As I snapped photos in the Lobby of Irvine City Hall tonight, someone who recognized me said to me, “Must be hard to be here tonight?” I answered, “Not really, because election day was pretty much a slam dunk for Democrats.” But in Irvine, where Republicans are proclaiming tonight’s change of the guard from Democratic to Republican majority for the first time in 12 years a “historic” occasion, it just shows how forgetful these Elephants are; Irvine has had Republican majorities in the past, so there was nothing historic about the installation of Steven Choi as mayor at all.
What tonight’s event proved to be a lightning rod for OC’s Republican establishment. Jeff Lalloway, not Steven Choi, was being feted as the guest of honor by GOP leaders form outside of Irvine.
Those who came to pay homage included Assemblyman Don Wagner, BofS-elect Todd Spitzer, most of the Tustin city council including new Mayor Al Murray, council members Allan Bernstein and John Nielsen, as well as past council members Doug Davert and Jerry Amante (two who actually sued Choi for voter registration fraud in 2010 during the assembly primary eventually won by Wagner). Quick question — if Murray, Bernstein and Nielsen are all clustered together at a function like this, is it a Brown Act violation? It was nice to meet them all.
Costa Mesa Jim Righiemer was there as was Santa Ana council candidate’s Shane Barrows and Karina Onofre. Republican candidate Katherine Daigle also showed up, which had to make Council member Christina Shea a little disjointed. Several Irvine school board members were there too including Gavin Huntley-Fenner, Sharon Wallin, Lauren Brooks, and Paul Bokota. Allan Bartlett, a new finance commissioner, was smiling from ear to ear (can’t wait to peak at that From 700 Allan ).
R. Scott Moxley of OC Weekly and Frank Mickadeit of the Register, two journalists who carried water for the Republican ticket, were not there. I looked for Moxley most of the hour and never saw him.
And so Irvine transitions for at least two years of Republican rule. We anticipate a forensic audit of the Great Park to take place and turn up some expensive contracts that were voted on by a nine-member board under the direction of a CEO, but no illegalities. We anticipate a Costa Mesa like attack on the city’s public employee unions and a trumped up pension crisis that isn’t. We expect cuts to city services due to nickel and dime budget decisions. We expect Lalloway to continue a political policy against child sexual predators in the parks–struck down as unconstitutional — simply because he believes he is the only elected official to be a parent all in an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist in this city. And we can guarantee unintelligible ramblings from the mayor’s chair every meeting.
That all said, Irvine Democrats are already planning, organizing and making ready for 2014. I look forward to it.
Enjoy the photos: