Archives for category: Downtown Fullerton

Matthew Leslie

A remarkable thing happened during the August 2 Fullerton City Council meeting. During the long period of comments offered by members of the public, one in the parade of stooges supporting Map  8A, the bar owner map, admitted that it was indeed about development. Referencing his own half term as Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s appointee to the Fullerton Planning Commission, Sam Han cited the need for all five council members to have a voice in planning developments downtown.

Of course, every city council member is responsible for planning decisions all over the city now, and would be under a district elections system too. What Mr. Han and his fellow Stooges for Fitzgerald find alarming is the idea that a member might be elected by the downtown area residents to make the case for responsible planning decisions in the area, instead of packing it with cheap high-rise apartments. Map 8A idiotically divides the downtown into five pieces, robbing the area residents of a community voice.

Calling Downtown Fullerton the “face of our community, moving forward,” Sam Han stated that “when you have planning decisions, every city council (member) has to be responsible for those planning decisions, and I fear that if we go with Map 2B, yes, I agree there are merits to both maps, but I think in Map 8A the long term strategic planning of our city from what downtown could become, it would be more wise for the council to adopt those decisions.”

One could hope that Mr. Han’s sermons are better composed and delivered than his wandering comments at public meetings, but we take his point to be that it’s all about development.

Note that Sam Han clearly stated, this time, that he spoke only on behalf of himself and his family. The last time I wrote about Sam Han it was to question his claim that his words of support for Map 8 (now 8A) were on behalf of the “five thousand members of our church” referring to Grace Ministries, an almost exclusively Korean-American Church located on Brookhurst and Commonwealth, where he serves as a pastor.* (See Jesus Loves the Nightlife?…).

Earlier in his comments Mr. Han acknowledged that many other members of the Korean community were there that night to support a different map, and oppose Map 8A, but that he disagreed with them. Their support for a different map was a wise choice on their part, since each of the three other maps drew an Asian voting majority in the northwest area of Fullerton. Only the makers of Map 8A, supported by Mr. Han and his patron, Mayor Fitzgerald, somehow managed to formulate a northwest district without a majority Asian voting population, quite the high wire act. Jennifer Fitzgerald happens to live in what would be the northwest district in Map 8A. Coincidence that it doesn’t have an Asian voting majority? What do you think…?


*When he is not serving as District Representative for 68th District Sate Senator Donald P. Wagner (R).

Matthew Leslie

District elections Map # 8A splits the entire downtown residential district into five separate pieces, an idea so obviously stupid that the bar owner map’s supporters had to line up a veritable parade of stooges to speak in its favor during last Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Many of these speakers had something to gain from the scheme, as we’ll see in later parts of this story. Others, well, one has to question both the judgment and humanity of whoever put Don Bankhead up this task.

Mr. Bankhead made a rare appearance in the chambers he occupied as a councilman and mayor for so many decades, “over thirty years,” he claimed that night, even though he served for only 24 years.

We begin this clip with Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, who couldn’t keep the exasperation from her face as Mr. Bankhead approached the podium and then began his comments with an audible grunt. Next, Jan Flory and Don Bankhead shared a chuckle about who was going to kill him first, Ms. Flory or his wife, if he ran for office again. My money is on Jan Flory.

Mr. Bankhead unintentionally made a terrible argument against district elections by opining that things ran pretty well the old way, without districts, presumably when he was on the council. He followed it with a pretty good argument for the proposed new system by noting that “the only benefit” candidates would receive would be that they would only have to walk their respective districts during election season, and not the entire city, as he recalled having done when he ran for office. Somehow, I don’t imagine Don Bankhead knocking on doors in every part of the city. I never saw him at my door.

Throughout his comments he repeatedly confused the names of maps 2B, the map supported by Kitty Jaramillo and others, and 8A, which he was obviously supposed to support. The twice-recalled former councilman voiced his support for map “2A,” though there was no such map before the council that night. Even when queried by Jan Flory and then corrected by Jennifer Fitzgerald, Mr. Bankhead tragicomically stuck to his guns, insisting that “2A” was “the one that we’re here to talk about.” In other words, it was just like old times, when he was serving on the council, but without the highlighted script for him this time.

Matthew Leslie

On Tuesday, August 2nd, City Council candidate Jane Rands explained to the Fullerton City Council that their prior adoption of the bar owners’ Map # 8A for the District Election measure in November was not an option for the ballot because a judge had found fault with the map’s division of the downtown residential district into five parts. I am including both the video above and the text of her comments below.

Jane Rands Opposes the Fullerton City Council’s Selection of Map 8A for Fullerton, 2016 

Map 8A Violates the Settlement Agreement – Select Map 10A Instead

Comments given to the Fullerton City Council by Jane Rands, August 2, 2016…

“We are discussing this issue again because a judge has GRANTed the plaintiff’s motion and ORDERED you to hold another public hearing, this time, “to adopt a map that complies with the procedure and requirements of the Settlement Agreement.” If your goal tonight is to “ensure that the district elections measure is included on the November 2016 ballot,” as stated in the staff report, you cannot select map 8A again as it violates the settlement agreement.

Contrary to the assertion in the staff report that, “The court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that Map 8A …was not the product of the public process set forth in the settlement agreement,” the hearing minutes reveal that “the court’s review of the transcripts of the 5-17-16 and 6-7-16 Council meetings indicates that Map 8A was not developed in accordance with the procedure provided in paragraph 6 of the parties’ settlement agreement.” The judge reasoned that since, “There is no evidence that the proponent of Map 8 and Map 8A ever participated in the community deliberative process,” that, “that map (Map 8A) arguably constitutes a breach of the settlement” and was “adopted through a process completely antithetical to that contemplated by the Agreement.”

In the staff report, I also take umbrage to the dismissal of the court’s admonishment on the importance of the principle of a community of interests, particularly as I am a resident of the downtown community that Map 8a disrespectfully divides into 5 districts. I attended the July 20 hearing, took copious notes, and studied the court’s Minute Order. It is beyond me how any competent assessment of the proceedings could conclude that “the Court indicated that it was unclear whether the selected map took into account communities of interest in dividing the downtown.” What the judge did state was “unclear” was “how many of these supporters (of Map 8A) actually reside in the downtown area” and “how the division of the downtown area of the city gives appropriate consideration to this principle (of a community of interests as described in the California Constitution).”

At the July 20 hearing, Judge Horn’s ruling was confirmed that “The parties’ Settlement Agreement requires that the electoral district map be drawn in accordance with those criteria (in Elections Code Section 21601),” including community of interests. It was very clear from the discussions that afternoon, that the judge’s statement that “Map 8A would seem to run afoul of at least one of those factors (in Section 21601)”was in reference to communities of interest being violated by Map 8A’s dismemberment of the downtown neighborhoods.

The staff report says that the City Council can select Map 8A again tonight, but that does not mean that you should. From observing the mess that has resulted from the hostility of the Council towards the inclusion of voices from throughout the city being represented on our City Council by way of district elections, I can only conclude that this advice is intended to thwart the district election ballot measure.

To affirm your previous selection of map 8a would be mistake, a mistake that will cost Fullerton taxpayers scads more money to litigate a resolution to the plaintiffs’ simple request to put district elections with a legitimate map before the voters on November 8, 2016.

If you want to move forward, select a map that complies with the state and federal voting rights acts and the Settlement Agreement, including all aspects of Section 21601 and the map author having participated in the public process, select Map 10A.”

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