTF to recreate the money loser on Wilshire, “vibrancy” sounding ever so much better than bureaucratic busywork and inconvenient street closings.

Well the die is already cast on this one. Zahra and Charles just ooze sanctimonious support for this hare-brained idea; and Bruce Whitaker is all in for it, too, for some nincompoop reason – maybe because his wife likes it. Nick Dunlap recused himself last time and may do so again. Or he may just go along with more staff-driven nonsense. Only Fred Jung seemed really opposed to this scheme, but he’s going to be in the minority.

Fall Elections Draw Few Contestants. So Far.

In five days potential Fullerton City Council candidates for Districts 1,2, and 4 will be able to “pull” nomination papers. I don’t know why the phrase is “pull papers” but that’s what they call it.

At this point you can only tell who’s running by those who have created candidate committees. And that’s a short list, indeed. Committees are listed on the City Clerk’s webpage, here, under disclosures.

Anyone else?

In Districts 1 and 2 only the incumbents Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap have committees. This is not unusual as incumbents are hard to beat, but usually some brave souls sign up. Of course you don’t need to have a committee unless you plan on raising money above a certain threshold. I believe it’s a thousand bucks, but don’t quote me on that.

She wants what you have.

In District 4 there are two candidate committees on record. As previously noted one is for retired City employee Vivian Kitty Jaramillo who apparently used to write parking tickets back in the day.

Two Whitakers for the price of one…

The other candidate is Linda Whitaker, wife of outgoing councilman Bruce Whitaker. Neither of these candidates has any experience as an elected person, although Jaramillo has run previously and lost badly when council elections were held city-wide. She was subsequently party to a lawsuit to force district elections where she must have figured she has a chance of winning. She’s the Democrat anointed candidate and is supported by the Ahmad Zahra and Shana Charles, our megalomaniacal and dingbat councilpersons, respectively.

Jaramillo would be a very poor choice as a vocal tax proponent and the beneficiary of City CalPERS payments. A win by her would create a new council majority run by the manipulative Zahra. Ms. Whitaker would probably be better on some revenue raising issues, but some have suggested that she is the moving spirit behind her husband’s disastrous votes on closing Wilshire Avenue for the benefit of a few restaurants, and the support of the nonsensical “boutique” hotel. I don’t know if this story is responsible, but the votes are testament to exceedingly poor judgment. She might also be inclined to form a majority with Jung and Dunlap as her husband has done.

It remains to be seen if either Jaramillo or Whitaker intend to run vigorous campaigns and how much money they can raise to do it.

So far nobody else has shown interest publicly – yet. The deadline to return papers to the City Clerk is August 9th – only a month away unless an incumbent pulls out. Then the period is extended 5 calendar days.

It would be nice to see somebody else pop up to run in the 4th District, but time is running out fast.