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In driving through Fullerton several times Saturday (on the way to putting up signs elsewhere), I saw the full graphic impact of the jihad against Jan Flory. Signs posted all over the place proclaim “NO FLORY | UNION PUPPET” in a minimalist style that I’ve come to recognize as the hallmark of Tony Bushala’s crew. These signs and Travis Kiger signs and Bruce Whitaker sit illegally on the medians of roads in numerous locations — because what are you gonna do, try to fine Tony Bushala? In addition to Whitaker and Kiger signs and Flory signs and Alvarez signs, there are the “Flory-Alvarez” signs put out by the Firefighters, occasional Rands and Jaramillo and Levinson and Bartholemew and Bankhead signs, you see nothing else in the Council race — specifically no (or almost no) signs for Jennifer Fitzgerald, endorsed Republican party candidate, from the faction of the party that until recently controlled Council.
This has led me — foolishly, I now suspect — to discount Fitzgerald’s chances in the election. She must not be that serious. But, of course, I have the least access to what’s going on in traditional Republicans’ mailboxes. For all I know, she’s gotten out all the mailers she needs — or perhaps, with party support, she doesn’t need them OR signs to win a seat on Council.
Something hasn’t added up for the past months, during which FFFF has gone on an absolute jihad against Jan Flory, on a scale of intensity rivaling that against the previous Council majority. And that is: why worry so much about Flory? Whitaker seems to be a shoo-in; Flory and Kiger could both be elected to the other seats of the Council this week and the Bushala majority would remain intact. Why this ferocious desire to bump off Flory, when the real race would seem to be “if Whitaker and Flory both make it to Council, who comes in third — Kiger or a Not-Kiger?
If Flory is securely in one of the top two spots, Bushala shouldn’t care much about her. His goal should be to split the Not-Kiger vote and elect Kiger — you know, by doing something like promoting Levinson and Rands (but not Jaramillo, just in case) on a “No on W” slate. But that’s not what’s happening. Why?
Oh. Got it.
Bushala probably realizes — and I’d think that he’d have put some money into polls — that Whitaker and someone else actually have the top two spots locked up. (My guess is that that person is Fitzgerald, choice of the traditional GOP.) In that case, the real race on Council is for third place — and Kiger and Flory are the leading contenders for it.
Now it all falls into place.
Tony’s hopes of controlling the Council depend on re-electing Kiger. The real threat to re-electing Kiger is Flory. Therefore, for months now, the almost single-minded purpose of the FFFF blog has been to destroy Jan Flory — and these “NO FLORY” signs are the coup de grace. The “Open Space” PAC is designed to lead Democrats, liberals, leftists, and environmentalists to vote for someone other than Flory. (In retrospect, Tony’s mistake was leaving Kitty Jaramillo off of the “No on W” endorsement list — because one can vote for Rands, Levinson … and Flory as preferential to Kiger. Maybe he just couldn’t stand the thought of that.)
The election will now come down to those who have not already voted — that is, mostly non-ideologues. That’s the point of the Open Space PAC mailer. For Kiger to win, “No on W” people have to be convinced not to vote for Flory. They don’t have to vote for Kiger — he’s probably their worst choice, they realize — but they can’t be allowed to vote for Flory.
So this becomes a test for the opponents on Measure W. If Tony is right — and he is certainly making it appear that it’s true — he has information that Whitaker and probably Fitzgerald will be elected to Fullerton City Council on Tuesday. Your question is — who do you want to join them? Once you vote for, let’s say, two “No on W” people, who gets your third vote? Do you vote for Flory — or do you let Kiger back onto the Council?
Does it matter? Sure it matters. I oppose Measure W (from just across the border, where I don’t get a vote on whether to preserve the last major wilderness space in that part of the county), but I recognize that among its proponents there are those whose positions are reasonable and responsible and those who are just despicable.
At the Church forum last Monday, Flory explained her position on Measure W — which is the same as Molly McLanahan’s, Minard Duncan’s, and other environmentalists of both parties with whom I disagree. Their position is that Chevron is holding the winning cards here and that the environmentalists’ role is to get the best deal regarding Coyote Hills — and that after over a decade of negotiation, the deal we see is the best deal that can be had.
I disagree. I think that, after a negative vote on Measure W by the citizens of Fullerton, we can do better. These are more politically active times — more is possible now than before. But I think that they are absolutely well-intentioned in their support.
Travis Kiger, by contrast, sees this simplyas a property rights issue and, as a hard-core libertarian, apparently doesn’t even think that the city should use its power of zoning to block construction of 750+ new houses on this scarred land. He will give Chevron whatever it is that they want — as a matter of principle.
If you are an opponent of Measure W, are you truly ambivalent between Kiger and Flory <b>on this issue?</b>
You have three votes for Council. Two of them can register your opposition for Measure W. Your third vote is on what is he only competitive race among the candidates for Council — do you want Flory or Kiger on Council?
Some of you will say that you want Kiger. That’s your choice. Most opponents, though, would prefer the moderate and enlightened pragmatism of Flory. You have one vote to choose among them; I doubt that anyone voting for them both.
Tony Bushala doesn’t want you, the opponent of Coyote Hills development, to cast a vote on that question. That’s the point of his new PAC. But you should — for Flory — because if Measure W happens you want an environmentalist like Flory, rather than a property-rights absolutist like Kiger, to be part of determining what happens next. Your third vote — between those two — may determine what ultimately happens to Coyote Hills.