Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fullerton City Council Notes: 10/18/16

Lately, I've been attending Fullerton City Council meetings (which happen every other Tuesday at 6:30pm at City Hall) and writing "Council Notes" for the Fullerton Observer Newspaper.  My goal is to sum up, as concisely as I can, what gets discussed and voted on at these meetings.  This past meeting was actually fairly lively, as several members of the public came to speak their grievances regarding such things as the condition of a sports field on the south side of town and Fullerton's infamous 2-5am "No Parking" ordinance.  Anyway, here are my council notes, with some images to keep things interesting.  And be sure to pick up a copy of The Fullerton Observer!

Fullerton City Hall, where it all goes down.

Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance

The meeting began with a prayer (or, invocation) and the Pledge of Allegiance.  The practice of saying prayers (which tend overwhelmingly to be Christian) before city council (and other legislative) meetings has been legally challenged in recent years as violating the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion.  In 2014, the U.S. Supreme court ruled 5-4 (in Town of Greece v. Galloway) in favor of allowing prayers before government meetings to continue.  In recent years, towns across America have allowed diverse religious (or non-religious) voices to lead the invocation.

A Muslim Imam gives the invocation before a Wheaton, IL City Council Meeting last year.

Closed Session

Before each Public City Council meeting, there is a Closed Session meeting in which City Council members and the City Manager meet privately with public employee union representatives, developers, and other parties to negotiate and make decisions outside view of the public.  During this meeting’s closed session, the Council and city manager met with a representative of both the Fire and Police department unions to discuss “parameters of authority for negotiating salaries, benefits, and working conditions.”  They also met with a lawyer representing Pacific Coast Homes, the wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron which will be developing Coyote Hills.  The City Attorney gave no closed session report.

This is the latest Coyote Hills development plan.

Presentations: Community Planning Month, FAST Swim Team, Socktober

Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald presented City Planner Karen Haluza with a proclamation commemorating Community Planning Month, which is during the month of October.  “This year’s theme is ‘Civic Engagement,’ said the Mayor, “and it highlights the importance of engaging the public, elected officials, and key leaders in the discussions that shape the future of our city…thoughtful local planning cannot happen without that meaningful civic engagement.”  This was followed by a presentation to the local FAST swim teams which participated in the Junior Olympics and Junior Nationals this summer.  Sarah Blake of Cupcake Blake and her daughter Sonia gave a presentation on “Socktober” in which local people are encouraged to buy socks and donate to the homeless.  

Public Comments

Families Speak About Poor Condition of Richman Field

Many local residents, mainly families with children, stayed to speak during public comment regarding the poor condition of the field at Richman School where local soccer teams The Blue Stars and AC Fullerton were relocated four years ago, amidst much protest.  These residents spoke out against the fact that their soccer club pays the city for use of a field that is lacking grass, open bathrooms, and lighting.  “I don’t find it fair that our kids have to practice in the dark, while the other side has lights,” said one parent, referring to the adjacent Richman Park, where there are lights.  “It’s literally a fence dividing them,” said one resident, “It’s pitiful.  It would be an eye-opener [for the Mayor] to see our side of town.”  In 2012, hundreds of people protested at council over the fact that these teams (composed primarily of Latinos from the south side of town) have been relegated to a sub-standard field, while other city leagues like the Fullerton Rangers enjoy better quality fields, at cheaper rates.  Four years later, the situation has not changed, prompting questions of fairness and equality.  City Council Candidate Jesus Silva spoke on behalf of this community, suggesting that “It’s time to revisit the policy of how we give different leagues preference.”  Council members Whitaker and Sebourn made a motion to aggendize this issue for further discussion at the next meeting, with Mayor Fitzgerald opposing this, stating that this is a Parks and Rec issue.   

Parking Tickets Put Financial Strain on Renters

Several residents who live in rental properties in a neighborhood around Orangethorpe and Baker, voiced their concerns about a Fullerton ordinance which prohibits street parking between 2-5am.  Residents stated that their complex only offers one parking space and that families with two vehicles must park on the street, for which they are often ticketed, sometimes several times a week.  One resident stated, “I feel like my neighborhood is being discriminated against...because of the fact that we’re not homeowners.”  One angry resident asked, “What goes on between 2 and 5 in the morning?  Everybody’s asleep.  We’re being robbed.”  Another stated, “You’re taking money out of family’s households.”  One resident fanned out several tickets she’d recently received, stating, “I work very hard.  I’m a taxpayer.  I should have the right to park on the streets where I live…I can’t afford this anymore. I have kids. I wake up between 1-2 in the morning, just to move our vehicle...Last week, every single day, they gave everyone parking tickets.  That is absurd.”  City Manager Joe Felz stated that “much of this comes from the homeowners not wanting overnight parking on their street.”  Many residents suggested the city issue parking permits, for which they would gladly pay.  Council member Sebourn explained that the problem with obtaining parking permits is you have to get the owner’s consent, and that with an apartment complex it’s difficult for renters to get ahold of the owner, let alone their consent.  “It’s a real Catch-22,” he said.  Council member Flory proposed aggendizing a moratorium on parking tickets, for discussion at the next meeting, which was seconded by council member Sebourn.  Mayor Fitzgerald opposed this, stating: “It’s a city ordinance, so I’m not sure if we can [change it] ‘by fiat.’  The City Council, being an elected body, can however change an ordinance by vote.   

Public Hearings

Building and Historical Landmark Code Changes

Deputy Fire Chief Julie Kunze introduced Fullerton’s new Fire Marshall Kathy Schaefer, who is now the highest ranking female Fire Officer in Orange County.  Kunze presented eight new ordinances and two resolutions to the 2016 Fullerton Building and Fire Codes, to bring our city into compliance with California Building and Fire Codes, which Council unanimously approved. After some discussion, Council voted 3-2 (Flory and Sebourn voting against) to adopt a change to the municipal code, requiring the property owner’s consent before a building is designated as a Historical Landmark.  City Council candidate Jane Rands raised concerns about unintended consequences of this ordinance, causing the city to potentially lose valuable historical landmarks.  

The Hunt Branch Library is a historically significant building in Fullerton whose future is uncertain.

Council Approves Joint Powers Agreement With Brea

City Staff gave a presentation on a proposed Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between Fullerton and Brea to merge city services.  This was the third council meeting since August in which this proposed merger was discussed.  After much discussion and public comment, City Council approved the JPA 3-2 (Whitaker and Sebourn voting “no”) without really knowing what (if any) city services will be covered by it.  The most discussed (and likely) outcome will be a merging of Fullerton and Brea’s Fire departments, though a “feasibility study” is still in the works to determine whether this will be a good idea.   As at the previous two council meetings when this JPA was discussed, public comment was nearly unanimously opposed to its creation.  Local residents raised concerns over cost, over the fact that the council does not know what services the JPA will actually cover, over the JPA’s power to issue bonds, and over the fact that the feasibility study has still not been released, despite the Fire Chief’s assurance that it would be available weeks ago.  Before casting her “yes” vote, mayor Fitzgerald stated, “The public has had ample opportunity to weigh in on this item” to which Council Member Whitaker responded, “The majority of input from the public has not been positive.”

The JPA seems to be all about the fire department.

Affordable Housing Agreement with A Community of Friends
City Council unanimously approved an amendment authorizing $3 million to be spent on an affordable housing project called Fullerton Heights at 1220 E Orangethorpe Ave. to be built by the non-profit group A Community of Friends.  They hope to start construction in December.

Artist's rendering of proposed affordable housing development.
Consent Calendar

The “Consent Calendar” is a list of agenda items that the City Council votes on en masse, unless a member of the public requests an item to be “pulled’ for discussion.  A resident named David Curley asked that the “September 2016 Check Register” (which is a list of payments made by the city to outside entities) be pulled for discussion.   David Curley called the Council’s  attention to a $10,000 payment to Griffin Structures, which is a construction contractor, and asked City Manager Joe Felz about a lunch meeting with Griffin Structures CEO Roger Torriero, suggesting that there was a kind of “backroom deal” going on.  In response to this accusation, Mayor Fitzgerald actually laughed, and Mr. Felz explained that there was nothing unusual about his lunch meeting with Mr. Torriero.  After this, the “consent calendar” passed 5-0.

Griffin Structures has contracts with Fullerton and it's all above board and totally legit.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sacred Stories: a poem

What are we who have lost belief
to do with these sacred books, these stories,
which, for some of us, were etched
on our hearts before we could even read?
Shall we lose them as well?
For me, I cannot.
There will always live inside me the story
of the man who flew to heaven
in a chariot of fire, or the king who went mad
and lived in the forest as a beast,
or the son who went to war
with his father, and died.
King David crying, “Absolom, Absolom,
My son, O my son!” still brings tears
to my eyes.

Or what of the long-haired hero
who slew an army with an ox-bone?
And then, even after they’d blinded him,
brought down the palace of his enemies
in a final act of defiance?
What about the ax-head that floated in the river,
or the man who lived for a while
in the belly of a whale?

Even now, I imagine a picture book
given to me by my grandparents,
full of illustrated Bible stories.
To a child, these stories were different
from Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein’s poems,
perhaps because of the different tone
with which my mother read them to me,
These stories burned with sacred fire,
like the story of Elijah, who called down
fire from heaven on Mt. Carmel
to defeat the prophets of Baal.

When I think of these stories,
I imagine my grandparents’ cabin
in Endeavor, Wisconsin, and my grandma
Sally’s well-worn, hi-lighted, and annotated
large print Living Bible, and the way her
wrinkled hands would pass gently
over the thin pages, and the way
my grandpa Glenn’s voice would
tremble as he read from Daily Guideposts.

What are we who have lost belief
to do with these sacred books, these stories
which we cannot tear from our hearts
even if we wanted to?  Somewhere in India,
a mother is telling her child the story of
Garuda, the mighty bird, who single-handedly
went to war with the gods, and through his bravery
lifted the curse which had tormented his mother.
Somewhere in Iran, a father is telling his son
the story of the prophet Muhammad’s
Night Journey, in which he flew to Jerusalem
upon the flying horse/man Buraq, and then to the
seven levels of heaven, where he found
sacred wisdom.

In Spain, archeologists unearthed
several small stones which had been
hand-painted thousands of years ago
and left in a cave.  The painted stones
are believed to have had some religious
significance, though we have no idea what.
What stories lay hidden in the stones?
It has something to do with the
discovery of fire, and the stories people
told themselves around the flickering
warmth, a defense against the
great darkness, stories told in hushed
and earnest ones, as they looked upward
at the stars and inward, into the fire.

One could spend a lifetime

reading Hindu scriptures alone.
Buddhist monks make complex, multi-colored
sand mandalas, one painted grain at a time.
The mandalas are meant to give an outer map
of the cosmos, and an inner map of the soul. 

What are we who have lost belief
to do with the story of the prodigal son,
of the woman healed by touching the hem
of his garment, of the creation of the world,
of the great flood, of David and Goliath,
of a lush garden, guarded by an angel
with a flaming sword, of the fall of man.
I am the prodigal son.  I am the woman
at the well.  I am the wicked king who
built statues to false gods.  I am the righteous
king who tore those statues down.
I am the lonely prophet, fed by ravens
in the wilderness, my tongue
touched by a flaming ember.

“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus
before having him crucified. 
In that moment, was it true that
God incarnate stood among mortals,
about to die for their salvation? 
Or was this another failed revolutionary
(many came before, many more would come after),
executed for the good of the Empire?
Can both stories be true?
Is it possible that, in those moments,
Jesus himself wondered what stories
people might tell about him? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fullerton City Council Notes: 10/4/16

For the foreseeable future, I'll be going to every Fullerton City Council meeting, as a reporter for the Fullerton Observer Newspaper, to observe and report on what happens, what gets voted on, and other items of interest to the public.  These meetings occur every other Tuesday at 6:30pm at City Hall.  They are broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Channel 3, as well as on the City's web site HERE.  On the surface, these meetings are often quite boring, as is evidenced by the relatively few number of citizens who stick around for the whole thing (average length is 3-4 hours).  However, once you get past the bland bureaucratic setting, the general feeling of lethargy, and the legal/government speak/terminology, these meetings turn out to be hugely informative, interesting, and sometimes downright funny.  Just under the surface of banality there is a fascinating human and political drama transpiring in our city.  That is what I try to show in my report, which you can read in the forthcoming issue of the Observer.  For all you who prefer your news immediately and online, here are my latest Council Notes.  Enjoy!

Closed Session: Fire Union Rejects Labor Proposal

Before every Public City Council meeting, there is a separate Closed Session meeting, in which the City Council and City manager meet with developers, public employee union representatives, and other parties to make decisions outside view of the public. In this week’s closed session (as stated on the agenda), the City Council and Manager met with the following developers: Pacific Coast Homes (the wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron who will be developing Coyote Hills), NAPICO Entities, Jamboree Housing Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity to discuss price and terms of building projects.  In his closed session report, the Fullerton City Attorney, in accordance with a Transparency in Labor Negotiations Resolution, reported: “The City of Fullerton’s last, best, and final proposal to the Fullerton Fire Management Association [the local firefighters’ public employee union]...has been rejected by the Fullerton Fire Management Association.”

This is the first of five pictures of Fullerton Fire trucks that will appear in this post.

Presentations: Softball, Pinktober

After a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, The Fullerton Hills Softball All Stars received recognition for their excellent play this past season.  Members of the The Fullerton Fire Department, wearing pink t-shirts, gave a presentation about their “Pinktober” fundraiser, whose goal is to raise awareness and money for cancer research.  During these presentations, City Council chambers were filled, nearly to capacity.  After these presentations, the chambers emptied out to around 10 members of the public remaining to witness the regular business of the city.
Fire truck picture #2.
State College and Raymond Underpass Projects: Two More Years

A representative of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) gave a presentation on two large long-standing projects which are certainly familiar to those who drive along Raymond Avenue and State College Blvd. These projects are to lower parts of State College and Raymond to build railroad crossing bridges, to alleviate traffic.  The State College Blvd Underpass project, which began in 2014, is projected to be completed in late 2017, at a cost of $41,974,278 by the contractor USS Cal Builders.  The Raymond Avenue Underpass project, which also began in 2014, is projected to be completed in early 2018, at a cost of $51,058,599 by the contractor Flatiron West.  For more information on these projects, visit
There are no fire trucks in this picture. Or are there?!
Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Update

A representative from the SoCal Gas Company (a subsidiary of gas giant Sempra Energy) gave an update on the infamous Aliso Canyon (aka Porter Ranch) Gas Leak, which was discovered in October of 2015, and declared a “State of Emergency” by governor Jerry Brown in January of this year.  The carbon footprint of this methane leak has been said to be larger than the Deepwater Horizon Leak (aka BP Oil Spill)  in the Gulf of Mexico.  Prior to the leak, the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility (the second largest natural gas reservoir in the United States) supplied natural gas to the LA Basin (including Fullerton).  According to SoCal Gas, the leak was sealed in February of this year, and the Aliso Canyon gas field is running at 20 percent capacity, pending more well inspections.  SoCal Gas hopes that this gasfield will go “back online” this month.  The only question asked by the Council was by council member Flory, who asked about an issue with her neighbor’s gas service.
No fire trucks here.  Just a giant cloud of methane.
 Public Comments

Roberta Reid, candidate for City Council, apologized that, due to an illness, she missed the opportunity to participate in recent political events, and requested an update on Coyote Hills (See Coyote Hills Update below).  A representative of Anaheim University, a local for-profit university, gave what amounted to an infomercial for their online business degree programs. Barry Levinson, former Parks and Rec Commissioner, gave a lengthy tirade regarding an unspecified agenda item involving a grant application from the September 20th meeting, concluding, among other things, that “all five city council members are basically frauds.” Tony Package, a local resident, expressed disapproval that the recent City Council Candidate Forum was scheduled at the same time as a public review of a new development on Commonwealth, stating, “Scheduling a development public review meeting at the same time as an important candidate forum is a serious breach of public confidence.”  City Manager Joe Felz responded by stating that the neighbors selected the date of the public review meeting.  Debra Pember gave her thoughts on the recent Candidate Forum, regretting the “mudslinging” she heard there.  
Firefighters, keeping us all safe from death by fire.
Report on West Nile Virus and Hillcrest Park

Council Member Flory gave an update on local cases of West Nile Virus (27 have been documented this year in Orange County, down from 33 last year).  Flory also requested a report on dead and dying trees and grass at Hillcrest Park.  City staff reported increased watering, but acknowledged certain areas where the grass has died and will require re-seeding, though sports fields are currently taking priority for this.  Staff also reported that Phase 1 of the Hillcrest Park Renovation is underway.

Looking for a fire truck picture?  Keep scrolling, buddy.

Fullerton/Brea Joint Powers Agreement

A member of city staff gave an update on a proposed Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the cities of Fullerton and Brea to coordinate municipal services, primarily our fire departments.  Though this JPA was originally proposed as a multi-city entity with sharing of numerous municipal services, it seems to have evolved into mainly a proposed fire department merger between Brea and Fullerton, though these two cities already share a fire command staff.  Four members of the public spoke against the proposed JPA, pointing out that it is a potential way for public employees (particularly the fire department) to protect their financial interests outside the scope of an elected City Council.  This point is particularly salient in light of the City Attorney’s Closed Session report that “The City of Fullerton’s last, best, and final proposal to the Fullerton Fire Management Association [the local firefighters’ public employee union]...has been rejected by the Fullerton Fire Management Association.” Council Member Whitaker also expressed concern, stating that this proposal is not really about savings and that “we need to be honest about the real purpose of these efforts.”  Council will likely be voting on this JPA soon.
Notice the blurry fire truck in the background?  Booyah.
Coyote Hills Update
City Manager Joe Felz gave an update on Coyote Hills, stating that the city has recently received a $2 million grant from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy “for the approved land acquisition plan” for West Coyote Hills.  Council Member Chaffee noted that other grant applications are in the works.  This grant will not prevent development of Coyote Hills—it merely gives the city more funds to purchase selected parcels to be spared from the bulldozers, as per the development agreement which the Council unanimously approved last Fall.
The latest Coyote Hills Development Plan, sans fire trucks.
Habitat For Humanity and Courtyard Apartments
Mayor Fitzgerald “recused” herself from voting on a proposed building agreement between Fullerton and Habitat for Humanity, citing a conflict of interest between her position on City Council, and her job as a lobbyist for Curt Pringle and Associates, of which Jamboree Housing (a partner of Habitat for Humanity) is a client.  The City Council passed the resolution 3-1 (Whitaker being the “no” vote).  When Mayor Fitzgerald returned, the council voted 4-1 (Whitaker being the “no” vote) to approve another agreement between Fullerton and the Courtyard Apartments on Valencia Ave. Both of these agreements referenced further documentation which was not included with the agenda—making the substance of these agreements difficult for the public to understand.

Jennifer Fitzgerald works for a PR and lobbying firm.  She is not a firefighter.

City Wireless Agreement Renewal

City Council voted 3-2 to wait to extend their lease agreement with Cingular Wireless (aka AT&T Wireless) regarding their current cell phone towers on the “Euclid Tank Farm” which is city-owned property.  In public comment, city council candidate Joe Imbriano warned of the dangers of wireless radiation, which he claims causes cancer, and has other adverse health effects.  Council member Flory made a motion to reject the proposal to modify the lease agreement, and it was this motion that passed 3-2 (Fitzgerald and Chaffee voting no).
Fire truck not included.
Remodel at Fullerton Fire Station #4 and Arroyo Street Improvement
A $234,000 remodel to Fullerton Fire Station #4 was unanimously approved by the Council, which will involve adding legally mandated Separate Gender Accomodations for female firefighters, as well as a kitchen remodel.  Members of the public who spoke were divided on the issue.  Mayor Fitzgerald stated, “These remodels are sorely needed,” and Fullerton Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe added: “We have one firestation that’s in the modern era.”  The city contract went to Corral Construction and Development.  Council also unanimously approved a nearly $1 million “sewer and street improvement” project in the Arroyo Area of Fullerton.
There's our fire truck! Great job, FFD!
The next Fullerton City Council Meeting will be Tuesday, October 18th.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hibbleton presents: an Introduction to African Cinema

Every Monday night in the month of October, the Hibbleton Gallery film series will present a different film from contemporary Africa, each week focusing on a different country or region. All screenings begin at 8pm and are FREE and open to the public. A discussion will follow each screening. Here’s our lineup for the month.

October 10 (Senegal): SEMBENE! (2015) directed by Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo. In 1952, Ousmane Sembene, a dockworker and fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. SEMBENE! tells the unbelievable true story of the father of African cinema, the self- taught novelist and filmmaker who fought, against enormous odds, a 50-year battle to return African stories to Africans. SEMBENE! is told through the experiences of the man who knew him best, colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo, using rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials. A true-life epic, SEMBENE! follows an ordinary man who transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized, becoming a hero to millions. After a startling fall from grace, can Sembene reinvent himself once more?

October 17 (Chad): A SCREAMING MAN (2010) directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. Adam, a 60-something former swimming champion, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in the throes of civil war. Rebel forces attack the government while the authorities demand the population to contribute to the "war effort," with money or volunteers old enough to fight. The District Chief constantly harasses Adam for his contribution. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son. In a moment of weakness, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret.

October 24 (Mauritania): TIMBUKTU (2015) directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. 2015 Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film! Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes when Kidane accidentally kills Amadou, the fisherman who slaughtered “GPS,” his beloved cow. He now has to face the new laws of the foreign occupants. Timbuktu is Mauritania's first entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

October 31 (Ethiopia): LAMB (2015) directed by Yared Zeleke. When Ephraim, an Ethiopian boy, is sent from his homeland to live with distant relatives, he takes his beloved sheep with him. One day, his uncle announces that he will have to sacrifice his sheep for the upcoming religious feast, but Ephraim is ready to do anything to save his only friend and return home.

Hibbleton Gallery is located at 223 W. Santa Fe Ave. in Fullerton, CA.  Visit us online at

Monday, October 3, 2016

Meet the 2016 Fullerton City Council Candidates!

Recently, I've begun getting more involved with the local newspaper, The Fullerton Observer, an independent publication that has survived since 1978 through lots of local volunteer involvement. My most recent assignment was to do video interviews with all of the candidates who are running for Fullerton City Council, write blurbs on each candidate (for the print issue), and then edit each video into something people might reasonably be expected to watch. My purpose in doing this assignment stems from my conviction that local politics matters. The decisions our local officials make, in some ways, affect our lives more directly than the president. Also, I'm disheartened that lots of local communities (like Brea, where my parents live) don't have a local paper anymore, let alone one that focuses its gaze on local politics. In Fullerton, we are lucky to have the Observer, and I'm proud to be a contributor. Anyway, here are my write-ups on the candidates running for Fullerton City Council, along with video interviews with each. These are also available in most recent issue of the Observer, both print and online. Enjoy, and be sure to vote on November 8th! In no particular order, the candidates are:

Jonathan Mansoori, a former teacher and a son of immigrant parents, currently works as a community organizer for Leadership for Educational Equity, a national nonprofit. As of September, he has raised $35,658, with a large contribution from Leadership for Educational Equity ($23,432), his mother ($500), and several very small contributions (some of them as little as one dollar). Mansoori believes Fullerton City Council is “lacking leadership, lacking a vision,” and aims to bring a younger voice to the council. Key issues for Mansoori are updating our infrastructure, preventing overdevelopment (he opposes the plan to develop Coyote Hills), diversifying our economic portfolio (particularly downtown), and providing real solutions to homelessness (he supports building a permanent, year-round shelter in Fullerton). He supports district voting, stating that it will bring more diverse voices to council and help “to make sure that our power and our representation in the city is equitable.”

Jane Rands
is a software engineer, who has lived in Fullerton for ten years. She has volunteered with such organizations as Fullerton Beautiful, the Fullerton Arboretum, and the Friends of the Fullerton Library. She has raised $4,177 which appears to be largely self- funded, with the largest contribution being $500 from Chris Romer. She wants to re-open the Hunt Branch Library, update our infrastructure, re-pave roads, and better manage resources. A major problem, for Rands, is the impact of outside high-density development. She worked with the group supporting district elections, but opposes the map that was selected by the City Council (8A). Regarding Coyote Hills, she supports preserving it as 100 percent open space. If elected, Rands wants to decriminalize homelessness, ending the “no camping” tickets, which often go to warrant and put homeless people in jail. She wants to create a Civilian Police Oversight Committee to create more accountability. Rands aims to get more people involved in voting and local government. “I’ll do everything to get more people to participate in our process,” she says.

Charles “Chuck” Sargeant has lived in Fullerton for over 40 years. He formerly owned Giovanni’s Pizza, trained with the Police Academy, and currently owns his own company, which deals with infrastructure. As of September, he has not filed campaign nance reports. His campaign appears, at this point, to be self-funded. As a business owner, he has witnessed the loss of local industry (like Hunt- Wesson) and wants to bring business and industry back to Fullerton through tax incentives. His main concern is our city’s deteriorating infrastructure, and believes his background in this area will help him find solutions. Other problems he sees include downtown parking and homelessness. “We need shelters and programs to get people off the street,” he says, “they are fellow Americans. We need to help homeless people, and if we don’t, then I don’t know who we are anymore.” Regarding Coyote Hills, he says, “I would be for saving Coyote Hills to retain as much as we can that financially makes sense.” His idea for saving the Fox Theater is to find a business that could make it thrive.

Bruce Whitaker
, who was first elected to Fullerton City Council in 2010, is an incumbent City Council member and former Mayor. Prior to being elected, he was a planning commissioner, and worked as District Director for former California State Assemblyman Chris Norby, as well as serving on numerous public entities like the Orange County Water Board. As of September, he has raised $19,862, with large contributions from Roseville Fullerton Burton Holdings, LLC ($3000), Townsend Public Affairs (a lobbying group, $1000), JP23 Sports and Barbeque Smokehouse ($1000), Matador Cantina ($905), Jim Pugliese (project manager for Pacific Coast Homes, the company that would develop Coyote Hills, $500), and local residents. Recently, Mr. Whitaker voted to approve the current agreement to develop Coyote Hills, and in favor of district voting map 8A, as opposed to the more publicly-vetted map 2B. “Vigilance is important as a voter,” Whitaker said, “You shouldn’t just extend blind trust. You should inspect…and speak out. We, collectively, are the solution to government that we find faulty.”

Jennifer Fitzgerald was first elected to Fullerton City Council in 2012, in the wake of the Kelly Thomas tragedy, and she is the incumbent mayor of Fullerton. A former planning commissioner and past president of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, Fitzgerald works for Curt Pringle and Associates, a public relations and lobbying firm. As of September, she has raised $69,085, with large contributions from CA Apartment Association of Orange County PAC ($2000), John Phelps ($1500), downtown restaurants like Heroes, Joe’s, and Roscoe’s ($1000 each), plus building/construction fims like Monahan Pacific ($1000), Portrait Construction ($1000), Irvine Company ($1000), Jan Flory for City Council ($1000), David Fletcher (EV Free, $500) and numerous local residents. Fitzgerald believes that City Council should “act as a Board of Directors for our city,” with special emphasis on improving our infrastructure, ensuring public safety, and balancing the budget. Recently, she voted to approve the current agreement to develop Coyote Hills, and in favor of district voting map 8A, as opposed to the more publicly-vetted map 2B.

Joe Imbriano, a resident of Fullerton for 20 years, works as an insurance agent and is known primarily as a local activist who often speaks at City Council meetings; and who publishes The Fullerton Informer blog which criticizes local politicians and often focuses on the dangers of cell phone towers and water fluoridation. As of September, he has not filed campaign finance reports. His campaign appears, at this point, to be self-funded. He aims to put residents’ concerns above special interests such as public employee unions, developers, and political parties. Regarding district elections, he doesn’t believe the maps were drawn fairly, and opposes the one chosen by the council. As for Coyote Hills, he believes the City Council made a mistake in re-zoning the property. Regarding the downtown bar scene, he believes we are running at a net loss for the benefit of a handful of business owners. Imbriano considers himself a concerned citizen who calls things like he sees them.

Susan Gapinski is a union iron worker apprentice who has lived in Fullerton her whole life. She is a former President of Fullerton Republican Women Federated, and as a concerned citizen has paid careful attention to local politics over the years. As of September, she has raised $6,508, with a large contribution from Ed Royce for Congress ($2000). Living near the proposed College Town project (which has since been shelved), Gapinski is concerned with recent similar high density projects, and their impact on local quality of life. Also of concern to her are roads in disrepair (and infrastructure in general), public employee pensions, and homelessness. One idea she has is to reach out to the Veteran’s Association to help local homeless veterans. She prefers at-large to district elections. Regarding Coyote Hills, she believes it is a fire hazard, and ought to be developed in a responsible way, with some land for parks. “I love Fullerton, but I think it needs a new perspective,” she says, “I have no political aspirations, no business endeavors. We are in gridlock, and I don’t like the direction things are going.”

Herbert Glazier, a self-employed native of Massachusetts, has lived in Fullerton for three years. When asked why he is running in this late stage of his life, he replied “I just want to be good before I die.” As of September, he has not filed campaign finance reports. He wants to put together a children’s “Health and Welfare Fund” from donations from large local businesses like Wal-Mart, Target, and Arco. In lieu of campaign contributions, he urges people to make a pledge to this fund. Glazier, who grew up poor during the Great Depression, and was temporarily homeless himself, believes in community solutions to local poverty. Regarding affordable housing, he said, “You cannot be against housing. People have to have a roof over their head, and that rent has to go with their income.” He wants to change Fullerton City Council from a part-time to a full-time job, and supports at-large elections, as opposed to district voting. Regarding the FPD, Glazier believes “Police are like everybody else…there are good and bad policemen. We know we had a tragedy. We have to leave that behind and look to the future.”

Larry Bennett, a financial planner at Bennett Financial & Insurance Services and a current Planning Commissioner, has experience in business, the community, and local government. He has raised $36,419 with large contributions from Roscoe’s Deli ($2000), Eddie Sheldrake, owner of Polly’s Pies ($1600), John Phelps ($1500), CA Apartment Association of Orange County PAC ($1000), Sunset Enterprise and Trust ($1000), Jan Flory for City Council ($1000), former State Senator Dick Ackerman ($750), former councilmember Bankhead and Slidebar ($500 each), and others. A key issue facing Fullerton, for Bennett, is that “our Infrastructure has been horribly neglected.” Regarding district voting, he was originally skeptical, but now supports it. Bennett has long supported the development plan for Coyote Hills, believing that it will bring “development benefits” (preserving some open space, trails, and the proposed interpretive center). Regarding affordable housing and homelessness, he favors private sector solutions, though he does support the recently-approved shelter in Anaheim. In the wake of the Kelly Thomas tragedy, Bennett is “proud of our police department,” stating that “[Chief] Danny Hughes has done a great job.”

Joshua Ferguson is a retail clerk at Fullerton Cameras, a photographer, and a parent. He was motivated to run by the adage “Think globally, act locally” and to learn how the system works. As of September, he has not filed campaign finance reports. His campaign appears, at this point, to be self-funded, and he is using modifed signs from his father’s 2014 Buena Park Council campaign because “It’s fiscally responsible, and it’s recycling!” Ferguson takes issue with the upcoming Hillcrest Park renovation because “[City Council] ignored the budgetary issues and how the park was supposed to be maintained up to that point.” He believes in at-large elections, because “corruption comes in all colors.” Regarding Coyote Hills, he believes in property rights, and that Chevron owns the land and should be able to make a profit on the land. Ferguson doesn’t support building homeless shelters, preferring transitional housing. When asked how the FPD is doing post-Kelly Thomas, he said: “What changed? Have we seen real accountability? No.”

Jesus Silva, a Parks and Recreation Commissioner, has been a teacher at Nicolas Junior High for the past 19 years. “I can see the difference in the various neighborhoods,” he says, “The needs are different if you live south of Commonwealth than if you live in the north. I can be that lens that brings a different perspective to the council.” As of September, he has raised $13,381, with a $4,000 loan from himself, a $1,000 contribution from State Assembly woman Lorena Gonzalez, who represents District 80 in San Diego, and numerous local residents. He believes the City Council should be out in the community, listening to the needs of all the neighborhoods which is why he supports district elections. Regarding Coyote Hills, he says, “The voice of 66 percent of people who voted for Measure W in 2012 should be heard.” In the wake of the Kelly Thomas tragedy, he believes “Chief Hughes has done a great job of bringing trust back to the department.” He supports the use of body cameras by police officers to increase transparency.

There is also a candidate named Roberta Reid who is running, but she didn't respond to my requests for an interview.