Irvine Republicans Up to Old Tricks Again

The expression is those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it, and in the case of the current crop of Republican candidates for Mayor and City Council, it’s not so much a failure to learn from the past but a denial that the past ever happened to begin with.

Case in point, an election year grandstanding call for an independent investigation by current Mayoral candidate Steven Choi and Council member Jeff Lalloway against current Mayor and Congressional candidate Sukhee Kang has been waved off by the city council majority.  From the Register’s story:

The City Council voted 3-0 in closed session to find that no sensitive information was leaked when the mayor asked a developer to clarify how much land he wanted in a deal that would help build Orange County Great Park.

However, that majority – Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Mayor Sukhee Kang – did not declare whether anything else was discussed in the phone call between Kang and FivePoint Communities’ Emile Haddad.

The phone call was made one day after a previous closed session in which council members reportedly discussed Haddad’s offer, which expires Oct. 31.

Kang said he told his colleagues that he would seek clarification on the land question.

“I asked Mr. Haddad to clarify this issue – and nothing more,” Kang said.

City Attorney Philip Kohn reported the findings from the council’s Sept. 11 closed session as follows:

1. Kang’s request on Aug. 15 that Haddad provide a clarification of the size of the parcel to be transferred by the city pursuant to the Great Park Implementation Proposal did not communicate any confidential, closed session, attorney-client privileged information.

2. At the Aug. 14 closed session, Kang announced his intention to obtain such a clarification, to which there was no objection.

3. Kang was authorized to contact Haddad to obtain this clarification or, in the alternative, the request Kang made of Haddad is ratified as being a proper exercise of his authority.

4. Haddad’s letter to Kang dated Aug. 16, in reply to Kang’s request, did not disclose any confidential, closed session, attorney-client privileged information.

After learning that some sort of communication had occurred with the developer outside of a formal negotiating committee meeting, Lalloway and Choi sent a memo to City Manager Sean Joyce, asking that the issue be placed on the Sept. 11 agenda. They also went public with their concerns. 

Let’s review.  None of the written communication between the mayor and the developer revealed any sort of “confidential information.”  The mayor is an experienced business executive and has been in office for a number of years and certainly has a long track record of bending over backward to 1) follow the law and 2) include feedback from the council minority.  This is nothing more than a smear on Sukhee Kang who has a reputation for fairness, high standards and exceptional ethics. It’s election year grandstanding.

And these guys can’t even get their story straight. Choi apparently needs to be told what to sign.  From this Voice of OC story:

Agran questioned a memo purportedly from Choi that asserts in absolute terms that there was a leak. Agran pressed Choi to announce the leak and also asked him whether he had initialed the memo, implying that Choi was not the true author.

Choi and Lalloway said Agran was playing semantics in a bid to deflect the issue at hand and said they wanted the investigation to root out the truth. However, Choi acknowledged that he gave Lalloway authorization to put Choi’s initials on the memo.

“You know how many letters I do a day? Do you know how many memos I do a day? I may have done it, but I don’t remember,” Lalloway said. “When you don’t have any arguments, you attack the messenger, which is what he did.”

Lalloway said that the finding that council members didn’t object to Kang contacting Haddad for clarification came from a “parallel universe.” And he argued that any call for an investigation would be seen as political.

Hmm. So Lalloway doesn’t know if he initialed Choi’s support to a memo?  Sure you don’t remember counselor.  Lalloway actually does few memos related to city business according to sources at city hall.

Then there’s this quote: “Kang said he was “deeply offended” that Choi and Lalloway would accuse him of the breach of trust, calling the accusation a “cheap, election-year stunt.” Choi’s told The Orange County Register that when he is mayor there will be no confidential leaks. Kang said the statement is proof that Choi’s intentions are purely political.”

Funny, Republicans on the city council have been pretty good at leaking details on a number of issues of city business over the years when it’s served their purposes.  Choi’s claim that there’d be no confidential leaks when he is mayor is both presumputious and arrogant.

But since Frank Mickadeit and the Register couldn’t be bothered to cover the Agran, Krom, Wong kick off on September 9, allow me to report that there were between 150 and 175 people in attendance.  Pictures were taken.  While Republican candidates Lynn Schott and Christina Shea bullied Mickadeit into correcting his story on the number of Republicans who attended the Team Irvine kick off from 55 to more than 80, you think Frank could be bothered to see the reaction of Irvine residents to those who support the council because more than a few of them would like to discuss Frank’s coverage of the city.

Make no mistake, the current crop of Irvine Republicans is the second string at best.  I don’t know Schott all that well but do know she has almost no record to run on.

The other two thirds of the tickets have onion thin skin.  Choi is often ridiculed even by fellow Republicans for his inability to put together a coherent sentence (this has nothing to do with his accent but everything to do with his thought process). Don’t believe me? Tune into any city council meeting what wait for Choi’s turn at the microphone.  Follow his train of thought and see if Point A meets Point B in a straight line.

And both Choi and Shea have been caught making some not so truthful statements in the Register’s comments section in the story announcing their slate in August.  And these were responses to comments I left, just because I like to stir things up.

I made a couple of comments that Choi was accused of committing voter fraud by registering his family to vote from a condo in Woodbridge instead of the spacious Choi manor in Woodbury.  Choi denied this.

Steven Choi · Councilman at City of Irvine

“There is a drunken man accusing me of some kind of voter fraud, etc. a total fabrication. I would not go down to the level of spinning liar. Good bye, Sayonara.”

We provided a link in comments to a site called The Internet Truth Squad where a legal filing against Choi was posted by friends of his Assembly opponent Jerry Amante, but the site has since vanished from the Internet!  Good thing we have excerpts of the letter in the filing in this story on TheLiberalOC. And thank goodness for the Wayback Machine and you can read the entire complaint here as a PDF.  And a thank you to Doug Davert and Jerry Amante for digging up all the dirt so I didn’t have to.  Now investigations for this sort of violation almost never happen, but after reviewing the document, do you think Choi broke the law?

And in that assembly race, Choi used a letter from Santa Ana blogger Art Pedroza who regularly disparages Irvine.  Of course, this blog successfully sued Art Pedroza for cybersquatting and unfair business practices when Pedroza was caught linking websites related to this blog and our bloggers to gay porn sites and NAMBLA – the North American Man Boy Love Association, meaning that our current Republican mayoral candidate counted on a recommendation from someone who promoted Gay Porn and Pedastry on websites owned by said Santa Ana blogger who used a defense that NAMBLA was parody.  Do we think Choi had good judgment with that decision?

So before Dr. Choi calls me a drunk again, I’ll ask the good doctor if these memory lapses and questionable political alliances are signs of early dementia or just stupidity?

On to Ms. Shea, who is on record having threatened an employee at city hall which she denied in the Facebook comment below:

  • Christina Shea · Top Commenter · Irvine, California

    Dan I have never threatend employees at City Hall, and 14 years ago, when my two daughters were younger and I was a single mom, they each, at differnt times, for a short period of time, worked for me as interns in my office so I could see them more and train them in civic matters. It went thru the City Manager’s office and was approved. It is amazing how you have so much time to write so much misinformation and are so unkind. But the first amendment allows us free speech and so speak on but folks need to know what you say, at time, is just not factual.

Actually, it is factual.

And then there’s this link to an LA Times story saying, oh yes she did threaten an employee of the the time, the city’s police chief.  Note, not once did I bring up the details of the threat, just that she had made it.  Ms. Shea dragged the details into the story all by herself. But she loves to play the victim forgetting of course the documented times she’s slung the mud herself

From that story:

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.

But they sure leave the mayor (Shea) with a lot of explaining to do. She has most of the Police Department mad as blazes at her, with good reason.

Naturally, the mayor has tried to shift the negative spotlight away from her deeds and onto those who made them public. Wasn’t it the Romans who always wanted to kill the messenger?  (note: isn’t this what Lalloway just accused the council majority of doing?)

All this hullabaloo came to a boil Tuesday night at the City Council meeting, where close to 50 angry police officers showed up.

And that’s one example.

Need another?  In 2008, Shea threatened a city employee who headed up the city’s employee union after they endorsed the Kang-Krom-Agran slate with “you better watch out.” Read the complaint letter here.  I can’t read the part about Shea making a grunting/growling sound without laughing out loud.

So Ms. Shea, you might want to walk back that comment about never having threatened a city employee.  Or just admit you lied in your Facebook comment.

As far as Schott goes, she’s the Tea Party candidate for city council.  She belongs to a group that only 2 percent of its members know that President Obama cut federal taxes in 2009 for just about everyone.  She believe’s she’s “taxed enough already” even though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Americans pay less in taxes today as a percentage of their income than we did since the 1950s.  That’s local, state and federal taxes folks.

Schott wants to make Irvine more business friendly.  To that I say “How?”  The city’s business taxes are $50 per business per year; even paying late (as I have), its $75.  Irvine was the target of Occupy OC because it’s the economic capital of Orange County and there are something like 3.5 jobs per household here.  Some specifics on how the Republicans will make Irvine more business-friendly strike me has Romney-speak — sounds great but no details are offered.  But if Schott wants to cut taxes, I’d suggest dropping the hotel tax that helps fund the Irvine Chamber of Commerce which is prone to awarding people like John Campbell and Chuck DeVore “legislators of the year” for voting no on everything.  Cutting the business license fee from $50 to $25 won’t allow companies to hire more people.

Schott has already demonstrated that she’ll throw a friend under the bus for political reasons.  According to, she forced her GOP Central Committee alternate Lt. Pat Rodgers to resign after he posted comments critical of the Costa Mesa city council on blogs.  The GOP Central Committee asked her about it and she asked Rodgers to resign making their friendship a speedbump.

From OCPolitical:

Irvine City Council – Lynn Schott

8:43 PM: Baugh speaks of the 25-year inability of the Republican Party to remove Larry Agran from the Irvine City Council. He speaks of the OC GOP prioritizing Costa Mesa this year. Baugh asks Lynn Schott about her former alternate Patrick Rodgers who attacked the Costa Mesa Council majority and the Costa Mesa Charter.

8:46 PM: Schott says Rodgers was a strong supporter in 2010. She says she was completely unaware of Rodgers’s statements until the Endorsements Committee meeting. She says she tries to not read blogs. She condemns Rodgers’s statements and “repudiates” the attempt to frame Righeimer for DUI. Rodgers admitted to her that he had gone too far. She obtained his resignation on September 7 (the same week that she learned of his statements). She says she fully supports Prop 32 and opposes the unions’ efforts to “consolidate their power over choosing City Councilmembers” and other governmental bodies. She says she is against defined benefit retirement programs and favors defined contribution retirement programs.

8:51 PM: Schott is endorsed by a unanimous voice vote.”

And let’s not forget the leader of this cabal. Councilman Jeff Lalloway is doing his best Jim Righeimer impersonation to perhaps curry favor of the OC GOP establishment for a future run at higher office.  Lalloway is quoted in a mailer for Choi saying that Choi “wants to take the city in a new direction.”  Really?  We’re safest city in America for eight straight years, a great place to live according to Money Magazine, our schools and business climate are the envy the state.  And Choi wants to take us in a new direction in a car driven by Lalloway straight to on a path to make Irvine look like Costa Mesa. Just what direction does Choi want to take us because the only direction I see Choi and the Irvine First team take Irvine is backwards.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Lalloway personally even if he always sounds like he’s the only elected official who every had young kids.  But I don’t buy his position that corporations are people, that millionaire Paul Ryan is a “middle-class” VP candidate, or that he and Christina Shea have buried the hatchet.  If she gets elected, I predict they’ll spend time burying the hatchet in each other’s backs.  In some respects, Lalloway is Christina Shea without the dress.

“Team Lalloway” is nothing more that Irvine Republicans second string – the entire slate lost their last attempts at non-partisan elective office.  Lalloway railed against career politicians while pumping up the candidacies of Choi (in office since 1998) and Shea (who’s had a few stints as mayor and been on the city council for a number of years..about 16 by my count).  I almost wonder if they are running for the city’s health insurance and car allowance.

Schott’s political views out of step with Irvine’s mainstream voters who are more purple than hardcore red.   So Lalloway’s argument is really: “elect our career politicians instead of theirs?”  Lalloway also believes Irvine is headed for an unfunded mandate crisis on public employee pensions without noting that 75 percent of every dollar pay into pensions is derived from investment income and not city taxes.  Irvine is not Costa Mesa.

The difference between the Lalloway slate of Choi, Shea and Schott compared with the Agran, Krom, Wong (and let’s not forget Kang’s role) is simply results.  The city is better today then it was 12 years ago when the Shea-led Republicans had a 4-1 majority on the council.  Irvine is bigger, safer, better funded with solid reserves, a strong tax base, and a great school system that gets more direct support from the Progressives than they every got from the GOP voters, all with a smaller government when you compare apples-to-apples and city employees ratio to city population — all without cutting service or public safety.

Choi has voted against a number of city budget issues affecting education, public safety and economic development – hence his unofficial title: “Dr. No.”  For Korean-American voters in Irvine, I urge you not to vote for a candidate based on surname.  Vote for candidates who, time and again, have voted on policy that impacts your daily lives in a positive fashion.

Vote Gangnam style.



  7 comments for “Irvine Republicans Up to Old Tricks Again

  1. Ltpar
    September 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Dan, just to set the record straight, nobody forced me to do anything. I voluntarily resigned as Lynn Schott’s Alternate to the Central Committee to take the heat off her. They were holding her endorsement hostage and wanted me fired from Team Irvine (like I do a lot except put out signs). Both Lynn and Christina refused to kick me off the Team to appease those guys. I have accepted a job overseas in Tajikistan/Kyrgyzstan, will be leaving at the end of October, so it wasn’t worth the hassle it was causing with the big shots at the Republican Party. To get Lynn out of the soup, I did have to agree to stop my commenting on the Costa Mesa fiasco, until after the election. Republicans really love those First Amendment rights don’t they? Bottom line is, I never liked those people in the first place and I wear their disline of me, with a smile on my face. I disagree with you on the ticket and believe this is one of the strongest conservative slates to come together in many years. With the backing and financial support of the Republican Party, this might just be the year Larry falls, despite all the slick mailers he is sending out. There are a lot of people in Irvine who don’t like him and if they all vote, all bets are off. Guess I will cast my absentee ballot and depart for the outer limits? I will then be reading about the election results in the Irvine World News Online. Anyway, Dan, keep spinning those facts and pumping up your Agranista Team. I strongly suspect they are going to need it this time around the track. Semper Fidelis.

  2. September 20, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Stay safe Pat. While we disagree, I don’t wish you ill. And the city of Irvine isn’t conservative so a strong conservative slate will have the opposite effect. Larry is still on the council even if Choi wins. I have many Republican friends who will hold their nose and vote for Romney; they feel the same way about Choi…he’s a stinker. But even you can’t deny that we have documented that Choi and Shea are not truthful on basic matters.

    • Ltpar
      September 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Dan, thanks for your wishes and it is always nice to have someone you can argue with and agree to disagree on things, without them taking it personally (lke the Republican Party just did). I have known Lary Agran, Christina Shea and Steven Choi since they first began their political careers and supported and worked for all of them at one time or another.

      The Larry Agran you see today is not the guy I knew thirty years ago, on his first run for City Council. Although, we were political opposites, I was the Police Association President and we liked what Larry had to say about employees. We worked on his behalf and helped him get elected. Our red neck Cops almost impeached me for that first endorsement of Larry. Over the years, he proved to be a friend of the Police and helped us become the highest paid department in Orange County. That changed about ten years ago.

      The man that is there today, is not the same person I knew back then. This Larry Agran is mean, ruthless and if you cross him, prepare for a knife in the back. He has left a number of good men in the gutter, including Dave Christensen and Chris Mears. Last week at the Council meeting he had occasion to twist the knife in my back on a comment about the Maguire Property fiasco. I asked him about it after the meeting and his response was “don’t go to a knife fight unless you are prepared.” If I ever go to another knife fight with Larry, I will be bringing a gun” By the way, for the record, this is merely an example and not a threat. I have seen men like Larry Agran many times in the past and when they get to this stage of his arrogance and belief he is above the law, there is only one direction for them and that is down. I uderstand this is meaningless verbage at this point, but when it happens in the future, remember that you heard it first from me.

      In conclusion, when it comes to credibility, honesty and integrity, I will take Steven Choi, Christina Shea and Lynnn Schott any day and twice on Sunday, over Larry Agran and Beth Krom.

      • September 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        Pat — its an election for city council not student council. Your slate lacks the emotional maturity to govern.

  3. Ltpar
    September 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Dan all things said and with you dredging up ancient history on Christina Shea at least Shea has never been arrested. That is more than we can say for your boy Larry Agran, isn’t it? You want to refer to ancient history, then I can also do the same and there is a lot more where that came from and possibly new stuff in the wings. Since this was before your time, try spinning this and it would make a great cover for a slate mailer, don’t you think?

    • September 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      His arrest for disorderly conduct in New Hampshire? If I recall he was denied access to the debate despite being on the ballot and qualified to attend. The cops in New Hampshire can be a little uptight.

      BTW, it’s been used as a mailer against Agran before and Irvine voters are smarter than you give them credit for Pat. People don’t lose an election because of a mailer or a yard sign. Most voters here tend in invest some time learning how candidates stand on the issues and what sort of values the candidate holds. No candidate is without fault. But I tire of your slate whining about mud being slung at them while their own hands are dirty from the stuff they’ve thrown.

      At least Shea hasn’t been arrested? That’s your standard? Neither have I. I’m talking about her direct and recent quote that she “never threatened a city employee” and came up with two examples, once as recent as 2008.

      • Ltpar
        September 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

        Dan, my standards on who I vote for are high, although regretfully, I find they must be lowered from time to time due to lack of quality canidates. I do not consider Choi, Shea or Schott to be lacking and that is why I am backing them. You obviously feel the same way about the Agranistas and that’s why you back them. As a point of reference, as a former Agran supporter, lowered standards, honesty, integrity and loyalty were all reasons why I parted company with Larry in the first place. Guess, others close to him must have seen the same things because Chris Mears and Mark Petracca also jumped ship.

        Just remember Dan, it was Larry Agran who started the mud slinging and as the old saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.” In my opinion, Larry would have been better served sticking to “Issues,” because with guys like Forde and Moolrich spinning the facts for him, he might have fooled the voters one more time.

        Dan, on the debate over candidatess, we will just have to agree to disagree and may the best Team win? See you in the trenches.

        PS: Tell Sam Costello (my equivalent on the Agran Team) that it is the gardening crews that are killing the signs of all candidates in the north end of the City. He and I need to team up for a “Commando” attack on them.

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