A while back Congressman and purveyor of lousy RINO city council candidates, Ed Royce, was overheard bragging about the 800 pound gorilla he was going to be unleashing on Fullerton political scene. Who was this electoral juggernaut? None other than now former Police Chief Pat McKinley.
With McKinley’s endorsement of Mrs. Ackerman to replace her disgraced pal Mike Duvall, the pieces all seem to fit. It looks like McKinley has indeed decided to run for City Council next year and has worked out an endorsement swap with the Repuglican elite.
The choice of McKinley on the part of the Repugs would in no way be surprising. As an ex-cop he could be counted on to secure the law ‘n order vote as well as charm the bluehairs. He’s getting up there age-wise, and in poses zero political threat to the Repug machine. Who cares if he is an ex-city government employee and likely to go along with every staff proposal and boondoggle? He would be following in the proud footsteps of Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Leland Wilson, Mike Clesceri, Julie Sa, Peter Godfrey, Buck Catlin, and even Dick Ackerman himself. Who knows? Maybe even the Yellowing Observers might go along for the ride. After all they went with Dick Jones, right?
Best of all, he’s not a female Democrat, the hideous monster that inhabits Ed Royce’s closet at night.
For years our Congressman Ed Royce has been screwing the people of Fullerton by supporting and promoting a crew of utterly lame-ass Republicans for City Council gigs. Judging by appearances, this biblical succession of intellectual and philosophical dwarfs was meant to thwart Democrat victories, and at the same time none of these zeros had any potential for challenging Royce in the future.
How else can one explain the likes of Dick Jones, Julie Sa, Mike Clesceri, or Leland Wilson on Fullerton’s City Council – all promoted at one time or another by Ed Royce? We won’t even bother to address the issue of the pro-educrat RINO zombies on the Fullerton School Board that Royce has supported.
But now he’s really gone too far. Although the news has been oddly hushed up, he has apparently endorsed Linda Ackerman to succeed the scum-suck Mike Duvall – whom he also endorsed. It was reported here by the OC GOPs other uber slime-blob, Adam Probolsky (he got a gun from Carona, too). Does it bother Royce that Mrs. Ackerman has no experience, no record, and no residence in the district? Maybe that explains the fact that this endorsement has gotten little air play – Ed doesn’t really want us to know about it. Especially when a real small government Republican, Chris Norby, is in the race.
We are sick to death of Royce trying, and succeeding, to stick us with this series of ciphers under the pretext that anything is better than a Democrat. The constant interference in local politics is annoying enough; but to do so with an eye for his own self-interest is selfish and irresponsible, even for a politician and, frankly, more that just a little cowardly. Come on Ed. Time to start stepping up and doing the right thing by your constituents.
Loyal and Patient Friends, our long narrative of the City Lights SRO is coming to a sordid climax, and a merciful denouement. We have witnessed incompetence, vindictiveness, cultural vandalism and bureaucratic usurpation of authority, But we’re still not finished. The SRO project appeared dead. The elected representatives had killed it. Democracy at work! But as long-time city-watchers know, the project is only dead when staff says it’s dead, and none of the architects of this disaster – City Manger Jim Armstrong, Planning Director Paul Dudley, or their puppet, Redevelopment Director Gary Chalupsky, wanted it dead. Because that would be an admission of what everybody else already knew – they were largely incompetent.
We left off with Dick Jones at a March, 1997 meeting waxing voluble about drug users and their nefarious ways. Nuh-uh, not in my city! Unfortunately, Jones discovered that getting the foot into the mouth is a whole heckuva lot easier than extracting it.
Jones was not acute enough to pick up on clues that the City Manager, Flory and Bankhead were not going to let this die. He should have been clued in during the March meeting by the Agency attorney, who, at the insistence of Flory, Bankhead, and a clueless Julie Sa, gave a legal opinion in public stating that Mithawalla could have a case against the Agency. Here’s where the story gets a bit murky, culpability-wise, and who orchestrated what, so rather than accuse anybody we’ll just let you – the Friends of Fullerton – draw your own conclusions.
A civil rights lawsuit was adventitiously filed against Jones and the City by some guy nobody knew, claiming that the targets of Jones’ tirade were protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act; Mithawalla was waiting in the wings to go after the City for breach of contract – although clearly no contract had been established. With enough proper coaxing from people who wanted this project to live, Dick Jones, the Big Man with The Big Mouth suddenly experienced a case of shrinkage.
A new hearing was held in May 1997. The stage was re-set to take up the SRO project one more time. It didn’t matter that the Council majority had already spoken. The City Staff, the Redevelopment Attorney, Flory and Bankhead were determined to have the last word in order to remind everyone who really runs the City of Fullerton.
Loyal Friends, when we left off our last post the City’s chosen SRO “developer,” Caleb Nelson” was gone: whether he left voluntarily or was shoved aside is a moot point. He left behind an unstarted project, a history of City bungling, and an embarrassing hole in the cityscape. Sometime in 1996 Redevelopment Director Gary Chalupsky discovered a replacement. Apparently on his own authority he chose Agit Mithawalla to take over the project. No public hearing, no RFP, no prequalifications, no City Council approval. Behind closed doors a new deal was hatching.
And the City Council had changed. And changed again in the fall of 1996. Jan Flory was now on the Council since 1994, trying to rewrite Recall history and a sure bet to cover up any staff misfeasance. But the newly minted councilman Dick Jones was on the dais. He had run as the voice of conservatism in Fullerton and it was known that his pals in the Chamber were dead set against an SRO across the street. Public housing – the horror!
When the final agreements with Mithawalla finally reached the Council for approval in March 1997 a showdown was prepared by irate citizens who opposed the SRO project for one reason or another. Some cited inflated construction costs; some objected to deal for financial reasons; other attacked Mithawalla’s record of shoddy building in LA. When the vote came down the agreement was voted down 3-2. Bankhead and Flory, predictably, backed up the staff mess completely; Chris Norby rallied Jones and Julie Sa to oppose. Dick Jones gave the very first of his corn pone diatribes, in which he hurled invective against the project, its likely denizens, and the methadone clinic next door.
He was Big. He was Brave. He would soon come to regret giving voice to his peculiar worldview…
20 years ago the buildings at the SE corner of Harbor and Commonwealth burned down under strange circumstances, including what was left of the Sterns and Goodman store (why do historic structures keep burning down in Fullerton?). Unbeknownst to the good folks of Fullerton, perhaps the worst example of Redevelopment ineptitude was about to begin.
The owner of the property, Pierre Nicholas, proposed to build a bank building on the corner – a suitable use for the 100% corner any reasonable person would have to agree. But not the entrepreneurial geniuses who ran the Redevelopment Agency at the time – Terry Galvin and his boss Hugh Berry. The problem? Banks don’t generate any sales tax revenue and that’s what Redevelopment is all about. At one hearing a defensive Councilmember Buck Catlin exclaimed “they wanted to build a bank” with the same tone of disgust one might mention a whorehouse or an opium den.
And so Friends, the City embarked on a course to acquire a lengthy ground lease to prevent the owner of a property to develop it the way he wanted . Nicholas went along. Why not? Income with no effort on his part.
The Redevelopment bureaucrats already had their favored developer lined up – Sanderson/J. Ray (from Irvine!)who, in cahoots with the City, had worked out a deal with Knowlwood Restaurants to occupy a restaurant on the southerly part of the site.
The subsidized Kwowlwood was eventually ground out of the Redevelopment process – a barn shaped object clad in stucco and brick veneer (pictured, above). Yeehaw!
Meanwhile the development of the corner languished as the developer was finding tenants, and presumably a loan, hard to come by during the early 90s recession. The developer did get permission to put parking lot on the corner and just added insult to injury. The 100% corner – a parking lot!
By 1995 the project was finally moving ahead. The developer proposed a stucco palazzo with a ludicrous dome covered with green glop. But worst of all the entire second floor was a fake! The developer still couldn’t rent it out and decided to do a movie set storefront instead. Check out this image:
The roof is a giant bowl! This is not a joke. Just check out the picture below if you can’t believe it. The City’s heretofore 5 year saga was reduced to this sort of comic charade. Lights were placed on the floor of the area directly behind the windows to make it look like there was real space up there. To top off the irony, the designer of this mess actually got offended by the suggestion that the geraniums in the second floor planters be plastic to save water!
Well, the City Council went along with this fiasco from start to finish with the exception of Chris Norby. And none of them ever did anything to act on their displeasure if they even experienced such an emotion in the first place. They were:
Molly McClanahan (former Councilmember and current NOCCCD Trustee) Don Bankhead (current Councilmember) Dick Ackerman (former Councilman, Sate Assemblyman, and State Senator) Buck Catlin (former Councilmember)
and, lest we forget:
Julie Sa (twice elected former unintelligible Councilmember, current whereabouts unknown)
By the time the building was built and occupied 7 long years had passed – 7 years of lost property tax, and the addition ludicrous new buildings that never should have been built in the first place. For many Redevelopment watchers “Knowlwood” has become synonymous with Redevelopment boondoggles.
Oh well! As Molly McClanahan was once heard to say: hindsight is 20/20! An excellent motto for the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency.
Almost ten years ago the Morgan Group developers contributed this gem to downtown Fullerton’s inventory of beautiful buildings. For some reason Fullerton’s leaders thought the idea of another faux-Renaissance palazzo built of wood studs, stucco, and styrofoam details was just what the doctor ordered.
Well maybe the doctor did order it. Sometime check out the contributions made by partners of the Morgan group to Dick Jones’ 2000 city council campaign. Hmmm.
Well, we got more high-density, crappy architecture, more traffic on an already deficient intersection, the aesthetic engulfment of the beautiful and historic church next door, etc., etc.
What did The Morgan Group get? Free land, plus a gift of a public street (the 100 E. block of Whiting – an original street from the 1886 town site grid) and who knows what else. Who approved this disgrace? Let’s have a looksee:
Don Bankhead (current Councilmember)
Dick Jones (current Councilmember)
Jan Flory (former Councilmember)
Chris Norby (former Councilmember and current County Supervisor)
Julie Sa (twice elected former unintelligible Councilmember, current whereabouts unknown)