Search results for: "partners"

Way back on September 23 on the Fullerton Rag Facebook page I chided the Fullerton Police Department for posting nothing on their official website, Fullerton Police News, about the City Council’s recent hiring of the Office of Independent Review to periodically audit the FPD. The Fullerton Police News features stories about police officers volunteering their time for the community, tales of dangerous arrests, advice about safety and how to spot drug use among teens, as well as other articles supportive of the department’s actions. But even though the City Council had approved spending $ 120,000 on an auditor for an ongoing review of various aspects of the FPD’s performance, the site’s normally prolific author, Anthony F. Irwin, seemed to have nothing to say about the most significant event affecting the department since the hiring of Dan Hughes as Chief nine months ago.

Then, four days after my scribble on Facebook, the FPN published an article entitled Police chief: ‘Hold ourselves to the highest standards. As one might expect, it is standard puffery, painting Chief Dan Hughes as a reformer with high standards and celebrating the departments implementation of most of Michael Gennaco’s “suggestions” contained in his 2012 report following the beating death of Kelly Thomas by FPD officers. Chief Hughes is quoted as saying that “We are a much better police department than we were two years ago, and we’ll continue to improve if we hold ourselves to the highest standards.”

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Mr. Irwin, who also writes for the Anaheim Police Department’s website Behind the Badge, boldly states of the Chief that “When it comes to use-of-force and in-custody death investigations, he also wants the outcome to match the evidence.” High standards indeed…

What seemed like run-of-the-mill propaganda became slightly more interesting when I noticed the exact same article on the OC Register’s website,but this time under the byline “Bill Rams, Behind the Badge.” Mr. Rams is described as a “guest columnist,” although The Register publishes several stories each month about Anaheim and Fullerton police under his byline. Bill Rams is also described as “a former Register reporter who owns a boutique communications company. Anaheim P.D. (or Fullerton, depending on the story) is a client.”

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His company is called Cornerstone Communications, a public relations firm “who excel at crafting and executing creative, nimble, results-driven campaigns and projects.” Should the OC Register uncritically publish “stories” that are written by a PR firm paid to make their clients, including the Anaheim and Fullerton Police Departments, look good? And just how much are the people of Fullerton paying Cornerstone Communications to paint a rosy picture of our police force for us?

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Mr. Irwin and Mr. Rams are also credited as “Community contributors” to an article entitled Taking on Crime: Fullerton Cops Making a Difference, found in the December, 2013 issue of a free magazine called Fullerton Life, distributed to unsuspecting residents of our city. The article also features a photograph of smiling children straight from the title image of the FPD’s Facebook page. Fullerton Life is published by Hibu, a British marketing company, who publish, among other things, on-demand magazines for individual municipalities, like Fullerton.

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So, if it ever seems like the Rag spends too much digital ink writing about the Fullerton Police Department, just consider how much time the FPD spends writing about themselves.

060220 ADM Hunt Branch Library Proposal

The proposal being recommended to the City Council.

Matthew Leslie

The Fullerton City Council is scheduled to consider proposals for programming in the closed Hunt Branch Library during it’s regular meeting on June 2. Eight different organizations responded to a Request for Proposals issued last November by the city to solicit programming proposals for the site. A five member panel that included members of the Library Ad Hoc Committee reviewed the proposals following direction by the council in March. The highest ranked proposal came from Heritage Future in partnership with Arts Orange County. The council is being asked to approve staff engaging with the Heritage Future/Arts OC.

Eight responses were received to the city’s Request for Proposals, issued in November, 2019.

Arts OC is a non-profit arts advocacy group founded twenty years ago at a time when such an organization was lacking in the county. Every major, and most minor, arts organization in OC is a member of the group, which advocates for arts funding and support and provides organizational and other services to both local governments and constituent members. For many years they have managed the Imagination Celebration in Orange County. Heritage Future was founded by Kevin Staniec, a writer, publisher, and arts impresario who founded and directs the 1888 literary space in Orange and has organized exhibitions for the City of Irvine’s Great Park gallery for many years and previously worked for the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.

The joint proposal envisions utilizing the historic Hunt Branch Library as an arts and literary presentation and educational space. Staniec would serve as the program team leader, while Arts OC would help to conceive, plan, and implement programs for the space and grounds. The proposal also includes architect Robert Young, who would presumably direct use of $2.5 million in state funding for renovations and restoration of the building.

What oversight the Library Board of Trustees will have of the project is unclear, but the state grant requires that the site retain some aspect of library use.

The library’s tenant, Grace Mission University, also submitted a proposal to utilized the site, scoring at number 5 of the 8 submitted proposals. The next to highest score was received for a proposal called Hunt Library Gardens, but no other information about it is provided in the agenda report, nor were proposals submitted by Access California, Arborland (who operate a private school in Amerige Heights), Faruk Zia & Associates, OCHCC, or Bonnie Hall.

Hunt Register

The Hunt Branch Library, which has been closed to the public since April, has been encumbered with problems for years.

Matthew Leslie

The second of four planned meetings of the Library Ad Hoc Committee took place in the Community Room of Fullerton’s Main Branch on Monday, August 6. Though fully constituted, the Ad Hoc’s agenda still reflected a committee searching for basic information about the Hunt Branch Library, the disposition of which the committee is intended to consider, and the scope and efficacy of the committee itself. The ambitious agenda laid out for the evening gave rise to the hope that essential questions about the actual cost to operate the facility as a property library, requirements for bringing the building up to current accessibility standards and needed repairs, and even an accurate map of the property might finally be forthcoming.

Picking up where they last left off, weeks earlier, the Ad Hoc moved to choose a Chair and Vice Chair—the decision having been postponed until ninth member Molly McClanahan was seated to break a tie between Pete Beard and Randa Schmalfield. The revelation that Ms. Schmalfield was “delighted” not to serve as Chair led the committee to unanimously elect Mr. Beard Chair and Ms. Schmalfield Vice Chair.

With one clear decision under their belt, the nine Ad Hoc members surged on to the next item, existentially entitled Prioritizing Council Direction Regarding the Purpose of the Library Ad Hoc Committee, precipitated by a July 30 memo by member Barbara Kilponen , who suggested therein prioritizing, in order, Funding, the Library building’s use, and Landscaping. Library Director Judy Booth, an ex-officio member of the Ad Hoc also unreasonably tasked with staffing it, attempted to locate a map of the Hunt and its surrounding grounds on the city’s own website. Attendee James Cho, an affiliate of Hunt leasee Grace Ministries International (GMI) and unsuccessful applicant to the Ad Hoc, called out navigational instructions from the audience. Once found, the map led to more questions from the committee, including whether or not the adjacent dog park should be considered part of the Hunt Branch proper. Eventually, Molly McClanahan requested a more accurate map. Several members suggested that a Request for Proposals/Request for Qualifications (RFP/RFQ) be issued to solicit possible uses and occupants of the facility, referred to by Jan Flory as a “dying library.” Former council members on the committee explained that the Ad Hoc itself was not procedurally allowed to itself issue RFPs or RFQs, but there was general agreement, that the committee could recommend the City Council to do so.

For many years people have asked how much money it would cost to repair and reopen the Hunt Branch Library building. A definitive answer was not to be had that evening as the Ad Hoc moved on to its next item of business, but Director Judy Booth did provide a Preliminary Inspection Estimate totaling around $ 2.5 million. $ 1 million of the figure, characterized as a “guess” by Director Booth, was dedicated to the cost of replacing unbroken windows that had been painted black because they had been repeated etched by vandals. Replacement of interior lights was the second highest expense at $ 720,000, followed by $ 120,000 to replace the roof and another $ 160,000 for new heating and air conditioning systems. Other expenses included fending repair, exterior lights, and a fire sprinkler system. Other costs, like seismic retrofit and landscaping and internet connectivity were classified as “Unknown,” while gas, sewer, and water systems were not inspected.

A staff report estimated the cost of operating the Hunt Branch as a library once again as $ 832,956 for seven days a week or $ 679,630 for five days per week. Director Booth explained that an additional $ 200,000 would need to be spent on new collections, since the books currently housed at the Hunt were evidently assumed to be in such poor condition, presumably due to being shrink-wrapped for years while the building has been leased out to GMI. Technological upgrades were not included in the estimate either. Former Fullerton City Council member Jan Flory doubted that the current City Council would allocate $ 2.5 million to refurbish and repair the Hunt, but didn’t think the public would support selling the building and grounds either, and so supported finding an alternative use for the Hunt.

And so the committee moved on the next item, to considered Publicly Beneficial Uses of the Building and Grounds, including, but not limited to, a CSUF reading program satellite facility, a “maker-space” for robotics, a “creative space” for seniors, and different permutations of art and science spaces for kids. All the Arts for All the Kids was said to be interested in submitting a proposal. Committee member Michael Williams wondered whether or not the Hunt Branch was the best site for many of the suggested uses.

Committee member Elgeth Nuncii reported that Robert Pletka of the Fullerton School District had been about being a partner for programming at the Hunt, but no realistic suggestions for programming partners who might bring the necessary funding to repair the facility were forthcoming. Overall, fewer funding ideas were presented than uses for the site. They included Barbara Kilponen’s suggestion to invite architectural firms to lease the site for 99 years, and selling off portions of the property to fund the remainder, or to transfer the open spaces surrounding the building to the Parks and Recreation Department to take advantage of Park Dwelling Fees.

One audience member asked why the committee was presupposing that the city would ultimately be the owner of the Hunt Branch, to which Jan Flory responded that “there are two council people who are hot to sell it,” while the other three were “too chicken to say so.” In the recent past Doug Chaffee and Jennifer Fitzgerald have voiced support for selling the Hunt, while Bruce Whitaker and Jesus Silva have supported the city retaining it, while Greg Sebourn has remained noncommittal on the issue.

Ultimately, the Library Ad Hoc Committee voted to invite members of the public to submit ideas about possible funded uses for the Hunt Library at the Ad Hoc’s next meeting, to be held on Tuesday, September 4, 5:30 p.m. at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave.

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