Archives for posts with tag: Fullerton 2016 Elections

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District Elections in Fullerton might have been a good way to elect a more diverse council that would better reflect the ethnic makeup of the city, but the map adopted by the Fullerton City Council to effect that change, as reflected in Measure ii, is so bad that voters should vote against it.

Measure ii proposes splitting up Fullerton into five separate voting districts, each of which would elect a single member to the Fullerton City Council. It came into being as a result of two separate lawsuits claiming that the current system of at-large elections disenfranchises minority voters, in this case Latino and Asians, by diluting their votes in a citywide election. Dividing the city into different districts was meant to remedy the problem of underrepresentation on the city council by establishing individual districts that would presumably allow members from Latino or Asian majority districts the power to elect council members of their choice.

The settlement agreement with the plaintiffs who sued the city to force district elections required that the city adopt a map to put before the voters, along with the question of whether or not to adopt the district system at all, resulting in Measure ii. Unfortunately, Fullerton’s City Council adopted a map so bad that even people who support the concept of district elections should vote against Measure ii to prevent the adoption of this map.

When presented with numerous maps following a months-long process that involved both public workshops and the opportunity for anyone to submit a map using online software from the city’s website, the Fullerton City Council selected a map put forward by the owner of a downtown bar and restaurant, someone who acknowledged that he didn’t attend a single community workshop. Instead of serving to establish community-based districts that preserve neighborhoods and followed natural boundaries, this atrocious map cuts through neighborhoods and conveniently separates current council members’ residences form one another, keeping them from having to run against one another in the future.

It’s backers make the absurd argument that a few streets and intersections that comprise Fullerton’s downtown, now largely an entertainment district, should be split up five ways to give every resulting voting district a “voice” in what goes on there. The effect, of course, is just the opposite. The slender tendrils that stretch into the downtown area from every edge of the city split up the whole historic downtown residential neighborhood area, splintering the voices of thousands of residents into five other districts instead of giving them a district of their own. Not uncoincidentally, the greater downtown corridor streets are where most of the high density developments are planned. Robbing downtown area residents of a single unified voice in the planning of this area does a disservice not only to these voters, but to the entire city itself.

Readers may reference an earlier post by the Rag that counters the disingenuous argument made by our current Mayor, Jennifer Fitzgerald, in favor of Measure ii:

https://fullertonrag.com/2016/07/10/jennifer-fitzgeralds-ballot-argument-in-favor-of-district-elections-is-misleading-and-patronizing/

District Elections will almost certainly come to Fullerton soon, as they have to Anaheim, Garden Grove, Buena Park, and other nearby cities, but we don’t have to adopt a terrible map that serves the interests of a few business owners and incumbent council members to get there. The Rag strongly recommends voting NO on Measure ii.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald with Andy Dick and event organizer Brian Bartholomew, after Thursday night’s performance where the comedian made reference to autistic people as “retards.” Photo from the Hornet, credited to Joshua Miranda

“I really appreciate that he came to Fullerton and shared his comedy with our city.” 

–Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, referring to actor Andy Dick, who had that night used the word “retard” to refer to autistic people during the annual Comedy Show for Autism.

According to an October 20 article in Fullerton College’s newspaper The Hornet, comedian Andy Dick used the word “retard” in reference to autistic people during a charity event Thursday night meant to raise awareness of the condition itself. Event organizers Fullerton Cares quickly released a statement distancing themselves “from (Dick’s) statement onstage and emphasize that we do not condone or endorse this type of language,” referring to the actor’s “slur.” The statement went on to “apologize deeply to anyone who was affected by this language.” (see illustration below)

According to the Hornet Andy Dick ‘“began speaking on his brother who has just passed away, but that his brother had been dying for “twenty years” and had been asking Dick for money, to which Dick said “That’s why I’m in Fullerton for retards.”” Half of the attendees reportedly left the main room of the Fullerton Ballroom as the comedian was booed from the audience.

Andy Dick himself later apologized, writing in a statement “I shouldn’t use that word.”

Incredibly, Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, who attended the benefit show, was wiling to defend the unpredictable actor’s comments, saying “I really appreciate that he came to Fullerton and shared his comedy with our city. I think this isn’t the last your (sic) going to see of him, that is not the word that will define him,” and “I know Andy Dick in his heart, and his personal connection with autism and I think that it’s more than one word. I think he regrets the use of that but that in fairness we need to look at the whole body of who he is and who his family is.” (Andy Dick referred to himself in the article as being “slightly autistic,” saying “I honestly feel that I’m on the spectrum,” but it is unclear in the article whether or not Mr. Dick has ever been formally diagnosed with the disorder.)

Fullerton resident Kris Hanna had more sense than Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, telling the Hornet that she thought it was “crossing the line to say what he said about autistic people.” Another attendee, Fred Allen, said of Andy Dick’s comments ‘“Off cuff, should be better suited for where he’s at, especially the retard shit man, America’s a beautiful place and you shouldn’t take advantage of what America’s good for.”’

Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald should reconsider supporting unsupportable behavior, and keep in mind that when she speaks to the media, even a local college newspaper, she will be viewed on some level as representing the City of Fullerton, even if many would prefer that she wasn’t in the position to do so.

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Fulleton Cares had enough sense to criticize Andy Dick. Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald? Not so much.

 

Insurance salesmen like blue shirts…

On September 29, 2016 the League of Women Voters of North Orange County hosted a forum for candidates running for Fullerton City Council in November. Ten of the twelve candidates running for the three open seats on the council participated, including two incumbents. Candidates all responded to the same questions submitted by audience members, but asked by a LWV moderator. Candidates were given two minutes each for an opening statement and one minute for a closing statement. The video is just over two hours in length, and is posted to the Fullerton Rag’s YouTube channel.

The LWV requests that the video not be edited for political purposes. For this reason, any commentary I make on the forum will be made by referencing time stamps in the complete video. There were some problems with the microphones at times during the proceedings, leading to intermittent dropped amplification and candidates passing microphones down the long table.

Participating candidates were, in order of randomly drawn speaking order: Joshua Ferguson, Jennifer Fitzgerald (incumbent), Larry Bennett, Joe Imbriano, Jesus Silva, Jane Rands, Charles Sargeant, Jonathan Mansoori, Bruce Whitaker (incumbent), and Susan Gapinski. The forum was quite well attended, with most of the seats in the Fullerton Public Library’s Community Room filled by interested voters.

Questions asked of the candidates included…

How would they make more affordable housing available?

What was their position on the proposed development of Coyote Hills?

Did they think that the District Elections map proposed by the city council diluted the votes of downtown residents?

Would they allow marijuana dispensaries in Fullerton?

What would they do about unsustainable public pension obligations?

What would be their two top priorities if elected?

What is your position on the proposed closure of Nutwood Ave. for the College Town specific plan?

What is your position on the closure of the Hunt Branch Library?

Do you support the plan for renovating Hillcrest Park?

This video was recorded by City of Fullerton staff, and was downloaded from the City of Fullerton’s website. It can also be viewed there at this link:

http://fullerton.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=801

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