Irvine City Council Preserves Funding Set for Chopping Block

With pressure from the community and revenue projections that seem to be too conservative for what is actually anticipated, the Irvine City Council voted 3-1 to preserve funding for the Irvine Barclay Theater, the Orange County Human Relations Commission, the OC Legal Aid Services and the Discovery Science Center with Republican Council member Christina Shea siding with Council members Larry Agran and Beth Krom.

A number of angry residents showed up to speak out against the devastating cuts and Irvine Mayor Steven Choi limited the public’s input by reducing public comments from 3 minutes to 2 minutes simply demonstrating that if you don’t like his leadership or the direction of the Republican majority, this Mayor will take steps to limit public participation. And he did limit what he didn’t want to hear.

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The cuts have drawn the ire of a broad spectrum of Irvine voters; only one resident spoke in favor of the cuts last night.  Choi’s and Lalloway’s no vote on the budget cuts show they’re out of step with the community at large on these services and the Barclay’s role in the community.

Sources tell the Liberal OC that anticipated revenue for the coming budget year might add as much as an additional $11 million more than the proposed budget indicates due to the dramatic increase in new housing starts and development in the city.  If this figure holds up (we’re trying to confirm), it’s going to put a huge dent on the Costamesafication of Irvine efforts that Mayor Choi and Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway want in order to put the squeeze on the city’s public employee unions.

With Irvine’s bright budget picture, the plan to move to an austerity spending model doesn’t make sense as it shows a lack of anticipation of the growth in the city’s population.  Moving to an austerity budget is simply pennywise and pound foolish.

If no one sees Ms. Shea in the next few days, it’s likely she was taken to the Woodshed by Lalloway for voting against the Republican majority.  Shea’s flip simply proves that the alliance of her, Lalloway and Choi isn’t as strong as Irvine Republicans would like you to believe.  But even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  16 comments for “Irvine City Council Preserves Funding Set for Chopping Block

  1. Katherine Daigle
    June 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    OR Ms. Shea was the “pigeon” and took the hit for the gang.

    This makes some sense since the other two, Mayor 1 Lalloway and Mayor 2 Choi knew the amount of discourse they were hearing from the public over their plan to snub the community.

    Was their plan thwarted by OMG the people, were they heard? Hmmm

  2. Harvey Liss
    June 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Last night, an amazing thing happened at the Irvine city council meeting: Councilmember Christina Shea (R), for the first time on a substantive measure, voted, in a 3 to 2 vote, with the progressive minority (Krom (D) and Agran(D)) to restore funding that had been cut in the proposed city budget (Tea Party-coerced), to the Irvine Barclay Theatre, OC Human Relations Commission, Discovery Museum and Legal Aid Society.

    We must thank Councilmember Shea, who obviously couldn’t take the meanness anymore, for breaking the triumvirate Republican voting block that has been wreaking havoc on City and Great Park services since January, when she was elected to the city council and Steven Choi (R) was elected mayor, forming the first Republican majority in 12 years. Mayor Choi and Councilmember Lalloway, the two Tea Party members of the Republican triumvirate voted to cut that funding out of strict ideology and inhumanity. [Christina Shea had, in a a prior council meeting, stated emphatically that she wasn’t a Tea Partier, and this vote certainly substantiates her claim.] Irvine not only is not in any financial crisis, but has projected an $11 million surplus for the fiscal year, based on dramatically increasing revenues already received over the past 6 months and a Tea Party-strangulated budget.

    Choi and Lalloway must be fought at every city council meeting, while Shea is supported to do the right thing, and then at election time, both to protect Irvine as well as The Great Park from the continual dismantlement of public services that are valuable, effective, provide huge-returns on investment, and are moral and just, for residents of both Irvine and all of Orange County.

  3. June 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the comments Harvey. Katherine, the people spoke – Shea heard. Choi and Lalloway did not

  4. Katherine Daigle
    June 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Dan, yes they did!

    And it is about time.

  5. Ltpar
    June 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Katherine, you really should put you brain in action before making assinine comments like this one. If you knew anything about Christina Shea and obviously you do not, you would know that she has never been anyones clone (unlike yourself). She supported the Barclay Theater for many years and her vote was decided before the Council meeting and not because of a few whining citizens. While I personally supported the cuts recommended by the City Manager, at the same time I respect the logic, rationale and backbone Christina displayed in voting her consicence. Anyone who knows Council Member Shea understands that she is her own person and will not be intimidated by anyone, Jeff Lalloway, Larry Agran or anyone else. Fortunately, we will never know how you might react under similar circumstances.

    • Harvey Liss
      June 13, 2013 at 12:09 am

      So, Ltpar (the unknown), a whining speaker, like me, is anyone with whom you disagree. Would you call a speaker with whom you agree an eloquent and passionate speaker of truth, facts and morality who expresses the real purpose of government?

  6. Ltpar
    June 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Harvey, don’t know you so I will not presume to judge you, but will only say, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

    To me a “whining speaker” is a person, usually Agranistas in Irvine, who always show up to back their boy, Larry. As we know, Larry Agran is a typical liberal Democrat who has been spending beyond the revenue income of the City for years.

    The Barclay Theater has been a financial drain on this City for twenty five years and it is time to end that. If it can’t be put on a pay for it’s self basis, the theater needs to be sold to someone who can. Government has no business running a Performing Arts Theater.

    • June 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Patrick — the Barclay is a drop in the bucket in the city’s budget; the annual contribution is about 10 retired police pensions…. ;). Government doesn’t run the Barclay; they have their own management team. Please keep demonstration how little you actually know about city government and community affairs. Good thing you lost your council race.

  7. Katherine Daigle
    June 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Ltpar, you can not even remember your rhetoric the day before on Dan’s post, where you applauded the choice to remove funding to the arts and legal aide, which would have hurt so many families and residents of the City of Irvine.

    At the very least stay consistent with your rhetoric and your tedious droning.

  8. Robert Lauten
    June 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    CalPERS’s investment loses will determine city budgets.

    The California Public Employee Retirement System needs a 7.5% return on investments to remain solvent. Over the last five years the return was a negative 0.1%. California cities are anticipating a 40% – 50% increase in their CalPERS’s assessments to cover the losses.
    http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/blog/detail/calpers-latest-financial-report-shows-another-dismal-year

    CalPERS’s investment philosophy (-0.1% return) is found at:
    http://www.calpers-governance.org/
    The city of Irvine is financially sound and will likely be one of the last cities that CalPERS drives into bankruptcy.

  9. NotPedrozasPRFirm
    June 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Wonder if Lallaway verbally abused Shea after this vote for making him look bad. Choi needs no help looking bad. He looked clueless up there. He has a PhD? From what diploma mill?

    Ltpar, why don’t you give up your pension if you think government should be smaller?

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    June 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Nice to see Shea can show some independence when she has to. Even a broken clock is right twice a day

  11. Ltpar
    June 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Katherine, in case you are being overwhelmed by an attack of senility, let me just state my position again. I opposed the extended funding for the Barclay Theater ten years ago, I opposed it when I ran for City Council in 2010 and I oppose it today. The original selling point of the theater when built was that it would be self-sustaining within ten years. Here we are twenty five years later and the taxpayers are still dumping almost a million dollars a year into that “white elephant.” That may be good fiscal management in your book and that of the other liberals, but to this conservative it is not. As a parrot of Larry Agran and Beth Krom, I wouldn’t expect anything else and it is your droning which is tedious. Tell Larry he needs to get you a new comments writer.

  12. Ltpar
    June 14, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Want to read Lalloway’s reaction, you only need to visit his Facebook page.

    On my cushy government pension, after 35 years on the job I earned every dollar I am getting. Frankly, I would not have retired and would still be working at the City today had I not been forced out because of a heart attack. So I will keep my pension and still support smaller, less costly government.

  13. Ltpar
    June 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Dan, funny thing about you liberals, every expenditure is a drop in the bucket and you never met one you didn’t love. A million dollars here, three million dollars there and it all adds up to deficit spending. That has been the Agranista trademark for the past three or four years. If you managed your family budget that way Dan, you would be living in your car on the street. Yes, there is carry over money available to fill in the extra 720 K that should have been cut, but from my personal perspective it is wasteful use of taxpayer money. Christina Shea disagreed with my point of view and I strongly support her right to do so. She was elected by the people, I was not. Frankly, with the current turmoil on the Council, I am happy to watch from the sidelines.

    I am aware that the Barclay has it’s own Management Team and has had from the beginning. They have not come close to meeting the original goals of making the Barclay self-sustaining and City contributions continued to grow until reaching the level of today. If this were a private sector corporation, the Board would have been replaced long ago with people who knew how to run a business. If objecting to dumping tax dollars into a “White Elephant” is lack of understanding of community affairs, I plead guilty as charged.

    • June 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Since I’ve spent my life in private business and you’ve been a government employee, I laugh at your perceptions on how private companies are run. Private companies recognize that sometimes to make money, you have to spend money. Private companies often give non-bid contracts to people that they want to hire. Services provided by a government are often times things that have an ROI that isn’t related to the bottom line. I live in this stucco paradise not for the character of the housing but for the people who care about their community, their schools, their parks, services and programs. I don’t equate “freedom” which how much or how little I pay in taxes. I expect government to set rules to follow and enforce rules when broken.

      Yes, voters elected your side in the last cycle; Choi got less than 50 percent of the vote. It wasn’t a landslide mandate. This is a purple city at best. Trying to govern like everyone agrees with the bright red philosophy is arrogant and a mistake.

      You know jack about how private businesses run Pat. I’ve been running one for 10 years.

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