Agran Photo: Davis BarberListening to the media pound Democratic hopeful Dennis Kucinich for his "too-liberal" views sounds awfully familiar around the Weekly. We remember another man with some liberal ideas and long hair and sandals . . . Okay, scratch the hair—and the sandals—but Irvine mayor Larry Agran is about the same age as Kucinich and, like the Ohio congressman, was a low-polling presidential candidate. Agran's 1992 presidential campaign exploded out of nowhere—or, rather, Irvine—capturing positive reviews in the Washington Post, The New York Times and even mainstream TV news. But when the party and NBC blocked Agran's entry into national debates, his campaign withered and died. Agran was eventually able to resurrect his political career—he was elected to the Irvine City Council in 1998 and the mayor's office in 2000. It remains to be seen what Kucinich has up his very short sleeves, but we have one word for him: Cleveland. In the meantime, we've uncovered other eerie similarities:
AGE Agran: 59. Kucinich: 57. POLITICAL STATURE Agran:Learned. Kucinich: Fierce. PHYSICAL STATURE Agran: Elfin. Kucinich: ALF. EARLY PROVENANCE Agran: First elected to Irvine City Council and ultimately mayor's office in 1976, at age 32; city later declared "romance capital" of Orange County under Republican successor Christine Shea. Kucinich: Became mayor of Cleveland in 1977 at age 31; shortly thereafter, city declared bankruptcy. Not known for romance but a burning river. SHINING MOMENT Agran: Convincing residents to stop knocking boots long enough to vote for tough environmental laws that garnered Irvine a United Nations award, which Agran accepted–naked. No, not naked. Kucinich: Convincing residents he wasn't responsible for city's bankruptcy earned him victory in a recall election—by 236 votes. EXILED FROM MAIN STREET Agran: Support for gay rights cost him mayoral post in 1990. Kucinich: Ranked seventh-worst mayor by a prestigious panel of historians. ENTERED PRESIDENTIAL RACE BECAUSE HE . . . Agran: Believed thoughtful, liberal, George McGovern wing of the party wasn't being represented. Kucinich: Believed shrill, liberal, podium-pounding, vegan, George Clinton arm of the party needed a voice. NOW YOU SEE HIM . . . Agran: Cropped out of an Associated Press candidates forum photo; NPR termed him the "invisible candidate." Kucinich: Gets lots of coverage on C-SPAN and The Daily Show. POETIC JUSTICE Agran: NPR termed the "invisible radio network." Kucinich: C-SPAN and The Daily Show are hilarious. ENDORSED BY Agran: These days, the Irvine Co. Kucinich: Willie Nelson, Gandhi's grandson, Yoda. FOR MY NEXT NUMBER . . . Agran: Helped create a Great Park with ever-shrinking green space—at last count it included a cemetery, a sports park and a golf course. There's supposed to be a wilderness preserve in there somewhere, isn't there? Checking, still checking . . . Kucinich: His No More Tax Cuts platform plank could surely board up that pesky budget deficit, projected to exceed $400 billion in fiscal year 2004. What's that? It's $500 billion? What's that? Checking, still checking . . .