Local Government

City Council Notes: August 15th Meeting Report

Consent items approved: Hunt Library Revitalization Project Phase Five Funding, Hunt Library Private Rental Fees, Dell Financial Services Technology Agreement, Bank of Montreal – Harris Bank Contract Extension, Sweeping Corp of America Contract Amendment, Avidex Industries and Glass Box PSA Agreements, Fire Station 1 Replacement Emergency Generator Purchase, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles Purchase

Dunlap and Jung commended the Golden Hill Little League for becoming Southern California State champions and gave them each a certificate. Team members in the photo are Lincoln, Gavin, Jake, Max, Enzo, Kellen, Jacob, Nathan, Reagan, Jacob, Evan, Maverick, and Andrew, with coaches Joe Janaki, Enoch Choy, and Richard Peck.


Councilmember Nick Dunlap and Mayor Fred Jung presented certificates to the Fullerton Union High School Varsity Softball team and congratulated them on winning the Southern California Regional Softball Title. Team members in the photo are Charlotte Edwards, Ashlyn Vasquez, Giuliana Ibarra, Malia Vera, Malaya Majam-Finch, Tiana Salcedo, Maya Rodriguez, Hailey Nelson, Andrea Montez de Oca, Alessandra Majia, Ava Paquin, Annalise Barrios, Zoe Bautista, Olivia Yuriaga, Emma Thorson, Abby Galvan, Amelia Burns, Isabel Gomez, Samantha Saldana, and Brooke Thompsons, with coaches Trevor Holton, Shu Totaroki, and Stephen Padilla


Representatives from ICNA Relief, Olive Community Services, and the Fullerton Muslim Community Center joined Councilmembers Dr. Ahmad Zahra and Dr. Shana Charles to declare August as American Muslim Awareness and Appreciation Month.


Recognition Awards

Councilmember Nick Dunlap presented certificates to the Fullerton Union High School Varsity softball team. He congratulated them on their most recent season, winning the Southern California regional softball title. He commended the Hill Golden Little League for becoming Southern California State champions.

The City council declared August as American Muslim Awareness and Appreciation Month in Fullerton. Councilmembers Zahra and Charles celebrated the diverse community in Fullerton and introduced representatives from ICNA Relief, Olive Community Services, and the Fullerton Muslim Community Center. All welcomed members of the community who want to get involved or learn more!

Public Comments Favor Associated Road Reduction

Anjali asked to reopen the Associated Road lane reduction project. She brought a petition with over 350 signatures. Joel expressed frustration with the lack of bike infrastructure in Fullerton and explained that it is essential to many students. Brandon also favored the Associated Rd lane reduction, citing safety concerns.

A resident of over five years on Associated Rd spoke in favor of the Associated Rd lane reduction and said drivers are going at too high speeds on Associated. She also explains that many cyclists use the sidewalk instead of the bike lane due to safety concerns. Maureen shared that the sidewalk on Associated is too narrow. She thanked Mayor Jung for taking her call about a bus bench that was removed. The bus bench was removed due to an accident and replaced within a few days. Milton also thanked Officer Ham for stopping and asking if she needed help and requested the Muslim community center hours.

Council Response to Public Comments

Councilmember Charles thanked Curtis Gamble for advocating for people experiencing homelessness and hopes to find another partner to reopen the safe parking program, especially since some students can use it. Charles also invited the public to her office hours on Thursdays from 12 to 2 pm.

Councilmember Dunlap says Leo Fender Day at the Fullerton Museum was lovely. He invited everyone to the third annual Tommy Lasorda Day at the Sports Complex on September 22nd.

Councilmember Zahra expressed support for the Hernandez Settlement; he could not be in session for the vote. Zahra apologizes for accidentally replying to all instead of only the intended recipient. He also jokingly stated that he would love to have a face-to-face conversation with the robocaller. Zahra explained that his main focus is serving the city rather than his entertainment work.

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker congratulates the Golden Hill Little League and FUHS Softball. Whitaker also invited everyone to Tommy Lasorda Day.

Proposed Resolutions Relating to Compensation

For Confidential, Executive and Police Chief

An 8% salary increase effective immediately and a 3 to 4% increase in the following year was proposed. Also proposed is an additional $300 towards city medical contributions, cost-sharing of any addition to premium-based Kaiser rates, retention pay, special event pay consistent with Financial Management Association (FMA), emergency duty pay consistent with FMA, and the elimination of EMPC by July 2026.

The executive compensation resolution terms would not apply to the Chief of Police, and the 8% increase would apply to executive employees.

Councilmembers Charles and Zahra and Mayor Jung voted yes.

Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker voted no.

Dunlap abstained from one item and voted yes on the other. Item 1) To adopt the resolution for employee compensation. Item 2) Authorize the Mayor to execute the Amendment to the Employment Agreement between the City and Chief of Police Robert Dunn II.

The motion passes 4 and a half to 1.

Union Pacific Trail PHASE 2

City Council directed staff to offer options for Phase 2 of the Union Pacific Trail.

Phase 2 extends from W Highland Ave to Independence Park.

A grant to cover the project was received, and a matching $330,000 is available in the Park Dwelling Fund. The budget covered irrigation, electrical, lighting, trail excavation and grading, landscaping throughout the trail, and planting 176 trees.

There were three options for this phase:

Option one: A pedestrian trail and class one bikeway with total funding from grants already confirmed.

Option two: An alleyway costing the city $1 million and a path that would be an additional cost to the city as it will only be partially funded.

Option three: Approach the granting agency to fund a different project.

City staff sent invitations to the surrounding property owners to attend a community meeting as well as an online public survey. Fifty-seven people completed the survey, with 58 percent supporting option one.

Councilmember Zahra asked if the city were to return grant funds if the design is changed completely. It was explained that the agency is open to design modification, but the original elements must be the same. Zahra also asks if the multimodal businesses have access if the alleyway was turned into a trail. It was explained that the businesses would continue to have access from Walnut Ave and Truslow Ave. A large number of residents and people who live in the vicinity of the trail spoke during public comment, voicing overwhelming support for option 1.

Councilmember Charles comments that she hopes Union Pacific Park is also brought up to speed soon and expresses full support for option 1.

Councilmember Dunlap said he had concerns about safety in the area of the planned trail. Dunlap cited vandalism and drug use he saw while in the area. As well as concerns about the lack of resources for maintenance. He stated he could not support any options and wanted a more comprehensive plan.

Mayor Jung questioned why Union Pacific Park is still closed. To this, a Parks and Recreation representative explained that they are waiting on two pending grant applications on which they will receive information next month.

Zahra said that there is a master plan and that this phase is a part of it.

Jung said he understood where Zahra was coming from but asked him to consider that maybe the city was already not maintaining well the things the city has now.

Dunlap said districts are a terrible idea for a city of our size because it was easy to pick fights. Dunlap argued that the council should consider what is best for the town instead of politicizing.

Charles pointed out that we are now hiring more people for the city and that there are now more public works directors. Charles explained that she hears that these areas have not been well maintained in the past, but they are beginning to have more staff to work on this issue. Charles stated that changing the environment can change the area in response to Dunlap’s concerns about crime.

Zahra agreed with Councilmember Dunlap that they should look at the city as a whole but argued that we must look at the facts. Zahra explained that he was not faulting the north side but something that happened over time. Zahra also argued that if the council can find a million dollars from the General Fund to consider option 2, they can use the money to maintain the trail.

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker shared the issues Union Pacific Park had due to rushing.

Charles reasoned they should go with option one because the community wants it, and the agency is less likely to give Fullerton grants if the council returns this one.

Whitaker explained that he utilized green spaces in Fullerton even though he lives in the deep south of Fullerton. Whitaker explains that this area can be good for commerce as a more south extension of SOCO with less alcohol. Whitaker also requests a more comprehensive plan.

The Parks and Recreation representative explained that they are currently working on a more comprehensive plan. Still, it was brought to the council due to a construction timeline attached to the grant.

Zahra explained that it is common for grants to require matching funds and made a motion for a more comprehensive plan to be brought back to the council for option 1.

Councilmembers Charles and Zahra voted yes on this motion.

Councilmember Dunlap, Mayor Jung, and Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker voted no.

Members of the public were upset.

Jung made a motion for staff to reapproach the agency to fund a different project with the addition of opening Union Pacific Park without haste. Dunlap seconded.

Option 3 for staff to approach the agency to fund a different project or return the funds passed with the council majority Yes, Zahra and Charles No.

Response to the OC Grand Jury Report on the OC Animal Shelter

A report titled “Gimme Shelter and a Pound of Advice: The State of Animal Welfare Overseen by the County of Orange” was made. The City Council requested a draft letter be returned to discuss findings, and staff reviewed the report. The report found inconsistency with behavior-related euthanasia in dogs, detrimental effects after the loss of the TNR program, as well as challenges with staffing.

After meeting with an interest group brought together by a city councilmember, staff revised a recommendation letter for the city council to review.

These recommendations include frequently checking on O.C. Animal Care (OCAC) about the activity and status of their volunteer program and working with OCAC to promote spay and neuter programs. The city will also inquire about the potential of offering such spay and neuter programs in Fullerton so they are accessible to residents.

Many public comments called for the city to set better expectations of OCAC and bring back the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.

Mayor Jung echoed Councilmember Zahra’s statement from the last meeting that the professionals at the animal shelter are trying their best and should not be villainized. However, Jung said there should be a response.

Zahra thanked everyone for coming to discuss the issue at the last meeting and City Manager Levitt for sitting in. Zahra explained that some things are outside the city’s control since the agency is at the county’s discretion but said that the city could provide more advocacy.

Zahra reported that OCAC has connected with their staff to incorporate animal adoption events during the Fullerton Farmers Market. Zahra explained that the TNR program was shut down since it fell under the crime of abandonment and that we should urge our state legislators to redefine abandonment in our state laws.

Lastly, Zahra says the council will follow up and recommend the shelter to allow more access for increased chances of adoption.

Councilmember Charles explained that the statistics in the report are a bit muddy because the numbers were recorded in 2020. However, more data collection and follow-ups are to come.

Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker appreciated everyone pressing the council to make sure an adequate response was made. Whitaker commended Councilmember Zahra for doing an inspection and said there is value in encouraging an agency to higher levels.

Mayor Jung agreed.

Street Sweeping Agreement

Councilmember Dr. Ahmad Zahra asked for an analysis of possible in-house street sweeping and doubled down on his opposition to outsourcing. City Manager Eric Levitt said that he would do an analysis. The item passed 4 to 1 (Zahra opposed). Warnings will be issued from August 21st to September 1st, with citations starting September 4. Please refer to the street signs posted in your neighborhood for information. For questions, please contact the Fullerton Police Department at (714) 738-6716 or jbeaty@fullertonpd.org.

OC Water District Presentation

Mehul Patel, Executive Director of Operations at the O.C. Water District (OCWD), presented current matters at the OCWD. Patel explained that the OCWD is focused on improving and increasing local water supplies, especially due to drought and climate change. Patel reported that the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) finished the final expansion in March 2023. The GWRS is looking to produce 130 million gallons of water a day! The OCWD had to close five wells and added treatment systems to each well to combat PFAS contamination by 2024.

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