The Korea Daily published the story “Fullerton Mayor Labels Business Card Controversy as ‘Racial Discrimination’” by reporter Brian Choi on November 3, 2023. Read the full story at www.koreadailyus.com
In the story, Fullerton Mayor Fred Jung describes the backlash over the misuse of the city seal on the business cards of individuals for whom he created non-existent official city positions as “racial discrimination.” To back up that claim, Jung claimed that other officials had used the seal for decades in the past without repercussions – however, he was unable to list any.
The Fullerton Observer found several cards printed by the city with the city seal for Commissioners, Committee members, and Trustees. None of these cards had personal businesses printed on the back nor made-up positions and titles.
Jung also claimed that he had not been alerted to the ordinance prohibiting the use of the city seal despite having voted on the ordinance on July 05, 2022
, as a city council member in the position of Mayor.
At the July 5th city council meeting, Lucinda Williams, Fullerton City Clerk, said, “The issue of committee member business cards comes up periodically amongst our committee members. The city currently does not provide business cards to committee members. As I understand, at least two of our transportation and circulation Commissioners have taken it upon themselves to create their own business cards at their own expense. This again prompted the discussion of whether the City Council would like to offer business cards to all committee members, either at their own or city expense. And if so, would the city prefer the members use their own personal contact information or use a city contact? Or alternatively, the city could allow the members to print their own business cards at their own expense? After getting permission to use a city seal. We want the council’s direction on this item.”
After listening to public and councilmember’s comments, Mayor Jung said, “Continue on with your good work and service and be thankful or understand that we are thankful for that service and we’re indebted to them.” Jung then made a motion to have no cards at all. Dunlap seconded it. Passed 4 to 1 (Whitaker No).
After being confronted by the city attorney about the unlawful use of the city seal, Jung says he told the individuals for whom he created non-existent official city positions to stop using the city seal. Although Jung claimed the city benefited from these phantom positions that he created – he gave no examples and no accounting of any city work and negotiations he says the volunteers were engaged in.
It is not assumed that the Mayor’s volunteers knowingly misused the city seal. It is not assumed that the Mayor’s volunteers used their connection to the Mayor and the city for their own benefit. Still, the business cards do show their own businesses on the back of the business card using the Mayor’s fabricated title and the city seal. It is not assumed that the volunteers negotiated on behalf of the city and Mayor with representatives from other cities, countries, and businesses. However, the Mayor did disclose at a private meeting that his personal assistant was in Korea on important city business.
Employees and officials granted permission to use the city seal have been vetted. Their backgrounds have been checked. They have to disclose any conflicts of interest. Public officials are to disclose assets and income that may be materially affected by their official actions. The Political Reform Act of 1974 requires government agencies to ensure that their public officials (City Council and Commission Members; Employees and Consultants) disclose their interests on or before the statutory deadlines. Visit the Fair Political Practices Commission’s (FPPC) website
for more information.
All of us must uphold laws and rules that our society has agreed upon, even if we think we should be the exception.