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Archive for the ‘Irvine’ Category

Larry Agran Apparently Attempting to Gain Control of Irvine School Board Again – This Time Via Special Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 19, 2013

Councilman Larry Agran

Larry Agran: Doing for Irvine Schools What He Did for the Great Park

(Update: 12/20 6:55 PM: I now have multiple conflicting stories as to whether Agran is behind this or if he is simply a supporter of the effort. A few OC Political sources closer to the Agran camp state he denies being behind this effort and argue that when Agran has been behind petition drives, ballot measures, etc., he’s been very public about it.  At this point, it does remain unclear as to who is indeed the person or people behind the effort to force this special election.  However, it does appear that Agran is supportive of this effort even if he is not necessarily the organizer of the effort.)

It appears Irvine Councilman Larry Agran is attempting to force a special election to oust an Irvine School Board member from office and potentially get one of his own allies elected because the school board failed to obey Agran’s will in the Great Park battle.

During the 2012 elections for the Irvine Unified School District, Larry Agran attempted to get his own slate of candidates elected to the Irvine School Board.  The slate of Michael Parham, Lauren Brooks, and Paul Bokota swept the top three positions to block Agran’s slate of Carolyn Inmon, Cyril Yu, and Omar Ezzeldine, who came in fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.  (Nine candidates ran.)  Bokota narrowly defeated Inmon by 706 votes. Incumbents Carolyn McInerney and Sue Kuwabara had opted not to seek re-election, thereby setting up the hotly contested slates.  Parham was the sole incumbent to seek re-election.  (In the interest of full disclosure, Custom Campaigns, which owns OC Political, ran the campaigns of Parham, Brooks, and Bokota in 2012.)

Not only did Agran fail to get his slate elected to school board, but also, as is well-known to most of our readers, he lost his own race for Mayor against Steven Choi and lost control of the Council when Christina Shea was elected over his ally, P.K. Wong, thereby setting up the Republican majority of Steven Choi, Jeff Lalloway, and Christina Shea.  Considering the domination at the presidential and state level by Democrats in 2012, Larry Agran may well have been the saddest Democrat in California on election night 2012.

Last month, Gavin Huntley-Fenner vacated his seat on the Irvine School Board.  On a 3-1 vote, the school board appointed Republican Ira Glasky to the board.  (Parham voted to replace Huntley-Fenner with Hugh Hewitt.)  A mysterious group has launched a petition drive to void Glasky’s appointment and force a special election.  The web site does not disclose who is behind the drive, other than in the PDF of the petition, which is required in the mandatory disclosure required in state law, which names only Stephen Buxbaum and Patricia Schneider-Zioga.  Schneider-Zioga is a linguistics professor at Cal State Fullerton.

In the Irvine Matters newsletter published by Agran and Councilwoman Beth Krom, they write in support of the petition drive and blast the school board for not opposing the site of the new high school at the Great Park (scroll to the bottom of this post to see the Irvine Matters email).  The school site issue has been the bogeyman created by Agran to attack the plan by FivePoint Communities to develop the Great Park.  The Council majority of Choi, Lalloway, and Shea voted in favor of the plan, doing in one year what Agran and his allies could not do in a decade in power – actually build the Great Park.

Additionally, multiple sources in Irvine have told OC Political that Agran supporters have stated he is behind the petition drive.

Agran is trying to turn the school board and the school site into a political football in his battle to stop the construction the Great Park; this special election is Agran’s attempt to bully the school board into backing his position on the school site at the Great Park.

The text of the petition itself notes, “The cost for conducting the election called for in this petition is estimated by the Orange County Registrar of Voters to be $392,779-$443,329 if the election is a stand-alone election.”  Glasky is forced to run for re-election in November; this special election would be held just a few months before Glasky is due to run.  There are many times when forcing a special election in lieu of appointment would be appropriate, but it simply is not the case here.  Agran’s agenda is not an adequate reason to force a special election.

Pursuant to Education Code Section 5091(c), petition proponents must gather signatures from registered voters within the Irvine Unified School District equivalent to 1.5% of the number of registered voters at the last election for school board. There were 109,490.  In other words, they must submit 1,643 valid signatures of registered voters by tomorrow’s legal deadline to the OC Superintendent of Schools at the OC Department of Education.  (Our information indicates the proponents have been gathering signatures for about two weeks now.)

People who have signed the petition but now wish to withdraw their signature should contact the OC Department of Education at 714-966-4000 or the OC Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600, as those two agencies are responsible for the administration of the election and the ministerial acts involving the petition, including the verification of petition signatures.

Dan Chmielewski at The Liberal OC and we here at OC Political don’t agree on much, but we agree with Chmielewski on this issue, as he has written in opposition to the petition drive: 

IUSD has progressives, moderates and conservatives on the Board; they work well together with a minimum of politics to advance education in Irvine so that the teachers, administrators, students and parents have the education possible considering the low state funding we get regularly.

So whoever is behind this petition drive really isn’t pro-education in Irvine; a special election six months in advance of a regular election is a waste of money. At least have the backbone to stand up and identify yourselves as being behind the effort. This is a shame to Glasky. His family donates countless hours to the schools and the community so he clearly understands the issues our district faces and his legal background is an asset to the district.

Simply put; if you’re in Irvine and you’re pro-education, don’t sign the petition.

The entire IUSD petition web site states quite simply:

Irvine Unified School District
Petition for Special Election

The Voters, Not the Politicians, Should Decide who Represents the Students and Taxpayers.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please click on the button to download the petition. You can collect up to six signatures on each petition, but be sure that just one person collects the signatures on any given sheet and fully completes the bottom portion. Signers and collectors both need to be registered voters. Signers need to be voters in the Irvine Unified School District (collectors can be registered anywhere in CA).

Have petitions to be picked up?

Call or text us at (949) 214-4250 or email us info@iusdpetition.com and we will have a volunteer get them from you.

Irvine Matters, the Agran-Krom newsletter, sent this message out to their email list:

Irvine Matters

Dear Friends,

We’re writing to you because of your opposition to Site A for Irvine’s next High School — Site A is adjacent to a toxic landfill and 1,000 yards from the rapidly growing Musick Jail.

Given the role the Irvine Unified School District Board will play in determining the future High School site, we wanted to make you aware that a petition drive is currently underway to require a special election to fill the Irvine School Board seat previously held by Gavin Huntley-Fenner.

Disregarding the democratic process, the School Board quickly appointed someone to fill the seat in an attempt to foreclose any opportunity for Irvine voters to have a say in who represents them on the Irvine Unified School Board. Incredibly, the man they appointed has already gone on record in support of Site A! In fact, he’s been quoted as saying, “Nothing I have seen so far, has led me to believe that Site A is not a qualified, acceptable, preferable site.”

To download petitions, go to: www.iusdpetition.com.

Those who sign must be registered voters and live within the Irvine Unified School District boundaries. As circulator of the petition, you must fill in the information at the bottom of the petition, including your own signature.

To ensure that signature gathering procedures are followed,
please read the instructions on the petition carefully, and be sure the completed petition is turned in BY DECEMBER 20th the “old fashioned way” — either picked-up from you by an authorized person in the petition drive or mailed (snail mail!) to the petition proponent: Stephen Buxbaum, 4666 Sierra Tree Lane, Irvine, CA 92612.

Petition drive organizers will collect your completed petitions if you e-mail them at info@iusdpetition.com or text to 949-214-4250.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Petitions cannot be scanned, copied or sent electronically to be considered valid.

If you believe your views on where to site Irvine’s next High School are not being effectively represented by the School Board, we encourage you to sign and circulate the petition.

Valid signatures must be gathered and turned in by December 20th to ensure that deadlines are met for submitting signatures to the Orange County Superintendent of Schools.

Time is short. If you think the School Board seat should be filled by special election, please get your family members, friends and neighbors to sign this petition over the next week.

Like you, we have been frustrated by the seeming lack of concern the Irvine Unified School District Board has demonstrated with respect to the serious health and safety issues associated with their proposed Site A for Irvine’s next High School. At a time when issues of elevated levels of toxins at Malibu High School are a major news story here in Southern California, (LINK: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Flos_angeles&id=9335630), officials for the Irvine Unified School District seem determined to build on a site adjacent to a capped toxic landfill and just 1,000 yards from the rapidly expanding Musick Jail site.

Only with a special election will voters have a choice in who represents them. Remember, time is short. If you want your interests represented, help gather the signatures needed by December 20th.

If you have questions about the petition drive, you can e-mail the organizers at info@iusdpetition.com.

Posted in Irvine, Irvine Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

BREAKING NEWS: Keith Curry Jumps Into AD 74 Race

Posted by Chris Emami on December 4, 2013

Keith_Curry_Newport_Beach_CouncilmanNewport Beach Mayor Keith Curry has declared his candidacy for the open 74th Assembly District seat.

Curry was first appointed to the Newport Beach City Council in 2006 and has run three elections, including two with well-funded opposition, winning both by 10 points (He was unopposed in 2012).

For over 20 years, Curry was a partner/owner of the nation’s largest public finance consulting organization, Public Financial Management where he advised states, cities and local agencies throughout the nation.  The firm was sold to a private equity group in 2009 and Curry retired in 2011 to form the Center for Public Policy at Concordia University.  He put together a board of bi-partisan heavyweights and has hosted several events in the past two years.

Curry also teaches public policy and government leadership courses in Concordia’s graduate business school.

Curry has a long Republican history, serving for five years in the Ronald Reagan administration as the Special Assistant to the Federal Transit Administrator, and prior to that as a Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum. In 2011, he led efforts to create a Ronald Reagan Centennial Memorial in Newport Beach.

In 1978-79, Curry worked with Paul Gann and managed the qualification effort of Gann’s “Spirit of 13 Initiative” that limited the growth of government spending.  Proposition 4 as it was known actually resulted in state tax rebates under Governor Deukmejian, but was later modified to limit its effectiveness.

A 20 year member of the Lincoln Club, Curry demonstrated strong fundraising capability in his city council races.  As the only candidate with the personal financial resources to self-fund his campaign, Curry appears to be in a very strong position out of the gate.

He was selected by his fellow elected officials to be the President of the Association of California Cities Orange County, President of the Orange County Division of the League of Cities, and President of the Orange County Parks Commission.

One of the biggest advantages that Curry has is his name identification in AD-74 both as a Newport Beach Councilmember and his teaching at Concordia in Irvine. His candidacy will likely end any speculation of Leslie Daigle jumping into the AD-74 fray.

Based on the current field, Curry will likely be fighting it out with Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper to win this seat. Other candidates that have declared their intention to run for this seat include AD-72 staffer Emanuel Patrascu and former Santa Ana City Council candidate Karina Onofre. In my initial posts profiling AD-74 I had mentioned former CRP Treasurer Keith Carlson as a potential candidate for the seat. Everybody I have been talking with has stated that they doubt that Carlson will run for the seat and as of today he has not opened a campaign committee. Unless I hear otherwise I will exclude Carlson from future posts on the topic of AD-74.

Harper and Curry are Councilmembers in two of the larger cities in AD-74. Newport Beach has approximately 50,000 registered voters and Huntington Beach has approximately 53,000 voters. Irvine is the largest city in AD-74 with it being home to approximately 62,000 voters but none of the three Irvine Council Republicans Steven Choi, Jeff Lalloway, or Christina Shea expected to announce their candidacy for this seat, especially since Choi and Lalloway live in AD-68.

This race is going to be extremely interesting and we here at OC Political will keep you posted on new developments as they happen in AD-74.

Posted in 74th Assembly District, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Newport Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Irvine Great Park Vote A Success! All 3 Irvine Republicans Unite To Move Forward

Posted by Chris Emami on November 27, 2013

UPDATE 8:01 PM- It was just brought to my attention that the decision to have the City of Irvine control the park is not quite as I portrayed it in the article. Jeff Lalloway was concerned (based on the arguments he made at the meeting) with having a lack of control over park hours and other important decisions that relate to operations. According to the recent knowledge I gained, it is still possible to have the park contracts put out to bid and this would still give the city a great opportunity to save some money.

I can never sleep after losing a basketball game. Tonight (technically this morning), it worked out for the best as I find myself able to write a brief recap of what happened last night/this morning at the Irvine City Council meeting. The end result was a huge win for Irvine residents with the Irvine Republicans fulfilling their promise to build “The Great Park.”Great Park Balloon

We shall start with a recap of the three key items that were on the agenda for this meeting.

The first Great Park item up on the agenda was Item 2.1 titled, “HERITAGE FIELDS PROJECT 2012 SECOND SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE IN PLANNING AREAS 30 AND 51.” The EIR reads in the Irvine City Council agenda as follows:

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF IRVINE CERTIFYING THE SECOND SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (SCH NO. 2022101020, 00538162-PCLE) AND MITIGATION MONITORING AND REPORTING PROGRAM FOR THE HERITAGE FIELDS PROJECT 2012 GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE, FILED BY FIVE POINT COMMUNITIES ON BEHALF OF HERITAGE FIELDS EL TORO, LLC; LOCATED IN PLANNING AREAS 30 AND 51

For those of our readers that are not as familiar with the intricacies of “The Great Park” they can read the staff report on this item by clicking on the following link EIR_Staff_Report. This item passed on a 3-2 party line vote with Mayor Choi, Councilmember Lalloway, and Councilmember Shea voting to approve the item and Councilmember Krom and Councilmember Agran voting in opposition to the item.

The second Great Park item up on the agenda was item 3.1 titled, “SECOND ADJACENT LANDOWNER AGREEMENT BETWEEN CITY OF IRVINE AND HERITAGE FIELDS EL TORO, LLC.” This adjacent landowner agreement outlined the following actions as part of the vote in the agenda:

1) It is recommended that the City Council consider the details of the proposal before it and determine whether the City will enter into the Second Agreement with City of Irvine as Adjacent Landowner (ALA II) proposed by Five Point Communities, together with the associated Ground Leases and Maintenance Agreements.

2) If the City Council elects to enter into the ALA II, Ground Leases, and Maintenance Agreements, it is recommended that the City Council withdraw its prior approval of the Western Sector Phase II Capital Improvement Program (CIP #371404) and re-allocate funds to one or more Capital Improvement Programs designed to improve the Western Sector of the Orange County Great Park and fund capital projects associated with expedited development of the Orange County Great Park under the ALA II.

3) If the City Council elects to enter into the ALA II, Ground Leases, and Maintenance Agreements, it is recommended that the City determine whether the “Design Package” proposed by Heritage Fields is substantially in conformance with the Orange County Great Park Master Plan.

4) If the City Council finds that the Design Package is substantially in conformance with the Orange County Great Park Master Plan, then it is recommended that the City Council approve the Design Package as a “Park Design” in accordance with Irvine Zoning Code Section 2-22-5.

5) If the City Council finds that the Design Package is not substantially in conformance with the Orange County Great Park Master Plan, then it is recommended that the City Council direct staff to commence processing of an amendment to the Great Park Master Plan, so that such amendment will be completed in accordance with City procedures and the requirements of the ALA II.

For those of you playing along at home that want more of a background click on the following link for the staff report on this item ALA_Staff_Report. This item was slightly changed during the meeting by Councilman Jeff Lalloway in that he proposed that the city run the park after it is built, get an extra $10,000,000 from the developer over 5-years, and improvements to Marine Way a street located within the development. It was clear that Shea and Choi were not completely on board with these amendments but went along with them as a compromise to get the deal done. This item was also passed on a 3-2 vote with Mayor Choi, Councilmember Lalloway, and Councilmember Shea voting to approve the item and Councilmember Krom and Councilmember Agran voting in opposition to the item.

I have no problem with Jeff Lalloway trying to get some extra money for the City of Irvine, but I disagree with him on the City of Irvine managing the park after it is built. Having a private sector company run the park seems like a great idea due to the cost savings that would benefit the city.

The third and final Great Park item up on the agenda was item 4.1 titled, “GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE IN PLANNING AREAS 30 AND 51 (GREAT PARK NEIGHBORHOODS).” This general plan amendment outlined the following actions as part of the vote in the agenda:

A) Adopt – A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF IRVINE APPROVING GENERAL
PLAN AMENDMENT (00537028-PGA) TO COMBINE PLANNING AREA 30 AND AN 11–ACRE PARCEL
LOCATED IN PLANNING AREA 9 INTO PLANNING AREA 51; DELETE REFERENCES TO PLANNING
AREA 30 THROUGHOUT THE GENERAL PLAN; AMEND THE LAND USE DESIGNATION FOR THE
11-ACRE PARCEL TO BE ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK; AMEND GENERAL PLAN TABLES A-1 AND
A-2 TO REFLECT SHIFTS OF INTENSITY BETWEEN RESIDENTIAL AND NON-RESIDENTIAL
CATEGORIES AND ADD THE 11-ACRE PARCEL IN TABLE A-2; AMEND THE APPROPRIATE
GENERAL PLAN FIGURES TO ELIMINATE ROCKFIELD BOULEVARD FROM THE EASTERN PROJECT
BOUNDARY TO MARINE WAY CONTINGENT UPON APPROVAL BY THE ORANGE COUNTY
TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (OCTA); MODIFY GENERAL PLAN OBJECTIVE B-1, TO IDENTIFY
WHERE LEVEL OF SERVICE “E” IS CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE; AMEND GENERAL PLAN FIGURE
G-1 TO DEPICT THE LOCATION OF A FUTURE HIGH SCHOOL; AND REVISE GENERAL PLAN
FIGURE L-2 TO DEPICT THE RELOCATED WILDLIFE CORRIDOR FEATURE; FILED BY FIVE
POINT COMMUNITIES, ON BEHALF OF HERITAGE FIELDS EL TORO, LLC FOR THE GREAT PARK
NEIGHBORHOODS DEVELOPMENT; LOCATED IN PLANNING AREAS 30 AND 51

B) Adopt – A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF IRVINE APPROVING THE
SECOND AMENDMENT TO DENSITY BONUS AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE CITY OF IRVINE, A
CALIFORNIA MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, AND HERITAGE FIELDS EL TORO, LLC, A DELAWARE
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

C) Introduce for first reading and by title only – AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL
OF THE CITY OF IRVINE APPROVING ZONE CHANGE (00537029-PZC) TO REZONE AN 11-ACRE
PARCEL AND THE ENTIRE PLANNING AREA 30 TO 8.1/8.1B TRAILS AND TRANSIT ORIENTED
DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT AND COMBINE THESE PROPERTIES INTO PLANNING AREA 51; REZONE
PROPERTY TO 1.4 PRESERVATION TO ACCOMMODATE THE RELOCATED WILDLIFE CORRIDOR
FEATURE FOR SEGMENTS 2 AND 3, AND REZONE THE FORMER LOCATION OF THE WILDLIFE
CORRIDOR FEATURE TO 8.1 TRAILS AND TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT; MODIFY
THE RESIDENTIAL AND NON-RESIDENTIAL INTENSITY FOR A MAXIMUM 9,500 RESIDENTIAL
UNITS AND 6,135,200 SQUARE FEET OF NON-RESIDENTIAL INTENSITY IN PLANNING AREA
51; AND OTHER MINOR AMENDMENTS TO THE ZONING ORDINANCE TO IMPLEMENT THE PROJECT;
FILED BY FIVE POINT COMMUNITIES ON BEHALF OF HERITAGE FIELDS EL TORO, LLC FOR
THE GREAT PARK NEIGHBORHOODS DEVELOPMENT; LOCATED IN PLANNING AREAS 30 AND 51

As I have done with the previous two items, for those of you interested in reading the staff report for this item click on the following link Zoning_Staff_Report. As with the previous two items, this item was also passed on a 3-2 vote with Mayor Choi, Councilmember Lalloway, and Councilmember Shea voting to approve the item and Councilmember Krom and Councilmember Agran voting in opposition to the item.

I have to give some serious kudos to Jeff Lalloway who made an extremely classy gesture towards the end of this meeting in commending Christina Shea for being the driving force behind the agreement. In the past we have seen some minor tension between the two Councilmembers over a vote Christina Shea made on funding the Barclay Theatre and the vote that Jeff Lalloway made to delay “The Great Park” items for two weeks. This is a great chance for Mayor Choi, Councilmember Shea, and Councilmember Lalloway to rejoice in a great accomplishment that they achieved on behalf of the citizens of Irvine and to work together on future public policy items.

Posted in Irvine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Final Thoughts Before the Irvine Council Vote on Great Park Proposal as Lalloway Speaks Out

Posted by Chris Emami on November 24, 2013

Jeff LallowayThis is the third time I’ve written about the Irvine Council vote on the FivePoint proposal to develop the Great Park.  The Great Park is a major issue for this Orange County, considering its pivotal role in putting an end to the battle over the El Toro Airport that tour the County apart in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Additionally, after the gains Republicans had after the 2012 election, I feel this is still a critically important issue, which is why I’ve written three times on it before Tuesday’s meeting.  Until the 2012 election, Republicans had not had a majority on the Irvine City Council since 2000.  The reason Republicans won is Republicans ran promising to develop the Great Park.

Let me also address another issue.  I’ve heard a lot of rumors about me and Jeff Lalloway.  I will be crystal clear: Jeff has been a complete gentleman to me on this issue.  Our conversations on this topic have been absolutely cordial.  Any rumors that I have been threatened or intimidated by Jeff or anyone on this topic are patently false.  No one has been anything but professional to me on this topic.

One of the most impressive things about this proposal is that FivePoint is willing to give up 1,000,000 square feet of commercial space to build additional 4,600 homes.  Reducing the commercial space ensures that there is no increase in traffic from the additional homes.  Additionally, FivePoint proposes to develop most of the Great Park.  This proposal is an incredible deal for Irvine, and really a great deal for Orange County as a whole.  We will finally have the Great Park that the voters expected when Orange County residents voted to end the El Toro Airport in 2002.

I reached out to Jeff with a few questions but did not get a response by the time this article went up.  I did want to hear directly from him about his thoughts and concerns on the FivePoint proposal for the Great Park.  However, he published an excellent op-ed in the Register (it’s outside the paywall!) that outlined his thoughts on this deal.  Here are key excerpts:

I am excited to be able to vote in favor of this project. I look forward to casting that vote.

However, at the time that this complex proposal was brought before the council, it was clear from both the city staffs report and their presentations that they had time to conduct only a partial analysis of the impacts of this offer. In short, more work was required. In fact, the staff report highlights several areas that require “further discussion” and that their review is still a “work in progress.”

Areas requiring more analysis include such critical components as the design features, construction progress, and potential city liabilities. Separately, there are significant policy issues concerning public access to the park, as well as operating and maintaining the park amenities.

I don’t agree with Jeff renegotiating terms with FivePoint from the dais because the city staff had not had adequate time to vet the issues; he should have just let staff get their questions answered instead.  However, it’s clear from this op-ed that Jeff made the motion to delay two weeks, so that vote would allow staff to finish the last 10% of the agreement.  I think this amount of time should have been enough time to allow staff a chance to iron out the final 10%, and Jeff’s op-ed makes it clear he made the motion to allow them to do so.

Along with many other people in Orange County, I am looking forward to this issue being resolved promptly, and I hope that I will get the chance to write an article Tuesday evening that details the final result.

Posted in Irvine | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A Quarter Billion Dollars and a Decade Later: Where’s the Park?

Posted by Chris Emami on November 21, 2013

Great Park BalloonAs I said in my last post on the topic, I was surprised by the 3-2 vote by the Irvine City Council on November 12 to delay consideration of the Great Park construction plan. Conservative Republican Jeff Lalloway unexpectedly joined liberal Democrats Larry Agran and Beth Krom in voting to delay for two weeks over the dissenting votes of Steven Choi and Christina Shea.

I like Lalloway, and Lalloway is a good conservative. Let me be unequivocally clear: I support Jeff Lalloway’s re-election to the Irvine City Council next year, just as I support Steven Choi’s re-election as Mayor in that same election, and I plan to support Christina Shea’s re-election to the Council in 2016. I just disagree with Lalloway on this one vote. Those who would attack Lalloway need to remember this: he only voted on a two-week delay to have more time to review this plan. I am confident that when he has fully examined the plan, he will be supportive of this effort to build the Great Park.

Lalloway made the motion to delay the item solely to have two more weeks to iron out the plan details. Choi and Shea voted against his motion to move the plan forward. Agran and Krom voted to delay in an attempt to kill this plan.

Irvine has already spent a quarter of a billion dollars and a decade since Measure W stopped the El Toro Airport in favor of the Great Park. What do they have to show for it? A giant orange balloon, a merry-go-round, a farm, an art display, and some soccer fields, ponds, and lawns.

The proposal by developer FivePoint Communities to build the Great Park would be a giant step forward. FivePoint Communities proposes to build 65% of the Great Park with a huge sports park, an 18-hole golf course, an agricultural site, and a woodland “Bosque” area.

What does FivePoint Communities want in exchange for these gifts to the City of Irvine? The right to build more homes on its own land. FivePoint Communities would only build homes on land that FivePoint already owns. This is a property rights issue. Protecting private property rights are a core principle of conservatism. FivePoint should have the right to build on its own land. It wishes to build an additional 4,600 homes on its own land and will construct a substantial proportion of the Great Park for the City of Irvine.

This seems like a very reasonable trade: FivePoint can build more homes on its own land and will build nearly 2/3 of the Great Park for the City of Irvine.

What’s often forgotten in the history of this land is that Lennar bought nearly the entirety of the old El Toro base from the Navy for $649.5 million. Then, Lennar gave 1,347 acres to the City of Irvine for the Great Park. (FivePoint Communities is a spin-off of Lennar.) Many of the significant steps forward that have occurred in the last decade in relation to the Great Park have been driven by the private sector.

My fellow OC Political co-founder, Chris Nguyen, often says, “The public sector exists only to do that which the private sector cannot do.” I believe that’s a core principle of limited government. If the Irvine City Council votes against the FivePoint Communities plan, then they will turn this on its head. That would mean the City of Irvine would try to build the park itself and reject an attempt by the private sector FivePoint Communities to do it.

The private sector generally does things more efficiently than the public sector. FivePoint Communities will not spend a quarter million dollars and a decade like the Agran majority did. Let FivePoint help build the Great Park.

Let’s not forget that the criticisms of the FivePoint plan in both the staff report and from the Council dais are being leveled by the people who spent a quarter billion dollars over a decade to build a balloon, a merry-go-round, a farm, an art display, and some soccer fields, ponds, and lawns. Agran and Krom’s nitpicking perfectionism is reminiscent of the busybody neighbor who calls the homeowners association when someone paints their house eggshell white instead of pearl white.

Agran and Krom are your classic big government liberals who believe in governmental centralized planning of all aspects of our lives. Just listen to Krom’s quote from the November 12 meeting in this Voice of OC video. It’s just frightening what she says about the FivePoint plan’s differences from the original master plan: “If you take the master plan and you blow it up, then the money we invested in the planning, you’re going to tell me we won’t even have a plan. So why would I support you destroying my plan, and then telling me ‘you wasted money on the plan?’”

It was Jeff Lalloway who put it best back in October, when the Orange County Register quoted him saying, “No master plan is sacred.”

Posted in Irvine | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Great Park Vote Gets Delayed

Posted by Chris Emami on November 17, 2013

This last week the vote to push forward on the Great Park was set to take place. I was not initially planning to cover it, but a large number of readers have asked me to weigh in on what took place and to give a brief analysis.

To give a bit of background on the situation, Councilmember Jeff Lalloway voted with Larry Agran and Beth Krom to delay the vote on the Great Park which came as quite a surprise to me and based on the e-mails that I received a large number of readers.

Here is my overall analysis on what this means and what hopefully will happen.

In a year of historic GOP losses, 2012 had a glimmer of hope when Republicans regained majority control of the Irvine City Council. Wresting control from Larry Agran’s majority was the first step in getting the Orange County Great Park on the right track.

After months of negotiation with a development partner, the Irvine City Council had the opportunity last Tuesday to move the Park forward. But, to 688 acres of sports facilities, gardens and wildlife corridor, Republican Councilmember Jeff Lalloway and Democrats Beth Krom and Larry Agran said, “no, not just yet.”

In addition to getting the Orange County Great Park built, the development partner announced that Broadcom was in discussions to move their corporate headquarters to the Great Park, instead of a speculated move to the District in the City of Tustin.

Getting infrastructure at the Great Park, keeping thousands of high-paying, high-tech jobs in Irvine, fulfilling promises to build a world-class destination for Orange County’s enjoyment. Why is Jeff Lalloway stalling? The development deal will expire at the November 26th City Council meeting. With virtually no development fees left to build the Park, this is the last, best and only hope to fulfill the promise of the Orange County Great Park.

Councilmember Lalloway needs to help protect the Republican majority of the Irvine City Council by doing what’s right and advancing development proposals at the Great Park. If he truly wants to protect Irvine’s interests, he will support Mayor Steven Choi and Councilmember Christina Shea in finally moving the Park forward.

Posted in Irvine | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Irvine – Ninth Year With Lowest Per Capita Violent Crime Rate

Posted by Chris Emami on June 3, 2013

I have a sneaking suspicion that some Democrats were secretly hoping for Irvine to become slightly less safe (on paper), more economically unstable, or have some other kind of issues in order to help put their side back in the majority this next election. Irvine is still extremely safe, which is good news for everyone!

The Irvine Police Department issued a press release that announced that they have for the 9th year in a row, had the lowest per capita violent crime rate. Here is the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       PRESS RELEASE #6/03/2013
 
  
Subject : Irvine – Ninth Year With Lowest Per Capita Violent Crime Rate
 
 
IRVINE, CA (June 3, 2013): Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation published its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for Part 1 crime reported January through December 2012.   Part 1 crimes include, murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft and arson.

For the ninth consecutive year, the City of Irvine has reported the lowest per capita violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) for cities of greater than 100,000 in population.  In addition to this National distinction, 2012 was also the City’s record low for the per capita violent crime rate.

“Public safety is the City’s most important strategic priority,” Mayor Steven S. Choi said. “So, each year, this very high mark is important to us. Because in the commitment of a City to its citizens, everything flows from public safety. I am proud of our Police Department, our other staff and a community that helps each other. I am very happy that 2012 marked the lowest per capita violent crime rate in Irvine’s history.”

 “I remain proud of the men and women of our Department”, Chief Maggard commented. “I am grateful for the efforts they make every day to keep our community safe.” 

To view the Uniform Crime Report:

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/preliminary-annual-uniform-crime-report-january-december-2012 

To view the FBI Press Release

http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-preliminary-annual-crime-statistics-for-2012

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IRVINE POLICE DEPARTMENT One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606 (949) 724-7000  www.irvinepd.org “Working In Partnership with the Community”

INTEGRITY – QUALITY SERVICE - ACCOUNTABILITY - RESPECT

The City of Irvine has a population of more than 212,000, spans 65 square miles and is recognized as one of America’s safest and most successful master-planned urban communities. Top-rated educational institutions, an enterprising business atmosphere, sound environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity all contribute to Irvine’s enviable quality of life. This family-friendly city features more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space and is the home of the Orange County Great Park – the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century.  For more information, please visit www.cityofirvine.org.

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Posted in Irvine | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Irvine Fires City Attorney, Hires Interim & Other Tidbits

Posted by Chris Emami on March 27, 2013

In what was a rather interesting meeting yesterday at Irvine City Hall the new Irvine majority City Council continues to make some changes on the administrative side of things. I am quite pleased with the direction that Irvine is heading and am impressed with the fact that the current Irvine City Council majority is trying to cut costs wherever possible. City_of_Irvine_Official_City_Seal_svg

Mayor Steven Choi, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Lalloway, and Councilwoman Christina Shea have already  (as the OC Great Park Board) decided to eliminate a contract that was in place with Newport-based Forde & Mollrich. According to an article published in the Orange County Register:

Forde & Mollrich had been paid $100,000 a month until it was reduced to half that, or up to $600,000 a year. In the contract, the firm also was allowed to be called on for up to $300,000 worth of miscellaneous services a year, according to Lalloway’s memo.

At the recent March 21st City Council meeting the decision was made on a 3-2 vote to terminate the contract with City Attorney Rutan & Tucker. This would obviously create a vacancy that needs to be filled. This brings me to the meeting last night and at the meeting last night Irvine had a couple of interesting items on the agenda including item 2.1 which was in the agenda as follows:

2.1 APPOINTMENT  OF INTERIM CITY ATTORNEY

ACTION

1) Authorize the Mayor to execute the agreement attached to  the staff report with the law firm, Jones & Mayer, LLP to serve as  Interim City Attorney.

2) Direct the City Manager to prepare and distribute a  request for proposals for city attorney services so that the Mayor and City  Council may subsequently consider the resulting proposals when selecting a  law firm to provide permanent city attorney services.

3) Authorize the City Manager or his designee to compensate  Rutan & Tucker for work performed by the firm to complete existing work  assignments and enable the transition of assignments to be performed by the  successor attorney(s).

If for whatever reason you are a glutton for punishment and want to read the entire report on this item you can click here. The report is in all honesty pretty important to understand if you want to follow the issue closely.

The other item that I found interesting was expansion of the infamous iShuttle that travels throughout Irvine. This was item 5.1 on the agenda and read as follows:

5.1RECONSIDERATION  OF EXPANDED iSHUTTLE SERVICES

ACTION:
City Council discussion and direction.

I recognize that this description is useless so I have also included the staff report on that item here as well.

The meeting was not on my radar to begin with until I read about it taking place on Facebook. After watching some highlights of the Council meeting on video this morning I was able to get to some of the highlights in order to give brief and somewhat incomplete synopsis of the actions taken last night and a couple of other observations. At the beginning of the meeting it was discussed that the interim law firm in place will be charging fees at a rate that matches that of the previous law firm with the exception of paralegal fees which will be decreased.

The actual vote on approving the new interim law firm was 4-1 which surprised since Agran voted with the majority to go this way, and as you may have guessed Krom was the lone dissenting vote on this. Jeff Lalloway made it very clear that this contract would be put out to bid, which is always good to hear in the name of transparency and open government.

For some reason which I did not catch Beth Krom left the meeting early and was not around for the end of the meeting discussion on the iShuttle expansion. After reading the staff report it was obvious that Agran was the one pushing this item. Agran initially made the motion to move the item and ironically without Krom he had nobody to second his motion. After watching this meeting it is clear that Councilman Larry Agran & Councilwoman Beth Krom do not like being in the minority, Agran did come around on item 2.1 though to appoint the interim city attorney.

Posted in Irvine | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Republican, Democrat, Independent??? The Partisan Affiliations of Everyone Holding Office In Orange County

Posted by Chris Emami on March 22, 2013

I was working on a database of the part affiliation of all Orange County local elected officials. Finally, I have completed the project with all of the special districts and county seats being added. I also fixed some errors in the previous versions (here, here, and here) and have combined the database into one post.

duck-elephant-donkey-logos

We have added a button on the menu bar for our readers to always be able to access this database and use it for whatever research/political needs that they may have. Due to the length of th epost you are going to have to click the below link to read the rest of the post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 2nd Supervisorial District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 4th Supervisorial District, 5th Supervisorial District, Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park, Buena Park Library District, Buena Park School District, Capistrano Bay Community Services District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Coast Community College District, Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa Sanitary District, Cypress, Cypress School District, Dana Point, East Orange County Water District, El Toro Water District, Emerald Bay Service District, Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Garden Grove, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach City School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Irvine, Irvine Ranch Water District, Irvine Unified School District, La Habra, La Habra City School District, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Los Alamitos Unified School District, Lowell Joint School District, Magnolia School District, Mesa Consolidated Water District, Midway City Sanitary District, Mission Viejo, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Newport Beach, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, North Orange County Community College District, Ocean View School District, Orange, Orange County, Orange County Auditor-Controller, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Clerk-Recorder, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Water District, Orange Unified School District, Placentia, Placentia Library District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Margarita Water District, Savanna School District, Seal Beach, Serrano Water District, Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District, South Coast Water District, South Orange County Community College District, Stanton, Sunset Beach Sanitary District, Surfside Colony Community Services District, Surfside Colony Storm Water Protection District, Three Arch Bay Community Services District, Trabuco Canyon Water District, Tustin, Tustin Unified School District, Villa Park, Westminster, Westminster School District, Yorba Linda, Yorba Linda Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Supervisor Spitzer Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on January 18, 2013

Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s office sent out their debut newsletter yesterday…

Board of Supervisors Subscribe  |  Unsubscribe
Todd Spitzer - Supervisor Third District
January 17, 2013 Volume 1 Issue 1
Todd Spitzer gets to work as Supervisor, picks staff
(Santa Ana, CA) – Todd Spitzer, elected to serve as the next Orange County Supervisor from the Third District, was sworn in on January 7 and immediately began focusing on critical issues such as ending homelessness in Orange County and addressing problems with Irvine’s Great Park. Click here for a link to the Orange County Register’s story on Spitzer’s swearing-in. Click here to read Supervisor Spitzer’s remarks.

Spitzer also announced his team, chosen to assist him in improving Orange County’s economy, ensuring public safety and bringing additional reforms to the county’s pension system.

Spitzer sworn in by his wife, Judge Jamie Spitzer, joined by son, Justin

and daughter, Lauren (not pictured)

Click here for more information about Supervisor Spitzer’s staff.
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A history of controversy in the Great Park, but a bright future
Supervisor Spitzer recently spoke before the Irvine City Council. Click here to view his remarks.
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Ending homelessness in Orange County
(Santa Ana, CA) On January 15, members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to purchase property for the purposes of creating a year-round shelter for the homeless in North County. The location of the property is at 301 S. State College Blvd., in Fullerton and adjacent to north Anaheim. This item is part of the county’s board-approved ten-year plan to end homelessness and takes steps to create a year-round homeless shelter.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson led the project, which is based in the Fourth District. For more than a year, Supervisor Nelson and staff worked with Fullerton officials and community members to identify a site location and work through logistical concerns. Supervisor Spitzer praised Supervisor Nelson’s leadership in bringing this important issue forward.

“This is such an important step forward for Orange County as we find ways to help our homeless get back on their feet, and find treatment solutions for those affected by mental illness or drug and alcohol addiction,” said Supervisor Todd Spitzer in support of the purchase.

“But it’s also critical to be aware that our action today is just a first step and that the people of Fullerton still have opportunities for public input at the city level through public hearings on this project,” Spitzer also said.

Currently, two part time shelters are available under the county’s seasonal Armory Emergency Shelter Program. Access to these shelters is limited to the winter season and to specific nighttime hours.

Spitzer also highlighted the upcoming survey of the county’s homeless population and committed that he and his staff would participate in the event.

Click here to read more.
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Openings for boards and commissions to be announced
(Santa Ana, CA) Next issue, openings for appointments to local boards and commissions from the Third District will be announced. Supervisor Spitzer has called for a transparent and open process for applications.

A list of boards and commissions with available positions will be provided.

District Staff
Mike Johnson

Chief of Staff

Justin Glover

Communications Director

Martin Gardner

Policy Advisor

Martha Ochoa-Lopez

Policy Advisor

Carrie O’Malley

Policy Advisor

Chris Nguyen

Policy Advisor

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District Map
third District Map
Anaheim, Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, Yorba Linda
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Stay Updated!
house icon http://ocgov.com/gov/bos/3/
envelope icon Todd.Spitzer@ocgov.com
phone icon 714.834.3330
arrow icon View Online Version
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Copyright 2013 County of Orange, California
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Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Anaheim, Fullerton, Irvine | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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