Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Beth Krom is running this year for Mayor of Irvine – and her campaign website is completely laughable. All it shows is a full length picture of a haughty Krom making some kind of fish face, with a caption below “It’s Official! Beth Krom for Mayor of Irvine 2012.” Wow – talk about hubris!
I think the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley put it best, “Could there be more of an embarrassment to Orange County Democrats than Beth Krom, the Irvine city councilwoman who doubles as chairwoman of the Orange County Great Park board?”
It is Krom’s position as Chair of the Great Park Board that has put her political career in doubt. And ironically it is her pal Governor Jerry Brown who has pulled the rug out from under her ample derriere. You see when Brown decided to scrap municipal redevelopment agencies, that cost the Great Park “an estimated $1.4 billion would have flowed into the park over the course of 45 years,” according to the O.C. Register.
Moxley nailed Krom’s ally, Irvine Council Member Larry Agran, a couple years ago for his lies about speedy development of the Great Park. Moxley quoted an L.A. Times op-ed Agran wrote back in 2002, “Agran wrote, “We expect the sports park, with at least 50 soccer fields, baseball diamonds and other facilities for field sports to be built and available for public use within three years”—which would be 2005.”
Moxley also went after Krom last year when “according to the Aug. 28 Orange County Register, Krom decided, without a public vote or even the knowledge of most park-board members, to divert more than $5,750 in taxpayer funds to a private, VIP wine-and-cheese (plus tri-tip skewers!) party at the Great Park prior to an Aug. 6 concert.”
Even the O.C. Grand Jury whacked the Great Park Board, in a report that has held up and proven prescient. Check out this excerpt from that report:
The 2009-2010 Orange County Grand Jury‟s findings included:
- The terms of one of Irvine‟s park-financing mechanisms will make it difficult for regular payments to be made on a $134 million loan that the City made to its Redevelopment Agency.
- The City of Irvine has the authority to cancel the huge park-related debt owed to it by the City‟s Redevelopment Agency before it is fully repaid.
- A potential conflict of interest exists because Irvine City Council members also serve on two other city-related governing boards.
That report also covered spending abuses, that the Voice of OC highlighted in a recent article:
The park’s leadership has been heavily criticized for spending millions on no-bid contracts.
None has received more attention than Forde and Mollrich’s $100,000-per-month public relations contract. In addition, the park spends millions on around 18 public relations staffers and consultants, according to Lalloway.
“We are spending unnecessary amounts on a variety of unnecessary projects like public relations. We have somewhere around 18 staff and consultants working on public relations for a public construction project,” Lalloway said. “That amount needs to be studied, among other items, to determine if it’s necessary in light of the elimination of redevelopment in California.”
It is hard to believe that Krom will be able to fool the voters in Irvine much longer. In fact she is being challenged by one of the biggest critics of how Krom and her fellow Democrats have mismanaged the Great Park, Irvine Council Member Steven Choi. What does he have to say about the Great Park? He thinks it should be run responsibly and he is calling for: High efficiency; Greater transparency; and no new tax burdens on Irvine citizens. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Choi’s endorsements are overwhelming. Krom doesn’t even have a functional campaign website yet. Could this be the year her political career finally comes to an end? The odds of that look very good. In fact her utterly failed 2010 congressional campaign may ultimately be looked at as a foreshadowing of things to come. Krom just might be finished.
Moxley put it best last May when he opined that it is time for Agran to go. I would add that it is time for Krom to go as well. I will close this post with a few choice excerpts from that Moxley Op-Ed:
Local liberals like to pretend Agran and the two subservient members of his machine, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang, operate the most transparent government operation in Southern California. But here, Agran essentially concedes to my previous description of him as OC’s most pathologically secretive politician since Richard M. Nixon.
This is not the first time Agran’s penchant for backroom deals and deceit has emerged. In 2008, for example, Christina Shea and Steven Choi—two duly elected Republican members of the Irvine City Council—won a lawsuit that forced Agran to share with them official government documents he possessed but didn’t want them to see. As it turned out, the documents proved Agran’s ties to a candidate seeking the CEO job at the city’s Great Park operation.
Based on all the years of Agran’s flagrant corruption, I’ve consistently opined that Irvine‘s most dominant politician for the past three decades behaves as if the park is his personal property. He loaded the park board with his sycophants. He named himself chairman, and he recently handed the seat to his most loyal hack, Krom. He crafts lies about his maneuvers. He doles out public funds to his buddies, including Arnold Forde, who gets a whopping $120,000 per month to provide public relations for a park that does not exist.