Archives for posts with tag: Grace Ministries

A new website to save the Hunt Branch Library is now online. Community members are encouraged to follow the site for news about efforts to keep the city from selling this unique facility for a quick buck.

The Hunt Branch Library building is a significant mid-century modernist structure owned by the City of Fullerton. We believe it is in imminent danger of being sold, and have organized a group of private citizens to ensure that the building remains in the hands of the people of Fullerton, and used to benefit the community.

The William Pereira designed Hunt Branch Library was a gift to the City of Fullerton from the Norton Simon Foundation in 1962. For decades it served as only one of two branches of the Fullerton Public Library, until being closed in 2013 and eventually  leased to neighboring Grace Ministries International (GMI) for $ 1,500.00 per month. This arrangement was said to be temporary while GMI renovated their adjacent headquarters, the former Hunt Food & Industries headquarters, also designed by Pereira. However, the lease has continued through 2018.  When the lease was approved, the public was promised that the city would support efforts to obtain historic preservation status for the structure, but such protection has not yet occurred.

Instead, at least one member of the Fullerton City Council, current Mayor Doug Chaffee, has repeatedly said that he favors selling the library, and there is reason to believe that at least one other council member supports the idea. It would only take three members of the council to approve a sale. We adamantly oppose the inclusion of the Hunt building on a list of city properties to be considered for sale, and urge it’s immediate removal from this list.

We believe that the Hunt Library building can be used in any number of ways to directly benefit the community for many years to come. This precious gift to our city should not be thrown away for a one time windfall. We invite you to join us by following this blog and contacting us to become involved in this effort to preserve an architectural gem and an irreplaceable community asset.

Matthew Leslie

A remarkable thing happened during the August 2 Fullerton City Council meeting. During the long period of comments offered by members of the public, one in the parade of stooges supporting Map  8A, the bar owner map, admitted that it was indeed about development. Referencing his own half term as Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s appointee to the Fullerton Planning Commission, Sam Han cited the need for all five council members to have a voice in planning developments downtown.

Of course, every city council member is responsible for planning decisions all over the city now, and would be under a district elections system too. What Mr. Han and his fellow Stooges for Fitzgerald find alarming is the idea that a member might be elected by the downtown area residents to make the case for responsible planning decisions in the area, instead of packing it with cheap high-rise apartments. Map 8A idiotically divides the downtown into five pieces, robbing the area residents of a community voice.

Calling Downtown Fullerton the “face of our community, moving forward,” Sam Han stated that “when you have planning decisions, every city council (member) has to be responsible for those planning decisions, and I fear that if we go with Map 2B, yes, I agree there are merits to both maps, but I think in Map 8A the long term strategic planning of our city from what downtown could become, it would be more wise for the council to adopt those decisions.”

One could hope that Mr. Han’s sermons are better composed and delivered than his wandering comments at public meetings, but we take his point to be that it’s all about development.

Note that Sam Han clearly stated, this time, that he spoke only on behalf of himself and his family. The last time I wrote about Sam Han it was to question his claim that his words of support for Map 8 (now 8A) were on behalf of the “five thousand members of our church” referring to Grace Ministries, an almost exclusively Korean-American Church located on Brookhurst and Commonwealth, where he serves as a pastor.* (See Jesus Loves the Nightlife?…).

Earlier in his comments Mr. Han acknowledged that many other members of the Korean community were there that night to support a different map, and oppose Map 8A, but that he disagreed with them. Their support for a different map was a wise choice on their part, since each of the three other maps drew an Asian voting majority in the northwest area of Fullerton. Only the makers of Map 8A, supported by Mr. Han and his patron, Mayor Fitzgerald, somehow managed to formulate a northwest district without a majority Asian voting population, quite the high wire act. Jennifer Fitzgerald happens to live in what would be the northwest district in Map 8A. Coincidence that it doesn’t have an Asian voting majority? What do you think…?


*When he is not serving as District Representative for 68th District Sate Senator Donald P. Wagner (R).

Sam Han

Grace Ministries Pastor and Republican State Senator District Director Sam Han, going to bat for the map the bar owners want.

Matthew Leslie
“My name is Sam Han, I’m a resident of the City of Fullerton. I’m also here representing Grace Ministries…,” said Samuel “Sam” Han to the Fullerton City Council on the evening of May 17, speaking during a public hearing about which district elections map to send to voters in November. After noting his service as a former Planning Commissioner, he offered a series of observations about the Korean-American community in Fullerton before stating “we don’t believe that the downtown area should just be monopolized by one member.” He continued, eventually offering support for the efforts of Downtown Fullerton’s bar owners to have all five proposed voting districts converge at the intersections of Harbor Blvd. and Chapman or Harbor and Commonwealth. This opinion, supporting the bar owners’ Map # 8, was offered “on behalf of the five thousand members of our church,” a sizable, primarily Korean-American church located on Commonwealth and Brookhurst, where Mr. Han serves as an Associate Pastor.

GMI Exterior

Grace Ministries…why do it’s 5,000 members care about what Fullerton’s bar owners want?

I’ve transcribed some of Mr. Han’s comments below so readers can try to follow the slender, meandering thread of reasoning he followed to reach his conclusion that a megachurch should take a position on a city’s district elections map, and, in particular, make a specific recommendation to have the district that would contain their church rub up against alcohol-saturated Downtown Fullerton.*

‘…over the years as we’ve worked together with the city council we’ve come to find that you have been receptive, at least to our voice, and some of the needs we have in our community. I will say that the district, unfortunately, creates a situation where you have one city council member who may be more interested in the voices of their particular constituency as opposed to the rest of the city. Koreans don’t just live in one district, we live in multiple districts throughout the city, and we would hope that rest of the members of the city council, even if we’re not a majority in your district, that you would still be attentive to our voices as well. With that being said, as a former planning commissioner myself, I’ve worked though many decisions on the dias, working with business owners downtown…”

And finally…

“I feel the map 8 would actually do a better job at representing a lot of our voices because the downtown area should be considered by all the members.”

We heard the same counterintuitive approach voiced by council candidate Larry Bennett, who replaced Mr. Han in 2014 on Fullerton’s Planning Commission as Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald’s appointee. It didn’t sound any more convincing coming from Mr. Bennett, which is perhaps why Mr. Han took such a long and circuitous path to try to sound persuasive. He didn’t.


Outside the Slidebar: What Would Jesus Drink?

Readers will rightly wonder why two successive Planning Commissioners, both appointed by Ms. Fitzgerald, would rush to support a badly drawn map offered by, of all people, Jeremy Popoff, drummer for the band Lit, and owner of Downtown Fullerton’s Slidebar. The Slidebar is a popular place, but I’m guessing that on any given night it is probably not much populated by very many of the “five thousand” members of the Grace Ministries congregation.

To answer the question of why a megachurch whose congregants certainly don’t all live in Fullerton would send a representative to speak on behalf of a bar owners’ proposed map of the city’s possible election districts, we might refer to Mr. Han’s other gig as District Representative for 68th District Sate Senator Donald P. Wagner, a Republican.

Sam Han Collage.jpg

Sam Han didn’t mention his day job…

As noted in our post about Larry Bennett’s support for this ridiculous map, three of Map # 8’s five districts have Republican majorities, leaving only two districts with Democratic Party registrant majorities. Perhaps it just sounded better to have bar owners argue that everyone should “touch” a piece of the action downtown and have a pastor from a megachurch agree with them than it did to have two Republicans appointed by Jennifer Fitzgerald argue for a map that would likely preserve that party’s majority on the Fullerton City Council.

*(Maps #2B  and Map # 11 both group GMI with a west-side district that doesn’t reach downtown; Map #10 includes GMI with all of the downtown).

%d bloggers like this: