There was a time when the Irvine City County served the needs of residents. Today’s council majority seems more interested in serving the interests of developers. To watch Mayor Steven Choi and Council member Christina Shea completely surrender to the needs of Five Points first is a thing to behold (video doesn’t lie). Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway gives the appearance of putting up more fight but often gets a minor concession in exchange for his support. And why not? Two of them — Choi and Lalloway — are up for re-election and Five Points is likely to offer much in the way of political support via IEs to promote the Five Points “ticket” and attack the competition.
If the developers don’t want a Veterans Cemetery at the Great Park, there won’t be a Veterans cemetery.
Every Republican on the “committee” is up for election this cycle except an unnamed representative from Todd Spitzer’s office. Lalloway’s quote: “All I’m trying to do is get broad support from our friends in Sacramento. And if that’s a problem, so be it,” is pretty laughable since Republicans are a non-factor in the State Assembly and State Senate. Democrats won’t roll over for him.
Mayor Choi has already said a cemetery would be bad Feng shui for the customers of all those mini-mansions the developer and builders hope to sell. It’s completely disrespectful of Choi, since many of the Veterans fought to keep South Korea free. But using Feng shui as cover for private developers who want to extract every dollar of profit from what this council majority will give is simply inexcusable. Add to the statements shared by Shea confidants Pat Rodgers and Allan Bartlett that Veterans got their talking points from Loretta Sanchez and DPOC are simply bald-faced lies.
I’m at the Great Park at least three times a month. I’ve seen Beth Krom there. I’ve seen Larry Agran there. I’ve seen Sukhee Kang there. (I keep missing Melissa Fox there). I’ve never seen anyone from the council majority there at all.
That public vision for the Great Park has been all but destroyed by this council majority. The “forensic audit” is approaching $700,000 and amounts to a taxpayer-funded witch hunt which Choi and Lalloway will use for political gain. I wonder if there will ever be a forensic audit of the forensic audit, because the work on the first go-around was shoddy and late with no updates that were promised ever delivered. This entire process has been stretched out to drag it into November.
Five Point Communities who now has total control of 688 acres of public land. Instead of a beautiful canyon, we are getting a golf course. The new “pay to play” sports fields that will do nothing for the children throughout Orange County who don’t have access to high quality public fields but instead will turn the Great Park into a mini-Overland Park in Kansas which caters to club sports teams where you can use the fields unless you’re paying a fee. Under the Council Majority: Family New Years Eve. Gone. Flights & Sounds Concert series. Gone. Public art programs at the Palm Court. Gone. Great Pumpkin Harvest. Gone. Say goodbye to the awesome Groves Antique Market, which has attracted as many as 12,000 people in one day (a great place to get those antique typewriters I collect), and the wildly popular Farm and Food Lab (supported by the UCI Master Gardeners) has been put on life support with no promise of a future at the park. You have to believe these things don’t work with Five Points plans. The dramatic cuts to the marketing budget for the Solar Decathlon were seen in the small crowds.
Mayor Choi keeps talking about how the sell-out to private developers means the park will finally be built. What is means is Five Points is calling the shots. A Veteran’s Cemetery? That’s going to be fought tooth and nail, but very quietly. As long as this council majority has control, the private developer will stay in the drivers seat. Let’s bet the developer does everything possible to keep Irvine’s worst mayor in his seat and comes back for even more entitlement after November. And when they do, they will have all the leverage they need.
It’s pathetic to see Mayor Choi take credit for things he had no role in creating while employing conflict with people of other cultures community, Veterans are just of the groups by which Choi has insulted over the years; for Shea, it’s the LGBT community). Lalloway’s speeches worthy of a Cold War rally.
The easiest way to take control back is to vote against Choi. He may have the backing of Irvine’s Korean-American voters in spite of the disrespect he shows former Mayor Kang, but if Irvine’s Chinese-American community is successful in their voter registration drive, if Irvine’s Muslim community and Pakistani community remember Choi equates them with terrorists, and if Veteran’s vote in force, the South Korean voting block won’t matter.