Local Government

The Fullerton Observer responds to the Mayor’s claims of racial discrimination and political assault

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.

29 replies »

  1. ” 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.” What exactly does the Ralph Kennedy Commission do? I will contact this website and I hope to get an accounting of the non-profit established while Rusty Kennedy was executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

    • Dear Fullertonite – Is that really your name? I am guessing you are talking about The Kennedy Commission? That non-profit organization which advocates for affordable housing was named in honor of my dad Ralph Kennedy.

      • uh duh, Lbilly, why the doubt? A few years ago, I looked at the Ralph Kennedy Commission. I was amused to see the director of this non-profit graduated from the worst law school in the U.S. and its accountant graduated from an esteemed university. I looked at this same website last week and noted the role of accountant is no longer listed on it. Who oversees the monies this commission receives and why is the accountability not found on its website? from screenshot sent to FFFF

        • Attacking family, particularly their beloved deceased is pretty darn low grade trolling. You should be ashamed. Maybe you are, which is why you hide behind an alias.

          You have no legitimate interest here, just harassment of others you don’t like.

  2. I’m grateful to Observer reporting in good faith. That’s what a good reporting is. They are not dicreminating against anyone reporting facts.

    • How is using another Newspaper “reporting” in good faith? The Observer has only so called “reported” about the Mayor and not any other councilmembers. Regardless if Zahra and Charles are councilmembers they used the City letterhead to address something that was not city business! Or How about reporting how Rusty Kennedy used his position on OC Board for his non-profit use?

      • Yeah…they are able to use the city letter head, they asked for permission and etc. Does that mean that every letter of recognition that a council member gas given should boy have the city letter head. Jesus you ffffers are all the same. Told something and stick with it even if facts and logic goes against it.

        • They asked for permission? thats a fact? and giving recognition on letterhead by a council member is actually city business… not using it to address something that is not city business is a total different thing. Know the difference!!

  3. the Observor object to the use of the city seal when Zhara and Dr.Shana used the seal on a letterhead published by the observor…informing the public on the plight of Gaza city and had nothing to do with city business.
    Is the observor being discriminatory?

    • “Zhara and Dr.Shana used the seal on a letterhead published by the observor”

      Which was lawful. They’re elected city councilpersons. They’re officially allowed to use the city seal in their official business as city officials. Which they officially are, and they officially were.

      Make sense?

      “Is the observor being discriminatory?”

      No, city law is “discriminatory.” It discriminates as to who may legally use the seal and who may not.

      Commissioners (at best, in this case) cannot legally do that on their business card unless city council changes the law / advises the clerk otherwise.

        • Pam – how do you know if the business cards were used for their official business? – and what official business are you talking about?
          Prestige is important to many cultures – but buying pretend prestige should not be encouraged anywhere – and especially not in government. And No – this has not been a problem in Fullerton before.
          While I am hoping that Jung and the cardholders of the pretend positions did nothing self-serving – we do not know. Did they buy these positions from Jung? What were their supposed duties? Did they notice that their non-existent committees never met? Nobody knows what “official business” was or was not done by these pretend city officials.

          • I am talking about Zahara and Charles. They did not use it for official business regardless if they are councilmembers. It has not been a problem in Fullerton before but it seems like it has been a problem in the OC Board. ring a bell?
            Buy positions? what are you talking about? You seem to never answer the question as if they are still using the business cards? are the business cards still being handed out with the city seal? if not, then what is the point of your so called “reporting”?

            • The point of the article is to: 1) let everyone know that it is illegal, so it does not happen anymore. 2) to make sure fake employees that have not been properly vetted to make sure there are not any conflicts of interest do not represent the city or misuse their “connection” to the city. 3) it is illegal and should be known. The Mayor said that he has informed the fake employees that they can not use the seal on their business card. Did they stop handing them out? I hope so.

              • If they are using these business cards like you say then what is the difference between Rusty Kennedy using his position on the OC Board for his non-profit organization?

                Why not do some research to see
                If they are still using the city seal on business cards even after the Mayor told them not to? When were these cards handed out?

                Domestic violence is illegal compared to using city seal on business cards.. it is very illegal and should be known!!! why are you not reporting that especially when a city official was charged of that?

            • There is no one named Zahara.

              And the joint statement was city business by virtue of Zahra and Charles being council persons sending it out city letterhead.

              They’re duly elected and a political unity statement like that is not out of the ordinary. So it’s official.

              Maybe stop reposting FFFF’s nonsensical hot takes.

                • Of course I knew exactly what they meant.

                  It’s disrespectful to spell someone else’s name wrong and is often done on purpose.

                  But it was certainly rudely careless at minimum.

    • The joint statement by Councilmembers Dr. Zahra and Dr. Charles was sent directly from the City of Fullerton. The illegally used the City Seal on business cards for fake employee positions that had other businesses on the back that are not related to City business is illegal regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, etc.

      • First off.. Zahra is a fake doctor or claiming to be a doctor! Their statement was not used for city business.. what did the statement do as city business?

        • Well you might be aware there’s a war on in Israel / Gaza. You may further be aware that there are Muslims and Jews living in Fullerton and that beyond those groups other groups may pick sides. And you may further be aware that there have been incidences of violence including deaths regarding this conflict here in US cities particularly at protests.

          Do you think there might be a city interest in preventing violence between different groups? That’s what unity messages are about. Do you recall after 9/11 faith leaders and politicians putting out such messages?

          Cities generally carry out the police function in our society. Cities are where we live. So there is a city interest in such messages. And I don’t care if you like Zahra or not. It doesn’t matter. You didn’t elect him but other people did. He has every right and responsibility to do his job.

          • …preach, John! (non-facetiously/sarcastically)

            ENTIRELY my point. I do NOT “dislike” Fred. I don’t even know him. I :WANTED: to support him, as my neighbors ELECTED him. However, he continues to behave like a dictator with no shame, LYING on PublicRecord; and shutting down transparency.

            However, my neighbors elected him and as a result, I have live with him on the dais. In Fred’s own words, “If you don’t like it, I suggest you go to the polls and vote.”

            I have NEVER made calls for his removal. I simply asked him to: DO BETTER and take care of my neighbors. It’s pretty simple, yet he continues to behave in a manner that I am SURE he would find UNACCEPTABLE if :his: kids were to behave in the same manner that he does.

  4. If there are official representatives of the city traveling abroad in Asia, business cards are a customary exchange. This ordinance may need to be reconsidered from an international point of view.

  5. Nick Dunlap said it best: “As a county commissioner I did not have a business card at that time… you’re out in the community, you talk to people and hear things and you run the risk of maybe having rogue officials or representatives. (3:33:00 Mark in the July 5, 2022 Council meeting)

    AND JUNG AGREED TO IT, YET HE STILL MADE CARDS FOR HIS FRIENDS, so rules apply to everyone except for his friends. Sounds like another recent mayor in Orange County…


  6. Jung (2023): “I acknowledge that the city’s seal should be used with discretion. However, the Korean-American commissioners and advisors were devoted to serving the municipal government and did not misuse it.


    (3 hour 33 minute mark of the June 5, 2022 Council meeting)

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