Burn Down Hillcrest Park?


Another City Council agenda, another questionable proposal by Parks & Recreation.

Next Tuesday, the City Council will consider a new location for the Fourth of July fireworks and celebration.  The Fullerton Union High School stadium is no longer available for such purposes.  News of the impending change has been known for some time, yet Parks & Rec waited until 2½ months before July 4th to bring this to the council for a vote.  Great planning!

Have a look at the agenda letter:

“Although considered, some of the these venues don’t have the sufficient capacity to hold the expected crowds and comply with Fire Department’s ingress / egress requirements; adequate firework firing zones / fall-out zones; or are too costly.”

Say what?  Three sentences later, they propose to use Hillcrest Park as a fireworks launch area.  Yes, the same Hillcrest Park identified by the State of California as being within a “Moderate” Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ).  The same Hillcrest Park that lost many trees during the multi-year drought.  The same Hillcrest Park that had 50 to 75 trees planted on Arbor Day to replace what was lost during the drought.  I think you get the idea.

No mention is made whether the Fire Department approves of this idea, only that the City’s “pyrotechnic consultant” gave the green light.   One would think if the Fire Department expressed concerns about hazards at CSUF, Amerige Field, or the softball fields at FUHS, they would be just as concerned about mature trees at Hillcrest Park going up in flames.

Lions Field

For the sake of discussion, assume fireworks launched from Hillcrest Park will be deemed “safe”.   How prudent is it to have festivities at Lions Field?  The City spent an extra $1.7 million to install synthetic turf there in 2010.  With extra foot traffic and “vendors, attractions, main stage, VIP and staff area…” using the field, preventing turf damage will be nearly impossible.  Have they taken this into consideration?  Probably not.

The agenda letter suggests “ample capacity” for necessities like parking.  Lions Field and the lower Hillcrest parking lot have about 170 parking spaces.   Everybody else will have to park their cars at North Court (like in previous years), the Elks Lodge, along Brea Blvd, at private businesses, or in adjacent neighborhoods.  Parking problems will be an issue no matter where the festivities are held, unless, of course, CSUF could be used, which leads me to ask…

  • Why is CSUF not a viable location?  The agenda letter makes reference to another site being “too costly” but is devoid of specifics.  I can only assume the location being referred to is CSUF.  How much would it cost?  Has the City approached CSUF for leniency on fees?  What did they say?
  • What about Fullerton College?  Did the City approach NOCCCD about hosting the event there?  What did they say?
  • What about the Parks and Recreation Commission?  How did they vote on moving the venue to Hillcrest/Lions Field?  Oh, wait, the matter was never brought before the commission for a discussion and vote.   Had the meeting not been cancelled, this would have made for a timely discussion at the March 13, 2017 Parks & Rec meeting.

This type of nonsense has, embarrassingly, become business as usual for the Parks & Recreation Department.  The commission is regularly bypassed on important issues. When those issues are presented to the City Council for a final vote, the department does so on an absolute last-minute basis — often with erroneous or incomplete information — leaving no time for a continuance, or for other options to be explored.

The residents of Fullerton deserve a lot better.  I wish the City Council and City Manager would put their foot down and say enough is enough.

And the Award for Most Ridiculous Awards Show Goes to…

While there is much in government to bemoan and criticize there is apparently much to celebrate as well, at least according to the Association of California Cities – Orange County, who are soliciting nominations for the Sixth Annual Golden Hub of Innovation Awards.


Yes, that’s right. The Government has an award show.

The ACC-OC is giving out awards in multiple categories, including Elected Leader of the Year, City Manager Leader of the Year, Innovator of the year and Public Private Partnerships of the year.
Last year’s winner for Innovator of the Year was the Anaheim Fire Chief who approved an ambulance system to respond to non-urgent medical requests, an “innovation” about fifty years behind almost every emergency response system outside out Orange County. Not to be outdone, 2014’s winner of the Innovator of the Year award was this guy:

A toast to all my good ideas…

The ACC-OC is a lobbying organization, ostensibly created to lobby on behalf of its member Cities in Sacramento, and prevent the passage of legislation harmful to municipalities, but their actual priority seems to be lobbying Cities to implement the kind of statist, crony, public-private partnerships the organization itself prefers. For example, in one seminar sponsored in July 2015, ACC-OC advocated both streetcars and the Poseidon desalination plant in a seminar hosted by no less than Curt Pringle himself. ACC-OC also was one of the driving forces behind the HERO program, which facilitated construction of solar panels by converting the construction costs into high interest tax liens on residences (specifically, eight percent a year high, for a senior lien). So, not only does ACC-OC lobby Fullerton for bad legislation but we PAY them to do so with our own tax dollars.

That aside, in the spirit of this press release, can FFFF come up with its own nominees or, better yet, its own categories for the “Golden Hub of Innovation?” Maybe award Hugo Curiel Procrastinator of the Year for his failure to report the water loss at Laguna Lake until the statute of limitations against the civil engineer that performed the work had run? Perhaps a doublespeak award is in order for the fine folks at the NOCCCD for their efforts to claim that the football stadium they are trying to build with Measure J money isn’t going to be built with Measure J money. ACC-OC also needs a White Elephant of the Year award to honor tireless efforts of some staffers to push expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects like streetcars, ARTIC or the “Great Park” in Irvine. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

Fullerton in the News: Pervs and Violence

There’s been flurry of news stories about Fullerton in the last 48 hours. Here’s a quick list:

Troy Students arrested for alleged school shooting plot.

Two Fullerton high school students were arrested for allegedly plotting a school shooting that they were overheard describing as “bigger than Columbine,” police said.

ABC 7 Story

2 Female Students Sexually Assaulted Within Minutes of Each Other at Fullerton College; Man Sought

Two female students were assaulted within seven minutes of each other at Fullerton College on Tuesday night, and police were asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.

KTLA Story

CSUF Perv alert

On February 1, 2017, the CSU Fullerton Police Department (UPD) received two reports of a male who was “touching himself” on the outside of his clothing at 10:41 am and at 11:48 am in a CSUF Parking Lot.

CSUF Memo

Good Afternoon. It’s January 30, 2017…

and Fullerton College safety officer Dino Skokos is still on paid administrative leave.

Come to think of it, we’re still waiting for the word on Fullerton PD’s criminal investigation into this assault and battery. Do you think they ever started one?

Nothing intelligent was forthcoming…

And what have we heard from Fulleron’s representative on the NOCCCD Board? Deafening silence, of course.

How does Joe Felz manage the great city of Fullerton?

Let’s drink to all my new ideas…

What is that supposed to be some sort of joke?

No, indeedy! The Fullerton JC news operation called The Hornet sat down with our now former Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz back in the halcyon days of October when things couldn’t have looked rosier for our A Number 1 bureaucrat. As you can imagine, the “story” was an almost useless saccharine glob.

However, a couple of really interesting statements did stumble from Felz’s possibly sober lips.

First there was this shiny pearl:

“‘…why don’t we focus on who we are.’ Felz said, stating the city needs to focus on things to be proud of such as the downtown area.”

I want to make you feel proud.

Proud of the downtown area? Another joke? In business terms, downtown Fullerton is an abject failure – at least as far as the taxpayers are concerned, costing a million and a half more annually to police and clean up than it brings in. Maybe Felz was proud of the profit he helped provide for his pals, lawless bar owners like Jeremy Popoff who is still operating his business, Slidebar, without  CUP, as required by the municipal code, almost three years after he postponed his own hearing.

And then this radiant gem:

“Felz has many new ideas for the future of Fullerton and he is highly optimistic about the years ahead.” 

Well that happy future went up in smoke the early November morning Sober Joe jumped the Glenwood Avenue curb, ran over a tree, and tried to drive off. And it gives the lie to the sappy farewell notice read by our choked-up lobbyist-mayor, with its formulaic “I’m quitting to spend more time with my family” bullshit.

The Sherbeck Stadium Swindle

Fullerton College is going to ruin the nearby neighborhoods when they build the boondoggle that will be Sherbeck Stadium and they are going to use the fact that you residents didn’t yell at them as the very reason for building an unnecessary Stadium when there is already a High School stadium literally within walking distance of the College in a town with another already under-utilized stadium at C.S.U.F..

If you don’t want Fullerton College to go ahead with their plans you need to write a letter to them to tell them why you’re against it. You have until tomorrow, 03 December 2016, to get your letter postmarked & in the mail or they will ignore you and you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself for sitting out on this issue.

I don’t even live in the neighborhood and I’m writing a letter on behalf of a friend of mine who does live in that neighborhood. Because I’m a friend and it affects both his and Fullerton’s future. That’s why I’m here in the first place.

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The Sound of Silence

I would have done it even cheaper...
I would have done it even cheaper…

Not much has come out of Fullerton Junior College lately on the case of cop-turned-security guard Dino Skokos who handed out an unwarranted beat down on an undernourished FJC student in October.

A writer for The Hornet named Madalyn Amato,  reports that although an “independent investigator” has been engaged, nothing else has been forthcoming. The fact that the investigator, a law firm called Currier & Hudson, solely specializes in acting as defense counsel for government agencies, should send out appropriate warning bells. See where this is going?

In the aftermath of outrage, the bureaucratic playbook is being executed as expected.

First, ignore any criminality on the part of the district employee and announce an independent investigation, with the goal of diverting responsibility, or even better, procrastinating ’til everybody’s forgotten about the incident.

Naturally, the independent investigator is really just a carefully selected government defense pettifogger, hired to relieve the agency of as much liability as possible and absorb any leftover PR issues. Of course, hiring a law firm comes with desirable effects, such as the benefit of attorney client privilege. See, it’s easier to control an investigation if the investigator can’t actually reveal any findings detrimental to the institution.

The cleanup is underway
The cleanup is underway

And now we wait. The employee takes a paid vacation, the real police fail to deliver a criminal investigation, and NOCCCD eventually pays out a quiet settlement to the victim who will make a deal in a civil courtroom. Nothing to see here.

Close enough...
Close enough…

And now let’s let Fullerton Junior College President Greg Schulz take us home via The Hornet article:

President Greg Schulz promised the college’s full dedication in reaching a conclusion regarding the incident.

Do Not Trust the Trustees

On Thursday, November 17, the North Orange County Community College District held an the Environmental Impact Report scoping session for the Measure J funded improvements to Fullerton College.

As  you know from our previous report on this matter, the proposed improvements include a football field (estimated during the presentation to cost $4 million to build, so consider that a low floor to the likely final cost) but does not include improvements to the Veteran’s Center. When this discrepancy was addressed, Fullerton College President Greg Schultz gave the following explanation:

  1. We have to understand that the NOCCCD cannot do everything it would like to do with Measure J funds, so they have not been able to make the improvements to the Veteran’s Center at this time;
  2. The stadium will be funded through other funds, not Measure J money and he promises to not use Measure J money to build the stadium.

Let’s take these two responses one at a time, shall we?

First, the characterizing of the veteran’s center as just one of many improvements that the NOCCCD would like to perform is extremely dishonest. Let’s re-wind the clock again to back when NOCCCD sought voter approval for their $574 million construction bond:

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Don’t Kneel to Fullerton College’s Football Stadium Demands

So who’s up for a proposed construction project that could “substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings” and could “create a new source of substantial light or glare would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area” according to the Environmental Impact Report?

Doesn’t sound appealing? Well, you may want to attend the scoping session on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at 6 pm, at the Fullerton College Student Center, Rooms 224, 226 and 228 (don’t ask – I’ll be wandering around campus myself) and let them know.

I should note that this little boondoggle is not the City’s doing, for once. For this we can thank the North Orange County Community College District and their Board of Trustees. The Master Plan Initial Study, which discussed the Environmental Impacts on Section 6.3, can be found here: )

fc-map

Pictured: Sherbeck Field. Not pictured: Rooms 224-228. Also not pictured: The football stadium that already exists across the street.

Some time ago, the NOCCCD Board of Trustees were considering the idea of building a football stadium on campus, thus sparing their football team the humiliation of playing football at <gasp> a high school stadium – and one that’s less than 100 yards away from the campus proper, to boot. Residents of the Princeton Circle neighborhood objected, and the plans for a football stadium appeared, to the residents at least, to be scrapped. Now the trustees are looking to add 4,500 stadium seats and field lighting that could remain on until 10 pm. In addition, while I have not independently verified this, nearby residents contend that the proposed lighting would consist of six 100 foot tall LED towers, which if true would cause a significant amount of light pollution.

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Planned Parenthood

The wife and I were having a discussion over dinner about the pros and cons of Proposition 30, and its claim to save education from a devastating blow of the budgetary axe. Then I remembered this post I’d uploaded some time ago in 2011 about the NOCCCD’s “School of Continuing Education”, and decided to re-post it. So if you happen to be sitting on the fence with this one, well, I won’t tell you how to vote, but it might help to keep in mind how tax dollars have been spent in this particular scenario. Enjoy!

The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) is the proud parent of Fullerton College and its younger sibling, Cypress College. But apparently the nest wasn’t quite complete, as NOCCCD decided years ago that it wanted yet another baby, and popped out the abundantly productive School of Continuing Education (SCE) on Wilshire Blvd., across the street from Fullerton College. Amazingly, SCE has no academic courses, but has new buildings, deans and even its own Senate like a regular university!

Well, the Senate has to meet somewhere, right?

And what does this seemingly well-greased, finely-tuned bureaucracy manage to provide for the taxpayers? A substantially rich offering of classes, such as (read this carefully):

  • How to Sell on eBay
  • Digital Scrapbooking
  • Blogging for Beginners
  • Toddler Fitness
  • Raising Caring Kids
  • Bartending Workshops
  • Latin Cardio Blast
  • Journey Back into Time for Older Adults
  • Needlecrafts, Knitting, Crochet for Older Adults
  • History of Comedy and Humor for Older Adults
  • Beginning Drama for Older Adults
  • Draw and Paint Animals (ages 5+)
  • Making Yummy Snacks (ages 6-10)
  • Sing and Learn Chinese for Parent and Child (ages 0-6)
  • Cheerleading (ages 4-7)
  • Public Speaking for Children (ages 8-12)
  • Career Exploration (ages 9-12)
  • Please Pass the Manners (ages 5-7)
  • Teen Etiquette (ages 13-17)
  • Puppetry and Storytelling (ages 3-6)
  • Readiness for Kindergarten (ages 4-5)
  • How to Be a Best Friend (ages 5-8)
The bartending workshop is the best in North Orange County!

Okay, just in case this list hasn’t left you completely baffled, keep in mind that the SCE’s course offerings are funded by the North Orange County Community COLLEGE District! Do these classes have ANYTHING to do with college? Don’t offerings like these really belong in the domain of something like parks and recreation?

Meet the new freshman class of SCE!

Despite the inappropriateness of these course offerings, the Chancellor of the NOCCCD, Dr. Ned Doffoney (one can only imagine what kind of salary the title of “Doctor” delivers) continues to cradle the SCE as a fresh newborn, giving it his support and blessing as only a chancellor can do.

Meanwhile, administrators at the colleges are suggesting the cancellation of 46% of the courses that were offered this year, a move that is likely to prevent significant numbers of students from graduating and moving on to university because they need classes in chemistry, calculus and business. Well, at least we can all take comfort in knowing that senior citizens will fully comprehend the History Of Comedy, or that toddlers will know how to make Yummy Snacks!

Did somebody say Yummy Snacks?