After a 6-year hiatus, Larry Agran, former Irvine Mayor and Councilmember, is running for City Council because, in his words, “I want to restore good planning, safeguard our City-owned parklands, get COVID-19 under control here in Irvine, and implement the mandate of the voters to immediately begin construction of the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at the ARDA site in our 1,300-acre Great Park.”
Agran, a public interest attorney, was the author and official proponent of the Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery Initiative that was circulated this past winter by hundreds of volunteers, who gathered a record-breaking 19,790 Irvine resident signatures. The initiative, which became law on May 12, 2020, designated and zoned the original 125-acre ARDA site at the northern edge of the Great Park to be the exclusive location for the State-funded and State-operated Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery.
The successful Agran-led initiative was a rebuke to Mayor Christina Shea and Councilman Michael Carroll, who had earlier teamed-up to push their own very unpopular zoning ordinance for the ARDA site. The Shea-Carroll plan zoned the City-owned Great Park ARDA site for office, commercial, and industrial development, which would bring thousands of cars to the site every day.
This was part of what had been a secret plan that Shea revealed at a video-recorded meeting of a small group of Irvine residents. The video went viral and was viewed by thousands on social media.
Shea’s Secret Meeting
Shea told the small gathering that she and Council colleague Carroll were working on a plan to zone the ARDA site for commercial development under a “99-year lease.” This would allow the developer to turn Great Park public property into a source of immense profit.
Agran has repeatedly decried the Shea-Carroll scheme as a “giveaway” of precious City parkland, and a way for developers to defeat the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at our Great Park. Now, Agran says, the issue arises again in this election because Shea and Carroll, who are both appointed to their current Council positions, must face the voters on the November 3rd ballot.
Irvine Citizens Must Vote
The suspicion is that if both Shea and Carroll manage to win election, they will make yet another attempt to defy the will of the people, defeat the Veterans Cemetery, and resurrect their scheme to hand over City parkland to commercial developers. “That means,” says Agran, “that the Irvine City election is about more than just the candidates listed on the ballot.” He added, “In truth, massive development is on the ballot, too. That’s why Irvine citizens need to vote!”