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UPDATE: See below for more information about attending or watching the event.

A program entitled “Symposium on the Impact of Oil Extraction in Orange County” has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 23, 6:00 p.m., at the Titan Student Union, Cal State Fullerton. The stated purpose of the event is to “provide local policy makers and the public objective, impartial information about the environmental impact of oil extraction in north Orange County.”

The symposium comes at a time when many in North OC and elsewhere across the country are rightly concerned about the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and the acidization of oil and natural gas wells by the drilling industry. Both processes utilize chemical mixtures and large amounts of water to loosen and extract deep oil and gas deposits in an attempt to wring the last usable fossil fuels from the earth. The controversial practices have been linked to groundwater contamination by proprietary chemicals and natural gas and to earthquakes.

Documentaries like Split Estate and Gasland have chronicled the damage done to homes and lives near fracking sites in other parts of the country, where water has been so polluted that it’s actually flammable.

The fate of Fullerton's groundwater?

The fate of Fullerton’s groundwater?

Earlier this year Fullerton’s Director of Engineering Don Hoppe deflected concerns about water contamination by stating during a meeting of the City Council that drilling occurs well below the water table, but he evidently did not consider that the old concrete lining well shafts will inevitably crack, leaving the ground around it vulnerable to whatever chemical laden water is left there, years after the drilling activity has ceased.

Fullerton residents are encouraged to attend the symposium on Sept. 23, but keep in mind that no critics of the controversial processes were invited to take part in it as part of the panel.

UPDATE;  Here are details about the event from the organizers, including links to a parking map, instructions for registering for attendance, and how to watch it live at home…

Doors open at 5:30pm and the program will begin at 6:00 pm.

Register:

To guarantee a seat please R.S.V.P. Closing on Friday, September 19th, 5PM.

Audience members are encouraged to submit questions to the panelists. Questions can be submitted in advance via this website, or may be emailed directly to frackingsymp@fullerton.edu.

Parking:

Free parking will be made available in the State College Parking Structure (SCPS) located on State college two blocks north of Nutwood Ave. This structure is the nearest to the TSU and parking opens at 5pm. If the structure is at capacity, you will be redirected to Lot A (see map). You are strongly encouraged to carpool.

http://www.fullerton.edu/campusmap/CampusMap.htm

 Live Video Streaming:

Live video stream available on September 23. http://titancom.fullerton.edu/broadcast/LiveWebTV_comm_flash.html
And with mobile device using the iFullerton app for Android and Apple devices.
This program will be also cablecast live on the Titan channel:
Time Warner Cable channel 15-202 (in Fullerton) and some of the participating cities in Orange County (Check with T.W.C.)
AT&T-Uverse (Southern California) Channel 99/City of Santa Ana/TitanTV Channel CSUF

Bair-at-Mic

A lawsuit just filed in federal court alleges that a now ex-Detective Ronald Bair, of the Fullerton Police Department, demanded sexual favors from a woman in exchange for favorable testimony in a child custody case. The OC Weekly’s Gabriel San Roman summarizes the suit in a September 15 article.

The plaintiff is suing not only the Fullerton Police Department, but also the City of Fullerton and FPD officers who, she alleges, mishandled her complaint against Det. Bair, and “inappropriately, told police detective Ronald Bair about the anonymous complaint, by the plaintiff,” exposing the plaintiff to retaliatory actions against her. The text of the lawsuit is very disturbing, and paints a picture of a vulnerable woman in the midst of a painful custody process who is abused by an officer of the law.

The lawsuit details several alleged instances of sex between Det. Bair and the plaintiff, acts that she claims she felt forced to perform. According to the suit, she eventually told therapists about the alleged abuse, then attempted to make an anonymous complaint against Det. Bair to the FPD.

The lawsuit states:

“Shortly thereafter, detective RONALD BAIR called the plaintiff and threatened her and said that she was going to die.  It was obvious that he had been told, by the other defendants, about her ‘anonymous’ complaint about his conduct.  He told the plaintiff that he knew that she had a court hearing coming up and that the plaintiff would never see my daughter again.  He told the plaintiff that his police buddies would come after her.”

The Fullerton Police Department is not saying why Ronald Bair no longer works for them, but he did in 2013 when the alleged violations, including forced oral sex, are alleged to have occurred. Unlike the cases of the beating death of Kelly Thomas and the serial sexual assaults by former officer Rincon, the actions alleged in this lawsuit are said to have taken place during the tenure  of current Fullerton Police Chief Danny Hughes.

Mr. San Ramon’s OC Weekly story helpfully includes a link to an October 2012 story from the now defunct Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog, showing then-Detective Bair speaking during the public comments period of a Fullerton City Council meeting in October of 2012. He demands phone and text records from Council member Bruce Whitaker and then-Council member Travis Kiger, alleging that they had been texting during meetings in volition of the Brown Act—a charge vehemently denied by Mr. Whitaker at the time. Recall that these broadcast allegations took place just prior to the November 2012 City Council elections, when Fullerton’s police union was spending tens of thousands of dollars in a desperate attempt to defeat at least one of these council members and install more compliant candidates in their place. Who knows how much influence Det. Bair’s televised and evidently baseless accusations made in the 29 vote margin that elected Jan Flory, endorsed by the police union, over incumbent Travis Kiger, targeted for defeat by the union? The election of Ms. Flory put an end to any serious discussion of Civilian Police Oversight in Fullerton during the ensuring two years.

If Fullerton had a robust and adequately empowered Civilian Police Commission, would we be seeing this lawsuit now? Such an oversight board, as proposed by POPC, would have received the plaintiff’s disturbing complaints when filed, and might have even acted as a deterrent against officers who believe they might get away with the crimes alleged in the lawsuit because their buddies on the force can be counted on to tip them off if someone is complaining about them.

Some candidates from a past election in another city.

Some candidates from a past election in Luton.

Two City Council Candidate Forums and a “meet and greet” have been scheduled prior to the November 4 Election Day. First,

Neighbors United for Fullerton (NUFF) presents a Meet and Greet with the City council Candidates

Monday, September 22, 6:30 – 8:15 p.m.

Osbourne Auditorium, Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

NUFF is a PAC that will eventually endorse two candidates in the race. The Meet and Greet is a good way to talk to the various candidates face to face, one at a time, in the same place. Each candidate will have a table set up in the auditorium, where voters can drop in and speak with them informally.

The Fullerton Chamber of Commerce presents

Fullerton City Council Candidates Forum

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers, 303 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Questions posed to the candidates in the forum are generally related to business in the city. An added bonus is the two minute introduction given by each person at the beginning of the program. There is nothing like letting a person go on about themselves and why they are running for office to give you an idea of whether or not they have anything substantive to say.

The Chamber asks attendees to RSVP in advance to 714-871-3100.

Just two days later in the same location,

The League of Women Voters of North Orange County presents a Fullerton City Council Candidates Forum

On Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers, 303 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

According to the organizers, “All candidates for the Fullerton City Council have been invited to a forum where each candidate can be asked questions by the audience. The program will be televised by the City. A trained League member will Moderate the evening with an opportunity for you to ask questions by writing your question on a card. League rules include no campaign materials in the room during the forum, but a table will be available afterwards.”

Of course, audience members cannot directly ask questions of the individual candidates. Instead, cards are passed to audience members, who may write down a question in hopes that the moderator will ask it for them. All questions are directed to all candidates, resulting in a fair enough, if sometimes monotonous format.

The Rag appreciates the ongoing efforts by these organizations to present the voting public with forums where the candidates can distinguish themselves from one another. What we really need, however, is an honest argument between them. We need to hear them directly ask each other difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions, like “how can you be objective about police oversight if the police union is spending money on your campaign?,” or “what alliances do you have with lobbyists in Orange County?,” or “Why is so much of your funding coming from out of town?” You know, the questions the other groups are too polite to ask.

Not registered to vote? Do it here:

http://www.ocvote.com/registration

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