Eight candidates are running for three seats on the Fullerton City Council this November, where at least two new members will join a board faced with major financial decisions in the near future.
Whether or not Fullerton residents pass a new sales tax measure, the council will be challenged by a tough financial future that could see major cuts across the board while trying to fix the city’s aging infrastructure.
In Fullerton’s 1st District, both candidates stand against the new taxes. Bankruptcy attorney Andrew Cho and business owner Fred Jung shared their separate views. Cho said the city needed to attract new businesses, while Jung said the lack of an expiration date on the tax, along with the fact that the money was not specifically allocated to one department, made him stand against it.
Cho has netted major conservative endorsements from outgoing Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald and Young Kim, a former assemblywoman who is currently running for Congress. Jung has been endorsed by the OC Register and the Fullerton firefighters union.
In the city’s 2nd District, four candidates are running to take over the open seat. Businessman Nick Dunlap, Chuck Sargeant, a dog sanctuary owner, Dr. Faisal Qazi, a neurologist, and Mackenzie Chang, a federal officer who works with asylum seekers, are all leading with helping businesses enter the city.
Dunlap and Sargeant are both proponents for new business in Fullerton, as they advocate for streamlining the process and reaching out to companies that wish to move. Chang has said contracts with the city’s labor unions need to be renegotiated, while Qazi’s top priority is renovating Fullerton’s aging infrastructure.
The 4th District is the only race between two elected officials, with Councilman Bruce Whitaker defending his seat from attorney Aaruni Thakur, a member of the Fullerton School Board.
Whitaker, who has been on the council for 10 years, is the only member of the current council who has publicly spoken out against the sales tax and helped write the ballot statement opposing it. He said the best move for the city is to deal with its pension liabilities and look to cut spending wherever possible, rather than force taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Thakur is one of the few candidates who endorses the tax measure, as he said that without it the city will have to continue leaving vacant positions on staff and cutting programs. He’s also taken aim at Whitaker’s record, and said that in every election for the past 10 years, he has promised to fix roads, but never delivered.