What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time the Fullertonian was just a sleepy little business promo paper that didn't report any news. The Coyote Hills development was on a six-month moretoreum and that was the most controversial issue in front of the city council. And we thought those coyote hills people were loud!
A year ago people were still guessing when we would get out of the recession, a year and a half after we were told we had seen the worst of it. Now we are told it's the new normal.
Eden Cafe had just opened on Wilshire. Today they have developed a healthy clientelle. That should be reashuring to the newly opened Night Owl Cafe on Harbor and Wilshire and hopefully they will be doing as well or better in a year from now.
A year ago Steve Jobs was still alive. It may have taken him dying for many people to realize the immense size of the product he and a generation of computer geeks have loosed upon the world. Jobs was the individual most involved with the production and development of the first mass-produced personal computer. Without that we would not have a world wide web and the Fullertonian website. It is hard to overstate the debt that a desktop publisher and website blogger owes to that man. Perhaps that is why the most conspicuous, unusual, and often repeated phrase on comments commemorating his death was "Thank you". The internet is still a baby but it's creators won't be here forever.
In March we saw another wonderful, inspiring and groundbreaking play at the Monkey Wrench Collective called "West Side Terri" which won many awards. Now the Monkey Wrench Collective is gone.
In March we reported on OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano's lecture series at the Fullerton Library. Now he busies himself outing Fullerton KKK members of the past.
In May we were still reporting on the Naughty Teddy's battle with city hall. They won the battle (the court case) but times are tough for business and now they are having a going-out-of-business sale.
In May people were marching to protest education cuts. Osama bin Laden was killed and almost every newscaster reported the death of "Obama" at least once.
Then, just as we were reporting on the success of our city's annual Independence Day celebrations, the biggest story of the year happened. It was the story that would dominate the rest of the year and divide the town along a line that few had seen or suspected when the tragic beating of Kelly Thomas occurred at the hands of six Fullerton Police officers.
When we met with Kelly's father two days after the beating and saw the picture he had taken of his comatose son in the hospital bed was the day this paper changed.
We had to decide whether to remain a coupon paper with interesting tidbits or report to you the news. We realized that we could not withhold such a large truth.
Others made the other decision and the Police Department has been living with the consequences of reporting false news such as that the officers suffered broken bones, an error that we uncovered here at the Fullertonian.
Others at the city were counselled to reveal nothing and wait for the process that handles such cases to take it's course. But this does not work for long when you have an interested and engaged populace, which Fullerton has. It is a question that still divides the town: reveal the truth and deal with what happened, or close your eyes and your mouth and hope it goes away.
As a news-reporting agency we come down decisively on the side of clarity, transparency and vision.
As we remember the past year, and the things that happened, we can start to understand where we are as we plan our path into the future. The future of Fullerton depends on it.