Update: Irvine Fires City Attorney

An Update: The Voice of OC has this story on the firing of Irvine’s city attorney and the political retribution tour continues.  So who will the council majority give a no-bid contract to for serving as Interim city attorney?

The Irvine City Council held a special closed session meeting yesterday afternoon with very short notice from new Mayor Steven Choi.  The meeting, which could have likely waited as a closed session session for next week’s council meeting, was held to “address matters associated with the contract for the City Attorney.”  That’s right Irvine residents, the new Republican Council majority is fully engaged in the activity of political retribution although it’s not entirely clear why the Irvine City Attorney, Philip Kohn, is under fire.  Kohn, who is a contract attorney with Rutan & Tucker, and the city’s top legal eagle since 2006 was appointed the General Counsel for the Orange County Great Park Corporation since 2010. 

This council majority seems committed to political retribution over good governance in a city consistent voted one of the best managed in the nation.  Kohn’s performance as Irvine’s lead attorney has played a role in this.   

But more importantly, this council majority continues to schedule meetings at the last minute, holds them at times unbelievably inconvenient for the public to attend and has to lobby to get its own supporters to come out and attend meetings because the majority of the public who actually attends the meetings where the city’s business is conducted doesn’t like what they see.  I ask, “Why would the Mayor need to call a special closed session on 24 hours notice when he could simply place it on Closed Session for Tuesday’s City Council meeting?” 

And this isn’t the first such instance.  There have been special Great Park meetings and cancelled regular Great Park meetings.  There have been City Council meetings called at irregular times (last meeting started at 3PM).  The purpose is clear — the schedule isn’t about transparency.  It’s about making it hard for the public to keep track of what the new City Council is doing.




  16 comments for “Update: Irvine Fires City Attorney

  1. Gericault
    March 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

    In Costa Mesa 2010, the newly elected Councilman Jim Righeimer made this his first order of business. You need to have a City Attorney that will tell you what you want to hear. The fact that the City then went on to get sued, lose every appeal and spent millions in attorneys fees is beside the point. You must first get someone to tell you what you WANT to hear….thats the most important thing.

  2. junior
    March 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Dan – “Target” – really?? As a long time member of the NRA I am appalled at your use of such violent imagery.

  3. March 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    a note of apologiy to readers; as I updated this story , I inadertently wrote Irvine fired its city manager. The council majority fired the city attorney. I apologize for the error.

  4. Say What?
    March 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    What do you care about closed meetings? It’s not like you were invited.

  5. March 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I care when political retribution takes over for public policy.

  6. Ltpar
    March 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Dan don’t pretend to be an expert in Labor Law, but from my years of Union work I would say there is a big difference between “firing someone,” and deciding not to renew a Contract? Speaking of “No Bid” Contracts, I suppose we could say with some dgreee of certainty that Forde & Moolrich will not be getting this one?

  7. Ltpar
    March 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    “Political Retribution” you say? Of course, you Agranistas know all about that don’t you. Do the names Dave Christensen and Chris Mears ring a bell with you? Better still, how about Larry & Beth torpeadoing the Irvine Sister City Program after 17 successful years for not going along with their under the table deal with Communist China. How soon we forget, especially when the dirty deeds are done by your people.

    Can you share the reasons for the “political retribution” against Rutan & Tucker. I have never heard Christina Shea or Steven Choi speak about them one way or the other. Inquiring minds want to know what inside dirt you may have dredged up.

  8. March 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    The City Attorney is not actually an employee, so one would not actually use the term “firing” at all. There’s not renewing a contract in the normal course and there’s breaking a contract early. Colloquially, though, saying “fired” isn’t uncommon.

  9. March 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    (That was aimed at Lt. Patrick, not at Dan.)

  10. Ltpar
    March 23, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Don’t think the Rutan & Tucker Contract was ended early, so it is just an opening up the process to other interested parties. Wow, what an amazing concept, allowing anyone who wants the job to bid for it. No more “No Bid” Contracts which was the Agranista specialty. I am sure Rutan & Tucker will submit a bid, since it was a pretty lucrative deal for them.

    • March 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Rutan & Tucker has served the city for more than 40 years; you cannot pin a no bid contract on Agran for this Pat. But when the Democrats take control of the city council again, Ms. Shea herself has said the mayor doesn’t need to check in with anyone when they commit $100K in taxpayer funding. I remember you guys crying like a stuck pig when Beth Krom approved food/beverages for a marketing event at the Great park for $5K; Choi upped that considerably but its OK.

  11. Gericault
    March 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. – (Act IV, Scene II).

  12. Ltpar
    March 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Nope you are right on Rutan and Tucker, they did have a long and productive relationship with the City, that is until Larry Agran and the Great Park happened by one day. I seem to recall several adverse opinions by the City Attorney where he sided with the Agranistas and denied certain documents, the minority Council Members were entitled to see. This resulted in a lawsuit, which the City lost. I can understand where that sort of legal advice combined with him being n Agran’s back pocket, might present concerns to the new Council majority. Had the City Attorney stayed neutral and just followed the law, he might still be on board. Bottom line Dan is, there is a “New Sheriff” in town and now the game will be played according to his standards and not those of the past.

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    March 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    The new sheriff? The one that commits $100k of money without council approval? The new sheriff that schedules meetings at the last minute to keep the public away. Pat, I will continue using the photo of Choi as Kim Jong Il until he apologizes for his stunt when Pelosi came to Irvine

  14. Vince Hanna
    April 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Any city that allows a company to hold a contract for 40 years with a government entity is just asking for problems. People get sloppy, lazy and take things for granted out of pure complaceny over time. This was a smart business decision. Change is necessary for innovative movement.

    Face it, the Great Park was and is a money pit. $250 million dollars later and what to WE have there? Agran was wasteful – period. Agran was also spiteful towards the others on coucil. I watched their meetings. But what do you expect from a far left liberal democrat? Just look at our current country’s administration and their $1.1 trillion deficit.

    Dan, jump on the smart band wagon and you’ll fare better in life. Become a moderate Republican. Mr. Rodgers is correct in his assertions about Agran.

    The reality is there is waste in “We Put the Bland in Land” Irvine and now someone is finally doing something about it! Keep up the good work new Council!

    • April 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Rutan & Tucker is the gold standard for law firms representing cities in Orange County. The fact that a vendor has a long term contract with a city doesn’t mean the work was any less meaningful or poorly done. This is about Republicans upset with the law firm and the firing is political retribution. Now, they have a law firm that will nod and allow them to continue dismantling city services in the name of saving money when the city has a healthly bank account.

      Agran was spiteful? I disagree with you there. Watch old meetings with Shea and Choi on the council. Lalloway is quickly gaining a reptuation as a bully and the “real” mayor of the city. As for our current country’s deficit, much of that is attributed to the policies of the Bush administration. Here’s a excerpt from Business Insider:

      ****Republicans howl that President Obama has exploded the size of federal government spending in his short tenure as President, and it is true that he has increased it. But President Bush actually increased federal spending by more than 2X as much as Obama has. So it is unfair to lay the explosion in spending at the feet of President Obama: Both presidents are responsible.

      The increase in government spending, meanwhile, is actually NOT the only factor that has caused the deficit. The other factor–equally if not more important–is the fall-off in government revenue (tax receipts).

      This second and larger factor can be blamed on two things: First, the Bush tax cuts, which reduced revenue, and, second, the weak economy, which has reduced the incomes and capital gains upon which most federal taxes are based.

      President Bush cut taxes in 2001 and 2003. These tax cuts hit federal revenue, while federal spending growth continued apace. This combination ballooned the deficit in the early years of the Bush presidency.

      By the middle years of the Bush presidency, however, on the strength of the housing boom and strong economic growth (much of which now looks like a debt-fueled mirage), federal revenues began to grow rapidly. By 2007, in fact, the gap had almost closed.

      But then the bottom fell out. The housing bubble burst, the financial crisis hit, and the economy plunged into recession. And then President Bush handed President Obama the worst recession in more than 70 years and left Obama to clean up the mess.

      This recession clobbered federal revenues (tax receipts–red line), which still have not regained their 2007 bubble highs. President Obama’s stimulus, meanwhile, helped add about $600 billion to federal spending (blue line). The combination of these two factors ballooned the deficit from $400 billion when President Bush left office to ~$1.3 trillion now.****

      Moderate Republicans don’t exist anymore; no one in the current Irvien city council is a moderate Republican.

      Just curious but when was the last tmie you went to the Great Park. Thinsg were moving along and the loss of redevelopment money is certainly hurting the construction efforts. It is also the responsibility of the private developer to remove the runways and they are way behind schedule, and the Federal Government still hasn’t finished cleaning up the soil. So when you rely if others to get jobs done and they don’t, it delays everything else. Meanwhile, the Solar Decathlon has the potential of bringing in about 30 million in revenue tot he Great Park which would more than compensate the PR firm that brought the event to Irvine to begin with.

Comments are closed.