[Best of OC 2008 Post Cards] OC Life: Greetings From Roy Rivenburg

When he quit last year, Rivenburg was a 15-year veteran at the Los Angeles Times most famous for his humorous “Recall Madness” coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s race for governor. Earlier this year, he came up with the idea of a completely fake Times website: www.notthelatimes.com. He’s also a big fan of Irvine’s Great Park—at least, as he imagines it.

 

Looking back, it’s hard to imagine why anyone thought it would be a good idea to turn this dusty old military base into a giant park. Luckily, the Orange County Great Park board abandoned that scheme and instead spent six years creating something far more breathtaking. This post card, for example, cost $7.4 million to develop. It was supposed to show an artist’s rendition of what the park truly represents.

One of my favorite parts is the Larry Agran Pavilion, a museum that will chronicle Agran’s evolution from idealistic Irvine mayor to sellout political hack and cronyism champ. I also enjoyed the interactive Marsha Burgess robot. Modeled after the Great Park’s six-figure-salary spokeswoman, the robot answers visitor questions about suspicious park-budget items (such as $200,000 for a “special event,” $370,000 to hire four ticket takers for the park’s $5 million helium-balloon ride, and $500,000 to relocate motor homes parked on the property). Well, maybe “answer” is too strong a word. The robot actually spends several months processing the queries before ultimately declining to comment.

Like I said, the post card was supposed to show this. Instead, it’s a picture of me in a field near the balloon ride.

 

• Orange County Great Park, www.ocgp.org.

 
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