Community Voices

The Council Majority that Represents Industry Over Residents

The role of the city council:

  1. to be a liaison between the city government and the residents and work together for the common good of the entire city based on the will of the residents
  2.  keep an eye on the management of the city & seek proper backup to verify operations are in order
  3. to make decisions within city resources to solve issues for the common good that individual residents cannot accomplish independently.

As soon as Fred Jung and Nick Dunlap were sworn in, they, along with Bruce Whitaker, they decided to forego the Fair Rotation Policy. They set a precedent for what the public could expect: a disregard for rules, the needs of their constituents and staff, and a penchant for ignorance, disrespect, and power trips on record. (“They” refers to the council majority for the remainder of this article).

The council majority has voted against community voices in a number of recent decisions, outlined below, and calls the community members who unite in a cause “Special Interest Groups.”

Sunrise Village Development

The council majority voted against the District 1 community members who wanted to keep their shopping center zoning at Sunrise Village. Instead, they voted on the side of Shopoff Realty Investments. In a recent article by Voice of OC detailing the corruption concerning Shopoff and the City Council in Anaheim, “a Fullerton redevelopment project by Shopoff Realty – a developer detailed in Anaheim’s corruption scandal – is making some in the city question the relationship between developers and elected officials.”

In a Fullerton Observer Community Voices article, Who Makes Decisions for the City? Developers, Special Interest Groups, or the Voters of Fullerton? “Shopoff has used every tactic available to get what they want.

  1. Shopoff has given numerous and undisclosed amounts of money to organizations and city events throughout Fullerton. We question when a gift or donation becomes a bribe.
  2. Shopoff representatives damaged the reputation of a Korean American business owner by publicly stating confidential information about them.
  3. Shopoff misrepresented to the city council the extent of their public outreach. Most of the neighbors found out about the proposed development from other neighbors and business owners, not developer outreach.
  4. Shopoff has publicly challenged the validity of our over 2,600 legal and legitimate signatures on our Save Sunrise Village petitions.
  5. Korean American immigrant small business owners 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.
New standardized conditional use permit

The City requested all businesses to come under the new standardized conditional use permit (CUP) to make enforcing codes easier for the police and city code enforcement dept. When 120 Club on Wilshire complied and exceeded all the requirements to come under the new CUP, which would allow them to open for lunch, Tony Bushala appealed because, according to him, the club exceeded the sound ordinance, which, according to staff, the club did not.

Even though the sound ordinance was entirely different, they denied the CUP, meaning the old CUP allowed them to stay open only as a nightclub was still in place. This act gave the green light to all businesses that they could keep their current CUP.

Associated Road Project

They voted against wider sidewalks, safer biking lanes, and fewer lanes on Associated Rd despite 163 community members signing a petition in favor of the project.

Union Pacific Trail Project

They voted to ask if the $1.78M grant could be used for “something else” instead of its intended purpose, phase II of the Union Pacific Trail, demonstrating sheer ignorance of how much work goes into grant writing. Council disregarded the Parks & Rec Commission’s unanimous vote favoring the Trail Only option. The council has ignored the efforts of an underserved portion of our city.

Tony Bushala, the local real estate developer, called it the path to nowhere, and all three council majority reiterated those exact words before voting against it. But the plan for the trail will connect North Fullerton with the Hunt Library in the South. When completed, it will be a safe bike path that will link up with other cities doing the same rails-to-trails conversion.

Gas Station in Provecho Market Complex

They voted against the community in favor of an ill-placed gas station that the neighbors did not want. Ralph Kim opened the high-end Provecho Market grocery across from the Stater Bros on Euclid. His grocery store is failing, and he says that he has to put in a gas station to survive.

Conservatively speaking, the total time it takes to construct a gas station from the ground up ranges from six months to one year. Opening a gas station is a capital-intensive project, and on average, in the United States, it will cost you a minimum of $250,000 to open a small gas station. Maybe he should have invested in advertising and PR, as most new businesses do.

18 replies »

  1. Why doesn’t our city council do something useful like ban all trucks over 10,000 pounds north of Orangethorpe unless they are picking up or delivering ?
    Our roads are beat up and all of this truck traffic just makes it worse.

  2. You make great points john. Unfortunately, much of the Fullerton Observer belongs in the opinion section

  3. This is a symptom of a greater problem that plagues California as a whole. As long as this land continues to have a party supermajority and one-party dominance without proper competition and deliberation from other parties and non-partisans, you are going to have corruption.

    • Government isn’t a market. It’s not about competition between factions. There are no parties in our constitution.

      Democratic government is about establishing the will of the majority and backing it up with law executive power. But getting laws means having a majority to pass it. Coalitions / parties will always arise because they are necessary to pass laws.

      California does have a supermajority for one party but that’s because the other party is a retrograde basket case that doesn’t have the support of the public. If you really want politics as perpetual combat between closely divided sides the republican party should dissolve and let the establishment /corporate and populist wings of the Democratic party duke it out. Those wings already exist. If you’re feeling disenfranchised, bowing to reality would mean picking a faction which most closely aligns with your interests.

      • You are clearly a Dem John. I guess calling Republicans, which make up half of this country basket cases is liberal logic. Stay in your ivory tower and focus on identity politics. Basket cases?!? [Part of this has been omitted. When your argument resorts to name calling it will be omitted. Civil discourse is the practice of engaging in conversation to seek and foster understanding with mutual airing of views. It is not a contest; rather, it is intended to promote mutual understanding.]

        • No I’m not a “dem” I’m a proud, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.

          And if it helps you I was referring to the California Republican Party and its relation to California, not Republican citizens. Republicans are everywhere in the US and they represent the majority in many places. Sometimes with outlandish gerrymandering, but it is what it is. That’s fine.

          But in California government the Republican party is a basket case, no power, it is like an appendix. The only time anyone cares about it is when it starts attacking its own the organism, like recalls and such.

      • I was a fencesitter for years, but I leaned more to the right a few issues. So yeah, I did choose a side recently. I joined dark side that has become the GOP. I will keep my reasons for joining them to myself since this isn’t the place for that. I will say I adore the politics of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and wish the GOP would return to those mindsets.

        Anyways, you really ought look at parliamentary politics in the UK’s House of Commons. It is arranged in such as way where two sides yell, insult, and deliberate at each other face to face, with a single person in the back center with a gavel to keep order. We do not have that in the USA, as legislatures are arranged in a cone shape and seats forward.

  4. It’s important on these issues to see the whole picture yet at the same time balance the idea that nothing gets done when waiting for all the pieces to fall into place.
    Whittaker opted to vote in favor of the train station high rise development against Fred Yung and Dunlap because he said as a member of the planning commission he watched how projects would never get accomplished .
    Union Park and trail has been a weed garden for the last 20 years. Although one of the the ideas behind the refusal of the trail was to wait for further master plan, the project has been derailed. Whittaker has stated there are more issues to be considered and that he can’t use the council as a platform to speak but would be happy to expound on this project with an invitation.
    On Associated Rd. The balance to be considered is the residence voice vs. the community, and the safety of creating a one lane each directin Cooridoor next to a busy residential complex busy mall area and freeway.
    For those who like to ride Thier bikes from Cal State Fullerton there is now a beautiful thourofare for biking across town called Wilshire Bike Blvd.
    In light.
    As far as the idea in this artical of “fairness” along with hostile words toward council members. This is just a matter of opinion on the part of the writers. I think the paper could improve if personal opinions were kept just that to not sidetrack the more important issue of reporting in a detailed yet impartial manner, and leave the rest to the opinion column.

    • “For those who like to ride Thier bikes from Cal State Fullerton there is now a beautiful thourofare for biking across town called Wilshire Bike Blvd.
      In light.”

      Which is great. But the point of a bicycling network is the network. You can have a fabulous Wilshire Bike Blvd as part of the network but you need other legs of the network to get to the other places you want to go. The UP trail would have been another leg of the bicycle master plan to improve the network officially proposed by the city, but it got killed for no good reason. Dedicating a lane of associated to bicycles would have been another leg in the network.

      Do we want a full cycling network or not? Do they not like their own bicycle master plan? If not, change it. But also guard against perpetual changes because that’s just another way to kill a project. As far as I can tell council majority asked for a wider plan but didn’t acknowledge there already is a wider plan. So everyone should be confused as to why they’re so confused.

  5. Will you be writing a story called COUNCiL MAJORITY REPRESENTS UNIONS OVER RESIDENTS? Most residents in Fullerton don’t trust politicians to not spike public employee pensions and tax us.

  6. Informative Saskia Kennedy. Thank you. Questions: I was at the meeting when they made the Sunrise Village development vote and they all voted in favor of the project. So what majority are you referring to there? Also, regarding Associated Road, what industry is being represented? The apartment owners? Cal State Fullerton? I’m confused.

    • Very good questions. Thank you. The examples you gave are of a large number of residents that were ignored. Sunrise Village had over 2,600 residents sign a petition and Associated Rd had a petition with 163 residents. “Council Majority” means the majority of council. Sometimes that is all of them and sometimes half plus one. I am sorry that I did not make my argument clearer. I will do better.

        • Hi Jeff…

          Actually, Saskia :DID: do her “research,” and in fact, the list of offenses was :GROSSLY: abridged. Per usual, I welcome an in-person discussion, as this is not the proper forum. I can be found in the front left corner of Chambers, the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays.

          Thank you, Saskia, for clearly laying out (albeit abridged) this CouncilMajority’s character flaws that erode PublicTrust. I have speech aphasia and 3 mins is not nearly enough…Especially when DictatorJung is prone to cutting speakers off prematurely. (Yet :another: example of his dictator-like behavior.)

          So, I actually challenge you, Jeff, to “(do) your research better.” It can ALL be found on the City website.

    • Saskia, you called Provecho a “high end market” clearly you have not been there, or you have never been to an actual “high end market.” Addltionally, the gas station proposal is an asinine idea. Build a gas station to try to save a bad business decision? That is completely stupid and nobody that lives in the neighborhood wants it. Oh and 163 people wanting to spend big $$$ on wider sidewalks out of a city of 140,000. . .seriously?

      • I agree with your assessment that the market is not high end and the gas station proposal is ridiculous. The 163 people on the proposal lived in that area of road and at the time the option was to narrow the road to save the city money in the long run at the same time making wider more useable sidewalks and safer bike lane. I believe that people have the right to choose what happens in their neighborhoods especially when it directly affects their quality of life. In both cases the city council majority (Dunlap, Jung, and Whitaker) voted against the residents of those areas.