Community Voices

City Council Notes: June 6 Meeting

Organizations, Recognitions, and Announcements

Fullerton Scholastic Chess Champions

The Fullerton Scholastic Chess Champions were presented by Lions Club’s Pete Baron, who has organized the annual event for 16 years. Certificates from the State Assembly and City were presented to the winners. Mr. Baron stated the Chess Club’s two mottos are “Win with Grace, Lose with Dignity” and “Every Mistake is an Opportunity to Learn.”

Two major tournaments are held yearly at Ladera Vista Jr. High, supported by the Fullerton School District. The Morrison Scholastic tournament, organized by Dewain Barber, is open to all and draws up to 150 participants. The City Chess Championship is open to Fullerton residents only and usually attracts about 60 students – although 80 signed up this year. For more information about the event, visit The events include over 5000 volunteer hours.

Memorial Day

The Memorial Day presentation by Ed Paul of the American Legion Veterans Post 142. Mr. Paul said 4,400 flags are placed on veteran graves. He thanked the city’s Landscape, Fire, and Police departments and numerous volunteers and civic groups involved. Mr. Paul and the American Legion received a certificate of appreciation from the city and state. See page 15 for more on this year’s event.


National Gun Violence Awareness Day Proclamation

Councilmember Shana Charles presented National Gun Violence Awareness Day Proclamation to Moms Demand Action on behalf of the council. June is National Gun Violence Month. Gisala Tanner, who lost her son Elis Reed to gun violence in Fullerton, accepted the proclamation from the city and state. She thanked the mayor, council, and city manager and gave special praise to Police Chief Dunn and the police force for their remarkable work protecting the community. The proclamation read in part, “120 people are killed by gun violence, and over 200 wounded every day, with an average of 17,000 gun homicides in the US annually.”


Public Comments

•AMERIGE PARKING: Diane Sweeny asked the council to pass permitted overnight parking in her area on and around Amerige, where homes were built over 100 years ago without adequate parking. “Pass it for the whole area instead of street by street.” Vanessa Brendage agreed and asked the council to rescind overnight parking because “our tiny homes lack parking, and driveways are too short,” she said, “Many of us wanted permit parking, but this would be a good start.”

•BAKER/HIGHLAND POLICE PATROLS NEEDED: Alma Chavez and Sonia asked that more resources be given to the police for expanded enforcement in the Baker and Highland area where thefts and drugs occur. “We need more security.” Araceli Degante said that many vehicles are being broken into at her apartment complex, where surveillance cameras are not working. “We need more police patrols. Can the city help us?”

• LEMON & VALENCIA: Todd and Yolanda Harrison spoke about the intersection, which is still dangerous even with new signs. They asked for more traffic enforcement. Mrs. Harrison also suggested the city hire the homeless to keep streets clean of trash.

•PALM GARDENS PARKING & BREAK-INS: Mira Figora said, “We get tickets every night. Please help us. I have four tickets since Friday.” Sandra Mejia asked, “Could the city give neighbors permits to park overnight?” Carmen Nava, a single mother and Palm Garden resident who got tickets, said there is no sign prohibiting parking. “We need permission to park on Orangethorpe from 2 am-5 am.” Residents Kevin Ortega and Reesa Rameriz also spoke about parking problems. Ramirez said, “We have break-ins, but nothing is being done. The alarm system and cameras are not working properly. We need more enforcement and security.”

•JUNE 21st DAY OF MUSIC: Organizer Todd Huffman gave the city $7,500 to restore the piano crosswalk on Wilshire and Pomona and for A Night in Fullerton. See pages 10 & 11 for DAY of MUSIC Information.

•ASSOCIATED ROAD SAFETY & BIKE PLAN: Vince Buck said he understood staff had been given direction to not reconfigure the road for safety. He talked about safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and residents turning left out of their apartments, having to cross lanes and many incidents when he viewed cars swerving into the bike lane, which is dangerous. “Buffering would help. The staff analysis is based on national safety data of streets with under 20,000 vehicles. A lot of information is available showing the improved safety for all with the new plan. I would like to see those stats presented and know why each council member accepts or denies making the street safer.”

Anjali Tapadia said that, at the last meeting where Associated Road improvements were presented, council wasted months of staff’s time and should have had a transparent, publicly recorded vote on the plan instead of just scrapping it. She countered Mayor Protem Whitaker’s statement at the last council meeting that cars are the most efficient mass transit; rather, they are the least efficient by every measurable metric, including deaths, injuries, pollution, and more. In California, cars only cover 60% of the infrastructure needed to support them, meaning that we all support the remaining 40% whether we drive or not. The most efficient transportation are bicycles.

There should be equal safety for all forms of transportation. She said where bike safety infrastructure had been improved, bike usage had gone up dramatically. Our roads are not currently safe for bikes. She said there is support for the Associated Road Plan, but only a small portion of the public was notified of the meeting. Caller Munish said that when proper notice was given, residents came out in droves and made their feelings clear. We have many issues in the city and must stop taking staff away from their serious work. He brought up the dangerous lack of a signal at Entrada and Harbor. How much time has passed and a signal is still not in place at that intersection? All because the staff is pulled away to try and appease a small number of people. Our needs far outweigh our resources. We have to pay attention to issues that matter.

• HOMELESS SERVICES: Curtis Gamble talked about the benefits of a community-funded Cash-Up Card. This works like a credit card allowing various purchases such as rent, food, gas, electricity, and other services. He said the city housing element should allow tiny homes and safe RV Parking areas. The Point of Time annual count showed over 300 people living on the streets. He pointed out that the Dec 2016 settlement of the lawsuit Curtis Gamble vs. City of Fullerton* provided two temporary restrooms to be installed at the Fullerton Transportation Center. (*The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by OC Legal Aid Society on behalf of Gamble.

The successful settlement also included enacting zoning rules that could enable homeless shelters to be built in more locations around the city, a $1 million commitment toward very low-income housing, and paying Legal Aid OC and Western Center on Law & Poverty $475,000 in legal fees). He mentioned that the emergency homeless shelter at Independence Park had been closed in March. He went on to list the multi-millions in funding for homeless services that the city has received through state and federal grants, and areas like the Hunt Library and a portion of the new industrial center, which could include shelters. “It is time we work together to better serve the homeless and low-income in our community,” he said.

•CITYWIDE TAX TO FIX STREETS: Larry Imoshi said, “I came to celebrate the chess champions; however since I am here, I want to discuss civic pride. Our streets are in disarray – if your streets are not in good shape, you are not welcoming. I think we should be looking at a tax specifically for the streets. If it is just for the streets, I think it will pass. Also, since several other cities use our streets but don’t help maintain them – look for regional grants from the county.”

•ENTRADA & HARBOR: Maureen Milton said, “Only right turns should be made on both sides at that dangerous intersection on Entrada and Harbor until a signal light can be installed (several years from now). And the new development on State College needs another entrance and exit or it will have the same problem.”

•APARTMENT PARKING: Caller ZJ thanked Police Chief Dunn and his crew for stopping illegal parking on South Gilbert. He said before buying his house, he was an apartment dweller and lived all over the city. The places I moved into typically had one and a half parking spaces per unit, and you had to pay an extra monthly fee to get the other half of the parking space – which people didn’t do – preferring to park on the street instead. The apartment complex had 30 empty spots that were not rented. Santa Ana solved the same problem with a homeowner-only permit parking system.

• COUNCILMEMBER COMPLAINTS: Bernard Oh railed again against Mayor Jung for not recognizing employee work and not working to increase revenue in the city. In contrast he praised Councilmember Zahra for actually caring about staff and residents. Camden Dun called to complain that Councilmember Zahra was absent from the last meeting and didn’t even bother calling in. [Zahra was in Syria visiting family.] He said Zahra and everyone who voted to give away the $30 million plot of public land at the Transportation Center on East Santa Fe to a commercial hotel developer should be recalled. He said affordable housing should be built there – not a corporate giveaway.


Jesus Silva was appointed to sit on the Parks & Rec Commission by Councilmember Ahmad Zahra who thanked all who applied for the position. Approved 5-0.

Councilmember Reports

• Councilmember Dr. Ahmad Zahra apologized for being absent at the last council meeting. He was out of the country visiting family members in Syria who he had not seen for 13 years. He was unable to Zoom due to security reasons and time zone conflicts. He spoke briefly about the ongoing conditions in Syria, including massive poverty and rebuilding efforts after a 13-year war. People are living on $10-$15 a month. He stated that it really gives perspective on how lucky we are to live in the US. “It was wonderful to see my family, but I am happy to be back home,” he said. “On the issue of parking, I am looking forward to seeing solutions come back. I hope we can look into the tickets and the cameras. Tenants at 400 Baker are being charged for security cameras, but they aren’t working. I hope we can look into those issues and increase patrols in the area. I want to wish everyone a happy Pride month. This is the month to celebrate diversity and our LBGTQ community and recognize all the struggles to get to the point where we can be who we are like everyone else. I want to thank the Museum Center for a wonderful 2nd Annual Pride Festival and bike parade in the downtown plaza. It was a fantastic family event.”

•Councilmember Dr. Shana Charles thanked all the public speakers and invited anyone interested to her open office hours, 12 to 2 pm on Thursdays at city hall. She asked City Manager Eric Levitt when staff would be presenting to the council on possible parking solutions such as neighborhood permits and overnight parking ban alternatives. CM Levitt said that team was working on it but didn’t have a time set yet. Charles said since this is such an important issue to so many residents, she hoped to see it before the council sooner rather than later. She went on to speak about Associated Road, saying that the road work going on now that has the street down to one lane in each direction had to do with fiber optics going in, and she found no problems driving the single lanes. She stated, “The bike lanes aren’t used enough because they aren’t safe, but lights are on the way. We are still working on the issues and can hopefully accommodate increased safety and the folks who want four lanes.” She thanked police and fire for all the overtime working on creating safety at all the graduations and Memorial Day as well. She invited everyone to her Chapman Park Community Meeting event on June 21 at 4 pm.

•Councilmember Nick Dunlap asked for contact information for the apartment complex mentioned to see if the city could help out in some way. He conducted tours at City Hall for Golden Hill third graders and Golden Hill/Laguna Road area Girl Scouts 120, who presented climate change concerns in a petition to the city. He congratulated the Fullerton High School Softball team, who won the CIF title this weekend. The team will come to the council when they return from their road trip.

•Mayor Fred Jung reported a 4% vacancy rate for retail and industrial citywide. He asked CM Levitt to address the concerns some of the speakers presented, including updates on the Associated Road issues. “We will follow up with Chief Dunn on the crime and camera issues,” CM Levitt said. “Our understanding from the council was to keep the four lanes on Associated as they are now. The Yorba Linda to Bastanchury concrete work is starting June 28, and the pavement work in mid-July, with completion expected by mid-August. The North segment, Bastanchury to Imperial, is expected to begin in early July, and significant utility, water, and sewer work must be completed before pavement.” Mayor Jung asked City Attorney Jones if there needed to be a vote on the Associated issues. Attorney Jones said since the council took no action, that wasn’t necessary. Mayor Jung said Associated Road would be returning, so that council could make a decision.

•Mayor Protem Bruce Whitaker said this is D-Day and spoke about its importance at the end of World War II. There are fewer than 3,000 WWII veterans still living.


CM Levitt gave a quick overview of highlights saying that the city’s fiscal condition has improved and is stable. The city has achieved a credit rating of AA. Revenues are at an all-time high and have increased by 19% since 2021/22. There is a 17% contingency reserve which is projected to be maintained through fiscal year 2024/25. $14.5 million is allocated for streets in fiscal year 2023/24 with the proposed budget including set-aside to ensure the city continues to receive M2 matching funds for street repaving.

A more indepth Budget Report was presented by Economic Director Ellis Chang and her team, Purchasing Manager Steven Avalos and Analyst Cindy Barrios with the following graphs. The entire budget is available online at

Manager Steven Avalos presented the changes made to the budget after the April 18, 2023 budget study session include General Fund Expenditure Adjustments of $1.2 million: $300,000 for public safety software and vehicle leases; $260,000 for additional homeless encampment cleanups and a code enforcement officer; $460,000 in personnel costs; $190,000 for the Hunt Library Bridge Program. So the revised fiscal year 2023-24 expenditure budget is $120.9 million (up from proposed $119.7 million)

Analyst Cindy Barrios presented the five year forecast.

(Tentative) Agenda for June 20 City Council

  • May 2023 Check Register
  • Retail Strategies Plan Update
  • Water Main Replacement at Various Locations
  • Monthly Committee Activity and Attendance Report
  • Proclamations: July is Parks Makes Life Better Month
  • Pointe Common Affordable Housing and Land Disposition