Archives for posts with tag: Downtown Fullerton

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BQ1QQEerGE&feature=youtu.be

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.”

Ass and Hole in the Ground

Two things between which the Fullerton City Council has trouble distinguishing…

Matthew Leslie

Last night the Fullerton City Council responded to a court ordered hearing over which district elections map to put before the voters in November by doubling down on their previous terrible choice of Map # 8A. No one who has witnessed any of the council’s actions in the past months could have reasonably expected any other outcome. Even in the face of legal proceedings that specifically cited the fragmenting of the downtown residential areas as being incompatible with the settlement agreement that should be governing their actions, the Fullerton City Council again chose a map presented by a bar owner that privileges the interests of downtown businesses over the rights of the area’s residents to have unified representation on the council.

Following dozens of public speakers on the subject, a motion by Bruce Whitaker to switch to Map # 11 was supported by Greg Sebourn, but failed to attract the support of any of the other three members of the council. Like Map # 8A, Map # 11 would also likely produce a 3 to 2 Republican majority on the council, but that wasn’t enough to attract the support of Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has favored Map # 8/8A from the beginning. In the end, both Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn joined Mayor Fitzgerald, Jan Flory, and Doug Chaffee in a unanimous decision to stick with the map they all supported last time, the infamous # 8A, that would split up the downtown residential district five ways.

Stupid or corrupt? There are nicer ways to put it, but why bother being polite to council members who simultaneously thumbed their noses at a judge and stuck their thumbs in the eyes of multiple residents who pointed out that fragmenting the downtown residential area would deny representation to a community of interest. The council based their decision on a legal interpretation by attorney Kimberly Barlow of law firm Jones and Mayer, who represented Fullerton at the July 20 court hearing. Despite the fact that the text of the court’s Minute Order, which summarized the proceedings, clearly shows that Judge James Crandall found “some merit” in the plaintiff’s second argument, that Map # 8A “inappropriately splits the downtown region into multiple districts, thus violating community interest principles” inherent to the Voting Rights Act and the election code governing its application, Ms. Barlow argued that the judge would ultimately allow the map to pass muster.

The relevant paragraphs from the document are reproduced below, with added boldface for emphasis:

The court finds that plaintiff’s second argument has some merit, however. According to Article 21, section 2 of the California Constitution, a community of interest “is a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation. Examples of such shared interests are those common to an urban area, a rural area, an industrial area, or an agricultural area, and those common to areas in which the people share similar living standards, use the same transportation facilities, have similar work opportunities, or have access to the same media of communication relevant to the election process.” Id. at subd.(d)(4). It is unclear how the division of the downtown area of the city gives appropriate consideration to this principle. If anything, division of the downtown area among the five districts in Map 8A does not honor the contiguity of the population living there, and their shared interests in that area. While supporters of Map 8 and Map 8A at the Council meetings expressed the idea that all Fullerton residents should have an interest in the downtown area, it is unclear how many of these supporters actually reside in the downtown area, as opposed to simply owning businesses there…’

‘The City contends that Section 21601’s factors are permissive, and not mandatory. While this might ordinarily be true, the parties’ Settlement Agreement requires that the electoral district map be drawn in accordance with those criteria. Map 8A would seem to run afoul of at least one of those factors, in addition to being adopted through a process completely antithetical to that contemplated by the Agreement.’

Let’s read that last line again…

“…completely antithetical to that contemplated by the Agreement”! (!!!!!!)*

And yet, the council chose to listen to their own lawyer tell them what they wanted to hear, that the court record was somehow not accurate, and that she herself was confident that the judge would allow Map # 8A to be placed on the ballot in November. Indeed, Ms. Barlow was so confident in her interpretation of the proceeding that the Minute Order document wasn’t even included in the staff report to the council members in the meeting’s agenda! We have to wonder if the council even considered the consequences of Ms. Barlow being wrong. The court is scheduled to take up the matter again during a Status Conference on August 8th, and all indications are that the judge expects to see a new map.

Even the OC Register got it right last week, reporting on the July 20 hearing: “Fullerton told to find new map for district election ballot measure.

If the old map isn’t good enough for the judge, as it wasn’t on July 20, the council will have a scant three days to choose another map to put on the ballot for the November election. Despite the well-organized opposition to it, more than one member of the council has counterintuitively argued that Map # 8A has the best chance of voter approval with the district elections measure at the ballot box. Not a single member of the Fullerton City Council favors district-based elections anyway, so I would expect them to do exactly nothing more to try to fix this mess. We’ll just have to wait for the lawyer bills to find out how much the council’s intransigence will cost the taxpayers.

 

  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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