The Great Park’s Great Facebook Divide

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Citizens of Irvine have been looking forward to the development of the Great Park for quite a while now, but yet again, progress has stalled.  Is this due to a lack of funds, a developer backing out of a deal, or maybe a shortage of manpower?  Sadly, the true answer to that is the usual squabbling and foot-dragging that has become the norm within the City Council.  On November 13th, the Council voted to delay for two weeks on deciding whether to allow a developer to improve 688 acres of the park in exchange for the right to build thousands of homes surrounding the area.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway, who along with council members Beth Krom and Larry Agran voted for the delay, claims that staff has only done a “partial analysis” of the proposal and that “I need to do my due diligence.”  Since Great Park development has only been a hot topic of conversation for what seems like ages now, one wonders what it’ll take for a unanimous vote, absolute “due diligence” and some much-needed attention to contracts, or for “staff” to develop some sort of deadline for themselves.

Councilmember Christina Shea led an attack on Lalloway on Facebook of all places, squarely placing the blame on him for the never-ending lack of progress on the Great Park.  During the same rant, she also blamed Agran for his own technical opposition as well as Krom for her relatively small outlook.  Shea, who could very well run for higher office in 2014, also tooted her own horn as a Park champion and a rugged opponent of other council members’ “wasteful spending”.

Before anyone decides to crown Shea as “Councilmember of the Year” though, one should review some facts.  Despite her newfound opposition to “wasteful spending”, it was just a few weeks ago that Shea controversially joined Krom and Agran to approve a considerable amount of money toward art programs. Furthermore,  she was part of the same council when millions of dollars were contracted and given to PR firms for the Great Park, so what is different now, other than an election in 2014, where Lalloway is also up for an election.

Now it seems that both no-one and everyone is to blame here.  Some scrutiny of The Great Park is of course necessary though perhaps not at Lalloway’s glacial pace.  Action does need to be taken but maybe it can be encouraged without Christina Shea’s self-serving histrionics.  For now, this internal squabbling among Irvine Republicans will only damage the party’s long-term goals.  Someone in the Council needs to step up who is willing to discuss issues with honesty and prudence instead of embarrassing the body with public rants or indifference… unfortunately that person doesn’t seem to exist, nor have they existed in more than 15 years.

About Irvine Valkyrie

Irvine Valkyrie is Katherine Daigle, the once and future Irvine mayoral candidate, an independent-minded Republican who is aligned with neither of the two dominant Irvine political cliques.