Last week’s great drama in local politics — the dismantling of the Larry Agran/Beth Krom Monopoly of Malfeasance in Irvine — is bound to be the OC’s 2013’s Political Story of the Year. The stranglehold these two had on the Irvine City Council and the Great Park property they
seized annexed from the County of Orange is finished, unless they regain the Council and Park Board majority in 2014. Count on them to be candidate shopping now (in both parties) and raising plenty of money via Agran’s corrupt Hometown Voter Guide.
The Register ably covered the Council meeting and both Great Park Board meetings (good work by Kimberly Pierceall). In print today is a tepid editorial, First steps on Great Park’s new path, rehashing the three grand changes in the Park’s future. They concluded:
On the horizon, more controversy looms over the former El Toro Marine Corps air station, which closed in 1999. There is the prospect for perhaps another countywide referendum (voters approved a 2002 referendum designating the former base as parkland), as called for by new Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, which would have the county take over the Great Park. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once the audit is complete, it will become more apparent what ought to be done with the Great Park. In the meantime, if the Irvine council wants to preclude preemption, it must continue to regain the trust of the public. Tuesday’s votes were a good start.
We don’t believe the OC Board of Supervisors is going to buy into Supervisor Spitzer’s bluster (although he masterfully ripped Agran a new one at the Council meeting and we’re hoping that’s posted to YouTube). As the cliché goes, it’s an idle threat for two reasons — 1) Sptizer’s not going to be on the BOS in two years if he abandons his District voters, runs and wins the OC District Attorney’s job he SO covets and 2) his colleagues aren’t going to give him a victory like that — he’s got pension sins to pay for and his tactical swagger just isn’t that well admired by a lot of folks.
Our disappointment with the Register, though, is that they failed to mention the nuclear option — revisiting Measure W to see if the nonsense could be overturned, returning El Toro back to the County and converting it into a commercial airport with international capabilty. This was the Board majority’s intent over ten years ago, before Spitzer maneuvered the property away from their control and into the hands of the greedy scoundrels making up the Irvine Council majority. The 3rd District County Supervisor wasn’t even allowed a seat on the Great Park Board (but four Agran loyalists were).
Now a decade later, we’ve clearly seen the results of that bad decision and terrible strategy. The corruption which occurred and will surely be confirmed via the upcoming audit was breathtaking, so much so that the Agran/Krom conspiracy ought to be subject to more than a scolding and perhaps only a temporary loss of power. Mike Carona ultimately went to Federal prison for less, and $200 million is up in smoke.
Hopefully the new Register will, Brian Calle, take a good close look at this mess, realize that there’s an opportunity to revisit the theft from OC taxpayers of what was valued as a $3 Billion property, consider (per our post a few days ago) its potential as a business, job and revenue GOLDMINE, and then call for overturning Measure W in a new referendum on one the most damaging electoral frauds ever committed on Orange County.
We’re not picking on Brian and his editorial staff as they’re all relatively new to the reviving paper, so here’s a place to start — the 2005-06 OC Grand Jury Report “Who’s Park Is It?”, which stated:
The 2005-2006 Orange County Grand Jury has arrived at the following findings:
6.1 Great Park governance: The Irvine City Council has created a structure and governance incompatible with the intent of Measure W.
6.2 Control of the Great Park project: Control of the Great Park is maintained by a three member bloc on the Irvine City Council.
6.3 No-bid contracts: The citizens of Irvine are exposed to the potential business risks associated with use of no-bid contracts.
6.4 Board of Supervisors relinquished control of the Great Park: By relinquishing control of the Great Park, the Orange County Board of Supervisors (BOS) helped contribute to the loss of countywide participation.
Apparently, as the Reg reported in 2006, nothing ever came of this (not surprising as the Grand Jury’s never had much clout), but it illustrates how serious the issue was at the time. So now, $200 million is gone, there’s no Park, and the non-Irvine residents of Orange County still got shafted. A couple of scheming, dishonest politicians ripped us all off. This opportunity — a modern international airport — can STILL BE HAD and perhaps the OC’s newspaper of record might join with us and start the campaign to retrieve this asset and use it as it was intended.