DPOC and Melissa deliver well-earned bitch slap to the Agran Machine.




For – jeez, decades actually – Larry Agran ruled the world of Irvine Democrats with an iron fist, brooking no dissent.  During that time, as Mayor and Councilman, he did a lot of good things (from the point of view of liberals and environmentalists), but the good of his record is dwarfed by the quarter billion dollars of waste on his never-realized Great Park, and the antidemocratic culture of conformity and obedience he fostered in his local Party.

Against this backdrop, like a salmon swimming upstream, arose an independent progressive Councilwoman name of Melissa Fox.  Generally allied with Larry’s “Agranistas,” but not obedient to Larry and owing him nothing, she developed her own group of volunteers, her own “machine,” and won election last year one cycle after Larry was finally voted out.


During Larry’s final term, seeing his dreams of a Great Park collapse, he instead embraced the idea of an OC Veterans Cemetery, as a way to salvage at least something constructive out of his tenure, and by all accounts his work on the project was as important as anyone’s.  But when his longtime bitter enemies, the greedy developers of FivePoint who were incommoded by the original planned site, offered to swap land for a different site known popularly as the “Strawberry Fields,” Larry and his allies instead of considering the pros and cons of the offer insisted stubbornly on sticking it to FivePoint with the original site.

Melissa, however, coming at the issue with a fresh set of eyes and finding herself the swing vote on the Council, saw that the land swap idea could be advantageous for both Irvine taxpayers and the veterans themselves, and that the fact that it would also be advantageous for the greedy developer Agran hated so much was somewhat inconsequential.  When it became clear that she was considering favoring the swap, Larry referred to that possibility as “incomprehensible.”  It was actually far from incomprehensible to any objective observer.  What was really incomprehensible to Larry was any Irvine Democrat daring to not show complete obedience and loyalty to Larry.


As it shook out, Melissa DID cast the deciding vote for the land swap, saving many millions of dollars for Irvine taxpayers, and winning an award for the same.  The cemetery is now on a fast track to being built on the Strawberry Fields and Melissa is considered a traitor by Larry and his clique.

All of the above is old news to any local blog readers.  What’s new is that on Monday the Democratic Party of OC (DPOC) passed a resolution condemning the thuggish behavior of the Agran crowd in the leadup to her Cemetery vote, a resolution reading something about like thus:


Whereas, Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox, an endorsed Democrat, was recently elected on November 8, 2016, to a four-year term on the Irvine City Council; and as the sole Democratic member of the Irvine City Council, has faithfully and with integrity carried out her duties by fighting for the values of the Democratic Party and by making decisions based on the best interests of Irvine residents; and

Whereas, Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox, in carrying out these duties, and while working closely with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, Senator Josh Newman, Governor Jerry Brown, and Congressman Lou Correa, has fulfilled her campaign promise to ensure that an Orange County Veterans Memorial and Cemetery is established on the grounds of the former El Toro Marine Air Base in Irvine; and

Whereas, Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox has been threatened with a recall based on a single vote on the Veterans Cemetery;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Democratic Party of Orange County condemns the attacks on Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox’s integrity and character.

Be it further resolved that the Democratic Party of Orange County strongly supports Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox against this threatened pernicious recall.

Some of my young progressive friends in the Party needed to know all that background; ustedes should identify with Melissa and celebrate her bold rise against an entrenched Party dictator.  Some of them think it’s petty to pass a resolution against a recall that’ll probably never materialize, and sure enough Larry’s crowd is now saying “Recall?  What recall?”  The thing is, the recall was a serious threat against her to get her to vote Agran’s way, and THAT is what needed to be condemned by the Party.  And here is the meat of this story, documentation of those threats, mostly from Agran’s fake-newsletter “Irvine Community News and Views” (ICNV), and from his drunken lapdog Dan Chmielewski of the ironically named blog “Liberal OC.”  (Note that Agran often uses the passive voice, or attributes to unnamed others what he himself wants said or is planning…)


  • From the column “Agran’s City Watch” in ICNV:  “”There is already widespread talk among civic activists of resort to available options: litigation, initiatives, referenda, and even recalls.”
  • Recall threatened in “comments” in ICNV:  “…The next step in this black comedy is to start a recall petition against these traitors of the public trust…”
  • More recall threats in ICNV “comments:  “…I would like to know how we, the citizens of Irvine, can remove elected officials [who make this decision.]”
  • Chmielewski in Liberal OC:  “Meanwhile, in Irvine, there’s discussion that if Council member Melissa Fox votes in favor of the FivePoint plan there will be a recall effort made to remove her from office. Organizers have asked for anonymity awaiting a vote from Fox.  They are well-funded and organized.”
  • Anonymous “comments” on Liberal OC:  “I supported Fox for her election and now she’s going to vote for a billionaire developer to get more money from Irvine? I will never vote for her ever again and if there’s a recall I will make sure to vote against her.”
  • Corruption accusations in ICNV, for example that Melissa was being texted on how to vote by FivePoint while on the dais.

So, yeah, I’m glad my Party condemned all that, and that we now have independent Democrats in Irvine who can think for themselves and won’t bow to intimidation by their shelf-life-long-past bosses.  Patience, my young friends, there is time next month for much bigger resolutions about much bigger issues in the bigger world.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.