Tag Archives: California State University Fullerton

HERITAGE GROUP PRESIDENT ADORES FAKE OLD

Lost in the commotion of last fall’s election excitement was a short letter to the Fullerton Observer by Tom Dalton, Fullerton Heritage’s President-for-Life. It appeared in the early September issue. It seemed to be a very belated response to the letter I had written some time before, and that I just posted here on our blog. Well, I’m posting a copy of Mr. Dalton’s letter here as well as a response I sent to the Observer’s editor. Please note that the Observer never printed my letter rebutting Tom Dalton’s, but now for the very first time, Loyal Friends, you may enjoy it here!

First Mr. Dalton’s missive:

College Buildings

Fullerton College dedicated the latest in a series of new buildings on the Fullerton campus August 15, 2008. The Classroom Office Building joins the Library and the Student Center as another example of how new construction can complement and even improve on the overall historic and architectural character of the campus complex. Period design features, proper scale and proportions, and use of appropriate materials on these buildings reflect the style and character of the original campus. And let us not forget the wonderful results of the restoration work on the Wilshire Continuing Education complex. Fullerton College President Kathleen Hodge, former District Chancellor Jerome Hunter, and the District Board are all to be commended for their steadfast commitment to honor the past by foregoing faddish architecture that others often use to make their own statements. Fullerton College has made the strongest statement of all by preserving its heritage. Fullerton Heritage salutes you! Keep up the good work.

Tom Dalton, President Fullerton Heritage

Well, Tom has had his bootlicking say, and now I will share my thoughts on the subject:

Editor:

I just read Tom Dalton’s recent tribute to the wisdom of the NOCCCD Trustees for their dismal architectural failures on the Fullerton College campus, as printed in your September edition. Tom’s letter must have pleased the trustee who asked him to write it, but it left me wondering why these folks choose to defend the indefensible – rather than develop a new policy of building modern architecture on our campus. Well, maybe they ought to be defensive! Tom tells us the pseudo-historical details, the materials, and the proportions of the new buildings are harmonious with the historical structures on campus. I guess he expects us to take his word for it. But the commonsense of anyone standing in the central quad will tell him that the new library is an overbearing, out-of-scale monstrosity.

The fake concrete form patterns impressed on hollow stucco walls, the awkward fenestration, and the ludicrous cupola only add insult to injury. It’s not easy to create buildings that are both tacky and unoriginal, but whoever designed this building achieved this dubious distinction. The image and caption on the cover of your early October issue is telling: Tiles Fall off the Dome of the New Library During Storm (what storm was that, by the way?). Further comment is unnecessary.

Why does Tom admire architecture that hides its steel structure within hollow walls made of metal studs, lath, and plaster? He says this sort of thing goes well with the existing buildings, and again he seems to think we’ll take his word for it. But why should we accept the idea that boring, dishonest, clunky buildings are anything but an insult to historical structures? Because Tom says so? The new building on Chapman Avenue with its false arches assaults passersby with a sort of stubborn muteness; it is a dull, blocky, inert monument to creative bankruptcy, without a single redeeming architectural quality.

Tom piously warns us against the evil of architectural fads, by which I think we can assume he means contemporary architecture that doesn’t ape the original Mediterranean themes of the WPA buildings on campus. And so, innovative modern architecture on campus of the sort pioneered in Southern California by masters such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra and their followers would likely be dismissed as faddish by Dalton, just as their work was scorned by philistines of an earlier time who preferred period revivals such as Stockbroker Tudor and French Provincial as safe, tasteful bets for the local gentry.

But must the public, the students, and the faculty accept fake arches, Styrofoam cornices, and hidden structural members because they gratify Tom and his like minded friends on the Board of Trustees? We should recognize a higher responsibility than weakly regurgitating forms from the past and doing even that poorly. There is no premium paid for good, modern architecture. It costs no more than the uninspired junk the North Orange County Community College District Trustees are foisting on us. And in the long run good architecture will cost less. Someone at the top must make the commitment.

There really is a bigger issue that falls outside the penlight illumination cast by Tom Dalton’s personal aesthetic sensibility. Isn’t it the responsibility of an academic institution to promote creative excellence and shouldn’t that ideal be enshrined in the college’s built environment? Timid and trite architectural expression seems contrary to the very mission of an academic institution. On top of that, it’s a waste of money.

In a few years, as the dreary McSpanish dinosaurs of my Alma Mater disintegrate into a well-deserved decrepitude, Trustees will no doubt float yet another bond to pay for their replacement. Then, hopefully, some future generation will enjoy new creative and dynamic architecture on campus.

Tony Bushala

Founder, Fullerton Heritage

THE DISMAL DRIVE TO ARCHITECTURAL DREARINESS @ FJC

A couple of years ago I sent the following letter to the Fullerton Observer. It caused a bit of a stir among the knee-jerk educrat supporters. I hope you Friends enjoy it, too:

Dear Editor: There is an old adage that bad architecture costs just as much as good. This lesson seems to be lost on the educators over at the NCCCD. First they erect the god-awful monstrosity of the library with its overbearing size and fake historical details, right down to the false concrete formwork impressions on lath and plaster walls!

And now the Student Commons: another McSpanish dinosaur looming over innocent passersby on Chapman Avenue. With its fake “thick” walls, fake concrete columns, fake cornices, and oafish arches (see attached images) this edifice represents all that’s bad in trying to ape the design of the poured-in-place concrete structures on campus.

Had the college pursued a course of promoting original modern design they may well have succeeded in erecting buildings that would be recognized 70 years from now as historic. – buildings that were graceful, elegant, efficient, and that honestly expressed structure in form. My guess is that the WPA buildings on campus will end up outlasting these new ones.

The promotion of fake old architecture by our Board, on the other hand, is the result of confused thinking. The idea of emulating existing building’s themes so that the new ones “fit in” is meant to display aesthetic sensitivity with a nod to the ideas of tradition and preservation – concepts that they badly misunderstand. Fake old architecture honors nothing, least of all the past. The feeble attempts to copy historical detailing that present-day workers can’t do, or that the College won’t pay for, pays homage to nothing. Placing a fake old building next to an historic building will serve to make the original look better, but how much more of an honor would it be to hire a creative designer and let him or her pay tribute to the existing built environment through the exercise of creativity and talent! Isn’t that the lesson our public schools should be teaching their students?

SUSTAINABLE DESIGN IN FULLERTON?

Dave Musante knows it takes a long time to bring about positive change in cities. Right now the first LEED-certified affordable housing development is being built in Northampton Massachusetts, where Dave was first elected Mayor for 12 years. What did they name the street that leads to the project?

Dave was advocating sustainable planning elements–greenbelts, energy conservation features, etc. way before he left office back in 1992. So 17 years later, when this project became a reality, the planners said its street sign had to say “Musante”.

Now that Sharon Quirk has reappointed him to the Planning Commission for the next four years, we can anticipate his outspoken advocacy for sustainability in public projects here in his new hometown? Will the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency’s planned $30 million government-subsidized Richman Ave. housing project adjacent to the historic Jones and Emmons neighborhood live up to the standards Dave pushed for in Northampton. Stay Tuned……

Harbor Blvd.: Open for Pedestrians

Think of all the great people-oriented downtowns in Southern California. Old Town Pasadena and Orange. Westwood Village and San Diego’s Gaslamp section. Visit downtown Santa Monica or cruise PCH through downtown Manhattan Beach or Laguna Beach. Have you been on the main streets Beverly Hills or Balboa Island?

Think of the great people-oriented shopping and entertainment districts. Can you name just ONE that does NOT allow parking, passenger loading, valet service or even handicap access on its main business street?

There is only one: Fullerton.

After nearly a century of easy, convenient parking on Harbor Blvd. (called Spadra until 1960), parking was removed in 1982. The traffic engineers held sway then, and were more concerned about increasing traffic speeds than the survival of downtown businesses.

Now, 25 years later, their mistake needs to be rectified. Let Harbor be Harbor. Let it be a living, breathing people street by restoring access along Harbor Blvd! Let it be like Pasadena’s Colorado Blvd. or many other pedestrian oriented streets in thriving downtowns.

Downtown entrepreneur Sean Francis (Slidebar, Continental Room) has a plan to restore access on Harbor Blvd., between Wilshire and Commonwealth. This plan is supported by hundreds of signatories to a petition requesting a hearing before the Traffic Commission. Designed by KOA Engineering (who has done extensive work for the city) this plan would free up room for parking, loading zones, valet bays and handicap access in front of Harbor Blvd. businesses—while keeping 2 lanes of traffic.

This plan has been bottled up by mid-level City staff so far, but deserves a hearing before the Traffic Commission and City Council. And it deserves support.

Harbor Blvd. Parking Plan

Think if you owned Branagan’s.Your address is 213 N. Harbor, but when new customers find it, they can’t park there, or even stop to unload their kids or elderly grandmother. They must make a right on Amerige, another right into the rear parking lot, then try to find your rear entrance. This would all change with Sean’s plan. Opening Harbor would not add new parking spots, but it would allow room for valet service and passenger unloading. That convenience would mean a lot for business owners and their customers—as well as the general ambience of Harbor Blvd.

“Harbor Blvd.: Open for Pedestrians!”

Let Sean (who’s paying for the design study out his own pocket), your elected officials, your appointed traffic commissioners and the Downtown merchants know that you support restoring parking on Harbor Blvd.

A street is more than just a traffic pipeline. It must also serve the community through which it passes. Let Harbor be the street it once was—the kind of street it is yearning to be again!

DALY DEFIES TOUGH TIMES; OPENS NEW OFFICE. GOVERNMENT OUR ONLY GROWTH INDUSTRY

Very recently OC County Clerk Tom Daly opened a branch office in downtown Fullerton. Now, while some may think this is a good thing, we here at FFFF are caused to wonder about the expansion of the Clerk’s premises while the County is in major financial retrenchment mode with lots of folks getting pink slips. Fullerton has done just fine without a Clerk/Recorder branch office for over 120 years.

Now the Clerk/Recorder gets to pay rent every month for its posh new digs while already occupying space, bought and paid for, at the County Civic Center.Is the opening of this office and the soon-to-be announced candidacy of Daly for 4th District supervisor coincidental? We think not. Winning Fullerton is key to winning the 4th and it sure looks like Daly is trying hard to raise his visibility level in F-town. If not, why did he wait until his seventh year in office to make this move?

Oh, we truly are cynical, aren’t we?

Rather than expand his physical presence in the County, Daly ought to be figuring out a way to computerize the Clerk/Recorder function completely thus saving people the hassle of having to go his offices at all, wherever they may be.

Harry Sidhu is running for O.C. Supervisor — in the wrong district

My sources tell me that Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu is running for Orange County Supervisor in the Fourth District — even though he lives in theThird District. He is scouting a new residence in the Fourth. Beginning a week ago, on Feb. 6, I made several calls to Sidhu to confirm his position, but he has not returned the calls. So I’m going with this story anyway.His candidacy means Sidhu is moving out of the Third District, the location of his current residence, into the Fourth District.It’s called carpetbagging, and Americans frown on it. A politician is supposed to come from among the people he represents. (Click here to read the rest of this article by John Seiler). Photo courtesy of the Orange Juice Blog.

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Uber right wing John Lewis endorses Democrat Tom Daly for the BOS

Steven Greenhut confirmed the other day that uber right wing “Republican consultant John Lewis will be supporting (although not working for) Clerk/Recorder Tom Daly in his bid for the 4th district supervisorial seat once Chris Norby is termed out,” according to the Orange Punch Blog. Apparently Lewis “appreciates that Daly was one of the very few people who backed Norby when the entire establishment was behind Cynthia Coad.”Greenhut points out the fact that Daly, who is a prominent Democrat, willl not likely be a better advocate for limited-government than either of the two likely Republican contenders, Fullerton Councilman Sean Nelson (Republican elected official of the year), or Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu.(Click here to read the rest of this article by Art Pedroza)

JAN FLORY’S DOG IS DEAD!

Last night I had my 60 day review at the Planning Commission to review the trumped up “public nuisance” charge brought against me by City staff at the behest of former council member and noted broomstick rider Jan Flory.

Still smarting from her defeat at the December meeting she showed up again and had to swallow the bitter pill yet again – a final 4-1 exoneration by the Commission.

Mrs. Flory held forth in a rambling ten-minute, diatribe the purpose of which was to attack me personally, one more time, as well as the Commission’s lack of proper diligence.

Her rant did include one bit of new information, if Mrs. Flory can be believed, and that’s the fact that she hasn’t had a dog in twenty-five years! That bit of information emerged as she challenged the accuracy of this humble blog!

Jan sure seemed annoyed at having been featured in an earlier post of mine (even though I thought the picture was pretty flattering – considering the subject. You can decide – I’m including it again, below).

Anyway the story has a happy ending. I have been vindicated and Jan Flory’s dog is in a much happier place – away from its owner.

Tony Bushala

CHINESE WELCOME YEAR OF THE OX; FULLERTON OBSERVES THE YEAR OF THE OX, TOO

The Chinese calendar has recently ushered in the Year of The Ox, which seems appropriate in Fullerton given the recent clumsy effort by City Council bovine Dick Jones to attack Orange County Register editorial writer Steven Greenhut – for doing his job.

It seems that this prominent statocrat has held a grudge against Greenhut since he helped expose the closed-door public employee pension spike at the end of last summer. And so Jones, with his council colleague Don Bankhead in tow, attended a Chamber of Commerce function in which Register publisher Terry Horne was the guest speaker – and proceeded to publicly attack the Register for the damage done to his sterling reputation by Mr. Greenhut.

Horne, to his credit defended Greenhut’s professionalism and integrity against the odd effort by Jones to defend his own honor – something some Council observers thought he had abandoned after about three months on the Council. Jones is used to getting his own way, and it probably came as something of a shock to him that it’s a lot easier to bully the public from the council dais than it is to push around a newspaper publisher.

Rather than criticize the Register, and by extension Mr. Greenhut, Jones would do well to search his own conscience to find out why he consistently places the welfare of city employees ahead of the taxpayers and citizens of Fullerton.