After last week’s drama in Irvine — watching City Council scoundrels Agran and Krom find out (something like the California GOP) what the minority feels like after all those years on top — it’s evident that the Great Park still isn’t a done deal. Park Board Chair/Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway, an admired and respected local pol, has an impossible task ahead of him — to pay for the damn thing. So far, it’s been a monumental failure.
Rhetoric is one thing; execution is another. Lalloway got an Orange Grove column into the print Register this
morning (we’d link to it, but as usual the Reg is tardy in putting in on their own website). It’s not helpful that he twists the truth half-way through:
We have ended the advisory component of four at-large non-Irvine board members — not in an effort to stifle countywide input, but to streamline our processes in difficult times.
Stop it — that’s bull, Jeff, and everyone knows it. The four at-large members were Agran sycophants who rarely or perhaps never voted against him and Beth Krom. That was the primary reason they needed to be removed — obviously, Larry and Beth would have maintained the Park Board majority with them, even as they lost the Council majority. Krom was right about one thing at last week’s Council meeting — that tiresome “streamline…processes” cliché ought to be expunged from public discourse, and we’re disappointed you used it as code. We also don’t buy your notion of stifling “countywide input” — not that the four ex-Directors ever had anything to say for the rest of Orange County’s interest in the Park, but without them, now there’s NO chance of that ever happening. Perhaps a better, fairer action would have been to replace each of them from the four Supervisorial Districts that don’t represent Irvine. The strong impression your new management creates is the Park is intended only for the city and the use of residents of Irvine.
You’d be kidding yourselves if you believe the rest of the County does NOT have an interest in this massive property that was once valued at $3 billion. We think we speak for many who believed El Toro MCAS was one hell of an opportunity to build needed commercial airport, but the property was literally stolen by a selfish self-serving minority that had more than enough parks already in their plastic “planned community” environment. Irvine pissed and moaned about the potential airport traffic as well, but as the budget started running out, denser development plans around the Park were added and found to cause (as Christina Shea correctly stated last week) MORE traffic, and presumably more pollution and noise, than a properly planned, honestly EIRed airport, would have generated.
They kept floating up ballot measures until they finally got their way. Measure W wasn’t the final say, it was just the most recent (and note in this 2012 Register story that its predecessor, Measure F was found unconstitutional and overturned — such was the rabidness and dishonesty of anti-airport NIMBYs). Property values would plummet, they said, ignoring the fact that hasn’t happened around nearby John Wayne Airport. Over ten years later, Orange County has plodded through a national recession when we might have benefited from the commerce, taxation, and above all, JOBS that El Toro International would have created.
Mr. Lalloway said last week that Park management was down to $20-30 million, from the $220 million they began the project with — and we’ll bet there’s going to be some nasty revelations coming out of the audit Councilwoman Shea admirably called for which will create even more heartburn. The City Council/Park Board majority now face the undoable task of reversing the failure of the Great Park, and trying to pay for it in an economy, and among OC citizens, that simply won’t support it. They’ll be under a microscope and every spent dime will be scrutinized. Lalloway writes:
My vision for the Orange County Great Park is very straightforward — let’s actually build a park. It’s as simple as that.
No, it’s not that simple. The rest of the County DISTRUSTS your vision, the failed plans and Irvine’s motives. So don’t dare come to us for money — unless it’s to do the right thing and build that airport.
Update: On the morning of January 16th, the Register still had not posted a link to Councilman Lalloway’s Orange Grove column.
Update (1/17): Larry Agran’s Sabotage Squad by R. Scott Moxley at the OC Weekly