To build his credentials with the local political press, Irvine Tattler publisher Stephen Smith made a big deal of his political independence.Â In introducing his website, Stephen wrote these two gems:
“Stephen currently holds no city office and will not work on any candidate’s 2008 campaign. His opinions are his own.”
“If enough of us speak out and demand clean government, we can change the culture at City Hall.”
Well,Â anyone who read the Tattler site knows Smith wasÂ a tool for Shea/Choi/Rodgers to attack the progressiveÂ slate of Kang, Krom, and Agran, and much later, Todd Gallinger even well before heÂ became a council candidate.Â With theÂ election of Sukhee Kang as Mayor, the electionÂ of Beth Krom to City Council, Larry Agran’s re-election, and the passage of both Measure S and Measure R, Stephen Smith’s Irvine Tatler — not updated since October 29th — comes outÂ as one of the big losers from the November 4th election.Â Â
Yet despite insisting on his independence from Christina Shea, she’s going to reward Smith for being her attack dog by hiring him — for the second time — as her exectuive assistant.Â
Having spent the last year attacking Mayor Beth Krom (who got more votes in the City Council race than Shea got in her race for Mayor), Councilmember Agran and Mayor-elect Sukhee Kang, SmithÂ and Shea will now allow theÂ taxpayers of Irvine to underwriteÂ Smith’sÂ political pastime.Â This simplyÂ reinforces the notionÂ that Christina Shea will use her position â€” and the cityâ€™s resources â€” purely for her own political advantage, and as a lame duck/termed out Council member, I’m not surprised.
I, for one, as a city taxpayer and business owner, would love to haveÂ the City Attorneyâ€™s opinion as to whether it is appropriate or ethical to hire someone to be your Council Executive Assistant while they still maintain a webiste that distorts other City Councilmembers — the ones the voters keep re-electing -Â online.
This brings me back to Smith’s sentence in the Tattler: “If enough of us speak out and demand clean government, we can change the culture at City Hall.”How will we achieve clean government in Irvine when the chiefÂ muckraker is working for someone who can only vote “no” on just about everything proposed to move the city forward?Â As far as changing the culture at City Hall, the voters spoke loudly and clearly.Â Didn’t they?
I’m also working on confirming a story that Council member Steven Choi rewarded all his city commission appointees for their work on his re-election bid by letting them all go.