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Spitzer backing off Great Park takeover?

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3rd District Supervisor Todd Spitzer
Photo credit: OC Register

Newly sworn 3rd District Supervisor and 2014 District Attorney candidate Todd Spitzer landed an Orange Grove column in the Register this morning:  A new chapter in Great Park saga.  With a somewhat conciliatory tone compared to his justifiably angry monolog at last week’s Irvine City Council meeting, he commends the new Council/Park Board majority for taking control of the Great Park’s mega-issues and financial problems from the Gang of Two (don’t miss this great OC Weekly column by R. Scott Moxley on Larry Agran and consort-in-corruption Beth Krom).

Long-time County political observers like the Editors here know that one of the most dangerous places in media is that space between Todd Spitzer (like Jesse Jackson and Anthony Wiener) and a microphone.  In fact, it’s one of the things we like about him compared to the empty suit he replaced.  We’ve not seen a better performance by Mr. Spitzer than his minutes in front of the City Council last week in threatening to take the Great Park back under the County’s umbrella.  It would be reasonable to allow Mr. Lalloway and his majority a reasonable amount of time to try and right the ship — but not another ten plus years.  One year or less should do it, and if they fail it’s then up to the County to step in and start at Square One.  This needs a timetable.

While we believe Mr. Spitzer was on very solid political ground in making the threat and would have had the support of most of his peer Supervisors, we are disappointed with his two new short-term campaigns to look at the rising number of DUIs (see our comments in that post proving there’s no increase in OC drunk driving, rather it’s diminishing) and the scourge of local homelessness — both are tired issues of no significant importance or impact, but they make for good press as he’s well aware.  However, the Supervisor might have a positive impact, especially on his upcoming DA race which needs County-wide voter support, if he were to revisit the airport issue and realistically, honestly, factually, analytically review all the lies that were told about its impact on traffic and pollution, the supposed FAA opposition, myths about piloting aircraft into mountains, unproven suppositions re. declining property values and the noise which was disproven an issue by expensive testing with real aircraft (the El Toro Airport blog was the home of a collection of these whoppers).  Good lawyers with respectable intentions will fight these battles.

We also note the Chris Nguyen is working for the Supervisor, and starting to post his District Newsletters on the OC Political blog — we hope they won’t be a mouthpiece for their office as they have brought some interest with their occasional posts to the local blogosphere as a mouthpiece for the OC GOP — that would be disingenuous.  We saw there was no mention of the Great Park in this Newsletter edition, so perhaps there’s some hope that Mr. Spitzer might be thinking about mollifying his opinion of the Park’s more professional, beneficial and tax-lucrative use as an airport.  Or maybe he’s just calmed down and will rationally review what we’re saying here and not again accuse us of being “out of line”.

Mr. Spitzer, and the Irvine/Park Board majority would do well to look AGAIN at the benefit El Toro International would bring the entire Orange County community, rather than using decade-old “logic”, bad research, anecdotal information and distortions to trash it.  El Toro is much closer the thousands of businesses in the Irvine Spectrum than it is to residential Irvine.  Those businesses could channel millions in commerce through a first-class air portal, and be attracting customers and visitors by the 747-load to the area for meetings, conferences, events and, of course, our excellent weather and nearby tourists amenities like the Anaheim Resort District and a dozen world-class beaches.  El Toro would even create a reason for the barren Irvine iShuttle (another Irvine City innovation) to actually be of value to someone.  El Toro could also have shuttle connections to the Metrolink and Amtrak via Irvine’s train station.

All the worthwhile pols now involved in the Great Park issue have been supportive of the long-needed audit of the Park’s fiscal condition.  We’d propose another kind of audit (or perhaps another chapter in the current “forensic” plan for it) as long as Great Park management is going to be digging up the skeletons that Agran’s been burying — and even let the County pay for it.  Let’s find out how much opportunity’s been squandered, how much money from lost business was left on the table, how many potential jobs unfilled, how much property and use tax unrealized by NOT having used El Toro as a commercial airport since early last decade.

Or is everyone afraid we might be right?



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One Response

  1. Here’s another example of the Park’s mismanagement of a simple rental arrangement for the runways from Saturday’s OC Register: “High-performance driving companies blot from Great Park” by Barbara Venezia (http://www.ocregister.com/news/amci-388053-great-park.html).