[UPDATED:] Irvine Does Shuffleboard Shuffle in Response to Grand Jury Report Blasting Great Park Funding
UPDATE: As expected, the Irvine City Council approved its fuck-off response to an Orange County Grand Jury report critical of Great Park financing (see end of post) . . .
The Orange County Register's Sean Emery gets great quote from Irvine City Councilwoman Christina Shea, who was reacting to the city's official response to an Orange County Grand Jury critical of Great Park financing.
"They have raised some very definitive concerns, serious concerns," Shea says of the grand jury, "and to just brush it off or imply that they are seniors who should be playing shuffleboard is unfair."
Titled "Financing the Great Park: Now You See It, Now You Don't" and available for viewing here, the report issued in June questioned whether the Irvine Redevelopment Agency created to usher in development of the Orange County Great Park can fully repay its initial $134 million loan from the city.
The panel also faulted the city of ignoring the poor business climate while churning out rosy funding projections for the park, blasted the city--and in particular City Councilman Larry Agran--for lying to residents about no new taxes being required to build the park and accused the Irvine City Council of conflict of interest.
Shea and Councilman Steven Choi are the five-member council's lone critics of the way the Great Park is being developed.
"Regrettably, the Grand Jury's lack of understanding of the facts and California redevelopment law, its selective reading of documents provided to them by the city and the (redevelopment) agency, and its unfortunate use of insinuation and sarcasm, compromised the value of the Grand Jury report and had the effect of misleading the public," states Irvine's written response to the Grand Jury.
City officials denied each Grand Jury finding and said they are either already doing or would refuse to do each recommendation offered by the investigative panel.
A 2006 grand jury report suggested that the county sue to regain some control over the park, a recommendation that was also ignored.
UPDATE: The City Council officially signed off on the Grand Jury response last night, Emery reports. Agran labeled it a "diatribe against redevelopment" and accused it of disparaging public officials with a "loaded phrase": conflict-of-interest. Councilwoman Beth Krom, an Agranite running for Congress, said if she "were a cynical person . . . I would take note of the fact that it seems like about the same time as an election we have another grand jury investigation about the Great Park." But Shea, who voted against the city response, felt her colleagues need "to be a little more honest, a little more gentle, with those who criticize us." After all, she noted, those critics include the public these officials supposedly serve.
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