The proposal to empower Irvine tax payers to directly influence ongoing development issues that the developer-beholden Irvine City Council majority seems to rubber stamp regularly is causing fear from those who will lose influence should Irvine for Responsible Growth’s ballot measure pass. The draft proposal hadn’t yet been cleared by the city clerk’s office and already there are cowardly anonymous online surveys asking dishonest and deceiving questions and attacks on the character of the proposal’s sponsors.
And it all starts with Irvine Councilmember Christina Shea.
TheLiberalOC filed a public records request on August 29, 2017 seeking: “All communications, emails, letters, notes and voice mails with the city council regarding a ballot measure from Irvine for Responsible Growth.” The city typically has 10 days to comply and they informed this blog of an extension on September 6 that the city needed more time. The records were sent a week ago, but not all responsive records from Council member Shea were provided — because I was made aware of the email she sent to one of the three ballot measure sponsors on August 14 lashing out at him. That email was nowhere to be found.
The timing is important here. The way it works is when the Mayor and City Council members are informed of a public records request, they need to review the last 30 days of their emails and notes to see if they possess responsive records. In fact, they have to sign a statement saying they found records and forwarded them or they didn’t find records. Shea did forward records, but not all of them. After 30 days, the records go to a central clearing house of sorts where they can be exposed in a secondary search.
Because I filed my request two weeks after the caustic emails were sent, Shea was obligated to share it. She did not. The city sent me records, and I looked for her August 14 email to Joe Martinez and it wasn’t there. Martinez has since left the group seeking to pass the measure, so Shea’s short and blistering email accusing Martinez of “working with Larry Agran” on this and it was “unbelievable” shows the measure of a city council person using her authority to bully a citizen and taxpayer.
Here is the exchange:
On Aug 14, 2017, at 10:32 PM, Christina Shea <city email address deleted> wrote:
You are working with Larry Agran?
Can’t believe this!
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 14, 2017, at 7:35 PM, Joe Martinez <address deleted> wrote:
What do you mean. I haven’t spoken to him in years.
– Regards Joe
From: Christina Shea
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 7:39 PM
To: Joe Martinez
Subject: Re: Ballot initiative
He is behind this initiative, we know he is talking to folks about it.
Please take me off your business website.
Because for Christina Shea, Larry Agran is the monster behind everything she fights for. In you’re a horror movie buff at all, and I’m not, Agran is the Jason to her Crystal Lake camp counselor. He is Michael Myers on Halloween to her babysitter/protector persona. He is Pennywise the clown with a balloon to her kid in a raincoat. The name “Larry Agran” is the dog whistle Shea and her cronies use that triggers millions of dollars in mailers that developer funded IEs send every election cycle prompting developers to find compliant candidates to support for city council.
Agran told us he’s not familiar with the new ballot proposal. On September 18, Agran told this blog: “I haven’t carefully read and fully analyzed the proposed initiative. And I haven’t taken a position on it,” said Agran. “To claim I’m a proponent of an effort I know very little about is false and deceptive. The fact opponents are willing to lie about my involvement in this measure tells you everything you need to know about the honesty and integrity of those who don’t want Irvine voters to have a voice in the future of their city.”
Karen Jaffe and Arthur Strauss, who make up the grassroots group “Irvine for Responsible Growth,” submitted to the city that would require developers to secure voter approval on any project that adds significant traffic, 40 or more housing units, or 10,000 square feet of non-residential use which would prompt changes to the city’s general plan or changes to zoning. It’s modeled after a similar measure that voters in Costa Mesa passed in November 2016 (and notice that measure did not stop the Los Angeles Chargers from moving into Costa Mesa for training camp). The pair withdrew the application when Martinez dropped; the measure was then resubmitted with only the names of Jaffe and Strauss.
Last Friday, I contacted to city to ask why Shea’s email to Martinez was not part of the responsive records and that I already had a copy. Officials got back to me almost immediately and send me the emails from a “secondary search.” Shea’s August 14 emails were now part of that larger pool where city staff has access. But who on this city council will hold Shea accountable for her deliberate omission or willful ignoring of the law?
The biggest tell in the records sent is what Shea did first upon being notified of the ballot measure’s intent. She contacted developers. She sent emails to Paul Hernandez at the Irvine Company on Monday August 14 at 7:27 PM forwarding the email from city manager Sean Joyce describing all of the details of the ballot measure. Three minutes later, at 7:30, the same email was forwarded to Patrick Strader of Starpointe Ventures, a consultant for FivePoint. The threatening email to Martinez was sent at 7:32; he replied three minutes later and she replied four minutes later — at 7:39 PM– that “we know” Larry Agran is behind this. Who the hell is “we?”
There are a couple of emails where all contact information is completely redacted.
A copy was sent to Anthony Kuo on Saturday August 19; Kuo is rumored to be running for Irvine City Council again as a complete FivePoint rubber stamp. Perhaps his time he’ll be honest about his arrest record.
Hernandez got an email from Shea on August 21 and Strader on August 22 informing them with the ballot measure’s withdrawal and refiling. In her email to Strader, Shea commented “somebody is coaching her.”
Here is the PDF with all the emails and as you read them, know Shea’s first response was to alert all of those who directly impact her re-election bids via Independent Expenditures. SheaEmailsToDevelopers2017.
An important ballot measure is submitted to the city for review by the city council members. Shea’s first response isn’t to seek answers to questions that Jaffe and Strauss might be able to provide. Her first response is to alert the developers who control this city and attack one of the citizens who lent his name to the measure.
Is Shea representing the best interests of taxpayers and residents, or the best interests of developers?