I read the nonsense happening during this week’s Fullerton City Council meeting so you don’t have to and it’s as tedious as ever. This week’s agenda features the following items:
1. Lawsuit discussion regarding the lawsuit between 3M and Orange County Water District. This is related to PFAS contamination in our local groundwater. This is likely just an update on the case from OCWD as Fullerton isn’t directly litigating this case.
2. Labor negotiations. Fire Heroes Want more everything.
3. Grace Ministries is trying to buy a right of way adjacent to HERE:
4. TA Partners & Westpark are trying to buy the parking [HERE] lot by the Transportation Center to turn into mixed use. This is related to item #10 in regular business. This land is WAYYYY undervalued and the taxpayers are getting a raw deal here.
1. Minutes for the prior meeting.
2. Remote Meetings will continue until Governor Newsom finds it politically expedient to end the “State of Emergency”. This is just a compliance item.
3. City Investment nonsense.
4. Compliance with California Law regarding Minimum Wage.
5. The creations of three new Public Works job titles and their pay ranges.
6. The Police Department wants to accept about $25k in a grant to buy a Drager Drugtest 5000 Analyzer which is basically a fancy drug tester for when they want to lock up people or steal cars from those who don’t have City Council on speed dial or aren’t wearing a badge.
7. City Council is using $1,380,000 of ARPA money (Biden Bucks) to “fix” 0.75 miles of road. What a deal.
8. This is a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) Rubber Stamp for 120 Fullerton, a bar located at 120 Wilshire, Unit A.
The City is claiming that the new owner of the location (which used to be The Woods and Envy Ultra Lounge before that) is simply trying to bring their CUP in compliance with the Fullerton Municipal Code. This is a blatant lie.
First of all, the owner has a Type 47 Business License which is a license for restaurants that serve food but also want to serve alcohol. I can find no evidence that 120 Fullerton even bothers to pretend to serve food. They mostly promote Banta Music, Ladies Nights and DJs.
For a “restaurant” to be called a restaurant you’re typically supposed to serve 51% food to no more than 49% alcohol but this has never been done and the City refuses to even make businesses comply with attempting to prove this metric. No receipts are kept (which is a legal requirement), no auditing is done and nobody at City Hall seems to care that this law in our Municipal Code is basically worthless and only enforced when the City is out to target somebody specific.
But it’s not just Fullerton Municipal Code that our Dear Leaders like to flaunt. I’d like to point you to the California Alcohol Beverage Control’s own rules for License Types and you can decide which of these two license types (47 or 48) applies to a business that doesn’t serve food and is only open as a club (as evidenced by their own Facebook page);
47 – On-Sale General – Eating Place
(Restaurant) Authorizes the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits for consumption on the licenses premises. Authorizes the sale of beer and wine for consumption off the licenses premises. Must operate and maintain the licensed premises as a bona fide eating place. Must maintain suitable kitchen facilities, and must make actual and substantial sales of meals for consumption on the premises. Minors are allowed on the premises.
48 – On-Sale General – Public Premises
(Bar, Night Club) Authorizes the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits for consumption on the premises where sold. Authorizes the sale of beer and wine for consumption off the premises where sold. Minors are not allowed to enter and remain (see Section 25663.5 for exception, musicians). Food service is not required.
Seems pretty obvious to me but I’m not sitting with a vote on a commission or council being swayed to break the municipal code and CA law but I await the utter nonsense that will be proffered by the Council Majority when they flaunt these laws to make sure that Fullerton has enough hooch on hand in the Downtown.
Fullerton has always had a dubious relationship with bars when it comes to following our laws and Planning Commission, as well as Council, all of City Hall and PD, like to pretend the rules don’t apply to some of these businesses for reasons. Usually campaign funds and free meals and such that don’t get reported.
But before you accuse me of spinning hyperbole, let’s let the Municipal code speak for itself since the City is claiming that this “restaurant” is simply trying to bring things up to City standards (emphasis added):
15.31.030. Operational standards.
A.1. a. Minimum hours of operation for restaurants with entertainment. Restaurants with Entertainment shall be open and offer a full dining menu during normal dinner hours (typically 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) a minimum of five days per week. Food shall be made available to patrons at all times the business is open, except the last hour before closing. Restaurants with Entertainment are strongly encouraged, but not required, to be open during regular lunch hours.
Huh. Ok, let’s check both Yelp AND 120 Fullerton’s Facebook for their hours of operation:
My math might not be as good as the members of the Planning Commission, City Hall staffers or Council but follow me here because it looks like 120 Fullerton is open three (3) days a week, not the required five (5) AND they’re not open for typical dining hours.
3 is less than 5, yes? It appears that they’re 40% shy on their required days and way short on required “normal” dining hours by, what looks like, all of them. “Typically 5pm-9pm” is the legal wording, they’re open 10pm-2am.
Weird that. It would appear that this businesses is in gross non-compliance of the Municipal Code (and CA law) and yet here we see staff & Planning Commission and soon to be Council just rubber stamping another liquor license despite a clear reason to actually follow the rules they claim to uphold.
If 120 Fullerton wants to operate as a bar and nightclub so be it, but then follow the process and apply for the appropriate license (Type 48), proper CUP and adhere to the proper portions of the Municipal code. This nonsense of choosing who the rules apply to and who they don’t apply to needs to stop and I’m tried of Council doing the same thing year in and year out.
9. The Fox Block people want the City to basically gift them Ellis Avenue off of Harbor Blvd so they close it off for more “outdoor dining”.
10. The ^%$*%% “Boutique” Hotel. This is the same location being negotiated for sale in Closed Session item #4.
This isn’t going to be a hotel anymore, now it’s mixed use and residential. It’s actually MORE residential than hotel use because of course it is, why would anything that’s sold to Fullerton via the lying liars on Council ever stay true to the promises uttered from the dais?
My takeaway is that it’s too damn close to the Transportation Center and the property is way undervalued. This was crony Fitzgerald nonsense and if you read the wording, it’s not some cutesy local “boutique hotel” that was originally sold to us but rather a franchise for a major chain. Basically we’ll end up with a glorified Marriott on top of quasi-affordable housing and all of that on top of “mixed use” which will likely just mean more bars that don’t have to follow the municipal code (see #8 above).
I’m not sure if there’s a legal way out of this mess since the City labeled this as “Surplus land” in order to force this deal but I’d like to see Council ask some hard questions and at least get our money’s worth for the property since everything else about the plan is likely to suck.
And that’s all there is on the agenda this week. If you want me to keep doing these, share it and let me know on social media.