Archives for category: 2018 Elections
Paulette Poppins Departs copy

“I shall stay until the wind changes…”

Matthew Leslie

I have too much respect for the people in this community to continue to put them through this clearly toxic campaign.” –Paulette Marshall Chaffee, oblivious to the disrespect she showed the people of the 5th District by moving there this summer to run for office in the first place.

Paulette Marshall Chaffee’s carpetbagging run for Fullerton City Council has come to an abrupt and ignominious end, announced by an email to supporters on Monday:

Paulette Suspension Letter

Mrs. Marshall Chaffee moved into a condominium on the edge of the 5th District just in time to legally qualify as a resident to run for office there in August of this year. She previously resided in the comfortable 2nd District Chaffee family home, also the residence of Mayor Doug Chaffee, who is running for Orange County Board of Supervisors. Even longtime supporters of the Chaffees were taken aback by the brazen move to a district created as a result of a lawsuit citing the lack of Latino members on Fullerton’s City Council.

Disingenuous to the end, she doesn’t even mention the obvious reason for quitting in her weepy, self-pitying announcement, instead complaining about “animosity, negativity, and corrosive discourse,” as if her own inappropriate presence in the race wasn’t a major distraction from any meaningful discourse in the first place. She also charges no one in particular for a campaign that has “devolved into a debate about race and ageism,” which she “personally finds offensive.” She still seems completely unaware of, perhaps even incapable of understanding, how grossly offensive many voters found her expedient move from an expensive neighborhood up in the hills into a heavily Latino and less affluent district expressly for the purpose of running for office there.

The opening sentence of her swan song email begins with the proclamation “When the City of Fullerton voted to have elections by districts, I saw an opportunity to make a difference in the community I grew up in, went to school in, and have worked in for many years,” echoing the rationale of many carpetbaggers who think they are somehow entitled to represent a district where they haven’t lived for decades, just because they work there or “grew up there.” Yes, she “saw an opportunity,” all right, an opportunity to completely violate the spirit of the new district based system by simply switching residences when her husband, Doug Chaffee was unsuccessful in his attempt to have the council select District 2 as one of the two districts to go up for election in 2018.*

Nowhere in her announcement does she reference the two videos that have surfaced, each of which appears to show her removing signs critical of her campaign, one from private property, and walking away with them—not exactly an honorable, or legal, way for a credible candidate to behave. Indeed, such a thin skinned reaction to legitimate criticism and cavalier disregard for the law (from a lawyer!) demonstrated a lack of either appropriate temperament or character, making her unsuitable to hold public office. It’s a good thing that the people of Fullerton will be spared her services.

Hastily bowing out on the eve of a forum traditionally well attended by City Council candidates provided a swift answer to the question of what she could possibly do to salvage her campaign in the face of such an embarrassing and unexpected revelation of her activities. Needless to say, it was the proper decision to make, ending a campaign that should never have begun in the first place. Even so, a little humility would have been in order, but is nowhere to be found in her emailed explanation for withdrawing. Now that she has, let’s see how long it takes her remove her OWN signs from the streets of Fullerton.

*A decision from which he, arguably, ought to have recused himself. It is difficult to believe that he was unaware of his wife’s plans to run for City Council.

City Hall

Matthew Leslie

The North Orange County League of Women Voters will host a candidate forum in Fullerton’s City Council Chambers for City Council Candidates on Tuesday, October 9, 6:00 p.m. All candidates from the 5th and 3rd Districts have been invited. Questions form audience members will be collected and possibly asked of each candidate.

Goldberg Library Variations

By staff consultant Rube Goldberg

Matthew Leslie

The Fullerton City Council is having another go at the Library Board appointment process Tuesday night, October 2. “Based on community input on September 18, 2018, the Mayor requests that the City Council discuss, and members of the public to provide input, into an alternate process for appointing members of the Library Board of Trustees“ reads the Staff Report accompanying the Agenda (reproduced below).

While it is true that the community criticized the City Council for not asking the volunteer library support groups Friends of the Library or the Fullerton Library Foundation for their respective opinions on the idea of needlessly changing the Trustee appointment process, as far as we know, nobody ever asked for an alternative process in the first place, other than City Councilmemeber Jennifer Fitzgerald. On May 1 she unilaterally suggested that the City Council appoint themselves as Trustees and create what would essentially be a subservient and powerless Library Advisory Board. What the community did two weeks ago at the last City Council meeting was to roundly reject this idea the Council making themselves the Trustees when we said to just leave the Library Board alone. The community did not say to try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist by terminating a perfectly clear and functional process by which members of the City Council each appoint a Trustee from the community to serve as Trustees.

Like the last agenda two weeks ago, this one does not specify anywhere why any change at all to the Library Board appointment process is needed. As far as we can tell, it is just another solution–and probably a bad one–looking for a problem.

The Staff Report continues…“Such a process could include stakeholders in the Library to include the Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, and local school districts. A panel of stakeholders could then make a recommendation to the City Council for appointment as Library Board of Trustee appointments become available.” One would hope that members of the City Council were already consulting with these groups when considering appointments to the Library Board, but if it must be codified that people who know a thing or two about the library ought to be listened to, then such an action  seems harmless enough…

…unless, the whole thing is just cover for a majority of the City Council to control the Library Board outright. As it now stands, each Councilmember appoints a single Trustee to a five member Board. This arrangement ensures that the balance of the Library Board reflects the balance on the Council, which is as balanced as the electorate collectively sees fit to make it. If another process is adopted whereby the entire council must approve appointees recommended by the Library Foundation or Friends of the Library, a bare majority will be able to make all five appointments. This is not a strategy for making the Library Board more “independent,” as Mayor Doug Chaffee suggested during his attempted damage control at the last meeting.*

One possible method of adding informed voices to the Library Board would be to allow the Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library each an ex-officio seat on the Board, but allowing them to directly appoint members with voting power changes the way the library is governed, and any such change should be justified somewhere in an agenda report, but isn’t at this time. It’s still a mystery why this entire issue is being bought forth in the first place.

*And since when does Doug Chaffee care so much about a more independent Library Board? He objected to any member of the current Library Board serving on the 2018 Library Ad Hoc Committee, claiming they were too “biased” about what to do with the Hunt Branch. The 2012 Library Ad Hoc Committee included all five Trustees as members.

100218 ADM Library Board Appointment Process Agenda Report

100218 ADM Library Board Appointment Process Agenda Report2

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