Archives for posts with tag: Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald
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Destruction of public property…

In the early morning hours following election celebrations in downtown Fullerton, City Manager Joe Felz drove his car over a curb in a residential neighborhood, mowing down a young tree in the parkway and leaving pieces of his vehicle there. According to neighbors, he eventually freed the car from the curb and drove it down the street for a short distance, effectively leaving the scene of an accident that involved damage to public property. The police who responded to the call of a concerned neighbor described him as emitting an odor of alcohol. The Chief of Police, set to retire just two days later, was called. He reportedly gave instructions for a field sobriety test, which Mr. Felz reportedly passed. No other test for alcohol inebriation was given, as far as we know, and Mr Felz was driven to his nearby home, evidently without any legal citation.

Although a final report of the incident is supposed to be forthcoming (?), the circumstances raise too many questions for Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald to remain silent. Residents may reasonably ask whether or not the City Manager was given special treatment by the outgoing Chief of Police, or by the officers at the scene, who would certainly not have called the Chief if just about anyone else had been discovered in similar circumstances. In light of unconfirmed reports that those officers were not happy about driving Mr. Felz home without further action, an independent investigation is needed, including a review of the officers’ body cams.

Now that the story has been picked up by the news media, including KCAL 9 News, who aired a segment about it last night, Mayor Fitzgerald needs to make a statement about what the city intends to do to reassure Fullerton residents that the situation will be resolved in a fair, just, and transparent manner. Four years ago three members of the Fullerton City Council, including sitting Mayor Dick Jones, were swept from office for their inadequate response to a more serious, but similarly disconcerting incident, when a man was effectively beaten to death by officers of the Fullerton Police Department for no evident reason. A perceived lack of action on the part of city officials left Fullerton under national scrutiny while Chief of Police Michael Sellers embarked on a vacation.

As of today, Fullerton has no Chief of Police because Michael Sellers’ replacement Dan Hughes has left the position to go work for Disneyland. His interim replacement will be named by City Manager Joe Felz. This arrangement is intolerable under the present circumstances, and the Mayor and City Council of Fullerton need to communicate what they are going to do about it, now.

 

 

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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.

 

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