Who Makes Decisions for the City? Developers, Special Interest Groups, or the Voters of Fullerton?
Shopoff Realty Investments purchased Sunrise Village, a commercially-zoned 12-acre site at Rosecrans and Euclid, over a year ago. Their intention is to push out the remaining small business owners and demolish the site, with the intent to build a massive residential development.
From the very beginning, before any meetings had taken place with City officials, Shopoff held on to an assumption that a zone change would be easily acquired without the need for input from those neighborhoods most likely to be affected.
The developer has influenced their way into our city giving large financial gifts to City events and local organizations in order to gain support from key members in our community at the expense of our neighborhood.
They continued to plow ahead, pushing up termination dates on leases for a number of Sunrise Village business owners that were not set to expire for a number of years. They took advantage of these Korean American immigrant business owners by manipulating them into believing they had no choice but to leave. Close to 50% of District 1 is of Asian descent, yet where is the equity when it comes to having small business opportunities close to home?
The mission of the North Orange County Chamber (formerly Fullerton Chamber of Commerce) states their purpose is to help further the interests of small businesses in local areas and to keep these small businesses alive. Yet, it is obvious that their preference is not to support the Korean American small business owners at Sunrise Village. It appears they have chosen to support Shopoff’s plan to push out existing businesses. Inclusiveness does not appear to be part of their vision for the City.
Mayor Fred Jung said we need accountability and responsive leadership in supporting our local Korean American businesses as he has acknowledged the challenges and struggles they experience while trying to make a living.
Integrity and respect for the process of collaboration with this project has been shameful from the residents’ perspective. Shopoff has used every tactic available to get what they want.
1. Sunrise Village IS STILL ZONED COMMERCIAL. Why does City Council allow the developer to focus 99% of their entire presentation on the assumption that the site will become residential? Are we being left out of closed-door discussions that should have been public? Who’s running the show? Is it the developer?
2. Shopoff has given numerous and undisclosed amounts money to organizations and City events throughout Fullerton. We question when a gift or donation becomes a bribe.
3. Shopoff representatives damaged the reputation of a Korean American business owner by publicly stating confidential information about them.
4. Misrepresenting to city council the extent of their public outreach. Most of the neighbors found out about the proposed development from other neighbors and business owners and not from developer outreach.
5. Shopoff has publicly challenged the validity of our over 2,600 legal and legitimate signatures on our Save Sunrise Village petitions.
6. Korean American immigrant small business owners have felt pressured and even intimidated to close or leave their businesses by Shopoff’s tactics. These business owners may not have understood their protections under our legal system.
We do not have balance in our system of governance in Fullerton, as residents are denied any opportunity to speak at Council meetings for more than three minutes each. The developer, on the other hand, has unlimited time campaigning for their project while spreading misinformation. And City Council always allows them to have the last word.
If there was integrity in the process, we would be discussing how to REVITALIZE this commercially zoned space. Integrity in the process would mean we work within the current zoning with the intention of creating a balanced community. If there was integrity in the process, we would not succumb to the pressure this developer, Shopoff Realty Investments.
To learn more contact SaveSunriseVillage@yahoo.com.
Community Members Silenced at City Council Meeting
by Jere Greene
A full house of constituents who showed up to the June 21 City Council meeting to express their opposition to the Pines at Sunrise Village development were caught off guard when the item was continued and they were admonished to only speak about the continuance, but not to give their views on the project itself.
Mayor Fred Jung had the City Attorney explain that the developer had requested a continuance, and that was within his right to do so. Many of those who chose to speak complained of the last minute and unannounced continuance. Some felt this was an effort to silence them.
Concerned residents come to meetings and wait long hours and then are only allowed three minutes when finally allowed to speak.
When the council finally voted to approve the continuance, most of the audience left the council chambers.
Outside, they expressed their frustration and their inability to present the petition that has over 2,600 signatures of people objecting to converting the commercial property to a housing development. Sunrise Village Shopping Center on the corner of Euclid and Rosecrans was severely neglected by the property management and the tenants were subjected to rent hikes and poor maintenance. The Sunrise Village Pharmacy had to close after being broken into through the wall of the boarded up neighboring store which the management took no responsibility for.
The item has been continued to the July 19 meeting.
Categories: Community Voices