Chamber Star: Norby Elevates Self to Statesman Status

Friends, we have just received this communication from our old pal Chamber Star, who, although absent of late, has returned to share some breaking news. Although we can’t vouch for it’s reliability, we reproduce the CS e-mail, verbatim:

Dear FFFF,

I have just learned that Chris Norby, the Republican candidate in Tuesday’s 72nd District Special Election has asked for, and has received, the endorsement of his primary opponent Linda Ackerman.

This is great news! It was a rough and tumble election and a lot of negative things were said on both sides; so it is especially gratifying to see old adversaries patch up their differences and move ahead in unity and harmony.

I know some people on this blog will criticize Chris. They will ask how can he possibly want the endorsement of someone who accused him of so many vile things? They will ask how can he possibly want the endorsement of an opponent that he accused of fraudulent residence and profiteering off her husband’s campaigns? They will no doubt argue that Norby won so convincingly that he does not need Linda’s endorsement at all.

To this I respond by saying that it’s politic to let bygones be bygones; to pull together for the common good; to work together! And let’s not forget that Norby has two more elections this year alone. Norby can only benefit from party unity both in gaining votes and fundraising.

It’s obvious that Chris is being guided by wise counsel and the kind of pragmatism that gets real results in Sacramento. He is following the course of the true statesman.

And I for one, say “Bravo!”

Fringe For All: Spine Chilling Horror!


During 2009 several disturbing apparitions were detected haunting Fullerton. Friends, be assured, this is not a task we undertake lightly, for obvious macabre reasons. Here are the spooky nominations in the Fringie category of Scariest Ghost of Fullerton Past.

1. Former City Council woman and my former owner Jan Flory appeared out of nowhere in January to persecute innocent lads on bicycles. She failed but caused the City to waste $20K in needless code enforcement costs. Brrrrr.

2. 2009 saw the reappearance of Linda LeQuire, Fullerton City Council’s original Queen of Spleen in the 1980s, who despised renters and Democrats with a weird hate lust, and who was aptly mated with her equally dim welder-husband, Roy (see below). LeQuire popped up right on cue to smear Chris Norby early in the 72nd campaign with allegations of having done something bad, sometime, somewhere, as verifiable by the now-dead former City Manager. Shriek!

3. And what should reappear during the summer, but the emanation of former one-term Council person Leland Wilson, who still has apparently failed to learn that you can’t make everybody happy by trying to be all things to all people. In August Leland joined an e-mail string attacking an OC Register editorial against Fullerton’s fraudulent Redevelopment expansion. His statement that “I’ve never seen so much BS in an editorial in all my life” was sent to such luminaries as Marty Burbank, Linda Ackerman, Peter Godfrey (see below), Roy LeQuire (see above), and Buck “Big Government” Catlin, among a wider assortment of staff stooges and pro-Redevelopment parasites.

Well of course the boys in the white van got hold of it! We didn’t post about it at the time because it seemed more annoying than significant. The frightening thing is maybe Leland Wilson still thinks he’s got a political future by parroting the self-interest pro-Redevelopment blathering of the Chamber of Commerce City Hall lackeys. If so, he’s wrong. Oooh. Stop it, Leland, you’re scaring us.

4. Good Lord! A Peter Godfrey sighting. This former Council member from the 1990s materialized at a City Council meeting to pitch the Redevelopment expansion. Who asked him to show up, and why anybody thought his opinion on any subject mattered at all, still remain a mystery, but not one hard to solve. Godfrey was an ineffective midget while on the council, and the years have done nothing to enhance his stature. The fact that Peter’s wife, Lois, kicked in a Big One to the Ackerwoman (see above) scampaign speaks volumes. Eeeeeek!

Fullerton Fossils Flog Fabulous Fossils

Recently CSUF President Milton Gordon appeared at the BoS chambers to memorialize the fact CSUF is going to be the custodian of the County’s vast bone collection of long-deceased beasts. Whether this collection includes the remains of such Pleistocene creatures as Harrieticus Weiderisus or Gaddius Vasquezii is unknown.

Norby and Gordon share pre-Holocene memories...

We note that Dr. Gordon appears a bit bemused. Let’s hope he found his way home.

Introducing: Marty Burbank




When the Redevelopment expansion proposal was first trotted out by the City Council a while back, we noted that one of the orchestrated cheers came from a chap named Marty Burbank. Now, we had never even heard of Mr. Burbank until he popped up to announce his support of the plan that necessarily requires the City Council to making legal findings of blight where none exists, thus requiring them to mislead the public about the basis for the whole deal. Well, okay. Just another sycophantic Chamber of Commerce shill who doesn’t even appear to understand what he is cheering for. If he does, so much the worse.

But, as they say, the plot thickens. One of our pajaritos informed us that Mr. Burbank is not only a lawyer and an up-and-coming Chamber of Commerce figure, but that he has politicalaspirations, too. Well, that figures. This is Fullerton where knowledge of municipal government is an immediate disqualification for office, and stoogery always gets you a leg up. Sure enough, we located his website promoting a campaign for City Council in 2010. And the guy’s a Rotarian! Be still Dick Jones’ throbbing…er, heart.

Well, we hate to be spoilsports, but we don’t think starting out a campaign for public office by encouraging the City Council to perpetrate an illegal fraud is a great beginning.

Also we have grown a bit weary of the Chamber of Commerce being represented by “professionals” and educrats who really aren’t in business at all, especially when they perform as stooges for City Hall. And Chamber Executive Director Theresa Harvey is one of the biggest City Hall stooges we can recall – and that’s saying something! She is deliberately screwing all the Chamber members who will be ultimately hurt by Redevelopment discrimination and corporate subsidies.

City staff enjoys strong Chamber of Commerce support...

Marty, Theresa, et al., here’s a quick Redevelopment primer and one you will take to heart if in fact you care anything about free enterprise and small businesses, or your members, for that matter:

Redevelopment favors a relative few selected businesses at the expense of the all the others in the pursuit to claim a share of a finite amount of consumer disposable income. Any government policy that favors a minority of businesses at the expense of the majority is, a fortiori,  ANTI-BUSINESS!

Get it? Good.

Anyway, we’ll be keeping our eye on Marty and any other political aspirants who want to dump the Redevelopment load on the good folks of Fullerton.

Marty Burbank Hopes Norby Has Short Memory

Well, you’ve gotta give Marty Burbank credit for unmitigated gall; or as my friend Jeffrey Goldfarb’s Nana used to say in Yiddish: chutzpah.

This Chamber of Commerce/Repuglican/Rotarian/Redevelopment cheerleader-type zero (think Dick Jones and you have the model) who wants to be on the Fullerton City Council, recently sent this supplicating letter to 4th District Supervisor Chris Norby. One of our fearless white van investigators got a hold of it.

Marty the One Man Party
Marty The One Man Party...

Marty wants Norby’s endorsement, and tries to grease up Chris a little bit about how much Norby loves his town and ergo should consider giving Burbank his endorsement.

But wait! Only two weeks before he sent his letter to Norby, Burbank was supporting Linda Ackerwoman in the 72ndSpecial Election primary; he made a contribution to her carpetbagging, lying, smear-filled campaign against Norby on October 9th. Burbank’s contribution went to fund the slime Ackerwoman threw at Norby.Oy vey!

It’s pretty clear that Burbank was following along with of many other Fullerton drones who were swayed by Dick Ackerman’s promises of easy victory lubricated by a big ol’ sack o’ Sacto lobbyist cash. Too bad Marty chose to participate personally in contributing to the defamation of Norby, as well as being a willing participant in the Ackerman, Inc scampaign, of course.

Now, we know Chris, and we know him to be a very forgiving kind of guy. But really, you’d think ol’ Marty could have waited more than a couple of weeks to come a knockin’ at Norby’s door.

Hopefully Norby won’t forget. We won’t. And that’s a promise.

The Questionable Promise of Technology

See? We told you it would work...
See? We told you it would work...

Using computers to arrange and sort data is useful for all sorts of things – especially when in comes to creating three dimensional imagery. Nobody can deny the impact of presenting scanned data for medical diagnostic purposes; or the use of scaled multi-disciplinary construction models that can simulate a 3D environment: very useful for ascertaining “clashes” between different trades as well as presenting the architect and client with views of his proposed effort.

But despite the technology drum beater’s boosterism (think laptops for kids, FSD style) there reaches a point in every computer application where the information is either too dense or voluminous to be assimilated or analyzed by those looking at it; or is just plain non-effective compared to traditional approaches; or worst, lends itself to misinterpretation or deliberate misrepresentation. This point of diminishing returns is reached quickest when the recipients of data just don’t know what to do with it. When that occurs they’re bound to do something bad with it.

Such may very well be the case with a City of Fullerton program that promises to create a three dimensional model of downtown Fullerton. We received an e-mail the other day from Al Zelinka, who works for the Planning Department. We point out that Mr. Zelinka is very careful to explain that the pilot program is being paid for by SCAG, not the City (where SCAG got the money is obviously not a point of interest for Mr. Zelinka, or, presumably, us).

First, we are inevitably forced to ask why. Who will benefit from the necessary resources plowed into such a program? It’s hard to answer.  And who will be able to use the information? We can envisage all sorts of staff (and consultant)  time going into creating maintaining and manipulating such data; and then the inevitable jargon and rhetoric tossed back to the public to foist staff driven projects onto the public. The Council: aha! See? The 3D model supports (fill in the name of the Redevelopment Agency’s favored project).

Perhaps the most important question is whether, once the model is done, it needs to be tended and updated by the City. If not, the effort going into seems to be something of a waste.

In any case the public are invited to a meeting on December 16th @ 6 PM in the Council Chambers to see the wonders of 3D modeling. No doubt all of our questions will be answered with sparkling clarity.

At the bottom of his e-mail Mr. Zelinka (AICP) includes a quotation that ought to give pause to even the biggest Planning Department cheerleader:

“Dedicated to Making a Difference.”

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir [women’s and] men’s blood….” – Daniel Burnham

Ay, ay, ay!

Some History Behind Architectural Veneers

We’ve made a pretty big deal on this blog about the use of brick veneer, specifically, the way our Redevelopment Agency has always insisted on slathering it on to stuff to try to give the false appearance of historic structure, or under the guise of matching what is supposed to be the building material par excellence of downtown Fullerton: red brick.

We thought it was about time to get an historical perspective on the uses of architectural veneer – particularly masonry veneer, and so we have once again called upon the good offices of Dr. Ralph E. Haldemann, Professor or Art History (Emeritus) at Otterbein College, and our adjunct Arts and Architecture Editor. Doc?

When you want to find out, go to the best...

The question of the role of veneers in architectural history is really quite fascinating, but requires an amount (admittedly minimal) of erudition. I will try to sum up some thoughts on the subject. 

In pre-modern times the nature of building materials basically necessitated that structural materials were de facto finished materials as well – although historical exceptions are not uncommon: we know of course, that the Romans during the Imperial Era were fond of using stone veneers on brick buildings to dress them up. Such uses of marble veneer were often used in the Western Mediterranean basin countries in Romanesque and Italian/Venetian Gothic buildings.

The use of plaster cement or lime-based coatings on brick, especially non-fired brick, has an ancient lineage that reaches forward into the adobe buildings of California’s own Mission period; however neither this application nor the modern use of lath and plaster on studs can be considered a veneer. 

Medieval Europe, particularly in the  non-deforested climes of the north, saw a rise in timber construction in which the structural members were exposed and the interstitial areas filled with plastered wattling. Again, such fill even though non-structural, cannot rightly be called a veneer.

With the advent of structural iron and steel, fill materials in modern commercial architecture remained brick (for practical and fireproofing reasons). However, terra cotta facings with ceramic finishes attached to the underlying structure became the norm from the 1890s through the 1920s; the wide adoption of moderne styles in the 20s and 30s often replaced highly detailed terra cotta with simpler and smoother concrete and even ceramic tile finishes. These uses generally applied a finished masonry surface over an unfinished substrate of common brick. These are veneers.

It was really in American domestic architecture that brick veneers (almost exclusively brick) captured the imagination of a growing bourgeois sensibility. After the industrial age had ushered in standardized lumber, machine made nails and mass produced balloon-frame wood houses, a longing for the perceived hominess and historicity of brick set in. This was aided by several cultural American Colonial Revivals, particularly in the early 20th Century that coincided nicely with eras of vast suburban expansion. It was all mostly a real eastate come-on.

The use of phony brick surfaces continued unabated in the little cracker box houses of the ’50s and persists happily to this very day, particularly in subdivisions where an emotional attachment to American historical antecedents is being peddled.

The use of fake brick fronts in commercial areas followed the same suburban trajectory as the use of the material in domiciles. It too persits today, particularly where city fathers and chambers of commerce wish to deal out a conjured up historical image for their otherwise unremarkable and humble burgs.

Modern architectural theory held that this sort of use of non-structural masonry veneer is fundamentally non-truthful, meretricious and basically a middlebrow (or lower) affectation. And so it is!  And yet the Robert Venturi school of Post-Modernists embraced such use for its exuberance, color and tactile properties, as well as potential (often ironical) historical connotations. However it must be said that when the historical connotation is wrong, or the deployment is meant to be deceptive or even slavish, a real aestheic problem exists; and can, if left uncontrolled, lead to real civic embarrassment.

Ralph E. Haldemann, Ph.D.

Why Isn’t There a Mr. Fullerton Contest?

Courtesy of Doug Hikawa
They're comin'

Our old friend Barbara Giasone penned one of her edgy, hard-hitting news pieces the other day about the upcoming  Miss Fullerton Competition.

Since we ran a piece awhile back about the geezers in the Chamber of Commerce laying hands all over complete strangers – women young enough to be their grand daughters, this news flash caught our attention.

Smile your way to college!
Cuddle up a little closer...

The propriety of having these young women present themselves at Chamber events to be touched, and touched often, smiling all the while, seems to be a strange way to have to earn an educational scholarship. Just think about it: okay honey you gotta go to this cocktail party full of friendly guys. Just think of them as your dad, or grand dad. What? You’re not 21? Hmm. Well, it’s really not like it’s a bar, exactly. Anyway there’ll be police there too, so that’s okay.

We have a winner...
We have a winner...

Why can’t these young women write essays, or feed homeless people, or do something equally uplifting? Why do they have to attend Chamber of Commerce cocktail parties for photo ops? Seriously. Why?

Watch the hands, Minard...
Watch the hands, Minard...

Well, that’s what pageant winners do, for gosh sakes, some will argue. It’s all harmless, and maybe they like it! Well, maybe they do. And maybe they don’t – and just can’t say anything. In any case it’s pretty hard to escape the conclusion that these contests are are just weird hold-overs from the early part of the last century.

I resemble that remark...
I resemble that remark...

Here’s some help: visualize these women without tiara and sash in the same photos, same poses. Damn friendly girls, wouldn’t you say?

We have no idea what the Miss Fullerton competition entails, but it seems pretty clear that the winner’s attendance at mixer events held by the Chamber is  inappropriate for several reasons.

And if the idea is so damn hot, and not at all sexist, then why isn’t there a Mr. Fullerton constest? We’d love to see Dick Jones with his arms around the waists of a couple strapping, scholarship-hungry young guys!

A One-Year Look Back: Pam’s Approval of the Amerige Court Atrocity

Where do you want it? In the back?
Where do you want it? In the back?

It must have been pretty hard for Pam to try to convince her supporters how much she “respected” them – right before she went ahead and stuck it to ’em. Keller’s campaign promise of 2006 was to have planning be “driven” by public input, blah, blah, blah etc., but you get the feeling watching this clip that she had already long since made up her mind to go with the dee-veloper, and was just throwing some verbal crusts for her loyal subjects to gnaw on.

Pam’s comments were well-received by the Chamber lackeys and downtown Redevelopment toadies in the audience, but those who opposed the monster project and had voted for Keller’s promises to represent them rather than development interests, must surely felt just a wee bit, um, betrayed.

The “I’m so torn” plaint, the goofy half-grins, the eye lash battings, (all part of the “I’m just a silly girl” routine), are a pretty annoying shtick. But Pam had better be careful with the coquette act because some lonely swains like Dick Jones seem to get off on it. Check out the hand kiss at the end of the clip and Pam’s apparent revulsion – and then her flippant threat to take back her vote. Enjoy:

So Who Does Fullerton’s Chamber of Commerce Really Represent?

Our good friend Joe Sipowicz asked a really good question today on another post. Asked Joe:

How many Chamber board members have received subsidies, favors, or looks-the-other-way by the police in the past? Does the Director owe her job to the influence of City Council members? Inquiring minds want to know.

 Well, Joe, we have inquiring minds too, and decided to check out the Chamber’s board of directors. And what we found ain’t pretty:

A 21 member board. Lets review some of the members, who they work for and see what other telling associations we can discern (in no particular order):

1.Albert Napoli – MWD ( a government sanctioned utility monopoly)

2. Mark McGee – MG Disposal (sole garbage contractor for the City of Fullerton)

3. Burnie Dunlap– St Jude Hospital (former member Brea Redevelopment Agency!)

4. Daniel Kang – Grace Ministries (non-profit Church; beholden to City for gobs of entitlements)

5. Ron Hurst– Fullerton Marriot (Hotel originally built by money put up by the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency

6. Chris Reese – CSUF (a government educrat!)

7. Pat Butress – So Cal Edison (government sanctioned utility monopoly)

8. Jack Franklyn– Heroes (well-known recipient of City look-the-other ways for non-permitted construction and out door amplified music, etc.)

9. Kerry Stock – Costco (Fullerton’s original big-time redevelopment project)

10. Ryan Dudley – The Cellar (son of former Develpment Services Director, Paul Dudley – hmm THAT name sounds familiar!)

11. Cameron Irons – Vanguard Investments (and former partner in downtown restaurants operating out of Redevelopment subsidized buildings)

12. Leland Wilson – Realtor (former Mayor and Chairman of Fullerton’s Redevelopment Agency!)

Okay, we’ll stop there since we are way past a board majority; a majority of folks who have connections to redevelopment, government, family ties, or lots of reasons to be grateful to the City of Fullerton. And we mention in passing their Executive Director, Theresa Harvey, former director of the Fullerton Boys and Girls Club (non-profit operated in building owned by City, etc., etc.).

Please note that we have also passed over a couple of downtown bankers (that relationship needs to be explored), some sort of political consultant, and a lawyer. It appears as if the Chamber board is almost devoid of anybody actually making and selling anything. But, boy do they have ties to the Fullerton City government, government in general, or operate in government sanctioned monopolies.

Is there really any wonder why this crew supports Redevelopment expansion – the greatest anti-business threat in Fulleron’s history? Most of them are connected to the government, and hardly any of them are really in the kind of real, honest-to-goodness retail or manufacturing businesses of the sort that Redevelopment preys upon.