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Here’s the story…

Three seats are open on the Fullerton City Council. The candidates are: Jane Rands, Bruce Whitaker, Charles Sergeant, Jesus Silva, Joe Imbriano, Susan Gapinski, Herbert Glazier, Joshua Ferguson, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jonathan Mansoori, Larry Bennett, and Roberta Reid (who recently announced that she is not interested in running anymore, though her name already appears on the ballot).

What follows are my observations about the candidates. (For full disclosure, readers should be aware that I am romantically involved with candidate Jane Rands.) I hope I am being as fair as possible to everyone. There are video interviews on The Fullerton Observer website for most of the candidates, and the League of Women Voters forum is online here.

Jane Rands, Software Engineer

Jane Rands is a board member of the Friends of Coyote Hills, and has worked for many years to preserve the area as a park instead of allowing it to be developed as housing and retail by Chevron. She authored a better district elections map, but it was rejected by the city council.

She was a member of the city’s Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan (DCCSP) Advisory Committee, but opposed the ill-fated plan, working with Friends for a Livable Fullerton‘s Jane Reifer to organize residents and business owners against the plan’s fast-tracking of high density development in many parts of Fullerton. She has worked to oppose the overdevelopment of the city for a decade. She currently serves on and is a past chair of the Bicycle Users Subcommittee, where she has worked to ensure that the city holds true to a vision of increased mobility and safety for cycling on Fullerton streets. She opposed the closing of the Hunt Branch Library.

Her campaign does not accept donations from developers or other special interests, and almost entirely funded by contributions from individual Fullerton voters. Vote for Jane if you want sensible government that listens to residents, not developers.

Jane Rands is endorsed by Citizens for Responsible Development, The Fullerton Observer, and the Orange County League of Conservation Voters

Bruce Whitaker, incumbent City Council member.

Bruce Whitaker has been on the Fullerton City Council for six years. He has philosophically opposed mixing government with development. He voted in favor of Chevron’s plan to develop Coyote Hills. He has generally served as a fiscally conservative voice on the council, opposing cronyism and supporting greater oversight of the police department, earning him the ire of the police union, who have spent heavily to defeat him, unsuccessfully, in the past. His attempt to institute a system of greater transparency in negations with public employee unions was watered down by, among others, Jennifer Fitzgerald, rendering it largely ineffective. He supported keeping the Hunt Library open instead of leasing the property to a church. He joined the rest of the current council in voting for the terrible map attached to Measure ii.

His campaign is supported by local residents and business owners, with one $ 3,000.00 donation from “Roseville Fullerton Burton,” $ 1,000.00 from Townsend Public Affairs, as well as some real estate and development interests.

Endorsed by Citizens for Responsible Development and the OC Register

Jesus Silva, Jr. High School Math Teacher

Jesus Silva currently serves on Fullerton’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Husband of former Assembly member (and current candidate for the office) Sharon Quirk-Silva. He has spoken against developing Coyote Hills, and has cited public safety has his main priority in at least one candidate forum. He courted and received the support of Fullerton’s police union, making him an unlikely candidate for doing anything about police oversight. His campaign rhetoric and ballot statement are quite vague, making it difficult to know what he would do as a council member.

His campaign has been supported, with a few notable exceptions, largely by local donations by individuals.

Endorsed by Fullerton Observer and Fullerton’s police union.

 

Jennifer Fitzgerald, incumbent City Council member, Vice President of Curt Pringle & Associates, a public relations (lobbying) firm in Anaheim.

There are many reasons not to vote for her. Here are a few: She campaigned in 2012 on keeping libraries open, then voted for a budget that defunded the Hunt Branch, leading to the facility being leased to an adjacent church at a cut-rate. Although she is VP of a major lobbying firm in OC, she refused to release that firm’s client list, leaving her constituents in the dark about whether or not she is making decisions that might constitute a conflict of interest at any given time. (She was fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission last year for not being transparent about her employment). She vote to adopt the awful map in Measure ii, a map that diluted the district in which she herself resides form being an Asian Voting Age Population Majority one. She voted against meaningful police oversight. She claims that Fullerton has a balanced budget, but this claim seems to be based on the city selling off “surplus properties,” like the Hunt Library. She voted in favor of Chevron’s plans to develop Coyote Hills. She used an expensive, taxpayer-funded city video on her campaign website.

She has raised absurdly large amounts of money for her re-election campaign, from local donations and from outside interests like developers (including the Irvine Company) and their professional organizations, as well as local downtown bar owners, among others, fueling speculation that she intends to run for another office with the funds. There is no good reason to vote for her unless you want more development in town and like being kept in the dark when it comes to transparency in government.

Endorsed by the OC Register, the police and fire unions.

Jonathan Mansoori, Community Organizer.

Political (and Fullerton?) newcomer Jonathan Mansoori is known to voters primarily as “that nice young man.” He is part of an organization that is trying to catapult former Teach for America members into public office. His campaign rhetoric is long on lofty goals, but short on specific proposals.

He has stated that he supports preserving all of Coyote Hills as a park, and has not yet answered my question about how long he has actually lived in Fullerton (his current voting address goes back only to 2015).

His campaign is funded by oddly tiny amounts of money from people outside of Fullerton, but Jonathan Mansoori has raised tens of thousands of dollars from a PAC funded by charter school supporters like venture capitalist Arthur Rock, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Wal-Mart Board/family members Steuart Walton, and Carrie Penner, although he told the Fullerton Observer that he was not receiving “big money.” He may hold the record in this election for the most amount of money donated to his campaign from outside of the city. Vote for him is you want to wait for the other shoe to drop to find out why he is even running for Fullerton City Council.

Larry Bennett, Financial Planner (owner of an insurance agency.

Planning Commissioner Larry Bennett, a “financial planner” with his own insurance agency, is essentially an old guard candidate endorsed by many of the same people who tried to keep Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, and Pat McKinley in office four years ago. Voters can decide for themselves whether or not his management of the disastrously ineffective Anti-Recall campaign of 2012 lends credibility to his administrative abilities. He pledges to fix Fullerton’s roads and sidewalks and to make pensions sustainable, but is endorsed by the same recalled Council members who helped to cause these same problems. He supported developing Coyote Hills. Vote for him if you like Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has contributed thousands to his campaign, and more development, because that’s what Jennifer Fitzgerald wants too.

His campaign is funded by many of the same locals who tried to keep Bankhead/McKinley/Jones in office four years ago, as well as by property management, automobile dealer, and developer interests.

Endorsed by the police and fire unions

Joe Imbriano, Business owner (insurance agent)
Proudly announces at council meetings that he is the site administrator of the Fullerton Informer blog, where, among other stories, readers will find arguments that the moon landings were faked, the drought is a result of geo-engineering (chemtrails!), Apple is intentionally making children sterile, and the earth is flat (look for it, it’s there). His primary activism has been the area of opposing wireless devices in schools for fear of children being exposed to unhealthy doses of radiation. He opposes high density development, going so far as to propose a moratorium on all new developments, but has spread misinformation about the Polly’s Pies shopping center, falsely claiming that it could slated for “Section 8” housing.

Joe Imbriano’s campaign is funded by local individuals, including himself. Vote for him if you want a reduction in high density development and wish to enter into a miasma of ridiculous off-the-shelf conspiracy theory not seen in OC since the days of Steve Rocco on the Orange School Board.

Susan Gapinski, Iron Worker

Susan Gapinksi promises to fix the roads, as do most candidates, and to oppose high density development, and is for “for property owners’ rights, and less government interference for business owners.”

Susan Gapinski’s campaign is funded by local residents, and $ 2,000.00 from Ed Royce, and unions.

Endorsed by the OC Register and the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council

Joshua Ferguson, Camera Store Clerk.

Joshua Ferguson states that the “status quo hates him,” and he is probably right, if they have paid him much attention. Too bad if they haven’t. He’s emerged as an intelligent voice on many issues. He opposes “rubber stamp(ing)” high density housing, wants to reform public employee pensions, fix the roads, and establish more oversight of the Fullerton Police Department.

Joshua Ferguson has not raised or spent enough money to file campaign reports.

 

Charles Sargeant, lists his background as a business owner and school district safety officer. (I can’t find a website for him.)

Charles Sargeant wants to “speed up street improvements/water lines and other infrastructural work, assign more officers to police the bars, and make it easier to start new small businesses in town.

Charles Sargeant has not raised or spent enough money to file campaign reports.

Herbert Glazier is reportedly a retired builder who ran for office in Easthampton, MA (?) in 2013. Not sure why he is running for office here now, but his whole campaign seems to consist of a handmade sign taped to his car window.

Herbert Glazier has not raised or spent enough money to file campaign reports.

Roberta Reid indicated at a recent meeting of the Fullerton City Council that she is not running anymore, and was surprised to learn that her name would still appear on the ballot. Enough said.

twilight-zone-kick-the-can-2016

Kick the Can beyond Election Day, again!

Once again Fullerton City Council has needlessly pushed important decisions beyond Election Day in order to avoid controversy. Two issues stand out, a potential high density residential development on the 600 Block of West Commonwealth Ave., and the question of whether or not Fullerton homeowners should be able to rent out properties on a short term basis.

As the Rag reported in an earlier story, 0n September 28, 2016 the Fullerton Planning Commission approved a 610,182 square foot, 295-unit, 4 story mixed-use development on the 600 block of West Commonwealth Ave. on land that had previously been a car dealership. In a split 4 to 3 vote, the Planning Commission approved a Zone Change, a General Plan Revision, a Major Site Plan and a Mitigated Negative Declaration.

Normally, a development approved by the Planning Commission would head straight for the Fullerton City Council, but the 600 W. Commonwealth project has mysteriously disappeared from all City Council agendas, saving incumbents Jennifer Fitzgerald and Bruce Whitaker, each running for re-election, from having to face angry voters who might disagree with an approval to add yet more high density development to a major corridor in the city.

str-september-20-city-council-agenda

Short Term Rentals, scheduled for a decision over a month ago, but we won’t get one until after Election Day…

On September 20 Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald suggested an unneeded “Study Session” to further delay making a decision about so-called Short Term Rentals (STRs), even though the practice had already (foolishly) been approved by the Fullerton Planning Commission a month earlier.  (The Rag editorialized against the practice on July 1 of this year.)

Homeowners are sharply divided over whether or not the city should allow STRs at all, with some preferring no restrictions whatsoever on how often and under what conditions a house may be effectively turned into a hotel in the midst of a single-family neighborhood, while others want the practice banned entirely, as it was in neighboring Anaheim earlier this year.

One thing is entirely clear, the issue has been thoroughly discussed in meetings of the Fullerton Planning Commission. Their recommendations, as well as the city staff’s, were both included in the agenda item for the council. Though a decision may have serious repercussions for homeowners, it is not a complex issue. Too complex, apparently, for Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, however, who, following numerous comments by members of the public immediately moved to continue the item “to a date uncertain,” with further discussion by the council.  Her proposal included directing city staff to schedule a Study Session, arguing earlier that it was too important an issue to be made on “first reading.”

Council members Chaffee, Flory and Sebourn had very specific recommendations regarding the proposal, having evidently studied the agenda item already, but Jennifer Fitzgerald, just had “so many questions,” still. The entire council backed her bid for a delay, including incumbent candidate Bruce Whitaker, safely putting off the decision until after the election. No such Study Session has been scheduled yet, of course…

Both decisions could have been made in timely fashions instead of delaying each until after Nov. 8, when many voters will certainly consider approval of further development and the integrity of their own neighborhoods when casting votes for council members. Agendas for the Fullerton’s City Council’s meetings have been comparatively light without these items. Voters should consider the willingness of candidates to make a controversial decision right before an election when choosing who has the courage to sit on the Fullerton City Council in the first place.

fitzgerald-str-delay

Jennifer Fitzgerald, had “so many questions,” about Short Term Rentals, but made us all wait until after her bid for re-election on Nov. 8 to find out the answers.

fitzgerald-460

In this Form 460, for example, we see that super-developers The Irvine Company, have contributed $ 1,000.00 to the campaign of Jennifer Fitzgerald…

Voters would do well to understand who is contributing to the campaigns of the twelve people running for Fullerton City Council in 2016, but most people don’t realize how easy it is to find this information.

Candidates are required by state law to periodically file a Form 460 listing cumulative contributions of $100.00 or more from a single source. These contributions are required  with increasing frequency as election day approaches. Candidates are also required to file a Form 497 within 24 hours of receiving an aggregate contribution of $ 1,000 or more from a single source within 90 days of the election. These forms are filed with the City Clerk’s office in Fullerton, and can be found in that section of the city’s website.

Candidates who have chosen to spend less than $ 2,000 file a Form 470 and are not required to open committees for their campaigns.

Political campaign filings are made both by candidates and committees, like Political Action Committees (PACs). Anyone wishing to find out who is contributing to campaigns or committees, or how they spend this money, can follow a few simple links on the City of Fullerton’s own website:

Go to the City of Fullerton’s home page:

http://www.cityoffullerton.com/default.asp

Scroll down to the bottom and click on “City Clerk’s Office,”

http://www.cityoffullerton.com/gov/departments/city_clerk/default.asp

In the sidebar on the left, click on “Elections,” then

http://www.cityoffullerton.com/gov/departments/city_clerk/elections/default.asp

then click on “Campaign Disclosure Form,”

http://docs.cityoffullerton.com/weblink/Browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=91026&cr=1

From there, choose the candidate or committee (PAC) of your choice, then choose “460 Campaign Statements,” which are listed in chronological order. The files are PDFs from scanned hard copies filed with the City Clerk.

If a candidate files late, or files incomplete or misleading information, he or she can be fined by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, as Jennifer Fitzgerald was last year, for failing “to disclose details related to her position at the lobbying firm Curt Pringle & Associates.

http://voiceofoc.org/2015/10/state-fines-fullerton-councilwoman-100-for-late-disclosure/

fullerton-website-campaign-statements

Click on “Active Campaign Committees…”

fullerton-website-active

…and then find the committee in the list.

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