Archives for category: Rick Alvarez

Women's Leadership 2014

Ten years ago, while serving on the Fullerton City Council, Sharon Quirk began began hosting an annual forum to honor the accomplishments of women in Fullerton. Business owners, public officials, community leaders and others were highlighted every year since during an evening event, hosted by Ms. Quirk-Silva until she was elected to the California State Assembly in 2012. At that time she handed off the forum to current Fullerton City Councilwomen Jan Flory and Jennifer Fitzgerald (the latter works for OC’s most powerful lobbying firm, Pringle and Associates).

The 2014 honors took place in the Grand Hall of the new Community Center on Thursday, November 13, co-hosted by the venerable Woman’s Cub of Fullerton. The forum’s sponsors included Walmart, Miller Toyota of Fullerton, Fullerton Insurance Services, on the top level, followed by second tier sponsors C & C Development and Century 21 Discovery, and finally “Spark Level” sponsors Cottage Dental, The Fullerton Museum Center, Starkey Communications, The Waterford Group, and law firm Jones and Mayer.

The final listed sponsor, Jones and Mayer, is contracted to provide legal services to the City of Fullerton, acting as City Attorney.

Women's-Program-Sponsors

It’s always prudent to scrutinize the sponsor list for any event that involves public officials for the potential for undue influence over decisions made by those officials at a later date. For example, the Waterford Group is the potential developer of a multi-story residential and retail development to be located at 600 W. Commonwealth Ave. The 147 unit apartment complex would have over 4,700 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project has already been promised 5 million dollars in leftover Redevelopment subsidies for affordable housing, but it has not yet been approved by Fullerton’s Planning Commission or City Council.

Earlier this month the Rag wrote about a $ 4,000.00 contribution to the (unsuccessful) City Council campaign of current Planning Commissioner Rick Alvarez by the owners of the business whose land would become more valuable if that development were to approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council. Now we see the developer contributing to an event that raises the public profiles of two incumbent Fullerton City Councilwomen who will be up for re-election in 2016. Both of these Councilwomen, of course, will be in the position of approving or denying the Waterford Group’s development project.

C & C Development were behind the remodeled Richman Court Apartments and the new Valencia Grove Apartments. The latter project is squeezed into a space between the Janet Evans Swim Center to the west, businesses on the east, and a single family residential neighborhood to the immediate north.

Anyone who has been involved with or followed the ongoing struggle to save West Coyote Hills from development hell will be familiar with Scott Starkey, who, as Senior Vice President for Laer Pearce, and Associates, worked to promote Chevron’s Pacific Coast Homes plan for the area.

He was also a spokesperson for the spectacularly unsuccessful Yes on Measure W campaign that would have allowed PCH’s housing and retail plans to proceed in Coyote Hills, as approved by a previous city council. Mr. Starkey operates his own company, Starkey Communications and is a Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair of the Building Industry Association of Orange County.

The Woman’s Cub of Fullerton would seem to be the appropriate co-host of an event honoring women in our community, but care should taken to avoid including public officials who will oversee development decisions involving event sponsors.

Rick Alvarez

I’m too busy to file FPPC reports on time.

Candidate for Fullerton City Council Rick Alvarez has accepted a late contribution in the amount of $ 4,000.00 from a single donor, according to recently filed campaign disclosure forms available on the city’s website.

http://docs.cityoffullerton.com/WebLink8/DocView.aspx?id=554890

Mr. Alvarez missed the late October filing deadline for the Form 460 all candidates must file periodically or risk fines from the Fair Political Practices Commission. The missed deadline was noted in the latest edition of the Fullerton Observer in a feature compiling information about who is contributing to each of the seven City Council candidates. When asked to provide the information directly to the Observer prior to its publication deadline, Mr. Alvarez reportedly declined, saying he was “too busy.”

However, the Form 460 later appeared on the City’s website, and we can all see now why Mr. Alvarez might not have been so eager to have his campaign contributions made public in the Observer story—the last edition before the election on Nov. 4.

Alvarez Non-Filing

The huge $ 4,000.00 contribution came from a Shirin Hezar, of Corona del Mar, whose occupation and employer are is listed as “Self Employed, Collision Concepts.” According to Linkedin, Ms. Hezar is Director of Industry Relations for Pacific Elite Collision Centers. Assuming this job title is still accurate, the connection between Pacific Elite and the very large contribution to the campaign of Rick Alvarez, is troubling.

Waterford-Alvarez

Pacific Elite Collision Centers owns fourteen auto body repair centers in Southern California.  One of them is located at 600 W. Commonwealth Ave. Formerly known as Cone Collision Center, this business is located on property that also contains a former Chevrolet dealership, now a mostly empty parking lot, that is the potential site of a multi-story residential and retail development given 5 million dollars in leftover Redevelopment subsidies for affordable housing earlier this year. The project is described as 147 units, only 20% of which would be rented as very low income housing, and includes over 4,700 square feet of ground floor retail space.

Waterford-Plan

The Waterford Group, who presented the project, have received the assurances of affordable housing subsidies, but have not had their project itself approved yet by the Fullerton Planning Commission or the Fullerton City Council. Such an approval would make the land at the 600 W. Commonwealth address far more valuable. If elected, Mr. Alvarez would be in the position of approving the project. If he is not elected and remains on the Planning Commission, he would be in a position to approve the development on that body instead.

Pink Hook and Ladder

The Fullerton Firefighters Association (FFA) is using it’s Pinktober “Let’s Extinguish Cancer” campaign to promote one of their chosen candidates for Fullerton City Council. Last Thursday night Fullerton’s firefighters parked their “Pink Tribute Fire Engine,” a custom pink wrapped firetruck to honor victims of cancer, across Wilshire Ave., near the market’s west entrance. The vehicle’s normally red surfaces were entirely covered with a bright pink ribbon graphic to honor victims of cancer. Cancer survivors are invited to sign their names on the truck.

Pink Alvarez

Coming to your neighborhood soon.

Leaning against the pink truck Thursday night were pink signs promoting Rick Alvarez for Fullerton City Council. The signs read “Fullerton Firefighters Support Rick Alvarez” and featured a graphic of a firefighter helmet in white against a pink background. Mr. Alvarez has received $ 5,000.00 in direct contributions by the FFA, the union representing Fullerton’s firefighters. He is one of two candidates, along with incumbent Doug Chaffee, to be endorsed by the union (no pink Doug Chaffee signs have yet to appear). The truck is scheduled to be at the Fullerton Market on Thursday nights throughout the month of October.

According to their website ‘“The Fullerton Firefighter’s Association would like to announce the 3rd annual Pinktober Event for the month of October. Since its inception, the Fullerton Firefighter’s have raised over $34,000 to aid in Cancer research. Our motto this year is “Let’s Extinguish Cancer with Fullerton Fire”.’

The firefighters are sponsoring a local teacher who has Stage 4 Breast Cancer. If you are reading this column chances are that you know at least one person, probably more, who have been diagnosed with cancer. The Rag understands why local firefighters might want to help raise funds to fight this terrible disease, but conflating the suffering of the cancer stricken with support for a City Council candidate is beyond distasteful.

Alvarez Pink Signs

The Rag isn’t anti-union, but voters should remember that the union representing Fullerton’s firefighters is going to back the candidates they think will give them the best deal when their contract with the city is up for renewal. Council members who will eventually approve a contract with a union can be elected (ok, probably not Rick Alvarez) with tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and independent expenditures from that same union. That’s what it means when a sign says “Firefighters support..” or ”Your police support…” a candidate (or two).

The FFA can and will choose candidates to endorse in the upcoming election, and voters can choose how much they value that endorsement when casting their ballots in the City Council race, but it is beyond the pale to mix a political investment in a candidate with a campaign to honor and support cancer victims. “Pinktober” lasts through the entire month of October–the home stretch of election season. It is hard to believe that signs supporting Rick Alvarez are just coincidentally pink. The next time Fullerton’s firefighters roll out their Pink Tribute Fire Engine they should leave their signs at home, and stop posting them around town, or risk being perceived as cynically exploiting the suffering of cancer victims for their own political purposes.

 

%d bloggers like this: