Former TV Exec Lashes Out at Fullerton College

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Ken Bane describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur and a long-time Fullerton resident." His online bio for Bane Media, Inc.--which specializes in "creating and executing online media plans that drive traffic, sales and customers to our clients"--notes that he was formerly the director of sales for Carsey-Werner Television's online media division.

However you want to characterize Bane, you can add that he's pissed off at Fullerton College. "Is it just me, or is the Fullerton College screwing its neighbors royally (again)?" Bane asks in an email sent to the Weekly. He writes that neighbors who for years have put up with their streets being used as de facto campus parking lots, with the accompanying increases in traffic and trash, went ahead and supported local Measure X in 2002 to fund much-needed campus improvements. "'Spend it responsibly!' was all we asked," Bane writes. Two years later, neighbors got behind the college's approval of a campus master plan that included a renovation of its practice track field and bleachers.

But they were horrified around last Christmas to learn the college was planning to install new seating for 2,000 with "game-intesity" lighting and a "stadium-quality" sound system. Despite significantly changing the character of the neighborhoods, the college wanted these "improvements" without the benefit of local environmental review, Bane charges.
"WTF??!! This stadium will devastate the peace and quiet of surrounding residences," he writes. "Who wants the inside of their homes lit up as if a search light is constantly shining on them?"

He wonders why a stadium is even needed when Fullerton High School has a perfectly fine one next door it can share with the college.

That point was raised at a February meeting Fullerton College president Kathleen Hodge had with concerned neighbors. But as reported at the time in the college's Hornet student newspaper, Hodge told the crowd, "There are practical, real reasons to provide the new field to protect the community and provide the best opportunity to our athletes," noting that the old field contained harmful chemicals, such as mercury.

As for the oft-complained about parking, Hodge said the new athletic complex would add 460 new spaces. A construction consultant assured everyone the new stadium lights will be hooded and all light will be carefully directed toward the field and away from homes. And a member of the college's elected Board of Trustees directed staff members to keep neighbors informed about the project's future, in advance of the full board having just authorized funding for the sought-after environmental review.

Those gestures do appease Bane, somewhat, but he adds that it was "ardent complaints from the neighbors" that forced these concessions, not any initial regard for being a good neighbor. Given the college's past history of "irresponsible use of tax dollars, and lack of sensitivity to neighborhood impacts," he vowed to remain vigilant and invited anyone who would like to keep informed on the matter to email him here. (Please don't send him any scripts to forward to his old Carsey-Werner friends.)

"This is not a sustainable situation," Bane writes. "Fullerton, the 'education community,' supports education and the infrastructure it requires. We realize that competing interests must be balanced, and that not all decisions will please everyone. But, we ask: Is it unreasonable to expect those decisions be based on prudence for taxpayer dollars? And respect for the surrounding community?"

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