Don’t give Irvine back to Agran
In case anyone has forgotten, here’s one example: $7.2 million spent for public relations work on the Agran-era Great Park, which included a $100,000 per month contract that went to one of his business buddies.
A 2014 OC Register story about testimony by Agran-era Great Park insiders should remind us what’s at stake in this election: “Led by outside consultants and a powerful political figure [Larry Agran], Irvine’s Great Park project squandered millions on a plan without a budget nor a basis in reality, according to testimony by current and former park executives,” the story says.
One of those executives was Walter Kreutzen, Irvine’s assistant city manager through 2010, and interim Great Park chief executive from 2005 to 2007. Regarding expenditures that were part of the $200 million spent to develop less than one sixth of the Great Park, Kreutzen testified he was told to “just pay for it, we’ve got three votes” on Irvine’s city council.
It’s those three votes that Agran wants back.
For those who love Irvine for what it is, and what it is still becoming, this is a very important election. Since the voters removed Larry Agran from his official positions of power in 2014, the ex-city council member and former mayor has been doing everything he can to regain his influence.
He works behind the scenes pushing his agenda, inciting divisiveness and creating chaos. He appears in person and by proxy at council and school board meetings, displaying a chronic disregard for the truth, facts, logic and science. He often speaks out against programs, policies and outcomes that he himself created and advanced.
In 2012, Agran and his allies lost control of the city council and mayor’s office. In 2014, Agran and allies Mary Ann Gaido and Melissa Fox tried to retake power. They lost again.
In an LA Times story after the 2014 election, then-Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach was quoted as saying of Agran: “You can be clever so long, until someone picks up the roof and looks inside the house, and it isn’t pretty, it isn’t pretty at all. After a while, you just have to realize, this guy’s gaming us.”
In the same story, UCI professor Mark Petracca, a former Agran ally, predicted of Agran: “He’ll be back. He needs it like air and water.”
Well, he’s back. In fact, he never really left. The only difference in the upcoming election is that Agran’s name isn’t on the Irvine ballot. But it’s there for those who read between the lines. As one of Agran’s most dogged political watchdogs, R. Scott Moxley of the OC Weekly, wrote earlier this year: “Agran and his political allies are expected to try to take back control over the city and its coffers in this year’s election.”
And Moxley was right.
If you’d like to give the keys to run the city back to “Irvine’s legendary, scandal-scarred political boss,” as Moxley describes Agran, then vote for Mary Ann Gaido, Melissa Fox and Kathryn Daigle in the Nov. 8. election.
If you’d like the city to keep moving forward, away from its scandalous past, then vote for Don Wagner for mayor, along with Anthony Kuo and Christina Shea for city council.