Powder Blue Report

News, finance, politics, sports, and fun from the west coast

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Beth Krom Wishes Everyone In Irvine A Happy New Year Via A Poisonous Email

Happy new year to everyone. The lone liberal Democrat left on the Irvine City Council also wishes everyone a happy new year, but when you read this email from her to her supporters, one can only surmise that it's gonna be a long two years for her. In the email she says she is all charged up and ready to do battle as an army of one. I think she is mistaking this new found energy with extreme epic bitterness. Maybe it had to do with her losing her best allie Larry Agran along with Melissa Fox and Mary Ann Gaido. You're welcome Beth :) Anyway here's her email in italics along with some commentary by me when it's needed.

Hello everyone...

The holidays have provided an opportunity for me to rest, restore and re-focus. Along the way I got another year older and spent quality time with family. I hope you all had a good holiday and gave yourselves a chance to catch your breath as well. Many of you have asked how you can be engaged, involved and helpful going forward. That's why I'm writing. We all wish the outcome of the recent election had been different. Another 1000 votes or so and I would be on a Council with Mayor Guido and Council member Fox. 1000 more than that and we would have the "super-majority" that the Mayor now commands (that may be a stretch as I do not think any of the four who I sit with on the Council actually like, respect or work well with each other). But for now, "it is what it is."

Bitter much Beth? How about some cheese to go with your whine.

Please read this whole e-mail. I know it's long, but I don't have time to engage everyone individually. If you want to cut to the chase, please e-mail me to confirm your interest in becoming better informed, better engaged, and a force for positive change in Irvine. Do read the whole thing if possible•••and look to the last two paragraphs for a specific call to action.

I know the "better energy" is on our side. That will do a great deal to fortify my spirit as I complete the balance of my City Council term. I will not allow myself to be pulled into the vortex of negativity. I have always focused on "quality of life" issues and believe that the majority of Irvine residents share the vision of a well planned city with multi-modal transportation options, where thinking is creative, intelligence and open mindedness are respected, diversity is celebrated, our environment is protected and sustainable and public safety is defined by more than FBI statistics.

Here's a woman who said at the swearing in ceremony that "woman play nicer in the sandbox"

These are not partisan issues. Our past success was achieved through focusing on people and community priorities, not partisan politics. As the other side has used partisanship to drive their ambitions, we have tried to use the same leverage with "our people." Unfortunately "our people" do not have the same inclination to vote locally based on partisan identification as "their people" do. That's why we need to focus on people to people connections and elevating awareness about local issues. The low voter turnout reflected the distaste voters have for what they see as "negative vs. negative" campaigns and the politics of personal assaults.

Maybe "your people" Beth finally had enough of your friends after analyzing all the news reports from the Great Park Audit. Oh and please don't get sanctimonious on negative campaigning. You and Larry wrote the book on that here in Irvine the last 12 years when you had the majority.

Over the years the narrative has changed from a focus on community vision and a city of "innovation, education and civic participation" to one of power and control.

This woman is so delusional. The whole idea of squandering the $200 million dollars at the Great Park that Larry and you implemented was to payoff all your friends and get kickbacks from it in the form of campaign contributions to keep you in power. It worked great until the money ran out. Giving you guys $200 million to spend was like giving drunk teenagers the keys to a Ferrari.

Those now in power are not appreciated for their intellect and public advocacy, but rather for their slavish loyalty to local developers, political operatives and profiteering business interests. They claim to support kids but endorse a High School site adjacent to a toxic dump and down the road from a jail that is rapidly expanding. They wave the flag, challenge the patriotism of others and claim to support veterans but are secretly working to stop the proposed Veterans Cemetery. They take credit for "finally building the Great Park" while presiding over the greatest give-away of control over public land (AND A PUBLIC VISION) with the 688 acre downsized, privatized and commercialized Great Park plan FivePoint communities now controls.

Unfortunately, people don't know what's happening. I tell people Orange County is the most ignorant, educated place in America. The Orange County Register just named Jeff Lalloway one of the "100 most important" in OC. They dutifully printed fallacious headlines and factually challenged stories as fodder for political mailers funded by developers they are very cozy with. This is what we are up against.It's nothing new, but as the City grows and less people are civically engaged, the "good guys" will have a harder time getting elected.

Beth is very jealous of Jeff getting named "100 most important" in OC by the Register. Let's hope you never get elected to anything ever again Beth.

Our only hope going forward is a massive, coordinated "activation" of Irvine voters around issues that matter to them. Single issue focus will not do. People need to see the bigger picture. They need to understand how the dots connect. The focus needs to be on a better vision for Irvine's future. The planning issues at the center of the recent campaign are a big part of the equation, but as I point out, "buildings don't make communities ...people make communities."

Some of you care more about the environment or gun control. Some want to see Irvine remain an open and inclusive community for faith and culture - where we celebrate diversity rather than use "differences" to polarize and divide people. Some are focused on the impacts of over-development on traffic or support for the arts. ALL these issues are important - but they will cease to be part of Irvine's profile and priorities as long as developers and ideologues are setting the agenda at City Hall.

Because having Larry in control for 12 years worked out so great. Sigh.

The first matter we must tackle is putting truth behind the fiction of the Great Park Audit. Nearly $1.5 MILLION devoted to an effort that has had NO STAFF OVERSIGHT, has been conducted by TWO COUNCIL MEMBERS (Shea and Lalloway) IN COMPLETE SECRECY, that has involved SOLE SOURCE CONTRACTS and expensive CONTRACT EXTENSIONS and which has yielded NOTHING to date but misinformation, innuendo and personal attacks.

Calling our side out for sole sourced contracts is really shameless of her. Uh Forde & Mollrich Beth? As far as secrecy, Christina Shea and Steven Choi had to sue the Great Park Corp to get to read the resumes of potential GP CEOs.

Let's face it, if there had been any "there" there we would have heard about it before the election. Now they're trying to put lipstick on a pig. This could come up as early as the first meeting in January.

People did hear about the "there" Beth and they voted all your cronies out of power! LOL

CALL TO ACTION: WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO READ A DEPOSITION OR IN OTHER WAYS PARTICIPATE IN BRINGING A LARGE, KNOWLEDGEABLE GROUP OF PEOPLE TO SPEAK AT CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS WHERE THE AUDIT WILL BE DISCUSSED? I WOULD LIKE AT LEAST 25 PEOPLE.

Now she's trying to steal my mojo. I read her and Larry copies of the devastating depositions at the city council meetings last year. I guess that had an affect :) What's the saying..."imitation is the best form of flattery".

There are some 25 depositions that have been taken. None demonstrate any illegal activity. At best, there were power struggles and competing visions. Every contract let was approved at a public meeting. This is about damaging the credibility of those who supported a PUBLIC VISION for the Great Park. A smoke screen for the massive give­ away of development rights and control over 688 acres of public land to developer FivePoint (who put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the recent smear campaign against Gaido, Ag ran and Fox).

E-mail ME IF YOU ARE ON BOARD. I'LL BE ORGANIZING A GET TOGETHER VERY SOON.

I KNOW THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. THERE WILL BE OTHER WAYS FOR THOSE NOT INTERESTED IN THIS EFFORT TO BE INVOLVED GOING FORWARD.

I am counting on the "Better Energy" to rise up and challenge the negative, self serving agenda of the Mayor and his majority.It's time to take on the local media and their one-sided agenda as well. Most important, we can only benefit for building a better informed, better engaged community - and reminding people that the power rests with the voters when it comes to choosing candidates who articulate a vision that best serves our City, now and in the future. Thanks. Let me know if you'd like to help "activate" Irvine... Beth

So there you have it. A poisonous call to action for the new year. Happy New Year to you to Beth. I'm looking forward to seeing the reaction on your face when the final audit report is read.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Allan Bartlett Voter Guide For November

These are my picks for the upcoming election. I'm sure there will be disagreement with me on some of these choices, but that's okay. Leave me a comment in the comment section and argue your case for who you would pick. Some races I just couldn't in good conscience recommend to folks. I'm also attaching a star rating system to the statewide and legislative races. It's a sliding scale from one to five with five meaning this person is a great Republican candidate and one star meaning that this person probably doesn't deserve a vote, but we'll hold our nose anyways. If you hang around and have endorsements from groups like the Orange County Business Council, Tax OC(OC Tax), Curt Pringle, etc, this will also contribute to lower stars. Pretty much the only way you would get five stars in my rating system is if you are endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus or had an endorsement by former Congressman Ron Paul :)

Governor....no recommendation

Thanks for playing Neel. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Lt Gov....no recommendation

Ron Nehring does not have the temperament to hold elective office. I cannot recommend him. He gets zero stars

Secretary of State....Pete Peterson***

Controller.....Ashley Swearengin*

I almost didn't vote for Ashley. Her support of High Speed Rail made this tough.

Treasurer....Greg Conlon***

Attorney General....Ron Gold ****

Ron supports decriminalizing marijuana. This tells me he will be probably be great for individual liberty.

Insurance Commissioner....Ted Gaines**

State Board of Equalization 4th District.....Diane Harkey***

Bottomline, Diane will be a good vote for taxpayers in this position.

School Superintendent.....Marshall Tuck**

Propositions

Prop 1 Water Bond.....NO

Way too much pork in this bond for things that have nothing to do with building water storage.

Prop 2 Budget Rainy Day Fund.....YES

It makes me almost vote against it seeing Gov Brown vouching for this on tv.

Prop 45.......NO

Prop 46......NO

Prop 47.......YES

This will save the state millions by making much needed reforms to the criminal justice system.

Prop 48........YES

County of Orange Measures

Measure E.......YES

Measure G........YES

City of Irvine Measures

Measure V.......YES

Measure W.......YES

Congress

39th District........Ed Royce***

45th District.......Mimi Walters***

46th District.......no recommendation

Loretta Sanchez is the devil, but Adam Nick is a total and complete train wreck

47th District.......Andy Whallon****

I had a chance to get to know Andy personally and I think he will make a fine Congressman.

48th District.......Dana Rohrabacher****

49th District.......Darrell Issa***

32nd District.......Art Alas*****

Art is endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus and people like him are the future of the Republican Party.

4th District(Northern CA)......Tom McClintock*****

Tom is the gold standard in CA for elected representatives.

12th District(Northern CA).......John Dennis*****

Good friend and true champion of liberty John Dennis is running against Nancy Pelosi. Enough said.

State Senate

32nd District......Mario Guerra**

34th District......Janet Nguyen*(I'm being generous)

It's important to break up the Dem Super majority in Sacramento otherwise there would be no reco here.

36th District......Pat Bates***

State Assembly

55th District.......Ling Ling Chang**

65th District........Young Kim***

68th District.......Don Wagner*

69th District.......Sherry Walker**

72nd District........Travis Allen***

73rd District........Bill Brough****

74th District.......Matthew Harper****

I disagree with Matt on some liberty issues(MJ legalization being one them), but having said that Matt will be a great vote in Sacramento. His opponent Keith Curry led the charge to ban all fire pits at the beach in Newport.

2nd District(Northern CA)......Matt Heath*****

Matt is a good friend and would make a great Assemblyman. True friend of liberty.

Orange County Supervisor

District 2......Allan Mansoor***

Allan Mansoor is far and away the superior choice for this race. Michelle Steel supported Larry Agran crony Suhkee Kang which speaks volumes that she would support someone of her own race rather than our good Republicans here in Irvine. Had to be said.

District 5......Robert Ming****

Robert Ming will make a fine OC Supervisor.

County Assessor......Claude Parish***

City of Irvine

Mayor......Steven Choi

City Council.......Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott

Do I even have to say anything about these last two races? LOL. Send Larry Agran into retirement.

Irvine Ranch Water District

Peer Swan

Doug Reinhart

Irvine School Board

Sharon Wallin

Ira Glasky

Orange County Water District Director

Division 5.......Steve Sheldon

Division 5........Dave Ellis

Judges

State Supreme Court

Goodwin Liu.......NO

Mariano-Florentino Cuellar......NO

Kathryn Mickle Werdegar......YES

Justice, Court of Appeal; 4th District, Division 1

Alex C. McDonald.......YES

Gilbert Nares.......YES

Terry B. O'Rourke......YES

James A. McIntyre......YES

Justice, Court of Appeal; District 4, Division 2

Thomas E. Hollenhorst.......YES

Justice, Court of Appeal; District 4, Division 3

David A. Thompson.......YES

Richard M. Aronson.......YES

Richard D. Fybel......NO

William F. Rylaarsdam........YES

Kathleen E. O'Leary........NO

Orange County Superior Court

Office 14.......Kevin Haskins

Some notable city races with good friends running and/or good recos from friends

Anaheim Mayor......Tom Tait

Anaheim Council.....James Vanderbilt, Jose Moreno(2)

Costa Mesa.......Jim Righeimer

Fountain Valley......Mark McCurdy

Fullerton.......Greg Sebourn, Sean Paden

Laguna Niguel......John Mark Jennings(H/T Andy Favor for his reco)

Mission Viejo.....Ed Sachs

Newport Beach

District 4......Kevin Muldoon

District 6.......Scott Peotter

Orange......Jon Dumitru

Rancho Santa Margarita.....Brad McGirr, Mike Vaughn, John Webb

Lastly for my South County friends, here are my picks for Capo Unified School Board

District Area 4.......Craig Alexander

I've worked alongside Craig on the OC GOP Central Committee and he will make a fine school board member

District Area 6........Ellen Addonizio

District Area 7........Julie Collier

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Keith Curry Takes Heavy Incoming In 74th AD Race Five Days Before The Election

We are five days from the election that will decide who the next Assemblyman will be for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Laguna Beach for most likely the next 12 years. My gut tells me this race is neck and neck. So I opened my mailbox today to find four pieces of mail for this race. Three of these four pieces were IEs and one was by Mayor Harper's campaign. It was a good mix of showcasing the great endorsements that Matt has and slams against Keith for all his poor votes and policy positions to raise taxes and ban fire pits at the beach. You be the judge of the quality of the mailers. I liked all of them, but I'm biased of course because I strongly support Matthew Harper to be my next Assemblyman.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

74th AD Mailbag

Pretty quiet so far in the race for the open 74th Assembly District which is my neck of the woods. Keith Curry has sent out two pieces of mail and I just received a mailer for Matthew Harper via an IE by "California Conservative PAC" which is one of Howard Ahmanson's political committees. The $10k expenditure on this mailer is probably the opening ante by Howard as I hear he really doesn't like Mr Curry. There's 13 days left until the election so I'm guessing my mailbox will see a few more pieces from the candidates. I already mailed my absentee ballot in marked for my good friend Matthew Harper and everyone who is reading this post that lives in this district should do the same. Believe me, we do not want 12 years of Keith Curry in Sacramento trying to ban fire pits at the beach statewide and advocating for tax increases to pay for the High Speed Rail boondoggle. Lastly, Mr. Curry is touting endorsements from Curt Pringle and Hugh Hewitt in his mail. As if we needed any more reasons not to vote for him.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Democrats Are Deserting Larry Agran In Droves

I was out washing my car this past weekend and one of my Democrat neighbor friends of mine walked over and we started chatting about current events and such as we always do. We started talking about the Irvine elections and he mentioned a mailer he received that compared Larry Agran to Robert Rizzo and the City of Bell. I didn't get this mailer BTW. It must have only been targeted for Irvine Democrats. I started laughing because every time our city attorneys for the Great Park audit mention their past work in exposing the City of Bell corruption, Larry and Beth start melting down in righteous indignation. How dare he make the comparison to what happened in Bell and what happened at the Great Park. Anyways, I asked him if I could see the mailer. He brought it over and allowed me to scan it. This neighbor friend of mine has always been a Larry fan over the years, but he mentioned to me that he has finally had enough and will not be voting for Larry this time around. I congratulated him for finally coming to his senses and he laughed. He isn't the first Dem to mention to me that he has had his fill of Agran. I've had a few more of them say the same thing. It heartens me to know that Dem partisans aren't blindly loyal to Larry. I think the dam is breaking or may have already broke on this. My prediction is Larry comes in last place out of the five council candidates.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scott Baugh Slams Anaheim Fake Republican Candidate Gail Eastman

I haven't been paying as much attention to Anaheim lately because of the battle going on in my city here in Irvine, but things have been heating up in Anaheim and the stakes couldn't be higher. Some time last week one of the Pringle/crony capitalist candidates Gail Eastman did a mailer using the party logo and stating she was the endorsed Republican candidate. Nothing could be further from the truth. She has not been endorsed by the county party. Chairman Baugh sent her campaign a strongly worded letter that admonishes her for unauthorized use of the party logo. Only our endorsed candidates may use the party logo. I've attached a copy of the letter and the mailer in question for folks to look at.

Monday, October 06, 2014

More Irvine City Council Mail

Before I get into the latest mailers from the Irvine candidates for City Council, there was an incident up here in Turtle Rock where I live having to do with the campaign. Basically a bunch of Choi, Schott, and Lalloway signs were stolen and/or tampered with yesterday. A neighbor told me he had seen some kind of Agran campaign event over by the Nature Center. Memo to Larry: please tell your supporters to stop stealing our side's signs.

Here's the latest mail I have received from the campaigns sans another fake newspaper. The Agran mailers get me very upset because of the huge lying going on. His slate is responsible for all the high rise condos and apartments and subsequent traffic we now have in Irvine. Any narrative saying otherwise is a flat out lie. He had control of the council for the last 12 years.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Larry Agran's Fake Newspapers And Real Racism

So last week at the Irvine City Council meeting, there was an item put on the agenda by Councilwoman Christina Shea that dealt with campaign ethics(or lack thereof) in the city. What started out as an attempt to discuss a voluntary campaign ethics pledge by candidates, turned into a full throated discussion of the state of the current campaigns for Mayor and City Council. I had a chance to talk about Larry's fake newspapers and his sides hypocrisy for saying that their slate was a slow growth/no growth slate. Here's a 3 minute You Tube of that. I pointed out the number of dwelling units that he and Mary Ann Gaido voted for over the last twelve years while they had control of the majority. Suffice to say that the number of units they did support puts them squarely at odds of what they have been claiming in their campaign propaganda. I also read him some real news stories from the Register and LA Times about the Great Park Forensic Audit.

Later on in the meeting, Councilman Lalloway made news by pointing out a disturbing letter to the editor in Larry's fake newspaper that had come out on Sept 16th. I will post a copy of it so everyone can read it.

The letter talks about how "foreigners are gobbling up new houses". Councilman Lalloway rightly pointed out....
"which foreigners is he referring to....Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iranians, Irish, Jewish? Please tell us which foreigners you are referring to. I thought we've moved past these types of divisive comments in our beautiful city. I thought we were past these kind of racist comments , especially in our incredibly diverse community"
It seems in Larry's zeal to put out a false narrative of what has really been happening as far as traffic and growth and who is responsible for that, he has effed up big time with this letter to the editor which by all intents and purposes exposes his racism and say whatever it takes to get elected mentality. Larry would never have made this type of mistake in his past campaigns. Maybe he's just showing his age. Whatever the reason, he is ultimately responsible for the content on his fake newspaper he has been mailing around the city and I hope he apologizes for this.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Begun, The Irvine Mail War Has

The race to see who gets elected to be the next Mayor and two councilpersons in Irvine is starting to heat up. This household has received five or six(lost track) of Larry Agran's fake newspaper slate mailer "Irvine Community News And Views", three pieces from the anti Agran IE, and two new pieces today....one from each side. I have scanned a copy of all of them for people to compare.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

First Anti Agran Mail Arrives In Irvine And It Is Devastating.

There was a pleasant surprise today when I opened the Bartlett mailbox. The first anti Agran mailpiece was in there. It's a four page hay maker that calls Larry out for all his lies and his piss poor attempt to build the Great Park. Larry has sent out four fake newspapers to Irvine residents so far and this mailer calls him out for it..."It's NOT 'new' and it's NOT a 'community newspaper'. It's a campaign mail scam created and funded by Larry Agran".

The flip side says..."Here's real news from real newspapers about one of the greatest scandals in OC's history....It's the news LARRY AGRAN hopes you won't read". it then has photos of recent LA Times and Register articles slamming Larry's handling of Great Park. Hell, instead of me telling you about it, here are the scanned copies of the mailer. Enjoy. I certainly did.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Great Park CEO Mike Ellzey's Hard Hitting Forensic Audit Deposition

For this chapter of the breaking story I think what I will do is just pull quotes from the deposition and let them speak for themselves. It's 200 pages long and chock full page after page of information that many people(including me) in Irvine have suspected for a long time. Having said that, I was still completely blown away by the scope and breadth of what actually happened to the $200 million dollars Lennar gave the city in 2002 after the El Toro base was auctioned off. The crazy thing is that the final audit report still doesn't come out until around September according to comments made at the last Council meeting. So let's get started with the deposition quotes. It was performed by the city attorney for the forensic audit, Anthony Taylor.
So I began to - I began to figure out that, at best, Yehudi Gaffen was my counterpart, and at worst, I was, de facto, working for him. Certainly working for Arnold Forde."(Page 53)
"It wasn't until I became CEO, when, as you indicated earlier, I began to look at reports and budgets and things that would otherwise become a CEO's responsibility, and I saw a hundred-thousand-s dollar-a-month line item. And I remember as though it was yesterday that I went into Kurt Mowery's office, who was the manager of finance, and I believe Debbie Gunderson was in that office with him, and I said, "What is this hundred-thousand dollars a month for Forde & Mollrich?" And they told me what it was, a hundred-thousand dollars for public relations. And I said, we've got to reduce that. I mean, that's way too much. We've got to reduce that. And they literally laughed. Q Why did they laugh, if you knew? A I asked them, "What• -- "why are you laughing?• You know, "Good luck on that,• basically, •Good luck on that.• Q Do you know why they were making those statements? A Yes, because I- I didn't know at the time,but -- here I was, new guy coming in starting to make changes because it was now my shop, and one of the things I wanted to change was how could we possibly be using a hundred-thousand dollars a month for public relations, how could we possibly be using that. We have to lower that. Doesn't anybody see this?(Page 58)
Yeah we see that Mike bright as day. Next....
"We didn't create a budget until - we took the completed comprehensive park design and had an independent body cost estimate something already designed. So there was never a budget associated with the design. That, to me, is a waste -- was a waste. So we had no idea how much money we would have, how much money it would take, where the money would come from, or any of those things when we were going through this three-year design process".(Page 74)
Did you get that last quote? No budget whatsoever for design work. LOL
"It's not that those kind of studies were a bad thing, it's just that the Design Studio would create the scope for the studies and would attach huge budgets to each, and then as it turned out, on the first one or two of them, they just did a terrible job and I had to fire them and give them to -- and reorganize the way that they would get done. So they just did a terrible job on those. And all those early studies did was churn fee. They did not know what they were doing, and it was - it was a terrible product and we literally had to stop them from doing it".(Page 76)
In my business if you churn fees in your customers brokerage account, you can be severely punished civilly and criminally potentially. Seems to be business as usual for the Design Studio. Next clip....
"But, no, there was - to my recollection, I don't recall seeing any e-mails or letters or anything like that that would be in furtherance of the culture that I've described. Q And what I'm specifically getting at is if you were getting e-mails from any specific council member or chairperson, Forde & Mollrich, Gafcon, any specific person involved with those entities or employed by them, where they were asking you or telling you to do things that you were not comfortable doing. A No. Q And so when you've testified ear1ier today about this culture, you're talking about oral communications to you,not written communications;is that correct? A Yes. Larry never used e-mail. Any communication to Larry was done by phone or by fax". (Page 93)
Did you catch that. Larry never emailed folks sensitive information about what was going on. Maybe he had a lot to hide? Next clip....
"Q Based on everything you learned,what is your opinion why Gafcon became so powerful? A I think he was a yes-man to Larry. So if Larry wanted something done, he would go to Gaf to get it done. And I know that because as recently as the year when Beth Krom was chair, where Larry - were they still had the majority,Larry gave up the chair to Beth Krom, but he still essentially worked with her behind the scenes and operated, In a way, through her Now, If you talk to any of the staff people who were around at that time, including Christina Templeton or Cliff Wallace, he screwed that thing up so bad. Not that Larry never knew or fully appreciated it, or maybe he was in denial,but people had to save that project from failure, but Larry never really knew that Larry never fully appreciated, until years later, how bad he was. So - so Larry was the classic surround yourself with yes men, yes-people. And he would walk around out - out and do a tour and he would have an entourage of 8 or 10 or 12 people with clipboards and writing down notes of everything he said, you know, and that was who he surrounded himself with. And Gaf was one of those people. And he would - he would manage a group of those people. I mean, he would - he would develop nothing but yes.people. '"The chairman said to do this. The chairman said to do that" Q And in - A So even in a private - even In a private design studio, they would say, 'Well, the chairman told us to do it". (Page 106)
Control freak central it sounds like. A lot of that in politics. I shouldn't be surprised.
"And so we would have a list of things that we would eventually have to go back and tell him that we thought they were bad ideas, we thought they couldn't get done, whether it be -at one point, for example, he wanted us to install stationary bikes at the carrousel to generate power for the carrousel. And,you know, we just thought that that - technically, we just thought that that was a terrible idea".(Page 110)
I included this quote for comedy relief. Speaks for itself. Wouldn't this be a violation of the Americans For Disabilities Act though? Just asking. Next clip is the best one of the whole deposition....
"Q And you write about that in your statement, and I don't mind skipping ahead to that portion of it. You wrote about a series of meetings that you had with Arnold Forde. And I believe you wrote at one point he threatened your job. A Well, he threatened to come after me, which I took for -took to be threatening my Job. Q Did you ever feel that he threatened to come after you physically? A No. But I also viewed Arnold Forde as being somebody who could potentially do that through others. Yeah,I viewed - both Brendan and I both became somewhat concerned that It could get - it could lower itself to something like that potentially. Q What made you concerned about that? A Because I stood between Arnold and a hundred-thousand a month, and that's big money. And the power of the majority had the potential to keep whatever thing they had going, going. And I don't know - I don't know 80 percent of what Arnold and Larry had going or Gaf had going. I don't know. All I know is Arnold was Larry's voice into the project. I have no idea what they did most of the time or what they had going most of the time. But Arnold was -and I don't even know whether he was kind of like the guy in the Wizard of Oz where behind the curtain is some nobody, scrawny guy, but Arnold himself presented himself and portrayed himself and acted as a mafioso-type guy". (Page 121)
So the consultant we paid over $100k/month was acting like a guy in the mafia. That's just so nice to know.
"Nobody coordinated the disciplines, that's exactly right. Disciplines submitted something. Somebody at a junior level put the document together and made it look pretty, but nobody coordinated the disciplines. Nobody coordinated the production of the disciplines so that they came in a coordinated way. All they did was take the different disciplines, once they were done, and put them into a package. Q Was this the worst product you had ever seen in your career? A Yes. And others will say so, too. Q When you say others," who else should I talk to that would testify to that? A Brendan McDevitt, Jeff Warner" (Page 158)
"Worst product you had ever seen" Again it speaks for itself. Next clip....
"It just seemed that we were -we just kept - we kept designing and kept planning and kept designing, and it didn't seem like - until we began to put a stop to it and start developing the western sector plan, we - we weren't doing anything that was leading to a construction project. And it just seems like - it seemed as though we could have done that for two or three more years and spent all of our money on design if we had allowed it to happen, because that - the Design Studio was a design studio. They were there to design, and they were -there was no, like, end game for the Design Studio". (Page 163)
Design design design and not much construction. You can easily see how $200 million dollars was wasted reading that last clip.

So those are just a few choice quotes from this deposition. It really should be read by as many Irvine residents as possible.

Mike Ellzey Deposition Part 1

Mike Ellzey Deposition Part 2

Mike Ellzey Deposition Part 3

Mike Ellzey Deposition Part 4

Bombshell Great Park Forensic Audit Declaration By GP CEO Mike Ellzey

If there were any lingering doubts about what happened the last ten years out at the Great Park in Irvine, GP CEO Mike Ellzey has laid those to rest. A 200 page deposition of Ellzey by city attorney Anthony Taylor was delivered today to Irvine City Hall in compliance with the California Public Records Act. The deposition is wide ranging and almost 200 pages long. It also includes a 29 page exhibit of a sworn declaration by Mr Ellzey. It details potential fraud perpetrated against Irvine citizens by Council Member Larry Agran and his complicit majority of Beth Krom and Suhkee Kang the likes of which are unprecedented in Orange County and I dare say the country.

I think what I will do to start is pull some quoted from Mr Ellzey's declaration and add my comments.
"The consultant was telling the client what to do. The City was not treated like a client or owner, but more as a facilitator and expediter of projects determined by others. When I realized the depth and breadth of this culture, it concerned me greatly. Based on my experience managing large public projects, this practice was clearly unacceptable for a public agency".(Page 3 & 4 of the declaration)
You can tell right away this is gonna get ugly
"The Great Park Design Studio and the Great Park staff did not have a healthy consultant-client relationship. Directives by staff were routinely questioned and often times ignored; invoice review and reconciliation was a persistent battle; respect for city staff was fleeting - for the program manager(Bovis and later Brendan McDevitt), non-existent"(Page 4)
Let me translate this. The city paid over $10 million to Bovis and later Brendan McDevitt to oversee the Design Studio. The open source software that the Studio and staff were all supposed to input invoices and data into was so crappy that it turned out to be useless. Was this done on purpose by Larry to make it harder to find a paper trail as you will see later in the declaration and deposition? Maybe. Let's continue...
"The Great Park Corporation was not allowed to seek services from other firms in an effort to secure superior technical skills or lower costs. At the direction of the "power structure"(made up of Larry Agran, Arnold Forde, and Yehudi Gaffen) at the Design Studio, all planning and design work was to go through the Studio"(Page 5)
Keeping operational control seemed to be very important.
"The Design Studio consistently insisted on performing design, construction management, and construction administration for all projects. This arrangement does not reflect responsible industry practice."(Page 6)
Mr Gaffen(head of Design Studio) did not hold any professional licenses for architecture or civil engineering. This apparently made him highly qualified. Continue....
"Design management under Gafcon for a project of this scope and complexity was at times incompetent, disorganized, too expensive and politicized.

- The Design Studio team did not have a California licensed architect of record

- The Design Studio team did not have a dedicated California licensed civil engineer.

- Third party reviews were being refused by the Design Studio.

- The Design Studio exposed a practice of hiring relatively inexperienced and unqualified staff for a project of this scope and complexity, and yet systematically employed a practice of charging premium rates".(Page 12)
Nothing to see here, LOL.
"The Design Studio was overly dismissive of known design constraints on the El Toro property. A number of examples of this practice were discovered.

- The 50% design package altered the Navy extraction well system to support a Master Plan that was not buildable. When the package was submitted to the Navy, the Navy commented that the design was "VOID OF USEFUL INFORMATION"(Page 13)
Are you starting to get the picture of where this is going yet?
"It did not take long to appreciate that Chairman Agran, Yehudi Gaffen and Arnold Forde comprised the "power structure" for the Great Park project...

...the acumen for large scale project development was sorely deficient.

The Chairman's and the project's best interests were not being served by Mr. Gaffen. In my opinion, the interests of the City were systematically being subordinated to greed and overcome by incompetence."(Page 20)
I see an episode of American Greed in the future unfortunately telling this story.
"Other than the environment I've described in this paper - the like of which I deplored - and the role Mr Forde played in its perpetuation, the fundamental problem I had with the Forde & Mollrich engagement was the fee of $100k per month. Period....I was finally able to gather the support necessary to advance a proposed budget that included a reduction in the Forde & Mollrich contract. I recommended a 50% reduction to $50k per month(still an outrageous number mind you)(Page 26) During the holiday season in 2011, Messrs Forde and Mollrich and I met at the bar at Bistango's restaurant. During this meeting, the discussion again turned to the pressure on our budget presented by the Forde & Mollrich fees. Again I suggested that it would be difficult to justify another year at $100k per month. Mr Forde replied simply that if I came after his contract, he would come after me; I should leave their fee alone.(Page 28)
Threats are always nice to see by a consultant you hired. Just wow.

This concludes Mr Ellzey's statement and my comments. Wait until you read his deposition!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thoughts On Possibilities "To Cantor" Various OC Reps

As the news continues to sink in on the political earthquake that happened in Virginia's 7th District last night, I was thinking about the possibilities locally here in OC of someone pulling off a similar feat in the next election cycle. My first thought is that it probably wouldn't happen here, but after last night, anything can happen when and if the stars line up. What do I mean by that? You had many circumstances come together and created the perfect storm against Eric Cantor. Some of the first things that come to my mind are...

Cantor broke the first rule in politics. He pretty much ignored his district. When you don't meet your constituents on a regular basis, you start letting pressure build up that's needs to get ventilated. The closest thing locally that I can compare this to is lame duck Congressman John Campbell. He never had townhalls and rarely met with voters. Heck he wouldn't even agree to come to local Republican Clubs. Eric Cantor had no excuse for ignoring his district. It's very close to DC. It's not like he had to fly cross country to get home every weekend. He had an hour drive south from DC to Richmond. No excuses here. This why local Congressmen like Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, and Loretta Sanchez will be Congressmen/women for probably as long as they want. They all come home most weekends from DC and work the district like crazy. I hope Mimi Walters does the same thing when she gets elected. Time will tell.

There has to be a credible alternative candidate on the ballot. If you wanna drill down deeper on what constitutes a credible alternative candidate, just go read Dave Brat's background of how he pulled this victory off. There will be a book written about probably in the near future. He seemed to do everything right from my reading and analysis of the reports of what happened. He wasn't a kooky or divisive candidate. He's been involved in local politics since around 2004 volunteering for local candidates. He's been through vigorous campaign training at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute. He had over two hundred eager precinct walkers/volunteers doing the door knocking and other voter contact stuff. He was able to leverage powerful talk radio voices like Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Glenn Beck to name a few to help him get his message out. He had local and national issues on his side i.e his anti amnesty position, reigning in the NSA privacy abuses, against indefinite detention(NDAA), etc. It also didn't hurt Dave Brat that Eric Cantor was a big target because of his leadership position he held in the House. In short, this really was not an accident what happened yesterday. My oh my....What is America coming to when we can't buy elections anymore. LOL

Monday, June 02, 2014

Howard Ahmanson Blasts Keith Curry

Just got the last batch of mail before the election and this one piece really stuck out to me. It's a negative mail piece against Keith Curry that is done through an IE called "Local Liberty PAC" with major funding by "Fieldstead & Company". Fieldstead is the political vehicle Howard Ahmanson donates through. The mailer itself hits Curry on bloated Newport Beach Lifeguard pensions, the cost of Newport Beach City Hall, mocks the "Bunny Henge" concrete rabbits in front of city hall, and lastly hits him hard for trying to ban fire rings. It's an outstanding piece. I just wish it had gone out earlier if they were gonna do it. Enjoy.