Irvine Council member Christina Shea took to Facebook last week to whine about the Irvine Community News & Views, a former slate mailer/newspaper that is now all newspaper. The monthly publication is both in print and online. It features school sports stories, has a community calendar that’s second to none in the city, and accepts and runs advertising. Since it’s almost impossible to find a copy of the Irvine World News, the Irvine Community News & Views has made the transition to a newspaper that’s an asset to the community.
When we chatted with Ms. Shea last week, we reminded her that in America, anyone with a printing press can publish a newspaper. She insists it’s still a slate mailer as the ICN&V was registered with the State of California in the last election cycle as one. But just what slate of candidates is the newspaper promoting? There’s one announced Democrat running for City Council and it’s so hard to have a slate mailer without a slate of candidates to promote. It’s clear she doesn’t seem to understand how the press works or that in denying the inclusion of the paper in city hall, she and the City are actually violating the First Amendment.
Nonetheless, Ms. Shea posted the following on Facebook last Friday (her use of commas needs work):
A new Community News and Views is hitting the street today. This time the publisher Frank Lunding, who lives in San Francisco Bay area, no where close to Irvine, is taking me to task along with our City Manager and City Attorney and other citizens that disagree with their publication. Mr. Lunding believes, along with his Larry Agran friends and political pals, that their Community News and Views, is a legitimate newspaper, and if you disagree or speak against it, you are violating their free speech rights.The facts are, they are selling advertisement to local Irvine businesses with the claim this News and Views is a legitimate newspaper. Well in my opinion, and many others, it is not. It is just a political hit piece and has been for many years and many elections cycles n (sic) Irvine. Recently, they have tried to remake it into a legitimate publication. But it only attacks Republicans and citizens that don’t agree with them, It has no real balance of opinion or commentary. Our City Attorney has opined, it isn’t a legitimate newspaper and cant (sic) be displayed at City Hall. They are claiming it is like the OC WEEKLY…well that has not ever been used door to door in Irvine as a hit piece on Republicans during an election, and its circulation is county wide.
They are crying foul, that we at City Hall, me specifically and our City Attorney and City Manager and citizens, are violating their free speech rights, and if I or others are sharing the truth about this publication to the community and local business owners, we are breaking the law.
What a ridiculous conclusion. There is no law against me or Council members or our citizens, speaking to the community with a different opinion and telling folks the truth. So its (sic) time Mr. Lunding, Mr. Agran and his friends understand free speech goes two ways not just their way. Trying to curtail their opposition’s right to speak, is a very serious issue and a serious offense. Exposing dishonest and bias discord, is the hallmark of free speech.. I wont (sic) be intimidated by these folks nor should you or any of our citizens. I will say, if these folks get back into power in Irvine, you better watch your pocket books, because when they had the power up to 200 million plus dollars of your money, was spent on a very small portion of the park being constructed and awarding their friends huge no bid contracts, at the Great Park, making their friends millionaires, off your Park dollars. I wont (sic) be bullied into not speaking the truth and you shouldn’t either.
And in comments, she continues:
“Yes Jane trying to squelch open dialogue will set us back years One should ask ,why these “Progessives” only want open dialogue when it serves their politcal agendas but they want others opinions silenced?“
The history here is not of a legitimate newspaper but a slate campaign hit piece required to file on record with the Secretary of States office no newspaper must follow that requirement. Only official campaign mailers are required to file with the State good try but doesn’t apply!
You cant (sic) turn a black horse white…best they create a real newspaper use a new name and be honest and not try to intimate people into not sharing their point of view about what kind of publication this actually is and has been for years
So let’s review. There is no slate to promote and the newspaper is no longer a slate mailer. The Irvine Community News & Review has articles, runs letters to the editor, opinion columns, school sports stories, and a calendar. It accepts paid advertising. The Irvine Community News & Views is a newspaper.
Shea said, OC WEEKLY “has not ever been used door to door in Irvine as a hit piece on Republicans.” She’s right, because articles from OC Weekly were used in IE mailers door to door as a hit piece on Democrats. Does anyone remember the last story in OC Weekly about Irvine Democrats that was positive? And does Ms. Shea remember that barrage of IE mailers that railed against the Irvine Democrats in the last election cycle, often using details from a withdrawn report by HSNO on the Great Park audit. Would those mailers hold up to a basic fact check?
The city attorney has opined it’s not a real newspaper; is this the same city attorney who is likely to be fired by the council majority soon and is doing everything they can to hold on to the job?
Additionally, no one is trying to stop Ms. Shea from complaining about the publication repeatedly on social media. But calling an advertiser to deliberately use disinformation (that the paper is a slate mailer when its not) crosses a line that may result in civil liability for Ms. Shea…she only thinks she’s telling the truth but she’s not and she’s been told she’s not telling the truth. We’ve told her several times, it’s not a slate mailer anymore. And no one is trying to silence her. Her rants are damn entertaining.
I’m grateful she knows that San Francisco is nowhere near Irvine. Did Ms. Shea know that ICN&V’s editor & publisher Frank Lunding is a Republican?
For Irvine City Manager Sean Joyce, the choice is a simple one. Add the Irvine Community News & Views to the racks of publications in the lobby at City Hall or remove all of them. Ms. Shea’s staunch opposition to this newspaper simply is proof that the paper’s coverage is striking a nerve.