Both the OC Register and LA Times/Daily Pile have stories today about tomorrow’s sure-to-be-exciting Irvine City Council meeting. We can’t wait — watching Larry Agran and Beth Krom finally take in the shorts is as fun as local politics ever gets.
The new Council majority, Lalloway, Shea and Choi, will surely vote to audit the Great Park’s finances, cancel $1.1 million in sole-sourced Forde & Mollrich and Townsend PR contracts and, best of all, eliminate the four outside crony Board members — leaving just the five member Council as all that’s left of it. Once might ask, since the papers didn’t, why there’s any longer any need at all for the Board if it’s effectively absorbed into the Council.
Soon to be outgoing Board Director Miguel Pulido was even quoted in the Register: “I suggest they call it an Irvine park” — good idea. It’s time for the City of Irvine to take ALL the responsibility for this decade of debacle, PAY for it from city funds and OWN it. The other 33 OC cities should no longer want Orange County’s name associated with what remains a decaying military air field that’s had million of tax dollars lavished on it for no result or benefit. Simply put, the Great Park is a long-running embarrassment to Orange County.
The Register quotes Councilman Lalloway, “Every employee and every dollar spent at the Great Park is a city of Irvine employee and dollar.” That’s an excellent point, if the thing is run by Irvine staffers on the city payroll, then put your own name on this dog.
In fact, we’ll bet a lot of those cities and their residents opposed the notion of the Park in the first place — we recall that multiple ballot initiatives proved that. But the Irvine manipulators, developers, crooks and NIMBYs prevailed, and then managed to annex the land and gain legal control of it. We also recall that that Irvine’s feckless former County Supervisor Bill Campbell let that happen.
Imagine the return and the job creation a commercial airport would have produced for ALL the County if this shameless land grab had not occurred. As US citizens, we ALL owned that airport. Maybe it’s not too late to get it back.
Update: Check out the RACIST graphics used by the Liberal OC blog on Irvine Mayor Choi.
Update: Great Voice of OC piece on the quality of Ford & Mollrich, Townsend PR efforts: A Day of Reckoning for Critics of Great Park PR Contract.
Update: @AllanBartlett is tweeting from Monday afternoon Great Park Board meeting. Lalloway, Shea and Choi are apparently absent.
Update: The Register reports on 3rd District Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s speech from this a.m.’s swearing in: Spitzer floats idea of a second Great Park referendum, issuing a mea culpa on his work to turn over the Great Park to Irvine during his last Supervisorial term. Now the returning Supervisor believes that if the new Irvine City Council majority can’t perform, control of the Park should be returned to the County. That won’t be happening during the two years he’ll serve on the BOS while running for DA. But, the right thing to do would be to revisit the original airport vs. park decision. In these times of fiscal uncertainty, massive losses of tax revenue to public employee pension obligations and the business exodus from California, an updated international airport IN Orange County would go a long way toward reviving our fiscal health and fortunes. We’ll bet even the unions would support that.
Update: Frank Mickadeit’s OCR column on today’s GP Board Meeting, Agran decries loss of control. To Supervisor Spitzer’s points above, Mickadeit writes “The seeds of something less than countywide governance were planted from the moment the county Board of Supervisors let slip the chance for it to take control of the old El Toro base”.
Update (1/8): Voice of OC coverage: New Supervisor Issues Warning to Great Park Leaders. Key: “It’s
not entirely clear how the county could usurp the city’s domain over the Great Park. Nonetheless, Spitzer publicly questioned city leaders’ handling of the park development, spending more than $200 million in developer fees without much infrastructure resulting. He warned that other elected officials in Orange County may have to step in to protect the regional asset. In an interview following his speech, Spitzer was adamant that his threat of a ballot initiative was serious.” Which other officials?