Larry Agran's Sabotage Squad

[Moxley Confidential] The sneaky campaign to save Democrats' control of the Great Park failed but kept Beth Krom on the Irvine City Council

In advance of voting, I could only report that somebody had hidden the money trail because Gilliard disingenuously reported that Dennis J. Sammut, owner of San Bruno-based casino Artichoke Joe's, paid for the pro-Daigle operation. Why would a savvy businessman spend $55,000 on a losing candidate seven hours south in Irvine—especially when he was trying to win an expensive, local gaming initiative in the San Jose area?

Alas, Sammut didn't give a hoot about Daigle. Here's what happened: In exchange for Sammut participating in the Irvine election-money shell game, an Orange County company sent an equal amount, $55,000, to his gaming campaign. That entity? By golly, it was Strader's Starpointe Ventures.

Back in her peculiar la-la land, Krom bused in an army of elderly ladies to a Jan. 8 council meeting so they could regurgitate her stance that the Republican takeover wasn't a voter mandate to clean up soiled Great Park affairs. The ladies dutifully whined that diminished Krom/Agran power was—you can't make this up—the end of democracy.

"This way to the Great Lark!"
Bob Aul
"This way to the Great Lark!"


See Mickadeit's column for good coverage of the event. But, perhaps because he made the Strader scheme verboten, the Reg columnist let Krom escape with a despicable lie. From the dais, she said the new GOP 3-2 majority couldn't have a mandate because she received the most votes in the council race that elected her and Republican Christina Shea.

"Yeah, I myself have taken exception to the [mandate assertion] because I checked the [vote tallies]," declared Krom, who called her opponent "reprehensible."

You know what's reprehensible? The same apparatus that gave us Daigle gave us Evan Chemers as a Republican decoy in the council race—and that sabotage paid off. The pro-Daigle operation touted Chemers' candidacy in mailings that took 17,167 votes from the two real Republicans, Shea and Lynn Schott.

Without that trickery, Krom would have been booted from the council, Republicans would have enjoyed a 4-1 majority, and the public wouldn't have had to stomach a pathetic excuse for a lack of Great Park progress.

"We didn't have the two things that would have been so handy," a smartass Krom opined during the council meeting. "A crystal ball and a magic wand."

Nope, she and Agran merely had total control for 12 years and $230 million to, as county Supervisor Todd Spitzer aptly observed, give us a Great Park that is "a palm court, a merry-go-round and a balloon."

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