Archives for posts with tag: fullerton city council

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.

 

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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.

City Hall

Matthew Leslie

 

It’s an ugly day when a municipality sues its own residents in an effort to seize back digital files left unguarded on its own website.* By now readers should be aware that the City of Fullerton is suing the publishers of the Friends for Fullerton’s Future (FFFF) blog over the blog’s publication of numerous files obtained without authorization, but without evident illegal activity–despite claims by the city attorney–from a Dropbox folder (mis)managed by the city itself. A court has already refused the city’s request to have the servers and computers associated with the bloggers seized and examined, and the order the city did obtain at the same hearing enjoining FFFF from further publishing the materials in question has just today been stayed by an appeals court.

The Fullerton City Council is wasting its time and our money on a lawsuit that will almost certainly be decided against the city on free speech grounds. Courts have long held against lawsuits that constitute prior restraint when it comes to a free press, and there is no reason to think the city’s case will end any differently. Just yesterday The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed an amicus brief in support of FFFF. The RCFP characterizes the suit as “A brazen misuse of computer crime laws against journalists.” (Speaking of laws, if FFFF did break the law by accessing the files in question, why have they not been criminally charged for doing so?)

The decision to sue FFFF and some of its named bloggers was made in closed session on September 17, but only reported this past Tuesday when the City Attorney during a meeting of the City Council finally acknowledged what should have been reported over a month and a half ago.  At the time the Fullerton City Council’s unanimous vote to initiate legal proceedings against FFFF for publishing stories referencing city employee personnel files might have seemed the responsible thing to do, on some level, in order to protect the privacy of the employees and diminish the chances of the city itself being sued by them for its own abysmal failure to secure such sensitive files in the first place. Either way, they ought have known that their chances of prevailing were slim, and ought to have had legal counsel tell them so.

Readers can decide for themselves whether or not they approve of FFFF’s tactics, but there is no denying that they have exposed some questionable practices by city management. Our government shouldn’t use litigation to shield itself from public scrutiny, especially when it is transparency itself that is in question. Suing to save face is an irresponsible use of public funds. A full hearing of the case is scheduled for November 21, but it’s hard to imagine that the case will ultimately stop publication of any files at this point. The city should cut its losses and drop the case now.

*(For coverage of the case see Spencer Custodio’s reporting in the Voice of OC)

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Matthew Leslie

At 5:30 p.m., May 7, the Fullerton City Council will hold a Study Session about the Hunt Library in the council chambers located at 303 W. Commonwealth Ave. The purpose of the session is to discuss “identifying and prioritizing future potential uses of the Hunt Branch Library as recommended by the Library Ad Hoc Committee.”

The full agenda report can be found at this link: https://fullerton.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3936489&GUID=0CB906F8-716A-4A3B-B07B-EDE3C7FB972E

The page includes a copy of the Library Ad Hoc Committee’s report to the Fullerton City Council, as well as a letter from the Library Board of Trustees, who wrote that “We endorse the goals presented by the Library Ad Hoc Committee, and we agree with their first priorities emphasizing a broad spectrum of literacy programs. This priority would include Art, Culture, Museum Uses, Events, Activities and Classes which would benefit the larger Fullerton community.”

On February 1 of this year the council directed city staff to schedule the study session in order to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) to be issued by the city. Non-profits or other outside agencies could respond to the RFP with proposals to operate on the site, providing programming in accordance with list of prioritized uses identified by the Library Ad Hoc Committee (literary, arts and culture, events, classes, etc.).

The staff report for May 7 recommends developing an RFP to solicit partner organizations to not only provide compatible programming in accordance with those suggested by the Ad Hoc Committee, but also one that would obtain “grants and other funding for capital and other improvements to the building and grounds to modernize its technology ability, make it accessibility compliant, and to repair and / or replace necessary plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems,” suggesting that the city is not prepared to make these investments.

The agenda report anticipates considering responses to an issued RFP sometime before the end of this year.

The study session represents a valuable opportunity for supporters to attend and voice their support for keeping the Hunt Library in the public realm.

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