So I’m watching the Fullerton City Council meeting the other night and a funny thing happened. There was actually a real discussion and no Brown Act violation bullshit.
“What’s that, Joe?,” I can hear you asking.
Apparently the age of miracles is not over, for our council actually staked out their positions and made lots of motions, seconds and votes. At issue was how to make budget reconciliations and how to spend all the Biden Bucks coming our way. And no motion got three votes.
Naturally, the dumbasses Zahra and Quirk-Silva decided that no more staff cuts were in order; spouting public employee union talking points. Whitaker and Dunlap proposed various budget reduction amounts. Fred Jung held out for a lower percentage of reductions and wouldn’t budge.
So the issue went ’round and ’round, until Whitaker gave up, and as Mayor, moved the meeting on, discussion to be continued.
It was actually enjoyable to watch this sausage in the making even though in the end there was no casing to cram it into. And it will be more interesting to see how an accommodation between Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker will be made. Maybe it will even be made in public.
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.
Here at FFFF we like to praise our City Council when they do something smart; when they don’t we smack them on the snout with a rolled-up copy of the yellowing Fullerton Observer.
Well, Lo and Behold! On Tuesday, last, the Council voted 3-2 to shitcan a horrible scam cooked up by California’s houseocrats to reward developers and speculators by taking over market rate housing at The Aspect apartment project and control rents – for people who make between $102,000 and $123,000. Yes, you read that rightly, Friends. According to our experts, if you make more than that, by definition, your housing is “market rate.” The perniciousness of this scam cannot be overemphasized. A new term has been cooked up to describe these unfortunate six-figure po’ folks: the Missing Middle.
The way this scheme works is that the City cuts a deal with the California Statewide Community Development Authority – a perfectly opaque agency, to be sure. The CSCDA floats a bond, the proceeds of which will buy out the existing owner, rewards up-front the agents and speculators who put the rancid deal together; management will be left in the hands of other parasites who are in on the deal, too. Did I mention that the sale price may well exceed market appraisal? Well, why not?
The funniest part of this may have been the revelation that the complex has a 98% occupancy rate – an astounding number – people who can ALREADY afford to live there! And these good folks will be the recipients of the small lowering of rents – or be forced to move out if they don’t have a long-term lease..
A reasonable person may well wonder why ANY of this is necessary, and the answer from the government Wohnungen uber alles crowd will be so crammed with feel-good bullshit that you know right away it’s a scam.
One of the problems is that because the apartment project is now owned by the government the property owner (CSCDA) pays no property tax; in order to sweeten the deal on The Aspect, the promoters promised a “Host City Fee,” essentially an annual tribute to the City. Meanwhile other entities are just shit-out-of-luck.
The enormity of this nonsense is pretty significant; all one has to do is look to Anaheim – a pay to play town where the City has spent gargantuan amounts buying up big apartment projects and rewarding the lobbyists like Curt Pringle, who skim right off the top of this sort of crap.
Well, finally, back to council meeting. Councilmembers Whitaker, Dunlap and Jung were adamantly opposed to this, to their credit. Not surprisingly, Zahra and Quirk-Silva who petitioned to put this item on the agenda were all-in for it, babbling phrases like “outside the box” and “innovative thinking” and brushing aside concerns about unknown details full of devils.
Thanks to Jung, Dunlap and Whitaker, and of course shame on Zahra and Quirk-Silva who were very clearly in the pocket of whichever lobbyist was promoting this idiocy.
The last time I wrote on this topic, I pointed out that Fullerton/Brea Fire Chief Adam Loeser is a union puppet, using his authority as fire chief to advocate for the interests of the IAFF fire union.
What I didn’t tell you at the time is he flat out lied in his agenda letter to the City Council. The real reason, the more pressing reason, for seeking cancellation of the automatic aid agreement with the City of Placentia is to settle a dispute the union clowns filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). In the first agenda letter, he said the City Council should cancel because, “The current Automatic Aid Agreement between Fullerton and Placentia and its corresponding Memorandum of Understanding outline specific deliverables and capabilities. The City of Placentia has not sufficiently met many of these deliverables and capabilities to the satisfaction of the City of Fullerton Fire Department.”
Nowhere in there did he mention the pending litigation before the PERB that forces the City Council to vote on this matter to determine if the matter will proceed to a PERB hearing or not. If the City Council does what Loeser and the fire union want, the union has agreed to drop the matter before the PERB.
An honest public servant would have included this vital information in the initial agenda letter. I’m even told members of the City Council had no idea the PERB dispute existed until a couple weeks ago, even though it was first filed over a year ago.
Don’t take my word for it, compare his agenda letters. The first is the September 21, 2021 letter and the second is the October 5, 2021. (Note: the matter was continued from the September meeting, so this concerns the exact same issue)
October 5, 2021 version:
To add insult to injury, Adam Loeser put this item on the Consent Calendar where it can be rammed through without discussion – unless the public, or a member of the City Council, requests it to be “pulled” for discussion. The Consent Calendar is used for routine matters that don’t warrant discussion, such as approving the minutes from the prior meeting. This is not a routine matter, automatic/mutual aid agreements are amended or cancelled like this maybe once every 30 or 40 years.
Loeser, in his usual arrogant form, first lies to the public. The second time around — after he was told to fix the agenda letter, by you know, telling the truth — put it on the consent calendar in hopes he won’t have to explain himself.
These types of self-serving public servants are the worst of the worst.
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
So what’s really going on with our Fire Heroes? FFFF published a story recently about an agenda item on tonight’s (9/21/21) agenda. David Curlee brought our attention to a mysterious item about the City revoking it’s automatic aid provision aid agreement with next door Placentia and negotiating a new one.
How come? We really don’t know, except that our Chief, a guy named Adam Loeser says it needs to be done. He hints at some deficiency in Placentia’s program.
Now the Fire Union has made it abundantly clear that Placentia’s cost savings move to privatize the paramedic service was bad. Real bad. And fearful that the contagion of cost effective and efficient service might spread to Fullerton, the union has been putting pressure on our city council to nip this potential epidemic in the bud. To me it looks like the Chief is just passing along his employees lust for our largess.
But what really is the problem with Placentia?
According to a Placentia city report, their new arrangement has been an unalloyed success. Here’s the report. Be sure to peruse the response statistics.
As usual, there is more to the story. Quite a bit more – that City Hall isn’t Fullerton isn’t telling us. How do I know? Because a source in Placentia told us, and the information has the ring of truth.
According to this source the staff report prepared by Chief Loeser is very misleading in terms of why Fullerton wants to terminate the auto aid provision. Shortly after Fullerton approved the agreement last year, the Fullerton Fire Union filed a complaint with the Public Employees Relations Board stating that entering into an automatic aid agreement with another City requires a meet and confer with the union. Incredibly, PERB agreed with the union and Fullerton decided rather than fighting the ruling that the agreement would be retooled into a mutual aid agreement instead.
Unfortunately, our source continues, Loeser lied to the public on an official City Council agenda report by stating Placentia did not meet the requirements outlined in the original agreement. The real reason behind this change is because of this PERB ruling in favor of the union to the detriment of the public’s safety.
And so, Friends, there you have it. The union, with the apparent approbation of the Fire Chief, is using a feeble labor relations technicality to try to keep applying pressure to the City Council and the bureaucracy to reconsider it’s arrangement with the diseased and contagious Placentia Fire Department. This is the kind of government we get in Fullerton: opaque, self-serving, and duplicitous. Of course our council has been briefed about this, but the public hasn’t. And our city government likes it that way.