Plumbing the Depths of Irvine's Election

Dear Joe the Plumber,

As you well know, you have unplugged many a drain at Casa de Coker over the years and sooner or later you'll be handling that bathroom remodel we talked about years ago. But first, I have a favor. I have started a petition drive where signees will let my bosses know what a good job I'm doing for my reader(s). Yes, I do want your signature, but I also need $5 to help pay for the gathering of more signatures.

The importance of this petition drive is spelled out in a fake newspaper published by a former colleague in Northern California. His paper also prints stories that tell folks what a great newspaperman I am. Part of that $5 helps cover its production.

Yes, five bucks is a lot in these cash-strapped times. But fret not, mon fraire. For I am going to pay $10 for “future consultation” on bathroom-fixture options in case that remodel ever comes to be. (Damn you, falling home values!) All you have to do is send me the $5 when requested. Oh, destroy this letter because, as a good newspaperman candidate, I really can't coordinate the petition drive. Look in your mailbox soon for a self-addressed envelope for you to drop in your $5 check. It'll come from Sarah the Seamstress, Julio the Lawn Guy or Len R. the developer.

Best always,
Matt the C.

What's above sounds ridiculous, and borderline illegal, unless you happen to live in Irvine . . .


As “Irvine Tattler” Stephen Smith lays out so much better here, Great Park contractors have paid $63,000 and Great Park lobbyists $20,000 to help fund a fake newspaper that supports passage of city Measure R, which asks Irvine residents to say what a great job the Irvine City Council is doing on planning the Great Park. The fauxpaper also endorses the re-election of council members Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Suhkee Kang, who make up the council majority whose public and private decisions pay those Great Park contractors and lobbyists funding the fauxpaper. Love is spread to upstart council candidate Todd Gallinger, too.

Among the Great Park contractors who have contributed $10,000 apiece for the weekly slate mailer posing as Irvine Community News and Views are Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Inc. of Ken Smith, the Great Park master designer and head of the Great Park Design Studio, fame; Forde N Mollrich, the Great Park political consulting firm that is also behind statewide Proposition 10, which also has been awash in funds flowing to and from Great Park interests; and Gafcon, Inc., another Great Park designer.

Meanwhile, the Yes on R campaign received a hefty $110,000 from the reincarnation of Planning 2020, the committee that pumped funds into Irvine's 2006 municipal election. Planning 2020 was run by Frank Lunding, who Agran previously appointed to a city commission. He now lives in Northern California and is listed as publisher of Irvine Community News and Views. Yep, that Irvine love, love, loves to recycle!

Yes on Yes We Are Doing Gangbusters on the Great Park, Aren't We? also got three donations for a $17,333 total from the Strader family that owns Starpointe Ventures, a real estate development firm and registered lobbyist with the City of Irvine representing struggling Great Park home builder Lennar.

Wait, you may be asking yourselves, doesn't an Agran-pushed city ordinance limit individual contributions to $410 per person? Yes it does. Good thing Agran placed measures on the ballot years ago to allow “independent” committees to promote ballot measures with unlimited cash. And should the committee ads also mention candidates up for reelection – candidates like Agran, Krom, Kang, Gallinger — no harm, no foul.

And a wonderful slime was had by all!

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