Hibbleton Gallery Owner on Coyote Hills, Chevron, Supervisorial Candidate Shawn Nelson, and James Lipton

Every once in a while, we get dispatches from community members--some good, some bad, some hackish. The following is good, and comes from a good guy: Jesse La Tour, owner of the awesome Hibbleton Gallery in Fullerton, one of the few places for art that I bother to visit. Here is his account on an issue that has gripped his hometown for years: what exactly to do with the undeveloped hills at the northern portion of the city. Read his blog here, and read the rest:

Went to a Fullerton City Council meeting last night (May 11), to decide the fate of Coyote Hills, one of the last large open spaces left in North Orange County, not yet covered with tract homes and shopping centers. The massive Chevron Corporation wants to develop the land. There were dozens of Fullerton residents standing outside with signs and buttons that said, "Save Coyote Hills."

I sat through that four hour meeting, which was half full of residents who actually live in Fullerton, mainly against the development. The other half was paid Chevron cronies, scientists and "experts" meant to give reasons why it would be in the community's best interest to have another sprawling housing development: a geologist, a wildlife specialist, a non-profit conservation group, an architect from UCI--scientists and scholars who have whored themselves out to this major corporation that doesn't give two shits about the community they will damage.


I sat next to one of these cronies, who I swear to God looked EXACTLY like James Lipton, host of "Inside the Actor's Studio." I thought for a moment, did Chevron hire James Lipton? Maybe he could coach the other cronies on acting techniques. Like, how to fake sincerity and integrity.

Number of Chevron cronies with goatees: 5


And then the Fullerton City Council. Richard "Dick" Jones looks and sounds like Boss Hog from "The Dukes of Hazard." He even has this wheezy, high-pitched voice that is almost endearing. He makes several jokes that are not really jokes, and laughs at them.

Don Bankhead, our illustrious mayor, looked like he was falling asleep. He accidentally adjourned the meeting halfway though. A City Planner had to respectfully tell the mayor that the meeting was not finished. Don looked frustrated.

Don Bankhead looks and sounds, and kind of behaves, like the villain from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. Enough said.

The only voices of reason on the Council were the two women: Sharon Quirk-Silva and Pam Keller, who asked the developers real, relevant questions.

Interestingly enough, the best questions were asked by the public, citiing pollution and water use problems that would result from the development project, and pointing out the fact that the proposed plan includes NO affordable housing. It's all high-priced. Really high priced.

The attitude of the Main Chevron Cronie changed from "false sincerity" to "smart-ass" as the evening wore on. He seemed put off that he had to actually answer questions from the community.

After the meeting, I asked Council Member Shawn Nelson about his campaign contributions. I pointed out that development and construction companies donated thousands of dollars to his last campaign (I got copies of his campaign finance reports from the City Clerk). I asked him if this will influence his decision on this issue. He says, "No. It will not."

We'll see, Shawn.


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