The Wayback Machine in Irvine Politics

Since Stephen Smith of the Irvine Tattler, a man who can connect anyone to an Islamic terrorist organization on the basis of innuendo rather than fact, has turned on the “Wayback Machine” for a copy of a council meeting where Irvine Council member Larry Agran was censured by the Republican Majority.  Since we’re going to revisit a time when Mayoral candidate Christina Shea was mayor, and Agran was on the Council, and since she and Larry are essentially running for the same jobs they held then, let’s turn that wayback machine on for her too because turnabout IS fair play.   

Smith, who doesn’t permit comments to his site and apparently won’t correct easily verified information (a graphically altered headline of the Register Headline declaring Christina Shea a Lobbyist was not altered from the print edition which we have published here before — this for a Measure H Mailer, Todd Gallinger’s voting record and residency status, but I digress).  And in Steve’s world, missing or damaged campaign signs warrant a call to police whereas a death threat to a muslim council candidate is a joke and a cry for attention, well let’s just say he’s not going to like this post too much.

I must confess, bringing up some of these details, is unsavory.  What happened years ago, happened years ago.  But as long as its considered perfectly OK for Smith to drag old council recordings from the archives to drag Agran’s name through the mud or play connect the dots to smear Todd Gallinger’s reputation, or drag Sukhee Kang and Beth Krom through the CAIR debate because they’d rather build bridges within the community than tear them down a la Shea and Steven Choi, then its fair play for me to do the same with Christina Shea’s record. 

more after the jump:


Here’s a collection of boondoggle’s committed by Mayor candidate Christina Shea during her heyday in office.

  •  $63,000 of Taxpayer money wasted on a 1997 feasibility study by Arthur Anderson to assess Irvine for a possible NFL Franchise with a new, possibly domed stadium at the old El Toro Airbase (the dome would keep the sound of the passing Jets to a dull roar). This is the same Arthur Anderson that was criminally indicted for their role in auditing Enron.  11 years later, no stadium, no team, no talk of it at the Great Park, File under “money well spent.”  See this.  And this. 
  • A 1997 Taxpayer funded fact finding trip for Mayor Shea to Charlotte, NC to see the Carolina Panthers facility.  Hmmm, and the Chargers are a short drive away in San Diego. But in an age where almost every new sports stadium as public money attached to it, Shea believed the NFL would come to Irvine and pay its own way.  That was foolish and it wasted taxpayer dollars.
  • “Arrogance, misuse of authority, disrespect for the criminal justice system, false accusations, pettiness and an old-fashioned I’ll-show-them-who’s-mayor attitude do not constitute criminal conduct,” wrote the Los Angeles Times, September 16, 1999 on a District Attorney’s investigation into possible wrongdoing by then Mayor Shea in reaction to her adult daughter’s August 10, 1999 drug arrest.  Shea is on record accusing a police sergeant of lying about details of her daughter’s arrest.   
  • In that same story, Times columnist wrote: What is highly disturbing to me are voicemail comments where she appears to make threats that she could carry out only as an elected official of influence. Such as: ” … it’s just not going to go well for the chief [Brobeck] and Jim Blaylock [a top police commander]” and ” … I’m going to get very tough about this” and ” … we need to take this to task.”  When you see the four voicemail messages as a whole, you get a picture of a public official unafraid to use her clout if things don’t go her way.
  • Shea has never publicly apologized for what she said, only apologizing for the comments that came to light, using the explanation that statements were made as a distraught mother concerned for her daughter (I’m a parent too; I’d be more concerned that my child knew where a meth lab was-D).
  • The initial arrest brought this explanation from then Mayor Shea in the 8/20/1999 edition of the LA Times: Shea said that her daughter was delivering the methamphetamine “for a friend trying to lose weight” and that her daughter feels terrible and embarrassed about the situation. The Mayor said her daughter hadn’t violated any laws before the “current controversy” but the court appearance revealed that Shea’s daughter also had been arrested for possessing a methamphetamine pipe in 1996, but had her charges dismissed after completing a six-month drug education program in San Diego. Two incidents with the same drug over a three year span, and Shea seamed to focus her ire more on Councilman Agran and Councilman Christensen.  The younger Shea had the right to remain silent; too bad she couldn’t ask her mom to shut up. 
  • As her daughter pleaded guilty to using speed and entered drug rehabilitation for the problem, then Mayor Shea continued her attacks on local police, saying “I believe my daughter’s life was put in danger in the process,’ said Shea ((LA Times, 10/29/1999) who charged that police “turned her (daughter) into an informant.” Based on information provided by Shea’s her daughter, police later arrested a man, who was an acquaintance of Shea’s daughter.  According to the Times article, Irvine police spokesman Lt. Sam Allevato said he did not know if the younger Shea cooperated with authorities in helping arrest another suspect but said such procedures are not unusual in narcotics investigations. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest the drug rehab and publicity surrounding the case probably saved the younger Shea’s life. 
  • The arrest exposed then Mayor Shea for employing her own daughter despite the fact Irvine has non-nepotism laws in place; council aides are exempt, but shouldn’t this loophole be closed? For a public official constantly scruntizing every city hire and especially one so critical of Larry Agran and “his cronies,” is it too much to ask for Shea to follow her own example on hiring friends and relatives?
  • A July 16, 2006 op-ed in the OC Register, Shea and Councilmember Steven Choi praised a grand jury report that encouraged the County Board of Supervisors to seize control of the Great Park.  They wrote: The grand jury recommended that the Irvine City Council restore authority to the independent board, as promised by Irvine officials, to represent all people of Orange County. Knowing this may not happen, the jurors wrote, “The Board of Supervisors, representing all Orange County citizens, should consider legal action to return control of the Great Park to the people of Orange County.”
  • In 2006, an alleged threat was made by Irvine Council member Christina Shea to the president of the Irvine City Employees Association (ICEA), Kevin Moynihan, after Team Irvine didn’t get the union’s endorsement. Mr. Monynihan works in fleet services for the City. Shea allegedly said to Moynihan, “you’d better watch out. I don’t forget things.” 

Apparently, she’s forgotten what not to say in a voice mail.

So what we have her is a candidate who, frankly, abused her authority as mayor who wants the job again.  Irvine voters would be wise to note, we’re electing a mayor and not a student council president.  Her record is spotty at best and since returning to office in 2002, pretty much a “no” vote on most everything that moves the city forward.  We deserve better.  We deserve a candidate like Sukhee Kang for Mayor.

  1 comment for “The Wayback Machine in Irvine Politics

  1. October 21, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    I’m really interested in hearing how today’s debate went between Debbie Cook and Rohrabacher. Anyone? Let us know if you find anything. Thanks!

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