Archives for category: Doug Chaffee
Bane

Face coverings are essential during uncertain times.

Matthew Leslie

An important item appears on the agenda for the Fullerton City Council’s April 21 meeting requesting direction to city staff “regarding mandatory face covering guidance within the City of Fullerton” and, potentially, “for essential businesses, employees, customers and residents outside of their residence.” The agenda’s Recommendation section includes an option that the council’s direction could take the form of an “issuance of a Director of Disaster Services proclamation,” suggesting that a decision could be made that evening. One hopes so. With the numbers of people in the city known to be infected by the COVID-19 virus rising daily, an immediate decision critical if such a measure is to be effective. 

To date, four cities in Orange County have passed measures requiring that workers in essential businesses wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The cities of Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Buena Park now each require the wearing of face coverings by workers and patrons in grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations, and other businesses remaining open during California’s mandated Stay at Home order.  Fullerton has yet to take any such action, despite having met for a special meeting on March 26 and a regularly scheduled one on April 7.

The city issued a press release on April 9 instructing residents to call the Fullerton Police Department to report individuals not complying with the County of Orange’s recommendation “strongly encouraging” the wearing of face coverings, but with no actual requirement in place, one had to wonder how Fullerton police were supposed to respond to such a complaint, other than with their own strong suggestions.

The unfolding patchwork adoption of laws across the county is a result of the failure of the Orange County Board of Supervisors to adopt one that would apply countywide. Although there was some support on the Board for such a measure earlier this month, 4th District Supervisor and Fullerton resident Doug Chaffee, among others, opposed it. The counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino have both adopted rules requiring face coverings in essential businesses. One wonders why Orange County has dragged its feet, leaving OC’s 34 cities to deal with the problem individually when viruses don’t respect city boundaries.

There is no reasonable way for a significant number of Fullerton residents to avoid close proximity to people who may be carrying the virus, even if they show no signs of it. Shopping in a store, visiting a gas station, picking up medications, among other sometimes unavoidable errands, have become perilous experiences, both for customers and for workers. Though many—increasingly most—shoppers wear face coverings, some still do not. And neither do many in the businesses that serve them, needlessly putting others at risk. Requiring people to keep their faces covered to avoid sharing a sometimes deadly virus is justified, even if some will claim it to be an infringement of their rights.

If we really want to do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, we should support requiring people to wear face coverings when they leave their residences too (although the way the report is written, it isn’t clear whether or not it would apply to someone standing in the yard of their own house). Some will consider it a draconian response, but in the midst of a pandemic, the council should at least discuss it. A second wave of infections is a real possibility, even as we’re still experiencing the first.

A city council that takes the unprecedented step to meet virtually from their own residences because it is too dangerous to meet in person shouldn’t consider a face covering requirement in businesses too extreme for everyone else.

And, fear not, the agenda promises that “The City Attorney’s office will opine on legal issues surrounding potential direction as such direction is discussed by the City Council.”

Richard-Jones-2018

City Attorney: Pinin’ to opine…

 

 

The empty seat on the Fullerton City Council should be filled by election, not by appointment.

Diane Vena

(Reprinted from the Fulleton Observer and the Voice of OC)

When Jesus Silva was sworn in as the District 3 Fullerton City Council Member at the December 4 City Council meeting, he vacated the remaining two years of his at-large seat on the Council.  At the December 18 meeting, the new City Council should schedule a special election for the Fullerton voters to determine who will fill the remaining two years of his at-large seat rather than appoint his replacement.

On November 6, a majority on the Council approved a change to the Fullerton Municipal Code that no longer requires a special election to fill a vacancy on the City Council. The revised code still allows for a special election, but it also now gives the Council the power to appoint a council member for the second half of a four-year term without an election.

Residents who were able to attend that Council meeting while the polls were still open on election night, spoke in opposition to this change and expressed concerns that the Council was making this change just in time so that it could appoint a replacement if Silva won his bid for District 3.

Council Member Fitzgerald dismissed the residents’ concerns saying, “We are not having that debate (about whether the Council will appoint a replacement).” She and Council Member Whitaker each stated that the change was simply to align with a new state law – enacted in 2015.

But Fullerton’s code prior to the Council’s changes, last updated in 2011, was not out of synch with the latest version of California Government Code 36512. While the state law does allow a city council to appoint a replacement for the second half of a council member term without a special election, it does not require a city to adopt that option. Section (c)(1) explicitly states that “a city may enact an ordinance that requires that a special election be called immediately to fill every city council vacancy.”

When this important decision comes before the Council on December 18, the argument in favor of appointing will likely be that the cost of holding a special election is too much. When City staff introduced the ordinance at the October 16 meeting to change the code, they estimated a cost of $391,532- $428,150 to run a special election and $224,055 – $260,866 for an all-mail ballot election, which the City might be able to hold if it meets specific criteria in Elections Code Section 4005.

But how much is “too much” when the rights of voters to determine one of five people to represent a city of 130,000 for two years is at stake?

When the Council considers what our voting rights are worth, hopefully it will also consider the opportunities at which it failed to avoid the potential need to fill a council vacancy during the transition to by-district elections. The Council made the decision that created the potential for this vacancy when it chose to place District 3 on the ballot in 2018 knowing that there were two current council members residing in that district and that both would likely run and if the more recently elected was to win, he would have to vacate his at-large seat.

If the Council then argues that it had to put District 3 on the ballot in 2018 to “be fair” to Council Member Sebourn who, upon nearing the end of his at-large term in 2018, would otherwise not be able to run for re-election in his district, that problem was also created by the Council. In August of 2016 it chose the district boundaries. To avoid placing then Council Members Chaffee and Sebourn both in District 2, it approved a map that cut-out a small segment of District 2 to put Council Member Sebourn into his own district, District 3, where no other council member lived until Silva was elected in November 2016.

Voting rights are priceless and should not be taken away to fix any of the problems the Council created. We elect a council member to be one and only one representative on the Council. Making an appointment would give the council members more representation than they rightfully have. The Council makes important decisions that have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on all who live in Fullerton. Those decisions should only be made by voter-elected representatives.

It is unfortunate that when Fullerton is trying to increase voter representation on the Council through a change to district elections, there is now a move to decrease it, which is what would occur if an appointment rather than a special election is used to fill the vacancy on the Fullerton City Council.

Matthew Leslie

UPDATE: Young Kim has conceded in the race to succeed Ed Royce in the 39th Congressional District. Democrat Gil Cisneros helps to complete Donald Trump’s secret plan to have no Republicans represent Orange County since the 1930’s.

Update: Doug Chaffee’s lead over Tim Shaw grows day by day, making it increasingly likely that Mr. Chaffee will become the next 4th District Supervisor.

Update: Vote tallies show show no changes in who leads the two Fullerton City Council races.

With 100% of precincts reporting and late and provisional ballots still to be counted, Jesus Silva has defeated Greg Sebourn in the 3rd District and Ahmad Zahra has defeated four others in the 5th District. Greg Sebourn, who has served on the council since 2012, has become a victim of the awful district elections map he supported.. Unless he changes his residence, he cannot run again until 2022.

In order to take office representing the 3rd District, Jesus Silva will need to resign from the at-large seat to which he was elected two years ago. The new council will have the option of appointing a temporary replacement before calling a special election to fill the remaining two years of the at-large seat, which will expire in 2020.

On the county level, it appears that Tim Shaw has narrowly defeated Doug Chaffee for Orange County Board of Supervisors, although late results could possibly affect this close race. One can’t help but imagine that his wife’s apparent sign stealing stunt may indeed have cost him the election. (Paulette Marshall Chaffee finished fourth in the 5th District race for City Council).
Also, Sup. Todd Spitzer has beaten long time District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, whose scandal ridden department has evidently finally caught up with him. Good riddance to a corrupt do-nothing dynasty who couldn’t get convictions for the officers who killed Kelly Thomas, and who brought international shame to O.C., not to mention doing nothing about carpetbagging and sign stealing in multiple elections.
Sharon Quirk-Silva has been re-elected to the State Assembly by over five percentage points over her opponent, Dr. Alexandria Coronado, quite the change from four years ago when Democrats instead lost the seat in an off year election.
Young Kim has defeated Gil Cisneros for U.S. House of Representatives by a significant margin (UPDATE: Young Kim’s lead has narrowed to just two percentage points with late ballot counting. She could lose the race to her opponent because early voting tends to favor Republicans, while ballots turned in on Election Day tend to lean Democrat.)
Stay up to date on the ballot count on the links below:
O.C. Registrar if Voters (will only show OC votes in multi-county offices, like U.S. Congress): https://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/live/gen2018/results.htm
California Secretary of State:
https://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/us-rep/district/39
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