Barney Wewak Opines on Prop 1F

Former Troy High foreign exchange student and Friend of Fullerton B’rni (Barney) Wewak, current headman of a Papuan highlands tribe, recently sent us an e-mail. It seems that Barney not only follows the doings in our humble little burg, but he also keeps abreast of California politics. We reproduce his e-mail wherein he shares his thoughts on Proposition 1F. We have translated his e-mail from the original Papuan Sepik dialect so that you Fellow Friends may enjoy it, too.

Barney Wewak and kin...
Barney Wewak and kin...

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of Fullerton! May your deities grant you a bountiful red fruit crop and may the tree bark grubs fall easily onto your banana leaf!

I have been keeping myself informed about the perilous economic time of troubles in your beautiful land of California where the warm sun shines beneficently on the succulent bosoms of your generous women. I believe that the strange-speaking, abnormally shaped Headman of your noble country is attempting to lay a heavy burden on you in the form of Propositions 1A-1F. There is no need for me, once merely a humble visitor to your abundant land to tell you that 1A-1E are nothing but lies and deceit – the malicious whisperings of an evil spirit. But I must also tell you that 1F is full of danger for you, as well.

If I may be so bold, let me share with you a story about my tribe that I think will help you understand your danger.

Some time past our tribe began to experience a shortage of bright feathers. Our tribal council of elders began to borrow feathers from neighboring tribes, promising a percentage of our annual taro crop and sea shell reserve. We soon became heavily indebted to the neighboring tribes who began to lord their superiority over us. And then it became known that much of the bright feather shortage came from the elders themselves who had begun to create ever more elaborate headdresses!

Does he get a car allowance?
Does a car allowance come with that?

Finally, the tribe had endured enough and decided that unless the elders produced a balanced feather plan they would be forced to yield up their annual Yam Stipend. The elders met and deliberated for many, many months. And it came to pass that  in order to maintain their splendid plummage and keep their yam allotment, the elders raised each tribesman’s feather quota!

And so my Friends in Fullerton and California I earnestly admonish you to avoid the costly error of my people and do not fall  into the tapir-trap that has ensnared my tribe.

Pay attention to where you're going!
please watch your step...

In valediction I say to you – my fellow Friends of Fullerton : may the gods remain favorable to you and grant you gentle rain in the summer and confusion to your enemies.

B’rni (Barney) Wewak, D.Lit, Cantab.

McDonald’s On the Move; Free Speech Locked Up


One of our sharp-eyed Friends took a photo of this banner last Tuesday morning. By Tuesday night, it was gone.

During its brief life, it asked the telling questions:

  • How did the Fox project morph into subsidizing teen obesity?

The sign hits McDonald’s hard, though—to be fair—McDonald’s doesn’t want to move at all. Just like the residents who lived in the demolished homes didn’t want to move. Redevelopment hard at work!

  • Who tore the sign down? City crews or the McDonald’s owner are the likely suspects.
  • Who’s afraid of a little free speech?

After all, that fence is paid for by the taxpayers, just as everything else in this $6 million supersized boondoggle!

And it was covering the eyesore of the vacant lots where vintage homes once stood.

Take pity on your campus, you FHS alums Quirk and Keller! Listen to the District Board members. Superintendent Escalante told City Manager Armstrong back in 2001 that the school does not want a McDonald’s across the street or its drive thru lane accessing already congested Pomona Ave. That information has been covered up for years!

Avast, Landlubbers…And Let Us Spin Ye a Fulsome Yarn; We Be Callin’ It: The Curse O’Quirk’s Cruise

A Three Hour Tour...
A Three Hour Tour...

Back in the balmy summer of 2007, the weather was great – just perfect to spend some time on the water. Lobbyist, front-man, promoter, and all-round cash-conduit Steve Sheldon (not pictured, left) hosted a  cruise on his boat the S.S. Cash Cow around Newport Harbor, to be followed by a scrump-diddly-umptious dinner at a swank Newport Beach restaurant. It wasn’t free. Lucky invitees had to cough up $1000 a piece for the priviledge, and that ain’t chump change. The beneficiary of this lobbyist largesse: Fullerton City Councilwoman Sharon Quirk.

A little Dramamine goes a long way...
A little Drammamine goes a long way...

Now, Loyal Friends, why would Sheldon organize such an event? Because that’s his job! He represented the “developer” of the massive Jefferson Commons project over by CSUF that would require a general plan amendment and a zone change, demolition of historic buildings, loss of OP zoning, and the usual slide-and-glide job on the required EIR. When you’re in Sheldon’s business you don’t take chances, and of course you wheel your bets.

Any way you slice it, Sheldon performed a big favor for Quirk; and guys like Sheldon know it’s natural for nice people to repay favors.

Among the attendees of Sheldon’s nautical shake down included representatives of John Laing Homes and Pelican Properties – the would-be developers of the “Amerige Court” project – another mammoth project that threatens to consume downtown Fullerton.

Environmental impacts? No, we don't foresee any big problems...
Environmental impacts? No, we don't foresee any big problems...

And so (to return to our maritime theme) on one pleasant summer day, the developers of two of the  biggest proposed monstrosities in Fullerton’s history spent a lovely summer afternoon schmoozing with Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Quirk – presumably sharing the wonderful plans they had for the future of Fullerton. There were a lot of good feelings on board that afternoon, even before the sun crossed over the yard-arm.

Love, exciting and new, come aboard - we're expecting you!
Love, exciting and new, come aboard - we're expecting you!

Hardly more than a year had passed before Quirk had voted to approve both these overbearing projects – with their dubious environmental reviews, and the evident negative externalities the get-rich-quick entitlements foisted on the rest of us.

Arrrrrrgh! The key to the City! What a deal ya scarvy dogs...

Now, in logic there’s a fallacy known as the post hoc, ergo propter hoc, which means that just because B follows A, it doesn’t follow that A caused B. And we’re not claiming that Quirk’s vote was bought by the high-rolling developers and their front man. Quirk could probably come up with all sorts of reasons for supporting these projects on their own merit. We can’t think of any ourselves, but if you can, Devoted Readers and Friends, please feel free to share them. And if Ms. Quirk is reading this, she, too is invited to explain why these projects are so good for Fullerton. We will be happy to give her response its own post – but only if she promises to write it herself!

Led Down The Garden Path; Fullerton on Track For More Redevelopment

Last night we sat through the horrendous hearing on Redevelopment expansion. It was really a pretty painful thing to have to endure.


City staff and their consultant put on a performance that can only be termed embarrassing. To describe it any farther would do an injury to my synapses, and so I’ll pass. Their presentation was eviscerated by Councilman Shawn Nelson and several speakers from the public – notably former Councilman Conrad Dewitte, former Congressman Bill Dannemeyer, GOP Central Committe member Bruce Whitaker; and perhaps the best of all, Jane Reifer . We note that our lawyer Bob Ferguson showed up too. We can smell a lawsuit coming.

The case boils down to this: you can’t create a Redevelopment project just because you need the money. It’s been done for years, but judges are finally starting to uphold the law. About time.

One of the words that the cheerleaders of the expansion kept using was “tool” and this sure was appropriate since city staff  and the Jones/Bankhead team dredged up a number of tools to come to the meeting and add moral support.

They're all so useful
They're all so useful

There was Theresa Harvey of the Chamber of Commerce who mumbled and stumbled her way through a statement clearly not written by her; a character by the name of Rick (or Dick – can’t remember) Price representing an outfit that goes by the hilarious name “Fullerton Positive” and wears smiley face buttons on their lapels; John Phelps – one of the biggest welfare recipients in Fullerton’s Redevelopment history ; and former councilman Peter Godfrey – who could only be seen from behind. It was nice to see Peter again, if only his backside, to remind us of his vacuous tenure on the council and recall that he was one Linda Lequire whip crack away from voting to keep the obnoxious Utility Tax.

get back in line little man..
get back in line little man..

As expected Bankhead and Jones were shilling hard throughout the hearing, Jones giving one of his brilliantly cuckoo rants complete with crazy gesticulations.

I can keep this up all night...
Once you wind me up and set me down there's no telling where I'll go...

Since Pam Keller recused herself, Sharon Quirk became the necessary third vote and she kept noncommittal, sensing no doubt the political pitfalls of either position. She asked a lot of questions that seemed rehearsed with staff, and acted like she wanted more information from the lame consultant. We have to question her sincerity since she’s already had plenty of time to lay out the ground rules before last night – the proverbial 11th hour. And so we got the strong sense of a kabuki performance. The simple fact is that Quirk could have killed the deal last night. The fact that she permitted the monster to live indicates she will be going for this when it comes back on June 18th.

Villagers, get your pitchforks ready
Villagers, get your pitchforks ready

Fullerton Chamber of Commerce Supports Big Government, More Government interference in Marketplace

Once you check in, you don't check out...
Once you check in, you don't check out...

It seems a little strange that an organization that purports to support the interests of business would allow itself to become an impotent pawn in a game run by and for city bureaucrats. And yet that is exactly what has happened.

This afternoon the City Council received an e-mail from Theresa Harvey, Executive Director of the Chamber in support of the proposed Redevelopment expansion on tomorrow night’s City Council agenda. The letter attached to the e-mail would be comical if there weren’t so many dues paying members of the Chamber who will get screwed by Redevelopment.

I'm Theresa Harvey and I Have Absolutely No Idea What I'm Talking About...

Harvey starts out by trotting out all the old cliches about infrastructure, housing and business climate. What she utterly fails to mention is how Redevelopment diverts a finite amount of disposable income of consumers from existing businesses to new ones; how it invites bureaucratic interference in business decisions, thus impinging on entrepreneurialism; how it requires business and property owners to endure the idiotic design review process; how it selects favored businesses and “developers” as winners, to the detriment of others. In short: Redevelopment does not work.  it is a government ponzi scheme that leverages bonded indebtedness off of property tax revenue; it discriminates against the majority of businesses in favor of a few; and any policy or program that discriminates against the majority of business is, by definition, ANTI-BUSINESS!

Ms. Harvey decorates her tribute to Redevelopment by citing the “charm” of downtown Fullerton. Anyone who has been reading these pages lately knows that whatever charm Fullerton has, it has in spite of Redevelopment, not because of it. Does she support giving away public sidewalks? Does she approve of squandering millions of dollars to move a fast food outlet 200 feet? Does she like giving away free public land to developers? She must. She must like it a lot.

I Represent the Biggest Business of All - Government!
We're the Chamber of Commerce and We Represent the Biggest Business of All - Government!

You would think that the businesspeople on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce would have enough sense to grasp these simple notions. But when you reflect on the fact that our old friend Dick Jones, a government educated doctor, used to be the president of the Chamber, the institutional dysfunction of this group can be discerned in much clearer focus. The Fullerton Chamber of Commerce has become nothing but a sissified adjunct of City Hall, confusing their own alleged mission with that of the City apparatchicks.

To the members of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce: stop paying your dues until your Executive Director and Board start defending business instead of government expansion and bureaucracy!

One Thousand Comments and Beyond

Here's to you, Anonymous Commenters
Here's to you, Anonymous Commenters

Today we captured our 1,000th comment on this blog  – a testament to our readers and their passion for Fullerton’s Future.

The millennial comment is attributed to someone who goes by the crafty alias “Norby” — and of course, it’s fitting that this comment is actually a critique of our own post. Thank you, Norby, for demonstrating that this blog does not seek to silence those who disagree – this comment and all others remain online forever as a reminder of our promise to never control the message through censoring or heavy handed pseudo-journalism.

FFFF was never created as a podium with which to espouse a single viewpoint or burn the butts of a few bad actors — but rather as a place to openly discuss problems and solutions with the entire community; a place for candid conversation of topics that are too taboo for conventional medium;  a place where whistleblowers are welcome and scandalous secrets will be told to anyone who will listen.

Thank you, FFFF commenters, for your numerous contributions – your city may never be the same.

Barbara Giasone Delivers Gut-Punch to Obesity, But Misses The Bigger Picture

Talk as fast as you want. I'll get the news from FFFF later.

Orange County Register reporter Barbara Giasone finally sunk her teeth into a red meat issue with her surprising interviews of high school kids that appeared in the April 30 issue of the Fullerton News tribune. Surprising you ask? How so? Because it might actually smack of criticism of Fullerton City Council and its staff who are promoting a six million dollar pay out to the largest fast-food corporation in the history of mankind in order to move a McDonalds 200 feet closer to a bottomless supply of junk food junkies – high school students at Fullerton High School.

We find it interesting that Barbara followed up on her usual fluff piece of April 23 with her theme of the 30th: she got the idea from us! Although we got no credit from Babs, a professional courtesy we can forgo since neither of us are professionals, we are encouraged that she is reading our blog and is willing to follow our lead. Heretofore she has been regurgitating City hall press releases; if she is willing to use FFFF as a source of her journalistic inspiration we can only envisage good things for Fullerton.

Our only suggestion to Barbara at this point is to get the rest of the story: the subsidy to a vast corporation; the crappy McSpanish architecture; the use of the “save the Fox” movement by city staff to leverage a titanic McBoondoggle.

Barbara: how did the Fox preservation project morph into the endomorphic mess it has become?




OC Weekly Author Gustavo Arellano to Speak at Fullerton Library



Author Gustavo Arellano, will be speaking at Fullerton’s Main Public Library on Monday, May 4,  at 7:00 p.m. Gustavo is the author of “Ask a Mexican” and “Orange County: A Personal History“.

FJC’s 2009-2010 curriculum will include Gustavo’s Personal History book for its One School, One Book program. Participating Hornet students and faculty will read and discuss the meaning of the book. 

The Fullerton Main Library is located at 353 W. Commonwealth Ave. For more information, call the library at 714-738-6334.

Don Bankhead in 2010?


Crown is optional

Don Bankhead has been on the Fullerton City Council so long many say his tenure precedes the discovery of dirt.

Nope. Don's been here longer...
Nope. Don's been here longer...

Well, actually, Bankhead clambered up on to the Fullerton Council dais in 1988, and except for a six-week hiatus between his Recall and his re-seating in December 1994, he has been ensconced there ever since.

Man, talk about adhesion
Man, talk about adhesion

Since we have previously promoted a 12 year limit on councilmembers we naturally feel it’s time for Bankhead to call it a wrap.  He is up for re-election in 2010 and we sincerely hope he decides that he has done enough for Fullerton.

We are having trouble recalling a single instance when Bankhead hasn’t schlepped for the city staff in the past 16 years – from the unnecessary Utility Tax, the SRO debacle, and the Basque Yard catastrophe through the horrible giveaways to “the Pinnacle,” “City Pointe” (why do these people so often stick an e on the end of their monstrosities?) , “Amerige Court” and the soon-to-be-renamed “Jefferson Commons.” He cheerfully went along with the sidewalk grab by the Florentine Family to protect city staff and even approved a retroactive pension spike for the cops. Lately Bankhead has been rah-rahing for more Redevelopment, even going so far as to sign a staff essay to the Observer in defense of Redevelopment expansion.

Take your pick
Take your pick. They all say "AYE"

Don’s recent embarrassing shilling for an absurd railway museum suggests that maybe it’s time for Bankhead to lay down his gavel and explore the exciting world of model trains in his basement.

toy trains can be very educational
Toy trains can be very educational