Jeff Lalloway morphs into King Lear.

The recent contract termination and re-hiring of Irvine city attorney Rutan & Tucker is no surprise. It’s not because the issue should never have happened, but because the changing of consulting firms and attorneys is a common event in politics.

A little history – Rutan & Tucker has been providing legal services to the City of Irvine since 1971.  As in usual fashion Rutan & Tucker followed the guidelines of the majority Council and did not consider the minority Council depending on who was the majority at the time.

Political winds change, and if a company treats one side of the political spectrum badly, they can’t be surprised when their contract is terminated and they are forced to re-bid for it.  Shouldn’t we expect consultants to the City’s government be held accountable for their actions?  And Rutan & Tucker were allowed to re-bid, and were allowed to win that bid.  The City Council voted 3-2 in a closed session. Mayor pro-tem Jeff Lalloway and Mayor Steven Choi, who served on a subcommittee to review the 13 other applicants prior to the rest of the council, cast the two dissenting votes.  (Meaning Christina Shea once again joined the Democratic minority to form a sort of Rutan Clan.)

If anything, this should be a routine and standard policy that every three to five years contracts should be reviewed.  Determine who can best serve the city’s needs regularly, rather than keeping it automatic, which is the case with Rutan & Tucker.  Turning something which should be policy, and which was certainly warranted, into a dramatic theater presentation is absurd.

Lalloway and Choi gave the impression that they were promoting a different law firm, but  whether or not THAT firm was qualified to care for the City’s growth and new developing projects remains unclear.  But it really did appear that their intent was to put public pressure on the other Council members to choose and support this other firm.  It didn’t work.  It was much ado about nothing.  The “purportedly” under-qualified firm did not win the bid.

An overheard observation from a spectator was “a serious lack of professionalism by Lalloway”. Lalloway apparently announced his displeasure shortly after Council session in the chambers – Lalloway even threatened Council members by destroying them “politically” and “financially”.

As so often with people who let their egos get in the way, others can suffer consequences for their actions.  Lalloway’s kingdom is in danger of changing back from a majority-Republican Council to a majority-Democrat Council, because of one member of the Council siding with the more liberal side of the dais. Whether or not it happened is fairly irrelevant.

Shakespeare’s play King Lear sums it up.   It depicts a king slowly losing his grasp on his kingdom and reality is anything but a fairy tale. Fairy tales are noted for their joyful, convenient resolutions, their “happily ever after” endings.  But for Lalloway, just as many monarchs tried to convince their subjects that they should love and admire them, he demands absolute loyalty and uses his power as an excuse to get this loyalty and to achieve domination over his kingdom at the people’s expense.

BTW, the monarchy also required allegiance and “love for country.”  In Lalloway’s case, he has lost THAT battle before it has even begun. 

Apparently politicians mustn’t question the status quo, even when they – and in turn the people they represent – have been mistreated by members of it.  And if a politician can’t so much as question the status quo, with no negative long term effects, then why run for office in the first place?  

I think we can all agree that just because a firm has been representing the city since 1971, does not mean it should continue representing the city, without question or opposition, forever.  Conversely, however, they may very well just happen to be the best choice.

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.