Wouldn’t you think if the Solar Decathlon was such a good idea that the Obama Misadministration might want to hold it in a northern State during winter? If solar technology is such a great advance for residential housing as they use this event to tout, what better way to prove it by heating homes and generating power where and when it’s most needed?
From their website, the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon:
…challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
Maybe the conservative majority now with 3-2 control of the Irvine City Council and the Great Park Board should suggest that to the DoE as it’s beginning to understand the fiscal nightmare left them at the Park by Team Scoundrel — Larry Agran and Beth Krom. $220 million already spent for Park development isn’t completely accounted for or justified. The simplest of revenue-generating moves — charging for the Park’s silly balloon and carousel rides appeared a grueling endeavor this week as the Council still needs to approve it after the Board voted for it — of course, these are all the same five people.
Per the Register, “The money earned [from the rides] would go toward covering some of the $3.3 million cost for the park and city to host the U.S. Solar Decathlon and energy XPO in October“. That’s hard to understand if, as the Reg reported, a balloon ride they’d sell for $10 actually costs $15.06. Worse, it’s looking more and more unlikely that Irvine and the Park will be ready for this national event — and that will mean a bigger embarrassment for the City AND the rest of Orange County than the great failure the Park has proven to be.
In seven months, the Great Park will have hundreds of solar sycophants (and ex-Solyndra employees with back packs full of resumes) descending upon it, but as of now it doesn’t even look like the Porta-Potties have been reserved. With greed bags Forde & Mollrich thankfully out of the picture a few weeks ago, the City’s yet to hire an event planner and seems unprepared for a gathering which, it’s claimed (with NO believable supporting studies), will generate $20-30 million in local business. As the Decathlon is a bunch of college kids coming to town, it’s not even clear there’s enough beer or weed. We’ll also speculate these kids won’t be filling up the Hyatt or Westin either, so Beth’s claims for the amount of money they’ll leave behind are even more suspect. Maybe they’ll be sharing tents with Occupy Irvine.
The City’s best move right now might be honestly asking itself if backing out of the Decathlon is an idea that will save face from the potential of national shame and really stepping in it when these hordes of Gen-whatever eco-idealists arrive in October. A $3.3 million savings is another incentive as no one’s mentioned any real revenue to be had which would offset the cost of the event. Agran and Krom overcommitted dirt fields and vacant runways and can now play the I told you so game to dominate both Council and Park Board meetings with their scolding rhetoric until Fall. They’ll blame the majority and can sandbag the event to ENSURE it fails — we know that’s the kind of dirty politics they play. They won’t fear shaming the City as Choi, Shea and Lalloway will be blamed, especially when such a black eye would be so useful for next year’s elections.
Since it began, five Solar Decathlons were held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The barren Great Park is hardly comparable, and has to lack the amenities that previous organizers required. This close to the event, it’s not looking good for Irvine — so before the Council/Park Board gets in any deeper, pulling the plug on the Solar Decathlon might be their best move before things get any worse.
A perfect excuse Irvine could use with the DoE could be it’s finally realized the property was more useful and productive as something else — a job-generating, revenue-producing, property-taxable international airport.