With ballots being mailed out in next week, it is time for my Fullerton 2022 Emily Roe Voter Guide.
With two districts and six candidates, the choices Fullerton voters will make in November can enhance government accountability and fiscal responsibility.
An associate professor in the public health department at Cal State Fullerton, Shana Charles has never served on a City of Fullerton commission or committee. As an associate professor in public health, Charles has little to no qualifications to serve on City Council as far as we can tell. Why are you not running for Fullerton School District Board Shana? You seem way more qualified for that than this generous leap to run for City Council. Charles failed to win her last race for School District in 2018. She turned around and tried, unsuccessfully to get appointed to Fullerton City Council in 2019, and then again turned around and unsuccessfully tried to get appointed to Orange County Board of Education this year.
Those who seek power are not qualified to hold it.
Charles is a socialist, who has no experience and is not qualified for City Council just like the old disaster Pam Keller. She skipped the only public forum so far so voters had no idea what she stood for beyond her tell us nothing candidate website. And then the Fullerton Observer questionnaire.
When asked about housing in Fullerton, Shana’s answer was: “With median home prices at $900,000 and rentals for $3000, our city cannot house its essential workers. We must work with any and all available programs to provide relief”. Sounds like code for rent control and building low income housing in mass. Fullerton would be the next Santa Ana under Shana’s leadership.
Her thoughts in the city budget being balanced for the first time in decades: “Our current budget is penny wise, pound foolish”. So you would spend money we don’t have as a city to pay for programs like low income housing and rental assistance. Fullerton was a small step away from insolvency before this current Council made the necessary cuts to maintain reserves. But for Shana turning Fullerton into the next Westminster is a good goal.
Fred Jung’s appointee to Planning Commission, Arnel Dino is the Commission’s Vice Chair. His voting record on Planning Commission is in line with solid Planning Commissioners in Fullerton’s recent history like Bruce Whitaker, Nicholas Dunlap, and Ryan Cantor. He is visibly clunky and sometimes talks more than he should, but he could be a viable City Council selection that will mark a huge improvement from the previous Jesus Quirk-Silva. Dino served on the Infrastructure Committee. His resume is extensive so Dino has governing experience that he will need. We are not on fire over Dino, but he could be the best of poor choices. Dino’s forum performance was not off the charts great, but was not a disaster either.
After failing miserably to run for City Council in District 5 in 2018, the election that gave us Ahmad Zahra, Johnny Ybarra is now running in the District where he actually lives. The former carpetbagger is a real estate agent. Not sure what to make of his candidacy since he seems to only have signs around. But his answers during the only forum so far – Fullerton Collaborative – was an unapologetically misadventure. He sounded both unqualified and uninformed. The bar is not high to beat Ybarra who is finally being honest and running in his actual District.
Wow is this kid shot out of a cannon! Not sure how much Red Bull Tony Castro drinks, but leave some for the rest of us buddy! Pro rent control and pro police reform, Castro is hellbent on turning Fullerton into the next Santa Ana, crime ridden and filled with homeless. Castro participated in two forums so far: Fullerton Collaborative and Fullerton Observer. The answers he gave were unbalanced and unbelievable. He actually said that in 2019 Fullerton had a “21 million dollar surplus”! What!?! Did you Google that son? Because Wikipedia is not good governance.
Oscar Valadez is the best choice of all six candidate running for City Council. A family man, father of two, graduated from Stanford University and has been a church going, volunteer in his community, a community he was born and raised in. He too lacks experience in governing, but he did participate in both Fullerton candidate forums and his answers were thoughtful and articulate. He said he wants to be a “bridge between the community and city staff to implement effective policies”. That sounds like government efficiency, hopefully government accountability and better customer service. His answers to the Observer questionnaire speaks to a man who is prepared to lead with humility, a welcome change for District 5.
Regarding homelessness the candidate responded: “Fullerton needs to find ways to compassionately enforce our anti-camping ordinances”. Yes.
Commenting on leadership, Valadez answered: “Public representatives must be reminded that they serve for the good of the residents. Council members must prioritize problem solving and focus on building and maintaining productive relationships based on trust. As a fresh voice, I’d focus on collaboration and remain grounded in serving, not myself, but our residents”. Amen.
Valadez could be a brighter future for Fullerton.
Not sure what more needs to be said about Ahmad Zahra. He’s the incumbent so Castro and Valadez have a mountain to overcome in an election cycle that will feature historically low voter turnout and engagement. When the public is uninformed or in the case of Zahra, misinformed, it is ample space for bad actors like con artists and ponzi schemers to thrive and that is exactly what Zahra has done, misled and manipulated Fullerton residents, the Fullerton unions, the Fullerton business, the Fullerton Observer, etc. During both candidate forums and the Observer questionnaire, Zahra took credit for everything short of creating the internet. The hubris is astonishing.
Four more years of Zahra will bankrupt Fullerton, both fiscally and morally.
There is a simple question: Do you support the direction of government accountability, fiscal sustainability, and money for streets and roads that Fullerton seems to be going in under Dunlap and Whitaker?
If the answer is yes, the choices are simple.