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“Give us this day…” Image stolen from KPCC without permission.

Matthew Leslie

Following the roll call and Pledge of Allegiance, the February 6th meeting of the Fullerton City Council opened with an invocation read by the school-aged daughter of presiding Mayor Pro Tem Greg Sebourn. The content of this invocation was a simple reading of the Lord’s Prayer, familiar to anyone with even a modicum of experience with Christianity:

“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.

Thy will be done in Earth, As it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.”

Not thirty seconds later, City Attorney Richard Jones, reported that in closed session the Fullerton City Council had voted 4-0 (Mayor Chaffee not present) to file an amicus brief on behalf of the City of Fullerton to support “the defendant” in a legal case brought by the Catholic Worker. For those who haven’t been following recent local news, “the defendant” is the County of Orange, sued by the Santa Ana based non-profit Catholic Worker to stop forced evictions of homeless people living along the Santa Ana River Trail. Fullerton was not named in the lawsuit.

The Catholic Worker’s case asserts that the homeless people were being forced from their makeshift campsites with nowhere else to go, and no services available to them. One couldn’t help but be struck by the stark contradiction between the invocation and the council’s actions. If sectarian religions invocations are to be offered on behalf of the public, then perhaps the City Council should listen to them instead of choosing to stand  with the heartless. And if the invocation doesn’t please you, take heart. Precedence has now been set for anyone—not just recognized religions clergy—to offer a sectarian invocation before a council meeting, so feel free to contact city hall to find out when you can present one of your own from your religion (or not?) of choice.

Ed Royce on CNN

Congressman Ed Royce on CNN

Matthew Leslie

The “Democratic Wave” that swept recent elections earlier this month in other areas of the country does not seem to be of great concern to 39th District Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fulllerton). Though he faces up to half a dozen challengers next year for the seat he has held comfortably for two decades, Mr. Royce nonetheless evidently felt politically secure enough to vote in favor of a tax overhaul that would, in the long term, largely benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle class voters in his district.In a press release, Mr. Royce characterized H.R. 1 as “not perfect,” but a “good start.”

Like his vote earlier this year for a slipshod bill that recklessly tried to overturn the popular Affordable Care Act without providing alternative health care, Congressman Royce’s support for the Republican Party’s massive corporate tax cut reveals once and for all that his loyalties lie with the economically elite of this country, and not with ordinary working families.

To rationalize his support for a tax plan the will create a $ 1.5 trillion deficit, Ed Royce’s explanatory press release attempts to assure his constituents that he is “committed to ensuring the final product works for Californians.” Maybe it will work for Californians like Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., but there is no real reason to think that cutting cooperate taxes by 1/3 will actually draw money back into the domestic economy. It’s an out and out gamble that more jobs would somehow be created in his district as a result of this massive gift to multinational corporations, and not a chance that any responsible elected official would take without the sort of solid economic backing that is nowhere to be found behind H.R. 1.

Asserting that “It’s been 31 years since we last reformed our tax code,” Ed Royce conveniently ignores the utter failure of Reaganomics to stop the ensuing and continuing deterioration of the middle class in this country a generation ago. Corporate growth does not automatically equal better living standards for Americans. A plan so bad that it caused even Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) to balk should not have been supported by Ed Royce either.

Coyote Hills Vista

The Fullerton City Council wants the state’s $ 15 million, but not if it means saving the whole park.

Angela Lindstrom

Reprinted from the Early September Edition of the Fullerton Observer

In the August 2017 issue of the Fullerton Observer, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece titled “I’m All for Saving Coyote Hills… Unless It Can Actually Be Done”. This was in response to the Orange County Register’s misinformed editorial criticizing a couple of pending state legislations to help fund the acquisition of West Coyote Hills for a public park and preserve.

AB 510 and SB 714 legislations as currently proposed by Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and Senator Newman would set up a multi-year funding program through a Coyote Hills Conservancy to save all of Coyote Hills as a park and preserve for our park poor region of North Orange County. This is consistent with Fullerton voters’ 2012 Measure W referendum that rejected the development of West Coyote Hills.

Sadly, the majority of the Fullerton City Council lived up to my “expectation” by rejecting AB 510 and SB 714 at its August 1st City Council meeting. It’s not that they don’t want the state funds. They want the money to go directly to the City so they can implement what they call the “Path Forward”, a euphemism for the development of West Coyote Hills as proposed by Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes.

This is the “local control” (another euphemism) they want so they can circumvent the conservancy oversight of park funds. Under this path forward to development, the City can purchase a couple of pieces of land at the highest entitled price. But even if that is successful, most of the 760 houses and shopping center will still be built on the remaining land.

Wait, millions of our tax dollars will be paid to Chevron-PCH and we have to live with all the negative impacts of their development: 10,000 additional daily car-trips on our streets, air and dust pollution, houses built on polluted oil wells and an earthquake fault, and overcrowded schools?

Councilwoman Fitzgerald followed up this Council meeting by slamming AB 510 and SB 714 in the OC Register, borrowing the famous words (not infamous as she wrote) of Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, I’m here to help.’” We should be more terrified of the lack ofcitizen local control over our own local government.

But it gets worse. At the August 29th Special Council meeting, Councilwoman Fitzgerald insisted on discussing an un-agendized item to re-write SB714.  She proposed language to poison and weaken SB 714 to enable the development of Coyote Hills.

Fitzgerald Coyote Hills 714

Fullerton City Councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald introduces language to modify SB 714 during a joint study session about the Fox Block.

SB 714 as proposed by Senator Josh Newman would gather funds to save all 510 acres of Coyote Hills for a public park and preserve. Councilwoman Fitzgerald wants to add language to legitimize the Council’s 2015 approval of Chevron’s Vesting Tentative Tract Map (VTTM), with all of its terms and conditions, including the Environmental Impact Report as the only plan for Coyote Hills (development).

The legitimacy of this VTTM the Fullerton City Council approved by ignoring the people’s 2012 Measure W vote is the very subject of a lawsuit led by the Friends of Coyote Hills, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, and the Center for Biodiversity.

If you support saving Coyote Hills and don’t want to lose this funding opportunity, write or call the Fullerton City Council and tell them to support AB 510 and SB 714 as proposed by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and State Senator Josh Newman. Stop trying to confuse the public with the path forward to development.

Fullerton City Council

303 W. Commonwealth Avenue | Fullerton, CA 92832

(714) 738-6311

Email: council@cityoffullerton.com

 

Angela Lindstrom is the President of the Friends of Coyote Hills coyotehills.org

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