Voters, start your engines
On May 19, at facebook.com/irvinecitynews (a great source for breaking Irvine news in between our print editions), Irvine City News broke the story that the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) had tested the Portola High School site a third time for potential contaminants and again found the site safe to for a school. This must have been terrible news for Larry Agran and Harvey Liss as well as for their fake newspaper and their hand-picked candidate for Mayor, Mary Ann Gaido.
Years ago, when Mr. Agran was still on the City Council, Mr. Agran tried to site Portola High School on a parcel of land inside the Great Park. Mr. Agran planned to sell that parcel to Irvine Unified School District (IUSD).
When the Board decided to locate the site farther east, on land owned by FivePoint Communities, Mr. Agran and Mr. Liss–Mr. Agran’s appointment to the planning commission–embarked upon an effort to make people believe that the land preferred by the IUSD Board was unsafe to site a school on due to contamination.
Despite failing to convince the Irvine City Council or the IUSD Board of his claims, presumably because the site had already been tested and cleared twice–once before it was transferred from the Navy to the developer and once before the District started construction–Messrs. Agran and Liss badgered the State of California into testing the site a third time. After this third round of testing, the State declared, “VOCs [volatile organic compounds] at these concentrations do not pose a threat to the health of individuals who attend classes, who work at the school, or might otherwise use the school’s property.” To be doubly clear, the DTSC added that VOCs the Portola High School site, “are well below human health risk.”
One would think this sufficient. 2016 being an election year, Irvine City News cautions readers to expect Mr. Agran, Mr. Liss and Ms. Gaido to think the fourth time the charm and continue trying to treat voters like so many crows they scare away from the truth with enough straw men.
More’s the pity because new students will enroll at beautiful, new and technologically advanced Portola High School this fall. Those students deserve the inspiration to learn that can come from such a facility and the positive message about learning that a community sends when it in invests such a facility. Certainly we must expect Mr. Agran to continue to litter in our driveways, especially now that his fake newspaper is suing the City of Irvine to allow it to distribute at Irvine City Hall, while running campaign pieces for Gaido.
All that said, Irvine City News expects to disagree with the Irvine City Council from time to time, and the IUSD as well, and looks forward to making the case for the loyal opposition. Last month’s feature story on the Irvine Veteran’s Cemetery is a great example. In this case, we join Councilman Jeff Lalloway who implored Harvey Liss to stop trying to scare people about the school, and the School Board, which has conducted extensive community outreach on the project and has been unfairly tarnished amidst the political swirl.
Irvine City News will be keeping a watchful eye on the following issues as well:
First, on June 7, some Irvine residents (only those in the tax area) will have the opportunity to vote on a school bond for rehabilitation and modernization of school facilities in Irvine. The School Board, PTAs, ITA, and others are supporting the effort to pass the bond. You may have seen “Yes on E” signs at any number of intersections around our city. As we go to press with this issue, “No on E” signs just started to pop up, but no local voice has taken credit for the campaign.
We called for letters in a previous issue and received quite a few. Most were supportive of the bond, citing the need for local funds in the absence of State funds and the fact that the dollars are earmarked for the classrooms rather than administration. Those who opposed wrote of the need for fiscal restraint and concerns over the real usefulness of the expenditures.
Next, our Mayor, Steven Choi, is running for Assembly in the 68th Assembly District which is currently represented by Assemblymember Don Wagner who is termed out. The District covers portions of Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, Orange, Tustin, North Tustin, and Villa Park. If Mayor Choi makes the top two in this primary, he will be in the general election for the seat in November. That would create an opening for mayor on the Irvine City Council.
Our Councilwoman Lynn Schott is also running in a primary election, for the 46th Congressional District, currently held by Loretta Sanchez. The District is made up of the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana. Again, if Councilwoman Schott wins or gets second place in the primary, she would qualify for the November general election, but would not have to vacate her Irvine seat unless she wins the Congressional seat.
Stay tuned to our social media outlets for breaking news on these and other races.