A room with a view

It was supposed to be “affordable” housing for CSUF faculty. Well affordable to them – not to the taxpayers who paid for it, we presume. Last winter we ran a post about the “University Heights” boondoggle, and noted that the place was a ghost town. It was already open to any government worker who wanted a house and we wondered aloud when it would be open to anybody.

Living here could stunt your intellectual growth. Not to mention your equity.

The story took another turn last week when it came out that nine of the units were just going to be leased out, perhaps ending any hope of ever establishing a permanent egghead foothold on Elk Hill. The architect of this disaster, one Bill Dickerson of the CSUF Housing Authority, came out from under cover long enough to put his finger on the problem: in a declining real estate market nobody wanted to commit to a cracker box of sticks and stucco on a ground lease. Seems the academics had enough faith in capitalism to shun the slings and arrows of outrageous socialism themselves; and the educrats are left holding their own bag. The Heights sales agent also seems to be pinning his hopes on the next real estate boom.

That's not very good, is it?

As an amusing aside we note that the author of this story was our own beloved stuffed toy and Wurlitzer prize winner, Barbara Giasone, whose paper got the headline wrong – indicating that the units were to go on sale . Not that it really matters. Also, Fullerton Councilman Dick Jones who admitted that he “worked very hard” to bring about this debacle hasn’t said much about it lately.

Jones performs Shakespeare before an appreciative audience...

There is an object lesson here of course that will no doubt be lost on educrats and befuddled local electeds: stay out of the housing business and kill policies that encourage tax-payer purchased housing subsidies for public employees.

Pam Keller Wants A Fullerton City Blog – But No Bloggers!

Glad you could make it. Now sit down and shut up...
Glad you could make it. Now sit down and be quiet...

During a recent City Council mind unwind, Pam Keller suggested that what Fullerton needs is a city blog. But no bloggers! Here’s what she had to say:

You see, Friends, folks like Pam are all about “education,” not discussion. She thinks that all that the good people of Fullerton need to be happy is to be properly “educated” – by people like her. But Heaven forbid that somebody should post something unwanted, or unexpected, or critical, or true. No. Better to be spoon fed Pam’s pabulum of feel good nonsense.


Here we deal with the sometimes unsavory stuff that you’d never read about on Pam’s blog, and that the Observer won’t touch, and of which Barbara Giasone is blissfully unaware. And better still, we offer anybody a chance to opine. We’ve given anybody who wants an opportunity to argue and dispute every single post we’ve ever put up. Now there’s a novel concept!

See, we believe in democracy, even if it’s a little rough around the edges. Pam really seems to believe in bureaucracy. And that’s just the way it is.

The Fullerton Fabricator & City Hall Apologist

did anyone see where I put my barbeque sauce?
Ronald, where did you put my barbecue sauce?

The Fullerton Observer continues to sink to new lows in its coverage of important Fullerton issues. Or lack of coverage.

In its most recent edition it published a redevelopment article which was simply an interview with RDA Director Rob Zur Schmiede, whose very job depends on RDA expansion. Wow, that’s cutting edge investigative journalism!

The Observer has totally ignored the RDA’s $6 million McDonald‘s move
. An evil corporation making kids fat, a giveaway to the rich, money intended for blight going to promote junk food! Fast Food Nation was written by muckraking journalists that the Observer should emulate. $6 million to help McDonald’s make high school kids fatter!

McMore please
McMore please

The Observer has completely ignored the story that has excited even usually tepid reporter Barbara Giasone. They will NOT embarrass the council majority that it helped elect with their endorsement. Jones, Bankhead, Quirk, Keller were all backed by the Observer.

Could it also be that the Fullerton RDA–is paying for quarter page ads in the Observer?

The Observer has published two pieces by Supervisor Norby expressing the County’s opposition to the RDA expansion, but only after leaking both articles to city staff in time to write rebuttals. The rebuttals themselves are not fact-checked by anyone and are filled with lies.

In the current July 2009 edition (Page 4) Kennedy bewails the 1994 recall of Bankhead after he “voted to support a ½ cent utility rate increase to keep the city from going bankrupt”. Three wrong statements in one sentence!

is that you Molly?
is that you Molly?

It was NOT a utility rate increase, but a utility TAX on gas, water, electricity and cable TV. It was NOT a half cent but 2%. It did NOT keep the City from going bankrupt.  In fact, it was repealed soon after the recall and has saved us Fullerton tax payers over $ 100 Million dollars over the past 15 years and the City is just fine!

True to form, the Observer has supported every city, county and state ballot measure that increased taxes, most of which went down in defeat. It especially likes sales tax hikes, which disproportionately affects the poor–the supposed constituents of a “progressive” paper.

Could Quirk Change Her Vote?

I would if I could, but "they" are telling me it's too late :(
Ms. Quirk, are you going to change your vote to spend 6 million in tax $ to move McD's 150'?

Sharon Quirk told me she was going to change her vote on the McD’s. She was disappointed in the way the staff presented no alternatives to leaving the McD’s at it’s current location. She has also told a good friend of ours the same story.

The $6 million McDonald’s move has become a community laughing stock. Even reporter Barbara Giasone, with a long record of fluffy features, ripped into the vote, and followed up with coverage of FHS student opposition.

burgers-and-books45735106Any council member voting for this is subject to an easy hit piece which could be the center of an opposition campaign. “Quirk / Keller and/or Bankhead spent $6 million of your tax dollars to move a McDonald’s 150 feet west–across the street from Fullerton High.” This issue will resonate with both fiscal conservatives (wasting $$) and social liberals (big corporate bail-out).

Changing your vote, Council Member Quirk, is the right thing to do. If you want the Fox project to succeed, put the money into the restoration, not to move a fast-food outlet!

The McDonald’s franchisee doesn’t want it. The high school administration doesn’t want it. And you can bet Fullerton voters aren’t going to like it when you get hit with it in the next election (same for Keller and Bankhead).

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?





And now, loyal Friends of Fullerton’s Future, we return to a theme a bit neglected of late, namely: our built environment, with an emphasis on both aesthetic and policy issues. In the past we have spent some time highlighting some really good examples of appalling public architecture and design paid for by the taxpayers.

Now let us cast our attention to an example of bad design foisted on a private commercial development by Fullerton’s own tasteless planning bureaucrats. Most of us have come to associate strip center developments with crappy design. Some folks blame the lack of aesthetic achievement on the tacky taste of commercial center’s owners, and there is no doubt that this is often a fair assessment. But what is not commonly appreciated is the role of government planners in the strip center development.

A case study is unfolding on Rosecrans and Euclid where an existing commercial center is undergoing a “facelift” (as Barbara Giasone would call it). In the coming weeks we will pictorially document progress on this site, although “progress” seems like such an inappropriate word!

Oh no! God-awful, tacked-on rooflets of various shapes and sizes – nothing more than useless vertical appendages enclosing wasted space and consuming perfectly good construction materials. The only redeeming thing about this work is that in twenty year’s time it too, will be torn away and replaced with something else.

We can see from the framing just what is being added – nothing of use. We may recall Louis Sullivan’s old saying: form ever follows function. Well, here Friends, is form with no function. “Ah, but what about beauty” some uninitiated readers may be inclined to cry. To which we can only reply that too many people are satisfied that a remodel of some kind is a guarantee of aesthetic improvement. We will document the emerging hodgepodge of roof add-ons and see if our readers agree with us!

Finally, we must relate the saddest part of this story. For some reason the owner of this project was required to undergo bureaucratic design review that apparently consisted of a low level planner foisting his own aesthetic preferences of design propriety for this site onto the owner. We believe what is emerging on Rosecrans and Euclid shows all the design traits of bureaucratic interference. We are not sure why this review was even necessary in the first place; its effectiveness will soon be very evident, indeed!

Barbara Giasone Wins Wurlitzer Prize

Here in Fullerton we have long recognized Barbara Giasone’s special brand of journalism. Now it seems, others have caught on, too:

PHILADELPHIA – The Wurlitzer Press Foundation of Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania announced today that Barbara Giasone of the Fullerton (California) News Tribune has won the prestigious annual Wurlitzer Prize, which recognizes achievement in journalistic vacuity.

Herb Dillman of the Foundation was effusive in his praise for Giasone. “Barbara has established a new level of excellence in the regurgitation of city hall press releases. In her admirable career she has always managed to avoid writing anything with the slightest hint of criticism of officialdom; or anything that snacks of criticism of anything, really.” Giasone was generous to share credit with her employer. “My boss is wonderful,” she said. “Most editors demand that their reporters do things like investigate and report what really happened. Mine has never made me sully my principles with that kind of stuff. I’m really a team player at heart and I don’t want anybody in city hall to look bad. And, of course, all that digging and questioning that some reporters do really takes a lot of energy.”

Fullerton spokesperson, Cynthia Smudge was enthusiastic about the award. “I don’t know what we’d do without Barbara,” she said. “She is always so reliable and never asks any embarrassing questions. She’s a real treasure. Worth her weight in gold. We put out a press release and bang, there it is in the paper – just the way we wrote it. It’s great!” The Prize, a valuable coupon book good at unpermitted downtown Fullerton bars and dance halls, will be mailed to Giasone tomorrow.

Geez, we didn’t know there was a Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania.