Irvine GOP Council Members Take Spat to Facebook

Jeff Lalloway

Jeff Lalloway

Many of us are still very surprised by Irvine Republican Council member Christina Shea’s decision to break with the Republican majority to cast the deciding vote last Tuesday to restore draconian cuts proposed to the Irvine Barclay Theater, OC Legal Aid Services, the Orange County Human Relations Commission and the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.  Her votes, cast in light of news Irvine’s brightening budget picture showing a pending $11 million surplus, were a step back for Mayor Steven Choi and Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway’s plans for an austerity budget and eventual goals of crediting a “crisis” that would allow them to conduct a Costa Mesa-styled attack on the city’s public employee unions.
There’s been open discussion about Lalloway taking Shea to the woodshed over her votes.  And he has…. on Facebook.
Each member of the city council maintains a Facebook page which they use to communicate with the community and interact with voters, taxpayers and residents.  I’ve had many spirited discussions with Councilman Lalloway on his (including a bet I lost on a Villanova/Syracuse basketball game, dammit).  So the access via Facebook to our city council members is a great thing, even if you disagree with them.
On Thursday, Lalloway posted this note to his friends on Facebook:
Sadly, my colleagues on Irvine City Council, democrats Larry Agran and Beth Krom and Republican Christina Shea, voted to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds.
My preference is to lower the burden on families in Irvine by reducing the fees charged by the City for programs enjoyed by children and seniors. My colleagues would rather pick and choose among private entities and give away your hard earned money.
Sad day in Irvine for the taxpayers. Thank you Mayor Steven Choi for standing with me protecting our residents’ valuable tax dollars.

Shea countered with this response:

Christina Shea Well it is a sad day when my fellow Republican, Jeff Lalloway, decided to reduce the funding to the Barclay with no notice to me or the Council or to the executive board of the theater. I have lived in Irvine for 36 years and was one of the individuals who supported the theater concept. My grandchildren dance at the theater. Many many wonderful local Republicans supported, do support today, and have donated to the success of this community theater. To reduce the funding to the amount Jeff suggested, would have caused them to possibly close their doors, within months, if his idea had passed. They contract a year ahead of time for their programming. Closing our local theater, would have been a very sad day for Irvine’s families and businesses. Voting with the democrats to support a community theater the City owns, and one that local Republicans and Democrats support, was a good decision and the right decision. We don’t always have to agree on all issues. The entire Council voted to adopt a balanced budget with 11 million dollars carryover coming in, leaving us financially healthy and strong. I am a  fiscal conservative, and I am proud of my fiscal record.

Lalloway replied:

Jeffrey Lalloway Because you ran on being fiscally responsible, I thought we had the votes to eliminate wasteful spending in the budget. I guess I was wrong. The voters were too.

Be certain, I tried to eliminate wasteful spending in previous years, but we were in the minority. We did get absurd consultant contracts cut last year from the Great Park budget.

Again, the city manager stated that it was his idea, not mine.
  • Jeffrey Lalloway What about the $100,000 giveaway of taxpayer money to Legal Aid? You don’t even know what it is for.
    Shea responded with:
    Christina Shea Our city has supported legal aid for years and  you voted for funding legal aid as well in 2011 and 2012 .Tuesday night you ultimately voted yes on the budget with the amendments to support the Barclay theater, Discovery Science Center, legal aid , and our chief of police request for a contribution to human rights annual dinner. If you philosophically didn’t believe in these programs you never should have supported them in 2011 and 2012 and you should have voted no on the budget Tuesday night which you didn’t. I think enough has been said on this topic I won’t always vote your way as our biggest criticism about the former  majority was they voted in lock step for 12 years. I didn’t run for reelection to be told how to vote or to vote with you on every issue ….families have difference and colleagues have differences, occasionally . I will continue to vote what I believe to be in the best interest of my entire community.  Creating all this public discourse when you have historically voted for all these programs which now you are opposing …seems very odd and troubling to me to why are you doing this? Making such a fuss now and not these past two years on the council when you could have opposed them then.
    • Christina Shea The city manager at our budget workshop stated he was directed to put these cuts in and you confirmed that with me and my finance commissioner it was your suggestion. Enough said I have no desire to explain my position further nor do I need to ,
    Lalloway gets the last word on this thread with:
    Jeffrey Lalloway You gave away taxpayer money as if it was your own. It is not your money. We had to opportunity to act responsibility and you choose to go back on your campaign promises. Typical of a career politician, like yourself.
      Jeffrey Lalloway I can’t wait to see what other taxpayer money you decide to give away, as you side with the liberal Larry Agran and Beth Krom.
    • Jeffrey Lalloway Perhaps you don’t understand, but the Barclay and Legal Aid were taken out of this year’s budget. You made the motion to put them back in. Disgraceful.
      Shea began a new thread on Lalloway’s wall with this:
      Just a bit of history, the last two fiscal City budgets, 2011 and 2012, Jeff, you voted yes to fund the Barclay Theater and all the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars,  you have described below. Which included voting with the Democrats to that end. We have so many important issues before us, I hope we can stay focused on moving forward in a positive and productive way.
      Congressman John Campbell’s chief of staff, Lew Penrose, had to jump in to remind both Lalloway and Shea about Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment — No Republican shall speak ill of other Republicans.  In this case, it’s closing the barn door after the horse got out.  Too little too late Lew.
      I have to give Shea credit for sticking to her guns here, even though most of her votes make me want to throw up in my mouth a little.  In any other political environment, Lalloway’s votes against the Barclay and Legal Aid now after votes for them would make him appear to be a ….flipflopper?  The issue before Irvine residents is that lower fees for certain services at the expense of value community services like Legal Aid and support for the Arts are just not acceptable.
      The interesting charge here is who’s lying? Lalloway or Shea?
      Lalloway claims the city manager made the decision on the cuts; Shea says Sean Joyce was directed to do this by Lalloway.  Choi praised Joyce at the meeting for making the recommendation on cuts.  Who is telling the truth here?
      Choi’s vote in lockstep with the Mayor Pro Tem is also troubling.  What is more troubling is his limiting of public comments.  When taxpayers of Irvine show up to speak out on an issue to their elected representatives, they expect their three minutes at the microphone.  Limiting public comment to two minutes simply means the MINO (Mayor In Name Only) placed his arrogance over the concerns of Irvine voters.  Mayor Choi didn’t really want to hear what residents had to say so he limited how much time they had to say it.
      Back to Lalloway’s original comment about a desire to lower fees for seniors and youth programs instead of a “giveway of taxpayer funds.”  With an anticipated $11 million, which is about $10 million more than the proposed budget called for, you can provide funding for the Barlcay, Legal Aid and others while reducing fees for seniors and youth programs.  What programs has Lalloway identified for lower fees?  The City’s Community Services Committee has no recommendations from anyone on the city council about lowering fees.
      And as Lalloway’s charge Shea’s vote with Larry Agran and Beth Krom was a “big giveway of public funds,” it’s not even close to the giveaway of nearly $800,000 to developers passed by Lalloway, Choi and Shea by cutting or freezing fees associated with development and construction projects in the city.  These fee freezes and cuts were never asked for by developers and will not affect the average taxpayer in Irvine.  But this move was a draw against the general fund that only benefits developers in a city not hurting for development projects which wasn’t in the proposed budget.  That was a giveaway of public funds orchestrated by the right.
      So this very public dustup with Lalloway and Shea will be interesting to watch.  We hope it signals to Shea that her vote should be one of independence rather than partisan.  We’d like to say we didn’t see this break in the Republican ticket coming, but who had June in the pool?  I thought for sure the spat would have happened by September…..
      And lastly hat tip to Ltpar, Pat Rodgers, for tipping us off to this story that we missed on Thursday.

  3 comments for “Irvine GOP Council Members Take Spat to Facebook

  1. Robert Lauten
    June 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Irvine City Council: Facebook – Irvine’s CalPERS facts

    What is Irvine’s yearly assessment to the California Public
    Employee Retirement System?

    In dollars, – how much is the projected 2014/2015 fifty percent increase in CalPERS assessments?

    How will Irvine pay it?

    What specific crap is CalPERS investing in that yielded a negative 0.1% return over the last five years?

  2. Greg Diamond
    June 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Has Lalloway lost a lot of weight or is that an old photo?

    Thank God that Shea’s children dance at the Barclay! The better Republicans are always willing to a consider a “but it affects me personally!” exception to ideologically based carnage.

  3. June 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Old photo; he looks pretty good.

Comments are closed.