Ten years ago, while serving on the Fullerton City Council, Sharon Quirk began began hosting an annual forum to honor the accomplishments of women in Fullerton. Business owners, public officials, community leaders and others were highlighted every year since during an evening event, hosted by Ms. Quirk-Silva until she was elected to the California State Assembly in 2012. At that time she handed off the forum to current Fullerton City Councilwomen Jan Flory and Jennifer Fitzgerald (the latter works for OC’s most powerful lobbying firm, Pringle and Associates).
The 2014 honors took place in the Grand Hall of the new Community Center on Thursday, November 13, co-hosted by the venerable Woman’s Cub of Fullerton. The forum’s sponsors included Walmart, Miller Toyota of Fullerton, Fullerton Insurance Services, on the top level, followed by second tier sponsors C & C Development and Century 21 Discovery, and finally “Spark Level” sponsors Cottage Dental, The Fullerton Museum Center, Starkey Communications, The Waterford Group, and law firm Jones and Mayer.
The final listed sponsor, Jones and Mayer, is contracted to provide legal services to the City of Fullerton, acting as City Attorney.
It’s always prudent to scrutinize the sponsor list for any event that involves public officials for the potential for undue influence over decisions made by those officials at a later date. For example, the Waterford Group is the potential developer of a multi-story residential and retail development to be located at 600 W. Commonwealth Ave. The 147 unit apartment complex would have over 4,700 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project has already been promised 5 million dollars in leftover Redevelopment subsidies for affordable housing, but it has not yet been approved by Fullerton’s Planning Commission or City Council.
Earlier this month the Rag wrote about a $ 4,000.00 contribution to the (unsuccessful) City Council campaign of current Planning Commissioner Rick Alvarez by the owners of the business whose land would become more valuable if that development were to approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council. Now we see the developer contributing to an event that raises the public profiles of two incumbent Fullerton City Councilwomen who will be up for re-election in 2016. Both of these Councilwomen, of course, will be in the position of approving or denying the Waterford Group’s development project.
C & C Development were behind the remodeled Richman Court Apartments and the new Valencia Grove Apartments. The latter project is squeezed into a space between the Janet Evans Swim Center to the west, businesses on the east, and a single family residential neighborhood to the immediate north.
Anyone who has been involved with or followed the ongoing struggle to save West Coyote Hills from development hell will be familiar with Scott Starkey, who, as Senior Vice President for Laer Pearce, and Associates, worked to promote Chevron’s Pacific Coast Homes plan for the area.
He was also a spokesperson for the spectacularly unsuccessful Yes on Measure W campaign that would have allowed PCH’s housing and retail plans to proceed in Coyote Hills, as approved by a previous city council. Mr. Starkey operates his own company, Starkey Communications and is a Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair of the Building Industry Association of Orange County.
The Woman’s Cub of Fullerton would seem to be the appropriate co-host of an event honoring women in our community, but care should taken to avoid including public officials who will oversee development decisions involving event sponsors.