Archives for category: Budget

A new website to save the Hunt Branch Library is now online. Community members are encouraged to follow www.savethehunt.com the site for news about efforts to keep the city from selling this unique facility for a quick buck.

The Hunt Branch Library building is a significant mid-century modernist structure owned by the City of Fullerton. We believe it is in imminent danger of being sold, and have organized a group of private citizens to ensure that the building remains in the hands of the people of Fullerton, and used to benefit the community.

The William Pereira designed Hunt Branch Library was a gift to the City of Fullerton from the Norton Simon Foundation in 1962. For decades it served as only one of two branches of the Fullerton Public Library, until being closed in 2013 and eventually  leased to neighboring Grace Ministries International (GMI) for $ 1,500.00 per month. This arrangement was said to be temporary while GMI renovated their adjacent headquarters, the former Hunt Food & Industries headquarters, also designed by Pereira. However, the lease has continued through 2018.  When the lease was approved, the public was promised that the city would support efforts to obtain historic preservation status for the structure, but such protection has not yet occurred.

Instead, at least one member of the Fullerton City Council, current Mayor Doug Chaffee, has repeatedly said that he favors selling the library, and there is reason to believe that at least one other council member supports the idea. It would only take three members of the council to approve a sale. We adamantly oppose the inclusion of the Hunt building on a list of city properties to be considered for sale, and urge it’s immediate removal from this list.

We believe that the Hunt Library building can be used in any number of ways to directly benefit the community for many years to come. This precious gift to our city should not be thrown away for a one time windfall. We invite you to join us by following this blog and contacting us to become involved in this effort to preserve an architectural gem and an irreplaceable community asset.

Budget doc 0 Tonight the Fullerton City Council will consider the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 budgets for the city. The item was scheduled to be heard on June 2, but was continued to a special meeting on June 9 because some council members were tired and didn’t want to stay up too late. Readers can find the 106 page document here:

http://docs.cityoffullerton.com/weblink8/1/doc/569315/Page1.aspx

but it isn’t exactly a user friendly experience. Despite being composed of digitally created documents, the budget document itself is a series of scanned pages, so readers cannot search it for specific terms, and must instead scan though the whole thing as if they were looking at microfiche at their local library in 1972.

Budget doc 1

And, speaking of libraries, how about this morsel from the introduction about the Hunt Branch Library?*

Budget doc Hunt

Not much of an answer, if you ask the Rag, who has covered this story since before the City of Fullerton decided it was a good idea to close one of its two library branches and lease it out to a church, all the while insisting that the plan was to revitalize it and reopen it someday. The most telling clue about the fate of the Hunt Branch is not the non-answer from the staff, but in the question itself, which now includes the term “replacing” in addition to “reopening.” Raise your curser if you saw that one coming.

Scanning though the budget, one finds several pages of entries listing the planned increases to fees for renting Parks and Recreation facilities. These supplemental documents are even more unhelpfully scanned and reproduced sideways, making them difficult to read unless printed…

Budget doc 2

 

*Say, how is that promised historical designation of the building coming along?

hughesletter_14000

Let us know how you would rather see the city spend $ 14,000.

About a month ago the Fullerton Police Department sent a preemptive letter to city households in advance of the trial of two former FPD officers charged in the death of Kelly Thomas. Chief Danny Hughes warned us that we would “likely read and hear reports about the trial, including comments and opinions both positive and negative, concerning the officers who were involved and the Fullerton Police Department in general.”

The letter also offered updates about the department’s efforts to improve itself. In a December 1, 2013 blog post about the letter I estimated its cost to be about $ 16,000.00, based on postage for each letter multiplied by the number of households in Fullerton. It turns out that I was not far off the mark.

During the Public Comments segment of the December 17th Fullerton City Council meeting another resident of the city objected to the expense of sending the letter. He estimated the total cost to be over six million dollars, based on the mistaken idea that it had been sent to every resident of the city instead of to every household. When asked to comment on any concerns raised by any of the speakers, City Manager Joe Felz was quick to point out that the actual cost of the mailing was “approximately $ 14,000.00.”

The Rag commends Mr. Felz for his ability to provide such a specific figure so quickly following unexpected comments on the expense made just minutes earlier by a member of the public. Such efficiency is only to be matched by not wasting thousands of dollars on public relations letters in the first place.

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