Irvine City Council: Shea Misrepresents Musick Jail Outcome

Christina Shea

Christina Shea

Irvine Council member Christina Shea has her own blog and she used it recently to point her fickled finger of blame at council members Larry Agran and Beth Krom over what’s likely to be a court-ordered expansion of the Musick Jail in the City’s Northeast corner.

She writes:

“I want to remind Irvine residents of the agreement that was reached in February of 2000, when I was Mayor.  Councilmembers (Greg) Smith and (Mike) Ward joined me in voting for the settlement agreement.   Councilmembers Agran and (Dave) Christensen voted against the agreement!

Our agreement of February 2000 capped the jail numbers and only allowed for minimum security prisoners.  With the Agran/Krom majority taking control, in December 2000, they overturned this two and a half year negotiation agreement.  Supervisor Todd Spitzer worked with me as Mayor and negotiated with my Council majority, to maintain a low level jail at Musick.

We wouldn’t be looking at a present proposal of over 7500 minimum, medium, and maximum security prisoners in our back yard, if Council member Larry Agran and Councilwoman Beth Krom, hadn’t irresponsibly overturned the best deal for Irvine!

Our residents need to know the truth about Musick Jail….”

Shea leaves out a few small details:

1. Her “settlement agreement” would have nearly quadrupled the immate population at Musick from about 1,200 to over 4,000. Shea couldn’t admit to a policy of appeasement.

2. The Democratic Council majority of Agran, Krom and Chris Mears were elected on a platform of fighting any expansion of Musick in Irvine.  They voted to overturn the settlement Shea had negotiated with the county and continue to fight the expansion of the Musick Jail in court to this day. Placing the blame on the Democrats for fighting the expansion of a jail that Shea strikes us as dishonest.

Here’s the LA Times story on the deal.  “A week ago, the Lake Forest City Council voted unanimously to accept a compromise plan for Musick, arguing that it was better to accept limited growth than the full-blown project sought by county supervisors. A majority of supervisors signed off on the deal a day later–but said it would be withdrawn unless Irvine approved it.

The Irvine council spent hours late Tuesday arguing the merits of the compromise. Mears wanted the council to appoint a committee that would work in the next four months to find a remote spot for a new jail where Musick could be moved.

Years of effort to find such a site, most recently by South County cities, fell apart after no suitable spot could be found. Lake Forest officials hoped Irvine would approve the compromise and put pressure on the county to find another jail site farther from homes and businesses. Lake Forest homes are within 700 feet of the Musick jail.

Pressure for Irvine to ink the deal increased Friday after an appellate court cleared the way for the county to build as many as 7,968 beds at Musick. There are 1,200 beds now at the branch jail; the compromise would allow up to 4,400 beds over the next 15 years.

The county’s expansion plans for Musick were approved by supervisors before the passage in March of Measure F, which called for two-thirds of voters countywide to agree before the county could build new airport projects, large jails near homes and hazardous waste landfills. A judge threw out Measure F earlier this month as unconstitutional and a violation of state law.

Mears said supervisors would be thwarting the will of voters countywide if they forged ahead with a full Musick expansion. Measure F passed with 67% of the vote.”

3. Shea is the only member of the council who’s already voted for allowing more prisoners to be housed at Musick.

So I sort of agree with Shea.  Irvine voters need to know the truth.  She sold us out to the county years ago.  And the courts, thwarting the will of the voters, are letting the county have their way despite the continued fight to stop the expansion by Agran and Krom.

Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content;
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.

– Lady Macbeth

  9 comments for “Irvine City Council: Shea Misrepresents Musick Jail Outcome

  1. Ltpar
    December 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Speaking of the pot calling the kettle black, here you are Dan, twisting the facts to your own ends and those of the gone but not forgotten Agranistas. Just for the record, how about we do a comparison between the tentative agreement negotiated by Todd Spitzer (Board of Supervisors), Christina Shea in 2000 with Sheriff Mike Corona and the current one, agreed to by Lake Forest? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which is better?

    The only action taken by Agran and Krom on the Jail issue during the past thirteen years has been wasting tax dollars on one unsuccessful law suit after another. In the end, we are now stuck with a maximum bed count of 7,500 prisoners. Who knows, had the original agreement not been torpedoed by the Agranista majority, Musick might well be on it’s way to being relocated to a remote site by now. This is just another spoke in the wheel of mismanagement, power grabbing and lack of leadership by Larry Agran and the Gang. Anbody doubts that, just look at ten years of the same thing at the Great Park. Sorry Dan, you can’t spin all that away.

    Musick Jail Plan Agreements – Irvine 2000 Stipulation
    Inmate Population Total – Cap – 1,256 No increases allowed unless:
    (1) County search for remote site
    (2) Approval of a Remote Jail Site Analysis
    (3) Creation of a Jail System Advisory Committee
    (4) If above conditions met, 2004 Cap – 1,960
    (5) If above conditions met, 2110 Cap – 3,100
    (6) Maximum build out Cap in 2017, 4,400 but only is all of the following conditions are met:
    • Evaluation made of closing Musick facility
    • Completion of new Jail Beds Need Study
    • Complete/certify specific EIR for remote site.
    Inmate Population Security Level: (L-1 to L-4 – Least to most dangerous)
    (1) L1 and L2 only
    Inmate Housing – Dormitory Style
    Bake Parkway – No entrance. County must sell or restrict at least 35 acres, with certain uses prohibited on those acres.
    Bookings – No direct bookings unless City concurs
    Release of Prisoners – No inmate releases from facility without transportation out of the area.
    Security – Extra Sheriff patrol in the area.

    Lake Forest Musick Jail MOU (Current)
    Inmate Population Total – Maximum cap of 3,100 but may be raised to 7,584 if Sheriff demonstrates a need, or there is a State or Federal mandate. If above shown, no cap other than 7,584 limits.
    Inmate Population Security Level: (L-1 to L4 –Least to most dangerous)
    (1) No L-3 or L4,except in unusual circumstances, then allowed for only a maximum of 1 week.
    (2) Protective custody inmates generally avoided (Level 5).
    Inmate Housing – Dormitory style with limited single and multiple bed cells
    Bake Parkway – No access except unusual circumstances
    Bookings – Yes
    Release of Prisoners – Yes

  2. Belvedere
    December 6, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Pat is wrong about who is responsible for the Musick Jail expansion.

    The responsibility for the jail expansion belongs solely to the (Republican) Board of Supervisors, and not to Larry Agran, who has opposed the jail’s expansion (so far, successfully) for over a dozen years.

    In late 2000, the newly elected Democrat majority on Irvine City Council voted not to agree to a supposed “comprise” with the County regarding the County’s desire to drastically expand Musick Jail. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, this so-called “compromise” agreement “would allow up to 4,400 beds [at Musick Jail] over the next 15 years [up from its then-current 1,200 beds].” In other words, the so-called “compromise” would have allowed a nearly four-fold expansion of the number of Musick Jail prisoners. As the Los Angeles Times noted, “Incoming Mayor Larry Agran and new council members Chris Mears and Beth Krom had promised during their campaigns to reverse earlier council approvals to shift park funding to the state and to allow a limited expansion of the James A. Musick Branch Jail.” Fulfilling their explicit campaign promise, newly elected Mayor Agran and Council Members Krom and Mears opposed such a major expansion of Musick.

    Since that time, Larry Agran has continued to oppose the expansion of Musick Jail. In fact, Irvine’s lawsuit against the expansion is still pending.

    You can read the original Los Angeles Times story, entitled “Irvine Council Debates El Toro Park, Jail: Incoming Mayor Larry Agran and new council members Chris Mears, Beth Krom campaigned for green space at Marine base, no expansion at Musick,” at

  3. December 6, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Pat — Shea agreed to a four fold expansion of Musick; Agran and Krom opposed the expansion at every turn. That’s the only fact anyone needs to know

  4. Ltpar
    December 6, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Dan and Belvedere, any way you want to spin the facts, had the original agreement been implemented, the conditions for a remote jail site would be well in place by now or there would not have been any increase in inmate population. For those who take time to look at the proposed agreement, it is all spelled out and had the Agranistas accepted it, we would not be having this exchange. Even Chris Mears who was a part of the Agranista Team at the time now admits that the Jail Issue was a political ploy to help them get elected. Typical Larry Agran modus operandi, of putting his own political well being ahead of that of the community. The Agranista’s big achievement in all this over thirteen years is millions of dollars spent on unsuccessful law suits. It will be interesting to see if the Irvine voters finally wake up to Agran’s manipulation in the 2014 election and knock him out of the box for good?

  5. December 6, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Fact: Shea negotiated a deal to expand Musick from 1200 beds to more than 4,000

    Fact: Agran, Krom and Mears were elected on a campaign to fight any expansion of Musick

    Fact: Agran and Krom continue to fight any expansion of the jail via lawsuits

    Look up the definition of “appeasement” Pat; that’s what Shea did.

  6. Ltpar
    December 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Dan, your facts simply don’t match the original agreement stipulations.

    Your Fact: Shea negotiated a deal to expand Musick from 1200 beds to more than 4,000

    Agreement Facts: Inmate Total – Cap – 1,256 No increases allowed unless:
    (1) County search for remote site
    (2) Approval of a Remote Jail Site Analysis
    (3) Creation of a Jail System Advisory Committee
    (4) If above conditions met, 2004 Cap – 1,960
    (5) If above conditions met, 2110 Cap – 3,100
    (6) Maximum build out Cap in 2017, 4,400 but only is all of the following conditions are met:
    • Evaluation made of closing Musick facility
    • Completion of new Jail Beds Need Study
    • Complete/certify specific EIR for remote site.

    I don’t see this as appeasement, but rather a sensible win-win compromise for both the City of Irvine and the Sheriff. By the way, what kind of deal did Larry Agran and Beth Krom replace it with. Oh, that’s right there is no deal and Agran’s achievement is the current 7,500 beds, he keeps whining about. Larry’s solution is to waste more money suing the county in a “no win”case.

    Dan, the voters are not stupid and when they look at both sides of the issue, they will side with Shea.

  7. December 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Krom and Agran didn’t have to replace it with anything; they fought against any expansion of Musick Pat…please acknowledge that fact.

  8. December 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Here’s what Ms. Shea wrote on her blog regarding our story. I will note I left a comment to her original post calling her dishonest for suggesting that Agran and Krom trying to stop any expansion of the jail was dishonest. The comment hasn’t seen the light of day as she’s censored it.

    Now I allow Pat Rodgers to come here and defend Shea eight ways to Wednesday. Shea can come here too. But she’d rather censor our criticism of her portrayal of this than allow for dialogue. If you’re doing that Ms. Shea, why blog? You’re not interested in anything other than fans blowing smoke up your butt. Show a little backbone and debate.

    Here’s her new post:
    “I’ve noted that my earlier blog about the Musick Jail settlement that was reached in February 2000 and the subsequent rescission has sparked some controversy.

    For our City Council, voting for or against a jail has never been on the table. The facility opened in 1963, eight years before the City was incorporated. What was negotiated and voted on was a way to protect our residents from a huge increase in the number and security classification of the inmates being held in the jail, proposed by the County.

    The February 2000 settlement agreement put a dependent and phased cap on the inmate population. That agreement would have kept the cap at the then current level, 1,256, until the County met certain criteria. The maximum build-out inmate total was 3200 less inmates, than the County proposal, and no maximum security prisoners. The County would be required to look for a new, remote jail site, complete and certify an EIR for that remote site, and evaluate the closing of Musick Jail. The critics of that agreement praise Councilmember Agran, Krom and Mears, who voted to rescind the stipulation.

    Well, let’s look at what their vote did. It exposed the City to the County’s original plan of 7,584, including maximum security inmates. What was their plan to stop that? Well, they decided to sue the County again. And guess what. At every step, the City has lost.

    Fortunately, the City of Lake Forest entered into an MOU with the County in 2012. Their MOU provides some shelter for Irvine, but not nearly the amount provided by the Feb. 2000 settlement.

    The Lake Forest MOU has a listed inmate cap of 3,100, but that cap can be set aside, for among other reasons, the Sheriff merely demonstrating that there is a need for expansion. And once again, the inmate cap can go back to the 7,584 level.

    That wasn’t true of the February 2000 cap.

    The only plan that Councilmembers Agran and Krom had for the last 13 years to address the Jail situation is lawsuit after lawsuit. The result has only been loss after loss, and at a huge financial cost to the City.

    At every recent Council meeting Councilmember Agran has brought up the potential of 7500 maximum security inmates near a site being considered by IUSD for a new high school. He doesn’t tell us that by rescinding the February 2000 agreement, he and his colleagues allowed that situation to develop, creating a potential 7600 maximum security jail on our borders.

    Yes, I voted for the February 2000 settlement agreement. But, not to build a jail, and unlike some of my colleagues, I wasn’t willing to gamble with the safety and security of our community for political reasons.”

    I’ll note her colleagues didn’t vote to build a jail either. They fought it every step of the way. And she voted to allow the county to expand the number of prisoners at the site. She didn’t gamble — she just let them do it. Which is far worse.

  9. Ltpar
    December 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Dan, I have already admitted their opposition in both of my commentaries. For thirteen years they filed one unsuccessful lawsuit after another, wasted millions of dollars of tax dollars and achieved absolutely nothing. Why can’t you acknowledge that?

    By the way, I don’t read the personal blogs of Shea, Choi or Lalloway, have never represented myself as speaking for them and my comments are my views only. I was working for the City of Irvine back in the days of the Musick Jail controversy and while never having any personal concerns about safety relating to Irvine, I understood what the Council was trying to do. They wanted to move the Musick site to a remote location where there were no homes or people. Still today, I do not share safety concerns because I understand the security involved in all of the County Jail Facilities and that none of them has resulted in major problems in the cities involved. Driving down Trabucco Road, passing the road leading to the Jail, you would never know what it was, if not for prior knowledge. Jails are an unfortunate necessity in our society and Irvine is not exempt from doing it’s share. Hope I have clarified this issue and no, I do not expect you to agree with me.

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