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