060220 ADM Hunt Branch Library Proposal

The proposal being recommended to the City Council.

Matthew Leslie

The Fullerton City Council is scheduled to consider proposals for programming in the closed Hunt Branch Library during it’s regular meeting on June 2. Eight different organizations responded to a Request for Proposals issued last November by the city to solicit programming proposals for the site. A five member panel that included members of the Library Ad Hoc Committee reviewed the proposals following direction by the council in March. The highest ranked proposal came from Heritage Future in partnership with Arts Orange County. The council is being asked to approve staff engaging with the Heritage Future/Arts OC.

Eight responses were received to the city’s Request for Proposals, issued in November, 2019.

Arts OC is a non-profit arts advocacy group founded twenty years ago at a time when such an organization was lacking in the county. Every major, and most minor, arts organization in OC is a member of the group, which advocates for arts funding and support and provides organizational and other services to both local governments and constituent members. For many years they have managed the Imagination Celebration in Orange County. Heritage Future was founded by Kevin Staniec, a writer, publisher, and arts impresario who founded and directs the 1888 literary space in Orange and has organized exhibitions for the City of Irvine’s Great Park gallery for many years and previously worked for the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.

The joint proposal envisions utilizing the historic Hunt Branch Library as an arts and literary presentation and educational space. Staniec would serve as the program team leader, while Arts OC would help to conceive, plan, and implement programs for the space and grounds. The proposal also includes architect Robert Young, who would presumably direct use of $2.5 million in state funding for renovations and restoration of the building.

What oversight the Library Board of Trustees will have of the project is unclear, but the state grant requires that the site retain some aspect of library use.

The library’s tenant, Grace Mission University, also submitted a proposal to utilized the site, scoring at number 5 of the 8 submitted proposals. The next to highest score was received for a proposal called Hunt Library Gardens, but no other information about it is provided in the agenda report, nor were proposals submitted by Access California, Arborland (who operate a private school in Amerige Heights), Faruk Zia & Associates, OCHCC, or Bonnie Hall.

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…

 

 

Matthew Leslie

Last night the City of Fullerton sent an email notice of a Special City Council Meeting to be held tonight, Thursday, March 26, along with instructions for how to access the meeting online and how to submit comments on agenda items. PUBLIC COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY 5:00 P.M., TODAY IN ORDER TO BE READ AT THE MEETING. You cannot attend this meeting in person.

I have reproduced the instructions sent by the City below, including the appropriate links to the agenda and instructions on submitting comments.

City of Fullerton

We’ve posted the latest City Council Special Meeting Agenda on our website.  Follow this link to view the agendaand related materials: www.cityoffullerton.com/agendas.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: Pursuant to Executive Order N-29-20 and given the current health concerns, members of the public can access meetings streamed live online at https://fullerton.legistar.com, on Spectrum Cable Channel 3 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.  Members of the public may not attend the meeting in person.

In addition, members of the public can submit comments electronically for City Council consideration by clicking on the eComment link accompanying the agenda posted online at https://fullerton.legistar.com until the close of the public comment period for the item.

The public can also email comments to cityclerksoffice@cityoffullerton.com with the subject line “PUBLIC COMMENT ITEM #” (insert the item number relevant to your comment) or “PUBLIC COMMENT NON-AGENDA ITEM”.  Staff will read aloud comments received by 5:00 p.m. during the applicable agenda item at the meeting, provided that such comments may be read within the normal three minutes allotted to each speaker.  Any portion of your comment extending past three minutes may not be read aloud due to time restrictions.  Staff will not read email comments received after 5:00 p.m. at the meeting but the official record will include email comments received after 5:00 p.m. until the close of the meeting.  Contact the City Clerk’s office at cityclerksoffice@cityoffullerton.com or (714)-738-6355 with any questions.

The only item on the meeting’s agenda is a temporary moratorium on evictions due to COVID-19. Other cities in Orange County have already passed similar measures intended to protect workers suddenly thrown out of work by State of California orders to causing the shut down of businesses that employ them. The eviction ban would apply to commercial or residential tenants and owners whose income has decreased or whose medical expenses have increased due to “COVID-19-Related Financial Impacts.” The ban would take effect immediately following adoption of the ordinance by council, and would extend until the expiration of Governor Gavin Newsome’s Executive declaring a State of Emergency in California.

I anticipate a unanimous vote in support of the eviction moratorium. It is a sad commentary on our medical system that such legislation is necessary to prevent people from being evicted because they have no money for rent or a mortgage owing to medical expenses that would be free in any otherwise civilized country.

 

Agenda-40_Page_4

My comment would be to suggest that when a notice of a City Council  meeting is sent out, the date of the meeting should be included somewhere in the body of the email and in the title. Anyone reading the email and not checking the agenda link might have assumed that the meeting date would be next Tuesday, since notices of meetings regularly held on Tuesdays are generally sent out on Thursdays of the prior week.

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