To say that Irvine City Council member Jeff Lalloway is shameless at times can be a serious understatement. Lalloway is proposing a new transparency ballot measure for the Great Park operations for the November election when he and Council member Christina Shea have been anything but transparent in the management of the Forensic Audit and investigation. You have to admire how this group took an action to do a forensic audit announced in January 2013 and its July 2014 and it still isn’t done. It’s all about headlines and using subpoena power the auditor has to secure documents from consultants that the city has already had in their possession for years.
We’ve been assured by two reliable sources that FlashReport blogger Jon Fleischman, who doesn’t live in the city, played a role in helping the Republican majority identify law firms the audit subcommittee has contracted with all without a competitive bid. An email to Fleischman came back with an “out of town on vacation” reply. Lalloway and Christina Shea are conducting the Great Park audit in complete secrecy and with no transparency. So it strikes us as hypocritical for Lalloway to call for a transparency ballot measure. Practice what you preach Jeff.
That the so-called “audit” is a taxpayer funded witch hunt designed to generate headlines, political mailers, and FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt). For example, the preliminary auditors report made headlines with an outright lie that $38 million in Great Park funds was unaccounted for. Nope. The funds were fully accounted for and dealt with from the dais at the next meeting. But Lalloway and Shea got what they wanted. Now the city has hired the law firm that investigated the city of Bell. Irvine and Bell are on opposite ends of the corruption spectrum; Irvine is consistently one of the best managed cities in the nation. So why wait for November? Let’s open up the books now to see what progress has been made on the audit? You can’t pitch transparency while operating in secret.
At the last City Council meeting, Shea acknowledged that the audit was not focused on how the money was spent or what was produced. Video doesn’t lie. So if not what the money was spent for and what was produced, what is the audit focused on? Yet she plans to ask the City Council for even more money for the audit. Apparently HSNO has already burned through their $640,000 trust fund. Special Counsel has been paid separately by the city.
The most interesting aspect of Lalloway’s Transparency measure is “whistleblower protection.” Normally, this protects people in the know who raise issues of fraud and abuse. Since Lalloway and Shea are the new Irvine Star Chamber, this “whistleblower protection” is designed to inoculate them and their friends from any accountability for the accusations they make. Interestingly, the initiative also requires an annual audit which one would assume is the “promise” to HSNO that the trough of public funds they are suckling at will not dry up anytime soon. How much is this going to cost?
Irvine used to be a City recognized for vision and innovation. Under this Republican majority, Irvine’s been sold off to the interest of private developers and political operatives.