Lacy Kelly, chief executive officer of the Association of California Cities Orange County, returned my phone call from earlier in the day.
Like the association's intern told me earlier, Kelly stressed that the group planned the event prior to the protests and raucous council meetings in Fullerton. "We conceived of the program as a way to help elected officials help maintain decorum," Kelly says.
At Tuesday's council meeting
, more than 50 people spoke during the public comment portion. While some people read carefully crafted notes, others walked up, pounded their fists on the podium and shared personal stories of bad experiences with Fullerton cops. Several people called on members of the council to step down and others asked them direct questions.
, Kelly's stepmom, asked, "I was wondering, city council, if you have children? You're not being very nice." Later, Pape directed her attention right at the mayor and asked, "Did your mother teach you when you were a kid that if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all?" Finally, Pape spoke of her stepson, saying, "They beat the shit out of him." "Yeah, Jesus was treated better," screamed a man sitting in the packed council chambers. Most of the councilmembers sat with solemn, tired faces; councilwoman Sharon Quirk-Silva
broke down in tears during the public comment time.
That said, one might reasonably assume that an upcoming local event titled "Crisis on the Dais: Managing a Pitchfork Crowd" was probably in some way sparked by what's going on in Fullerton. The group that's putting on the event, however, says that's not the case.
A screengrab from the Association of California Cities Orange County's website.
The Association of California Cities Orange County
, as described on their website
as a non-profit association created to "advocate on behalf of its members for the preservation and enhancement of local control," is hosting the event in September at Tustin Ranch Golf Club.
A male employee at the association, who didn't want to give his name, said they planned the event two months ago. "We're not highlighting Fullerton in any way, it's just been a topic we've had on our agenda," he says.
Commenter "The Fullerton Savage", writes:
"This is the funniest example of simultaneous cheap opportunism and baldfaced contempt of the public I have seen in quite a while. The fact that it is being held at a golf club is just icing on the cake."
In an added twist, the keynote speaker at the event is former Senator Dick Ackerman, who served as Fullerton's councilman and mayor in the 80s.