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Some Things You Should Know About Jane Rands and Barry Levinson
I think that if Fullerton voters knew how much more Barry Levinson and Jane Rands have done for the Fullerton community that the other council candidates put together – done for free, out of simple civic-mindedness, their choice would be a lot easier.
Let’s start with the conservative auditor Barry. Some of what he’s done for the town in recent years doesn’t quite fit the usual caricature of heartless conservatives.
For two years now he has been fighting to expand the hours of the library‘s main branch, re-open the Hunt auxiliary library, and get the idle Bookmobile back on the road. Barry considers libraries and literacy to be as vital to Fullerton’s health as police and fire services. To conservatives and liberals alike who claim libraries aren’t needed so much in this day and age of the internet, he responds that not all residents have access to internet either, especially the elderly and low-income. This is the conservative I’m backing in Fullerton.
As a Parks & Rec Commissioner he’s especially proud of re-opening the Independence Skate Park, which has been a “roaring success.” Also, as he loves to boast, he was the main driving force behind Fullerton’s Ordinance 3149 a few years ago, which prevents sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a school, park, or day care center.
Both Barry and Jane have been very active in the fight to save Coyote Hills from Chevron’s development and the attendant corporate welfare, and they strongly urge you to vote NO ON W, no matter how you vote in the Council race. Jane especially, as a proud and active environmentalist, has been fighting to Save Coyote Hills for at least seven years.
But you may be surprised to learn she’s been just as much a fighter for fiscal responsibility as anyone on the “right” in Fullerton. In fact, Jane was the first voice – before Bushala’s blog – to sound the alarm about the illegality of Fullerton’s water tax. (Regarding the return of that tax to ratepayers, about which alarms of bankruptcy have been sounded by Fullerton’s fearmongers, both candidates agree with two ideas that are turning out to be pretty much a consensus among responsible Fullerton voices – return the money in small chunks over a period of time as rebates on each water bill; and allow citizens to opt out and have their share go to infrastructure like it was always supposed to.)
Jane’s also been the chairperson of the city’s Bicycle Users Subcommittee, which reviewed the entire bike master plan for the city, and brought the Puente Street link to fruition.
Perhaps most importantly for this troubled town, she and her significant other Matt Leslie have spent a year working on a plan for a Civilian Police Commission, which has recently been submitted to the council and will probably proceed into reality as soon as these divisive elections are over, no matter who makes it onto council. (One hopes.)
Did I mention that Barry is an auditor by trade? Every City Council should probably have an auditor on it. Every member has things they’d like to spend money on and things they’d like to shave off, but someone with Barry’s expertise is best able to figure out how to make that happen with minimal waste and maximum effect. Also, Barry prides himself on his skills as a negotiator – having already met with police union leaders to try to come up with ideas to save the city money as painlessly as possible – something certain current councilmen have prided themselves on NOT doing.
In short, the record of these two candidates’ service to the city they love puts all the other Fullerton candidates to shame. You can stop reading now, if you promise to vote for Jane Rands and Barry Levinson.
Jan Flory: The Candidate of FEAR.
I think I’ve got it, what disgusts so many people, including me, with the “Democratic” candidate Jan Flory. It’s that the root of her politics, the way she presents herself and her issues, is based on FEAR more than anything else.
Two-thirds of her message is FEAR of a Bushala-influenced majority. How it would purposely drive the city into bankruptcy. How it would outsource all city jobs. How she (and her more pathetic sidekick Alvarez) are the only things standing between YOU and such a nightmare.
Her shameful backing of Measure W, which she prefers not to talk about even though Chevron’s “Yes on W” propaganda prominently features her name and approving quotes, is based on FEAR – she comes off (honestly or not) as a RELUCTANT supporter of the Chevron development (while accepting $500 from them) – claiming wrongly that Measure W is the “best deal” the city could get to avoid a crippling LAWSUIT.
And her shameless obeisance to law enforcement and their desires is also part and parcel of the politics of fear. This was memorialized in her lavishing praise (and an award) on Pat McKinley soon after the Kelly Thomas murder – that’s Pat McKinley, former police chief and then-councilman then facing recall for covering up and minimizing the Kelly murder and other police abuses – a lovefest meant, and understood, as a big “Fuck you” to the forces of reform.
Her FEAR (feigned or not) of a Bushala majority has driven the intelligent woman to absurd extremes. One is the embracing of consummate empty suit Rick Alvarez as a running mate – both of them were recruited for the race by crooked Repug Dick Ackerman (you catch that, Dems?) and each of them has received of a whopping $43,000 of police union money (right when independence from the police is SORELY needed on council.)
And it drives her to – warning, funny part coming up – mythologizing the three recalled councilmen as “wise, sober, seasoned statesmen.” That’s Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, and McKinley she’s referring to, LOL. I don’t know if her stump speech has gradually become that ridiculous and divorced from reality over the months, I’ve only heard it just the once at the “Meet and Greet” at my church last week. But in case anyone there had forgotten what these “wise, sober, seasoned statesmen” were really like, it just so happened that BANKHEAD HAD INVITED HIMSELF TO THIS EVENT!
And when the giant grinning dolt strode forward to make his own speech, it provided the perfect punch line to Flory’s deification of the old council – at least to anyone paying attention. The hulking doofus spent most of his time quibbling with the order of events in a story that Barry had told, possibly hoping to get brownie points from the Flory/Alvarez contingent for picking on one of their opponents. Nobody could figure out what his point was, and he had to be told twice to wrap things up by the moderator – the only candidate to achieve that distinction, comparable only to his having been recalled from Council twice!
The Empty Suit
The most pathetic candidate at this Meet and Greet was Jan’s running mate, Ackerman-ite Republican Rick Alvarez. I’d already been warned that he is an “empty suit” who will say anything to any crowd and has no record in the community, and also that he will dependably brag about being a “small businessman” and Cuban immigrant. Halfway through the event I sensed that Flory and Alvarez, both realizing that their pro-Measure-W position was unpopular, were avoiding that subject. So I asked them all where they stood on the proposed Chevron development on Coyote Hills.
And Alvarez, standing up immediately, addressed me with some indignation as though it were a question I had no right to ask. He protested that it didn’t MATTER what his position was, that he SHOULDN’T SAY what his position is, because it’s up to the People, and whichever way it’s decided he’ll respect that and work with it as a Councilman. I asked, but don’t you think, if you feel strongly one way or the other, your voice as a candidate can be influential? And also, don’t you think that a candidate’s position on this shows how they think about city interest vs. property owners, environmental concerns, etc etc, that any voter would like to know? And he said no, it’s nobody’s business what he thinks about W, except he does NOT want to see 760 homes built on Coyote Hills.
And then Jane stood up to call bullshit, telling the audience that Rick DID clearly state in front of the Chamber of Commerce not long ago that he does support W. THAT really pissed him off, and he owned that, sure, okay, he is a Yes on W, but he still does NOT want 760 homes on Coyote Hills. Jane pointed out that Measure W IS 760 homes on Coyote Hills. Rick was furious. It was funny. He’s a real piece of work.
The “Golden Ticket”
The church lady who had organized this meet and greet had originally only invited Flory, Alvarez, and Kitty Jaramillo, along with Mayor Quirk-Silva who (sad to say) supports these three. I took the liberty myself to invite Jane and Barry because I think they’re incomparably better, and also in hopes of getting some interesting debate going. Apparently some people were incommoded by my audacity.
Flory and Alvarez came with a gang of apparent city workers, including some cops and Pam Keller, wearing GOLD-colored teeshirts proclaiming themselves to be supporters of “The Golden Ticket” – that would be Flory and Alvarez. I asked them, “Why golden? How is this a golden ticket?” And they sputtered, “Because … because they’re the BEST!” I think these city workers feel that their jobs are safer under Flory and Alvarez than they would be under a scary scary Bushala majority, which they’ve been convinced is the only other alternative. One young man on the Golden Team was particularly aggressive, and led his comrades in cheering each time Jan or Rick or Kitty would speak. “Yah! Jan! We’re all behind you!”
After the opening statements, right when I was expecting some questions and debate, this cat raised his hand and complained, “We came here for Jan, Rick and Kitty. We didn’t know these other candidates were gonna be here! Can we just meet with them off to the side?” And half of the supposed meet-and-greet became a little pep-rally / strategy session off in a corner of the auditorium, as the rest of us grownups went off to discuss weighty matters with each other.
Is Measure W a Legit Litmus Test?
Some say no. It’s just one little issue out of many. It will be decided by the public. I disagree. Not only is it huge in its own right – in the money involved, in the environmental and other impact – it’s also a perfectly great indicator of how a prospective councilperson would represent the interests of their city – its people, its treasury, its environment – against adversarial interests.
And, in brief, to wrap this up, most of the candidates FAIL this litmus test in this non-Fullertonian’s view: Flory fails, Kiger fails, Alvarez fails, Whitaker fails, Fitzgerald fails, Bankhead re-fails and re-fails. Jane and Barry rule. Discuss.
…and Kitty Makes Three!
Some folks don’t GET bullet-voting, and since they will WANT to vote for three candidates since they can, I would suggest Kitty Jaramillo. She is a nice lady who’s been fighting to save Coyote Hills for a decade. Down side, she’s unlikely to stand up strongly while negotiating reform with the police, since that’s where she comes from. But on the other hand there’s about zero chance of her getting into the top three. As long as voting for Kitty keeps you from voting for Flory, Kiger, Alvarez, Whitaker, Fitzgerald, or Bankhead, then go for it!
I think a council with Barry and Jane Rands taking the place of Travis and Mayor Sharon would be a fine council, and JUST COULD HAPPEN TOMORROW. Be bold, Fullerton, don’t vote out of fear, pick the Pro-Fullerton Team!