Dispatches from Irvine’s (Until 2 a.m.) City Council Meeting Approving Great Park Construction


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Lalloway and Choi - brick texture

The contract may not be fully baked — or for the man on the right even largely comprehended — but last night Jeff Lalloway and Steven Choi, joined by Christine Shea, voted to approve FivePoint’s Great Park construction deal anyway.

An (unknowing) Orange Juice Blog correspondent (who can claim authorship of the dispatches below  for the asking) documented last night’s goings-on.  I’ve cleaned up some of the spelling and grammar, because the correspondent was obviously worn out by the end and this, after all, is for posterity:

  • 11p.m. hour: The Irvine City Council is grilling (FivePoint head) Emile Haddad on commitment to the plan and who would operate the park
  • midnight hour:  City Council Meeting – November 26, 2013
    4:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Duration: 480 min so far
  • midnight hour:  Steve Choi is really out of it. This guy unbelievably clueless for the past 480 minutes, yes 480 minutes. Every time he says something a Bush image comes to mind
  • midnight hour:  After 20 minutes recesses to consult and understand some paperwork, Choi comes back more clueless. Choi is unable to understand the paperwork handed to him. He is asking the Mayor Pro-Tem to read it in plain English in the midst of the laughter from the audience. Disgrace. So Jeff Lalloway, the Pro-Tem, is doing the translation from English. Basically, Choi will copy Lalloway’s vote. SMH
  • midnight hour:  I will not be surprised if Choi [word missing?] after the past 5 minutes of literally reading the MOU between the City and FivePoint Developer. [Lalloway] is literally reading in plain English and Choi is still no comprehendo.
  • midnight hour:  Mayor Pro-Tem Lalloway is grilling FivePoint and they do not have answers in a motion. Lalloway is asking for design modification and FivePoint Rep is mumbling to a dissatisfaction of Lalloway.
  • midnight hour:  Choi looks smart and ok until he start talking and looks as he is in a different meeting
  • midnight hour:  Choi is complaining why Lalloway is making it complicated. Mr. Mayor when you were elected things [were] supposed to be complicated — it is a quarter million people city. I do not blame you, I blame the people who elected you. Choi is refusing to postponed #BushMoment
  • midnight hour:  Agran asked Lalloway to make a summary or if the city Clerk Carl summarize the motion. Lalloway replies, Carl does not have a copy I gave the extra copy to FivePoint.#Shameless Lalloway
  • midnight hour:  City Manger is frustrated with Christina Shea’s ignorance and hastiness to hand it to FivePoint without risk management. The lady wants to go home. She is getting rowdy with the City Manager
  • midnight hour:  Choi is mad at Lalloway, he is about to spank him over the fact that Lalloway is taking away the 12 months evaluation period from the contract. I think Choi is a night owl, his awareness just kicked in
  • 1 a.m. hour:  Agran is grilling FivePoint on the agricultural operations in the park.
  • 1 a.m. hour:  Steve Choi and his gang approved his friends Five Point plan 3-2

Meanwhile, the Voice of OC’s story includes this tale of the waning moments:

The hours-long negotiations seemed at one point to hit an impasse over whether the city or the developer would operate and maintain the park. Lalloway – who was the swing vote — said he would defend Irvine’s control over the park “to the death,” while Shea said that the cost to the city hadn’t been studied enough.

However, Shea relented, and agreed to have FivePoint pay the city $10 million over several years for the operational costs. The developer would also chip in another $10 million to improve Marine Way, a major thoroughfare into the park.

Applause and cheers erupted after the council approved the agreement.

The meeting ultimately ended just before 2 a.m., with dozens of observers still in attendance.

(Note to students at UCI’s Public Policy and Public Administration courses: no, this is not how it’s supposed to be done.)

A final note:  I don’t know what happened with that final discussion about “agricultural operations in the park.”  I know that Agran has been very proud of the organic farming operation in the park, which (as I recall) he once said would potentially be enough to feed all of Orange County.  Will it become corporate industrial farming now?  I have no idea — and I don’t know who does know.  Who’s the highest bidder?


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.