Your Turn, Mr. Fulwood: Where Were You This Morning?By Ari L. Noonan @ 3:00 AM September 11, 2007
For the 6th anniversary commemoration of Sept. 11, City Manager Jerry Fulwood was among the gobs of Culver City personalities absent from the Fire Station ceremonies. I think I counted 5 ordinary citizens at the event.
In the Army, It Is AWOL
For most of the 53 months Mr. Fulwood has been the chief executive of Culver City, I have vigorously defended him, often against what seem to be spurious charges.
But he has made a career out of skipping significant civic events.
The Comptroller of Culver City, the charming Marlee Chang, arrived so early she almost beat the firefighters, and they were the home team. As I approached her, Ms. Chang explained she was representing the City Managers office.
And why, praytell, not? A hundred yards is a long way for a chief executive to walk.
Like much that goes on behind the forbidding walls with those fanatical, cross-eyed gentlemen, it is not exactly clear why Mr. Fulwood virtually always is missing.
His home is a long distance from Culver City?
He works hard?
Those reasons never have been exactly advanced in his defense, just sort of insinuated, as often is the case with personalities who channel streams of energy into preserving their privacy.
Off with the Gloves
This afternoon appears to be a judicious juncture at which to put away the mask we usually crouch behind as Mr. Nice Guy.
Frankly, I am out of creative defenses for Mr. Fulwood.
He is a nice guy.
Would have made a splendid brother or brother-in-law.
Still could if he wants to sign up just in time for our Rosh Hashana dinner tomorrow night .
But I come armed with a warning label. If Mr. Fulwood joins our family, he should know this means participating in family reunions the gods of Noonan Manor do not look kindly upon lame excuses such as I live too far or I am a private person.
A Blown Responsibility
Serving as chief executive of an ambitious community of 40,000 in perhaps the most ambitious market in the country carries a strong obligation for the City Manager to be visible.
I thought we got rid of the last City Hall official who curls into the fetal position and hides out under his desk when Police Chief Ted Cooke was shall we say lured? into undesired retirement.
I was wrong.
Frankly, Mr. Fulwood would be my nominee for the worst Public Relations-Minded City Manager in America.
How Far Down?
He gives tone deaf a bad reputation. He is so grossly inept at this responsibility that he almost could not recover no matter how long he remains City Manager.
This hurts Culver City. Think millstone, Mr. Fulwood.
Part of his responsibility as the chief executive is to help create visibility for a restlessly growing city. He is not allowed to become invisible behind the barn.
He did a stinking job in seeing that the Sept. 11 ceremony at Fire Station No. 1 was announced to the community.
He scarcely could have done worse. I have not encountered anyone outside of City Hall who knew about it.
About Public Participation
When we were standing in front of the Fire Station this morning awaiting the start of the ceremonies, City Councilman Gary Silbiger and I were kibitzing about one of his pet subjects, exponentially expanding public participation in the governing and policy-making process.
I presume the astonishing secret Mr. Fulwood made of this mornings commemoration annoyed Mr. Silbiger as much as it did me.
About Next Year
Mr. Fulwood, if you are still with me, I have a suggestion for next years 7th anniversary remembrance of Sept. 11:
You know the broom closet not far from your office?
Stage the ceremony there.
Dont tell anyone. That way, none of us will know if there is a commemoration or even if you participated.
Meanwhile, I am leaving for Las Vegas in the morning to place my bets. I am a cinch to win and collect.