The Upcoming College Town Proposal for Fullerton and Why It Deserves to be Voted Down

The Upcoming College Town Proposal for Fullerton and Why It Deserves to be Voted Down

By Barry Levinson




Quite frankly I was hoping to hear some positives for the citizens of Fullerton as it relates to the College Town proposal.  Charles Kovacs provided the presentation of the project at a Park and Recreation Committee meeting.  It was a Receive and File item, i.e. no recommendation of the project was sought from the committee by the city.

You see I had heard a number of negative issues relating to project such as additional traffic and a loss of a major thru street, Nutwood, and the associated on ramp from that street to the 57 Freeway.

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Anyone who has lived in Fullerton for the last few decades knows that traffic has gotten progressively worse.  As the city’s population and multi-story buildings have increased, the city has failed to keep up with its road system and its road maintenance as well. The results are that it now takes twice as long to drive across town as it did a mere decade ago.

Therefore, when another major building project gets announced, which includes reducing street access rather than improving our streets, one has to look at this with a jaundiced eye.

However, to be fair I hoped Mr. Kovacs would provide additional information about the project that would highlight some real positives for the city and also some major street improvement plans to handle the additional cars that would be added to our existing roads.

Well the positives that Mr. Kovacs provided our committee frankly were less than impressive.  In fact in my opinion, they were almost nonexistent.  Namely, a few new restaurants, (which based on past restaurants in the area I expect would be dominated by more fast food joints and a relatively small new grassy space where part of Nutwood Avenue used to be.

What Is The City Manager Thinking? 

So if there are real negatives about the project such as greatly increased traffic and very few if any real positives for the people of Fullerton, why is the city pushing for this project so heavily?  The one word answer is this…MONEY!  All the city has to do is to keep approving high-rise buildings and the money desperately needed to bail out the city for past and current overspending and mismanagement comes rolling in.



You see that for every dwelling unit, no matter how small, each developer must pay an upfront Park dwelling unit fee of…$11,700.  The College Town Plan calls for 3,400 residential units plus commercial and retail space as well.  The 3,400 units alone, represents $39,780,000 (3,400 residential units x $11,700/per unit) in additional fees/taxes to the city. When our existing road system is already overburdened, you do not have to be a traffic engineer to know that adding thousands of additional cars will only make our traffic problems much worse.  In addition to the increased number of cars, the closing of an important access to the 57 Freeway will only add to the traffic and congestion problem.

What out of control spending you may ask?

A $200 million unfunded pension liability/deficit (conservative estimate) and additional millions in retiree health care deficits.  On top of all this, the city council with the votes of Fitzgerald, Flory and Chaffee last June 16, 2015approved a $2.8 million 2-year city budget deficit.  They then later that year approved to spend additional millions in the form of a 6% raise to begin at the start of the new contracts for our safety workers. This does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars needed over the next decade to deal with our dilapidated roads, sewers and water pipes.



But not to worry because Council member Fitzgerald stated at the June 16, 2015 meeting the following:  “And if it were not for the state increasing our PERS Rate we would have a balanced budget today.”  How incredibly misleading of our current Mayor to make that statement?  I say that because she strongly infers that the PERS rate increase was not at all caused by the city council but by the state.  In fact, the exact opposite is true.  The large PERS rate increase for the city, i.e. the taxpayers, was primarily caused by a previous vote in 2002 by a past Fullerton city council (including Ms. Flory), to retroactively greatly increase the Safety pension benefits to the current 3% a year at 50 years of age with a minimum of 30 years of service or a whopping 90% pension benefit for life.  Ms. Fitzgerald is either greatly misinformed as to the cause of the PERS Rate increase or is not being honest with the people of Fullerton. 


Council member Fitzgerald at the same June 16, 2016 meeting thought that the Park dwelling fee increase from $10,600 to $11,700 per dwelling unit was reasonable because the rate had been the same since 2008.  This was the same thing we, the Parks and Recreation Committee were told by Director Curiel.  Had I known the whole story, I would have been against this $1,100 dollar increase.  What Ms. Fitzgerald and Director Curiel failed to mention to the Council and P and R Committee, respectively was that in 2008 that same fee was raised from $3,827 dollars to the aforementioned $10,600 dollars for an incredible 206% rate increase year over year.

It would seem that the goal of the majority of our city leaders is to collect vast sums of additional revenue in the form of additional fees and taxes so that the city does not have to reform the pensions as promised us and make other tough decisions going forward.

The Fullerton special interests win big and the citizens of Fullerton loose big.  But you thought the city council and the city manager worked for the citizens.  Well unfortunately, apparently not this city council and not this city manager.


I report, you decide.

Barry Levinson



  1. #1 by Joe Imbriano on February 5, 2016 - 12:29 am

    They are exercising the community placing it continually on the defense. The city is constantly responsible for pitting the residents’ best interests against Joe Felz’s interests. Where do Fitzgerald’s interests find themselves with her being the VP of Pringle and associates?

    Continual Development is destroying the community’s quality of life. It will always be our quality of life versus the self interests of Cal State Fullerton, and the city employees’ need to sustain what is clearly unsustainable. Enough is enough.

    Giving away a major city street? 10 story high rises? Third world roads, no parking no problem? Are you kidding me?

    College Town will add over three thousand more residential high rise units to an area of southeast Fullerton that is already a complete disaster in terms of traffic and road conditions. This is a lose lose lose for the residents and taxpayers. The city stands to gain about a 40 million dollar windfall for the residential units right up front which will go to the Park and Rec department. Tell me in the last 20 years, when have developer fees ever been used to aquire parkland? The money for this has no guarantees to go towards that at all. Fact is our parks are in complete disrepair and some even lack restrooms. If we add 10,000 more people in an area 1/8 of a square mile and 40 million comes in, where the heck is it going to go? Yeah, you dont hear a peep about any of that as this project bypasses commissions and is getting fast tracked. This is a nightmare for all of us because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet when it comes to traffic. This is a huge blow to our quality of life and is only designed to enrich the developers, builders and the city coffers which have been drained for decades by wasteful spending on lavish pay, benefits and retirements for a handful of city employees while most of the city’s infrastructure lies in ruin. We all know money is fungible and that it will end up being used to backfill pensions and raises they just passed for city employees. The roads are horrible, the traffic is horrible and enough is enough. Selling us out to the developers for a short term cash infusion while totally ignoring the long term nightmare is exactly what College town is. Cal State Fullerton is big enough. Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, who really works for Curt Pringle and all his developer pals will be voting to ram this through. This needs to be stopped and Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jan Flory need to be thrown out of office in November. Don’t be afraid to get behind a candidate that will tell the truth unless you want to keep being lied to. I need your vote in November.

    Joe Imbriano for Fullerton city council Thank you.

  2. #2 by Fullerton Lover on February 5, 2016 - 3:36 am

    Spot on article Barry.

    Well done sir!

  3. #3 by Fullerton Lover on February 5, 2016 - 3:48 am

  4. #4 by Anonymous on February 5, 2016 - 12:55 pm

    “Council member Fitzgerald stated at the June 16, 2015 meeting the following: “And if it were not for the state increasing our PERS Rate we would have a balanced budget today.”

    The only fiscally responsible thing to do would be to cut costs, rather than continue to overspend our budget. Fitzgerald is not interested in doing that, though. Her solution is to destroy what’s left of Fullerton in exchange for trying to dig out of a hole that she has been a part of creating.

    • #5 by Fullerton Lover on February 5, 2016 - 2:08 pm

      Look no further than the high rise residential units that are blanketing the landscape in Anaheim if want to see what Fitzgerald and he ilk have up their sleeve for Fullerton.

      Makes the Chamber of Commerce folks do back flips in their sleep just thinking of all those residents jammed together in 100 unit high rises on an acre of land.

  5. #6 by Barry Levinson on February 5, 2016 - 12:55 pm

    It is apparent to me that appointed Mayor Fitzgerald, and Council members Flory and Chaffee, refuse to tell the whole truth because then they would have to get into a real discussion of city priorities and what is best for the vast majority of its citizens.

    So before they have the added revenue to pay for 6% raises for safety salaries and an even bigger percentage increase for the city (taxpayers) to pay for their unaffordable pension benefits, they just pass them and hope the rest of the city is asleep at the wheel when they try to pass these huge development schemes. These mega sized developments will have a negative impact on the quality of life of the citizens but will greatly benefit the special interest groups that have run this city for decades.

    • #7 by Fullerton Lover on February 5, 2016 - 2:02 pm

      Amen to that Barry!

  6. #8 by Fullerton Resident on February 5, 2016 - 12:58 pm

    Have the rest of you noticed how sour faced/mean our Mayor and our City Manager normally look when they are not posing for a picture?

    • #9 by Fullerton Lover on February 5, 2016 - 2:00 pm

      …same goes for the bloated City Attorney.

  7. #10 by Reality Is..... on February 5, 2016 - 10:12 pm

    I approve of the recent pay raises for our public safety workers and I think the 3% at 50 was one of the best decisions ever made in Fullerton. All contributed to us having the best Police Force in the nation. Keep the good work Fullerton PD.



    • #11 by Anon on February 6, 2016 - 11:42 am

      So sayeth Fullerton’s “Chief Sheepleherder”.

    • #12 by Anonymous on February 6, 2016 - 2:58 pm

      Great small city suburban police departments do not pay out millions upon million of dollars for the bad acts of their officers, Danny Boy.
      Danny Boy’s police department has made Fullerton infamous.
      The police department that murders an innocent unarmed, shirtless 130 pound man and intentionally smashes Digital Audio Recorders that would have shed light on an extremely suspicious “suicide” occurring right under their noses in the city jail. The Keystone cops meets the Boston Strangler and the Night Stalker.

  8. #14 by Fullerton Resident on February 6, 2016 - 12:43 am

    Mr. Levinson it seems that no one has anything of substance to state to refute any of your well thought out and well documented post. As an independent, I will not be voting for Mayor Fitzgerald. She fooled many voters when she ran in 2012. Clearly she has proven that she can’t be trusted.

    Question: Why doesn’t Council members Sebourn and Whitaker hold her to account for her statements and voting record? Do either of those gentlemen really want to reform the city or do they just like to talk about it? I am not sure what the answer is to that question.

    • #15 by Reality Is..... on February 6, 2016 - 10:45 am

      It’s politics. They say what they need to say and do to get elected. Whitaker played tough guy to get into office. Talked all about reform. Changes. Taking control. But once you get in office, if you really do those things your political career won’t last long. Just ask Travis. Tony Bushala bought him his seat on council. Travis opened his mouth once and he was out faster than he got bought in. Politics is a dirty game. But if you try to make changes that the people don’t want, you won’t last long. Fitzy will win again mark my word.



      • #16 by Joe Imbriano on February 6, 2016 - 11:17 am

        Tell us about Bruce Whitaker RI

      • #17 by Fullerton's Conscience on February 6, 2016 - 1:26 pm

        RI states that if a council member tries to make changes that “the people don’t want”, you get booted out of office.
        What RI should have said is that when you try to reform the government against the special interests, they will do everything in their power, dirty or otherwise to try to kick you out. The people have nothing to do with it RI.

      • #18 by Fullerton Lover on February 7, 2016 - 8:41 am

        you keep forgetting about the Fullerton Detective that recently cost the city over a half a million dollars to settle his lawsuit for sexually assaulting the same women he was assigned to protect!


        If anyone wants to see this same Fullerton Detective berate City Councilman Travis Kiger, as “Danny Boy” is looking on from across the city hall chambers, please look no further than this link I’ve provided below…

  9. #19 by Fullerton's Conscience on February 6, 2016 - 10:56 am

    We have an entrenched political and public union class, which unfortunately has only one primary goal, which is to gorge themselves with higher and higher pay and benefits for life with very little if any accountability to the public.

    This is not a knock on every public employee. In fact the many public employees that go to work every day and perform at a high level is both admirable and amazing under the circumstances. However, the atmosphere in the public sector is not conducive to those employees and in many cases can be downright hostile to them.

  10. #20 by Fullerton Lover on February 6, 2016 - 2:06 pm

    True that.

  11. #21 by Fullerton Resident on February 6, 2016 - 4:11 pm

    It seems to me that the cavalier attitude of RI and other establishment types will soon get the establishment in real trouble. All crooks if they keep on stealing and lying eventually get caught no matter how corrupt the system. The Fullerton establishment is so overtly cocky and arrogant that one day soon they will certainly trip themselves up.

  12. #22 by just curious on February 7, 2016 - 11:40 am

    I’ve posted these questions to Mr. Levinson several times on this blog and my post has been deleted every time.
    I’ll try again … Mr. Levinson, you sit on a city commission and have proclaimed yourself as a watchdog of sorts with an expertise in finances. So I think it only fair that you qualify your experience.
    On your Facebook page, you say you served as a financial consultant and auditor for Global Productivity Solutions. Can you give us the dates of your employment with that company?
    You also say you attended the Boston University Graduate School of Management. When did you attend that school? Did you graduate? What degree did you earn? Where and when did you earn an undgraduate degree?
    When did you move to California? How long have you lived in Fullerton?
    I believe these questions are quite fair and easily answered, especially for a man who espouses transparency and accountability from city officials.

  13. #25 by vote for joe on February 8, 2016 - 2:05 pm

    If it were up to Barry and Joe, Fullerton would regress back to the way it was in the late 1800s. In fact, that should be the platform of Joe’s city council campaign: “No growth!”

  14. #32 by vote for joe on February 8, 2016 - 4:18 pm

    I’m sure I will, along with the other 139,999 residents in town.
    Just don’t make the residents wear tinfoil hats. Anything else, I can live with.

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